The final first-round forecasts of the 2022 NFL Draft brought some late changes to this exhausting but fun exercise of tying to pin down the popular opinion for each of the 32 selections. For instance:
- Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner moved up to No. 4 to the Jets.
- Kayvon Thibodeaux tumbled to No. 8 to the Falcons.
- Jermaine Johnson II continued to rise, climbing from No. 12 (Vikings) to No. 9 (Seahawks).
The shakeup at the top pushed the wide receivers down a few spots. Mock drafters now see Garrett Wilson going to the Jets at No. 10 and Jameson Williams landing with the Eagles at No. 15.
Of course, what hasn’t changed is our hope that commissioner Roger Goodell walks on stage dressed as Elvis. But even if he doesn’t, the NFL will surely put on a show with its first-ever draft in Las Vegas.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Travon Walker, Edge, Georgia
Trevor Lawrence could use a can’t-miss offensive tackle to protect him for the next decade, but most mock drafts continue to have the Jags opting for an impactful pass rusher. Momentum keeps growing for Jacksonville to bypass Hutchinson, the safer bet, for Walker, the bigger gamble with potential superstar payoff.
Previous consensus: Walker.
2. Detroit Lions: Aidan Hutchinson, Edge, Michigan
It’ll be Walker or Hutchinson for the Lions, who, like the Jaguars, are in need of building blocks. A year after bolstering their offensive line with Oregon’s Penei Sewell, Detroit injects some much-needed energy into its defensive line with the Wolverines All-American.
Previous consensus: Hutchinson.
3. Houston Texans: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, North Carolina State
The rebuild continues by taking the first tackle of a talented crop. With the athletic Ekwonu, the Texans upgrade an offensive line that’ll be tasked with giving second-year QB Davis Mills ample time to throw (and grow).
Previous consensus: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama.
4. New York Jets: Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
This week's mock drafts had the Jets selecting edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux, a No. 1 pick-caliber talent whose passion for the game is curiously being questioned due to his wide-ranging interests like cryptocurrency. But now they're forecasting Gardner, the draft’s top cornerback and the player in this class with, hands down, the best nickname.
Previous consensus: Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge, Oregon.
5. New York Giants: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi
Momentum has been growing for Cross to be the preferred tackle by the Giants. Whether it's Cross or Evan Neal, it's great news for Daniel Jones (105 sacks in 38 games).
Previous consensuses: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama; Ikem Ekwonu, OT, North Carolina State.
6. Carolina Panthers: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
Carolina was thought to be the landing spot for QB Kenny Pickett, but scrutiny has intensified over his small hands. Instead, the Panthers add a franchise left tackle in Neal.
Previous consensuses: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi; Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh.
7. New York Giants (from Bears): Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
The Giants miss out on the draft's top cornerback in Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner, but they still add Stingley, a corner with star potential.
Previous consensus: Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, CB, Cincinnati.
8. Atlanta Falcons: Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge, Oregon
The drumbeat for drafting Malik Willis as Matt Ryan’s replacement died down this week. The majority of mock drafts foresees a best-player-available selection here. Arguably this draft class' most talented prospect falls to the Falcons.
Previous consensus: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State.
9. Seattle Seahawks (from Broncos): Jermaine Johnson II, Edge, Florida State
Another QB-needy franchise resists the first-round reach, according to most mock drafts. In the post-Russell Wilson era, the Seahawks begin their rebuild by drafting the transfer from Georgia who had a breakout season with the Seminoles.
Previous consensuses: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU; Malik Willis, QB, Liberty.
10. New York Jets (from Seahawks): Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
Wilson, who sits atop most wideout prospect rankings due to a well-rounded skill set that fits the NFL, is exactly what second-year QB Zach Wilson needs.
Previous consensus: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama.
11. Washington Commanders: Drake London, WR, USC
The Commanders are projected to address needs at receiver, safety or cornerback with this pick. The calls for Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton are getting louder, but London’s extraordinary ability to go up and get the ball, a skill that comes naturally to the former USC basketball player, is too hard to pass up.
Previous consensus: London.
12. Minnesota Vikings: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton and Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis were also projected here. The late trend has the Vikings taking McDuffie.
Previous consensuses: Jermaine Johnson II, Edge, Florida State; Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU.
13. Houston Texans (from Browns): Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
The Texans filled their offensive line needs at No. 3 with arguably the best tackle in Ikem Ekwonu. Next, they take Hamilton, the No. 1 safety in the draft.
Previous consensus: Hamilton.
14. Baltimore Ravens: Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
Tackle Trevor Penning is starting to appear here for the Ravens, but Davis, a freakish defensive talent at 6-foot-6 and 341 pounds, is too much of a no-brainer for a franchise that prides itself on physical football and defensive havoc.
Previous consensus: Davis.
19. New Orleans Saints (from Eagles): Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
Wide receivers have been forecasted to the Saints in the first round for weeks. They select Olave to give Jameis Winston, who's been brought back to run the offense, another much-needed target.
Previous consensus: Tyler Smith, OT, Tulsa.
15. Philadelphia Eagles (from Dolphins): Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama.
The Eagles have two first-round selections at Nos. 15 and 18. And there wasn't a clearcut consensus for this pick until now with Williams, who some believe would go higher if he wasn’t recovering from a torn ACL suffered in the national championship game last January.
Previous consensuses: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State; Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia.
16. New Orleans Saints (from Colts through Eagles): Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
New Orleans is expected to double-dip with offensive help at 16 and 19. The departure of Terron Armstead to the Dolphins in free agency makes tackle the top priority, so the Saints nab Penning, who keeps climbing up the first round.
Previous consensus: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi.
17. Los Angeles Chargers: Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia
Even with the defense sufficiently upgraded through trade (Khalil Mack) and free agency (J.C. Jackson), the Chargers are expected to add one more piece to a vastly improved unit in Wyatt, the other talented Georgia defensive tackle.
Previous consensuses: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington; Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa.
18. Philadelphia Eagles (from Saints): George Karlaftis, Edge, Purdue
Here’s where the Eagles add defensive help. Some mocks have defensive tackles Jordan Davis or Devonte Wyatt slipping to Philly, but the Birds welcome the pass-rushing skills of Karlaftis.
Previous consensuses: Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia; Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
The replacement for Ben Roethlisberger is the most popular projection. The Steelers happily draft Willis, a dynamic playmaker with an arm regarded to be the strongest of the 2022 QB class.
Previous consensus: Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan.
21. New England Patriots: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
Last week, cornerbacks were being pencilled in to the Pats, who lost J.C. Jackson in free agency. Clemson’s Andrew Booth and Florida’s Kaiir Elam were the favored corners, but there’s been a change of thought this week toward selecting Lloyd, the draft’s No. 1 linebacker.
Previous consensus: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida.
22. Green Bay Packers (from Raiders): Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
The Packers waste no time finding Aaron Rodgers a new No. 1 receiver. They use the first-round pick acquired from the Raiders in the Davante Adams trade to draft Burks over Jahan Dotson and George Pickens.
Previous consensus: Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State.
23. Arizona Cardinals: Zion Johnson, OG, Boston College
This has been a grab bag of potential picks to fill all kinds of position needs. Perhaps the drafting of Johnson can serve as a peace offering to Kyler Murray.
Previous consensuses: George Karlaftis, Edge, Purdue; Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas.
24. Dallas Cowboys: Kenyon Green, OG, Texas A&M
Last week’s mock drafts focused on offensive-line help, and that hasn’t changed. Green has emerged as the popular pick to fill the Cowboys’ hole at left guard, but Boston College’s Zion Johnson is also being forecast here.
Previous consensus: Zion Johnson, OG, Boston College.
25. Buffalo Bills: Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State
You’ll find lots of guards (Kenyon Green, Zion Johnson) and cornerbacks (Trent McDuffie, Andrew Booth) projected here. The latest trend: The Bills beef up the running game with Hall, the only back being mentioned in the first round.
Previous consensus: Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson.
26. Tennessee Titans: Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
Here’s another surprising late-round development. QB Desmond Ridder is appearing as the Titans’ first-round pick despite the need to bolster the offensive line, specifically a starter at left guard.
Previous consensus: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
Guard is the most pressing need after Ali Marpet’s surprising retirement and Alex Cappa’s signing with the Bengals. But with the top prospects at that position gone, the Bucs can fill another need at cornerback with Elam.
Previous consensuses: Daxton Hill, S, Michigan; Kenyon Green, OG, Texas A&M.
28. Green Bay Packers: Tyler Smith, OT, Tulsa
With wideout Treylon Burks taken at No. 22, Green Bay could go offensive line, linebacker or secondary with its second first-round pick. One option is giving Aaron Rodgers a new tackle.
Previous consensus: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia.
29. Kansas City Chiefs (from 49ers through Dolphins): Boye Mafe, Edge, Minnesota
The Chiefs own back-to-back picks, so mock drafters have them addressing their offensive and defensive needs. First, Kansas City takes Mafe, the edge rusher who raised his stock during Senior Bowl week.
Previous consensus: Mafe.
30. Kansas City Chiefs: Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan
To fill the hole created by the stunning trade of Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs draft another wideout for Patrick Mahomes — the 5-10, 195-pound Moore, whose rise continues after a standout combine performance (which included a 4.41 time in the 40).
Previous consensus: Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State.
31. Cincinnati Bengals: Logan Hall, DL, Houston
Last week, the clear consensus was Cincinnati selecting Iowa’s Tyler Linderbaum, the No. 1 center in the draft, to help reinforce its leaky offensive line. But this week, the growing trend is the Bengals choosing Hall to improve their pass rush.
Previous consensus: Tyler Linderbaum, OL, Iowa.
32. Detroit Lions (from Rams): Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
Not surprisingly, QBs were being projected last week for Detroit’s second first-rounder. Pickett’s slide to the bottom of the first round benefits the Lions, who can begin the process of moving past Jared Goff.
Previous consensus: Matt Corral, QB, Mississippi.