The long wait for the 2022 NFL draft is over. From April 28 through April 30, all eyes will be on Las Vegas. Round 1 takes place on the 28th, and rounds 2 to 7 will take place over the following two days. The buildup has been extensively covered and the actual draft will be broadcast on ESPN, ABC and the NFL Network.
Fantasy football has been so popular for years that it’s no surprise that betting on the NFL is the most popular form of sports betting in the US, and that is why sites that offer tips and predictions for NFL games have risen in popularity. Sports betting laws don’t typically make an allowance for betting on events like drafts – most limit betting to what happens on the field – but the draft can have a serious impact.
The first round of the draft usually gets the most attention. Teams have traded players for draft picks all season, trying to get the best situation. The first round is where the hottest prospects get picked up. Since college football is now so closely followed, there usually aren’t too many surprises – it’s in the later rounds where the more interesting picks happen.
According to the experts at ESPN, this is set to be one of the most unpredictable drafts in recent years. There are a lot of up and coming potential stars but each team has different needs on their bench and there are bound to be some surprises. What the NFL gurus have agreed is that the most likely players to be picked first are Aidan Hutchinson, Kayvon Thibodeaux and Evan Neal.
This article will give some of the major predictions for the rest of the players who will get picked up early on during the 2022 NFL draft.
Ikem Ekwonu – offensive tackle
While some college players look like they’re performing at the peak level, that isn’t always an attractive aspect for coaches. The best coaches want a player who looks like he’s on his way to greatness, a player who they can shape into their ideal performer. Ikem Ekwonu is that kind of player. While his kickslide may be inconsistent, his natural agility and mirroring ability make up for it.
Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner – cornerback
Ahmad Gardner is an obvious pick. Most mock drafts have him being snapped up within the first five picks. He is one of the most naturally physically gifted players eligible to be drafted this season. On top of his impressive performance at Cincinnati this past season, he’s also one of the fastest young players, making him a very attractive prospect.
Jermaine Johnson II – defensive end
On top of the great tackle record of the past season, one of the things that makes Jermaine Johnson II so attractive is his ability to rise above his surroundings. His last season at Florida State showed that even when his team was struggling, he refused to let it affect his morale or performance. That sort of mental game is hard to teach.
Quay Walker – linebacker
Quay Walker is another player for whom the mental game comes naturally. He may not be the flashiest player or the most gifted but that doesn’t really matter. When it comes down to it, he’s the kind of player who has such a good understanding of the way in which the offensive line thinks that he can predict and react quicker than most other players.
Desmond Ridder – quarterback
This might be the first draft in several years where there isn’t a singly quarterback picked up in the first round. That isn’t to say that there aren’t any good prospects going, just that most teams are feeling fairly confident about their current QB. Despite that, Desmond Ridder is likely to be an early pick because of his stats and his take-charge attitude.
Boye Mafe – linebacker
The words most commonly used to describe Boye Mafe’s strengths are “explosive athleticism” and it is obvious why. He has so much power that he is capable of harnessing when he plays that he is always exciting to watch. The only problem with explosive talent is that it isn’t always the most consistent. This is what’s keeping him from being a true top prospect.
Devonte Wyatt – defensive tackle
If we’re talking about players full of potential who just aren’t quite there yet, Devonte Wyatt needs to be mentioned. He’s likely to be picked up early in the draft based on what coaches can see him becoming, instead of what his stats currently say about his performance. His lateral quickness is also a very appealing talent.