It’s time for the final set of projections for the 2022 NFL draft. After months of prospect evaluation, interviews and workouts, the whole process culminates in Las Vegas for what figures to be one of the most epic and unpredictable NFL drafts ever.

Of course, this mock draft attempts to project each and every one of the 262 picks in the draft. Unpredictability is an unfortunate occupational hazard, one that makes this draft fascinating. I’m writing the bulk of this on Tuesday, April 23rd, two days before the draft. The odds on who will go No. 1 overall have changed favorites twice in the last week. I cover the team picking No. 2 and I don’t have certainty with their pick, either.

As longtime readers know, I am more concerned with player/slot than I am with team/player matches, especially after the first round. I don’t project trades in the final mock, though they are certain to happen. In fact, one happened on Monday between the Texans and Patriots late in Day 3. Expect a lot of that this year.

Because of the relative uncertainty, the commentary here will be brief on the picks.

First Round

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia. Walker makes the most sense as an elite athletic prospect at an impact position. He’s got the best chance to be special, and that elevates him over the safer Aidan Hutchinson, who remains very much in play some hours before the draft.
  2. Detroit Lions: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan. Hutchinson is absolutely a Dan Campbell kind of player with fantastic athletic ability, football smarts and a Detroit native to boot. If Hutchinson goes at No. 1, I’d bet on Kayvon Thibodeaux here. It very well could be Thibodeaux even if Hutchinson is here. Anyone else would be a big surprise.
  3. Houston Texans: Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, CB, Cincinnati. Could be offensive line, could be Kyle Hamilton (especially in a trade down) or Derek Stingley Jr., but Gardner as a lockdown corner is a fire that produces some sweet smoke for the Texans, who need pretty much everything.
  4. New York Jets: Jermaine Johnson, EDGE, Florida State. Johnson’s outstanding and consistent production in his one year for the Seminoles is enough to lift him to the Jets, who need a defensive catalyst.
  5. New York Giants: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State. I had “Cross and Sauce” to the Giants with their two top-7 picks two months ago. Sauce is gone, so Cross gets the early nod and they substitute in Stingley for Sauce at No. 7.
  6. Carolina Panthers: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama. Taking Neal here is based on my presumption that the Panthers will trade for Browns QB Baker Mayfield at some point on draft weekend. Neal is a great fit in his own right. If there’s a trade in the top 10, I’d expect it to be this pick and someone coming up for a QB or the top WR.
  7. New York Giants: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU. Too much talent to fall, even with injury and performance concerns the last two seasons. Stingley has a legit chance to be the best player in this draft regardless of position.
  8. Atlanta Falcons: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon. Thibodeaux is impossible to slot. He could very well be the Lions pick at 2, especially if Hutchinson is gone. He could also slide as far as No. 14. Atlanta could take Malik Willis (I don’t expect it) or Drake London here too. Someone trading up for the final OT makes a whole lot of sense in this scenario too.
  9. Seattle Seahawks: Malik Willis, QB, Liberty. I’m a fan of the concept of using picks acquired in a trade to take the place of the player traded away. Wouldn’t be surprised if the Seahawks move up to ensure they land Willis and his high ceiling with the premium pick they got from Denver for Russell Wilson.
  10. New York Jets: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama. First WR off the board is a smart bet here with the Jets’ second pick. Figuring out if it's Williams, Drake London or Garrett Wilson is the hard part.
  11. Washington Commanders: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame. A “run to the podium” pick for new GM Martin Mayhew. If he’s gone, this is a great landing spot for Drake London. Hamilton ranks No. 1 on my Top 103 prospects for this class.
  12. Minnesota Vikings: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington. Fits the profile that new GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah learned in Cleveland: Smart, great athlete with decent measurables (outside of arm length), under 21.5 at the time of the draft, impact position of need for the team. Kaiir Elam fits the bill too.
  13. Houston Texans: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, North Carolina State. In draft versions of this mock, I have had Ekonwu slotted at 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8. Here he fell to 13 unexpectedly. Don’t be surprised if this pick is George Karlaftis…
  14. Baltimore Ravens: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa. We’ve entered the portion of the round where like 6 available players all make perfect sense and have been connected to the team in recent mainstream mocks. Penning needs some polish but has a lot to work with for a team that still has questions on the OL.
  15. Philadelphia Eagles: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State. I expect the Eagles to trade back on either this pick or No. 18, perhaps way back and out of the first. But staying here, Wilson gets the WR nod over London, Burks and Olave.
  16. New Orleans Saints: Drake London, WR, USC. A big target with the ability to make things happen after the catch has worked well for Jameis Winston before.
  17. Los Angeles Chargers: Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia. I initially had Davis’ Georgia linemate, Devonte Wyatt, here. But I’ve been led to believe the flags on Wyatt are enough to keep him out of the first round, so I flipped to the next Snacks Harrison, a fantastic immovable object on the interior with enough athleticism to create problems in the backfield. That’s Davis.
  18. Philadelphia Eagles: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida. Even with Darius Slay playing well, the Eagles still need help at CB. Elam offers length, upside and pedigree. Sleeper pick: Quay Walker.
  19. New Orleans Saints: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh. I fought with this projection. Drafts had Lewis Cine, Dax Hill and Zion Johnson all slotted here before trusting the hunch that Pickett will get pushed up for positional value.
  20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State. Could very well be a different WR, and I wouldn’t rule out a big move up to land Malik Willis, but here it’s time for the best route-runner in the draft class in Olave.
  21. New England Patriots: Zion Johnson, OG, Boston College. About 6 weeks ago someone I trust told me, “If Zion is on the board the pick is in” for New England. I can also see Devin Lloyd or Dax Hill here too, but I’ll trust the unsolicited endorsement on Johnson.
  22. Green Bay Packers: Kenyon Green, OL, Texas A&M. Often projected to move to guard, the Packers could install Green at RT or inside. With the WRs popping off the way they did, I would envision GM Brian Gutekunst waiting for a pick on the next tier. Green fits their prospect guidelines to a “T”.
  23. Arizona Cardinals: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas. Another difficult player and pick to slot, so why not put those hands together? Burks isn’t for everyone but he could be magical for Kyler Murray or for a team trading up here to land the unique weapon.
  24. Dallas Cowboys: Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa. Some Cowboys folks I respect have told me he’s not a great fit. I don’t disagree but I’m not Jerry Jones, and this is a paint-by-the-numbers Jones selection. George Karlaftis is my sleeper pick here.
  25. Buffalo Bills: Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State. I didn’t expect a first-round RB when I sat down to write this, but way too many people who cover the Bills are too interested in the very talented Hall to ignore.
  26. Tennessee Titans: Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan. Raimann is a great story, an Austrian exchange student who started as a TE before exploding in the weight room as a viable NFL tackle. He’s ready to roll for the run-heavy Titans.
  27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Dax Hill, S, Michigan. Not their biggest need, but the Buccaneers can reload the secondary with a versatile athlete who might be the best slot CB in the draft as well as a dang good safety. I smell a trade here more…
  28. Green Bay Packers: George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue. What, no WR? I have a hard time pegging the Packers with any of the WRs who are available here this highly. Karlaftis sure fits what they like at another position of need, adding to the pass rush with a guy who can play multiple spots.
  29. Kansas City Chiefs: Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan. This seems too easy. Is it a trap, replacing Tyreek Hill with a speedy, inside/out receiver who can make electrifying plays at all layers of the passing game? It might be. It might not be.
  30. Kansas City Chiefs: Andrew Booth, CB, Clemson. Too much talent and potential to fall out of the first round, and Booth fits what the CB-needy Chiefs tend to look for in a prospect. This pick sure seems ripe for the trading…
  31. Cincinnati Bengals: Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington. Tough call. Logan Hall and Arnold Ebiketie were both in my mind but I opted for Gordon. The Bengals could make that same choice if they’re spooked by the dropoff at CB after him.
  32. Detroit Lions: Lewis Cine, S, Georgia. Sam Howell was here until the final minute, with Cine at 34. I switched it more on the premise that I see Cine being a more consensus first-round pick than Howell and the realistic chance the Jaguars would take Cine in between the picks. Safety is the biggest need in Detroit as well. If Cine is gone, Jaquan Brisker slides up here.

Second Round

Remember--the goal from here on out is player/slot much more than it is team/player matches…

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
  2. Detroit Lions: Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina
  3. New York Jets: Quay Walker, LB, Georgia
  4. New York Giants: Arnold Ebiketie, EDGE, Penn State
  5. Houston Texans: Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State
  6. New York Jets: Tyler Smith, OL, Tulsa
  7. Chicago Bears: Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State. The Bears make their first pick count with the sticky-handed Dotson, who should help the team continue to build around Justin Fields.
  8. Seattle Seahawks: Boye Mafe, EDGE, Minnesota
  9. Seattle Seahawks: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
  10. Indianapolis Colts: George Pickens, WR, Georgia. The Colts tap into the enigmatic Pickens, a big-play talent who has some injury and off-field questions but the ability to pay off right away.
  11. Atlanta Falcons: David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan
  12. Cleveland Browns: Drake Jackson, EDGE, USC. Cleveland rolls with the precocious Jackson, a high-ceiling pass rusher who can contribute right away across from Myles Garrett
  13. Baltimore Ravens: Jalen Pitre, S, Baylor
  14. Minnesota Vikings: Nik Bonitto, EDGE, Oklahoma
  15. Washington Commanders: Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
  16. Chicago Bears: Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn
  17. New Orleans Saints: Kenneth Walker, RB, Michigan State
  18. Kansas City Chiefs: Travis Jones, DT, UConn
  19. Philadelphia Eagles: Cole Strange, IOL, Chattanooga
  20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State
  21. Green Bay Packers: Alec Pierce, WR, Cincinnati
  22. New England Patriots: Logan Hall, DE, Houston
  23. Arizona Cardinals: DeMarvin Leal, DT, Texas A&M
  24. Dallas Cowboys: Trey McBride, TE, Colorado State
  25. Buffalo Bills: Tariq Woolen, CB, UTSA
  26. Atlanta Falcons: Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
  27. Green Bay Packers: Jeremy Ruckert, TE, Ohio State
  28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Perrion Winfrey, DT, Oklahoma
  29. San Francisco 49ers: Chad Muma, LB, Wyoming. I am a believer that the 49ers will have traded this pick, so the projection here is more for Muma in this spot than San Francisco making a pick here.
  30. Kansas City Chiefs: Nick Cross, S, Maryland
  31. Cincinnati Bengals: Cam Jurgens, C, Nebraska
  32. Denver Broncos: Cameron Thomas, EDGE, San Diego State. Denver makes the versatile Thomas their first pick. He has the mature type of game to step right in for the Broncos defense.

Third Round

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Daniel Faalele, OT, Minnesota
  2. Detroit Lions: Wan’Dale Robinson, WR, Kentucky
  3. New York Giants: Christian Harris, LB, Alabama
  4. Houston Texans: Troy Andersen, LB, Montana State
  5. New York Jets: Bryan Cook, S, Cincinnati
  6. Jacksonville Jaguars: Damarri Mathis, CB, Pittsburgh
  7. Chicago Bears: Nicholas Petit-Frere, OT, Ohio State
  8. Seattle Seahawks: Abraham Lucas, OT, Washington State
  9. Indianapolis Colts: Jelani Woods, TE, Virginia
  10. Atlanta Falcons: Leo Chenal, LB, Wisconsin
  11. Denver Broncos: Coby Bryant, CB, Cincinnati
  12. Baltimore Ravens: Marcus Jones, CB, Houston
  13. Minnesota Vikings: Darian Kinnard, OL, Kentucky
  14. Cleveland Browns: Kerby Joseph, S, Illinois
  15. Los Angeles Chargers: Cade Otten, TE, Washington
  16. Houston Texans: Dominique Robinson, EDGE, Miami OH
  17. New York Giants: Greg Dulcich, TE, UCLA
  18. Atlanta Falcons: Luke Goedeke, OL, Central Michigan
  19. Philadelphia Eagles: John Metchie, WR, Alabama
  20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Sean Rhyan, OL, UCLA
  21. New England Patriots: David Bell, WR, Purdue
  22. Las Vegas Raiders: Joshua Williams, CB, Fayetteville State. Raiders fans welcome the draft to Las Vegas by waiting until late Friday to make their first pick. Williams has loads of athletic tools and thrived during Senior Bowl week.
  23. Arizona Cardinals: DeAngelo Malone, EDGE, Western Kentucky
  24. Dallas Cowboys: Khalil Shakir, WR, Boise State
  25. Buffalo Bills: Phidarian Mathis, DT, Alabama
  26. Tennessee Titans: Channing Tindall, LB, Georgia
  27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Joshua Edeuzu, OG, North Carolina
  28. Green Bay Packers: Darrian Beavers, LB, Cincinnati
  29. San Francisco 49ers: Cam Taylor-Britt, CB Nebraska
  30. Kansas City Chiefs: Charlie Kolar, TE, Iowa State
  31. Cincinnati Bengals: Derion Kendrick, CB, Georgia
  32. Denver Broncos: Dylan Parham, IOL, Memphis
  33. Detroit Lions: Martin Emerson, CB, Mississippi State
  34. New Orleans Saints: Josh Paschal, EDGE, Kentucky
  35. Cleveland Browns: Makai Polk, WR, Mississippi State
  36. Baltimore Ravens: Myjai Sanders, EDGE, Cincinnati
  37. Philadelphia Eagles: Pierre Strong, RB, South Dakota State
  38. Miami Dolphins: Alex Wright, EDGE, UAB
  39. Kansas City Chiefs: Dameon Pierce, RB, Florida
  40. Los Angeles Rams: Danny Gray, WR, SMU. Gray is a savvy, fairly speedy receiver who thrives on getting open quickly and sitting down in zones. His upside should appeal to the Rams with their first pick.
  41. San Francisco 49ers: Ed Ingram, IOL, LSU

Fourth Round

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Eyioma Uwazurike, DT, Iowa State
  2. Houston Texans: Chris Paul, OT, Tulsa
  3. Houston Texans: Jalen Tolbert, WR, South Alabama
  4. Seattle Seahawks: Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia
  5. Baltimore Ravens: Isaiah Likely, TE, Coastal Carolina
  6. New York Jets: Tyler Badie, RB, Missouri
  7. New York Giants: Calvin Austin, WR, Memphis
  8. Washington Commanders: Kingsley Enagbare, EDGE, South Carolina
  9. Atlanta Falcons: Rasheed Walker, OT, Penn State
  10. Denver Broncos: Zyon McCollum, CB, Sam Houston State
  11. Denver Broncos: Matthew Butler, DT, Tennessee
  12. New York Jets: Dohnovan West, OL, Arizona State
  13. Cleveland Browns: Daniel Bellinger, TE, San Diego State
  14. Baltimore Ravens: Braxton Jones, OT, Southern Utah
  15. New Orleans Saints: Brian Asamoah, LB, Oklahoma
  16. Kansas City Chiefs: Jamaree Sayler, OL, Georgia
  17. Indianapolis Colts: Damone Clark, LB, LSU
  18. Los Angeles Chargers: Akayleb Evans, CB, Missouri
  19. Philadelphia Eagles: Bo Melton, WR, Rutgers
  20. Miami Dolphins: Tycen Anderson, S, Toledo
  21. Las Vegas Raiders: Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M
  22. New England Patriots: Kevin Austin, WR, Notre Dame
  23. Baltimore Ravens: D’Marco Jackson, LB, Appalachian State
  24. Dallas Cowboys: John Ridgeway, DT, Arkansas
  25. Buffalo Bills: Dane Belton, S, Iowa
  26. Tennessee Titans: Justyn Ross, WR, Clemson
  27. Green Bay Packers: Kellen Diesch, OT, Arizona State
  28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Malcolm Rodriguez, LB, Oklahoma State
  29. San Francisco 49ers: Sam Williams, EDGE, Ole Miss
  30. Kansas City Chiefs: Alontae Taylor, CB, Tennessee
  31. Cincinnati Bengals: Haskell Garrett, DT, Ohio State
  32. Carolina Panthers: Jojo Domann, LB, Nebraska
  33. Pittsburgh Steelers: James Cook, RB, Georgia
  34. Baltimore Ravens: Kyren Williams, RB, Notre Dame
  35. Green Bay Packers: Jeffery Gunter, EDGE, Coastal Carolina
  36. Baltimore Ravens: Luke Fortner, IOL, Kentucky
  37. Los Angeles Rams: Max Mitchell, OT, Louisiana
  38. Tennessee Titans: Amare Barno, EDGE, Virginia Tech

At this point of the draft, we’ve entered “drunken sifaka with a blowdart” territory…

Fifth Round

  1. Carolina Panthers: J.T. Woods, S, Baylor
  2. Seattle Seahawks: Thomas Booker, DT, Stanford
  3. New York Jets: Carson Strong, QB, Nevada
  4. New York Giants: Chig Okonkwo, TE/FB, Maryland
  5. Chicago Bears: Matt Araiza, P, San Diego State
  6. Carolina Panthers: Zachary Carter, DL, Florida
  7. Chicago Bears: Smoke Monday, S, Auburn
  8. Atlanta Falcons: Juanyeh Thomas, S, Georgia Tech
  9. Denver Broncos: Jalyn Armour-Davis, CB, Alabama
  10. Seattle Seahawks: Cade Mays, OL, Tennessee
  11. Philadelphia Eagles: Jordan Stout, P, Penn State
  12. Dallas Cowboys: Cordale Flott, CB, LSU
  13. Minnesota Vikings: Zach Tom, OL, Wake Forest
  14. Jacksonville Jaguars: Brandon Smith, LB, Penn State
  15. New England Patriots: Josh Jobe, CB, Alabama
  16. Indianapolis Colts: Marquis Hayes, OL, Oklahoma
  17. Los Angeles Chargers: Jaylen Watson, CB, Washington State
  18. New Orleans Saints: Sterling Weatherford, S, Miami OH
  19. Philadelphia Eagles: Romeo Doubs, WR, Nevada
  20. New York Jets: Armani Rogers, TE, Ohio
  21. Las Vegas Raiders: Erik Ezukanma, WR, Texas Tech
  22. Las Vegas Raiders: Thayer Munford, OL, Ohio State
  23. Philadelphia Eagles: Micheal Clemons, EDGE, Texas A&M
  24. Dallas Cowboys: Logan Bruss, IOL, Wisconsin
  25. Buffalo Bills: Jesse Luketa, OLB, Penn State
  26. Tennessee Titans: Verone McKinley, S, Oregon
  27. Houston Texans: JaQuan McMillan, CB, East Carolina
  28. Green Bay Packers: Kyle Phillips, WR, UCLA
  29. San Francisco 49ers: Lecitus Smith, IOL, Virginia Tech
  30. New York Giants: Skylar Thompson, QB, Kansas State
  31. Cincinnati Bengals: Jake Ferguson, TE, Wisconsin
  32. Los Angeles Rams: Chance Campbell, LB, Ole Miss
  33. Dallas Cowboys: Velus Jones Jr., WR, Tennessee
  34. Detroit Lions: Teagan Quitoriano, TE, Oregon State
  35. Dallas Cowboys: Aaron Hansford, LB, Texas A&M
  36. Indianapolis Colts: Bailey Zappe, QB, Western Kentucky

Sixth Round

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Matt Henningsen, DT, Wisconsin
  2. Detroit Lions: Eric Johnson, DT, Missouri State
  3. New York Giants: Reed Blankenship, S, Middle Tennessee State
  4. New England Patriots: Isiah Pacheco, RB, Rutgers
  5. Minnesota Vikings: Jeremiah Gemmel, LB, North Carolina
  6. Buffalo Bills: Mykael Wright, CB, Oregon
  7. Chicago Bears: Braylon Sanders, WR, Ole Miss
  8. San Francisco 49ers: Tariq Castro-Fields, CB, Penn State
  9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dai’jean Dixon, WR, Nicholls State
  10. Washington Commanders: Rachaad White, RB, Arizona State
  11. Atlanta Falcons: Jerome Ford, RB, Cincinnati
  12. Minnesota Vikings: Kyler McMichael, CB, North Carolina
  13. Minnesota Vikings: Esezi Otomewo, EDGE, Minnesota
  14. Dallas Cowboys: Shaun Jolly, CB, Appalachian State
  15. New Orleans Saints: Sam Webb, CB, Missouri Western
  16. Los Angeles Chargers: Cordell Volson, OT, North Dakota State
  17. Baltimore Ravens: Justin Shaffer, IOL, Georgia
  18. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jack Jones, CB, Arizona State
  19. Jacksonville Jaguars: Spencer Burford, IOL, UTSA
  20. Carolina Panthers: Alec Lindstrom, C, Boston College
  21. New England Patriots: Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, DL, Notre Dame
  22. Arizona Cardinals: David Anenih, OLB, Houston
  23. Cleveland Browns: Dare Rosenthal, OT, Kentucky
  24. Buffalo Bills: Grant Calcaterra, TE, SMU
  25. Tennessee Titans: Obinna Eze, OT, TCU
  26. Houston Texans: D’Vonte Price, RB, Florida International
  27. Denver Broncos: Josh Sills, IOL, Oklahoma State
  28. Houston Texans: Vederian Lowe, OT, Illinois
  29. Pittsburgh Steelers: Bill Dunkle, IOL, San Diego State
  30. Cincinnati Bengals: Tyreke Smith, EDGE, Ohio State
  31. New England Patriots: Vincent Gray, CB, Michigan
  32. Los Angeles Rams: Ty Chandler, RB, North Carolina
  33. Los Angeles Rams: Kalia Davis, DT, UCF
  34. Atlanta Falcons: Samori Toure, WR, Nebraska
  35. Los Angeles Chargers: Chasen Hines, IOL, LSU
  36. Arizona Cardinals: Cade Hall, EDGE, San Jose State
  37. Indianapolis Colts: Chase Lucas, CB, Arizona State
  38. Detroit Lions: Dellarin Turner-Yell, S, Oklahoma
  39. Los Angeles Rams: Ali Fayad, EDGE, Western Michigan
  40. Tennessee Titans: Zakoby McClain, LB, Auburn
  41. San Francisco 49ers: Jack Coan, QB, Notre Dame
  42. San Francisco 49ers: Micah McFadden, LB, Indiana

Seventh Round

Jumping straight to Mr. Irrelevant…

  1. San Francisco 49ers: James Empey, OT, BYU