2022 NFL Draft Night One Predictions
1. The Panthers don't draft a QB
Sam Darnold isn't a franchise quarterback, but there also isn't a quarterback in this class worth the sixth overall pick. If they can trade down, I think you could see that change, but as is, Carolina should take the best player on its board regardless of position.
2. Only 2 QBs in the first round
As I alluded to in the previous paragraph, it's a weaker quarterback class than most years. There is no unanimous number one prospect at the position and most only think LIberty's Malik Willis and Pitt's Kenny Pickett should even be in consideration.
3. More trading up and down
With eight teams having multiple first-round picks, I think we could see more movement than usual. Those eight teams have the resources to make deals and could benefit from moving down. If a team loves a quarterback, they could come calling.
4. Seven WR drafted
This is just based on the depth of the receiver class and the needs of the teams in the first round. Philadelphia, Green Bay, Atlanta, Kansas City, Detroit, and the New York Jets are among the teams that need to add a top-end receiver.
5. Christian Watson sneaks into round one
You don't find many 6'4" receivers who run sub-4.3 in the 40-yard dash. That combination of length and speed could make him a deadly weapon at the next level and an enticing option for d team in need of a receiver. Many teams have that need at the back end of the first round, which should help Watson's case.
6. Jameson Williams is the first wide receiver drafted
This was a no-brainer before the ACL injury. Williams had a breakout year at Alabama and is one fo the most versatile receivers in this class, mostly because of his elite speed and fantastic route-running. He has the ability to change games, which makes him a top 10 prospect in my mind. Plus, he's reportedly ahead of schedule in his recovery from the injury.
7. More defensive players are drafted than offensive players
I think the class is stronger on defense than offense, so I went with it on a hunch.
8. Derrick Stingley goes in the Top 5
The LSU corner had fallen because of injuries and inconsistencies, but teams have started to come around. Some even argue he's the best corner in this class. He's a lock for the top 10 at this point and could be the first corner off the board.
9. Kyle Hamilton drops
I like Hamilton but this is a case of the writing being on the wall. At one point, the Notre Dame safety was projected to be taken as early as No. 2 overall. After disappointing testing numbers during the draft process, Hamilton's status seems to be in question. I don't expect a huge fall, but he isn't a lock for the top 10.
10. Six Georgia players go in the first round
This seems like a lot at first, but then you stop to consider who those players could be. Travon Walker is being talked about as a possible No. 1 overall pick, Jordan Davis and Devonte Wyatt are the top two defensive tackle prospects in this class, Georgia Pickens is a first-round talent, and linebackers Quay Walker, Nakobe Dean, and Channing Tindall have all been talked about as first-rounders at some point.
11. Someone drafts a player projected much later than the first round
We see it every year, and Seattle does it quite a bit. I don't think it will be the Seahawks this time, since they have a top 10 pick, but someone in the back half of the first round will take a massive reach.
12. Run on WRs & DLs
This is a rather easy prediction. Both positions are stacked with talent. There are going to be at least six or seven receivers drafted on the first night, and defensive line prospects headline the top of the draft. You will likely see a few in a row selected at each position.
13. Devin Lloyd is the first linebacker selected
Lloyd is my top linebacker prospect because of his instincts and athleticism. He's a bigger linebacker who is a menace at the line of scrimmage and holds his own in pass coverage. Look for him starting around the middle of the first round; possibly to Philadelphia. I think he's a day-one starter.
14. Either Lewis Cine or Jaquan Brisker makes it into the first round
I really like both these safeties and have them as first-round guys. Brisker is probably better against the pass and Cine is better against the run. Both are projected right on the border of the first and second and I think at least one of them sneaks into the back of the first round.
15. Seattle takes an offensive lineman
It was a huge issue when Russell Wilson was there, but the Seahawks never chose to address it. At No. 9 overall, Seattle is in a prime position to grab an elite talent. Yes, they could use a quarterback. However, since there really isn't a sure-fire top 10 guy, it would be smart of them to invest in one of the top protectors.
16. Eagles take another first-round wide receiver
Philly fans won't love this because of the number of recent receivers their team has drafted in the first round, but, since most of them haven't panned out, it remains a position of need in a league built on offense. Devonta Smith seems to be working out, but they still need to add others to take on some of the burden. Both of the Eagles' first-round picks fall right where most expect to see a run on receivers and it would make too much sense.
17. Minnesota gets a steal at No. 12 overall
With all the uncertainty, no one really knows how the board is going to fall. There are rumors that Houston's pick could cause "all hell to break loose," and that would probably leave some great players available for longer than expected. Notre Dame's Kyle Hamilton and Florida State's Jermaine Johnson are guys I can see falling out of the top 10, and Minnesota is right there to reap the benefits at No. 12.
18. Trevor Penning is a top 15 pick
The Northern Iowa offensive tackle is one of the top tackles in this draft and has seen his stock rise. He's even been talked about as a possible top 10 player, so I think he's almost a lock to go in the top half of the draft.
19. No first-round tight ends
Colorado State's Trey McBride is the most likely candidate to prove me wrong. Sure, teams have needs at tight end, but history has shown you can draft a good one later and the need isn't as pressing as some of the other ones that could be filled by other premium prospects.