Pro Football Focus has offensive tackle and edge defender dominating the top of the first round of their recent 2022 NFL mock draft.
The 2022 NFL Draft class isn’t exactly talked about as a generational group of talent. There aren’t any transcendent quarterback prospects this year, and the draft is pretty weak when it comes to skill players. However, this is a particularly good class for a team in need of an offensive tackle or edge defender early in the first round.
Recently, Pro Football Focus revealed their updated 2022 NFL mock draft, and they didn’t hide their love for tackles and pass rushers in this one. In fact, Trevor Sikkema had a combined six OT and EDGE going in the top seven picks alone.
As is becoming a trend since the end of the college football season, Michigan pass rusher Aiden Hutchinson and Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux are being mocked in back-to-back picks to open the 2022 NFL Draft. However, with another win — this time against the Arizona Cardinals — the Jaguars actually currently hold the number one pick with the Lions falling to the second pick in the draft.
These two pass rushers are immensely talented and are locks to be among the top five picks in the draft this year. Most are currently projecting Hutchinson, a Heisman Trophy Finalist, to be the top pick in the draft.
Just after these two, Sikkema has a run on offensive tackles with Evan neal going 4th overall to the Jets, Ikem Ekwomu going 5th to the Giants, and Charles Cross going 7th to the Panthers. This group is shaping up wonderfully, and it’s possible that they could even be graded higher than an impressive 2022 class that included Penei Sewell, Rashawn Slater, and Christian Darrisaw at the top.
David Ojabo gains steam in NFL mock draft
The other pass rusher who is gaining steam is Michigan’s David Ojabo. While not talked about nearly as much as his teammate Aidan Hutchinson, the redshirt sophomore has a remarkable combination of size and tools. Because of this, Ojabo is said to have an incredibly high ceiling in the NFL.
Though scouts will be concerned about his one year of starting experience (and really, game experience of any kind), Ojabo put up very impressive numbers this season — earning 12.0 tackles for a loss, 11.0 sacks, and 5 forced fumbles in 13 games, according to Sports Reference.
After landing in the back half of NFL mock drafts earlier in the season, Ojabo is now considered a highly-touted prospect who stands a good shot at cracking the top ten. Sikkema has him going 6th overall to the New York Giants.
The 2022 NFL Draft is going to be interesting, but it certainly appears that offensive tackle and edge defender are on track to steal the show early. These are two of the most important positions in football, and some of these teams will have a chance to grab a cornerstone player for years to come.