NFL Mock Draft: Predicting The Top-10 Picks

NFL Mock Draft: Predicting The Top-10 Picks

Barry Devoe
2 years ago
5 min read
Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Garrett Wilson catches a touchdown pass

It’s NFL Draft week! By this point in the process, it’s usually known how at least the beginning of the draft will shake out. Yet this year, the uncertainty starts with the first-overall pick.

There are question marks attached to every team this year, particularly those with top-ten selections. But we’ll try our best to predict how the first ten picks will shake out, starting with the Jacksonville Jaguars for the second year in a row.

1. Jacksonville Jaguars - EDGE Travon Walker

This is shaping up to be a draft that’s expected to have many jaw-dropping surprises. So it’s only fitting the Jaguars would begin the fun with a stunning selection of their own, opting for Walker ahead of Aidan Hutchinson.

As we inch closer to decision day, the Georgia pass-rusher has considerably increased his stock. So much so, we could see the Jags passing on the previous first-overall lock Hutchinson to make the freakish Walker the first pick of the 2022 NFL Draft.

2. Detroit Lions - EDGE Aidan Hutchinson

The good thing about the Lions is that their draft decision rests on Jacksonville. Whichever talented edge rusher the Jags pass on will likely trade in their college uniform for Detroit’s blue and silver.

If Walker goes first, Hutchinson becomes a slam dunk selection. The Michigan product was the Heisman runner-up in 2021 and has long been considered one of the best 2-3 prospects in the draft. If he’s available, Detroit will waste no time keeping him home.

3. Houston Texans - CB Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner

With two pass-rushers going off the board, the Texans could make it three by selecting Kayvon Thibodeaux. Or they could go with one of the top-three offensive linemen expected to go inside the top ten. However, this mock has Houston opting for the best corner in the draft.

Gardner is the embodiment of “need meets upside.” The cornerback became a star at Cincinnati before declaring for the draft.

With only one other CB (Derek Stingley Jr.) possessing a realistic shot at being a top-ten selection, it makes sense for Houston to grab Gardner as a staple for its defense.

4. New York Jets - EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux

The Jets have two selections in the top ten, the first of which comes at No. 4. Based on the latest reports and speculation, their decision could come down to either Thibodeaux or OT Ikem Ekwonu.

For now, Thibodeaux seems to have the upper hand. The Oregon star was initially favored to go first overall before the pre-draft process began, so the upside is there. Not to mention, New York is still high on 2020 first-rounder Mekhi Bekton as its franchise LT, leaving the O-line as less of a need.

5. New York Giants - OT Ikem Ekwonu

This is a dream scenario for the Giants. Even though Gardner is off the board, Big Blue has all three of the best O-line prospects at their disposal. Whoever tops their personal draft rankings will conceivably be the pick.

While there is a lot of chatter about New York’s love for Mississippi State’s Charles Cross, Ekwonu should be the pick if he’s available. Ekwonu is a well-rounded blocker from his time with NC State and possesses the positional versatility needed to slot anywhere on the Giants’ new-look line.

6. Carolina Panthers - OT Evan Neal

After Sam Darnold’s disastrous year behind center, many people speculate that the Panthers will be the first team to select a quarterback. However, Carolina is more likely to trade for a veteran like Baker Mayfield or Jimmy Garappolo and use its first pick on a lineman.

Even though Ekwonu went ahead of him, many consider Neal to be the top offensive line prospect in the draft. He played both tackle and guard at Alabama, allowing him to quickly assimilate to the NFL before becoming the Panthers’ left tackle of the future.

7. New York Giants (from CHI) - CB Derek Stingley

Based on the first six picks, this is a prime trade-down spot for the Giants, especially with their offensive line addressed and Sauce and Thibs off the board. However, should they stand pat at No. 7, keep an eye out for Stingley. 

A foot injury limited Stingley to just three games with LSU last year, which has undoubtedly hampered his overall draft stock. That said, he still has the talent to be the draft’s top corner. And if the Giants end up trading James Bradberry for cap reasons, he’ll fit an immediate need.

8. Atlanta Falcons - WR Garrett Wilson

No one expects the Falcons to contend in 2022, so taking a QB now instead of waiting for Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud next year makes little sense. For now, this is an excellent spot for Atlanta to add one of the top receivers in a loaded draft class.

Over the last few weeks, Wilson has emerged as the betting favorite to be the first wide receiver taken on Thursday. With Calvin Ridley set to sit out the entire ‘22 season, the former Ohio State star can immediately replace him, joining 2021 first-rounder Kyle Pitts in Atlanta’s new-look receiving core.

9. Seattle Seahawks (via DEN) - OT Charles Cross

The Seahawks initially didn’t have a first-round pick but acquired one after sending franchise QB Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos. So finding a future signal-caller is high on their list — but not above finding a suitable tackle.

There’s a lot of chatter regarding Seattle and Northern Iowa OT Trevor Penning. However, if Cross is available, he’d be a no-brainer selection. The Mississippi State lineman is widely viewed as the best pure pass blocker in the draft and a day one starter at either tackle position.

10. New York Jets (via SEA) - WR Drake London

Once again, it wouldn’t be surprising if there was a trade here. Perhaps a club wants to leapfrog the Washington Commanders at No. 11 to land a QB.

Maybe the Jets send this pick to the San Francisco 49ers for disgruntled WR Deebo Samuel. Though if they stay at this spot, London is an easy choice.

Like Atlanta two picks before them, Gang Green picked a good year to need a high-level receiver. Even though Wilson is the favorite to go ahead of him, USC’s London possesses WR1 size that should give second-year QB Zach Wilson a formidable weapon.

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