With college all-star game season in the rearview and the NFL Scouting Combine beginning this week in Indianapolis (March 3-6 on NFL Network), here’s my updated forecast for Round 1 of the 2022 NFL Draft.
Protecting franchise quarterback Trevor Lawrence is the No. 1 priority for Jacksonville. With Cam Robinson set to hit free agency, the Jaguars could pair Neal with 2021 second-rounder Walker Little to man the edges for years to come.
Detroit coach Dan Campbell could fall in love with the ultra-athletic, high-motor pass rusher with Michigan roots. Hutchinson’s relentlessness and superb technique could make him a double-digit sack artist early in his career.
The electric pass rusher has a boom-or-bust feel to his game, but his raw tools are just too enticing to ignore. If NFL coaching can fully unlock his potential, Thibodeaux could shine as a shop wrecker off the edge on Sundays.
Adding more protection around Zach Wilson should help the Jets’ young QB1 develop in 2022. With Morgan Moses‘ contract up, general manager Joe Douglas could opt to take the big, athletic tackle to shore up the offensive line.
OT · Sophomore (RS)
Rebuilding the Giants’ offensive line has to be a top priority for new general manager Joe Schoen. As a Day 1 starter, Cross could immediately help Big Blue re-establish a blue-collar mentality on offense.
QB · Senior (RS)
Matt Rhule throws another asset at the quarterback position to try to help the Panthers finally solve their problems under center.
Edge · Sophomore (RS)
The Giants have always been at their best when a dominant defensive front can take over the game. The ultra-twitchy pass rusher from Michigan would add significant juice.
The long, rangy cover corner could form an impressive lockdown combination with A.J. Terrell on the island.
The versatile Lloyd is a sideline-to-sideline playmaker with exceptional instincts, awareness and ball skills.
Building around Zach Wilson will require the Jets to expend top picks on perimeter playmakers. Wilson is an A+ wideout with soft hands and superb route-running skills.
Stingley is a five-star talent with All-Pro potential. He did not finish his collegiate career with a bang, but his impressive freshman season could prompt Ron Rivera to roll the dice on his upside.
The energetic pass rusher could step in immediately to spark a front line that needs another QB hunter.
Perhaps adding a supersized pass catcher with extraordinary length and leaping ability can unlock Baker Mayfield‘s full potential. London is a former stud basketball player with a knack for winning 50-50 balls on the perimeter.
The team’s success with eight-time Pro Bowler Marshal Yanda could prompt general manager Eric DeCosta to fish in the Hawkeye pond again when searching for a potential replacement for pending free agent Bradley Bozeman. As an exceptional athlete with a refined technical game, Linderbaum could step in and dominate from Day 1.
The addition of a playmaking safety with range, ball skills and thump would upgrade an Eagles secondary that could lose a pair of starters in the back end.
The Eagles have the draft capital needed to make the necessary upgrades at wide receiver. Olave is a polished route runner with the potential to flourish as a WR2 opposite DeVonta Smith.
OT · Senior (RS)
The need to protect Justin Herbert could prompt general manager Tom Telesco to seek an upgrade at right tackle. Penning has the size, length and athleticism to stymie pass rushers in their tracks.
QB · Junior (RS)
The crafty Corral would give head coach Dennis Allen a young quarterback to build around.
Edge · Senior (RS)
The Eagles need to find a replacement for 33-year-old Brandon Graham on the edges. Not to mention, Derek Barnett‘s hitting the open market. Johnson could get the call as an athletic pass rusher with a non-stop motor.
QB · Senior (RS)
Head coach Mike Tomlin ushers in a new era with an ultra-athletic quarterback supported by a defense that could enable the Steelers to survive the youngster’s growing pains.
The potential loss of pending free agent J.C. Jackson could prompt the Patriots to select a scheme-friendly cover corner with outstanding skills.
Taking a run-stopper early in the draft isn’t sexy, but Davis is a true difference-maker at the point of attack. The mammoth defensive tackle could single-handedly neutralize opposing ground games and create more pass-rush opportunities for Maxx Crosby and Yannick Ngakoue.
U-Dub has treated the Cardinals well, with Budda Baker and Byron Murphy contributing in a major way in the desert. McDuffie could emerge as the next Husky to step into a starring role as a rock-solid corner with a steady game.
The Cowboys must address their declining offensive line to help Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott improve their play in 2022. Green would step in as a Day 1 starter at left guard and eliminate some of the leakage in the middle.
General manager Brandon Beane could gamble on a swift pass-catcher coming off a knee injury to upgrade the perimeter playmakers around Josh Allen.
Upgrading the WR corps is a priority, seeing how the passing game struggled at times this season. Dotson is a big-play specialist with sticky hands and outstanding route-running skills.
Cornerback could be a top priority for Bruce Arians and Jason Licht with Carlton Davis headed for free agency.
The Packers could opt for an energetic interior defender to boost the defense.
Dean is a high-IQ linebacker who can help coordinator Josh Boyer add some sizzle to the Dolphins’ defense.
Kansas City needs more playmakers in the secondary. Hill’s versatility, instincts and awareness would make him a nice fit in the Chiefs’ dynamic scheme.
OT · Senior
The Bengals will make upgrading the offensive line the No. 1 priority this offseason. Raimann has the potential to play inside or outside as a pro.
As an explosive defender with the versatility to play inside or outside, Walker gives defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn more options to utilize on the front line.