As the 2022 NFL season officially comes to an end, here is my latest look at how the first round of the draft could pan out were the draft held today. As always, feedback is greatly appreciated, and I can be reached on Twitter @draftexaminer!
Make sure to check out our 2023 NFL Draft guide for scouting reports on all of these players and many more!
1) Chicago Bears – Will Anderson (EDGE – Alabama)
There have been some rumors regarding potential character issues with Jalen Carter, and in any event, I believe Will Anderson to be the safer, better prospect.
2) Houston Texans – Bryce Young (QB – Alabama)
The Texans still haven’t named an offensive coordinator, but I think both Nick Caserio and head coach DeMeco Ryans would prefer Bryce Young over C.J. Stroud/Will Levis.
3) Arizona Cardinals – Myles Murphy (EDGE – Clemson)
New general manager Monti Ossenfort has experience with Bill Belichick and Jon Robinson, and I think he’d appreciate a big edge defender over an interior lineman.
4) Indianapolis Colts – C.J. Stroud (QB – Ohio State)
The Colts have yet to hire a new head coach or offensive coordinator, so this could potentially be Levis, based on what scheme they end up running.
5) Seattle Seahawks (from Broncos) – Jalen Carter (DL – Georgia)
If Carter ends up dropping beyond this pick, it would be a big surprise based on what we currently know; Tyee Wilson is really the only alternative for now.
6) Detroit Lions (from Rams) – Tyree Wilson (EDGE – Texas Tech)
Having drafted Josh Paschal in the second round last year could push this pick toward Bryan Bresee, but I believe Wilson’s stock is higher at the moment.
7) Las Vegas Raiders – Paris Johnson Jr. (OT – Ohio State)
I have a hard time believing the Raiders would prefer Levis to possibly bringing in someone like Aaron Rodgers, so I still lean toward a tackle here.
8) Atlanta Falcons – Bryan Bresee (DL – Clemson)
If Desmond Ridder gets a shot and the top edge defenders are gone, this might be either a receiver, defensive lineman, cornerback or, if Kaleb McGary leaves, tackle.
9) Carolina Panthers – Will Levis (QB – Kentucky)
Drafting Levis would be an opportunity for incoming coach Frank Reich to end the veteran rotation he’s been starting at QB dating back to his time with the Colts.
10) Philadelphia Eagles (from Saints) – Christian Gonzalez (CB – Oregon)
11) Tennessee Titans – Peter Skoronski (OL – Northwestern)
This pick could get interesting if the Titans are among the teams who view Peter Skoronski as more of a guard at the next level, but they need a new left tackle.
12) Houston Texans (from Browns) – Quentin Johnston (WR – TCU)
I’m not sure what type of profile Caserio would want to add at receiver, but Quentin Johnston’s tools make him the favorite to be the first one drafted thus far.
13) New York Jets – Broderick Jones (OT – Georgia)
Broderick Jones is probably the best value available at a position of need for the Jets. Unless they move around, tackle seems like a logical direction for this pick.
14) New England Patriots – Brian Branch (DB – Alabama)
With the top three tackles off the board, this could be a receiver or defensive back; Brian Branch might be the best fit for Bill Belichick’s defense, a Devin McCourty replacement.
15) Green Bay Packers – Michael Mayer (TE – Notre Dame)
16) Washington Commanders – Joey Porter Jr. (CB – Penn State)
Jack Del Rio uses a lot of zone coverage, and after hitting on Jahan Dotson last season, maybe Washington would return to the same well for a secondary upgrade.
17) Pittsburgh Steelers – Devon Witherspoon (CB – Illinois)
The Steelers play a relatively high rate of man coverage but don’t have a No. 1 corner to rely on; Devon Witherspoon currently seems to have a lot of momentum.
18) Detroit Lions – Cam Smith (CB – South Carolina)
The Lions are another team that seems like a good fit for a cornerback and also plays a lot of man coverage. Cam Smith plays the game with a ton of intensity and aggression.
19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Bijan Robinson (RB – Texas)
It’s important to guard against complacency, but Bijan Robinson to Tampa Bay seems like one of the more obvious marriages of value, need and fit in the draft thus far.
20) Seattle Seahawks – Kelee Ringo (CB – Georgia)
Seattle hit on Tariq Woolen, but finding a compliment for him would make sense. The Seahawks usually wait to draft corners, but Kelee Ringo has the size they look for.
Miami Dolphins (forfeited)
21) Los Angeles Chargers – Jordan Addison (WR – USC)
Given the team’s need for help on the interior defensive line, another good fit would be Siaki Ika, but thus far, Addison seems more likely to go high in the draft.
22) Baltimore Ravens – Jaxon Smith-Njigba (WR – Ohio State)
23) Minnesota Vikings – Drew Sanders (LB – Arkansas)
24) Jacksonville Jaguars – Antonio Johnson (CB – Texas A&M)
Strong safety Rayshawn Jenkins struggled in coverage last season, so perhaps the Jaguars would opt to bring in a big, versatile replacement with this selection.
25) New York Giants – Zay Flowers (WR – Boston College)
26) Dallas Cowboys – Jalin Hyatt (WR – Tennessee)
This is a tough pick to predict, given Dallas’ need to improve their run defense. However, the Cowboys have been open about wanting to upgrade the receiver position.
27) Buffalo Bills – O’Cyrus Torrence (OL – Florida)
Drafting an offensive lineman, whether a guard or tackle, makes a lot of sense here, especially with neither of the two top safety prospects still left on the board.
28) Cincinnati Bengals – Clark Phillips III (CB – Utah)
An offensive lineman may make sense, but perhaps the Bengals will give 2021 second-rounder Jackson Carman a chance to win a starting job next season.
29) New Orleans Saints (from 49ers) – Anthony Richardson (QB – Florida)
30) Philadelphia Eagles – Lukas Van Ness (DE – Iowa)
Philadelphia’s pass rush was excellent this year, but getting younger and healthier on the edge would be a wise move, and Lukas Van Ness could go even higher than this.
31) Kansas City Chiefs – Tuli Tuipulotu (DL – USC)
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