Matthew Freedman’s 2022 NFL Mock Draft: Post-Eagles & Saints Trade
With less than a month to the NFL draft, the Eagles and Saints have swapped first-rounders and necessitated an update of my 2022 mock draft.
Previous mock draft: Post-free agency
With this trade, the Saints receive picks Nos. 16 & 19 as well as No. 194. In turn, the Eagles receive picks Nos. 18, 101 & 237 and also a 2023 first-rounder and 2024 second-rounder.
Over the past three years, I’m the No. 3 mocker in the FantasyPros Accuracy Contest. (I’ve manually gone through and added up all the points earned, as I have nothing better to do with my time.) Obsessing about Round 1 is what I do.
I’ve made just a couple bets on the 2022 draft so far (Malik Willis and Kenny Pickett to be the first quarterback selected respectively at +200 and +175 odds).
As I make more bets, I will post them first in our FREE BettingPros Discord and then write up my bets for publication via article. To get my draft bets as quickly as possible, join Discord.
Historically, I’ve done well betting on the draft.
- 2019: 54-29 (+17.7 units)
- 2020: 124-88 (+26.2 units)
- 2021: 158-140 (+32.0 units)
Maybe that trend will continue this year. Per usual, I intend for this mock to be actionable for bettors.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Aidan Hutchinson (Edge, Michigan)
This is what capitulation looks like. Almost every mock draft in the world has Hutchinson going No. 1, and he has -250 odds across the industry to be the first player selected (per our BettingPros odds page).
Hutchinson dominated in 2021 with 14 sacks in 14 games, and the Jaguars have needs all over their roster. He’s a high-floor selection.
Previous pick: Travon Walker (Edge, Georgia)
2. Detroit Lions: Travon Walker (Edge, Georgia)
I still believe there’s a non-zero chance that Walker will go No. 1 overall.
Hutchinson might have the higher floor, but Walker probably has the higher ceiling given his athletic profile.
- Height: 6’5″
- Weight: 272 pounds
- 40-Yard Dash: 4.51 seconds
- Three-Cone Drill: 6.89 seconds
The Lions have a clear need on the defensive line.
Previous pick: Aidan Hutchinson (Edge, Michigan)
3. Houston Texans: Evan Neal (OT, Alabama)
A three-year SEC starter with five-star recruitment pedigree, Neal offers great versatility given that he started at left guard as a freshman, right tackle as a sophomore, and then left tackle as a junior.
4. New York Jets: Kayvon Thibodeaux (EDGE, Oregon)
Entering the 2021 college football season, Thibodeaux was regarded as the No. 1 player in the 2022 draft class. He was a five-star recruit entering Oregon, and he didn’t underwhelm last year with seven sacks in 10 games.
The Jets catch a good break in getting a player of Thibodeaux’s quality outside the top three.
Previous pick: Ahmad Gardner (CB, Cincinnati)
5. New York Giants: Ikem Ekwonu (OT, North Carolina State)
Looking at the Giants offensive line hurts my eyes. A unanimous All-American selection with tackle/guard versatility, Ekwonu plays with a delightful-to-watch nastiness.
6. Carolina Panthers: Malik Willis (QB, Liberty)
They could still add a veteran via trade (maybe Jimmy Garoppolo?), but for now I’m assigning them a quarterback.
With his -165 consensus odds, Willis has a real shot to be the No. 1 passer in the draft. In two years as the starter at Liberty (after transferring from Auburn), Willis completed 62.4% of his passes for 5,107 yards and 47 touchdowns to 18 interceptions and added 338-1,822-27 rushing.
With his mobility and arm strength, Willis has the raw tools to succeed in the NFL.
Unbelievable throw. Great celebration. @malikwillis is doing it all.
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) March 22, 2022
7. New York Giants: Ahmad Gardner (CB, Cincinnati)
With his combination of size (6’3″ and 190 pounds) and speed (4.41-second 40-yard dash), Gardner has an excellent chance to be the No. 1 cornerback selected in the class, and the Giants need help at cornerback given that they are expected to part with veteran James Bradberry.
Pick via Chicago Bears
Previous pick: Kayvon Thibodeaux (EDGE, Oregon)
8. Atlanta Falcons: Garrett Wilson (WR, Ohio State)
The Falcons could conceivably take a quarterback after trading franchise mainstay Matt Ryan to the Colts, but wide receiver is a bigger need given that Calvin Ridley (suspension) will be unavailable for 2022.
Wilson last year had 70-1,058-12 receiving and 4-76-1 rushing in 11 games as a true junior, and he looked like a potential No. 1 option at the combine with his speed (4.38-second 40-yard dash).
9. Seattle Seahawks: Charles Cross (OT, Mississippi State)
Despite trading franchise quarterback Russell Wilson this offseason, the Seahawks seem doubtful to take a passer in Round 1 of the draft.
Todd McShay went out of his way on a recent episode of First Draft to note that Seahawks general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll weren’t at any of the recent pro days for the top quarterbacks in the class.
That’s notable for a couple of reasons.
- All the other quarterback-needy teams with Round 1 picks had strong representation at the pro days.
- When the Seahawks drafted Wilson in 2012, Schneider and Carroll made the pro day circuit for the top passers that year.
Based on their actions, the Seahawks seem likely to go with a veteran — or maybe a Day 2 rookie? — to replace Wilson.
If they do that, they’ll need an offensive lineman to protect him, and Charles is a first-team All-SEC left tackle. They could do worse.
Pick via Denver Broncos
10. New York Jets: Drake London (WR, USC)
Even though the Jets have an acceptable-ish trio of starting wide receivers in Elijah Moore, Corey Davis and Braxton Berrios, they have steadfastly attempted (to no avail) to upgrade the position this offseason.
As a result, they could look to add a receiver early in the draft.
With his production (88-1,084-7 receiving in eight games last year) and size (6’4″ and 219 pounds), London has the potential to be a Mike Williams-esque downfield dominator on the perimeter.
Pick via Seattle Seahawks
Previous pick: Jermaine Johnson (EDGE, Florida State)
11. Washington Commanders: Kyle Hamilton (S, Notre Dame)
Now that the Commanders have quarterback Carson Wentz, they could try to get him another pass-catching option to play alongside wide receiver Terry McLaurin, but with Garrett Wilson and Drake London already off the board the Commanders could pivot.
Hamilton has a wide range of landing spots: He could go as high as No. 3 to the Texans or as low as No. 18 to the Eagles. Given the position he plays, No. 11 feels a little high, but the Commanders have a significant need at safety, and Hamilton has a Derwin James-esque skill set: He can play deep, at linebacker, in the slot against wide receivers and tight ends, and on the edge as a situational rusher.
Previous pick: Drake London (WR, USC)
12. Minnesota Vikings: Derek Stingley Jr. (CB, LSU)
Entering the 2021 college season, Stingley was widely ranked as the No. 1 corner in the 2022 draft.
The Vikings let starting cornerback Mackensie Alexander walk in free agency, so they need to address the position in the draft.
13. Houston Texans: Jermaine Johnson (EDGE, Florida State)
The Texans need bodies on the defensive line, and Johnson is an impressive specimen given his combination of size (6’5″ and 254 pounds) and speed (4.58-second 40-yard dash).
The redshirt senior has had a long and winding journey to the NFL, but the Last Chance U alumnus put up 16.5 sacks in 19 games in his two final seasons (Georgia and Florida State), and he won ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2021.
Johnson has the talent to be an instant NFL contributor.
Pick via Cleveland Browns
Previous pick: Kyle Hamilton (S, Notre Dame)
14. Baltimore Ravens: Jordan Davis (DT, Georgia)
The Ravens need to solidify the interior of their front seven, and Davis is unquestionably the premium defensive tackle in the class.
Now we got an official 4.78 forty for Jordan Davis at 341 pounds. Guys with worse times:
Nick Bosa – 4.79 (266 pounds)
Simeon Rice – 4.79 (259 pounds)
Demarcus Lawrence – 4.80 (251 pounds)
J.J. Watt – 4.81 (290 pounds)
Tony Gonzalez – 4.83 (244 pounds)
— Kevin Cole (@KevinColePFF) March 5, 2022
Davis is a hand-in-glove fit for the Ravens.
15. Philadelphia Eagles: Treylon Burks (WR, Arkansas)
With great size (6’2″ and 225 pounds) and sufficient athleticism (4.55-second 40-yard dash), Burks is a strong complement to 2021 first-rounder DeVonta Smith. As a true junior last year, Burks was 66-1,104-11 receiving and 14-112-1 rushing in 12 games.
Pick via Miami Dolphins
Previous pick: Trent McDuffie (CB, Washington)
16. New Orleans Saints: Trevor Penning (OT, Northern Iowa)
The Saints lost longtime left tackle Terron Armstead in free agency and could look to draft his replacement with their new first-rounder. Penning would be a viable option.
Each year, there’s usually an FCS player who finds his way into the first round after a distinguished college career. In 2022, that guy could be Penning, who was a Walter Payton Award finalist in his final season.
Pick via Indianapolis Colts & Philadelphia Eagles
Previous pick: Treylon Burks (WR, Arkansas)
17. Los Angeles Chargers: Devin Lloyd (LB, Utah)
The Chargers were last in the league in 2021 with a defensive rush success rate of 47.2%. They missed the playoffs because they couldn’t stop the Raiders from running the ball — even though they knew the Raiders were going to run the ball.
An All-American off-ball thumper with coverage capability, Lloyd was No. 2 in the nation in 2021 with 22 tackles for loss.
Previous pick: Trevor Penning (OT, Northern Iowa)
18. Philadelphia Eagles: Trent McDuffie (CB, Washington)
Last year, the Eagles allowed a league-high 69.4% completion rate. They need a cornerback, and McDuffie is a consensus first-rounder and true junior with three years of starting experience in the Pac-12.
Pick via New Orleans Saints
Previous pick: Chris Olave (WR, Ohio State)
19. New Orleans Saints: Chris Olave (WR, Ohio State)
Over the past three years, Olave has proven himself to be an NFL-ready pass catcher with 163-2,505-32 receiving in 31 games. In the short term, Olave could be a dynamic field-stretching supplement to injury-riddled No. 1 receiver Michael Thomas. In the long term, he could be Thomas’ replacement.
Pick via Philadelphia Eagles
Previous pick: Devin Lloyd (LB, Utah)
20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Kenny Pickett (QB, Pittsburgh)
Despite his childlike hands …
Well, in Pittsburgh they say, Kenny Pickett’s hand size grew 1/8 inches that day. (Measured 8-5/8 inches at #Pitt pro day instead of 8-4/8 at NFL Scouting Combine.)
— Christopher Carter (@CarterCritiques) March 21, 2022
At least we know that Pickett’s double-gloved hands can handle the Pittsburgh weather.
21. New England Patriots: Andrew Booth Jr. (CB, Clemson)
The Patriots have lost cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore (release) and J.C. Jackson (free agency) over the past year, so they are thin at the position. Booth is a likely first-rounder with good recruitment pedigree (4-5 stars) and the versatility to play in press and zone schemes.
22. Green Bay Packers: Jameson Williams (WR, Alabama)
The Packers traded away Davante Adams and lost Marquez Valdes-Scantling in free agency, so they need to find a wide receiver for oft-disgruntled quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Due to the knee injury he suffered in the College Football Championship, the Packers are able to get Williams on the cheap.
If not his for injury, I’d have him as my No. 1 receiver in the class. Last season, Williams as a true junior looked like one of the best players in the nation with 79-1,572-15 receiving and 3-23-0 rushing in his only year at Alabama after transferring from Ohio State.
Pick via Las Vegas Raiders
23. Arizona Cardinals: George Karlaftis (EDGE, Purdue)
Chandler Jones is now with the Raiders, and J.J. Watt is 33 years old and coming off an injury-hampered season. The Cardinals defense needs more pressure off the edge, and Karlaftis is a first-team All-Big Ten three-year starter with NFL-caliber power.
24. Dallas Cowboys: Zion Johnson (G, Boston College)
Johnson has good athleticism (5.18-second 40-yard dash) for his size (6’3″ and 312 pounds), and he’s versatile enough to play at tackle or guard.
25. Buffalo Bills: Kaiir Elam (CB, Florida)
The Bills have few needs, but No. 1 corner Tre’Davious White (knee) is coming off a serious injury, and No. 2 corner Levi Wallace (free agency) is now gone. A three-year SEC starter, Elam has the experience, size (6’2″ and 191 pounds), and speed (4.39-second 40-yard dash) to match up as a perimeter corner.
26. Tennessee Titans: Devonte Wyatt (DT, Georgia)
If not for defensive line teammates Travon Walker and Jordan Davis, more draftniks would be hyping up Wyatt, who tore up the combine (4.77-second 40-yard dash at 304 pounds). Wyatt would be a strong presence in the interior of the Titans line next to defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Kenyon Green (G, Texas A&M)
Left guard Ali Marpet retired this offseason, and unlike quarterback Tom Brady he plans to stay retired.
Former #Buccaneers G Ali Marpet will stay retired, according to agent Andy Ross (@NFLagentandy.) Ross said Marpet told him Tom Brady’s return made it tougher, knowing he’ll be watching from afar but Marpet’s going to earn his Master’s.
“He already bought a backpack,” Ross said.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 14, 2022
A three-year SEC starter with five-star recruitment pedigree, Green is a terrific plug-and-play replacement with the long-term potential to kick out to the outside as a tackle.
28. Green Bay Packers: Tyler Smith (OT, Tulsa)
The Packers struggled at offensive tackle throughout the 2021 season. Perhaps they can stabilize the position with the return of David Bakhtiari (knee) and addition of Smith, who had little hype before the combine but has since moved up draft boards thanks to his athleticism (5.02-second 40-yard dash at 6’5″ and 324 pounds).
29. Kansas City Chiefs: Jahan Dotson (WR, Penn State)
Wide receivers Tyreek Hill (trade), Byron Pringle (free agency), and Demarcus Robinson (free agency) are all gone. Even with the hyphenate-friendly signings of JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, the Chiefs could use another receiver.
In his two final seasons at Penn State, Dotson was 143-2,066-20 receiving, 6-18-1 rushing, and 22-301-1 punt returning in 21 games. He’s the kind of versatile offensive playmaker who appeals to head coach Andy Reid.
Pick via San Francisco 49ers & Miami Dolphins
30. Kansas City Chiefs: Boye Mafe (EDGE, Minnesota)
Mafe is a raw prospect whose draft stock has skyrocketed ever since his Rashan Gary-esque combine performance (4.53-second 40-yard dash at 6’4″ and 261 pounds). The Chiefs needs someone to pair with edge rusher Frank Clark.
31. Cincinnati Bengals: Tyler Linderbaum (C, Iowa)
This offseason, the Bengals have rebuilt their offensive line by adding left guard Ted Karras, right guard Alex Cappas, and right tackle La’el Collins in free agency. In drafting Linderbaum, the Bengals will complete their overhaul.
Linderbaum is a unanimous All-American and Rimington Trophy winner as the best center in college football. In getting him at No. 31, the Bengals acquire a strong asset for quarterback Joe Burrow.
32. Detroit Lions: Nakobe Dean (LB, Georgia)
A unanimous All-American, Dean was a multi-year SEC starter, and he won the Butkus Award in high school and then college as the nation’s best linebacker.
Pick via Los Angeles Rams
Players on the Borderline of Rounds 1-2
Here are players I considered for inclusion in my mock draft.
- Breece Hall, Iowa State
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