“This is the worst mock ever.”
“He will never drop that far.”
“We don’t want him.”
“He’s a bust.”
These are some of the typical reactions in response to a new mock draft or big board. So, let's put the fans in the driver's seat to see just who they want their team to select in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
Click here for more PFF tools:
The Jaguars have needs at nearly every position. So, it only makes sense that the majority of fans went with the consensus best player available in Michigan edge defender Aidan Hutchinson.
Last year, Hutchinson's 94.5 PFF grade was the highest mark among college defensive players. The 6-foot-7, 260-pounder is dominant as both a pass-rusher and run defender and earned 90.0-plus grades in both categories in 2021.
The second pick in April's draft has a little bit more mystery surrounding it than the first. Rumors from the NFL Scouting Combine have the Lions potentially taking quarterback Malik Willis, although Georgia edge defender Travon Walker (+250) has quietly moved to the betting favorite at No. 2 overall, per DraftKings Sportsbook.
Ultimately, Detroit fans have settled on edge defender Kayvon Thibodeaux. The 6-foot-5, 260-pounder recorded a 92.1 PFF grade in true pass-rushing situations, second among all Power Five edge defenders in 2021. The Lions won’t be upset selecting a potential future All-Pro in Thibodeaux at No. 2 overall.
Houston will likely end up with whoever is left over from the “big three” — Hutchinson, Thibodeaux and versatile safety Kyle Hamilton.
Kayvon Thibodeaux with the MONSTER strip sack ????
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) September 4, 2021
The Texans need a world of help at almost every position, so fans will likely be happy with whoever falls into their lap at No. 3 overall.
Thibodeaux landing as the top choice for three straight teams likely reflects the Oregon standout's position as a top-five selection. If Thibodeaux isn’t available at No. 4, then Jets fans make the pivot to the cornerback position by selecting either Cincinnati's Ahmad Gardner or LSU’s Derek Stingley Jr.
Everyone plugged into the pre-draft process likely already knows that Gardner allowed a grand total of zero touchdowns in his college career. Standing at 6-foot-3 with 33.5-inch arms, he is a force when left on an island. He earned an NCAA-leading 91.7 grade in single coverage over his career.
Stingley is neck and neck with Gardner for CB1 in this year’s draft. The LSU product is arguably the best athlete in this draft and put up one of the best freshman seasons we’ve seen at PFF when he graded at 91.7 back in 2019.
The Giants seem to have found their franchise left tackle in Andrew Thomas after a very promising 2021 season in which he allowed just two sacks. Grabbing another tackle in either North Carolina State’s Ikem Ekwonu or Alabama’s Evan Neal is the overwhelming decision for Giants fans.
Ekwonu specializes in being an elite run blocker. The 6-foot-4, 310-pounder earned a 93.8 run-blocking grade in 2021 — ranking first among Power Five tackles. Neal, on the other hand, is as versatile as they come. During his tenure at Alabama, he logged over 700 snaps each at left tackle, left guard and right tackle.
The Panthers are at a crossroads. On one hand, their quarterback situation is one of the worst in the league, and on the other hand, their offensive line isn’t much better. The kicker is that Carolina’s next pick is not until the fourth round, so the importance of hitting on No. 6 is huge. Panthers fans feel that pain with them nearly splitting the vote between PFF’s OT1 Charles Cross and quarterback Malik Willis.
Cross is arguably the most balanced tackle in this class. He finished the 2021 season with 84.0-plus pass-blocking and run-blocking grades. Looking at the other option, Willis is the most physically gifted quarterback in this class.
He has a rocket launcher for an arm and can outrun just about anyone on the field. During his tenure at Liberty, Willis recorded a 91.8 PFF grade and forced a missed tackle on 60% of his rushing attempts — the best rate since PFF started collecting college data in 2014.
If the Jets do happen to snag Gardner at No. 4, then Georgia edge defender Travon Walker could be next in line for the Giants. Walker shot up draft boards after a freaky combine performance. The Georgia product tested in the 85th percentile in six different measurements/drills.