The 2021 NFL regular season has four weeks remaining, but it’s never too early for mock drafts. ESPN’s Todd McShay posted his first 2022 mock draft of the year on Tuesday, and he’s following where late-season momentum is taking things.
McShay has the Lions selecting Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson with the No. 1 overall pick. His top five picks are as follows:
- Lions: Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan
- Texans: Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon
- Jaguars: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
- Jets: Derek Stingley, Jr., CB, LSU
- Giants (from Chicago): George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue
Thibodeaux has been a consistent No. 1 pick in mock drafts, but Hutchinson’s run against Ohio State and Iowa to close out the season and get Michigan into the CFP is going to result in more of him at the No. 1 overall picks. He’s the same player he was before, but his product in high profile situations at the end of the season gets him more in the public eye.
McShay has five quarterbacks going in the first round, but the first doesn’t go off the board until No. 12 with the Steelers picking Pitt QB Kenny Pickett. That’s followed by Washington selecting Ole Miss’ Matt Corral at 13, Denver selecting Liberty’s Malik Willis at 17, New Orleans selecting Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder at 19, and Detroit using their second first round pick No. 25 overall on North Carolina’s Sam Howell.
Bowl season begins on Friday, and that moves us into the next stage of draft evaluation. A bowl game won’t necessarily make or break a top ten pick, particularly given some will sit out their bowl games. But, it moves us closer to the all star games in early 2022, and eventually the Combine in early March.