With the 2022 NFL Draft finally arriving, I will be doing my final mock draft of the year. Despite doing two already, there have been tons of draft stock shifts in the final weeks heading into Thursday night.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Edge Travon Walker, Georgia
In the past two mock drafts, I did not have Walker getting selected in the top ten, let alone one. So what happened in a month and a half that has so drastically changed the draft board?
Walker is killing private workouts with teams and is the most versatile edge rusher out of all the top ones available. He is a game wrecker, and was an integral piece to Georgia’s championship run.
2. Detroit Lions: Edge Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan
Detroit will likely address quarterback later in the draft, but at two, the Lions should take the hometown hero if given the option to. Hutchinson was the consensus number-one prospect for the majority of the pre-draft process and will immediately become the team’s most important player.
3. Houston Texans: Edge Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon
The third straight edge rusher off the board, Kayvon Thibodeaux is a freakazoid of an athlete, but I do not believe people give enough credit to his skillset. Thibodeaux is already a polished run stuffer and has a plethora of pass rush moves that will make him a disruptive force from the first day of training camp.
4. New York Jets: CB Sauce Gardner, Cincinnati
Sauce Gardner is another prospect whose draft stock increased significantly in the final month, surpassing Derek Stingley on many team’s draft boards. His presence in the secondary provides New York with a great young tandem in Bryce Hall and Sauce himself.
5. New York Giants: OT Ikey Ekwonu, N.C. State
I have had Evan Neal above Ekwonu for the majority of the offseason, but I have decided to flip-flop the night before. He is a superior run blocker and a better overall athlete than the Alabama product. Ekwonu is surprisingly nimble and technical for his size, further raising his potential to become a Pro Bowl player at the next level.
6. Carolina Panthers: OT Evan Neal, Alabama
The Carolina Panthers are a prime candidate to trade down in the draft, as the team has multiple holes on the roster and only one pick in the first three rounds. Theoretically, if they do stay put, I would select an offensive tackle over a quarterback. No passer is elite enough to be worthy of such a high pick, and a rookie would get killed behind the Panthers’ current offensive line.
7. New York Giants: CB Derek Stingley Jr., LSU
This is a case of taking the best player on the board, and Derek Stingley Jr. is an instant impact player. A cornerback tandem of Stingley and James Bradberry can lock up any passing offense in the NFC East.
8. Atlanta Falcons: Garrett Wilson, Ohio State
With the suspension of Calvin Ridley and the departure of Matt Ryan, Atlanta lacks any real explosiveness on offense. Wilson can fix that right away, as this Ohio State touchdown machine can add to a young receiving group that already features Pro Bowl rookie Kyle Pitts.
9. Seattle Seahawks: QB Malik Willis, Liberty
I see the Seahawks as the first team selecting a quarterback, and Malik Willis is the best option to be the next face of the franchise. Willis needs time to develop, but has all the attributes necessary to be a dynamic dual-threat quarterback in the NFL.
10. New York Jets: S Kyle Hamilton
I believe Kyle Hamilton is a top-five prospect in this draft, but a poor 40 time and his position of safety is preventing him from being drafted high on many mock drafts. I refuse to let Hamilton slide any longer, as him and Sauce Gardner gives New York the necessary reinforcements to handle the great wide receivers present in the division.
Read more of Will’s final NFL mock draft covering picks 21-32.