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SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

It’s time for the 2022 NFL draft pick

Assets by Shutterstock

Are you ready for some football?

By Brandon Samora

The 2022 NFL Draft is here, and this is one of the most non-hyped draft classes in history. Contrary to the lack of mainstream media coverage, there are a lot of fantastic prospects in this year’s draft class. 

What college football has offered to us in 2022, and for the foreseeable future, is a deep class of wide receivers and high-performance defensive prospects. The top 10 picks will most likely include a variety of edge rushers, offensive linemen and probably a wide receiver or two. 

As of right now, this is how the first round will shakeup:

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars
  2. Detroit Lions
  3. Houston Texans
  4. New York Jets
  5. New York Giants
  6. Carolina Panthers
  7. New York Giants (from Chicago Bears)
  8. Atlanta Falcons
  9. Seattle Seahawks (from Denver Broncos)
  10. New York Jets (from Seattle Seahawks)
  11.  Washington Commanders
  12. Minnesota Vikings
  13. Houston Texans (from Cleveland Browns)
  14. Baltimore Ravens
  15. Philadelphia Eagles (from Miami Dolphins)
  16. New Orleans Saints (from Indianapolis Colts through Philadelphia Eagles)
  17. Los Angeles Chargers
  18. Philadelphia Eagles (from New Orleans Saints)
  19. New Orleans Saints (from Philadelphia Eagles)
  20. Pittsburgh Steelers
  21. New England Patriots
  22. Green Bay Packers (from Las Vegas Raiders)
  23. Arizona Cardinals
  24. Dallas Cowboys
  25. Buffalo Bills
  26. Tennessee Titans
  27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  28. Green Bay Packers
  29. Kansas City Chiefs (from San Francisco 49ers through Miami Dolphins)
  30. Kansas City Chiefs
  31. Cincinnati Bengals
  32. Detroit Lions (from Los Angeles Rams)

Round one will see a majority of the top-edge rushers and offensive lineman leave the board. 

The top 3 picks–Jacksonville, Detroit and Houston–could potentially take Aidan Hutchinson from Michigan; Travon Walker from Georgia; and Kayvon Thibodeaux from Oregon.

Hutchinson has moved in front of the pack and has emerged as the top prospect in the draft, and for good reason. With one of the fastest first steps in recent years, and has a wide array of moves to terrorize offensive linemen in the NFL. 

Rounding out the top 10 could potentially be Ickey Ekwonu from N.C. State. The projected year one starter and another athlete frequently blows the minds of people who watch the game of football and is the clear-cut No. 1 offensive lineman. 

According to Lance Zierlein’s analysis of Ekwonu, he is “a gentleman in class and killer on the grass.” For good reason, Ekwonu has elite side-to-side first-step speed and will be a huge run-blocking asset to whatever team takes him off the board.

Further down the first round, we’ll see names like Garrett Wilson, Drake London, Jameson Williams and Chris Olave. They highlight the stacked class of wide-outs that have led the charge of the 2022 draft, and for good reason. 

The Falcons sit currently with the eighth pick, and this could be a serviceable spot for Matt Ryan-less Falcons. Between the loss of Calvin Ridley for a season and the departure of Julio Jones last season, Atlanta is in dire need of a wide receiver. The Falcons can also go quarterback if they see something in Kenny Pickett or Malik Willis, but with an impending rebuilding season, the squad needs someone who can make an impact for years to come.

Sitting at pick 14, the Baltimore Ravens are in line to take yet another defensive impact player, and in a perfect world, Jordan Davis will fit the bill. The 6-6, 341-pounder is a true “freak of nature,” posting a 4.78 40-yard dash and elite agility with the stature he holds. The interior pairing of Davis and Calais Cambell on the defensive line would quite possibly be the biggest and one of the most powerful interior pairings in the league. 

Now, this is the best-case scenario for Baltimore and Davis could certainly be gone by the time pick 14 comes around. The Ravens could also take George Karlaftis from Purdue or Devonte Wyatt from Georgia. 

Finally, we get to our quarterbacks. At pick 18, the Saints are the most likely to draft a quarterback with Kenny Pickett. Now, this brings into question why they signed Andy Dalton if they were interested in Pickett? 

After breaking nearly every record Dan Marino held collegiately, Pickett showed huge improvement after an average 2020 season and proved that he has the decision-making and arm strength to compete in the NFL. There could be a quarterback taken in the top 10 and we could see a few go in the first, and we could also see one or possibly even none go off the board, it’s just how NFL General Managers feel tonight. 

There are clearly four top prospects at the quarterback position for this year’s draft. 

As already noted, Pickett is an elite arm talent that has proven he can adapt and change to excel in a position, and if he can transition that to the NFL would be a huge upside to whoever can scoop him up. 

Malik Willis impressed a lot of people at the Senior Bowl, and the huge arm he’s displayed this off-season has raised eyebrows around the league. The doubts surrounding Willis sit with his consistent inaccuracy at Liberty, and his lack of good decision-making in tough situations. 

Desmond Riddler is another top-arm talent who showed true dual-threat possibility that can translate to the NFL. After four years starting at Cincinnati, Riddler finished 2021 with elite numbers as he completed 64.9% of his passes for 3,334 yards (8.6 YPA), 30 TDs and eight INTs. Proving himself as a leader when he led Cincinnati to a CFP appearance this season, Riddler could get taken by any team questioning their current quarterback situation. 

Rounding out the top four is Matt Corral from Ole Miss. After an injury in his team’s bowl game, Corral is another quarterback who showed improvement this season. Combined in 2020 and 2021, Corral has a 69.4 completion percentage and threw for over 3,300 yards both seasons. The biggest improvement was shown when moving from 2020 to the 2021 season, when Corral went from a 29:14 TD to INT ratio to a 20:5 ratio in. With close to an average arm strength rating, whichever team chooses to take Corral is going to need to buy into his dual-threat ability to maximize his upside. 

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