NFL Draft 2022: Known Order and Top Prospects Before Week 18

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistJanuary 9, 2022

NFL Draft 2022: Known Order and Top Prospects Before Week 18

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    Andy Nelson/Associated Press

    Two of the 16 NFL Week 18 games are complete. The Kansas City Chiefs outlasted the Denver Broncos on Saturday, while the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Philadelphia Eagles.

    Saturday's games had some impact on the playoff picture, and they also affected the 2022 NFL draft order. The Cowboys, Eagles and Chiefs are all in the postseason, but the Broncos are still jockeying for draft positioning.

    Here you will find a look at the draft order heading into the final Sunday of the regular season. You will also find a look at some of the top prospects expected to be available when the draft kicks off April 28 in Las Vegas.

Current 2022 NFL Draft Order

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    JASON DECROW/Associated Press

    1. Jacksonville Jaguars 2-14

    2. Detroit Lions 2-12-1

    3. Houston Texans 4-12

    4. New York Jets 4-12

    5. New York Giants 4-12

    6. Carolina Panthers 5-11

    7. New York Jets (from Seattle 6-10)

    8. New York Giants (from Chicago 6-10)

    9. Washington Football Team 6-11

    10. Denver Broncos 7-10

    11. Atlanta Falcons 7-9

    12. Minnesota Vikings 7-9

    13. Cleveland Browns 7-9

    14. Philadelphia Eagles (from Miami 8-8)

    15. New Orleans Saints 8-8

    16. Baltimore Ravens 8-8

    17. Pittsburgh Steelers 8-7-1

    18. Las Vegas Raiders 9-7


    19. Philadelphia Eagles 9-8

    20. Los Angeles Chargers 9-7

    21. Philadelphia Eagles (from Indianapolis 9-7)

    22. Miami Dolphins (from San Francisco 9-7)

    23. New England Patriots 10-6

    24. Arizona Cardinals 11-5

    25. Buffalo Bills 10-6

    26. Cincinnati Bengals 10-6

    27. Dallas Cowboys 12-5

    28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 12-4

    29. Tennessee Titans 11-5

    30. Detroit Lions (from Rams 12-4)

    31. Kansas City Chiefs 12-5

    32. Green Bay Packers 13-3

               

    Draft order via Tankathon. Picks 19-32 to be determined by NFL postseason.

Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge, Oregon

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    Stephen Brashear/Associated Press

    There isn't a clear-cut top prospect just yet, but Oregon's Kayvon Thibodeaux could be pushing his way there. The top-ranked pass-rusher and prospect on the Bleacher Report Scouting Department's big board, Thibodeaux seems to be the sort of can't-miss defender teams covet.

    With seven sacks and 12 tackles for loss in 11 games this season, Thibodeaux has an acceptable production baseline. The athleticism and technique he has put on tape, however, make him an even more intriguing prospect.

    Thibodeaux projects as an impact defender at the next level.

    Purdue's George Karlaftis is graded just behind Thibodeaux and could enter the conversation at No. 1 overall if the team at the top is thinking pass-rusher. Michigan's Aidan Hutchinson is a notable name but is beginning to fall down the B/R board.

    "It would not be a surprise to see Hutchinson start strong as a pro, but his ceiling is not quite in line with those of some of the other guys who can become game-changing pass-rushers," Derrik Klassen of the B/R Scouting Department wrote.

    Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal could also enter the conversation, assuming the Jacksonville Jaguars hold on to the top pick. Cam Robinson is playing on the franchise tag, and Jacksonville will want to protect quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

    For now, though, Thibodeaux appears to be the prize at the top of Round 1.

Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati

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    Brandon Wade/Associated Press

    We're probably not going to see a quarterback enter the conversation at No. 1—though anything is possible given the importance of the position. We may, however, see quarterback-needy teams scrambling to take the first signal-caller off the board.

    Cincinnati's Desmond Ridder is the top-ranked quarterback on the B/R board and is graded notably higher (8.4) than the next QB, Pittsburgh's Kenny Pickett (7.7).

    Though he possesses the agility needed to avoid pressure and pick up yards on the ground, Ridder is more of a pocket passer than a true dual threat. This season, he completed 64.9 percent of his passes for 3,334 yards with 30 touchdowns and just eight interceptions.

    Ridder also helped guide the Bearcats to an undefeated season and a spot in the College Football Playoff.

    While Ridder is the only quarterback ranked in the top 32 of the B/R board—and he and Pickett are the only two in the top 50—expect multiple signal-callers to go in the opening round. The 2022 free-agent class isn't particularly impressive at the position, with Ben Roethlisberger and Jameis Winston arguably the top two targets.

    Roethlisberger will be 40 on March 2 and is possibly headed to retirement. Winston is coming off of a torn ACL.

    We could see prospects like Mississippi's Matt Corral and Liberty's Malik Willis in the first-round picture, especially with teams seeking the fifth-year option.

    Trades back into the bottom of Round 1 aren't uncommon, and we have seen at least three quarterbacks taken in the first round during each of the past five drafts.

Top 25 Prospects

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    Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

    1. Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge, Oregon

    2. Ikem Ekwonu, OL, North Carolina State

    3. George Karlaftis, Edge, Purdue

    4. Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

    5. Drake London, WR, USC

    6. Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

    7. Jordan Davis, DL, Georgia

    8. Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU

    9. Tyler Linderbaum, IOL, Iowa

    10. Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

    11. Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

    12. Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

    13. Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

    14. Aidan Hutchinson, Edge, Michigan

    15. Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State

    16. Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

    17. Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati

    18. Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

    19. Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

    20. Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

    21. Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia

    22. Zion Johnson, IOL, Boston College

    23. Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson

    24. David Ojabo, Edge, Michigan

    25. Logan Hall, DL, Houston

                   

    *According to the Bleacher Report Scouting Department's latest draft board, which can be found here.

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