Wednesday, January 19, 2022

2022 NFL Mock Draft: Jaguars target offensive lineman with No. 1 pick, Steelers find Big Ben’s replacement

What if Aidan Hutchinson or Kayvon Thibodeaux don’t go first overall?


This will be a storyline for much of the pre-draft process: Who should the Jaguars take with the No. 1 overall pick? A year ago, it was a layup: Trevor Lawrence. Now, headed for the top selection in back-to-back years, Jacksonville obviously doesn’t need a quarterback, and unfortunately for them, there isn’t a QB in this class worth moving up to first overall to grab.

That means the Jags could take the best player — for us, that’s Aidan Hutchinson followed by Kayvon Thibodeaux — except there’s one problem: The team has used a first-round pick on an edge rusher in two of the last three drafts. Which leads us to this week’s mock draft, where we have the team stepping outside the box, passing on both Hutchinson and Thibodeaux and instead taking Alabama left tackle Evan Neal, who previously played right tackle and left guard before that.

Neal fills a huge need along the O-line in Jacksonville, where protecting Lawrence has to be Job No. 1.

In related news, we have three offensive linemen going in the first four picks for the first time, which allows Thibodeaux to fall to the Giants at No. 5. Is this likely? No, probably not, but it would also get really boring really fast if we just rattled off the most popular landing spots based on draft Twitter groupthink.

Keep reading to see where the three quarterbacks land, and how the entire first round unfolds.

One other thing, and this is important: now that we’re past the midway point of the season, we’re using the 2022 NFL Draft order (via tankathon, with results prior to Monday’s Browns-Steelers game) to determine selections 1-32 below.

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