2022 NFL mock draft: Run on quarterbacks early in round one

Dec 30, 2020; Arlington, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Spencer Rattler (7) rolls out during the fourth quarter against the Florida Gators at ATT Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 30, 2020; Arlington, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Spencer Rattler (7) rolls out during the fourth quarter against the Florida Gators at ATT Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /
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NFL mock draft
Quarterback Spencer Rattler #7 of the Oklahoma Sooners. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

The 2021 college football season hasn’t even started yet, but here is a look at my early projections in my 2022 NFL mock draft. 

We are only a mere two weeks away from the start of the 2021 NFL Training Camps, and hope is in the air for all NFL teams. The 2021 NFL Draft has concluded and NFL rookies are competing for starting jobs and the chance to make an immediate impact in the 2021-2021 campaign. While first-rounders will get first dibs, all rookies are looking to make their mark at the next level. However, it is never too early to take a look at some of the prominent players for the 2022 NFL Draft.

Below, I will take my first stab at projecting the 2022 NFL Draft. At first glance, this is another deep and talented group with a focus on standout signal-callers and EDGE rushers Some premier players will be available once again to help your NFL team, so take a look before the season gets underway.

2022 NFL Mock Draft:

1. Houston Texans – Spencer Rattler, QB Oklahoma

The Texans are not going to win many games without Deshaun Watson this coming season. Without a clear decision looming on his future in the NFL, the team must find a way to move forward. Houston drafted Davis Mills in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft, but Spencer Rattler possesses a much higher upside and rosier outlook for Texans’ fans beyond this season. Rattler has a fearless playing style similar to Patrick Mahomes and the arm strength to emulate him as the next great QB in the AFC.

2. Detroit Lions – Sam Howell, QB North Carolina

While the Lions just recently acquired a new quarterback in Jared Goff, a top-five finish in 2021 would certainly mean more changes are coming. The team traded long-time QB Matthew Stafford this offseason and could use those assets to start over and build around a potential franchise QB. Sam Howell is the 1B to Rattler’s 1A in this class and has the mobility and arm talent to be a star in the Motor City.

3.  Cincinnati Bengals – Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE Oregon

The Bengals are an ascending team in the AFC thanks to their offensive firepower and the expected year-two jump of QB Joe Burrow. The team did their best to assist in that maturation by selecting Burrow’s former teammate Ja’Marr Chase in the 2021 NFL Draft. They turn to the defense in 2022, with arguably the best talent in the entire class. Kayvon Thibodeaux has been a star since his freshman season in Eugene and should ascend quickly in the NFL as well.

4. New York Jets – Zion Nelson, OT Miami (Fla.)

New York has spent a ton of resources on the offensive line in recent years, with back-to-back first-rounders in 2020 and 2021. Make it a three-peat here as the Jets continue to build their offensive front around new signal-caller, Zach Wilson. Nelson was a breakout star for the Hurricanes in 2020. He’s dominant as both a run and pass blocker with the length and agility to start day one at the left tackle spot.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars – Kyle Hamilton, S Notre Dame

Even with the tremendous depth of the 2021 safety class, no player stood out or possessed the talent and playmaking ability of Notre Dame’s Kyle Hamilton. A few years ago, the Jaguars had one of the top secondaries in the league with names like Jalen Ramsey, A.J. Bouye and, Tashaun Gipson. They hope to get back to those glory days with Hamilton and new additions like Shaq Griffin and Tyson Campbell.

6. Philadelphia Eagles – Derek Stingley Jr., CB LSU

Speaking of great defensive backs, the Eagles snatch up another one here with the addition of LSU’s elite cover corner. Stingley Jr. has been arguably college football’s top corner since his true freshman season and would instantly upgrade the Eagles’ ever-struggling secondary. He has prototype size, speed, and range for a boundary CB prospect and remains a borderline top-five prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft.

7. Atlanta Falcons – Desmond Ridder, QB Cincinnati

Instead of choosing from one of the top signal-callers available in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Falcons chose to add another weapon for long-time starter, Matt Ryan. Only time will tell if this was the correct decision, but the team will need to add a young QB to the mix sooner than later. Ridder is an intriguing option in the top 10 with great arm strength and mobility. He could be ready to take over as soon as the 2023 NFL season.

8. Las Vegas Raiders – Justyn Ross, WR Clemson

Despite having a very talented offense heading into 2021, the Raiders lack a proven go-to-guy at the wide receiver position. The team hopes that 2020 first-rounder Henry Ruggs will become that type of threat, but Las Vegas takes a swing again at the position here with Clemson’s Justyn Ross. The Tigers’ star WR missed 2020 due to injury but has the size and speed of an alpha receiver at the NFL level.

9. New York Giants – DeMarvin Leal, DT Texas A&M

The Giants were a mess as a football team in 2020, starting with another injury to star RB Saquon Barkley and continuing with their horrible struggles on defense. New York will need to continue to get stronger up front, and they do that here with the addition of Leal. The Aggie defensive lineman is a dominant force with great size and push from the middle of the line.

10. Carolina Panthers – Jalen Wydermyer, TE Texas A&M

The Carolina offensive is one of the younger, more intriguing groups heading into 2021. With a core of players like D.J. Moore, Robbie Anderson, Christian McCaffrey, and Terrace Marshall, new QB Sam Darnold will have plenty to work with as the starter. The one glaring need on this offense is the lack of a consistent threat at TE. Wydermyer burst on the scene as a freshman in 2019 and remains one of the most productive TE’s the past two seasons.