NFL Draft 2022: Updated Selection Order After AFC, NFC Championships

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 31, 2022

Ohio State receiver Garrett Wilson, right, celebrates his touchdown against Purdue with teammate Chris Olave during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
AP Photo/Jay LaPrete

And then there were two.

A single victory is all that stands in the way of the Lombardi Trophy for the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams after they defeated, respectively, the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers in the AFC and NFC Championship Games.

While Sunday's winners turn their attention toward the Super Bowl, the losers will join the rest of the league in draft preparation with April's event approaching.

Here is a look at the current order of selections, per Tankathon.

1. Jacksonville Jaguars

2. Detroit Lions

3. Houston Texans

4. New York Jets

5. New York Giants

6. Carolina Panthers

7. New York Giants (via Chicago Bears)

8. Atlanta Falcons

9. Denver Broncos

10. New York Jets (via Seattle Seahawks)

11. Washington Football Team

12. Minnesota Vikings

13. Cleveland Browns

14. Baltimore Ravens

15. Philadelphia Eagles (via Miami Dolphins)

16. Philadelphia Eagles (via Indianapolis Colts)

17. Los Angeles Chargers

18. New Orleans Saints

19. Philadelphia Eagles

20. Pittsburgh Steelers

21. New England Patriots

22. Las Vegas Raiders

23. Arizona Cardinals

24. Dallas Cowboys

25. Buffalo Bills

26. Tennessee Titans

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

28. Green Bay Packers

29. Miami Dolphins (via San Francisco 49ers)

30. Kansas City Chiefs

31. Cincinnati Bengals

32. Detroit Lions (via Los Angeles Rams)

Much of the analysis leading up to the draft will be about who goes No. 1. Unlike in recent years, the top pick is not a surefire thing with contenders such as Alabama's Evan Neal, Oregon's Kayvon Thibodeaux and Michigan's Aidan Hutchinson emerging at different times during the college football season.

There will also be plenty of breakdowns when it comes to the quarterback class given the overall importance of the position and its presumed weakness compared to the past couple of years.

However, the teams that were in the playoffs won't have the chance to draft Neal, Thibodeaux or Hutchinson, and many of them will not be in the market for quarterbacks such as Cincinnati's Desmond Ridder or Pittsburgh's Kenny Pickett.

Fortunately for the best teams in the league, there will be plenty of talented options near the end of the first round this year.

Mock drafts from B/R's NFL Scouting Department, NFL.com's Bucky Brooks and CBS Sports' Ryan Wilson have a number of noteworthy players going 25th or lower, including game-changing wide receivers such as Chris Olave, Jahan Dotson, David Bell and Garrett Wilson or impact defenders such as Nakobe Dean, Daxton Hill and Devin Lloyd.

The second half of the first round could belong to wide receivers even if some of those specific names may go earlier than the 25th pick (and do in some instances in those mocks).

There is no shortage of first-round talent between Treylon Burks, Olave, Dotson, Bell, Wilson, Jameson Williams and Drake London, which should leave at least a couple of pass-catchers remaining for the playoff teams looking for the extra piece that will make the difference between an early exit and the Lombardi Trophy.

Don't overlook the defenders either, as Dean helped lead Georgia to the national championship by flying around all over the field as someone who can stuff the running game, tackle in space and pressure the quarterback.

Hill also matched up with many of those top receivers such as Olave, Wilson, Dotson and Bell in the Big Ten, and the Michigan defensive back helped lead the Wolverines to a conference title and a College Football Playoff berth.

Don't be surprised when some of the NFL's best teams from this past season add starting-caliber playmakers near the end of the first round.