2022 NFL Mock Draft With Trades: Malik Willis heads West, Zion Johnson goes in the top 10

The free Pro Football Network Mock Draft Simulator comes equipped with trades, adding some spice to an already interesting 2022 NFL Mock Draft. The actual 2022 NFL Draft is a mere couple of weeks away, so it’s time to run yet another mock draft. Which franchises strike deals, and who does your favorite team select in Round 1?

2022 NFL Mock Draft | Picks 1-16

Las Vegas, Nevada, will host the 2022 NFL Draft, providing the perfect backdrop for an event often deemed a “crapshoot.” With extravagant clothing, blockbuster deals, and controversial selections to be made, the NFL Draft is always a sight to behold. So let’s take the MDS for a spin and see how the 2022 NFL Draft could shake out.

1) Jacksonville Jaguars: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan

I understand the hype surrounding Travon Walker, but Aidan Hutchinson is still the best EDGE — from Day 1 — in the class. His ceiling may be lower, but Jacksonville needs a steady playmaker, not a boom-or-bust prospect.

2) Detroit Lions: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon

Kayvon Thibodeaux‘s projected fall is crazy to me. There is enough smoke around his intangibles that calls for some concern, but if you turn on the tape, you will be hard-pressed to find the Oregon pass rusher taking a play off. His bend around the arc and first step are deadly, and you can rely on him against the run.

3) Houston Texans: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

Quite possibly the best player in the entire draft, Kyle Hamilton has been knocked for his average 40 time. But he makes up for his apparent lack of top speed with incredible instincts and sideline-to-sideline range. Hamilton is a blue-chip player you bet on, and that’s exactly what Houston needs after shipping off Deshaun Watson.

4) New York Jets: Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia

Although there is the chance he goes first overall, Travon Walker “falls” to the Jets at No. 4 in this 2022 NFL Draft. Walker is actually more pro-ready than he is given credit for. Yes, his potential is immense based on his athleticism and lower usage at Georgia, but he still generated pressure on his snaps. He even dropped into coverage at 6’5″ and 275 pounds.

5) New York Giants: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

Evan Neal is a “lean” 350 pounds at 6’7″. He has experience at both tackle spots, as well as at guard. That’s perfect for the Giants, who have holes all over their offensive line. Ideally, he would slide into the right tackle spot and create a formidable duo with Andrew Thomas from Year 1.

6) Carolina Panthers: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State

Ikem Ekwonu entered the 2021 season as a guard prospect. However, after dominating the ACC from left tackle, it seems teams have warmed up to the idea of keeping him there. He is a mauler in the ground game but showed vast improvements as a pass blocker last year.

7) New York Giants (from CHI): Jermaine Johnson II, EDGE, Florida State

With the Giants selecting Jermaine Johnson II, the top four edge rushers go within the first seven picks in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft. New York opts to build from the trenches, giving Azeez Ojulari a stout pass-rush partner on the edge. With Neal fortifying the offensive line and Johnson improving the defense, Daniel Jones will be left with few excuses next season.

8) Seattle Seahawks (mock trade from ATL): Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

2022 NFL Mock Draft Trade: The Seahawks send pick Nos. 9, 40, and 109 in the 2022 NFL Draft to the Falcons for pick No. 8.

As is becoming commonplace in 2022 NFL mock drafts, the Seahawks trade up to select their QB of the future. In this case, that QB is Liberty’s Malik Willis. He may not be pro-ready in the sense of his accuracy and progression reading, but his frankly insane rushing ability raises his floor. With Drew Lock on the roster, Seattle can even decide to let Willis learn the speed of the game before throwing him to the fire.

9) Atlanta Falcons (mock trade from DEN via SEA): Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

Trade: The Falcons received pick Nos. 9, 40, and 109 from Seattle in exchange for their pick No. 8.

Atlanta decided to pass on this QB class, instead choosing to gain draft capital and select Ahmad Gardner. A.J. Terrell is a CB1 on the outside, but there isn’t much to speak of behind him. Adding a corner who allowed 0 touchdowns throughout his entire collegiate career and has the traits to fit defensive coordinator Dean Pees’ system while trading back is an A+ move.

10) New York Jets (from SEA): Zion Johnson, G, Boston College

Honestly, this may not even be Zion Johnson‘s ceiling in the 2022 NFL Draft. He has a guard build but possesses 34″ arms and experience at tackle. Of course, it’s easier to project him as an NFL guard — a good one at that. But if I’m the Jets, I’m giving him a look at either tackle spot first. If he can hold up there, this pick would be a steal a year from now.

11) Washington Commanders: Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss

This may be one of the least likely picks in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft, but that doesn’t take away from its validity. Carson Wentz is not the answer, and the Commanders are a franchise in turmoil off the field. They need a new culture, not just a new look, and Matt Corral can provide that change in the locker room. It also helps that his arm talent and athleticism are among the best in the class.

12) Pittsburgh Steelers (mock trade from MIN): Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

Trade: The Steelers send pick Nos. 20 and 52 in the 2022 NFL Draft, as well as a third-round selection in 2023, in exchange for the Vikings’ pick No. 12.

Rather than risk the Texans taking the next-best OT on the board, the Steelers trade up with the Vikings to nab Charles Cross. His pass sets are a thing of beauty. In fact, he is the best pass protector in the 2022 NFL Draft. Also, let’s stop with the “Cross isn’t a good run blocker” narrative. Sure, he wasn’t asked to do it much under Mike Leach, but he was moving defenders when he was.

13) Houston Texans: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

Davis Mills and Brandin Cooks, allow me to introduce you to your new best friend, Garrett Wilson. While Cooks is taking the top off defenses, Wilson can win underneath and over the middle, spreading the field for Mills. If Houston truly wants to right the ship, figuring out if Mills is their franchise QB is a must, and Wilson can help them do that.

14) Baltimore Ravens: George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue

Although the Ravens selected Odafe Oweh in the first round last year, they could still use some reinforcements. New defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald likes to have his edge rushers out wide, but George Karlaftis also offers versatility down the line. His bull-rushing and thumping ability are tailor-made for Baltimore.

15) Philadelphia Eagles (from MIA): Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU

With two first-round selections, the Eagles can change their immediate and long-term fortunes. Derek Stingley Jr. has slipped down some draft boards due to injury and effort concerns. Yet, when Stingley is on, he is on. He owns legitimate shutdown corner ability, which is a steal in the middle of Round 1.

16) New Orleans Saints (from IND via PHI): Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

With their newly acquired pick from the Eagles, the Saints secure one of the top WR talents in Chris Olave. The other Ohio State wideout, depending on who you talk to, can start as a Z or in the slot from Day 1. He can get behind defenses and work the underneath game all the same. That’s especially useful with Michael Thomas occupying the short-to-intermediate levels of the field.

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