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2022 NFL Mock Draft: First-Round Predictions (Updated)

Evan Neal, OT, Alabama Crimson Tide, 2022 NFL Draft

Evan Neal didn't work out at the Scouting Combine but hasn't changed the perception that he could be Jacksonville's pick at No. 1 overall 

The road to the 2022 NFL Draft has kicked into high gear as the entire league descended upon Indianapolis for the Scouting Combine to poke, question, and take in the hundreds of prospects that will soon hear their names called in Las Vegas.

Related: Top 100 Prospects in 2022 NFL Draft

While most franchises came in with a list of players they really wanted to get to know better, pretty much all 32 of them were treated to quite the prime-time show either way with the fast track at Lucas Oil providing plenty of things to think about for front offices far and wide.

With all that in mind, here's a look at who could go where in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft:

1. Jacksonville Jaguars — Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

Doug Pederson's first challenge in Duval is to rebuild Trevor Lawrence's confidence. No better way to do that than landing a cornerstone on the outside that will make both their lives easier for years to come in having the mammoth Neal keeping the star QB off the deck.

2. Detroit Lions — Aidan Hutchinson, Edge, Michigan

There are few more perfect marriages of player, head coach and team need than the terror off the edge from just up the road in Ann Arbor landing with the Lions. Hutchinson didn't quite test like some of his peers at the Combine but did confirm his impressive, impressive tape.

3. Houston Texans — Travon Walker, DL, Georgia

Even amid all the attention and questions about quarterback and the rest of the offense, Lovie Smith needs even more help all over his defense. Walker showed at the Combine he's athletic enough to play nearly anywhere and could be a unique piece too valuable to pass up.

4. New York Jets — Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

Few teams need somebody they can throw out on an island more than the Jets and that's exactly how Gardner operates. He ticks pretty much every box you want in somebody given his length and could help unlock the rest of Robert Saleh's defense.

5. New York Giants — Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

Cross is not everybody's cup of tea but has the size and fluidity you're looking for in a tackle. With the new coaching staff in place, protecting the QB now and in the future remains a priority and this should be another step toward that.

6. Carolina Panthers — Ikem Ekwonu, OL, NC State

Ekwonu and the Panthers seem like a perfect match, not the least because he's from right down the road. Matt Rhule is going to really love somebody this athletic helping keep that rotating door at QB upright.

7. New York Giants (from Chicago) — Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

The G-Men would love to trade down out of this spot or flip it to next year but if they stick around, Hamilton is too appealing to pass up regardless of needs. He's an impact safety in a division that needs good play out of the spot and can be a tone-setter for the new regime in the Big Apple.

8. Atlanta Falcons — Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

The Falcons are in a division where a sideline-to-sideline linebacker is pretty much a must-have. Enter Lloyd, who brings size and speed that matches his high-end prospect status and could play a pivotal role in shoring up that spine of the Atlanta defense for years to come.

9. Denver Broncos — Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge, Oregon

Teams' opinion of Thibodeaux is somewhat all over the map but the Broncos also know the raw tools are there for him to become an impact defender in a division where they have to chase down some of the best opposing QBs in the league on a regular basis.

10. New York Jets (from Seattle) — Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

Wilson to Wilson is going to be uttered quite a bit as the addition of the Buckeyes' all-world pass catcher should make life much easier for the Jets' young signal-caller. Some might not be in love with his size but that's not been an issue with any team in the division lately, so why should it be here given the incredible body control and quickness Wilson brings to the table.

11. Washington Commanders — Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh

Everybody has focused on the hand size with Pickett during the pre-draft process but rarely brought up the leap he made as a passer to the point where he's a borderline top-10 pick. The key about him is he's ready to play fairly early and has all the traits to be a potential missing piece for a pretty good overall roster that just needs their QB.

12. Minnesota Vikings — Jermaine Johnson II, Edge, Florida State

The Vikings feel like they're only a few pieces away but will no doubt need a few new names getting after the passer in a new-look defense for 2022. Johnson is everything you look for in somebody doing just that with his height/weight/speed/quickness and got the production to match in his season at FSU.

13. Cleveland Browns — Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia

Davis was one of the biggest winners of the entire Combine and has forced teams to reexamine the case for the mammoth (but athletic) defender off the national champs. While there are still concerns about durability, the potential to line him up next to Myles Garrett for years to come might make a few OCs flinch.

14. Baltimore Ravens — Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU

This is one of those picks that make a number of CFB-focused fans go, "of course the Ravens would land him." Stingley was a bit of an afterthought publicly at the Combine as he works his way back but the underlying talent is there for a CB1 and then some. He won't need to be thrown right into the fire but is the long-term move that could pay off in a big way for GM Eric DeCosta.

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15. Philadelphia Eagles (from Miami) — Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

Not quite the prototypical size teams are looking for nowadays, McDuffie nevertheless should come in and contend right away for one of the Eagles' starting CB spots. He ticks off the boxes when it comes to coverage skills both inside at the slot and out on an island, with the ability to come up in run support too.

16. Philadelphia Eagles (from Indianapolis) — David Ojabo, Edge, Michigan

Ojabo still has plenty of upside left to reach yet still was mighty productive for the Wolverines. Much like he formed quite the tandem with Aidan Hutchinson, he can do the same in the pros with Josh Sweat while getting the added benefit of tutoring from somebody like Brandon Graham about the art of getting to the QB.

17. Los Angeles Chargers — Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

Brandon Staley knows he needs some fixes for his defense but Burks might be too good to pass up as a perfect Mike Williams insurance policy and somebody who could form an incredible tandem with Justin Herbert for years to come.

18. New Orleans Saints — Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa

Terron Armstead is unlikely to return given the cap situation in New Orleans but Penning could well be a nice plug-and-play replacement after testing well in Indy and looking the part for a Saints team set to go through quite the transition.

19. Philadelphia Eagles — Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia

We'll see if the Eagles wind up using all three of their first-rounders but Dean seems tailor-made for the team given their struggles at the position in recent seasons. While some might find him a tick undersized, that isn't going to bother the Eagles as much given how much he jumps off the tape at you.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers — Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

Willis has been connected plenty to this QB-needy franchise and there might not be a ton stopping a potential marriage in Las Vegas either. The big-armed star has been passing all the pre-draft tests and turning heads to the point where he could well be the Big Ben successor many Steelers fans are hoping for.

21. New England Patriots — Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

The Pats' record of success with early-round receivers has been mixed at best but Olave is about as polished as they come and can blow the top off the defense in ways that will delight Mac Jones for many seasons to come.

22. Las Vegas Raiders — Devonte Wyatt, DL, Georgia

Wyatt added to the Bulldogs' terrific testing numbers in Indy and continues to rise up draft boards as folks dive into somebody who maybe was a big overshadowed on that stacked defensive front for the champs. His ability to get upfield separates him from the rest of the class and makes him a perfect fit for what the Raiders need on that side of the ball.

23. Arizona Cardinals — Kenyon Green, OL, Texas A&M

While Kyler Murray has generated headlines for all the wrong reasons this offseason, he's still set to be QB1 in the desert and keeping him doing his thing remains a priority for the front office. Green figures to slide in right away next to Rodney Hudson to help bolster the interior line but his versatility only enhances his appeal for the Cardinals.

24. Dallas Cowboys — Tyler Linderbaum, OL, Iowa

Jerry Jones has made it a habit of making smart picks more and more with the team's early draft picks and nabbing Linderbaum can extend that theory another year. Whether he replaces Tyler Biadasz long-term or just slides in next to him at guard, this is a welcome addition to Dak Prescott's crew.

25. Buffalo Bills — Quay Walker, LB, Georgia

Walker boosted his stock with some impressive testing numbers at Lucas Oil and looks like a big ball of clay ready to be molded into the next great pass-rushing linebacker. The Bills obviously need help on that side of the ball and it won't take long for him to make an impact on a team primed to reach the Super Bowl.

26. Tennessee Titans — Tyler Smith, OL, Tulsa

Mike Vrabel is going to turn on the highlights of Smith just mauling defenders and say yes, please. He needs plenty of refinement and coaching to reach his potential but really seems like a perfect fit for what Tennessee wants to do offensively.

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — George Karlaftis, Edge, Purdue

The championship roster Bruce Arians had quickly looks like it has a lot of holes in it for 2022 but Karlaftis can take some of the pressure off up front thanks to his relentless motor.

28. Green Bay Packers — Drake London, WR, USC

Aaron Rodgers may be on the fence but there's also a looming receiver room makeover coming to Green Bay too. Enter London, a former basketball player who could be a first down/touchdown machine given the MVP quarterback's timing and accuracy.

29. Miami Dolphins (from San Francisco) — Christian Harris, LB, Alabama

We know the Dolphins' front office scout the Tide closely for talent and they will like what they see in Harris, who is still far from a finished product but could be the long-term solution at linebacker the team hasn't had for some time.

30. Kansas City Chiefs — Daxton Hill, S, Michigan

The Honey Badger still seems likely to return to KC but Hill might be the younger, better replacement long term in the middle of the field. He can take away the slot or roam free while also bringing the physical nature the Chiefs' secondary is used to at the position.

31. Cincinnati Bengals — Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson

The AFC champs know they need to overhaul their offensive line and their secondary if they want to get back to the big game. They can accomplish the former through free agency and start the latter by bringing in the polished Booth as the high-floor prospect that seems like a quality pairing for the Bengals.

32. Detroit Lions (from Los Angeles Rams) — Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

ACL tears are not the kind of injury teams fret about as much anymore and even if Williams takes a little longer in recovery, that's fine by the franchise that has their winning timetable on a different scale than others. Bottom line is he's an impact guy when in the lineup and has the potential to be a nifty No. 1 on a team that needs playmakers badly.

— Written by Bryan Fischer, an award-winning college football columnist and member of the Athlon Contributor Network. You can follow him from coast-to-coast on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat at @BryanDFischer.