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Like any other year, making NFL Draft 2022 predictions won’t be easy. The draft has become one of the most drama-filled and unpredictable events in sports, on or off the field, which is why fans continue to watch it.
This year should be no different, especially since the draft won’t be quarterback-dominant and there is no consensus for the top overall pick. But that doesn’t mean we’re going to stay away from NFL draft predictions in 2022.
NFL Draft 2022 predictions
In fact, we’re going to be as bold and borderline crazy as possible when it comes to our predictions. The NFL Draft trade rumors in 2022 are as wild as ever, especially after so many quarterbacks and prominent players changed teams leading up to the draft.
In all likelihood, there are plenty of potential NFL Draft trades in the works that could come to fruition on draft night. Plus, there is stuff that we’d just like to see happen as fans because it’d be interesting. Taking all of that into consideration, here are 10 bold predictions for the 2022 NFL Draft.
Evan Neal is the top overall pick
For the second straight year, the Jaguars are on the clock with the first overall pick. But unlike last season, there is no can’t-miss prospect to grab at no. 1.
The Jags could go with a pass-rusher, but they might end up surprising us by taking Alabama offensive lineman Evan Neal. They think they have a quarterback of the future in Trevor Lawrence, so it’d be foolish not to do what they can to keep him protected. At the end of the day, this makes all of the sense in the world, but with no clear choice at no. 1, we still think it’s a rather bold move.
Steelers trade up to draft Kenny Pickett
It’s been a while since the Steelers needed to draft a quarterback in the first round, so who knows what their strategy is going to be. But we think one of the potential NFL draft trades is going to be the Steelers moving up to get their quarterback of the future. We also think that Pickett will be the quarterback they want.
He played his college football at Pitt, which makes him a natural fit. Plus, if you look closely, there might be a little bit of Ben Roethlisberger in him. The only question is how high the Steelers will have to trade up to get their man.
Bills trade up for Cornerback
The Bills have already done some work at cornerback this offseason, and we don’t think they’re done. Even if Tre’Davious White comes back healthy, Buffalo needs to get better. Unfortunately, they draft late in the first round, so they may not be able to get one of the better cornerbacks available.
There could be three to five corners selected before Buffalo is on the clock. That could lead them to make a trade up to the middle of the first round to ensure they get an impact cornerback.
Chiefs trade up for Wide Receiver
After trading Tyreek Hill, there are plenty of NFL draft trade rumors in 2022 involving the Chiefs. It’s almost a given that Kansas City will try to replace Hill by selecting a wide receiver in the first round. The problem is the Chiefs don’t know what receivers will be around when they draft 29th and 30th overall.
With multiple first-round picks, the Chiefs are a team to watch when it comes to trading up in the draft to get whatever wide receiver they covet the most.
Tight End selected before Running Back
This draft could tell us just how devalued the running back position has come. Colorado State’s Trey McBride is the top tight end available, and we think he’s coming off the board before any running back does.
There is no running back worthy of a first-round pick this season, so it’s a mystery just how early one will be selected. It could be deep into the second round until a running back comes off the board. Meanwhile, given the value that tight ends have, we don’t think McBride is going to last that long, meaning the first tight end gets picked before the first running back.
Jets take Drake London fourth overall
If this were to happen, it would be rather shocking, even for the Jets, who are prone to questionable moves. That’s what makes it among the boldest NFL draft 2022 predictions.
There should be no question that the Jets will want to draft an offense player fourth overall to help out young quarterback Zach Wilson. But most of the top offensive players available are offensive linemen rather than wide receivers.
There’s no wide receiver in this class who’s a consensus top-5 pick. London isn’t even considered the best wide receiver in this class. However, he has a strong pedigree and boasts impressive size, making him a matchup nightmare for NFL cornerbacks right off the bat. That could lead the Jets to make a bold and surprising choice by selecting London far before most prognosticators project him to be drafted.
Top-10 is more defense than offense
Based on the talent in this year’s draft, it wouldn’t be a huge shock to see the defensive side of the ball emphasized a little more in the top-10 picks. But keep in mind that the first seven picks and eight of the first 10 picks last season were offensive players, including three quarterbacks in the first three picks.
If there were six or more defensive players selected in the first 10 picks, it would be a huge turnaround from last season. In theory, it’s natural for things to balance out like that, although it would be a little surprising to see things play out like this.
Nakobe Dean is a top-10 pick
With all due respect to Dean, it would be one of the bolder NFL Draft 2022 predictions to see him selected in the top-10. After all, he’s a somewhat undersized linebacker, which isn’t typically the stereotype for a top-10 selection. But the guy is a phenomenal athlete who helped a historically good Georgia defense win a national championship.
We’re going to go out on a limb and say that some team will go out on a limb during the top-10 picks and make Dean a focal point on its defense.
Only two quarterbacks taken in First Round
After the first three picks and five of the first 15 picks in last year’s drafts were used on quarterbacks, we may not even get to three quarterbacks taken by the end of the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
That in itself could be among the boldest NFL draft predictions of 2022.
We know that this isn’t the strongest quarterback class we’ve ever seen. On the other hand, teams always seem to be willing to reach a little when they need a quarterback. However, after so many quarterbacks involved in trades earlier this offseason, the game of musical chairs at that position could be close to over. Plus, the teams that need a quarterback might be more willing to wait for a little while, which is why we’re predicting only two quarterbacks taken off the board by the end of Round 1.
Jimmy Garoppolo gets traded
It’s a little bit of a mystery why Garoppolo is still with the 49ers, especially with all of the quarterback movement this offseason. But perhaps one of the potential NFL draft trades will involve the 49ers finally shipping him out of town.
We know crazy and unexpected trades tend to happen during the draft. Perhaps a team looking for a quarterback won’t get the guy they want, leading them to call the 49ers during the draft and work out a trade for Garoppolo instead.