The NFL Draft got a major overhaul Monday when the Philadelphia Eagles and New Orleans made a major trade that will have ripple effects for years to come. In our latest 2022 NFL Mock Draft, we reset the board — which now will be controlled in large part by the Saints.
2022 NFL Mock Draft | Picks 1-16
The Eagles began Monday with three first-round picks. They end the day with two after sending the 16th, 19th, and 194th picks to the Saints. Here’s what the Eagles got in return: picks Nos. 18, 101, and 237 this year, a first-round pick in 2023, and a second-rounder in 2024.
The trade gives the Saints three top-50 selections this year and provides the Eagles with a backup plan at quarterback in case Jalen Hurts doesn’t seize the starting job long-term.
The top 10 of the draft remains unchanged, although the Saints now have the assets to make a big leap up if there’s a player they love. With that context, here’s our latest mock draft reflecting all of these changes.
1) Jacksonville Jaguars: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State
The Jaguars’ offensive line in one offseason goes from a liability to a strength. Ikem Ekwonu will likely eventually replace Cam Robinson, but in 2021, he’ll play alongside him.
2) Detroit Lions: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
The Jaguars’ choice allows the Lions to get their new face of the franchise in Aidan Hutchinson, who went to both high school and college within an hour of Ford Field.
3) Houston Texans: Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
The Texans need help in the trenches but can address that at 13. Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner gives some — ahem — sauce to a secondary that ranked 30th in yards per pass (7.5) and 25th in dropback EPA (0.16) in 2021.
4) New York Jets: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
The Jets make this pick working under the belief that Kyle Hamilton‘s true speed is closer to the 40 time he posted at the NFL Scouting Combine (4.59) and not the one at his pro day (4.7+).
5) New York Giants: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
The Giants probably would have preferred Ekwonu at 5, but they settle — if that’s the right word — on Evan Neal, a 6-foot-7, 337-pound behemoth who can play on both the left and right sides.
6) Carolina Panthers: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
Matt Rhule needs a quarterback and doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to trade for Jimmy Garoppolo. That suggests they’re eyeing the draft. Kenny Pickett is the most pro-ready.
7) New York Giants (from CHI): Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
The Giants sent five — FIVE! — representatives to Oregon’s Pro Day, including general manager Joe Schoen, to get a closer look at Kayvon Thibodeaux, who might be the most polarizing player in the draft.
8) Atlanta Falcons: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
The Falcons took Kyle Pitts over Ja’Marr Chase in 2021, but they cannot pass on a wide receiver again after losing Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Russell Gage in the last 12 months. Garrett Wilson is the best of the bunch.
9) Seattle Seahawks (from DEN): Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
Pete Carroll could not be any more obvious about his team’s intentions to add a big-armed quarterback in the draft. Malik Willis has the biggest arm of the top tier.
10) New York Jets (from SEA): Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia
The Jets’ pass rush was predictably pedestrian after Carl Lawson tore his Achilles in August and missed the whole season. But assuming Lawson is indeed on track for a full recovery, the Jets might have something special in him and Travon Walker.
11) Washington Commanders: Drake London, WR, USC
The Commanders clearly believe Carson Wentz is better than any quarterback they could take at 11, so now they’re going to give him every opportunity to succeed. Pairing Drake London with Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel is a great start.
12) Minnesota Vikings: Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
The Vikings have a deep, potent front seven after adding Jordan Davis to a group that already includes Za’Darius Smith, Danielle Hunter, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Jordan Hicks.
13) Houston Texans (from CLE): Jermaine Johnson II, EDGE, Florida State
With the best offensive tackles off the board, the Texans go with Jermaine Johnson II, an ascending pass rusher who thrived in his only season in Tallahassee.
14) Baltimore Ravens: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
You can never have too many cornerbacks in the NFL. Consider that lesson learned in Baltimore. The Ravens were crushed by injuries at the position in 2021 and missed the playoffs largely because of it. Trent McDuffie gives them more depth in the back end.
15) Philadelphia Eagles (from MIA): George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
The Eagles can worry about quarterback tomorrow. Today, they must worry about their pass rush. They ranked 31st in sack rate in 2021, and attempt to fix it by taking George Karlaftis, a pass rusher who was third-team All-American in 2021.
16) New Orleans Saints (from IND via PHI): Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
The Saints didn’t give up their 2023 first without a plan to take a quarterback in 2022. General manager Mickey Loomis presumably thinks that the one he is able to draft here will be better than the one he can draft next year. Loomis also must know that Willis will be gone. Desmond Ridder makes as much sense as anyone among those who are left.