The UCSD Guardian’s 2022 NFL Mock Draft

The 87th annual NFL Draft kicks off in Las Vegas on April 28, and all 32 teams will be looking to reload for the next season. With no consensus first overall pick and a much-maligned quarterback class, just about anything can happen on draft day. Below, The UCSD Guardian sports writers Donovan Perez-Schipper and Miguel Carias break down their predictions for how the first 32 picks will play out.

1. Jacksonville Jaguars

Donovan: Aidan Hutchinson, Edge, University of Michigan — The Jaguars are rumored to be looking a lot of ways with this pick, but they end up taking the consensus best player on the board. 

Miguel: Travon Walker, Edge, University of Georgia — Walker’s upside is too good to pass up, as the Jags select a potential generational talent to their defense.

2. Detroit Lions

Donovan: Malik Willis, Quarterback, Liberty University — While the Lions’ Jared Goff can be a serviceable quarterback, Willis has the potential to be a game breaker. 

Miguel: Aidan Hutchinson, Edge, University of Michigan — Hutchinson stays close to his Michigan roots, as the Lions add an alpha pass rusher to their defense.

3. Houston Texans

Donovan: Travon Walker, Edge, University of Georgia — Walker has been rising up draft boards as a toolsy, modern NFL pass rusher; he will be an immediate difference maker. 

Miguel: Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge, University of Oregon — The Texans jump on selecting Thibodeaux, in hopes of him becoming the team’s second coming of J.J. Watt. 

4. New York Jets

Donovan: Ikem Ekwonu, Offensive Guard, North Carolina State University — Ekwonu is a candidate to be picked first overall, so the Jets are ecstatic to protect their prized quarterback. 

Miguel: Ahmad Gardner, Cornerback, University of Cincinnati — With Stefon Diggs and Tyreek Hill now in the division, the Jets take who they hope will be their immediate No. 1 CB.

5. New York Giants

Donovan: Evan Neal, Offensive Tackle, University of Alabama — The Giants love their big offensive lineman, and take one early for the second consecutive year. 

Miguel: Ikem Ekwonu, Offensive Line, North Carolina State University — The Giants need much improvement on the offensive line, and Ekwonu immediately fills  that need. 

6. Carolina Panthers

Donovan: Kyle Hamilton, Safety, Notre Dame University — The Panthers choose a productive safety here to pair with an already talented secondary, highlighted by Jeremy Chinn. 

Miguel: Kenny Pickett, Quarterback, University of Pittsburgh — Sam Darnold is clearly not in the Panthers’ plans moving forward, and so they select the most NFL-ready QB in this draft.

7. New York Giants (from Chicago Bears)

Donovan: Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge, University of Oregon — Selecting the athlete with the highest ceiling, the Giants get a potential steal with this much-needed spark to their defense. 

Miguel: Jermaine Johnson II, Edge, Florida State University — The Giants now add premiere talent on both sides of the trenches, adding a top-tier edge player in Johnson. 

8. Atlanta Falcons

Donovan: Derek Stingley Jr., Cornerback, Louisiana State University — Stingley has recovered from injury and will look to provide immediate support to an improving defense. 

Miguel: Malik Willis, Quarterback, Liberty University — Despite losing out on Deshaun Watson, the Falcons plan for the future with a hometown native, choosing a high-ceiling QB. 

9. Seattle Seahawks (from Denver Broncos)

Donovan: Ahmad Gardner, Cornerback, University of Cincinnati — The Seahawks will be happy to see Gardner fall to them, as their defense is in need of an elite cornerback. 

Miguel: Derek Stingley Jr., Cornerback, Louisiana State University — The Seahawks have many directions they can go here, but ultimately they take Stingley to reinforce their defensive secondary.

10. New York Jets (from Seattle)

Donovan: George Karlaftis, Edge, Purdue University — The Jets reach for Karlaftis here after the early run on edge rushers, but he is an undeniable talent who will bolster the front seven.

Miguel: Garrett Wilson, Wide Receiver, Ohio State University — The Jets take one of the premier wideouts in this draft, and an immediate go-to option for second  year QB Zach Wilson.

11. Washington Commanders

Donovan: Trevor Penning, Offensive Tackle, Northern Iowa University — Washington lost Trent Williams a few years back and now can look to fill that hole up front with Penning. 

Miguel: Jameson Williams, Wide Receiver, University of Alabama — With the uncertainty of Carson Wentz’s duration, the Commanders seek to optimize his immediate receiving core, selecting the dynamic Williams.

12. Minnesota Vikings

Donovan: Garrett Wilson, Wide Receiver, Ohio State University — The Vikings add to their core of Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson to give Kirk Cousins another elite weapon to throw to.

Miguel: Andrew Booth Jr., Cornerback, Clemson University — With Patrick Peterson on his last legs, Booth can come in and become his successor as No. 1 CB for this Vikings defense.

13. Houston Texans (from Cleveland Browns)

Donovan: Nakobe Dean, Linebacker, University of Georgia — The Texans can use help at just about every position. They select another standout athlete from Georgia to help out their defense. 

Miguel: Kyle Hamilton, Safety, Notre Dame University — Just as they had hoped, Hamilton falls here to the Texans, and immediately becomes an impactful player on the team’s secondary. 

14. Baltimore Ravens

Donovan: Drake London, Wide Receiver, University of Southern California — London is as skilled as they come, and the Ravens are keen to continue to support Lamar Jackson on offense. 

Miguel: Tyler Linderbaum, Offensive Line, University of Iowa — Following a forgettable season, the Ravens aim to focus again on their run-heavy ways, selecting a stud O-line man in Linderbaum.

15. Philadelphia Eagles (from Miami Dolphins) 

Donovan: Trent McDuffie, Cornerback, University of Washington — The Eagles are ready to contend, and McDuffie is a great addition to a potentially vaunted Eagles defense.

Miguel: Trent McDuffie, Cornerback, University of Washington — The Eagles select a highly talented McDuffie to pair alongside star CB Darius Slay, reassuring their defensive secondary coverage.

16. New Orleans Saints (from Indianapolis Colts through Philadelphia)

Donovan: Sam Howell, Quarterback, University of North Carolina — The Saints will likely trade up for a quarterback, but here they get a high ceiling, but low floor, gunslinger. 

Miguel: Evan Neal, Offensive Line, University of Alabama — The Saints are ecstatic about Neal falling to them with this pick, potentially serving as their immediate replacement for Terron Armstead.

17. Los Angeles Chargers

Donovan: Charles Cross, Offensive Tackle, Mississippi State University — Chargers fill a need at right tackle here with a well-polished pass blocker to pair with star Rashawn Slater. 

Miguel: Charles Cross, Offensive Tackle, Mississippi State University — The Chargers shore up their protection of star QB Justin Herbert, now pairing Cross opposite of Slater on the O-line.

18. Philadelphia Eagles (from New Orleans Saints)

Donovan: Jermaine Johnson, Edge, Florida State University — The Eagles add to their defense again, as the offensive talent available doesn’t tantalize the front office. 

Miguel: Drake London, Wide Receiver, University of Southern California — The Eagles stick with their trend of first-round receiver selections, now adding a new jump-ball threat for Jalen Hurts.

19. New Orleans Saints (from Philadelphia Eagles)

Donovan: Jameson Williams, Wide Receiver, Ohio State University — The Saints add more offense here, with Williams representing an elite talent, albeit with significant injury issues. 

Miguel: Chris Olave, Wide Receiver, Ohio State University — Deciding to ride this season out with Jameis Winston, the Saints provide the QB with another explosive receiver in Olave.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers

Donovan: Kenny Pickett, Quarterback, University of Pittsburgh — The Steelers are in rebuild mode, and Mitchell Trubisky is not the answer. Pickett is pro-ready and can start early. 

Miguel: Matt Corral, Quarterback, University of Mississippi — The Steelers take a high-potential, dual-threat QB with a big arm that could learn behind Trubisky.

21. New England Patriots

Donovan: Tyler Linderbaum, Center, University of Iowa — The Patriots pick up a versatile option to protect Mac Jones and help reinvigorate the Patriots run game. 

Miguel: Devin Lloyd, Linebacker, University of Utah — Believing that Lloyd possesses the exact characteristics that fit the Patriot Way, the Patriots select the versatile and explosive linebacker. 

22. Green Bay Packers (from Las Vegas Raiders)

Donovan: Jahan Dotson, Wide Receiver, Pennsylvania State University — Packers fans have been calling for a first-round receiver for a long time. Dotson is exactly the explosive receiver they desire. 

Miguel: Jahan Dotson, Wide Receiver, Pennsylvania State University — Following the departure of star receiver Davante Adams, the Packers add a versatile weapon at wideout to help Aaron Rodgers.

23. Arizona Cardinals

Donovan: Andrew Booth Jr., Cornerback, Clemson University — Cardinals need some help in their secondary. Booth is a sound, low-floor choice who will contribute immediately. 

Miguel: Jordan Davis, Defensive Tackle, University of Georgia — After Davis had a remarkable showing at the combine, and as the Cardinals lose some strong presences on their defensive line, Arizona selects the monstrous Georgia tackle.

24. Dallas Cowboys

Donovan: Zion Johnson, Offensive Guard, Boston College — Johnson is a draft riser who can help the Cowboys rediscover a once-dominant offensive line. 

Miguel: Kenyon Green, Offensive Line, Texas A&M University — In need of immediate improvement on the O-line, Green’s strength and explosiveness can help the Cowboys reinvigorate their frontline.

25. Buffalo Bills

Donovan: DeMarvin Leal, Defensive Tackle, Texas A&M University — Leal has fallen because of perceptions of him as a tweener, but the Bills will find a way to exploit his talent. 

Miguel: Kaiir Elam, Cornerback, University of Florida — The Bills don’t have too many holes, but adding a skilled and savvy corner alongside Tre’Davious White cements their studded defensive secondary. 

26. Tennessee Titans

Donovan: Treylon Burks, Wide Receiver, University of Arkansas — Burks is a potential future star who will make a great combo with current Titans star A.J. Brown. 

Miguel: Zion Johnson, Offensive Line, Boston College — The Titans add a tenacious blocker who can immediately compete for the guard position, and secure the team’s run-gaps for Derrick Henry. 

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Donovan: Chris Olave, Wide Receiver, Ohio State University — The Buccaneers can use this pick to replace Antonio Brown, and appease Tom Brady by adding Olave to his arsenal of weapons. 

Miguel: George Karlaftis, Edge, Purdue University — With some aging pass rushers, the Bucs select a young and talented edge rusher to add to their D-line.

28. Green Bay Packers

Donovan: Daxton Hill, Safety, University of Michigan — Hill was a part of a great Michigan defense and his versatility can help any unit. He will find consistent time in the slot as well. 

Miguel: Trevor Penning, Offensive Line, Northern Iowa University — With starting tackle Elgton Jenkins heading into a contract year, the Packers select his potential replacement with Penning.

29. Kansas City Chiefs (from San Francisco 49ers through Miami Dolphins)

Donovan: Christian Watson, Wide Receiver, North Dakota State University — Watson is no Tyreek Hill, but Patrick Mahomes will be sure to extract all of the talent from this precise route runner. 

Miguel: Kyler Gordon, Cornerback, University of Washington — While reaching a bit here, the Chiefs faced too many struggles in their secondary last year to not select a talented and playmaking defensive back.

30. Kansas City Chiefs

Donovan: Kaiir Elam, Cornerback, University of Florida — There are a lot of varying opinions on Elam, but after the Chiefs lost Charvarius Ward in free agency, they take a necessary risk. 

Miguel: Treylon Burks, Wide Receiver, University of Arkansas — As a dangerous dual-pass game threat, Burks can be a vital weapon for Patrick Mahomes following the loss of Tyreek Hill.

31. Cincinnati Bengals

Donovan: Devonte Wyatt, Defensive Tackle, University of Georgia — The Bengals have consistently invested in their defensive line and add what could be a crucial piece here. 

Miguel: Boye Mafe, Edge, University of Minnesota — The Bengals take a chance here on a raw prospect who can still serve an impactful role on the team’s defensive line rotation.

32. Detroit Lions (from Los Angeles Rams)

Donovan: Lewis Cine, Safety, University of Georgia — The Lions have a big need here, and who else to select but another dependable member of the defending National Champion Georgia Bulldogs.

Miguel: Daxton Hill, Safety, University of Michigan — The Lions decide to stick with the Michigan theme this round, now adding a very versatile safety to their defensive secondary.

Image courtesy of Maize & Blue Nation

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