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2022 NFL mock draft: It’s Kayvon Thibodeaux and then everybody

The NFL Draft is still five months away, but the No. 1 option is settled for the time being.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson #1 of the UCLA Bruins loses the ball as he is sacked by Kayvon Thibodeaux #5 of the Oregon Ducks in front of Greg Dulcich #85 during the second half in a 34-31 Bruins loss at Rose Bowl on October 23, 2021 in Pasadena, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The 2021 NFL Draft was all about the quarterbacks. Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, and Trey Lance went off the board 1-2-3, and Justin Fields and Mac Jones made it five quarterbacks in total off the board in the first round. We will not be seeing the same thing this year.

Quarterbacks will go in the first round, but there is no clear-cut No. 1 like we’ve seen in recent years. DraftKings Sportsbook has installed Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux as the odds-on favorite to go No. 1 with odds of -110, and that is matching up in mock drafts and big boards.

ESPN’s Jordan Reid put together his first 2022 NFL mock draft of the year as we come down the final stretch of the college football regular season. He has Thibodeaux going first to the currently winless Detroit Lions. His top five is as follows:

  1. Detroit Lions: Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon
  2. Houston Texans: Aidan Hutchinson, Edge, Michigan
  3. New York Jets: Derek Stingley, Jr., CB, LSU
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
  5. New York Giants: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State

A lot of this matches up with the recent big boards ESPN’s Mel Kiper and Todd McShay have offered up. At the quarterback positions, we see a limited number of first round options, but the mock and big boards reflect their intent. Reid’s mock has the Washington Football Team drafting Ole Miss QB Matt Corral at No. 8, the Carolina Panthers drafting Pitt’s Kenny Pickett at No. 12, and the Denver Broncos drafting Liberty’s Malik Willis at No. 14.

By comparison, Kiper’s big board has Pickett at No. 20, Willis at No. 25, and Corral not included. McShay has Pickett at No. 14, Willis at No. 18, and Corral at No. 26. Big boards represent straight-up talent while mocks reflect team needs combined with talent.

DraftKings is currently offering Corral at +250, Willis at +450, and Pickett at +1500 to go No. 1. Corral is No. 2 on the odds board, right behind Thibodeaux, Willis is No. 3, and Pickett is No. 9. It’s far above their big board and mock draft landing spots, but teams will reach for a quarterback if they think they can find the right guy.