NFL Mock Draft: Top 5 selections

NFL mock draft: where will Derek Stingley land?

By: Tom Rodriguez

The NFL season is coming to a close and most franchises will begin looking towards the players that they need to lead their franchise to future prominence. The 2022 NFL draft is unlike one we have seen in quite some time. It has gotten much less talk than in past classes. The main reason for that is the quarterbacks. They’re bad. We have been spoiled by talented passers for years and now it’s time for a much less “sexy” draft. This is an overwhelming “eat your vegetables” draft. Many of the better players play in the trenches, which is where many teams believe you should start building your roster from. On the outside, there are a nice crop of defensive backs and wide receivers as well. It may be weak at quarterback and running back, but the 2022 class featured plenty of elite prospects. With that being said, the top five of this draft is sure to be exciting. Here’s a quick mock of the top five!

Disclaimer

This order is the current NFL draft order (before the final week of the regular season has been played). Also, this mock draft is predictive, not what I would do.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan

As stated previously, this mock is predictive, not opinionated. Aidan Hutchinson would not be my “EDGE1” as of right now (Hell, he may not even be my EDGE2 right now). However, the NFL seems to be big fans of the Wolverines’ pass rusher. With fourteen sacks and two forced fumbles in 2021, Hutchinson was one of the most dominant players in the country. Jacksonville already has Josh Allen coming off the edge, but have yet to find him a true partner. With a big swing and a miss on 2020 first round pick K’Lavon Chaisson so far.

Detroit Lions: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon

Billed as the consensus best player in the class back in the Summer, Oregon pass rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux did not have the dominant season that many expected him to. Most of that was because of an early season injury that caused him to miss some time. With the best traits of the entire EDGE class, he’s the perfect pick for a rebuilding team that is looking to add some high level talent on defense. Detroit showed some signs of life this season, and Thibodeaux turning into the player we all expect him to be would go a long way in expediting their timeline.

Houston Texans: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

The wisest thing for the Houston Texans to do with Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal is to do what was done to Laremy Tunsil as a rookie. Who better to help Neal come along than Tunsil himself. With the Miami Dolphins in 2016, Tunsil played guard while Miami was waiting for Brandon Albert’s contract to finish. In 2017, Tunsil was then moved back to his natural position of left tackle. Neal has guard experience and can form a formidable left side in 2022 with Tunsil. The Texans may be heading into full rebuild mode and move off of some veterans soon. Deshaun Watson will be traded soon for a cavalcade of draft picks. The high priced Tunsil may be on the move after that. Neal, a towering mauler at left tackle brings more natural strength to this franchise than they currently have. A little raw in pass protection, Neal is not a perfect prospect. However, he has the traits and position versatility to warrant a top three selection.

New York Jets: Derek Stingley, CB, LSU

It’s high time to address the cornerback room in the Big Apple. The Jets corner room is about as uninspiring as any in the league. There are some encouraging youngsters in Bryce Hall and Brandon Echols. However, the AFC East currently runs through Buffalo and that means two things: 1. You have to deal with Stefon Diggs and 2. You have to deal with as many four and five wide receiver sets as anyone else. Derek Stingley, a high caliber athlete and potential lockdown corner is the best option to deal with those realities. Stingley burst onto the scene in the Tigers undefeated 2019 season with six interceptions as a true freshman. However, injuries and game cancellations limited him to just ten starts in the last two years. Stingley has been on the NFL radar for some time and should expect to be picked rather high.

New York Giants: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

Pick good football players. Many people will have Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton as their top rated player in the class. That billing would be entirely justified. Hamilton does it all and that isn’t hyperbole. Coverage, run fits, tackling, athleticism; there’s nothing he can’t do. Now, would current Giants general manager Dave Gettleman make this pick? Unlikely. However, the Giants are likely to have a new man in charge very soon! If that’s the case, you would hope it is someone young whose football mind is adapting with the times, or in simpler terms, the antithesis of Gettleman. How likely is that hire to be made? From the owner who is in heavy support of the new taunting rule, it also feels unlikely. We can always dream.

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