NFL Draft 2022: Latest Expert Mocks, Odds and Rumors for Top Prospects

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistApril 25, 2022

NFL Draft 2022: Latest Expert Mocks, Odds and Rumors for Top Prospects

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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    Unpredictability is the theme of the 2022 NFL draft with only a few days left before it begins in Las Vegas. 

    The Jacksonville Jaguars do not have a clear-cut No. 1 prospect to choose from, and that could lead to a surprise No. 1 overall pick Thursday night. 

    Michigan's Aidan Hutchinson and Oregon's Kayvon Thibodeaux entered the predraft process as the potential top selection, but over the last few weeks, Georgia's Travon Walker has been mentioned as the player to watch. 

    All signs point to Jacksonville taking a defensive lineman to start off the draft, with Walker appearing to be the -160 favorite at the moment (bet $160 to win $100)

    The next question that needs to be answered is when the first quarterback will be chosen. 

    The Carolina Panthers are the first team in the draft order that has a significant question at the position. The Sam Darnold trade did not work out for Matt Rhule, and he needs to figure out what the team's future strategy is at the most important spot on the roster. 

    All of the odds for the No. 1 pick, when and who the first quarterback chosen will be and countless other draft props can be found on DraftKings Sportsbook in states where those markets are eligible. 

Travon Walker Appears to Be Jacksonville's Choice at No. 1

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    Michael Woods/Associated Press

    According to ESPN.com's Todd McShay, Travon Walker is looking like the No. 1 overall pick.

    "All the intel I've gathered points to Georgia edge rusher Travon Walker—not Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson—as the No. 1 overall pick for the Jaguars," McShay wrote. 

    NBC Sports' Peter King is hearing the same. He projected Walker would be the top selection in his mock draft that dropped on Monday morning. 

    "It's risky and I'm as skeptical of one-year wonders as the next mock-drafter, but it falls into GM Trent Baalke's history of taking the athletic playmakers," King wrote. 

    Hutchinson has been projected as Jacksonville's pick in a good number of mock drafts. 

    The Athletic's Dane Brugler had Hutchinson paired with the Jaguars in his seven-round mock draft, but he also said to not rule out Walker. 

    "Georgia's Travon Walker should not be ruled out here, but Hutchinson remains the favorite around the league to hear his name called No. 1," Brugler wrote April 14. 

    Walker or Hutchinson would be the first defensive lineman chosen first since Myles Garrett in 2017. Jadeveon Clowney in 2014 is the only other defensive player to be taken at the top of the draft in the last decade. 

Carolina Not Trading for Baker Mayfield Before Draft

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Monday that the Carolina Panthers "are not expected to trade for" Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield before Thursday's first round. 

    Rapoport also noted that the Panthers may not trade for Mayfield at all.

    Carolina has the No. 6 overall pick and it is in a good position to choose a quarterback if that is the avenue it wants to explore. 

    The No. 1 overall pick in 2018 is not needed in Cleveland after the franchise traded for Deshaun Watson. That move happened toward the end of the quarterback carousel that spun at a rapid pace this offseason. Mayfield's list of suitors is small because of that. 

    Despite the need to upgrade at quarterback, the Panthers may not choose one at No. 6. McShay reported that "all signs are pointing toward" an offensive tackle instead of a quarterback. 

    Brugler reported in his mock draft two weeks ago that there is "zero consensus around the league on where the run on quarterbacks will start." He projected Kenny Pickett to Carolina. 

    NC State's Ikem Ekwonu, Alabama's Evan Neal and Mississippi State's Charles Cross are the top offensive tackles in the draft.

    Carolina could opt for one of those players in order to protect Darnold and provide blocking for Christian McCaffrey. 

    The Panthers may still go after a quarterback with their other picks, but the reporting right now suggests offensive line is their primary target. 

Mixed Opinions on Where Quarterbacks Land

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    Chris Carlson/Associated Press

    Quarterback is typically the most coveted position in a draft class. 

    That does not appear to be the case with the 2022 selection process. The first quarterback could go as low as No. 20 to the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

    McShay reported that a quarterback may have to wait until Pittsburgh to hear his name called. 

    "As it stands right now, my sources don't believe there is a team in the top 19 picks that will be drafting a QB," McShay wrote. "There's always a shock on draft night and teams always look to trade up for a signal-caller, but the Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 20 is the first spot I'm hearing serious QB consideration." 

    King projected that Kenny Pickett would be the first quarterback off the board at No. 20 in his mock draft. Matt Corral went 32nd in a projected trade by the Atlanta Falcons in his mock as well. 

    Pro Football Focus' Austin Gayle projected the Steelers would be the first team to choose a quarterback, but he had them trading up to No. 11 to take Malik Willis

    There does not appear to be a clear gap between Pickett and Willis at the moment to be the first signal-caller off the board. The NFL draft always produces a surprise or two, and that could lead to a quarterback chosen in the top 10. 

    As of Monday morning, there is no guarantee that a quarterback will land in the top 10, which is a dynamic shift from every other draft in the last decade. 

         

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