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NFL Mock Draft 2022: Edition 4 (Final Edition)

Travon Walker, No. 2 to Detroit

1. Jacksonville Jaguars

Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan

Fast-rising defensive linemen Travon Walker recently became the betting favorite to No. 1 in this week's NFL Draft, but those rumors seem like more smoke without fire than anything else to me. Aidan Hutchinson has consistently been the top name across most draft boards and offers Jacksonville a proven commodity with an extremely high floor. 

Previous Selection: Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan

Other Possibility: Travon Walker, DL, Georgia

2. Detroit Lions

Travon Walker, DL, Georgia

Walker's quick ascent up draft boards has been one of the most interesting storylines of the pre-Draft process. He was a solid contributor during his time in Athens, but never jumped out at you. To be fair, he was playing on one of the best college defenses of all-time, but his tremendous showing at the Combine was really what vaulted him into No. 1 discussion. Detroit needs help everywhere, so I think they'll go for whoever they believe is the best player available at this spot, leaving it down to Walker and Kayvon Thibodeaux.

Previous Selection: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

Other Possibility: Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon

3. Houston Texans

Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

The mystery at the top of this Draft continues with Houston, who could choose between Evan Neal or Ikem Ekwonu on the O-Line, or instead take one of the top pass rushers. It will be tough to pass up on Thibodeaux, but the fact of the matter is that Houston needs significant offensive help and Neal is among the most hyped offensive line prospects of the past decade.

Previous Selection: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

Other Possibility: Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon

4. New York Jets

Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon

For most of the 2021 college football campaign, Kayvon Thibodeaux was viewed as the top prospect of this cycle. He has been absolutely picked apart in the pre-Draft process, more than just about any other likely Top 10 selection, but I'd be floored if he makes it out of the Top 5. He has astounding physical traits and while some question his work ethic, his college tape speaks for itself.

Previous Selection: Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon

Other Possibility: Ikem Ekwonu, OL, NC State

5. New York Giants

Ikem Ekwonu, OL, NC State

For years, the Giants have tried investing in their offensive line, without much luck. They rid themselves of veteran Nate Solder's hefty contract over the offseason and could find his replacement here in the form of Ikem Ekwonu. The NC State product can play just about any position on the O-Line and has one of the highest floors of any prospect in this Draft.

Previous Selection: Ikem Ekwonu, OL, NC State

Other Possibility: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

6. Carolina Panthers

Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

I've said for awhile that when all things are all said and done, I believed Malik Willis was going to be the first quarterback taken in the 2022 NFL Draft. Well, here we are in the final mock of the year, and Willis goes off the board to Carolina. The Panthers know Sam Darnold is not the answer and Willis' skillset is superstar-esque, if he can round out the finer parts of his game.

Previous Selection: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh

Other Possibility: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh

7. New York Giants

Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU

After addressing the offensive line earlier on, New York focuses on their next significant need: defensive back. Kyle Hamilton could certainly be in play at this spot, but corner appears to be the more obvious answer. While I have Gardner higher on my own board, Derek Stingley Jr. has a bunch of fans among NFL personnel, and I think he will be the top CB taken.

Previous Selection: Travon Walker, DL, Georgia

Other Possibility: Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

8. Atlanta Falcons

Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

Atlanta's one of those teams in the first round that could go just about anywhere with their first selection. They could address offense by going either quarterback or receiver here, although Marcus Mariota looks like he'll be the bridge QB in 2022. Pass rusher or corner is also a possibility, considering they have needs at those spots. With so much mystery around this pick, best player available seems like the best way to hedge your bets. Hamilton is my No. 1 player, regardless of position, in this Draft and gives Atlanta an immediate impact player on the back-end.

Previous Selection: Jermaine Johnson II, DE, Florida State

Other Possibility: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

9. Seattle Seahawks

Jermaine Johnson II, DE, Florida State

Seattle appears to be entering a sizable rebuild after trading Russell Wilson this offseason, meaning they're yet another team that could go plenty of different directions. My bet is they invest in a pass rusher with this selection, and the Seahawks and Jermaine Johnson II have been linked for some time. Johnson went the JUCO route and played at Georgia before a breakout 2021 at Florida State.

Previous Selection: Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

Other Possibility: George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue

10. New York Jets

Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

After going defense with the No. 4 pick, the logical move for the Jets would be offense with this selection. The Jets have been linked to both Tyreek Hill and D.K. Metcalf over the offseason, but weren't able to come to a trade agreement for either. Instead, they get their wide out No. 1 of the future in Garrett Wilson, the top in this class.

Previous Selection: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

Other Possibility: Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

11. Washington Commanders

Drake London, WR, USC

It would be ideal for Washington if either Kyle Hamilton or Derek Stingley Jr. were to drop to them at this spot, but I think the chances of that happening are slim. They could still choose to address the defensive backfield with Ahmad Gardner, but receiver makes more sense. Drake London is a big, physical target on the perimeter who could give Carson Wentz much-needed help.

Previous Selection: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU

Other Possibility: Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

12. Minnesota Vikings

Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

Most mocks I've seen have both Stingley Jr. and Gardner gone before this selection. But I'd be surprised if the trio of Stingley, Gardner, and Hamilton were all gone; one of them has to drop. If it's Gardner, the Vikings don't wait on a chance to add an impact defender to their aging secondary. As a lukewarm Vikings fan, this is also a bit of a selfish pick for me, as Gardner is among my favorite players in this Draft.

Previous Selection: Jordan Davis, DL, Georgia

Other Possibility: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

13. Houston Texans

Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

Outside of offensive line, Houston has two clear need areas: receiver and pass rusher. With most of the big-name pass rushers gone and with Neal taken earlier, wide out seems the likely route. Chris Olave has a fairly wide range where he could go, but he's a proven playmaker who I envision having a long NFL career. He's so polished, he could immediately be their top weapon, supplanting Brandin Cooks.

Previous Selection: Drake London, WR, USC

Other Possibility: George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue

14. Baltimore Ravens

Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa

I'm conflicted here; I think Baltimore will go either offensive line or defensive line with this pick, but that only narrows things down so much. I've had Jordan Davis mocked in the past here, but with Charles Cross, Tyler Linderbaum, and Trevor Penning all available, O-Line seems the likelier route. If I were the GM, Linderbaum would be my pick, but Penning seems like a Ravens prospect to me.

Previous Selection: Tyler Linderbaum, OL, Iowa

Other Possibility: Tyler Linderbaum, OL, Iowa

15. Philadelphia Eagles

Jordan Davis, DL, Georgia

It's easy to forget that Jordan Davis, not Travon Walker, was the most dominant defensive linemen on Georgia last season, and an All-American. The gigantic interior D-Linemen has been linked to several different teams around this range, with Philadelphia seeming like a good fit. He's the likely long-term replacement for Fletcher Cox, who was cut earlier this offseason before coming back on a one-year deal.

Previous Selection: George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue

Other Possibility: George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue

16. New Orleans Saints

Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh

There's not an obvious landing spot for Kenny Pickett if Carolina doesn't take him at six. Atlanta or Seattle are the most likely places if another team doesn't trade up, but those teams seem to be interested in addressing other needs. With that being said, there's no way Pickett should last outside the Top 20 and while the Saints seem content with Andy Dalton and Jameis Winston for now, his value at this spot is too good to pass up.

Previous Selection: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

Other Possibility: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

17. Los Angeles Chargers

Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

Although the Chargers invested a high-draft selection in tackle Rashawn Slater a year ago, the offensive line still needs reinforcements to adequately protect Justin Herbert. Most of the big names are gone, but Charles Cross offers great value here. He could go in the Top 10 or slide a bit, depending on team needs and what teams think of Trevor Penning.

Previous Selection: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

Other Possibility: Kenyon Green, OL, Texas A&M

18. Philadelphia Eagles

Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

While the Jordan Davis selection shores up Philly's D-Line, the secondary is getting old, fast. Adding a young, polished corner such as Trent McDuffie is an ideal move for the Eagles. McDuffie seems to be slowly ascending up draft boards and could fall somewhere in the Top 15, but this spot makes even more sense.

Previous Selection: Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

Other Possibility: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

19. New Orleans Saints

Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

Already addressing their passing game earlier by adding Kenny Pickett, New Orleans finds a franchise receiver for him in Jameson Williams. Williams probably won't be ready for the start of the 2022 campaign, but the former Ohio State transfer is a game-changer who will add some explosiveness to a mediocre Saint receiver corps.

Previous Selection: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa

Other Possibility: Zion Johnson, OL, Boston College

20. Pittsburgh Steelers

Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati

Pittsburgh waited a long time on a long-term replacement for Ben Roethlisberger, but with "Big Ben" officially retired, they can't hold off any longer. Enter Desmond Ridder, the winngest QB in Cincinnati school history, who improved every single season in the college ranks. There's not a lot of flash in his game, but he's a reliable, well-rounded signal-caller who wins.

Previous Selection: Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati

Other Possibility: Tyler Linderbaum, OL, Iowa

21. New England Patriots

Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

New England's defense wasn't bad by any means in 2021, but their lack of speed and athleticism proved to be a real issue against the elites of the AFC. Expect them to fix that early on by adding Utah's Devin Lloyd, a proven defender with tremendous sideline-to-sideline range. Lloyd just has the feel of a Patriot prospect and would fit in nicely on this defense.

Previous Selection: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

Other Possibility: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

22. Green Bay Packers

Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

Treylon Burks seems to be sliding down draft boards late in the process, but the former Arkansas Razorback should still land somewhere in the first round. Green Bay is almost definitely going to take a receiver with one of their first-round selections and I don't see them waiting. Considering how productive Burks was in college while playing with mediocre to plain bad quarterback play, he could put up numbers in Green Bay.

Previous Selection: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

Other Possibility: Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State

23. Arizona Cardinals

George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue

Despite being rated as my No. 2 pass rusher in this Draft, there's a chance George Karlaftis could slide outside of the Top 20 based on team need and fit. That's great news for Arizona, who is leaning heavily on an aging J.J. Watt. Karlaftis can come in and play right from the get-go, as he did at Purdue, when he tallied 17 tackles for loss as a true freshman.

Previous Selection: Devonte Wyatt, DL, Georgia

Other Possibility: Devonte Wyatt, DL, Georgia

24. Dallas Cowboys

Tyler Linderbaum, OL, Iowa

I completely understand that drafting a center in the first round isn't a great value play, but Tyler Linderbaum is an exception. It's hard to accurately portray just how dominant he was during his tenure in Iowa City, and he should have a long NFL career. Dallas could use some extra help in the interior O-Line, making this one a no-brainer.

Previous Selection: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

Other Possibility: Zion Johnson, OL, Boston College

25. Buffalo Bills

Daxton Hill, DB, Michigan

With Levi Wallace gone and Tre'Davious White coming off a torn ACL, Buffalo needs to address the cornerback position early on in this Draft. They'd love if Trent McDuffie were to slide down to them at this spot, but I find that highly unlikely, particularly if Stingley and Gardner go early. Instead, the Bills get the ultra-versatile Daxton Hill, a well-rounded defender who can play either corner or safety in the pros.

Previous Selection: Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson

Other Possibility: Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson

26. Tennessee Titans

Zion Johnson, OL, Boston College

Tennessee lost a pair of starters along the offensive line over the offseason, leaving them a little thin for a team that leans on a power-run game to set up their entire offense. While last year's second-rounder Dillon Radunz is likely to be elevated to a starting role, the Titans could still choose to address this position by taking Boston College's Zion Johnson.

Previous Selection: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

Other Possibility: David Ojabo, DE, Michigan

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Devonte Wyatt, DL, Georgia

I've had offensive line mocked to Tampa for some time now, but with all the defensive talent available at this spot, it's going to be hard to pass up. Devonte Wyatt is a quality selection at this juncture in the Draft; he can play multiple spots along the D-Line and has a high floor. If not for all the talent around him on that Georgia defense, he would probably go even higher.

Previous Selection: Kenyon Green, OL, Texas A&M

Other Possibility: Kenyon Green, OL, Texas A&M

28. Green Bay Packers

David Ojabo, DE, Michigan

After drafting a receiver earlier, Green Bay's second first-rounder is more of a question. My feeling is they'll go best player available here and despite tearing his Achilles in the pre-Draft process, that's got to be David Ojabo. Ojabo was more than a complement to Aidan Hutchinson; he was one of the premier pass rushers in college football and would have been a Top 10 pick prior to his injury.

Previous Selection: David Ojabo, DE, Michigan

Other Possibility: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia

29. Kansas City Chiefs

Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State

Although Kansas City patched up the wide receiver corps by bringing in JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marques Valdes-Scantling, they will be temped by this deep receiver group. Patrick Mahomes is talented enough to make any receiver corps work, but adding a dynamic weapon like Jahan Dotson would make this offense even more potent.

Previous Selection: Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State

Other Possibility: Boye Mafe, DE, Minnesota

30. Kansas City Chiefs

Lewis Cine, S, Georgia

Yet another Georgia Bulldog finds their way into the first round, this time being safety Lewis Cine. Even though the Chiefs brought in Justin Reid to fill the hole vacated by Tyrann Mathieu, this is a defense that relies heavily on the safeties. Expect Cine to come in and play big snaps right away, providing Kansas City with an absolute punisher on the back-end.

Previous Selection: Arnold Ebiketie, DE, Penn State

Other Possibility: Boye Mafe, DE, Minnesota

31. Cincinnati Bengals

Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson

No matter your thoughts on Eli Apple's antics, there seems to be broad agreement that he's a below-average cornerback. For a team that wants to compete with the elites of the AFC, the Bengals can't keep sending out Apple in big moments. Instead, they bring on Andrew Booth Jr., who seems to be the consensus No. 4 corner in this Draft, even if I'm not as high on him as others.

Previous Selection: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia

Other Possibility: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

32. Detroit Lions

Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State

If I had to put my money on it, I'd suspect Detroit probably trades this pick to a team looking to trade into the back-half of the first round for a QB. If they stick firm and most of the big name quarterbacks and defensive backs are gone, receiver makes the most sense. Christian Watson is no Calvin Johnson, but his imposing frame and his vast catch radius may remind some Lions fans of "Megatron."

Previous Selection: Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss

Other Possibility: Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina

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