Edge Rushers Figure to Fly Off Board
A year ago, it was quarterbacks going with the top three picks in the NFL Draft. If there is going to be such a run at position, it is going to involve pass rushers according to the NFL draft betting odds.
There is a chance that the top three selections in the upcoming draft could all be edge rushers.
Since we are less than three weeks away from the first round of the draft, it is a perfect time to take a look at the top 10 NFL draft prospects for 2022. The NFL Draft kicks off with the first round on April 28.
Michigan’s Hutchinson to go No. 1
Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson is the overwhelming choice to be the top pick in the draft, with the only other player even close to him in the NFL draft betting odds being Georgia’s Travon Walker.
Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux headed into the 2021 college football season as the player expected to be the top draft prospect but he has fallen to fifth.
Things could get interesting if the Jacksonville Jaguars, who hold the first overall pick for the second straight season, choose an offensive tackle to protect last year’s No. 1 pick, quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
Alabama’s Evan Neal and Ikem Ekwonu of North Carolina State are tied for the third-best odds, but are well back of both Hutchinson and Walker.
Lions Waiting on Jacksonville’s pick
Hutchinson and Walker have the same odds to go to the Detroit Lions with the second pick, so that obviously means that Detroit will select whichever of the top pass rushers don’t go to Jacksonville.
Hutchinson, a former University of Michigan star, would be a great story if he lands in Detroit, but Walker, who was a key part of the dominating defense that led Georgia to the national title, has been flying up the draft boards according to the NFL betting odds.
Draft Really Starts with Houston Texans on the Clock
Unless either Jacksonville or Detroit has been throwing some misinformation out there, which is certainly not the first time that has happened, things won’t start getting interesting until the Houston Texans are on the clock with the No. 3 pick.
The NFL draft betting odds are showing offensive tackles Ekwonu and Neal as having the best chance to be selected by the Texans.
Walker is the third-best choice on the board, so if he sitting there at No. 3, the Texans might be tempted to go that way. Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton and Thibodeaux are other top options.
Seeing Liberty quarterback Malik Willis on the heels of both Hamilton and Thibodeaux is interesting. The Texans did trade quarterback Deshaun Watson to Cleveland but, by all reports, the Houston hierarchy is more than happy to move forward with 2021 third-round pick Davis Mills as the starting QB.
Jets, Giants to be Busy
Oregon’s Thibodeaux is the favorite to go to the Jets with the fourth pick followed by Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad Gardner, Florida State defensive end Jermaine Johnson and Georgia’s Walker.
If the Jets get offensive with their first pick, it would likely be either NC State tackle Ekwonu or Alabama’s 360-pound Neal.
The NFL Draft betting odds favor the Giants picking between the top two offensive tackles, with Gardner or Thibodeaux also potential selections with pick No. 5.
The Giants pick again at No. 7, and if they go for an offensive tackle, it is looking like Thibodeaux, Hamilton or Gardner would be the choice, with the Giants potentially having at least two of them to choose from.
When the Jets are back on the clock with the 10th pick, could they look to upgrade at receiver with Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson or Southern California’s Drake London? There have been reports of discontent with offensive tackle and former first-round pick Mekhi Becton so if he gets moved, Mississippi State tackle Charles Cross would be a possible pick there.
Will Top QB Land in Carolina, Atlanta or Seattle?
Quarterbacks haven’t needed to wait very long to hear their names called in recent drafts. A QB went first overall in each of the last four drafts. That is certainly not happening this year but there are quarterback-needy teams picking sixth (Carolina Panthers), eighth (Atlanta Falcons) and ninth (Seattle Seahawks).
Carolina has the best odds to select Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett and Liberty’s Malik Willis. New Orleans, which picks 16th and 19th, is the second choice to land Pickett while the Pittsburgh Steelers are second in the NFL draft betting odds to take Willis. What all of that means is that Atlanta and Seattle seem less likely to go with the QB in the top 10.
Atlanta gave up the second-most points in the NFC a season ago so seeing the Falcons going defense in the first round makes sense. There are some solid quarterback options available outside of the first round. The other three teams in the NFC West scored more than 400 points during the 2021 season so Seattle could also look to bolster its defense with its first pick and worry about picking up a quarterback later.