National Football League
NFL Mock Draft 4.0: Thibodeaux to Jags, Hutchinson to Lions
National Football League

NFL Mock Draft 4.0: Thibodeaux to Jags, Hutchinson to Lions

Updated Jan. 12, 2022 10:36 p.m. ET

By Jason McIntyre
FOX Sports Betting Analyst

The college football season is over, and the top of the 2022 NFL Draft order is set. 

We’re finally getting some clarity on how the first round of the draft will shake out April 28. There have been a couple of big moves since Mock Draft 3.0 in December, and there will be more after February’s NFL Combine. 

Let’s get to Mock Draft 4.0.


1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge, Oregon

It's starting to feel like the dynamic edge rushers will go one-two … in either order. Thibodeaux opposite Josh Allen would be a nightmare for opposing QBs. The Jaguars can’t go wrong with Thibodeaux or Aidan Hutchinson, but I give the slight edge to KT now after Hutch was schemed out of the CFP semifinal rather easily by Georgia. The Jaguars should consider trading down for more picks. The offense will get back injured RB Travis Etienne, but Jacksonville will definitely need to overpay for a star receiver in free agency.

2. Detroit Lions: Aidan Hutchinson, Edge, Michigan

Hutchinson's disappointing showing against Georgia in the playoff won’t hurt his draft stock, as the Heisman Trophy runner-up stays home to play for the Lions. Dan Campbell has a nice collection of pass rushers in Julian Okwara, Charles Harris and Trey Flowers (assuming the Lions don’t get out of his contract).

3. Houston Texans: Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss

Lots of questions remain for the Texans, who haven’t made a decision on their coach and seem to really like 2021 third-round pick Davis Mills (16 TD passes). Here’s the thing: The smart move is for QB-needy teams to always draft the position in the first round. Worst-case scenario: You trade whoever doesn’t work out. Corral looked like the most NFL-ready QB in college football this season. There haven’t been any updates on his ankle injury suffered in the Sugar Bowl.

4. New York Jets: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

This is difficult, because the last mountain of a man the Jets got from Louisville to play left tackle, Mekhi Becton, has mostly been a disaster. He has come into camp out of shape twice and has been slow to return from injury. He has a lot to prove. Neal would let Becton slide to right tackle, and then perhaps your tackles are Alijah Vera-Tucker and George Fant, who had a strong year at tackle.

5. New York Giants: George Karlaftis, Edge, Purdue

He played 26 games in college, had 14 sacks and 29 tackles for loss and was generally a wrecking ball off the edge. While a notch below the top two guys, and not quite on the Bosa level, Karlaftis has All-Pro potential. The Giants need someone off the edge. Dexter Lawrence fits better inside, and rookie Azeez Ojulari remains raw.

6. Carolina Panthers: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh

Going from "not an early-round QB" to "top 10" in one year is a pretty wild turn of events for Pickett, but his 42 TDs this season opened some eyes. So did his 67% completion rate and 8.7 YPA. Is he the new Joe Burrow, a one-year wonder who made the jump to light speed? Carolina coach Matt Rhule recruited Pickett to Temple years ago. Picket turns 24 in June.

7. New York Giants (via Chicago Bears): Ikem Ekwonu, OL, NC State

New York is looking for a new coach and GM, making the QB situation murky at best. Perhaps this pick becomes a QB when we find resolution on the team's leadership, but for now, the Giants move to bolster an offensive line that finished 28th in pass block win rate (54%).

8. Atlanta Falcons: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU

It's starting to sound as if Stingley could fall out of the top five, or maybe even top 10. He played only 289 coverage snaps in the past two seasons due to injury. But when healthy, he was totally dominant. Pairing Stingley with rising star AJ Terrell should rapidly improve the 29th-rated pass defense in the NFL.

9. Denver Broncos: Sam Howell, QB, UNC

The Broncos have young talent at all the important positions; they don’t have a QB. They’ll swing for the fences in free agency for Aaron Rodgers or Russell Wilson, and maybe they even get in the Jimmy Garoppolo sweepstakes. But if not, it’s got to be a QB here, right? Howell grew up in North Carolina and stayed home after committing to Florida State, so maybe the Panthers grab him at No. 6. Denver has to try to draft a QB, with Drew Lock not delivering much in his 21 starts over three years (20 interceptions).

10. New York Jets (via Seattle Seahawks): Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

He played three years and more than 1,100 coverage snaps and didn’t permit a touchdown. At 6-foot-3, he’s rangy and quick and can excel in Robert Saleh’s defensive scheme, which relies heavily on man coverage.

11. Washington Football Team: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia

Ron Rivera gets the linebacker he has missed since Luke Kuechly helped lead a nasty Panthers defense to the Super Bowl in 2015. Dean is a heat-seeking missile. With Chase Young back, Washington could return to being a top-10 defense in the league.

12. Minnesota Vikings: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

Hamilton is one of the most talented players in the draft, and he certainly could go in the top 10. The Vikings are a tough read given they fired their coach and GM, and they have perhaps six defensive starters who are going to hit free agency, including safety Xavier Woods.

13. Cleveland Browns: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

Things unraveled after last year’s playoff appearance, and now there’s no telling if Baker Mayfield is back, and perhaps not even WR Jarvis Landry, who might have to take a pay cut. Rashard Higgins, Cleveland's outsider burner, is a free agent.

14. Baltimore Ravens: Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia

The Ravens went from tops in the AFC to missing the playoffs largely due to injuries. No team put more players on IR. The Lamar Jackson contract looms, and a handful of defensive starters (Calais Campbell, Brandon Williams, Jimmy Smith) are on the wrong side of 30 and destined for free agency. At 6-foot-6 and 340-plus, Davis can be dominant against the run, but he’s not an Aaron Donald-type who is going to get to the passer.

15. Philadelphia Eagles (via Miami Dolphins): Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

The Eagles were strong in the trenches and solid in the secondary this season, but the linebacking unit graded out as one of the worst in the league, per Pro Football Focus. Lloyd is the top linebacker in this draft.

16. Philadelphia Eagles (via Indianapolis Colts): Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa

Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson have been stalwarts for the Eagles' offensive line, but are both getting up there in age. Linderbaum is the best center prospect in the draft and can move around the line as a rookie.

17. Los Angeles Chargers: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

After Storm Norton got obliterated by Raiders DE Maxx Crosby in the final game of the regular season, the Chargers' first-round pick became easy. They need a right tackle. Yes, the run defense is a top priority, too. But that’s cheaper to fix in free agency.

18. New Orleans Saints: Drake London, WR, USC

The Saints need to resolve their QB situation. But WR is also a need, as Alvin Kamara led them in receptions, and undrafted second-year pro Marquez Callaway was second. Lack of outside options made their offense predictable and poor.

19. Philadelphia Eagles: Trey McBride, TE, Colorado State

The best tight end in college football caught only one TD this season, but the 6-foot-4, 260-pound tank will be a huge win for the Eagles. He'll make them more versatile, allowing them to pass out of two tight-end sets — which helped lead them to the Super Bowl in 2018. The Eagles were far too limited offensively last season, despite clawing their way to the playoffs.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

The Steelers' top corner, Joe Haden, turns 33 soon, and depth at the position has been a problem for years. Yes, they will need a new QB; no, they aren’t going to take one here because they’ll get one in free agency.

21. New England Patriots: Cameron Thomas, DE, San Diego State

Bill Belichick is building a formidable front, with Christian Barmore looking like a star, joining the team’s sack leader, Matthew Judon. Thomas will be another nasty defender in the trenches who can chase Josh Allen around for a decade.

22. Miami Dolphins (via San Francisco 49ers): Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

The Dolphins have four receivers set to be free agents. Yes, they just drafted Jaylen Waddle last year, and he was tremendous. But they need size on the outside, and Burks (6-foot-3, 225) largely dominated the best conference in college football. If he runs well at the combine, I wouldn’t rule out him going in the top 15.

23. Las Vegas Raiders: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

Williams (1,507 yards, 15 TDs) reportedly tore his ACL in the national title game but expects to make a full recovery. He would be a perfect fit for the Raiders, who have been enamored with speed on the outside for decades.

24. Arizona Cardinals: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

Top priority is rebooting the secondary, but there are other needs, too (offensive line, edge rusher, defensive tackle). The Cardinals overachieved for the first half of the season. Beyond fellow former Huskies Byron Murphy and Budda Baker, there isn’t much on the back end of the defense.

25. Cincinnati Bengals: Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn

While Chidobe Awuzie looks like a steal in free agency, the Bengals haven’t been able to sort out their other cornerback spot. To make the leap in the top-heavy AFC, the Bengals must fortify their secondary.

26. Buffalo Bills: Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State

The Bills have two receivers becoming free agents (Emmanuel Sanders, Isaiah McKenzie), and Cole Beasley turns 33 in April. Toss in the massive Josh Allen contract, and this team needs to start accumulating weapons on the cheap. Dotson is sure-handed (only two drops on 138 targets in 2021) and should be an impact rookie.

27. Detroit Lions (via Los Angeles Rams): Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

The Lions can take a flier on a QB late in the first round if they grade him out as a prospect who can sit for a year and then step in for Jared Goff. Willis is a massive boom-bust prospect with tantalizing upside. But he’s extremely raw and is largely untested against top-flight competition.

28. Dallas Cowboys: Martin Emerson, CB, Mississippi State

The Cowboys' run defense will be tested in the wild-card game by San Francisco. Dallas' pass defense is overrated, thanks to all the Trevon Diggs interceptions. Emerson is a tall corner (6-foot-2) who is so good against the run he could possibly move to safety.

29. Kansas City Chiefs: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

The Chiefs have been searching for a receiver to play opposite Tyreek Hill since Sammy Watkins left. They haven’t had much luck. Olave, the premier route runner in college football, is their guy.

30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson

When the Bucs lose in the playoffs, it will be because the secondary struggled so badly. Booth is a talented corner who could push for a starting position as a rookie.

31. Tennessee Titans: Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan

A converted high school QB, Moore had a fantastic season in just his third year playing receiver, with only four drops in 125 targets. He had five games with double-digit receptions, including 11 against Pittsburgh. If he runs a 4.3 40, he might just crack the first round. At 5-foot-10, Moore projects as a slot receiver, but in the right offense, he has the ceiling of Tyreek Hill.

32. Green Bay Packers: DeMarvin Leal, DL, Texas A&M

The Packers' best defense is Aaron Rodgers having the ball. They ranked 28th against the run this season. Leal can play inside and out, but they’ll need him on the inside.

Jason McIntyre is a FOX Sports betting analyst, and he also writes about the NFL and NBA Drafts. He joined FS1 in 2016 and has appeared on every show on the network. In 2017, McIntyre began producing gambling content on the NFL, college football and NBA for FOX Sports. He had a gambling podcast for FOX, "Coming Up Winners," in 2018 and 2019. Before arriving at FOX, he created the website The Big Lead, which he sold in 2010.


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