For a good while now, bet365 Sport has been offering odds on which college football stars will be amongst the first few players to be picked in the 2022 NFL Draft.

A number of top college players have been amongst the favourites to go with the first pick in the draft, including Alabama tackle Evan Neal, Georgia defensive lineman Travon Walker and Michigan’s edge rusher Aidan Hutchison.

Well, Draft Day is now here and later on this evening (8pm ET in the US, 1am UK Time) the 2022 NFL Draft will get underway with the Jacksonville Jaguars once again having the first pick in the draft for a second successive year.

Last year the Jaguars first pick was nailed on to be Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and so it proved, with the Jags also picking up his Clemson running back team mate Travis Etienne later in the first round with their second pick.

This year though, the draft is much more open and with so many trades and unusual moves in the off-season, and with teams trading into and out of the first round over time, plus a number of teams believed to be ready to make draft day trades to move up or down in the draft,  things are so much more uncertain.

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Let’s now take a look at some of the key questions that remain to be answered ahead of tonight’s first round of the draft, which will see the first 32 players selected.

  • Q1 – Who Do Jacksonville Pick With The First Pick Of The Draft?

In every NFL Draft, everything stems from that very first pick and while in some years, such as last year, who will be selected first is very, very obvious, in some years that selection is not so easy to predict.

And that is very much the case this year.

Initially, the Jaguars were expected to try and improve their offensive line by drafting Evan Neal, with the assumption being the Jaguars would let their current Left Tackle Cam Robinson leave as he entered the final year of his contract.

However, the Jags threw doubt on that by franchise tagging Robinson, making a pick for Neal unlikely as they would tend to play in the same position.

Then Aidan Hutchison became the favourite with the bookmakers. The Michigan Edge Rusher was a Heisman Trophy runner up this past year and was a sensation for the Trojans, with multiple sacks and tackles for losses marking him out as an elite prospect off the edge.

However, at the combine, Georgia’s Travon Walker, another edge rusher, produced some startling performances across the different discipline at the combine, so much so that Walker’s stock has risen with so many people that they now reckon that rather than a mid-first round pick, Walker will now be taken by the Jaguars.

The bookmakers very much feel it is a straight choice between Walker and Hutchison and overnight, Walker’s odds have shortened right down to 2/9, while Hutchison’s odds have drifted out to 17/4 to be the first pick.

So the money is for Walker, but I think if the Jaguars want to select the best pick in this draft, then Hutchison would be the pick. However, there’s been so much money for Walker that I’d be astonished if he isn’t the man selected first this year.

Tip – The Jags should pick Hutchison, but I think the odds are that Walker will be their first pick.

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  • Q2 – What Do The Texans Do At Pick 3?

It’s pretty much assumed that whoever the Jags do not pick out of Walker or Hutchison, then the Detroit Lions will pick the remaining player with the second pick (although they are believed to be keen on Kayvon Thibodeaux too).

So the next key pick in the draft comes at number 3, where the Houston Texans need to start using some of the first round picks they have landed from the DeShaun Watson trade very wisely.

The Texans have so many areas of need that they can likely pick the best player available here and make a significant upgrade at that position. But who that will be remains something of a mystery.

There has been money for cornerback Derek Stingley Jr who is now 6/4, while Ikem Ekwonu and Aidan Hutchison are both 7/2 and another corner Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner is 9/2. These four players seem to be where the Texans are at.

With Davis Mills their QB moving forward (unless the Texans spring a surprise with their second First Round pick) I think they need to protect him, and Ekwonu would be a good fit here.

However, this Texans team needs leaders and I think Stingley Jr and Gardner at Cornerback would provide that on defense and although Stingley Jr. is the favourite here, I think the Texans may well elect to get “saucy” and pick Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, who is as close to a shutdown corner as there is in the draft.

  • Q3 – Who Do The Jets And Giants Pick With Their Two Top Ten selections?

The New York duo see the Jets have picks at 4th and 10th in the draft, while the Giants pick 5th and 7th and both teams are in desperate need of some talent to make them more relevant in their divisions.

I’ll start with the Giants first because I think their needs are easier to understand. It is abundantly clear they need a lot of help on the offensive line and depending on who is still available, I think the first Giants pick will be for either Charles Cross (7/4 favourite), Ikem Ekwonu (11/4) or Evan Neal (6/1).

Cross is arguably the best pass-protector in the draft and with the Giants struggling to move the ball through the air, he would be a good pick up, with Ekwonu likely to have been selected by this point.

With their second pick and 7th in the draft, I think the Giants will now move on to defense, although if Evan Neal is there, he may well be a very tempting option to pick up to further strengthen that offensive line.

Ahmad Gardner (5/2) and Derek Stingley Jr (7/2) are the favourites to be selected here and I’d go with whichever of these two are available, the Giants would go with (which in my view would be Stingley Jr).

The Jets situation is a little more complex. It is well known that the Jets want a top-level wide receiver and if they can’t find a trade for Deebo Samuel (which looks unlikely) there is every chance the Jets could pick Garrett Wilson with this pick, or even Jameson Williams.

That would be a bit of a reach for these star receivers but with the Falcons sitting at 8th and also desperate for wide receiver help, I think the Jets may be forced to select their WR earlier rather than later.

The Jets could look to move down a couple of spots, but that would depend very much on who is available and what the deal is. I think that situation is unlikely.

Having addressed their WR need at number 4, I think the Jets will then go for a key defensive player here and I really like Kyle Hamilton, the Notre Dame safety who is 14/1 to be selected 10th and who I think is arguably one of the most talented players in the whole draft.

Tips – Giants to pick Cross at 5 and Stingley Jr at 7, Jets to pick Wilson at 4 and Hamilton at 10.

With a host of teams having multiple first round picks, there is already talk of trades being made to move up and down the draft, with the likes of Philadelphia, the two New York Teams and the New Orleans Saints all being linked with moves later tonight.

So if you are going to stay up late to watch how the draft unfolds, enjoy the action and remember, there is always a surprise or two that can throw the draft wide open and dramatically change which players land where.