Matt Miller's Third Quarter Mock Draft: Predicting Rounds 1-3 of the 2022 NFL Draft
1. Detroit Lions
The Pick: DE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon
The Detroit Lions will have a big decision to make at the quarterback position following the season, but even if they move on from Jared Goff there isn’t a successor who has played his way into the No. 1 draft position. The more likely play is Goff returns and the Lions continue to build up the roster before drafting/signing a long-term quarterback solution. Thibodeaux is an intense athlete with special quickness coming off the edge. He could go wire-to-wire as the No. 1 prospect in the 2022 class.
2. Houston Texans
The Pick: DE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan
Hutchinson has had one of the most dominant seasons we’ve seen from a defensive player in the last 15 years. The Houston Texans have needs at quarterback and all over the roster, but like the Lions there isn’t a quarterback worthy of being selected this highly. Hutchinson is definitely worthy. Whether it’s in a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme, the 6’6” and 270 pound pass-rusher is the missing piece to the Texans’ front.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Pick: OT Evan Neal, Alabama
The Jaguars’ offseason plan should revolve around building a roster that can support Trevor Lawrence. They have some pieces in the skill position groups but the offensive line is lacking—even after drafting Walker Little in the second round of the 2021 draft, there is room to keep adding linemen. Evan Neal is a massive human being (6’7”, 360 pounds) and could conceivably lock down the right or left tackle side opposite wherever Little settles in his sophomore year.
4. NY Jets
The Pick: CB Derek Stingley Jr., LSU
The Jets are in an interesting situation with back-to-back picks in Round 1 and a roster full of young players waiting to develop into stars. As such, they’re not in a position to replace a lot of their core players. Instead, Joe Douglas will go hunting for the best football players he can find—something he told me last off-season was his priority. Derek Stingley, Jr. has been injured this season, but his 2019 tape is some of the best you can find at the corner position. If the Jets believe he’s healthy and ready to play, he has incredibly high upside. One area scout I spoke to said Stingley will have a “Ja’Marr Chase-like rookie impact.”
5. NY Jets (from Seattle)
The Pick: DE George Karlaftis, Purdue
The signing of Carl Lawson was expected to shore up much of the Jets’ pass-rush problems, but an injury cut short his season before it started. Lawson will answer a lot of problems when healthy in ‘22 but the opposite side of the line needs balanced. The power of Karlaftis at 275 pounds is an ideal complement to Lawson’s speed moves.
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