Updated 2022 NFL Draft Order Following Week 16 Results
The NFL postseason picture is beginning to come into focus, but the race for the No. 1 pick in the 2022 draft is still unsettled. Two teams, though, severely hurt their chances of getting the top pick Sunday.
The Houston Texans essentially took themselves out of the mix with an upset win over the Los Angeles Chargers. Houston has two more wins than the Jacksonville Jaguars and has beaten its AFC South rival twice this season. The New York Jets also picked up a win—over Jacksonville—drawing them even with the cross-town Giants at 4-11.
The Jaguars and the Detroit Lions remain the NFL's only teams with fewer than four wins.
No team has locked in the No. 1 pick, though, and there's still no consensus on which prospect will be the top prize. A lot is going to change between now and April 28 in Las Vegas. For now, the draft picture looks as follows.
Week 16 Results
Tennessee Titans 20, San Francisco 49ers 17 (Thursday)
Green Bay Packers 24, Cleveland Browns 22 (Saturday)
Indianapolis Colts 22, Arizona Cardinals 16 (Saturday)
Atlanta Falcons 20, Detroit Lions 16
Cincinnati Bengals 41, Baltimore Ravens 21
Houston Texans 41, Los Angeles Chargers 29
Los Angeles Rams 30, Minnesota Vikings 23
Buffalo Bills 33, New England Patriots 21
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 32, Carolina Panthers 6
New York Jets 26, Jacksonville Jaguars 21
Philadelphia Eagles 34, New York Giants 10
Las Vegas Raiders 17, Denver Broncos 13
Chicago Bears 25, Seattle Seahawks 24
Kansas City Chiefs 36, Pittsburgh Steelers 10
Dallas Cowboys 56, Washington Football Team 14
Updated 2022 Draft Order
1. Jacksonville Jaguars 2-13
2. Detroit Lions 2-12-1
3. Houston Texans 4-11
4. New York Jets 4-11
5. New York Giants 4-11
6. Carolina Panthers 5-10
7. New York Jets (from Seattle 5-10)
8. New York Giants (from Chicago 5-10)
9. Washington Football Team 6-9
10. Atlanta Falcons 7-8
11. Denver Broncos 7-8
12. Minnesota Vikings 7-8
13. Cleveland Browns 7-8
14. Philadelphia Eagles (from Miami 7-7)
15. New Orleans Saints 7-7
16. Pittsburgh Steelers 7-7-1
17. Los Angeles Chargers 8-7
18. Las Vegas Raiders 8-7
19. Philadelphia Eagles 8-7
20. Baltimore Ravens 8-7
21. Miami Dolphins (From San Francisco 8-7)
22. New England Patriots 9-6
23. Philadelphia Eagles (from Indianapolis 9-6)
24. Arizona Cardinals 10-5
25. Buffalo Bills 9-6
26. Cincinnati Bengals 9-6
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 11-4
28. Detroit Lions (from Rams 11-4)
29. Tennessee Titans 10-5
30. Dallas Cowboys 11-4
31. Kansas City Chiefs 11-4
32. Green Bay Packers 12-3
*Draft order via Tankathon. Picks 19-32 to be determined by NFL postseason.
Draft Order Outlook
Wins by Houston and New York have all but made this a two-team race for the No. 1 pick. With the Lions also holding a tie, the top selection is Jacksonville's to lose.
And the Jaguars are probably going to drop their final two games of the season—at the New England Patriots and against the Indianapolis Colts. Jacksonville did upset the Buffalo Bills earlier this season, but we can probably pencil in the Jags for a 2-15 record. The Jets represented Jacksonville's last best chance to tack on a game in the win column.
The No. 1 pick is likely to be a big draw for Jacksonville's prospective head-coaching candidates.
A big question heading into the 2022 draft—and in every draft, for that matter—is when quarterbacks will come off the board. It's an important aspect because teams are often willing to move up for signal-callers.
We'll dive more into the top prospects shortly, but let's take a quick look at teams that could be in the quarterback market.
The Lions might be in the mix, even with Jared Goff on the roster. The Jets probably aren't after taking Zach Wilson second overall in April. The New York Giants will have a decision to make on the future of quarterback Daniel Jones.
The Giants are also likely to have two top-10 selections thanks to the trade that saw Justin Fields land with the Chicago Bears.
Similarly, the Washington Football Team will have to make a decision on Taylor Heinicke. He has played well at times, but perhaps not well enough to launch Washington into the postseason. We'll learn a lot about the Football Team and where it lands in the draft order on Sunday Night Football.
The Carolina Panthers should also be in the QB market. The Sam Darnold experiment isn't going well, and Carolina is close to locking up a top-10 pick. Might the Atlanta Falcons draft Matt Ryan's successor in 2022? It's possible, especially with Atlanta holding a top-10 pick.
Monday night's game between the New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins could have big draft implications, as both teams are still in the postseason mix. Getting into the postseason could mean the difference between a top-15 selection and one in the mid-20s.
Top Prospects and Possibilities for the No. 1 Spot
As fans, we've become accustomed to seeing a quarterback go No. 1 overall. It's happened three straight years and in six of the past seven drafts. However, no quarterback has emerged as a "must-have" prospect at No. 1 this year, and a lot is going to hinge on which team lands the top selection.
If things hold and the Jaguars claim the top selection, it won't be a quarterback. Trevor Lawrence hasn't played up to expectations, but the Jags are not taking quarterbacks first overall in back-to-back drafts. In that scenario, we're most likely to see a pass-rusher go at the top of Round 1.
Three of the top four prospects on the Bleacher Report Scouting Department's big board—Oregon's Kayvon Thibodeaux, Purdue's George Karlaftis and Michigan's Aidan Hutchinson—are edge-rushers.
Hutchinson has an opportunity to separate himself during the College Football Playoff. He'll be on the biggest stage Friday in the Orange Bowl, and the Michigan star has already made a case for himself to go No. 1 overall.
"Hutchinson has taken his game to a level that has been untouched by anyone else in this class," Michael Renner of Pro Football Focus wrote in a recent mock draft that had Hutchinson as the top pick. "He just hasn't been blocked the past two weeks, and his 94.6 overall grade is in the Chase Young range."
Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal and interior offensive lineman Tyler Linderbaum round out the top five on the B/R board. Neal could be a sleeper choice if Jacksonville lands the top pick.
Things could get interesting if the Lions claim the top spot, however. Goff is not the long-term answer. Might Detroit reach for a quarterback? If so, which one?
Nate Tice of the B/R Scouting department believes that Cincinnati's Desmond Ridder is QB1, writing:
"I am very high on Cincinnati's Desmond Ridder and think he has shown tremendous improvement in his operation and processing as a true quarterback. Although he is a very good athlete, he shows the desire to do his damage from the pocket. Ridder plays with good eyes and his processing on a multitude of concepts is consistently good."
It's unclear whether Detroit is that enamored with Ridder or any other quarterback to pass on a blue-chip pass-rusher at No. 1. Like Hutchinson, Ridder will have the opportunity to further impress in the college postseason.
Cincinnati will take on Alabama in the Cotton Bowl on Friday.