2022 NFL mock draft: Picks 1-4
If Houston or Detroit had not won some of the games they recently did, they would be in the running for the Heisman Trophy Runner up, and Jacksonville would be in a position to likely take an offensive tackle or some other position of note.
Instead, they find themselves in a position to grab arguably the best defender in college football. Though they have Josh Allen on their roster, he’s going to need help. Heading into a college football playoff against Georgia in the Orange Bowl, Hutchinson has 14 sacks, good for third in the country.
Against Ohio State in arguably the Wolverines’ biggest game up to this point, Hutchinson record three sacks en route to a 42-27 and Michigan’s first win over the Buckeyes since Denard Robinson was the quarterback. He’s as pro-ready as it gets and will look to change the culture of the Jaguars right away.
Once thought to be the No. 1 overall pick, Thibodeaux takes a backseat in this mock draft and will likely endure the same fate in sin city a couple of months from now.
On the bright side, he is still going to the team that drafted his former teammate in Penei Sewell last season, so there is a good connection.
As it pertains to football, Thibodeaux was among the best pass rushers this season, recording seven sacks. He missed the game against Ohio State, but he was still a dominant player.
Thibodeaux has announced that he will miss the bowl game; it likely will not impact his draft status. Detroit already has a building block on offense, and now they get a building block on defense.
Despite the turmoil that has existed within the organization, Houston still managed to scrape a few wins this season, twice against Jacksonville and an upset against division leader Tennessee. Additionally, they just beat the Chargers, so there is a positive light.
However, this team needs reinforcements, and being in this draft position, Houston has a plethora of options to choose from. They go with the polished cornerback, who has NFL blood in his family and has a resume in college that is hard to ignore.
In his first season in the Bayou, Stingley Jr led the SEC with six interceptions. He was also a first-team All-SEC selection and a consensus All-American. The Tigers also won the National Championship with a 15-0 record, and Stingley helped captain the defense.
Though he has been dealing with injuries lately, he should be ready to go by April. Houston should waste no point in making sure he is placed on their roster to help them in a division where they can rebound, provided they acquire the necessary pieces. Stingley would be a significant first step.
The New York Jets are fun to watch on draft day, primarily because of the reaction from their loyal fans, including NFL Network host Rich Eisen. On the football field, it’s anything but. Despite knocking off Jacksonville and Zach Wilson showing off an impressive run for a score, the Jets need more pieces around him.
As such, they go with the best offensive lineman on the board to pair alongside Mekhi Becton and form a lockdown edge protection duo. Given Alabama’s run to the College Football Playoff, Evan Neal has bounced up draft boards since last season, when he started alongside an offensive line that propelled the Crimson Tide to another national championship.
At 6’7″ 350 pounds, Neal checks the boxes for the look, and physical makeup of a star left tackle. Additionally, New York will allow him to move back to his more natural position of right tackle, which he played during his junior year. By playing well at left tackle this season, his versatility was on full display.
New York went heavy on weapons in last year’s draft with Michael Carter and Elijah Moore, but having a superb protector on both sides of the offensive line will be critical to Wilson’s development. Moreover, it gives Robert Saleh assurance that one side of the ball has been addressed, and now they can focus on the defensive side of the ball with their following selection.