2022 NFL Mock Draft: Falcons, Saints and Texans take first-round QBs despite positional uncertainty

2022 NFL Mock Draft: Falcons, Saints and Texans take first-round QBs despite positional uncertainty
2022 NFL Mock Draft: Falcons, Saints and Texans take first-round QBs despite positional uncertainty

Round 1 - Pick 1

Michigan • Sr • 6'6" / 265 lbs

Projected Team
Detroit
PROSPECT RNK
7th
POSITION RNK
3rd

Hutchinson is a great example of a player who got better each and every season, and instead of coming out early he stayed in school, balled out as a senior, and made himself into arguably the best player -- on either side of the ball -- in the country during the '21 college football season. The exclamation point came in Saturday's three-sack performance against Ohio State.

Round 1 - Pick 2

Ole Miss • Jr • 6'2" / 205 lbs

Projected Team
Houston
PROSPECT RNK
10th
POSITION RNK
1st

We had the Texans take Corral fourth overall in last week's mock and now we've ratcheted up the desperation after the Texans lost to the Jets on Sunday. Is this too high for any QB in this class? Yes! But how often have teams overdrafted a position of need, especially when it's the most important position on the field? Plus, if the Texans are convinced that one of the quarterbacks in this class can serve as a big red reset button then it's probably worth rolling the dice. Corral is the best QB in this class and he was much-improved in '21 after a solid '20 campaign.

Round 1 - Pick 3

NC State • Soph • 6'4" / 320 lbs

Projected Team
Jacksonville
PROSPECT RNK
12th
POSITION RNK
1st

The Jags have used first-rounders on edge rushers two of the last three drafts, and while Keyvon Thibodeaux is certainly worth a top-three selection, Jacksonville has to beef up its O-line. Ekwonu is one of our favorite players in this draft class. There's talk that he may have to move inside to guard but when you watch him play, he's perfectly suited to be a dominant tackle, which is exactly what the Jags need.

Round 1 - Pick 4

Oregon • Soph • 6'5" / 258 lbs

Projected Team
N.Y. Jets
PROSPECT RNK
2nd
POSITION RNK
1st

Addressing the offensive line could be an option here but the Jets have four of the first 75 picks in this draft, so instead of overthinking it, they'll take Thibodeaux. He battled an ankle injury early in the season but has since proven that he's just about unstoppable when he's on the field -- to the point that it's almost unfair.

Round 1 - Pick 5

Alabama • Jr • 6'7" / 350 lbs

Projected Team
N.Y. Jets
PROSPECT RNK
4th
POSITION RNK
1st

This is why the Jets take Thibodeaux with their first first-rounder -- because they also have the Seahawks' first-rounder as part of the Jamal Adams trade. And with it, they improve the offensive line. The Jets have to protect Zach Wilson (once he gets healthy) -- this should be the mantra to begin every draft meeting the team has. Neal is an athletic marvel who has excelled at several O-line positions for the Crimson Tide.

Round 1 - Pick 6

Notre Dame • Jr • 6'4" / 219 lbs

Projected Team
N.Y. Giants
PROSPECT RNK
1st
POSITION RNK
1st

The Giants have young safeties Xavier McKinney and Julian Love, but that doesn't mean there isn't room in the secondary for Kyle Hamilton, too. He's a 6-4, 220-pound version of Ed Reed -- a sideline-to-sideline ball hawk -- and that makes him a Day 1 impact player.

Round 1 - Pick 7

LSU • Jr • 6'1" / 195 lbs

Projected Team
N.Y. Giants
PROSPECT RNK
3rd
POSITION RNK
1st

Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham had the Eagles' number on Sunday, and yes, there's a lot of depth at cornerback on the roster, but it would be hard to pass on Stingley here. Imagine a secondary that adds both Hamilton and Stingley in the draft.

Round 1 - Pick 8

Texas A&M • Jr • 6'4" / 325 lbs

Projected Team
Washington
PROSPECT RNK
13th
POSITION RNK
3rd

Brandon Scherff, Charles Leno and Cornelius Lucas are all in the final year of their contracts, and even if, say, Scherff is re-signed, you can never have enough dudes on your offensive line. Quarterback would be a consideration here, for sure, but with Matt Corral already off the board, this is too rich for whichever player you have penciled in as your No. 2 QB in this class.

Round 1 - Pick 9

Georgia • Jr • 6'0" / 225 lbs

Projected Team
Philadelphia
PROSPECT RNK
27th
POSITION RNK
3rd

Dean plays with the type of urgency and physicality that has been lacking at times in the middle of this Eagles defense. And while Dean's playing on the best defense in the country, don't be fooled -- he's not riding on the coattails of a dominant defensive line -- he's been a huge reason for their success.

Round 1 - Pick 10

Clemson • Jr • 6'0" / 200 lbs

Projected Team
Philadelphia
PROSPECT RNK
11th
POSITION RNK
2nd

The Eagles are on track for three first-round picks, which means there's a great opportunity to address their defense. Booth has all the athleticism and tools to be special, and he has balled out for Clemson this season.

Round 1 - Pick 11

Mississippi State • Soph • 6'5" / 310 lbs

Projected Team
Carolina
PROSPECT RNK
29th
POSITION RNK
5th

Quarterback makes all the sense in the world here, but it's important to remember these two words: Fit matters. Put Mac Jones on the the Jets and he probably looks a lot more like Zach Wilson than a legit Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate. So knowing that, the Panthers bolster the offensive line. Cross is a high-upside athletic offensive tackle who is having a strong season for Mississippi State.

Round 1 - Pick 12

Pittsburgh • Sr • 6'3" / 220 lbs

Projected Team
Atlanta
PROSPECT RNK
15th
POSITION RNK
2nd

We love what Pickett's accomplished this season but we also didn't give him a first-round grade. That doesn't mean he hasn't had a fantastic season, or that he won't end up being among the first 32 selections. And as becomes evident every draft, teams will overdaft quarterbacks and 2022 will be no different. Maybe Matt Ryan returns for another season but we wouldn't be surprised if coach Arthur Smith opts to move on and draft his QB of the future. Pickett, meanwhile, will continue to make his case over the final few games of the season and then, of course, the pre-draft process that will likely include a Senior Bowl appearance.

Round 1 - Pick 13

Nevada • Jr • 6'4" / 215 lbs

Projected Team
New Orleans
PROSPECT RNK
36th
POSITION RNK
4th

How healthy is Strong's knee? With a clean bill of health he'd be in the running for our QB1, but that will be the lingering question as we go through the draft process, and if the news isn't good, he could fall out of the first round altogether. He's had a fantastic career at Nevada and has an NFL arm and consistently makes good decisions with the ball.

Round 1 - Pick 14

Ohio State • Jr • 6'0" / 192 lbs

Projected Team
Philadelphia
PROSPECT RNK
8th
POSITION RNK
1st

This likely won't be a popular pick because the Eagles have used first-rounders on wide receivers the last two years, but they'll only have four wideouts under contract after the season, and that includes JJ Arcega-Whiteside. Wilson is one of the the most dynamic players in college football and he'll give Jalen Hurts another downfield weapon as the QB continues to grow into the offense.

Round 1 - Pick 15

Alabama • Jr • 6'2" / 189 lbs

Projected Team
Cleveland
PROSPECT RNK
24th
POSITION RNK
6th

Williams had to transfer from Ohio State to Alabama to get playing time (think about that) and he's taken full advantage of his opportunities. In Cleveland, the Browns don't have much depth at wide receiver and Williams, who has been unstoppable against SEC defenders, has put his name into the first-round conversation.

Round 1 - Pick 16

Iowa • Jr • 6'3" / 290 lbs

Projected Team
Pittsburgh
PROSPECT RNK
5th
POSITION RNK
2nd

Linderbaum is one of the best offensive linemen in the country and the Steelers need to continue to improve a unit that has four new starters this season. Kendrick Green, a 2021 third-round pick, is the starting center but he played also played guard at Illinois.

Round 1 - Pick 17

Auburn • Sr • 6'0" / 190 lbs

Projected Team
Denver
PROSPECT RNK
33rd
POSITION RNK
5th

Only cornerbacks Patrick Surtain II, Ronald Darby and Michael Ojemudia are under contract after the season and while McCreary may not be the athletic specimen of '21 first-rounder Surtain, he's one of the best corners in college football and plays with the type of week-to-week consistency that NFL teams covet from their defensive backs.

Round 1 - Pick 18

Georgia • Jr • 6'6" / 330 lbs

Projected Team
Las Vegas
PROSPECT RNK
19th
POSITION RNK
2nd

Davis has consistently been a one-man wrecking crew for Georgia this season; he may not offer much as a true pass-rusher but he's a pocket-collapser which, on some level, transcends the play call.

Round 1 - Pick 19

Cincinnati • Jr • 6'2" / 188 lbs

Projected Team
Minnesota
PROSPECT RNK
17th
POSITION RNK
3rd

The team has already parted ways with 2020 first-rounder Jeff Gladney, and Patrick Peterson is on a one-year deal. Wide receiver could also be an option here but stockpiling defensive backs is never a bad strategy. Gardner, meanwhile, is a long, press corner who feels like a good fit in a Mike Zimmer defense.

Round 1 - Pick 20

Michigan • Jr • 6'5" / 250 lbs

David Ojabo has been a lot of fun to watch this season where he's taken advantage of every opportunity playing opposite Aidan Hutchinson. But don't get it twisted -- he's a twitchy edge rusher who will only get better with experience, and if he excels opposite Hutchinson, imagine what he'll do opposite Joey Bosa in L.A.

Round 1 - Pick 21

Kentucky • Sr • 6'5" / 345 lbs

Projected Team
Miami
PROSPECT RNK
41st
POSITION RNK
1st

Kinnard is a mauler who plays with an edge and he can wreak havoc as both a run and pass-blocker. He may have to kick inside at the next level but his ability to open holes in the running game makes him an immediate asset for the Dolphins offense, which has tried to address the O-line in recent drafts but not with the success they were hoping for.

Round 1 - Pick 22

Washington • Jr • 6'7" / 310 lbs

Projected Team
Buffalo
PROSPECT RNK
28th
POSITION RNK
4th

Josh Allen and the offense hasn't been nearly as consistent as it was a season ago and part of that is due to issues with the O-line. Kirkland has been the cornerstone of the Huskies' offensive line and has a chance to be a first-round talent.

Round 1 - Pick 23

Ohio State • Sr • 6'1" / 188 lbs

Projected Team
Detroit
PROSPECT RNK
16th
POSITION RNK
2nd

By the time we get to the actual draft, we'll have much more clarity on what the Lions' QB plans might look like. For now, there's not a quarterback worth taking first overall, and there likely won't be one on the board at this point, either. So instead, Detroit adds top-flight wideout Olave, who is having a spectacular season for the Buckeyes.

Round 1 - Pick 24

Houston • Jr • 6'6" / 275 lbs

Last spring, some people were surprised Payton Turner made his way into Round 1. Don't be shocked if his Houston teammate, Hall, follows a similar path. He's been unblockable at times this season and at 6-foot-6, 275 pounds, he can line up just about anywhere. In Cincy, he'll be yet another young, physical freak on a defense that has been the backbone of this team for much of the year.

Round 1 - Pick 25

Purdue • Jr • 6'4" / 275 lbs

Projected Team
Dallas
PROSPECT RNK
6th
POSITION RNK
2nd

Karlaftis adds another dimension to the defensive line. Injuries and the pandemic saw him play limited snaps in '20 but Karlaftis was nearly impossible to stop in '19 when he recorded 17 TFLs and had 7.5 sacks.

Round 1 - Pick 26

Penn State • Sr • 5'11" / 184 lbs

Projected Team
Kansas City
PROSPECT RNK
18th
POSITION RNK
3rd

The Chiefs' offense certainly appears to much closer to the group we're used to seeing, and with only Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman under contract after the season, why not give them another athletic marvel. Dotson has been electric this season for the Nittany Lions, and he threatens the defense at all three levels. He's not going to break a lot of tackles but that assumes defenders are able to get their hands on him; he's as fast as he is elusive, and a legit home run threat every time he touches the ball.

Round 1 - Pick 27

Utah • Jr • 6'3" / 235 lbs

Projected Team
Tennessee
PROSPECT RNK
20th
POSITION RNK
1st

The Titans' defense has been better in '21 but there's still room for improvement, especially in the middle of the D. Lloyd is a twitchy, sideline-to-sideline player who fits the mold of off-ball linebackers we've seen coming into the league over the last decade.

Round 1 - Pick 28

Washington • Soph • 5'11" / 195 lbs

Projected Team
Tampa Bay
PROSPECT RNK
50th
POSITION RNK
3rd

Even though McDuffie plays cornerback, we get Tyrann Mathieu vibes when we watch him. We love him as a slot corner who serves as an enforcer in run support and locks down short and intermediate routes, something he does regularly for the Huskies.

Round 1 - Pick 29

USC • Jr • 6'5" / 210 lbs

Projected Team
New England
PROSPECT RNK
23rd
POSITION RNK
5th

London, was one of the few bright

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