Despite the perception that this year’s draft class lacks star power, the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine will go down in history as one of the most exciting editions we have ever witnessed. Each year, players get bigger, stronger, faster, as the Marvel cast of characters posted some eye-popping numbers.
Now that the dust has settled from Lucas Oil Stadium, let’s take a look at how the first two rounds of the NFL Draft could play out come April. For the sake of this exercise, no trades were made in this particular mock draft, while selections were based on team needs and schemes. Buckle up and enjoy!
Finding a dominant plug-and-play blindside protector to pair with franchise quarterback Trevor Lawrence for the next decade seems like the power move.
The gritty pass-rusher fits in well with the identity that Chris Spielman and Dan Campbell are building in Detroit while providing the fanbase with a local superstar to build around.
During his podium presser, Thibodeaux called himself Jadeveon Clowney 2.o—landing in Houston would give the organization a defensive cornerstone and fill the void left by JJ Watt (Cardinals).
Isn’t it ironic that the Jets, who hold two picks inside the top ten due to the Jamal Adams (Seahawks) trade, would come full circle and take Hamilton, who many believe is a better pro prospect.
After nearly a decade of turnstiles, Big Blue could finally have a set of dependable bookend offensive tackles by pairing Neal with 2020 first-round pick Andrew Thomas.
An explosive, athletic big man in the middle, Davis can be a certified disruptor on defense and fits the mold of what head coach Matt Rhule seeks in his style of players.
Protecting the quarterback and getting after the quarterback are two key areas that the Giants need to repair. Adding the twitched-up Walker to the fold adds an element of versatility on defense.
The ‘Sauce’ man is ready to cook and Atlanta needs to shore up their 29th ranked defense from a year ago—Gardner would be too good to pass up here.
A smooth, technically sound Cross would complement Garrett Bolles well and make Denver a more appealing destination for a potential offseason quarterback splash.
It’s clear that rookie quarterback Zach Wilson struggles when healthy due to the lack of playmakers on offense. London could serve as a big, dependable go-to target.
After failing to land Russell Wilson from the Seahawks with a ‘massive’ offering, the Commanders will have to settle for Willis, which is not a bad consolation prize.
Considered a roll of the dice by some, Stingley owns the potential to be one of the premier players in the 2022 draft class when we reflect back a decade from now.
Should the Browns opt not to bring back the aforementioned Clowney, adding Karlaftis alongside Myles Garrett just seems logical and efficient.
The Ravens could go back to the wishing well in search of a developmental rusher in Ojabo, considering that Calais Campbell and Justin Houston are both set to hit the open market.
With the retirement talk of center Jason Kelce popping up in each of the past two off-seasons, the Eagles could make that decision easy by moving on without much of a drop-off.
Both Derek Barnett and Ryan Kerrigan are set to become free agents, so replenishing the depth at defensive end will be a key need.
One of the cleanest prospects in this year’s class, McDuffie can keep up with just about any wideout due to his size and physicality.
It could be a change of tide in New Orleans, as they shift from one Buckeyes legend in Michael Thomas, to the next wave of playmakers such as fellow alumni Wilson.
The starting safety duo of Anthony Harris and Rodney McCleod enter the offseason as free agents—Hill could fill in at either spot or safety.
No NFL team is more familiar with Pickett than the Steelers, who share a facility with the Panthers in Pittsburgh and are well aware of his high-level mental processing abilities.
After an early run on offensive tackles, the tenacious mauler Penning could slide into the laps of New England, which would help quarterback Mac Jones immensely.
After the unfortunate saga of Henry Ruggs and the failed experiment of Lynn Bowden Jr, it’s time for the Raiders to patch up their wide receiver corps.
The odds of re-signing Chandler Jones appear to be slim, making Mafe a sensible, more cost-effective alternative to help stabilize the defense and alleviate pressure off JJ Watt.
With number one wide receiver Amari Cooper on the way out, owner Jerry Jones could fall in love with the big-bodied possession wideout from his alma mater in Burks.
It was evident that the Bills' lack of depth in the secondary came back to haunt them in the playoffs and adding Elam could help alleviate some of that pain.
This could be a tremendous fit for the Titans and fortify the middle of the defense, as Dean cleans up the trash with the best of them due to his sideline-to-sideline prowess.
The quarterback position remains open-ended, while both Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones are no longer under contract. The selection of Hall will ease the burden of their next signal-caller.
A move that could make sense on numerous levels, whether Davante Adams returns or not, the Packers need another weapon. Williams would be a midseason turbo boost for the offense.
It seemed like the Dolphins were playing musical chairs along the offensive line last season, so adding Faalele would be welcomed news.
The need for speed is real in Kansas City. Lining up Dotson and Tyreek Hill on the same field would allow Andy Reid to play chess, while everyone else is playing checkers.
A lot of reinforcements are needed on the Bengals' offensive line. Johnson can play immediately at either guard spot.
When you start adding the equation of Hutchinson and Jones together, the sum would appear to be a lucrative, dynamic duo that would keep opposing offensive coordinators up late at night.
A member of the Pro Football Writers Association, Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation, Ric Serritella has covered the NFL Draft since 2002.