2022 NFL Draft first round predictions


Photo used with permission of Wikimedia Commons.

A skyline view of Las Vegas which is the host city for the 2022 NFL Draft.

Ben Rosen is a senior and reporter for the Fishers Tiger Times. His opinions do not necessarily reflect those of the newspaper.

The 2022 NFL Draft will take place between April 28 and April 30 in Las Vegas. The first round takes place on April 28, the second and third rounds occur on April 29 and the remaining rounds four through seven take place on April 30. For the second year in a row the Jacksonville Jaguars have the first overall pick after having a 3-14 record last season.

The Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins, Indianapolis Colts, Las Vegas Raiders, San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams do not have a first round pick. The Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, New York Jets, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs have multiple first round picks.


1. Jacksonville Jaguars

Pick: Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia

The Jaguars do not have an obvious need that needs to be addressed with the first overall pick. According to Pro Football Network insider Tony Pauline, there is internal conflict about who to pick. GM Trent Baalke reportedly wants to pick Travon Walker while owner Shad Khan wants to pick Aidan Hutchinson. As the draft gets closer it appears that the team will most likely select Walker with the first overall pick.


Team Needs: EDGE, OL, S, LB, DL


2. New York Giants (from Detroit Lions)

Pick: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon

Kayvon Thibodeaux is the most talented player in this draft class and it is worth trading up three spots to pick him. The Giants have two of the first seven picks in the draft and they very easily could move up or hold on to those two picks. This helps the Giants fill a major need and allows them to get the best player in the draft while still keeping the seventh pick which they can use to fill their offensive line needs. 


Team Needs: OL, EDGE, LB


3. Houston Texans

Pick: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

The Texans have many needs that could be addressed with this pick. Their most obvious need is in the secondary and that is why they will select the best defensive back in the draft Kyle Hamilton. This is also a pick where a potential trade could happen depending on how much interest there is from teams wanting to trade up. They also could fill one of the team’s other needs and this leaves the team with a lot of flexibility when it comes to using this pick. 


Team Needs: CB, S, EDGE, OL, QB


4. New York Jets

Pick: Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

Though the New York Post reports that this probably will not happen, depending on who is available at this spot, this seems like the best option. Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner never allowed a touchdown during his college career. As mentioned in the report, the Jets do have some starting caliber players at this position. However, if Gardner is still available it would be hard for them not to pick him. The Jets also have another pick in the first round and they have two second round picks providing plenty of opportunities to fill their needs at other positions. 


Team Needs: CB, S, WR, OL


5. Detroit Lions (from New York Giants)

Pick: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan

Aidan Hutchinson is one of the best players in this draft class and being from the state of Michigan and having played college football at the University of Michigan it would make sense for the Lions to select him. Even with a projected trade back Hutchinson could still be available at this spot in the draft depending on what direction some of the teams with the prior couple of picks decide to go in. If the team opts against trading back from the second pick, they could very easily select Hutchinson with that pick. 


Team Needs: QB, LB, S, CB, EDGE


6. Carolina Panthers

Pick: Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

The Panthers desperately need a quarterback for the future as the trade for Sam Darnold last offseason is not going to plan. According to NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport, the team also has no plans to try and trade for Baker Mayfield as of right now. Malik Willis is one of if not the best quarterback in this draft class and could end up being the franchise quarterback that the Panthers need. Willis definitely should be the first quarterback selected in the draft and this pick would not be a surprise. This pick makes the most sense for the team of any player they could end up selecting here. 


Team Needs: QB, OL, RB


7. New York Giants (from Chicago Bears)

Pick: Evan Neal, OL, Alabama

The Giants will use this pick to fill their other major need. Selecting Evan Neal, the best at the offensive line position in the draft, will fill that need and give the team a very talented player at that position. There is also a decent chance that Neal is selected earlier, which could lead the team to have to select a different player at the offensive line position. They also could select an offensive lineman with their first pick and use this pick on a pass rusher depending on who is available. This pick was acquired during the draft last year when the Bears traded up to select Justin Fields. 


Team Needs: See Pick No. 2


8. Atlanta Falcons

Pick: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU

According to Pro Football Network insider Aaron Wilson, some in NFL front offices believe Derek Stingley Jr. is the best cornerback in the draft. The Falcons also have a major need at this position so this pick would make a lot of sense for them. The team is currently in a transition period after trading Matt Ryan to the Colts and signing Marcus Mariota to be the new starting quarterback. With most of the team’s needs on defense, that will probably be the direction the team goes with this pick.


Team Needs: CB, EDGE, DL, QB


9. Seattle Seahawks (from Denver Broncos)

Pick: Ikem Ekwonu, OL, NC State

While the Seahawks could select a quarterback to be a long term replacement to Russell Wilson, who was traded to the Broncos with this pick being acquired as a part of the trade, it makes more sense for them to pick Ikem “Ickey” Ekwonu. Many teams could decide to select Ekwonu earlier in the draft. This is their most obvious need outside of potentially selecting a quarterback with this pick, which depends on what the Panthers decide to do most likely, but they could go in a different direction.


Team Needs: OL, CB, QB


10. New York Jets (from Seattle Seahawks)

Pick: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

Selecting Garrett Wilson will help the Jets build around second year quarterback Zach Wilson and give the team another option at the wide receiver position. There is some debate about whether Wilson or Chris Olave will be the first Ohio State receiver selected in the draft. Between the two of them Wilson will likely be selected first and there is some speculation that a receiver will be chosen earlier. The team does have the advantage of having multiple first round picks as well. This pick was acquired from the Seahawks in the Jamal Adams trade a few years ago. 


Team Needs: See Pick No. 4


11. Kansas City Chiefs (from Washington Commanders)

Pick: Drake London, WR, USC

The Chiefs seem like the most likely team to trade up in the draft. After trading Tyreek Hill to the Dolphins, the team needs a wide receiver. Given that the team has a lot of draft capital, trading up in the first round to take a wide receiver makes a lot of sense. Drake London is one of the top receivers in the draft as well and is someone who will not be available when they pick if they do not trade up. The team has some options in terms of a potential trade since they have two first round picks. The Commanders could also hold on to this pick and select London or someone else if they want to.


Team Needs: WR, CB, LB, EDGE


12. Minnesota Vikings

Pick: George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue

This does not address the Vikings top need, but it does address a need for the team. George Karlaftis will likely be the best player available at the EDGE position at this point in the draft. Karlaftis would be a good addition for the team to one of the best defensive lines in the league. Unless the team decides to select someone on the offensive line, chances are they will add to their already solid defense. The Vikings might also use this pick to improve their secondary if they do not choose a pass rusher.


Team Needs: DL, CB, OL, EDGE


13. Houston Texans (from Cleveland Browns)

Pick: Charles Cross, OL, Mississippi State

This pick which the Texans acquired in the Deshaun Watson trade with the Browns giving them a second first round pick allows them to be very flexible. They do not necessarily need help on the offensive line but that is a position where teams can truly never have enough players at. Charles Cross could very well be selected with one of the first seven picks of the draft since there is a lot of interest, but if Cross is still available here it is an easy choice. Depending on if anyone expected to go early falls to this pick, it could lead to a surprise choice. 


Team Needs: See Pick No. 3


14. Baltimore Ravens

Pick: Jordan Davis, DL, Georgia

Jordan Davis will be the first interior defensive lineman selected in the draft. According to coaches that coached against Davis in college say that this pick will work out for whoever ends up selecting him. Given the needs of the Ravens this pick makes the most sense though they could end up adding to and improving their offensive line. They are also a team with a history of trading back under GM Eric DeCosta and could do so again. This pick would easily improve and fill a need on their defensive line if they opt not to trade back. 


Team Needs: DL, OL, CB, EDGE


15. Philadelphia Eagles (from Miami Dolphins)

Pick: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

The Eagles are a team, with two first round picks this year and next year, that could try and trade up depending on how things play out. If they hold on to this pick, which was acquired when the Dolphins traded up last year, they could very easily select Devin Lloyd. The team needs to make improvements at the linebacker position and drafting Lloyd would be a good start to making that position group better. The Eagles should address their need at linebacker first and then use their other first round pick to work on other position groups. 


Team Needs: LB, CB, S, WR


16. New Orleans Saints (from Indianapolis Colts via Philadelphia Eagles)

Pick: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

The Saints could go a few different directions with this pick especially now that they have two first round picks after a trade with the Eagles. This pick was originally owned by the Colts but was traded last year for Carson Wentz being the first of two times that Wentz was traded in the last year. The Saints have a major need at wide receiver and selecting Jameson Williams will help take some of the load off of Michael Thomas. Being able to get Williams or any of the top receivers for that matter would be a win for the Saints. If they trade up, expect it to be for a quarterback.


Team Needs: WR, OL, QB, S


17. Los Angeles Chargers

Pick: Bernhard Raimann, OL, Central Michigan

The Chargers have a need on the offensive line that will likely be addressed with this pick. Protecting Justin Herbert should be their top priority in the draft. There are a few different players the team could select with this pick to work on their offensive line by choosing Bernhard Raimann who primarily plays at the tackle positions, which makes the most sense since that is where the team’s biggest weakness on the offensive line is currently.


Team Needs: OL, CB, WR


18. Philadelphia Eagles (from New Orleans Saints)

Pick: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

The Eagles should use their second pick in the first round to address their needs in the secondary and specifically at the cornerback position. This pick was acquired in a recent trade with the Saints allowing them to get a future first round pick and move up one spot in this draft while giving up one of what was originally three first round picks that the team had. This will allow the team to address needs in multiple areas of the defense in the first round of the draft.


Team Needs: See Pick No. 15


19. New Orleans Saints (from Philadelphia Eagles)

Pick: Trevor Penning, OL, Northern Iowa

Selecting Trevor Penning will allow the Saints to address one of their other major needs which is at the offensive line position. Pennig is one of the better lineman in the draft that will realistically be available at this spot. With Terron Armstead leaving in free agency the team should make sure to address the offensive tackle position in the first round with one of their two first round picks. This pick was recently acquired in a trade with the Eagles.


Team Needs: See Pick No. 16


20. Pittsburgh Steelers

Pick: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh

The Steelers will likely be selecting a quarterback with this pick after longtime starter Ben Roethlisberger retired during the offseason. Kenny Pickett is the second best quarterback in the draft and should be their selection if they decide to choose a quarterback in the first round. The decision gets more interesting if both Pickett and Malik Willis are still available at this point in the draft. This is also a potential spot for a trade either trading up to likely select a quarterback or trading down to acquire more picks in later rounds depending on who is available. The Steelers could also use this pick to improve their offensive line if they decide against selecting a quarterback.


Team Needs: QB, OL, WR


21. New England Patriots

Pick: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia

Selecting Nakobe Dean would be a great choice for the Patriots who are looking to improve at the linebacker position. Dean will give the team a player that can rush the passer and stop the run in a successful and fast manner. Though it may not be their top need the team should look very closely at the linebacker position in the first round especially if Dean is still available when it is their turn to pick. Dean adds some speed to a Patriots defense and gives them an all-around linebacker that can do it all.


Team Needs: CB, EDGE, WR, LB


22. Green Bay Packers (from Las Vegas Raiders)

Pick: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

After trading star wide receiver Davante Adams to the Raiders in exchange for this pick and a second round pick, the Packers need to take a receiver in the first round, which they have not done since 2002. Chris Olave has the skills and talent needed to try and help fill this void. This will give the team a player that can break free in the secondary and Olave seems to be the type of wide receiver the team needs to look for in the draft. GM Brian Gutenkunst needs to do whatever it takes for the team to be able to draft Olave, that includes trading up in the draft if need be. The Packers having two first and two second round picks gives them the assets needed for a potential trade up.


Team Needs: WR, EDGE, OL, LB, CB


23. Arizona Cardinals

Pick: Tyler Linderbaum, OL, Iowa

Selecting Tyler Linderbaum is necessary for the Cardinals. They play in a division with a lot of good pass rushers and need to be able to protect Kyler Murray. Linderbaum may very well become the best center selected in the draft. Linderbaum could easily go earlier in the draft depending on what teams that have needs at the offensive line position want to do. Linderbaum should be picked somewhere in the middle of the first round without a doubt.


Team Needs: OL, CB, DL


24. Dallas Cowboys

Pick: Devonte Wyatt, DL, Georgia

After Randy Gregory left to sign with the Broncos in the offseason, the Cowboys need to draft a pass rusher to try and replace Gregory. Wyatt is a very solid player on the defensive line but has multiple domestic violence allegations against him that could lead to teams seeing too many off-the-field questions leading them to avoid drafting Wyatt. The big question for teams looking for players at the interior defensive line position is whether or not it is worth the risk of drafting him given the allegations. 


Team Needs: DL, OL, LB


25. Buffalo Bills

Pick: Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson

The Bills could very easily surprise everyone and take a running back in the first round, but they should address a need on defense first. This pick could be used to select a wide receiver and give some more support to Josh Allen. Addressing the cornerback position is necessary given the outcomes of trades involving wide receivers earlier in the offseason. Andrew Booth Jr. is going to be the best cornerback available at this point in the draft in all likelihood. This pick would be a great addition to the Bills secondary. 


Team Needs: WR, DL, CB, RB


26. Tennessee Titans

Pick: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

After releasing Julio Jones in the offseason the Titans need to draft a wide receiver to replace Jones. Treylon Burks is a player that could go in the first round, but could possibly be drafted in the second round depending on how things play out. Burks would be a great addition to the Titans wide receivers group including A.J. Brown could use another receiver after Jones’ departure. The Titans have options with this pick given some solid players that would fill needs at multiple positions could be available at this point in the draft. 


Team Needs: WR, EDGE, OL


27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Pick: Zion Johnson, OL, Boston College

The Buccaneers had some key players on the offensive line leave during the offseason but traded for Shaq Mason as well. Even with that acquisition the team should still work to improve the offensive line early on in the draft. Selecting Zion Johnson will give them a player that can play at every position on the offensive line. Johnson would be a nice addition for the Buccaneers as they look to retool their offensive line after key offseason departures at that position. 


Team Needs: OL, DL, CB


28. Green Bay Packers

Pick: Jermaine Johnson II, EDGE, Florida State

Some believe that Jermaine Johnson II could very easily be selected early in the draft and seems to be moving up teams’ draft boards. If Johnson II is still available here, the Packers should take him to fill the void left by the release of Z’Darius Smith earlier in the offseason. Adding to a defense whose only major departure was Smith with a player like Johnson II could give the Packers the player that they need to be able to make a deep playoff run that does not end in disappointment and heartbreak. With their championship window starting to close the Packers need to win now.


Team Needs: See Pick No. 22


29. Kansas City Chiefs (from San Francisco 49ers via Miami Dolphins)

Pick: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

With their second first round pick the Chiefs should select a cornerback to improve their secondary. This will allow the Chiefs to fill their two biggest needs with their two first round picks. Their secondary is one the Chiefs biggest weaknesses and selecting Kaiir Elam will be a step in the right direction when it comes to improving it. This pick was traded by the 49ers last year when they traded up to select Trey Lance and the Dolphins traded the pick to the Chiefs in the Tyreek Hill trade. If the Chiefs elect to trade up, they will likely trade their own first round pick and hold onto this one. 


Team Needs: See Pick No. 11


30. Washington Commanders (from Kansas City Chiefs)

Pick: Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss

The Commanders have options depending on who is available when it is their turn to pick. They could fill a need or trade back and acquire more picks in later rounds since they got rid of some picks in the Carson Wentz trade. According to Bleacher Report, the Commanders seem to have interest in selecting Matt Corral even after trading for Carson Wentz. Given the fact that Wentz only lasted one season with the Colts, the Commanders should select a quarterback to prepare for the future. 


Team Needs: LB, QB, OL, WR


31. Cincinnati Bengals

Pick: Kenyon Green, OL, Texas A&M

The offensive line position is easily the Bengals’ biggest need in the draft. If they had a better offensive line they could have won it all last season. Even after working on that position in free agency they should still work on it during the draft. Now that the Bengals have a good wide receiver core they should focus on protecting Joe Burrow. Selecting Kenyon Green will allow them to do just that. Green should be selected in the first round as well and might be selected earlier if teams believe that Green is better than Zion Johnson.


Team Needs: OL, CB


32. Detroit Lions (from Los Angeles Rams)

Pick: Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina

The Lions who acquired this pick from the Rams in the Matthew Stafford trade do not seem happy with Jared Goff’s performance at the quarterback position. Goff also does not appear to be worried about the idea of the Lions selecting a quarterback according to ESPN writer Eric Woodyard. If the Lions do take a quarterback it will likely be with this pick and Sam Howell will likely be the best available player at that position. Choosing Howell gives the Lions a long term option if Goff does not play well this season and the team wants to move on. 

Team Needs: See Pick No. 5

The stage at the 2016 NFL Draft in Chicago. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)

*All picks made on or prior to April 27, 2022

Indicates a trade prediction


Projected Trades (Draft pick value chart by Rich Hill used to help with trades)

Trade 1 – New York Giants & Detroit Lions

Lions Trade: Pick No. 2

Giants Trade: Pick No. 5, Pick No. 36, Pick No. 67, Pick No. 173

Trade 2 – Kansas City Chiefs & Washington Commanders

Commanders Trade: Pick No. 11

Chiefs Trade: Pick No. 30, Pick No. 62, Pick No. 94, Pick No. 103, Pick No. 251


Teams without a first round pick (first pick)

Chicago Bears (Pick No. 39)

Team Needs: WR, OL, CB


Indianapolis Colts (Pick No. 42 from Washington Commanders)

Team Needs: WR, OL, EDGE, TE, QB


Cleveland Browns (Pick No. 44)

Team Needs: WR, DL, EDGE, TE


San Francisco 49ers (Pick No. 61)

Team Needs: CB, S, OL


Denver Broncos (Pick No. 64 from Los Angeles Rams)

Team Needs: LB, EDGE, CB, OL


Las Vegas Raiders (Pick No. 86)

Team Needs: OL, DL, CB, LB


Miami Dolphins (Pick No. 102 from San Francisco 49ers)

Team Needs: OL, RB, LB, EDGE, DL


Los Angeles Rams (Pick No. 104)

Team Needs: OL, CB, EDGE, LB