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Who Are The Top NFL Draft Prospects And When Will They Be Picked?

The NFL Draft is on the horizon and we take a look at four top stars who could be the top pick in Las Vegas at the end of April.

The 2022 NFL Draft will take place from the 28th April in Las Vegas. All 32 NFL teams will now spend the next few weeks priming themselves for the draft and getting their War Room’s ready for what is one of the most exciting weekends in the off-season for NFL fans.

Last year’s draft saw Trevor Lawrence taken at number 1 by the Jacksonville Jaguars while the likes of Micah Parsons, Ja’Marr Chase and Mac Jones all had excellent first seasons in the NFL.

Of course, for a number of the top college football prospects, it is also a very busy time. Many will have been preparing themselves to participate in the forthcoming NFL Draft Combine at the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, where they will participate in a series of drills in front of NFL coaches.

In addition to this, stars may also be prepping themselves ready for their own Pro Day at the university they have played for, which is essentially a job fair for college prospects to show that they have the ability to make it in the NFL.

Then of course, as the draft rolls closer, the NFL teams will select a number of draft prospects to come and interview with the team and conduct a series of other tests. NFL teams can select up to 30 potential draft picks for interview from out of their local metropolitan area, with as many from the locality as they like on top of that.

So as you can see, it is an incredibly busy time for NFL coaches, executives and general managers, not to mention for existing professional players, many of whom may be ready to hit the free agency market in the next couple of weeks.

Let’s now take a look at some of the top draft prospects this year, why they are ranked so highly and where they could end up being drafted in the forthcoming draft, together with the odds (provided by bet365 Sport) on them being selected in that coveted first position in the draft (held by the Jacksonville Jaguars).

But first, let’s take a look at how the First Round of the Draft is shaping up.

Draft Order 2022

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars
  2. Detroit Lions
  3. Houston Texans
  4. New York Jets
  5. New York Giants
  6. Carolina Panthers
  7. New York Giants (from Chicago Bears)
  8. Atlanta Falcons
  9. Denver Broncos
  10. New York Jets (from Seattle Seahawks)
  11. Washington Commanders
  12. Minnesota Vikings
  13. Cleveland Browns
  14. Baltimore Ravens
  15. Philadelphia Eagles (from Miami Dolphins)
  16. Philadelphia Eagles (from Indianapolis Colts)
  17. Los Angeles Chargers
  18. New Orleans Saints
  19. Philadelphia Eagles
  20. Pittsburgh Steelers
  21. New England Patriots
  22. Las Vegas Raiders
  23. Arizona Cardinals
  24. Dallas Cowboys
  25. Buffalo Bills
  26. Tennessee Titans
  27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  28. Green Bay Packers
  29. Miami Dolphins (from San Francisco 49ers)
  30. Kansas City Chiefs
  31. Cincinnati Bengals
  32. Detroit Lions (from Los Angeles Rams)

A number of teams have two picks in the first round this year, the Jets, Giatnts and Lions, while the Philadelphia Eagles have three picks in the first round.

The San Francisco 49ers, Indianapolis Colts, Seattle Seahawks, Los Angeles Rams and Chicago Bears are the teams without a first round pick this year.

Top Draft Prospects And Where They Will Go

This year’s draft is different to previous years with not many experts predicting a quarterback will go inside the top ten this year. Instead, the strength of this draft seems to be on the two lines, offense and defense and certainly the top four players in the draft can line up as offensive linemen or edge rushers.

Evan Neal (OL) – Alabama – 8/5 to be 1st pick

Evan Neal is not the best player in the draft in my view, although he is close. However, for a Jacksonville Jaguars team that needs to protect their number 1 pick from last year Trevor Lawrence, Neal is a much better fit for their team than Aidan Hutchison, who is the top player in the draft.

At 6ft 7 and 350lb, Neal is the perfect size for a dominant tackle and has also played as a guard in his college career with the Crimson Tide. He would immediately improve the protection afforded to Lawrence by the Jaguars offensive line.

As such, I do feel Neal is the most likely number 1 pick in the draft and will stay in his native Florida with the Jaguars.

Aidan Hutchison (DL) – Michigan – 9/5 to be 1st pick

Hutchison is, in my view, the top player in the draft and if he is not selected by the Jaguars at number one, then it will likely be the Detroit Lions that snag the edge rusher with the second pick of the draft.

In his college career, the 6ft 6” Edge Rusher has been a one man wrecking ball, with 34 tackles and 34 assists in 2019 before injury cut short his 2020 season. However, this year he was back to his best, with 33 tackles, 22 assists, 15 tackles for a loss and 14 sacks. He also forced two fumbles.

He may have missed out on the Heisman this year to Bryce Young, but Hutchison would likely have gone first pick had any other team, other than the Jaguars or Bengals, landed that first selection. As it is, he may well end up being a Lion in 2022.

Kavyon Thibodeaux (DL) – Oregon – 9/2 to be 1st pick

Thibodeaux is another edge rusher that has shone in college football, this time for the Oregon Ducks. The native Los Angeles youngster enjoyed a stellar high school career and has replicated that success in his time with the Ducks.

Many experts feel that Thibodeaux may have an even higher ceiling in the NFL than Hutchison, but few have him being taken above the Michigan star in the draft. However, he is not going to have to wait too long until he hears his name being called.

With the Houston Texans picking third and needing plenty of help all over the field, it makes perfect sense for them to draft the best available player in this position which will likely make Thibodeaux a Texan next season.

Ikem Ekwonu (OL) – North Carolina – 7/1 to be 1st pick

There are a number of mock drafts that have Ekwonu being selected first by the Jaguars, as many feel he has a potentially higher upside than Evan Neal. The North Carolina lineman has had a superb season at left tackle, being named the best blocker in the conference.

At 6ft 4 and 320lb, he isn’t as tall or as heavy as some of the top left tackles, but his athleticism and ability to also play as a guard will make him come off the board in the top five.

It is probably close between Ekwonu and Neal for the Jags, but my gut feeling is that Ekwonu will end up beoing selected by either of the two New York teams who pick fourth and fifth in the draft.

Ian John

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