The 2021 NFL draft saw one of the best quarterback classes in recent years, with Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, and Trey Lance off the table with the first three picks. In the 2022 NFL Draft, Spencer Rattler and Sam Howell lead the quarterback class. On the other side of the ball, Kayvon Thibodeaux and Derek Stingley Jr. are the crown jewels.
We used the Pro Football Network Mock Draft Simulator, which handed the Detroit Lions the number one overall pick. The Lions enter the 2021-2022 NFL season with a new quarterback and lack of depth at the wide receiver position.
It's unlikely that the Lions move away from Jared Goff after one season, and there isn't a quarterback in this draft who's ready to walk into a locker room and be the face of a franchise.
Rattler and Howell are talented and could develop into Week 1 starters, but both lack leadership qualities. The 2021-2022 college football season is right around the corner, though, which is a prime opportunity for the top prospects to improve their draft stock.
2022 NFL Mock Draft first-round selections
The 2022 NFL Draft is full of talent, and with the event being held in glitzy Las Vegas, fireworks are nearly guaranteed. With the NFL season kicking off in three short months, Sportskeeda has put together a way-too-early 2022 NFL Mock Draft.
#1 Detroit Lions: Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge Rusher, Oregon
The Detroit Lions will work out the chinks in their defensive line with the first overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Kayvon Thibodeaux is the best defensive lineman in the draft. Thibodeaux brings tremendous size and speed to the Lions' front seven. He also has a nose for football, racking up 23.5 tackles for loss and 12 sacks in 2020.
#2 Houston Texans: Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina
The Houston Texans will need to find a replacement for Deshaun Watson. Sam Howell may not be the dual-threat quarterback that Watson is, but he is an elite passer. Howell completed 68.1% of his passes for 7,227 yards, 68 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions in the last 25 games.
#3 Jacksonville Jaguars: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
Derek Stingley Jr. is the number one-ranked cornerback in the 2022 NFL Draft. He's also the number three overall prospect, and with a great 2021 season, he could easily be the best defensive player in the draft. The Jacksonville Jaguars will get a day-one starter in Derek Stingley Jr.
#4 Philadelphia Eagles: Christian Harris, LB, Alabama
The Philadelphia Eagles will receive a raw talent in former Alabama linebacker Christian Harris. Harris transitioned to linebacker after playing wide receiver throughout high school. It's a questionable pick, but Harris' pure athletic ability will help him succeed in the NFL.
#5 Cincinnati Bengals: Kyle Hamilton, Safety, Notre Dame
The Cincinnati Bengals will once again ignore their offensive line with their third straight top-ten pick. In the 2020 NFL Draft, the Bengals drafted their franchise quarterback, Joe Burrow. In the 2021 NFL Draft, they passed on Penei Sewell and picked wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase. In 2022, they're likely looking at defense.
Kyle Hamilton's last 24 games have been remarkable, with 63 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, five interceptions and 12 pass deflections.
#6 New York Jets: Zach Harrison, Edge Rusher, Ohio State
Zach Harrison has put together two successful seasons at Ohio State. He joins a long line of successful edge rushers from the Buckeyes defense.
In the Ohio State alumnus, the Jets will finally receive an edge rusher with a knack for getting to the quarterback. In his last 17 games for Ohio State, Zach Harrison registered 38 total tackles, ten tackles for loss, and 5.5 sacks.
#7 Philadelphia Eagles: Spencer Rattler, QB, Oklahoma
The Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants have made a trade. Philadelphia has produced two trades in back-to-back drafts with division rivals.
- Philadelphia Eagles receive seventh overall pick Spencer Rattler
- New York Giants receive 20th overall pick, 36th overall pick, and 2023 Philadelphia first-round pick
The Philadelphia Eagles are getting another dual-threat quarterback after Jalen Hurts struggled in 2021. Rattler is the second-ranked quarterback in the 2022 NFL Draft.
#8 Atlanta Falcons: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
Evan Neal started 26 games in Alabama's offensive line. Neal can spend time as both offensive guard and tackle. He only gave up 1.5 sacks during the 2020 college football season. The Atlanta Falcons are committed to Matt Ryan seeing out his contract, and they've passed on a quarterback for the second draft running.
#9 Denver Broncos: Drake Jackson, Edge rusher, USC
The Denver Broncos will need to find a replacement for their veteran edge rusher, Von Miller. Drake Jackson has played in 17 games for the USC Trojans over the last two years. Jackson has registered 66 total tackles in those games, 17 tackles for loss, and 7.5 sacks.
#10 Dallas Cowboys: DeMarvin Leal, DT, Texas A&M
- Dallas Cowboys receive the tenth overall pick, DeMarvin Leal
- New York Giants receive 19th overall pick, 51st overall pick, and 83rd overall pick
The Dallas Cowboys will get a massive boost to their defensive line by drafting DeMarvin Leal. In his two seasons with the Aggies, Leal has registered 75 total tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, and 4.5 sacks for the Aggies front seven.
#11 Washington Football Team: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
#12 Las Vegas Raiders: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
#13 Carolina Panthers: George Karlaftis, Edge rusher, Purdue
#14 Minnesota Vikings: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
#15 Arizona Cardinals: Kenyon Green, OG, Texas A&M
#16 Pittsburgh Steelers: Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
Malik Willis could be a surprise pick for many NFL fans. Willis started his college career by playing two years at Auburn before transferring to Liberty. In his junior season at Liberty, Malik Willis threw for 2,250 yards, 20 touchdowns, and six interceptions. Willis added 944 rushing yards and 14 rushing touchdowns on 141 attempts.
#17 New England Patriots: Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State
#18 Los Angeles Chargers: Tyler Linderbaum, OC, Iowa
#19 New York Giants: Bubba Bolden, Safety, Miami (FLA.)
#20 New York Giants: Kingsley Enagbare, Edge rusher, South Carolina
#21 Tennessee Titans: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
#22 Indianapolis Colts: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
#23 New York Jets: Jalen Wydermyer, TE, Texas A&M
The New York Jets give Zach Wilson a weapon at tight end with their 23rd overall pick. Jalen Wydermyer possesses ideal size, standing at 6-foot-5 but what makes him stand out is his ability to move freely in the face of adversity. Wydermyer has registered 78 receptions for 953 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns in his two years at Texas A&M.
#24 New Orleans Saints: Jordan Battle, Safety, Alabama
#25 Cleveland Browns: Aidan Hutchinson, Edge rusher, Michigan
#26 Miami Dolphins: Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M
#27 Baltimore Ravens: Sevyn Banks, CB, Ohio State
#28 Detroit Lions: Ventrell Miller, LB, Florida
#29 Green Bay Packers: Justyn Ross, WR, Clemson
#30 Buffalo Bills: Zion Nelson, OT, Miami (FLA.)
#31 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Ikem Ekwonu, OG, North Carolina State
#32 Kansas City Chiefs: John Metchie III, WR, Alabama
The Kansas City Chiefs are wrapping up the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft by picking Alabama wide receiver John Metchie III. As a result, Kansas City will add more depth to an already stacked wide receiver corps. Metchie III joins a long line of successful wide receivers from Alabama and will get his shot at the number one option in 2021.