Marcus Mosher looks ahead way, way, too early and lays out his 2022 NFL Mock Draft for Round 1, with 2022 Round 1 pick predictions for all 32 selections.
Recap our coverage of the 2021 NFL Draft with all 259 NFL Draft picks, top player analysis and scouting reports (like Trevor Lawrence), 2021 NFL Draft Team Grades, and more.
2022 NFL Mock Draft Round 1 Picks & Predictions
Spencer Rattler, QB, Oklahoma
The battle for the No. 1 pick in the 2022 draft comes down to Spencer Rattler and UNC quarterback Sam Howell. Rattler has a massive arm and is a playmaker.
He needs to settle down some and be more cautious with his decisions, but with another year of being coached by Lincoln Riley, he should put up video-game numbers in Norman.
Rattler slotting at No. 1 in our 2022 Round 1 mock is an obvious nod to the Texans’ likely direction in replacing Deshaun Watson.
2. DETROIT LIONS
Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina
The Lions passed on Justin Fields and Mac Jones in the 2021 draft, but don’t expect them to ignore quarterback for a second straight year.
Sam Howell could be the No. 1 pick next year if he can continue to improve his accuracy.
Otherwise, he has all the tools to be a high-end starter in the NFL right away.
3. NEW YORK JETS
Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
The Jets have one of the worst cornerback rooms in the NFL and LSU’s Derek Stingley is a star. His play dropped a bit during the 2020 season, but that was the case for everyone at LSU. He is among the best cornerback prospects we’ve seen over the last several years and a lock to be a top-five pick.
4. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
The Jaguars drafted Walker Little in the 2021 NFL draft, but don’t be surprised if they address the offensive tackle again next year.
Evan Neal can play both guard and tackle, and his best spot in the NFL might be at right tackle.
At a monstrous 6-7, 360 pounds, Neal is likely to be the first offensive lineman off the board in next April’s draft.
5. CINCINNATI BENGALS
Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon
You can make a really strong case that Kayvon Thibodeaux is the best non-quarterback in this draft.
As a freshman at Oregon, he totaled 14 tackles for a loss and nine sacks. In 2020, he saw more double teams than ever and still managed to record 9.5 tackles for a loss in seven games.
As long as he can stay healthy during the 2021 season, he is a lock to be a top-five pick next year.
6. LAS VEGAS RAIDERS
DeMarvin Leal, DT, Texas A&M
No team in the NFL has a worse group of defensive tackles than the Las Vegas Raiders. That’s why it wouldn’t be a surprise if their defense continued to struggle again this year.
Look for them to address that early next year, potentially with DeMarvin Leal from Texas A&M.
Leal has ideal size but could stand to add even more weight. He is an impressive athlete at 290 pounds and has the ceiling to be a dominant pass-rushing defensive tackle in the NFL.
7. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
Color me skeptical that Jalen Hurts is the franchise quarterback in Philadelphia. And with potentially three first-round picks, the Eagles are likely to go quarterback early in next year’s draft.
Desmond Ridder enters the 2021 season as the top senior quarterback and is poised for a great year at Cincinnati. Don’t be surprised if he is the third quarterback drafted next year.
8. NEW YORK GIANTS
Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
After Stingley, Kaiir Elam is the next cornerback to come off the board. Former first-round pick Matt Elam is his uncle, and he is the next Florida defensive back likely to be drafted in the first round.
He was a second-team All-SEC selection in 2020 and possesses the ideal size to be an outside cornerback in the NFL.
9. CAROLINA PANTHERS
Drake Jackson, EDGE, USC
Another intriguing defensive end to watch during the 2021 season is USC’s Drake Jackson. He wasn’t quite as productive in 2020 as he was in 2019, but the talent is there.
He has been a second-team All-Pac-12 selection in back-to-back years, but the expectation is that he will make a leap in Year 3.
Top 2021 NFL Draft Classes:
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10. ATLANTA FALCONS
Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
Could we see another small-school quarterback end up in the first round of next year’s draft? Potentially, as Malik Willis from Liberty is a fascinating prospect.
A transfer from Auburn, Willis is a dual-threat quarterback who ran for 944 yards and 14 touchdowns in 10 games last season.
Willis will be eligible for the Senior Bowl in 2022 and could be a big riser in next year’s draft.
11. NEW YORK GIANTS (via BEARS)
Kenyon Green, OT, Texas A&M
The Giants ignored the offensive line for the most part during the 2021 draft, but don’t expect that to be the case in 2022. Kenyon Green is an All-American left guard who may be moving to tackle this year.
Given his position flexibility, this 2022 Round 1 mock pegs him as a top-15 pick, much like USC’s Alijah Vera-Tucker was in the 2021 NFL Draft.
12. WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM
Phil Jurkovec, QB, Boston College
The fifth quarterback off the board is another senior in Phil Jurkovec from Boston College. While his numbers weren’t all that impressive in 2020, he’s really improved over the last few years since transferring from Notre Dame.
13. ARIZONA CARDINALS
Kyle Hamilton, FS, Notre Dame
The Cardinals continue to add to the defense and pick a player that should fall outside the top-10 in safety Kyle Hamilton. He’s another big, long, athletic defender who can play multiple positions in the Cardinals’ defense.
Combining him with Isaiah Simmons and Zaven Collins would give Arizona one of the biggest and most versatile defenses in the NFL.
14. PITTSBURGH STEELERS
JT Daniels, QB, Georgia
Pittsburgh will likely be in the quarterback market next year, but it’s unlikely they will have a top-10 pick. That means they might have to take a chance on a project quarterback, and JT Daniels from Georgia could be an option.
Daniels is a transfer from USC but played well in four games for Georgia last season. He’ll have a chance to improve his draft stock this year but will have to do so without his top weapon in George Pickens, who was lost for the year due to an ACL injury.
15. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue
With Melvin Ingram leaving in free agency during the 2021 offseason, the Chargers could use a long-term option opposite Joey Bosa.
George Karlaftis would make sense in the middle of the first round as he was super productive as a freshman, totaling 17 tackles for a loss in 12 games.
He played in just two games in 2020, but the expectation is that he will return to his usual self in a somewhat normal college football season.
16. MINNESOTA VIKINGS
Sevyn Banks, CB, Ohio State
No team in the NFL drafts more cornerbacks in the first round than the Minnesota Vikings, and Ohio State’s Sevyn Banks is a perfect fit in Mike Zimmer’s defense.
At 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, he has the ideal size to be an outside cornerback in the NFL. There are still some inconsistencies in his game, but another year with the Buckeyes should help iron those out.
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