NFL Draft 2022: Latest Order and Mock Draft Predictions Before Super Bowl Game

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistFebruary 13, 2022

NFL Draft 2022: Latest Order and Mock Draft Predictions Before Super Bowl Game

0 of 4

    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    Super Bowl Sunday has arrived, football fans! In a few hours, the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams will face off with the Lombardi Trophy on the line. It's the last and most important game of the 2021 NFL season. By Monday morning, the offseason will officially be underway.

    In many ways, the NFL draft is the Super Bowl of the offseason. Teams wager their futures on early draft picks and hope that, like rookie wideout Ja'Marr Chase did for Cincinnati this season, their selections can spark deep playoff runs.

    We're a long way off from the start of the draft on April 28. However, it's never too early to take a look at how things might unfold. Here you'll find a full Round 1 mock based on factors like team needs, projected draft status and player potential.

    You'll also find a closer look at some potential pairings that could help teams turn it around quickly, just as the Bengals did this past season.

Round 1 Mock

1 of 4

    JASON DECROW/Associated Press

    1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

    2. Detroit Lions: Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge, Oregon

    3. Houston Texans: Aidan Hutchinson, Edge, Michigan

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

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

    6. Carolina Panthers: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

    7. New York Giants (from Chicago): Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame 

    8. Atlanta Falcons: Drake London, WR, USC

    9. Denver Broncos: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh

    10. New York Jets (from Seattle): Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU 

    11. Washington Commanders: Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

    12. Minnesota Vikings: Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati 

    13. Cleveland Browns:  Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

    14. Baltimore Ravens: Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa

    15. Philadelphia Eagles (from Miami): Jordan Davis, DL, Georgia

    16. Philadelphia Eagles (from Indianapolis): Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia 

    17. Los Angeles Chargers: Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State

    18. New Orleans Saints: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

    19. Philadelphia Eagles: Kenyon Green, OG, Texas A&M

    20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan

    21. New England Patriots: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State 

    22. Las Vegas Raiders:  Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

    23. Arizona Cardinals: Arnold Ebiketie, Edge, Penn State

    24. Dallas Cowboys: Andrew Booth, CB, Clemson

    25. Buffalo Bills: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

    26. Tennessee Titans: Travon Walker, Edge, Georgia

    27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

    28. Green Bay Packers: Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia

    29. Miami Dolphins (from San Francisco): Kenneth Walker III, RB, Michigan State

    30. Kansas City Chiefs: Jermaine Johnson II, Edge, Florida State

    31. Cincinnati Bengals: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa

    32. Detroit Lions (from Rams): Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati

2. Detroit Lions: Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge, Oregon

2 of 4

    Stephen Brashear/Associated Press

    The Detroit Lions have a long way to go to get to where the Bengals are. Adding Oregon pass-rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux could help them make a significant jump, though—and let's not forget that Cincinnati was a four-win team a year ago.

    Having Chase and a healthy Joe Burrow helped spark Cincinnati's turnaround. So did the addition of pass-rusher Trey Hendrickson. The former New Orleans Saint logged 14 sacks in 2021 and helped the Bengals defense function at a playoff level. Hendrickson has another 2.5 sacks in the postseason.

    While Hendrickson was a free-agent addition rather than a draft pick, the Lions could follow Cincinnati's formula by drafting Thibodeaux. The Oregon star is the top-ranked prospect on the Bleacher Report Scouting Department's draft board and has legitimate Defensive Rookie of the Year potential.

    While Thibodeaux naturally isn't as NFL-tested as Hendrickson was this year, he could post double-digit sacks as a rookie and instantly change what the Detroit defense is capable of doing up front.

11. Washington Commanders: Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

3 of 4

    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    The Washington Commanders won the NFC East in 2020 before falling to 7-10 this season. However, Washington could quickly jump back into the playoff mix by finding a quality starting quarterback.

    Taylor Heinicke was serviceable this past season, finishing with a 7-8 record and 85.9 passer rating. However, his ceiling as a playmaking quarterback is limited. The same can't be said for Liberty dual threat Malik Willis.

    Willis may need a little polish before he's ready to take over, but he's supremely gifted and has perhaps more upside than any quarterback in this draft class.

    "It was clear this week that Willis has the most talent among the quarterbacks," ESPN's Todd McShay wrote during Senior Bowl Week. "The way the ball just explodes off his hand is different than the rest."

    With Heinicke in place, the Commanders could afford to sit Willis for part of the season. However, getting him on the field and forcing defenses to respect his scrambling ability and superb arm talent would change the dynamics of Washington's offense.

    With Willis, the Commanders could be this year's version of the Philadelphia Eagles—a team that followed a young, unconventional quarterback all the way to the playoffs.

12. Minnesota Vikings: Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

4 of 4

    Jeff Dean/Associated Press

    The Minnesota Vikings were close to being a playoff team in 2021. They won eight games, had a Pro Bowl quarterback (alternate) in Kirk Cousins and boasted the league's 12th-ranked offense. However, Minnesota suffered multiple late-game collapses, thanks in part to a shaky pass defense.

    The Vikings finished the year ranked 28th in yards allowed and 23rd in yards per attempt allowed. Additionally, cornerbacks Patrick Peterson, Mackensie Alexander and Bashaud Breeland are all scheduled to reach the free-agent market.

    Taking a cornerback like Cincinnati's Ahmad Gardner would help reload the secondary and help ensure that Minnesota can keep late-game leads. The 13th-ranked prospect on the B/R board, Gardner has the skill needed to become an elite NFL pass defender.

    "Ahmad Gardner is a rare cornerback who possesses excellent length and athleticism. He is able to excel in man coverage, where he plays with good technique to get hands on receivers and the speed to carry them downfield," Cory Giddings of the B/R Scouting Department wrote.

    If Minnesota can avoid blowing leads in 2022, it will be in the postseason mix. Adding Gardner would be a great step toward making that happen.