Edge rushers go back-to-back with top picks in recent 2022 NFL mock draft

Michigan Wolverines defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (97). Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Michigan Wolverines defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (97). Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

Pro Football Focus recently released their updated 2022 NFL mock draft. Here’s why Michael Renner has edge rushers going with the first two picks. 

It’s crazy to think about all the different players that have been mocked to teams with the first few picks in the 2022 NFL Draft. Over the summer, many draft experts thought we could expect to see Oklahoma QB Spencer Rattler and UNC QB Sam Howell be the top selections. Obviously, opinions have changed numerous times since then.

Over the course of the 2021 college football season, I have seen roughly a dozen players mocked with the top pick in the NFL Draft, but this is a first. The latest 2022 NFL mock draft from Pro Football Focus analyst Mike Renner has edge defenders being selected in back-to-back picks to open the draft.

To kick things off, Renner has the Detroit Lions taking Michigan senior Aidan Hutchinson with the first overall pick in the draft next April. Hutchinson was already a first-round prospect prior to the 2021 season, but he elevated his draft status even further with a remarkable senior year after coming back from a season-ending injury.

In 13 games this season, the talented pass rusher earned 15.5 tackles for a loss and 13.0 sacks to go with 2 forced fumbles. Hutchinson was awarded Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year for his efforts this year.

With the second overall pick, Renner has the Jacksonville Jaguars taking another edge defender in Kayvon Thibodeaux. The Oregon standout was once considered the top player in the 2022 NFL Draft (and still is by many), but injuries slowed him a bit this year, while Hutchinson potentially leapfrogged him with an eye-popping 2021 campaign.

This would certainly be an unusual start to the draft, and one that I haven’t yet seen predicted. Could this 2022 NFL mock draft come to fruition?

Could edge be taken back-to-back to open NFL Draft?

The likelihood of two pass rushers going back-to-back picks to kick off the 2022 NFL Draft doesn’t seem high — especially when considering that the Lions and Jaguars have no shortage of needs. While these two teams aren’t guaranteed to own these picks when the 2021 season ends, they could be tempted to go in a number of different directions.

Unless the Lions get hot down the stretch, they are very likely to own at least one of these picks, and Detroit could even be tempted to take their favorite quarterback here. They will also have their choice of the field of other star prospects like CB Derek Stingley, OT Evan Neal, and S Kyle Hamilton.

Renner has Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett as the first quarterback being selected with the 3rd overall pick by the Houston Texans and doesn’t have the next passer coming off the board until Matt Corral with the 9th pick by the Carolina Panthers.

Next. Future top NFL Draft pick currently leads the Heisman Trophy race. dark

Aidan Hutchinson and Kayvon Thibodeaux aren’t Myles Garrett-level prospects, but both are great players in their own right and there’s always a chance they could go back-to-back to pass rush-needy teams to begin the draft, but this seems unlikely.