1, 2, 3: These Players Will Be The Exact Three First Picks in the 2022 NFL Draft

1, 2, 3: These Players Will Be The Exact Three First Picks in the 2022 NFL Draft

Tyler Vaysman
2 years ago
3 min read
Georgia Bulldogs defensive lineman Travon Walker (44) rushes Charleston Southern Buccaneers quarterback Jack Chambers

After months of scouting reports, combine measurements, and endless mock drafts, the waiting is finally over. Thursday night, the 2022 NFL Draft will kick off in Las Vegas, with plenty of surprises soon to follow.

Over the last several days, we’ve seen major movement on betting lines for the top of the draft. Players who were once locks to be top-three picks may fall down the board, while several late-risers are now favored to go earlier than anticipated.

Unless a team comes out and reveals its exact draft plan, we know as much as we’re going to know between now and when Roger Goodell takes the stage in Vegas. So based on everything we’ve seen transpire throughout the offseason, here’s the best guess for how the top three will shake out Thursday night.

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1. Jacksonville Jaguars - EDGE Travon Walker

For many months, Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson seemed like a stone-cold lock to be the first pick. However, within the last few days, Hutchinson is now a decisive underdog (+400) to be Jacksonville’s selection.

Walker, the athletic edge rusher from Georgia, is now the overwhelming favorite (-400) to be the first-overall pick. While Hutchinson has the higher floor, Walker’s athleticism and upside has reportedly intrigued the Jaguars enough to make him their top choice.

There’s still a chance that Jacksonville ends up going with Hutchinson or even an offensive tackle like Ikem Ekwonu. However, barring any huge news coming out between now and draft time, you can expect the Jags to tab Walker as their next defensive star.

2. Detroit Lions - EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux

With Walker feeling like a first-overall lock, the natural progression would see the Lions selecting the hometown Hutchinson. But there is simply too much smoke surrounding Thibodeaux to not believe he’s the new favorite to go second overall.

Detroit has done its due diligence on the Oregon pass rusher. Of course, a lot of it could have been when the Lions anticipated Hutchinson to go first to Jacksonville. However, even as Walker becomes the new favorite at No. 1, Thibodeaux’s odds to be the second pick (+135) continue to climb.

There’s no denying Thibodeaux’s talent. His only true holdup seems to be his unorthodox personality and questionable dedication to football. But with an eccentric coach in Dan Campbell, it’s possible the Lions feel the risk is worth it.

3. Houston Texans - CB Derek Stingley Jr.

Many believe the Texans are the ultimate wild card in this draft. They could go with an edge rusher or an offensive lineman, and no one would bat an eye. And if they went cornerback, Cincinnati’s Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner would be a logical choice. Now, the Texans seem to be heading in a different direction.

Several reputable reports have claimed Houston prefers LSU’s Stingley Jr. over Sauce with the third pick. Stingley, like Thibodeaux, was once a guaranteed top-five selection before the draft process began. However, durability concerns plummeted his stock, with many previous mocks placing him outside of the top ten.

There’s enough speculation surrounding Stingley and the Texans to where he’s now the +150 favorite to go third overall. Houston would certainly be taking a significant risk, but if healthy, the former LSU star could become one of the league’s top corners.

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