Thursday, March 30

2022 NFL Draft: Live picks, grades for first round

The 2022 NFL Draft is officially here, and all eyes are on Las Vegas, where 32 players will become first-round draft choices Thursday night.

Follow every pick live here and get immediate reaction from FOX Sports NFL Draft analyst Rob Rang, who will be grading every choice. 

The draft is underway now and can be seen live on NFL Network, ESPN and ABC.

1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia, 6-foot-5, 272 pounds, 4.51 40-yard dash

An exceptional prospect whose talents were hidden at Georgia because opposing offenses were unable to generate enough first downs to give anyone much opportunity to pad their statistics, Walker is already a star. With the gifts, motor and fit in this Jacksonville scheme, he should ascend to superstardom early in his NFL career. He and Josh Allen will be a formidable tandem for years. Grade: A

Notable Numbers: Recorded a sack in each of Georgia’s two College Football Playoff wins in 2021. Becomes the fifth No. 1 overall pick from Georgia, tying the record for most No. 1 picks by any school.

Taking a look at Jaguars’ No. 1 pick Travon Walker

Taking a look at Jaguars' No. 1 pick Travon Walker

Bucky Brooks breaks down game film of Georgia defensive end Travon Walker, the No. 1 overall pick of the Jaguars. Brooks sees similarities to Rams star Aaron Donald.

2. Detroit Lions: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan, 6-7, 268, 4.74

Forget the short-arm narrative, Hutchinson was the best draft-eligible player in the country a year ago, essentially willing the Wolverines to the Big Ten Championship and a College Football Playoff berth with his combination of burst, power and simple relentlessness. There is not a better fit for Dan Campbell and blue-collar Detroit than Hutchinson, who almost certainly would have been the No. 1 overall selection had the Lions owned the first pick. Grade: A

Notable Numbers: Recorded 14 sacks in 2021 season, setting the Michigan single-season record. Finished second in Heisman Trophy voting.

Aidan Hutchinson to Detroit at No. 2

Aidan Hutchinson to Detroit at No. 2

Bucky Brooks takes a look at Aidan Hutchinson, the highly touted edge rusher from Michigan.

3. Houston Texans: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU, 6-0, 188, 4.45

The first slight surprise of the draft, but not one I will quibble with given the unbelievable pure cover skills Stingley offers. Lovie Smith knows an exceptional talent when he sees it, and Stingley’s blend of fluidity, speed and ball-skills is special. There is no denying that his durability concerns raised red flags — thus the slightly lower grade — but Stingley is a future NFL interception leader. Grade: B+

Notable Numbers: Two-time first-team All-SEC selection (2019, 2020). Played in only three games in 2021 season due to Lisfranc injury. 

4. New York Jets: Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, CB, Cincinnati, 6-3, 193, 4.41

With a nickname and personality like “Sauce,” Gardner was perhaps destined for Broadway. Jets coach Robert Saleh likely saw a faster version of his former All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman in Gardner, who did not allow a single touchdown reception over his college career. Pairing Gardner with free-agent addition DJ Reed (Seattle) gives Saleh and the Jets the cornerback duo to contend with division rival Miami as one of the elite secondary pairings in the league. Grade: A-

Notable Numbers: Did not allow a single TD reception on 138 career targets. The 2021 AAC Defensive Player of the Year is the first Cincinnati player to be drafted in the first round since Bob Bell in 1971.

5. New York Giants: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon, 6-4, 256, 4.58 

A projected top-five pick since dominating the Pac-12 as a true freshman, Thibodeaux is the flashy edge rusher the Giants have lacked since Jason Pierre-Paul left town. His speed and power combination next to Leonard Williams gives New York the 1-2 punch up front to bully NFC East offensive lines. Like Sauce one selection earlier to the crosstown Jets, Thibodeaux has the flashy personality to excel in the big market. Grade: A

Notable Numbers: Led Oregon with seven sacks in 2021 and was voted a unanimous All-American.

Kayvon Thibodeaux’s outlook

Kayvon Thibodeaux's outlook

Geoff Schwartz analyzes Kayvon Thibodeaux’s strengths and what he will bring to the table for the New York Giants.

6. Carolina Panthers: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, North Carolina State, 6-4, 328, 4.93

The Panthers were thought likely to trade out of this selection given that the club is not scheduled to select again until the fourth round. However, with their choice of the top-rated tackles available, the club fortified its front with the Ekwonu, whose blend of size, agility and power projects beautifully all across the line. 

Also Read  Live updates as Biden nominates Ketanji Brown Jackson to Supreme Court

While a tad shorter than most like at tackle, Ekwonu is functionally bigger than his 6-4 height suggests due to his extraordinary wingspan. Providing Sam Darnold with better protection (and anticipating a healthy 2022 season from Christian McCaffrey) gives the club its best chance to compete immediately. Ekwonu is the second local prospect selected in the first round by Carolina, with the club nabbing South Carolina cornerback Jaycee Horn a year ago. Grade: A-

Notable Numbers: Third NC State offensive lineman to be drafted in the first round (Jim Ritcher, Garrett Bradbury). Unanimous All-American in 2021.

Carolina takes Ikem Ekwonu

Carolina takes Ikem Ekwonu

NC State offensive tackle Ikem Ekwonu’s can set the tone and terrorize defenses, according to Geoff Schwartz.

7. New York Giants: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama, 6-8, 345, 4.90 (Est.)

Big Blue is back! The 2022 draft could not have played out better for the Giants, who nabbed the best combination of twitch and production of the edge rushers in Thibodeaux and now take the massive Neal two picks later. The duo will both literally and figuratively push each other as the Giants have completely revamped the line of scrimmage. Neal and Andrew Thomas at tackle allow the Giants to live up to their moniker, with the behemoths giving Daniel Jones his best chance yet at living up to his own top 10 selection. Grade: A

Notable Number: 2021 consensus All-American and Outland Trophy semifinalist.

Giants land Evan Neal

Giants land Evan Neal

Geoff Schwartz hits on everything you need to know about Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal, from his explosive contact ability to his commitment to the game.

8. Atlanta Falcons: Drake London, WR, USC, 6-4, 219, 4.55 (est.)

In the first stunner of the 2022 draft, the Falcons eschewed their league-worst pass rush, instead, nabbing the best jump-ball receiver to pair with last year’s star Kyle Pitts. Often compared to fellow NFC South star Mike Evans in Tampa Bay, London offers the body control and strong hands to play the role of a security blanket for Marcus Mariota (or a quarterback soon to be selected). Grade: B

Notable Number: Led Pac-12 in receptions (88) and receiving yards (1,084) in 2021, despite missing the final four games due to an ankle injury. Was named the 2021 Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year.

Drake London headed to Atlanta

Drake London headed to Atlanta

Geoff Schwartz breaks down why he is so high upon USC wide receiver Drake London.

9. Seattle Seahawks: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State, 6-5, 311, 4.95

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – APRIL 28: (L-R) Charles Cross poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell onstage after being selected ninth by the Seattle Seahawks during round one of the 2022 NFL Draft on April 28, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

The Seahawks addressed the biggest hole on their roster with Cross, whose initial quickness, lateral agility and balance made him the most polished pass blocker in this draft class. With the vast majority of his run blocking coming out of the two-point stance at Mississippi State, Cross will need some work in Seattle’s anticipated run-first offense — but at just 21-years old, his upside is undeniable. Grade: B

Notable Number: First Mississippi State offensive lineman to be drafted in the first round since Derek Sherrod in 2011.

Seahawks take Charles Cross at No. 9

Seahawks take Charles Cross at No. 9

Geoff Schwartz examines Mississippi State offensive tackle Charles Cross as an elite 2022 NFL Draft prospect. Despite his experience in an air raid offense, typically making it more difficult for OTs to be drafted, Schwartz predicts Cross’ abilities as the “ultimate pass protector” will override any doubts for Seattle fans.

10. New York Jets: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State, 6-0, 184, 4.38

Jets general manager Joe Douglas recently stated that he sees “greatness” in Zach Wilson’s future. By surrounding the young quarterback with a pass-catcher of Garrett Wilson’s caliber, the QB’s job certainly will be easier. The Ohio State receiver offers the stickiest hands of this class, with remarkable body control to hover in the air and make circus catches look easy. Grade: B

Notable Number: Tied for second in the Big Ten with 12 receiving touchdowns in 2021.

Jets take Garrett Wilson

Jets take Garrett Wilson

FOX Sports’ Bucky Brooks breaks down the skills that put Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson at the top of the 2022 receiver class.

Also Read  Manchin says he 'never walked away' as Democrats push spending deal

11. New Orleans Saints (from Washington Commanders): Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State, 6-1, 185, 4.39

Perhaps pushed by the early run on receivers, the Saints boldly moved up to nab the speedster Olave, whose elite speed and silky change of direction makes him an exceptional deep threat. Olave will complement veteran Michael Thomas and help quarterback Jameis Winston, one of the league’s better deep-ball passers. The Saints will be criticized by many for the aggression of the trade up, but this was anticipated and is in line with previous bold moves orchestrated by Mickey Loomis. Grade: B

Notable Number: Ohio State’s all-time leader in receiving touchdowns (35). Two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection (2020, 2021).

Saints deal up for Chris Olave

Saints deal up for Chris Olave

Bucky Brooks breaks down the game of Chris Olave, who is headed to New Orleans after the Saints moved up to No. 11.

12. Detroit Lions (from Minnesota Vikings): Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama, 6-2, 180, 4.34 (est.)

It isn’t often that divisional rivals work together on trades in the first round — especially when the move helps a franchise land a possible game-changer — but with receivers coming off the board with three of the previous four picks, Detroit jumped up 20 spots to land Williams, the most physically gifted pass-catcher in the class. Williams will need time to recover from the ACL tear suffered in the national title game, making Detroit’s trade up that much bolder, but he is the vertical playmaker to take advantage of Jared Goff’s touch deep. Grade: B-  

Notable Number: Led SEC in receiving yards (1,572) and receiving touchdowns (15) in 2021. First-team All-American in 2021. 

Lions trade up for Jameson Williams

Lions trade up for Jameson Williams

Geoff Schwartz breaks down Jameson Williams, the highly skilled wide receiver from Alabama.

13. Philadelphia Eagles (from Houston Texans): Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia, 6-6, 341, 4.78

The Eagles started to fly a year ago when the club switched more to more of a run-heavy approach. With the addition of the massive Davis, opponents won’t be able to take that same strategy against Philadelphia. While perhaps not a classic pass rusher, Davis gets a strong push inside that should help the Eagles’ speedy rushers on the outside. Teams will struggle moving him off the line of scrimmage. Grade: B+

Notable Numbers: Ran a 4.78 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, the fastest by any player 330 pounds or heavier since 2006. Won the Outland Trophy and Chuck Bednarik Award in 2021.

Eagles land Jordan Davis

Eagles land Jordan Davis

Geoff Schwartz is impressed with Jordan Davis, who was selected 13th overall in the 2022 NFL Draft by Philadelphia.

14. Baltimore Ravens: Kyle Hamilton, FS, Notre Dame, 6-4, 217, 4.59

Faster on the field than in workouts due to his instincts, Hamilton is the first Irish defender drafted in the top 20 since 1994 (Bryant Young). 

Notable Numbers: First Notre Dame defensive back to be selected in the first round since Harrison Smith (2012). Consensus All-American in 2021.

15. Houston Texans (from Philadelphia Eagles): Kenyon Green, OG, Texas A&M, 6-4, 325, 5.24

A “set it and forget it” guard with enough athleticism and experience to slide outside to tackle in a pinch. 

16. Washington Commanders (from New Orleans Saints): Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State, 5-11, 181, 4.43

A Tyler Lockett clone with excellent agility, speed and hands, Dotson is a Day One difference-maker as a receiver and returner — but you’ll always wish he was a little bigger. 

Notable Numbers: Set Penn State single-game record with 242 receiving yards against Maryland in November 2021. First-team All-Big Ten selection in 2021.

Jahan Dotson highlights

Jahan Dotson highlights

Check out Jahan Dotson’s three-touchdown performance against Maryland

17. Los Angeles Chargers: Zion Johnson, OG/C, Boston College, 6-3, 314, 5.18

The very blueprint of a longtime starting interior lineman, Johnson is a block of granite with exceptional power to bulldoze defenders at the point of attack, as well as ideal intangibles. 

Notable Number: First-Team All-American in 2021. 

18. Tennessee Titans: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas, 6-2, 224, 4.55

A physical mismatch due to his bulk, field speed and toughness, Burks is the closest thing this class has to Deebo Samuel

Notable Numbers: First Arkansas wide receiver to be selected in the first round since 2005 (Matt Jones played QB at Arkansas but was drafted by the Jaguars as a WR). First-team All-SEC selection in 2021.

Also Read  AOC hits out at 'stark contrast' between treatment of Ukraine immigrants and Haitian and Syrian asylum seekers

19. New Orleans Saints: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa, 6-7, 333, 4.89

Massive, explosive and a bully whose greatest joy on the field is the opportunity to maul his opponent, Penning will be the first UNI Panther selected in the first round of an NFL draft.  

Notable Numbers: First Northern Iowa player to be selected in the first round. First-Team All-MVFC selection in 2021.  

Trevor Penning goes to New Orleans

Trevor Penning goes to New Orleans

Geoff Schwartz analyzes Trevor Penning, the physical offensive lineman from Northern Iowa.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh, 6-3, 219, 4.73

Most polished passer of this class with the accuracy, awareness and attitude needed to earn a starting role quickly — but his small hands and production prior to his breakout 2021 season are worrisome. 

Notable Numbers: Set Pittsburgh single-season records for passing yards (4,319) and passing TDs (42) in 2021. Second Pittsburgh QB to be drafted in the first round, joining Dan Marino (27th pick in 1983). At 20th overall, it marks the latest that the first QB in the draft has been picked since 1997 (Jim Druckenmiller, first QB taken in 1997 Draft with the 26th pick by the 49ers)

Steelers keep Kenny Pickett in Pittsburgh

Steelers keep Kenny Pickett in Pittsburgh

Geoff Schwartz explains what the Steelers are going to get from Kenny Pickett, who was selected 20th overall in the 2022 NFL Draft.

21. Kansas City Chiefs: (from New England Patriots): Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington, 5-11, 193, 4.44

Among the safest players in this class due to his buttery smooth athleticism, football IQ and reliable tackling.

Notable Numbers: Washington’s fifth first-round pick in the past six drafts. First-team All-Pac-12 selection in 2021.

22. Green Bay Packers: Quay Walker, LB, Georgia, 6-4, 242, 4.52

A perfect example of Georgia’s unbelievable talent, Walker didn’t emerge as a full-time starter until 2021, but scouts believe his game translates even better to the NFL than college.

23. Buffalo Bills (from Baltimore Ravens): Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida, 6-2, 192, 4.39

Showed an exciting blend of size, speed and production against elite competition and has NFL bloodlines, but he coasted a bit in 2021, raising red flags for some.

Notable Numbers: Son of former NFL safety Abram Elam and nephew of former NFL safety Matt Elam. Second-Team All-SEC selection in 2020.

24. Dallas Cowboys: Tyler Smith, OT, Tulsa, 6-5, 327, 5.02

More barroom brawler than composed blocker at this point, but the redshirt sophomore’s size, agility and aggression are exciting starter traits.

25. Baltimore Ravens (from Buffalo Bills): Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa, 6-2, 302, 5.02

Ultra-quick, competitive and technically refined, Linderbaum is a future Pro Bowler if drafted into the right (zone) scheme, though his short arms (31¼) do show up on tape against bigger DTs. 

Notable Numbers: Rimington Trophy winner (first Iowa player to win award) and unanimous All-American in 2021. 

26. New York Jets (from Tennessee Titans): Jermaine Johnson II, EDGE, Florida State, 6-5, 260, 4.58

Surprisingly polished given that he didn’t emerge as a full-time starter until 2021, Johnson was the best player on the field in the ACC, as well as the Senior Bowl. 

Notable Numbers: Led the ACC with 12 sacks in 2021 and was voted the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year.

27. Jacksonville Jaguars (from Tampa Bay Buccaneers): Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah, 6-3, 237, 4.66

Do it-all linebacker whose career stats (256, 43 tackles for loss, 15 sacks, five interceptions — three of which he returned for TDs) are like something out of a video game. 

Notable Numbers: Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year (first Utah player to win the award) and first-team All-American in 2021.

28. Green Bay Packers: Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia, 6-3, 304, 4.77

Overshadowed by teammates a bit until a spectacular week at the Senior Bowl, Wyatt is both slippery and gritty, projecting as Day One starting three-technique defensive tackle. 

Notable Number: Second-Team All-American in 2021.

29. New England Patriots:

30. Kansas City Chiefs:

31. Cincinnati Bengals:

32. Minnesota Vikings:

Get more from National Football League Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *