There’s nothing wrong with a simple first-round NFL mock draft, but it can tell you only so much.
By diving deeper into the class, a clearer picture emerges. Teams don’t always address their biggest holes early in the draft, and the players picked on Day Two and Day Three can often be just as impactful as the ones celebrated on opening night.
Here are The Baltimore Sun’s projections for all 143 picks in the first four rounds of the 2022 NFL draft, which begins April 28 in Las Vegas. (Teams are listed in alphabetical order.)
- Round 1, No. 23: Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia
- Round 2, No. 55: Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State
- Round 3, No. 87: Coby Bryant, CB, Cincinnati
The Cardinals have an uphill battle in the rugged NFC West, so they need each of these picks to hit — especially if they want to keep quarterback Kyler Murray long-term. Wyatt, an explosive athlete with pass-rushing upside, and Bryant, a rugged and productive corner, fill two of the biggest holes on a defense that needs to improve to hang with the top offenses in its division. Hall, meanwhile, is a tackle-breaking machine who can form a dynamic one-two punch with veteran James Conner.
- Round 1, No. 8: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
- Round 2, No. 43: Travis Jones, DT, Connecticut
- Round 2, No. 58: Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
- Round 3, No. 74: Brandon Smith, LB, Penn State
- Round 3, No. 82: Dylan Parham, G, Memphis
- Round 4, No. 114: Max Mitchell, OT, Louisiana
After adding a dynamic receiver in Wilson to make up for the loss of suspended star Calvin Ridley, the Falcons retool in the trenches. Jones and Smith are two elite athletes at their respective positions, while Parham and Mitchell help bolster one of the worst offensive lines in the league. At pick No. 58, Corral is worth taking a chance on. He’s still a bit raw after excelling in a quarterback-friendly scheme at Ole Miss, but he can sharpen his skill set behind veteran Marcus Mariota.
- Round 1, No. 14: George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
- Round 2, No. 45: Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn
- Round 3, No. 76: Nicholas Petit-Frere, OT, Ohio State
- Round 3, No. 100: Dameon Pierce, RB, Florida
- Round 4, No. 110: Neil Farrell Jr., DT, LSU
- Round 4, No. 119: Cam Jurgens, C, Nebraska
- Round 4, No. 128: Jeremy Ruckert, TE, Ohio State
- Round 4, No. 139: Zachary Carter, EDGE, Florida
- Round 4, No. 141: Mario Goodrich, CB, Clemson
Just about every need gets filled with this haul. With Karlaftis and McCreary, the Ravens add valuable depth at two premier positions with the potential for both to emerge as starters sooner than later. On the offensive line, Petit-Frere can serve as a much-needed swing tackle, while Jurgens can compete for a starting spot at center or guard. Pierce — Pro Football Focus’ highest-graded rusher in the FBS last season — might not get much playing time behind J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, but we saw how fast the running back room disintegrated last season because of injuries. Ruckert, a solid in-line blocker, can eventually fill Nick Boyle’s role, while Carter and Goodrich offer important depth at key positions.
- Round 1, No. 25: Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson
- Round 2, No. 57: Kenneth Walker III, RB, Michigan State
- Round 3, No. 89: Kellen Diesch, OT, Arizona State
- Round 4, No. 130: Tyquan Thornton, WR, Baylor
What do you get for the team that has everything? How about a versatile corner, a complete running back, a highly graded tackle and a lightning-fast deep threat. Getting a receiver like Thornton, who ran a 4.28 40-yard dash at the scouting combine, to complement Stefon Diggs, Gabriel Davis and Jamison Crowder would further cement Buffalo’s status as the Super Bowl favorite behind star quarterback Josh Allen.
- Round 1, No. 6: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
- Round 4, No. 137: Thayer Munford, G, Ohio State
With no second- or third-round picks, the pressure is on general manager Scott Fitterer to make the most of what he’s got. There’s a good chance Carolina goes after a quarterback, but with so many holes on the roster, a trade for a veteran like Jimmy Garoppolo or Baker Mayfield might make the most sense. If the Panthers don’t find a way to turn that No. 6 pick into more selections, Cross would be a worthy choice as the anchor of a struggling offensive line.
- Round 2, No. 39: George Pickens, WR, Georgia
- Round 2, No. 48: Kenyon Green, G/T, Texas A&M
- Round 3, No. 71: Martin Emerson, CB, Mississippi State
Much has been made about the Bears’ inability to put a more competitive roster around young quarterback Justin Fields, but that’s the price you pay for trading up in the draft. Without a first-round pick, this would be a home run for new general manager Ryan Poles, who adds a pair of potential stars in Pickens and Green to fill some glaring holes.
- Round 1, No. 31: Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
- Round 2, No. 63: Trey McBride, TE, Colorado State
- Round 3, No. 95: Cam Taylor-Britt, CB, Nebraska
- Round 4, No. 136: Terrel Bernard, LB, Baylor
In adding Linderbaum, the Bengals would complete their offensive line overhaul. The Iowa star is a consensus top-20 prospect, but positional value bumps him to the bottom of the first round. Cincinnati also gets the top tight end prospect in the class in McBride, a productive downfield threat who would pair nicely with former Ravens first-round pick Hayden Hurst and give quarterback Joe Burrow yet another weapon.
- Round 2, No. 44: Logan Hall, DL, Houston
- Round 3, No. 78: Khalil Shakir, WR, Boise State
- Round 3, No. 99: Myjai Sanders, EDGE, Cincinnati
- Round 4, No. 118: Cade Otton, TE, Washington
After trading away a huge package of draft picks for quarterback Deshaun Watson, including their next three first-rounders, it’s even more important for Cleveland to find value in the middle rounds. Hall and Shakir fill two important spots after some big losses in free agency, while Sanders represents a worthy bet on a player who could be better than his struggles throughout the predraft process might suggest.
- Round 1, No. 24: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
- Round 2, No. 56: DeMarvin Leal, EDGE, Texas A&M
- Round 3, No. 88: Calvin Austin III, WR, Memphis
- Round 4, No. 129: Chris Paul, G/T, Tulsa
The Dallas defense needs some reinforcements, especially up the middle. In step Dean and Leal, two former five-star prospects who have the potential to make an instant impact. On offense, the Cowboys could use a gadget player like the 5-foot-8, 170-pound Austin, an impressive athlete who’s dynamic in the open field. Paul, meanwhile, helps bolster the offensive line after the departure of right tackle La’el Collins in free agency.
- Round 2, No. 64: Troy Andersen, LB, Montana State
- Round 3, No. 75: Daniel Faalele, OT, Minnesota
- Round 3, No. 96: Matthew Butler, DT, Tennessee
- Round 4, No. 115: Amare Barno, EDGE, Virginia Tech
- Round 4, No. 116: Alontae Taylor, CB, Tennessee
The Broncos have one of the best rosters in football behind quarterback Russell Wilson, so this draft is all about depth and filling in at the margins. Andersen, a converted running back and quarterback, is an intriguing player, and the same can be said of the 6-8, 384-pound Faalele and the freakishly athletic Barno. Those players can adapt slowly to the NFL and grow into valuable pieces down the road.
- Round 1, No. 2: Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia
- Round 1, No. 32: Daxton Hill, CB, Michigan
- Round 2, No. 34: Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State
- Round 3, No. 66: Jalen Tolbert, WR, South Alabama
- Round 3, No. 97: Damone Clark, LB, LSU
This draft will be a crucial part of the Lions’ rebuilding plan under coach Dan Campbell, so it stands to reason they’ll go after the kind of tough, hard-nosed players he likes. Walker, Hill, Brisker and even Clark can immediately solidify the defense from back to front. The secondary in particular could use some help, and the versatile Hill — a safety and slot corner — and the ball-hawking Brisker would be huge difference-makers.
Green Bay Packers
- Round 1, No. 22: Zion Johnson, G, Boston College
- Round 1, No. 28: Arnold Ebiketie, EDGE, Penn State
- Round 2, No. 53: Chad Muma, LB, Wyoming
- Round 2, No. 59: Alec Pierce, WR, Cincinnati
- Round 3, No. 92: Greg Dulcich, TE, UCLA
- Round 4, No. 132: Joshua Williams, CB, Fayetteville State
- Round 4, No. 140: John Ridgeway, DT, Arkansas
No wide receiver until the end of Round Two? That’s just the Packers’ philosophy. Even after trading star Davante Adams, it’s unlikely they’ll change their stripes. Johnson and Ebiketie can be immediate starters up front, while the athletic Muma would pair nicely with star De’Vondre Campbell in the middle. The 6-3, 211-pound Pierce has the size and blocking chops the Packers covet while also providing a deep threat for two-time defending MVP Aaron Rodgers.
- Round 1, No. 3: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
- Round 1, No. 13: Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
- Round 2, No. 37: David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan
- Round 3, No. 68: John Metchie III, WR, Alabama
- Round 3, No. 80: Kerby Joseph, S, Illinois
- Round 4, No. 107: Deangelo Malone, EDGE, Western Kentucky
- Round 4, No. 108: Zyon McCollum, CB, Sam Houston
For a team that needs help at just about every position, this would be a dream scenario. Neal and Davis might not end up being stars, but they certainly raise the team’s floor. The Texans are a long way from being competitive, so drafting and stashing Ojabo — a consensus top-20 player — while he recovers from a torn Achilles tendon would be incredibly valuable. New coach Lovie Smith even reunites with a familiar face in Joseph from his days at Illinois.
- Round 2, No. 42: Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
- Round 3, No. 73: Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina
- Round 4, No. 122: Marquis Hayes, G, Oklahoma
There’s a good chance Dotson doesn’t make it past Round One, but if he does, he’d be a great fit next to the big-bodied Michael Pittman Jr. with his speed and shiftiness. In the third round, Howell is worth taking a chance on. The former Tar Heel can sit behind veteran Matt Ryan and get used to playing in a pro-style offense after putting up big numbers in a run-pass-option-heavy scheme at UNC.
- Round 1, No. 1: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
- Round 2, No. 33: Jalen Pitre, DB, Baylor
- Round 3, No. 65: Channing Tindall, LB, Georgia
- Round 3, No. 70: Phidarian Mathis, DT, Alabama
- Round 4, No. 106: Ed Ingram, G, LSU
While Hutchinson’s production in the NFL will determine how this draft class is perceived, there’s an opportunity here for the Jaguars to improve quickly. Adding Pitre, Tindall and Mathis would dramatically raise the team’s talent level on all three levels of the defense, taking some pressure off young quarterback Trevor Lawrence to be perfect on every drive. This draft is a big reason Jacksonville could go from worst to first this season.
Kansas City Chiefs
- Round 1, No. 29: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
- Round 1, No. 30: Boye Mafe, EDGE, Minnesota
- Round 2, No. 50: Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State
- Round 2, No. 62: Perrion Winfrey, DT, Oklahoma
- Round 3, No. 94: Zach Tom, OT, Wake Forest
- Round 3, No. 103: James Cook, RB, Georgia
- Round 4, No. 121: Romeo Doubs, WR, Nevada
- Round 4, No. 135: Verone McKinley III, S, Oregon
The Tyreek Hill trade took away one of the league’s best receivers from quarterback Patrick Mahomes, but when you see what kind of draft haul the Chiefs could get in return, it starts to make some sense. The roster is in desperate need of young talent, especially as the arms race in the AFC West reaches absurd levels. Players like Elam, Mafe, Watson and Winfrey represent important additions at key positions that will help keep the Chiefs competitive for years to come while building around Mahomes’ massive contract.
Las Vegas Raiders
- Round 3, No. 86: Tariq Woolen, CB, UTSA
- Round 4, No. 126: Lecitus Smith, G, Virginia Tech
The Raiders parted with four picks in this draft, including their first- and second-rounders in the Davante Adams trade, but that’s the price to pay for meaningful upgrades. That means drafting a project like Woolen, an explosive athlete in a 6-4, 205-pound body, is a risk worth taking.
Los Angeles Chargers
- Round 1, No. 17: Drake London, WR, USC
- Round 3, No. 79: Sean Rhyan, OT, UCLA
- Round 4, No. 123: Akayleb Evans, CB, Missouri
If a talented receiver like London falls, there’s a good chance he won’t make it past the Chargers. Mike Williams and Keenan Allen are top-notch starters, but when you have a quarterback as gifted as Justin Herbert, there’s no such thing as having too many weapons. The Chargers also fill a big hole at right tackle with Rhyan and add some valuable cornerback depth in Evans.
Los Angeles Rams
- Round 3, No. 104: Marcus Jones, CB, Houston
- Round 4, No. 142: Justin Shaffer, G, Georgia
General manager Les Snead isn’t shy about using draft picks to acquire stars like Matthew Stafford, Jalen Ramsey and Von Miller. It’s left the team’s cupboard bare, but they have a Super Bowl title to show for it. Jones and Shaffer would be valuable pieces to the roster-building puzzle.
- Round 3, No. 102: Rasheed Walker, OT, Penn State
- Round 4, No. 125: Sam Williams, EDGE, Ole Miss
Like the aforementioned Rams, the Dolphins have shed plenty of picks in their quest for stars. It’s put a ton of pressure on quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to live up to expectations, but at least he has a talented receiving corps and a better offensive line to work with now. The work isn’t done on the offensive line quite yet, however, which means a prospect like Walker would be a wise investment.
- Round 1, No. 12: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
- Round 2, No. 46: Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan
- Round 3, No. 77: Cole Strange, G, Chattanooga
This sort of pick would have been unthinkable in September, when Stingley was considered a consensus top-five pick. Now that he’s been jumped by Gardner in the eyes of many, the Vikings stand to benefit. Wide receiver is also a sneaky big need for Minnesota despite having young star Justin Jefferson and veteran Adam Thielen, who turns 32 in August. Moore would complement that pair well with his shiftiness and ability to break tackles.
New England Patriots
- Round 1, No. 21: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
- Round 2, No. 54: Quay Walker, LB, Georgia
- Round 3, No. 85: Luke Goedeke, OT, Central Michigan
- Round 4, No. 127: Kyle Philips, WR, UCLA
After trading Stephon Gilmore and letting J.C. Jackson walk in free agency, cornerback is a major priority for the Patriots. McDuffie would be a great fit in New England with his game sense and versatility to play in the slot or even safety. The Patriots also fill some big holes at linebacker and offensive line after losing starters Dont’a Hightower and Shaq Mason. The trade for DeVante Parker alleviates some concerns at wide receiver, but Phillips would be great value in the fourth round as maybe the best pure slot receiver in this class.
New Orleans Saints
- Round 1, No. 16: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
- Round 1, No. 19: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
- Round 2, No. 49: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
- Round 3, No. 98: Bryan Cook, S, Cincinnati
- Round 4, No. 120: Tyler Allgeier, RB, BYU
Unless the Saints package their picks to move up for a quarterback or offensive lineman, you can pencil in receiver and tackle in the first round. Penning fills the void left by Terron Armstead, while Olave would be a great fit next to former Buckeyes star Michael Thomas. There’s a good chance the Saints pull the trigger on a quarterback if someone like Pickett falls to them in the second round, even if that means sitting them behind Jameis Winston for at least a season.
New York Giants
- Round 1, No. 5: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, North Carolina State
- Round 1, No. 7: Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
- Round 2, No. 36: Nik Bonitto, EDGE, Oklahoma
- Round 3, No. 67: Brian Asamoah, LB, Oklahoma
- Round 3, No. 81: Nick Cross, S, Maryland
- Round 4, No. 112: Rachaad White, RB, Arizona State
Former Ravens defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale would be happy with this haul. Gardner is the type of man-to-man corner he covets in his aggressive scheme, while Bonitto adds the kind of pass-rushing punch the Giants have been missing since Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and Jason Pierre-Paul were in town. Ekwonu is the biggest addition, a road-grading tackle who can help pave the way for Saquon Barkley and keep Daniel Jones upright.
New York Jets
- Round 1, No. 4: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
- Round 1, No. 10: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
- Round 2, No. 35: Leo Chenal, LB, Wisconsin
- Round 2, No. 38: Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan
- Round 3, No. 69: Cameron Thomas, EDGE, San Diego State
- Round 4, No. 111: Josh Jobe, CB, Alabama
- Round 4, No. 117: Jelani Woods, TE, Virginia
The Jets still have a long way to go to compete with the top teams in the AFC, but this kind of draft class would help them take the next step. Thibodeaux and Williams are true difference-makers capable of growing into superstars at their respective positions. Williams is still recovering from a torn ACL, but his speed and shiftiness would add an element the Jets have been missing. Chenal would also be a major upgrade for a disappointing linebacker corps, while Raimann could serve as valuable insurance behind Mekhi Becton before eventually taking over at left or right tackle. The Jets also get an athletic marvel in Woods to mold behind free-agent addition C.J. Uzomah.
- Round 1, No. 15: Jermaine Johnson II, EDGE, Florida State
- Round 1, No. 18: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
- Round 2, No. 51: Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington
- Round 3, No. 83: Darrian Beavers, LB, Cincinnati
- Round 3, No. 101: Dohnovan West, C, Arizona State
- Round 4, No. 124: Bailey Zappe, QB, Western Kentucky
The Eagles have done a nice job building around quarterback Jalen Hurts, and they have a great opportunity to elevate their roster with two first-round picks. Johnson is a sturdy run defender with pass-rushing upside who would add some needed juice to the defensive front, while Burks is a big-bodied vertical threat who would complement the small-and-shifty DeVonta Smith and Quez Watkins. The Eagles also beef up their defense with Gordon and Beavers. Just don’t expect them to take a linebacker earlier than the third round.
- Round 1, No. 20: Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
- Round 2, No. 52: Abraham Lucas, OT, Washington State
- Round 3, No. 84: JoJo Domann, S/LB, Nebraska
- Round 4, No. 138: Velus Jones Jr., WR, Tennessee
It seems unlikely that Willis will last until the 20th pick, but in this mock scenario without trades, this is how it shakes out. The Steelers have not hidden their affection for Willis, a rocket-armed, mobile quarterback who has all the tools to be a star. His game needs refinement, but the Steelers offer a comfortable landing spot with longtime coach Mike Tomlin and his staff.
San Francisco 49ers
- Round 2, No. 61: Kingsley Enagbare, EDGE, South Carolina
- Round 3, No. 93: Luke Fortner, G/C, Kentucky
- Round 3, No. 105: Wan’Dale Robinson, WR, Kentucky
- Round 4, No. 134: Akayleb Evans, CB, Missouri
The 49ers have one of the best rosters in football, but there are still some areas of concern. Enagbare helps take some attention away from star pass rusher Nick Bosa, while Fortner can compete for a spot at guard before taking over for Alex Mack at center. The Niners love receivers who can add yards after the catch, and the dynamic Robinson is one of the best in the class in the open field. San Francisco might even be able to add to this haul if it finds a way to trade quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo for a couple of picks.
- Round 1, No. 9: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
- Round 2, No. 40: Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
- Round 2, No. 41: Drake Jackson, EDGE, USC
- Round 3, No. 72: Jamaree Salyer, G/T, Georgia
- Round 4, No. 109: Tariq Castro-Fields, CB, Penn State
Lloyd at pick No. 9 seems like a reach, but he’s a prospect who coaches and scouts like more than the media do. The big question is whether coach Pete Carroll wants to commit to drafting a quarterback and rebuilding after trading Russell Wilson. Adding Ridder at the top of Round Two is a much different calculus than taking someone like Willis or Pickett in the top 10. Perhaps the Seahawks can be competitive while still planning for the future.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Round 1, No. 27: Lewis Cine, S, Georgia
- Round 2, No. 60: Darian Kinnard, G/T, Kentucky
- Round 3, No. 91: Josh Paschal, EDGE, Kentucky
- Round 4, No. 133: Charlie Kolar, TE, Iowa State
Veteran Logan Ryan was a nice addition after the departure of safety Jordan Whitehead, but he’s not the long-term answer. Cine is an outstanding athlete who would form an awesome pairing with young star Antonine Winfield at the back end of the defense. The Bucs also add some depth up front in Kinnard and Paschal while taking Rob Gronkowski’s eventual successor in the 6-7, 252-pound Kolar.
- Round 1, No. 26: Tyler Smith, G/T, Tulsa
- Round 3, No. 90: Justyn Ross, WR, Clemson
- Round 4, No. 131: Brian Robinson Jr., RB, Alabama
- Round 4, No. 143: Tyreke Smith, EDGE, Ohio State
The Titans are the biggest wild card when it comes to this quarterback class. Pick No. 26 might be an ideal spot to take a swing on a passer, especially if they aren’t satisfied with veteran Ryan Tannehill after his disappointing playoff performance. One thing you can count on, however, is coach Mike Vrabel and general manager Jon Robinson taking big, aggressive players. The 6-5, 324-pound Tyler Smith fits that mold, as does the 6-4, 205-pound Ross and the 6-3, 254-pound Tyreke Smith. After losing D’onta Foreman, the Titans also need a backup running back behind star Derrick Henry.
- Round 1, No. 11: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
- Round 2, No. 47: Christian Harris, LB, Alabama
- Round 4, No. 113: David Bell, WR, Purdue
Landing one of the best safety prospects in years is a nice way to start a draft. Hamilton was considered a possible top-three pick before a disappointing 40-yard dash knocked him down draft boards, but the speed he showed on tape speaks for itself. With Hamilton and Harris covering the middle of the field behind a stout defensive line, Washington’s defense can get back to being one of the best in the league. Bell, meanwhile, offers some value as a highly productive receiver who could be better than his below-average athletic testing numbers suggest.