2022 NFL Mock Draft: Predictions for Under-the-Radar 1st-Round Prospects

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJanuary 4, 2022

2022 NFL Mock Draft: Predictions for Under-the-Radar 1st-Round Prospects

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    The wide receivers in the 2022 NFL draft class have a remarkably high standard to live up to.

    The 2021 draft class produced Ja'Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith, all of whom could be No. 1 wideouts with their respective teams for the next decade. 

    Teams that missed out on the top wide receivers last April can add franchise-changing wide receivers through the 2022 draft process.

    The Ohio State Buckeyes duo of Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson should be high on many draft boards, but one of the top names at the position played under a lesser spotlight than the Big Ten duo this past college football season. 

    USC Trojans wide receiver Drake London has the potential to make an instant impact wherever he lands, and he might not be the only Pac-12 talent to garner a first-round selection. 

2022 NFL 1st Round Mock Draft

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    Andy Nelson/Associated Press

    1. Jacksonville: Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge, Oregon

    2. Detroit: Aidan Hutchinson, Edge, Michigan

    3. Houston: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU 

    4. New York Jets: George Karlaftis, Edge, Purdue

    5. New York Giants: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State

    6. Carolina: Evan Neal, OL, Alabama

    7. New York Jets (via Seattle): Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

    8. New York Giants (via Chicago): Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia

    9. Washington: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh

    10. Atlanta: Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa

    11. Denver: Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss

    12. Minnesota: Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

    13. Cleveland: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

    14. Philadelphia (via Miami): Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

    15. New Orleans: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

    16. Baltimore: Kenyon Green, OL, Texas A&M

    17. Pittsburgh: Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina

    18. Las Vegas: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

    19. Philadelphia: Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State

    20. Los Angeles Chargers: Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia

    21. Philadelphia (via Indianapolis): Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

    22. Miami (via San Francisco): Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

    23. New England: Andrew Booth, CB, Clemson 

    24. Arizona: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

    25. Buffalo: DeMarvin Leal, DT, Texas A&M 

    26. Cincinnati: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

    27. Dallas: Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn

    28. Tampa Bay: Drake London, WR, USC

    29. Kansas City: David Ojabo, LB, Michigan

    30. Detroit (via Los Angeles Rams): Malik Willis, QB, Liberty 

    31. Tennessee: Derion Kendrick, CB, Georgia

    32. Green Bay: Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State 

Drake London, WR, USC

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    Drake London flew under the radar during the 2021 college football season because of the USC Trojans' place away from the spotlight. 

    London turned in the best season of his collegiate career with 88 receptions, 1,084 yards and seven touchdowns. He had six games with 130 or more receiving yards. 

    London could slide right into an NFL offense and be an effective pass-catcher in his first season. NFL teams may have some concerns about the fractured ankle that ended his season, but that should be healed by the time April rolls around. 

    The USC product could be the perfect fit inside an offense with an experienced quarterback, like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

    Tampa Bay will not have Antonio Brown around, and Chris Godwin could leave the franchise as a free agent. That opens up plenty of depth chart spots beneath Mike Evans. 

    The Buccaneers will ask Tyler Johnson to step into a larger role in 2022, but they could use another standout player at the position to support Tom Brady. 

    Prediction: No. 28 to Tampa Bay. 

Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    Utah linebacker Devin Lloyd moved on to the NFL draft radar as the college football season progressed. 

    Lloyd's stature increased with the success of Utah as it upset the Oregon Ducks twice and advanced to the Rose Bowl.

    The junior recorded 111 total tackles, 66 solo tackles and four interceptions in the middle of the Utah defense. 

    Lloyd could be the second linebacker off the board in April behind Georgia's Nakobe Dean. Dean was the primary star of UGA's top-rated defense. 

    Lloyd could be a perfect fit for the Philadelphia Eagles, who need to use one of their three first-round draft picks on defensive players. 

    Linebacker has been an area of weakness for Philadelphia for quite some time. It relied on late-round picks, undrafted players and unsung heroes at the position recently. 

    Lloyd would add a star element to the defense that already has Fletcher Cox and Darius Slay in place in the other two layers. 

    Philadelphia could use either the No. 14 or No. 19 pick on Lloyd. Pro Football Focus' Anthony Treash predicted Lloyd would land with the Eagles at No. 19 in his most-recent mock draft. 

    The Eagles could jump for Lloyd at No. 14 if they feel linebacker is their biggest need going into the draft. They could pick a wide receiver, or add more defensive help, later in the first round if Lloyd becomes the top priority.

    Prediction: No. 14 to Philadelphia. 

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