NFL Draft News & Analysis

2022 NFL Mock Draft: 5 NFL Draft trades we'd like to see

Cincinnati Bearcats quarterback Desmond Ridder (9) throws a pass in the first quarter the NCAA Playoff Semifinal at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic on Friday, Dec. 31, 2021, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Cotton Bowl Cincinnati Bearcats Alabama Crimson Tide Ac 386

There has already been a ton of movement across the first round of this month's NFL draftmost recently, the New Orleans Saints acquired pick Nos. 16 and 19 from the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for No. 18 and a host of other picks. There could very well be more action to come, as both New York franchises are sitting on two top-10 picks while the Houston Texans are currently slated to pick at Nos. 3 and 13 following the Deshaun Watson trade. 

We’ve discussed before how teams are more likely to trade picks that were not earned through standard means, which could mean a lot of picks are on the block with eight teams now owning multiple selections in the first round. The Kansas City Chiefs have back-to-back picks at Nos. 29 and 30 following the Tyreek Hill trade to the Miami Dolphins, and the Detroit Lions have the No. 32 overall pick from the Los Angeles Rams — this could be prime territory for a team to trade up for a quarterback and ensure they still get the benefit of the fifth-year option. 

The last four drafts — not including deals made before draft night — have averaged five first-round trades.

With that said, let’s dive into a first-round mock draft where we project five trades with recent comparable deals we’d like to see on April 28th when the 2022 NFL Draft gets underway. 

Editor’s note: Since this is focused mainly on the trades, only the trades will have analysis.

1. Jacksonville Jaguars: EDGE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan

2021 Record: 3-14

2. Detroit Lions: EDGE Travon Walker, Georgia

2021 Record: 3-13-1

3. Houston Texans: EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon

2021 Record: 4-13

4. New York Jets: T Ikem Ekwonu, NC State

2021 Record: 4-13

5. New York Giants: T Evan Neal, Alabama

2021 Record: 4-13

6. Carolina Panthers: QB Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh

2021 Record: 5-12


New Orleans Saints receive: No. 7
New York Giants receive: No. 16, No. 49, 2023 second

Comparable trade — 2018:
Buffalo Bills receive: No. 7 (QB Josh Allen) and No. 255 overall pick
Tampa Bay Buccaneers receive: No. 12, No. 53, and No. 56 overall pick

7. New Orleans Saints (via NYG, via CHI): QB Malik Willis, Liberty

2021 Record: 9-8

It’s entirely possible the Saints made their massive trade with the Philadelphia Eagles in hopes of adding two impact players at positions besides quarterback in this year’s draft, but neither Jameis Winston or Andy Dalton are likely long-term answers under center.

Here, the Saints jump ahead of the division rival Atlanta Falcons for the quarterback who has the most upside in this year’s class and an athletic profile they’ve targeted recently at the position by experimenting with athletic quarterbacks such as Taysom Hill and Ian Book

Here’s how all three stacked up as runners in their final collegiate seasons:

Player Rushing grade Missed tackles forced per attempt Yards after contact per carry
Malik Willis 94.5 0.6 5.3
Ian Book 72.0 0.09 2.6
Taysom Hill 67.2 0.15 3.3

Willis blows them both out of the water and had more rushing volume with 151 attempts to Hill’s 118 and Book’s 81. Perhaps New Orleans and offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael — the offensive coordinator since 2009 that stuck around with the departure of Sean Payton — can use Willis’ abilities as a runner in 2022 as they work with him to eventually supplant Winston as the full-time starter.

8. Atlanta Falcons: WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio State

2021 Record: 7-10

9. Seattle Seahawks: CB Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, Cincinnati

2021 Record: 7-10


Pittsburgh Steelers receive: No. 10
New York Jets receive: No. 20, No. 138, Future first

Comparable trade — 2021:
Chicago Bears receive: No. 11 (QB Justin Fields)
New York Giants receive: No. 20, No. 164, Future first, Future fourth

10. Pittsburgh Steelers (via NYJ, via SEA): QB Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati

2021 Record: 9-7-1

The Steelers made this exact same trade in the 2020 Draft, moving up to No. 10 overall from the No. 20 spot to select linebacker Devin Bush Jr. That deal wasn’t as pricey as the one proposed above, as there tends to be a premium placed on quarterback trades. 

At the same time, the deal shouldn’t be as expensive as our comparable trade because Fields would most likely go off the board as the No. 1 overall pick if he was in the 2022 draft. Here, the Steelers replace their Hall of Fame quarterback from a college in Ohio with another quarterback from a college in Ohio. 

PFF’s own Seth Galina broke down why Ridder is the most technical quarterback in this year’s class. It could make sense for the Steelers to target a pro-ready signal-caller who could step in and start from Day 1 while being surrounded by a roster that’s ready to win right away in a super competitive AFC North division.

Ridder protects the football well: His 2.8% turnover-worthy play rate over the last three seasons is the eleventh-lowest mark among draft-eligible quarterbacks in the FBS. In Pittsburgh, Ridder can continue to make smart decisions and get the ball to young playmakers in Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool and Pat Freiermuth.

11. Washington Commanders: S Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame

2021 Record: 7-10

12. Minnesota Vikings: CB Derek Stingley Jr., LSU

2021 Record: 8-9


Los Angeles Chargers receive: No. 13
Houston Texans receive: No. 17, No. 123, Future 4th

Comparable trade — 2015:
Los Angeles Chargers receive: No. 15 (HB Melvin Gordon III)
San Francisco 49ers receive: No. 17 (EDGE Arik Armstead), No. 117, Future fifth

13. Los Angeles Chargers (via HOU, via CLE): T Charles Cross, Mississippi State

2021 Record: 9-8

Here, we have the Chargers jumping ahead of the Baltimore Ravens, and potentially the Saints, for a premium tackle prospect in Cross. The Chargers have worked to overhaul their offensive line after ranking 30th in pass protection and dead last in run blocking in 2020, boosting those rankings to 16th and 11th in 2021, respectively. 

A big-ticket free-agent signing before the 2020 season in right tackle Bryan Bulaga hasn’t panned out, as Bulaga logged fewer than 500 snaps total over the last two seasons — only appearing in Week 1 of 2021.

Cross would likely slide over to the right side of the offensive line with Rashawn Slater (the Chargers’ 2021 first-round pick) holding down the blindside for quarterback Justin Herbert. The two players could serve as bookends for years to come, most importantly in the near future when Herbert’s likely huge contract extension kicks in. Cross’ 84.9 pass-blocking grade in 2021 was a top ten mark among draft-eligible tackles in the FBS, and he allowed a sack or quarterback hit on just 0.3% of pass block reps, the third-best in the nation.

14. Baltimore Ravens: T Trevor Penning, UNI

2021 Record: 8-9

15. Philadelphia Eagles (via MIA): DI Devonte Wyatt, Georgia

2021 Record: 9-8

16. New York Giants (via NO, via PHI): EDGE Jermaine Johnson II, FSU

2021 Record: 4-13

17. Houston Texans (via LAC): DI Jordan Davis, Georgia

2021 Record: 4-13

18. Philadelphia Eagles (via NO): CB Kaiir Elam, Florida

2021 Record: 9-8

19. New Orleans Saints (via PHI): WR Jameson Williams, Alabama

2021 Record: 9-8

20. New York Jets (via PIT): WR Drake London, USC

2021 Record: 4-13


Arizona Cardinals receive: No. 21
New England Patriots receive: No. 23, Future 5th

Comparable trade — 2016:
Houston Texans receive: No. 21 (WR Will Fuller)
Washington Commanders receive: No. 22 (WR Josh Doctson) and No. 209

21. Arizona Cardinals: WR Chris Olave, Ohio State

2021 Record: 11-6

The Cardinals have a handful of needs across their roster after losing key contributors such as edge defender Chandler Jones and wide receiver Christian Kirk in free agency, but here, they’re able to jump ahead of the wide receiver needy Green Bay Packers without giving up too much, and the Patriots recoup a future fifth-round pick after sending a future third-round pick to the Dolphins for wide receiver DeVante Parker

A healthy DeAndre Hopkins will undoubtedly provide a major boost to the Cardinals offense, and an increased role for the shifty Rondale Moore is expected, but Kliff Kingsbury’s Air Raid offense needs a wide receiver that can truly take the top off a defense. Enter Chris Olave.

Olave’s 4.39-second 40-yard dash is in the 88th percentile of PFF’s measurables database, and his 1.50-second 10-yard split is in the 95th percentile. But he’s not just fast: Over the last three seasons, Olave’s 95.3 receiving grade on passes thrown 10-plus yards beyond the line of scrimmage ranks tied for eighth-best in the FBS. He also creates consistent separation downfield to avoid contested targets — his 86 targets 15-plus yards downfield ranks tenth since 2019, but only 24.4% of those were contested, which ranks 89th.

Olave is the perfect addition to an NFL offense that features more 10 personnel (five wide receivers) than any other and cannot afford the efficiency drop-off that occurred in 2021 following the loss of DeAndre Hopkins to injury.

Olave would take the top off opposing defenses, creating a ton of room underneath for Rondale Moore to go to work and pulling attention away from Hopkins.

22. Green Bay Packers: iOL Kenyon Green, Texas A&M

2021 Record: 13-4

23. New England Patriots (via ARI): iOL Zion Johnson, Boston College

2021 Record: 10-7

24. Dallas Cowboys: EDGE George Karlaftis, Purdue

2021 Record: 12-5

25. Buffalo Bills: CB Andrew Booth Jr., Clemson

2021 Record: 11-6

26. Tennessee Titans: T Tyler Smith, Tulsa

2021 Record: 12-5

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: CB Trent McDuffie, Washington

2021 Record: 13-4

28. Green Bay Packers: WR Treylon Burks, Arkansas

2021 Record: 13-4

29. Kansas City Chiefs: S Dax Hill, Michigan

2021 Record: 12-5

30. Kansas City Chiefs: EDGE Boye Mafe, Minnesota

2021 Record: 12-5

31. Cincinnati Bengals: CB Kyler Gordon, Washington

2021 Record: 10-7


Atlanta Falcons receive: No. 32
Detroit Lions receive: No. 43, No. 114, No. 190

Comparable trade – 2014:
Minnesota Vikings receive: No. 32 (QB Teddy Bridgewater)
Seattle Seahawks receive: No. 40 and No. 108

32. Atlanta Falcons (via DET, via LAR): QB Matt Corral, Ole Miss

2021 Record: 7-10

After two NFC South teams land quarterbacks with back-to-back picks ahead of the Falcons at No. 8, Atlanta moves up to the bottom of the first round for Corral. The bottom of the first round is a popular trade spot because of teams looking to secure the fifth-year option on a prospect, particularly a quarterback. 

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is heading into his fifth-year option season after the team traded up to No. 32 overall with the  Eagles in 2018, so here, we have the Falcons following the same idea. 

Corral’s 92.8 passing grade without pressure over the last two seasons ranks tied for 12th in the entire FBS, though his numbers under pressure leave a bit to be desired, and an adjustment will be necessary playing behind an Atlanta Falcons offensive line that ranked 31st in team pass-blocking grade in 2021  (52.6).

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