Welcome to the first ever ShaunsTake Mock Draft! Below are my selections for who I think should be drafted with all 32 picks in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. The 1st round of the NFL Draft is on Thursday, April 28. Make sure you tune into the ShaunsTake Podcast before the draft to hear more of my pick by pick analysis and get yourself ready for the NFL Draft.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
Don’t overcomplicate this if you’re the Jags. Hutchinson dominated for the Wolverines last season and there’s a clear consensus that he’s the top prospect in this year's draft. There’s talk about Walker being selected here, but if I’m the Jags I’m not letting Hutchinson slip away.
2. Detroit Lions: Tavon Walker, EDGE, Georgia
Detroit gets Hutchinson or Walker, whoever the Jags don’t pick. In this mock I’ve got Walker being the guy they end up with. The two most important positions for rebuilding teams are O-Line and D-Line. Detroit went O-Line with the 7th overall pick in last year’s draft when they took Penei Sewell out of Oregon and now they’re taking care of their D-Line. Walker has untapped potential and could be the face of the Detroit defense for years to come.
3. Houston Texans: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
Houston should be ecstatic here. Before the season there were talks of Thibodeaux being the number one pick. He didn’t do anything wrong to fall off that spot, but it's looking like his name will be selected behind Hutchinson and Walker. Thibodeaux has the chance to be one of the elite pass rushers in the league and will be a great building block for Houston.
4. New York Jets: Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
They could go O-Line to help Zach Wilson, but another way to help a young QB is giving him a defense. The Jets gave up the 3rd most passing yards last season and Gardner will be a guy who helps stop the bleeding in New York’s secondary.
5. New York Giants: Evan Neal, OL, Alabama
It’s a make or break year for Daniel Jones and the Giants need to give him some protection. Whether or not Jones will be the starter after this season, Neal will help protect whoever the GIants signal caller is for years to come. The Giants also need Neal to help Saquon Barkley, who hasn’t seen an open running lane since his rookie season. Neal, Ikem Ekwonu, and Charles Cross are considered the top 3 offensive lineman in the draft and all will be fair game for this pick. However, if I’m the Giants I’m sticking with the 6’7”, 351 lbs Neal from Alabama.
6. Carolina Panthers: Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
The Panthers are a trade candidate here at 6, but for the purpose of this mock draft, I’m not predicting any trades. Head Coach Matt Ruhle and General Manager Scott Fitterer know they're on the hot seat heading into this season. With a roster that doesn’t look ready to compete with Tampa Bay for the NFC South division title, the best thing Ruhle and Fitterer can do is draft a rookie QB who flashes some superstar potential. We know Sam Darnold isn’t the answer, and Malik Willis has the highest potential of any QB in this draft. I say the Panthers go with WIllis and Ruhle does everything in his power to show the potential of his young QB as he works to save his job.
7. New York Giants: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
A poor 40-time killed what is a nearly flawless prospect in Kyle Hamilton. If it weren't for a 4.59 40 at the combine and a 4.70 at his pro day, Hamilton very well could've been a top 3 pick. However, I have his “slide” stopping here. The Giants defense is in need of a safety and after helping Daniel Jones with the 5th pick, the Giants will look to rebuild their secondary.
8. Atlanta Falcons: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
Besides Kyle Pitts, the Falcons have very few targets for Marcus Mariota. They let Russell Gage walk in free agency and Calvin Ridley is suspended for the entire season after betting on games last year. Plus, when Ridley’s suspension is up, he and the Falcons will likely pick back up right where they left off – finding a trade partner for Ridley. With a lack of offensive weapons, look for Atlanta to pair the blazing 4.38 Wilson with Pitts to form a young duo full of potential.
9. Seattle Seahawks: Ikem Ekwonu, OL, NC State
A new era is underway in Seattle. With Russell Wilson now in Denver, Seattle has an obvious opening at QB. However, I’m not convinced they’re in love with any of this year's prospects. I think they’ll either roll with Drew Locke, or acquire Baker Mayfield from Cleveland for a couple of late round picks. If neither pathway works out, they’ll be sitting atop of next year’s draft which may be loaded with QBs. With the 9 pick, what Seattle can do is get some protection for whoever their signal caller will be for the years ahead.
10. New York Jets: Drake London, WR, USC
The Jets added some much needed help to their defense with the 4 pick, but now it's time to really give Zach Wilson some direct help. The big 6’5” wideout will be the perfect gift for Wilson who needs to show big improvement from year 1 to year 2.
11. Washington Commanders: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
If it weren’t for a torn ACL in the National Championship game, Williams probably would’ve been the first wideout to hear his name called in this draft. He compiled 1572 yards and 15 TDs last season as a junior and the Commanders get a steal here. He’ll be the perfect complement to Terry McLaurin and give Carson Wentz plenty of weapons to work with in his first year in Washington.
12. Minnesota Vikings: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
Minnesota will be licking their chops when they see Stingley still available at 12. He’s dealt with some injuries throughout his time at LSU, but Stingley has the potential to become one of the best DBs in the league. He’ll be a big boost for Minnesota who gave up the 5th most passing yards last season.
13. Houston Texans: Jordan Davis, DL, Georgia
This may turn out to be the pick of the draft. Davis is an absolute monster. At 6’6”, 340lbs, Davis turned heads at the NFL combine by clocking a 4.78, 40 yd dash. The Texans get an A++ in this draft for being able to pair Davis with Kaybon Tibodeaux together. These two physically gifted and dominating players will make a scary duo on the defensive line and give Houston fans something to be excited about.
14. Baltimore Ravens: Trent McDuffie, CA, Washington
Thanks to countless injuries sustained last year, Baltimore ranked dead last in pass defense, giving up 229 more passing yards than any other team. McDuffie will not only help with the Ravens’ depth at corner, but give them a legitimate playmaker. Last season at Washington, McDuffie was as good as it gets, giving up 0 TDs and a mere 16 catches.
15. Philadelphia Eagles: Jermaine Johnson II, EDGE, Florida State
Philadelphia finished 2nd to last in sacks last season, and their inability to get after the QB is a major concern. If Johnson is still on the board at 15, he’s a no brainer for Philly. Johnson has the tools to be a sack artist in the NFL and would provide a big boost to the Eagles D.
16. New Orleans Saints: Charles Cross, OL, Mississippi State
Jameis Winston is back on a 2-year deal which means the Saints are comfortable with him as their starting QB. After letting Terron Armstead walk in free agency, New Orleans fills the void with the athletic lineman out of Mississippi State.
17. Los Angeles Chargers: Devonte Wyatt, DL, Georgia
The rich get richer. With Joey Bosa and his new running mate, Khalil Mack, the Chargers already possess one of the best defensive lines in football. As they let those two loose on the edge, the 6’3,” 315lbs Wyatt can be responsible for clogging up the middle. In a division where the opposing QBs are Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson, and Derrick Carr, you can never have too many good D-linemen.
18. Philadelphia Eagles: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
They secured a pass rusher at 15, and now the Eagles turn their attention to helping Jalen Hurts. Devonta Smith is going to be a star in Philly, but they lack a reliable second option. Olave’s an underrated prospect and will provide a big boost for Jalen Hurts in a make or break year for the young QB.
19. New Orleans Saints: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
The Saints will get Michael Thomas back this season, but they still lack a true second option. During Thomas’s absence, the Saints struggled with consistency at the receiver position. At 6’3”, 225 lbs, Burks is a true big body receiver who will help Jameis Winston and the Saints offense.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
Finally a true LB is off the board!! Lloyd fits the tough Pittsburgh way and will help this defense get younger. He’s a true 3-down LB and his excellent pass coverage skills are a must at the LB position in today’s NFL. Lloyd will fit the AFC North mentality and Pittsburgh will be happy to have him.
21. New England Patriots: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
Many people have tagged Devin Lloyd to be the “perfect” Patriot, but unfortunately for New England I have him getting scooped up by the Steelers. Luckily for New England, Nakobe Dean is still on the board. The Georgia LB was one of the leaders on the best defense in college football and was the Dick Butkis award winner for best LB in the country. So yeah, he fits the “Patriot way” pretty well.
22. Green Bay Packers: Jahon Dotson, WR, Penn State
Davante Adams is gone and outside of signing Sammy Watkins, the Packers have done nothing to help Aaron Rodgers in free agency. There’s a chance someone like Odell Beckham Jr, Julio Jones, or Jarvis Landry signs with the Pack, but regardless, they still need to bring someone in with the 22 pick. Jahon Dotson from Penn State is that guy. With amazing ball skills and 4.41 speed, Dotson should be one of Rodgers favorite targets in the Frozen Tundra next season.
23. Arizona Cardinals: George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
The Cardinals need some help on the edge and Karlaftis should be their guy. His pass rushing arsenal will continue to improve and he has the skills to be a contributor in Arizona. The Cardinals underperformed last season, and bolstering their pass rush can go a long way next season.
24. Dallas Cowboys: Trevor Penning, OL, Northern Iowa
It’s been a while, but the Cowboys are now at a time when offensive line is a need for them. Penning matches the physicality and intensity that Cowboys O-linemen need. Dallas needs to find a way to get Ezekiel Elliot going again, and Penning will help make that happen.
25. Buffalo Bills: Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson
I was going back and forth between Booth and one of the draft's top RBs here. However, CB is just a bigger need for the Bills. Tre’Davious White is one of the best in the business, but he’s coming off a torn ACL and the Bills lost Levi Wallace in free agency. Tre White will return to form, but Buffalo would love to add a guy like Booth to their secondary.
26. Tennessee Titans: Zion Johnson, OL, Boston College
Johnson’s strengths are his run blocking abilities, which hits home for the Titans offensive approach. With Derrick Henry coming back healthy, Tennessee will run it back with its ground and pound mentality. This move for Tennessee helps ensure that King Henry will have a shot at going for 2k once again.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Daxton Hill, S, Michigan
Tom Brady is back and Tampa Bay needs a day 1 contributor with the 27 pick. There aren’t too many holes in the Bucs roster as the majority of their free agents re-signed once they heard Brady was coming out of retirement. However, one hole that is left post free agency is safety. Jordan Whitehead signed with the Jets and Daxton Hill can slide right into the starting spot for Tampa Bay. Hill is strong in both coverage and run support and will help fill the Bucs biggest need.
28. Green Bay Packers: Tyler Linderbaum, OL, Iowa
The Packers lost multiple starting offensive lineman in free agency this year in an effort to cut down on their salary cap. With Green Bay’s earlier pick, I had them taking Jahon Dotson to give Aaron Rodgers a weapon to throw to. Now, I have them going with Linderbaum to make sure Rodgers stays upright. I’d be pretty happy if I’m Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers if I walked away from night one of the draft with these two.
29. Kansas City Chiefs: Christain Watson, WR, North Dakota St
Tyreek Hill is gone and it's time to work on his replacement. They already had Mecole Hardman and Josh Gordon on roster, and they signed Juju Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling in free agency. If there’s one thing Andy Ried and the Kansas City Chiefs love, it’s fast receivers. Watson ran a 4.36 40 at the combine, and at 6’5”, 207 lbs, Watson has elite size and speed that Patrick Mahomes is going to love.
30. Kansas City Chiefs: Arnold Ebiketie, EDGE, Penn State
The Chiefs pick back to back, and after working to make up for the loss of Tyreek Hill, they now shift their focus to getting after the QB. Ebiketie had 9.5 sacks for Penn State last season, and as I talked about earlier the AFC West is loaded with QBs. When you have to play Justin Herbert, Russell Wilson, and Derrick Carr twice a year, you need to be able to generate some pressure off the edge.
31. Cincinnati Bengals: Kenyon Green, OL, Texas A&M
Well we knew this was coming. The Bengals prioritized getting Joe Burrow weapons last offseason, instead of getting him protection. And it was the right choice. Jamar Chase burst onto the scene and instantly became one of the most feared offensive weapons in the NFL. Cincinnati is coming back with the same exact roster next season, but this time they’ve got reinforcements on the offensive line. They added La’el Collins, Alex Cappa, and Ted Karras in free agency to give their line some help, and they’ll continue that trend by taking Kenyon Green at 31. Green started at every position except center last season for the Aggies.
32. Detroit Lions: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pitt
Wow I can’t remember the last time there were only two QBs taken in the first round of the NFL draft. QB just isn’t a need for many teams this year, so Pickett falls right into the Lions lap at 32. This is a great place to take a QB as players selected in the first round have a 5th year option tacked on to their contracts. Pickett will likely sit behind Jared Goff for a year before Detroit hands over the reins to the Heisman finalist.