This year’s 2022 NFL Draft will take place from Thursday 28th April, when the first round will be drawn then across Friday 29th (2nd and 3rd Rounds) and Saturday 30th April (Rounds 4 to 7).

Las Vegas will be the host City of the draft this year, with Kansas City having the honour in 2023. Vegas was originally set to host the draft in 2021, but due to it being conducted virtually, the city was given the honour of hosting the draft this year instead.

Betting sites such as bet365 Sport are already offering odds on which player will be the first one off the board this year and it is interesting reading as there are a number of top prospects in the draft this year, but of course, they also have to match up with specific team needs at that position.

And with the quarterback stock rated as being poorer than in previous years, when we have seen a number of top signal callers taken early in the draft, it does look like being a draft which may be dominated, early on at least, by the big guys on both the offensive and defensive lines.

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So before we take a closer look at the draft itself, what is going to happen over the next few weeks in the lad up to the start of the draft in Las Vegas in April.

Draft Build Up

Now that the NFL and College Football seasons are over a number of things will be taking place ahead of the Draft.

Many college players who can still play on at college next year, will be speaking with the NFL Draft Advisory Board. This is a board of experts who will be able to give a player an expert opinion on where they are likely to be drafted in the 2022 NFL Draft (or indeed, if they will be drafted at all).

The players can then choose to remain in college, keep improving as a player and improve their draft stock for the 2023 draft in Kansas City, or they can take their chances in the current draft.

Generally, you will find that players that have a realistic chance of improving their draft stock markedly by remaining in college, will take that opportunity, unless they are projected to go in one of the earlier rounds, or they are more at risk of seeing their stock fall if they remain in college.

However, for the truly gifted players, who could go on to join NFL Legends such as these, the chance to turn pro and cash in on the vast riches available in the NFL is a no-brainer and it is these players that will be the focus of the key early picks in the draft.

And they will get a chance to showcase their talents at other key pre-draft events.

  • The NFL Scouting Combine

Every year, the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis is the home for the NFL Scouting Combine, where the top college prospects each year are invited to participate in a series of physical and mental tests across six days in front of NFL Coaches, Managers and Scouts.

A players draft stock can increase or decrease markedly dependent on their physical and mental performances in the draft, seeing them fall or rise in each teams rankings and thus, this can have a significant impact on when they are drafted and their potential earnings as a rookie and throughout their career.

Each year, there are players at the combine who despite not having an outstanding college career, perform particularly well in the tests, and these players draft stock increases markedly as a result. These players are known as Workout Warriors.

  • College Pro Days

Alongside the NFL Scouting Combine, prospective NFL Stars can showcase their talents at their college pro day. Here the college invites NFL coaches to watch a number of their prospective draft players complete a number of physical and football tasks similar to the combine.

Smaller schools will often join with others nearby to reduce costs and get more coaches to watch the players in action.

  • Pre-Draft Visits

If a team is interested in selecting a certain player in the draft and want to have a closer look at him, then they can use up 30 pre-draft visits in the run up to the draft. Here, players are flown in to the city for medical examinations, interviews and other tests from all over the country.

However, if the player visiting is from the same area as the team, this is not counted as one of the 30 visits.

By using a combination of the Combine, Pro Days and Visits, the 32 NFL teams will finalise their draft plan ahead of the draft in April, which they hope will address specific areas of need in their team.

2022 Draft Order

One of the key aspects of any draft is the Draft Order, especially in the first round. The draft order is decided by the team’s performance over the previous season, with the worst team picking first and the Super Bowl Champions, picking 32nd in the first round.

However, teams may trade away draft picks, which can mean certain teams do not have a first round pick, while others may have two or more.

Furthermore, it is not unusual for teams to make trades on draft day, swapping picks in the draft to move up or down the draft, or to sign a certain player from another team, all of which can change the outlook of the draft markedly.

Outlined below is how the 32 picks in the first round of the draft are scheduled to go at the start of the draft. Where a team has picked up a draft through a previous trade, how they acquired the pick will be shown.

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)

The Jets, Giants and Lions have two picks in the first round while the Philadelphia Eagles are scheduled to pick three times in the first 32 picks.

2022 Draft Prospects And Odds

Let’s now take a look at some of the big draft prospects for the 2022 Draft and where these players could well end up.

Evan Neal (Offensive Line) Alabama Crimson Tide – 8/5 to be 1st pick in the Draft.

Jacksonville have a decision to make with their second #1 pick in successive years. Do they draft someone to protect Trevor Lawrence, or an edge rusher to improve their defense. Protecting their top pick last season must be a priority, which is why Neal is probably going to go first in the draft ahead of arguably the best player in the draft.

Aidan Hutchison (Defensive Line) Michigan Wolverines – 9/5 to be 1st pick in the Draft.

Hutchison is probably the best player in the draft, but he may be picked second this year due to Jacksonville having a need to protect their QB. That won’t upset the Lions who will pick up a difference-making edge rusher who is NFL ready to make a big impact.

Kayvon Thibodeaux (Defensive Line) Oregon Ducks – 9/2 to be 1st pick in the Draft.

The Houston Texans pick third and they have pressing needs all over the team, so picking the top player in the draft available here makes sense. That could be the Ducks edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux who would give the Texans a disruptive force on the defensive line.

Ikem Ekwonu (Offensive Line) North Carolina State – 7/1 to be 1st pick in the Draft

Could the Jets trade this pick away? I’m not so sure, they need to keep Mekhi Becton on their O-line and I think bringing in Ekwonu here makes sense especially with second year quarterback Zach Wilson to protect.

With plenty of mock drafts still to go between now and the end of April, there’s still plenty of twists and turns to come over the forthcoming weeks.