We’ve known for a few weeks now the Dallas Cowboys are slotted to select 24th overall in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft thanks to their early exit in the playoffs at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers. With the Los Angeles Rams Super Bowl victory over the Cincinnati Bengals less than a week ago, we now know where everyone else will pick as well.
The draft may still be a few months away, but with each passing day the biggest event of the offseason draws closer and closer. Before we know it, the Jacksonville Jaguars will be on the clock and this year’s draft hopefuls will start learning where they will begin their professional careers in the NFL.
Today, we’re going to attempt to predict each teams selection in the first round based on where everybody is currently slotted. That means there will be no trades, despite the fact this is shaping up to be a year where there will be numerous ones. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft plays out and who ends up as the Cowboys 24th overall pick.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars
OT Evan Neal, Alabama
Protecting last year’s No. 1 pick Trevor Lawrence should be the Jaguars top priority and Evan Neal would go a long ways and doing just that, whether it’s at right or left tackle.
DE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan
Aidan Hutchinson, an in-state prospect, would add toughness and relentlessness to Detroit’s pass rush, characteristics Dan Campbell seems to values in his players.
DE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon
The Texans can go a number of different ways here, but they’d be hard-pressed to pass on an immediate impact pass rusher who would fit perfectly in Lovie Smith’s defense.
S Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame
After missing out on the top two pass rusher’s, the Jets upgrade their safety position with arguably the best player in the entire 2022 draft class in Kyle Hamilton.
OT Ikem Ekwonu, NC State
Pairing Ikem Ekwonu with former first-round pick Andrew Thomas would give them two talented bookends who would immediately upgrade the Giants offensive line.
OT Charles Cross, Mississippi State
Carolina could go QB here, but will probably decide instead to give their QB some added protection in Charles Cross to see what Sam Darnold can do first with the new OC.
7. New York Giants (from Chicago)
DE David Ojabo, Michigan
David Ojabo is a little raw, but his upside is just as high as any other pass rusher this year and if paired with Azeez Ojulari would give the Giants a young, talented duo to build around.
IOL Kenyon Green, Texas A&M
Although QB is a real possibility here, Kenyon Green’s ability to play nearly every position on the OL would be a huge boost to what was one of the worst units in the league in 2021.
LB Devin Lloyd, Utah
Denver is arguably a QB away and likely addresses the position via trade or free agency, leaving them open to take Devin Lloyd, a one-man wrecking crew at the LB position.
10. New York Jets (from Seattle)
CB Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, Cincinnati
After taking the best safety prospect earlier in Kyle Hamilton, the Jets further upgrade their secondary with the 6’3”, 190-pound Sauce Gardener, who didn’t allow any TDs in college.
11. Washington Commanders
QB Kenny Pickett, Pitt
Kenny Pickett is arguably the most pro-ready QB this year and would be a great fit with the Commanders, who have a few offensive weapons already in place.
CB Derek Stingley Jr., LSU
Derek Stingley’s back-to-back injury plagued seasons makes him slide right into the Vikings lap, which is great news because they could definitely stand to upgrade their CB position.
13. Cleveland Browns
DT Jordan Davis, Georgia
The Browns are facing a lot of potential free agent losses all along the defensive front, making Jordan Davis almost a no-brainer here instead of more WR help for Baker Mayfield.
14. Baltimore Ravens
OT Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa
Lamar Jackson may be one of the most elusive QBs in the NFL, but giving him some more protection should be one of the Ravens top priorities after giving up 57 sacks in 2021.
15. Philadelphia Eagles (from Miami)
OC Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa
Jason Kelce is mulling retirement, which would put the Eagles in a real bind. Drafting Tyler Lindnerbaum would alleviate any concerns and give them another Pro Bowl caliber OC.
16. Philadelphia Eagles (from Indianapolis)
WR Treylon Burks, Arkansas
Treylon Burks is a do-it-all WR of who would be a perfect complement when paired with DeVonta Smith and would give Jalen Hurts another talented weapon in the passing game.
WR Drake London, USC
Drake London would give the Chargers and Justin Herbert another big, physical WR to replace Mike Williams who is likely leaving via free agency.
QB Matt Corral, Ole Miss
The QB-needy New Orleans Saints need to find their future franchise signal-caller and Matt Corral is an intriguing prospect who could be too hard from them to pass up on here.
19. Philadelphia Eagles
DE George Karlaftis, Purdue
Philadelphia addressed their OL and WR needs with their first-round picks and now add a potential Derek Barnett replacement to upgrade their pass rush in George Karlaftis.
QB Malik Willis, Liberty
Malika Willis may need a little time to develop and acclimate to the speed of the NFL, but his elusiveness as a runner and a strong running game to back him should thrive in Pittsburgh.
WR Chris Olave, Ohio State
QB Matt Jones thrived as a rookie in 2021 despite his lack of weapons in the passing game. Chris Olave would give him a go-to target who would make him even better in Year 2.
DL DeMarvin Leal, Texas A&M
Las Vegas has two talented pass rushers off the edge in Maxx Crosby and Yannick Ngakoue, but desperately need help from the interior DL and DeMarvin Leal would do just that.
CB Roger McCreary, Auburn
After the way Marco Wilson was targeted and struggled in 2021, Roger McCreary would step in as the starter opposite Byron Murphy and be a significant upgrade as a rookie.
24. Dallas Cowboys
DE Jermaine Johnson II, Florida State
The Dallas Cowboys find themselves in a pretty good position with several talented players still available with the 24th overall pick. It also puts them in a bit of a quandary as to whether they stick to their board or draft more for need. By drafting Jermaine Johnson here they do a little bit of both.
Johnson, whose draft stock is on the rise, would be a great fit with the Dallas Cowboys. With Randy Gregory potentially leaving via free agency and DeMarcus Lawrence possibly being a salary-cap casualty, the need to upgrade and add depth to the position is near the top of the Cowboys offseason to do list, even with Micah Parsons as part of the equation.
The former Georgia and Florida State pass rusher has Pro Bowl potential and is equally effective in the running or passing game. Even if the Cowboys are able to re-sign Gregory and decide to stick with D-Law for another year or two, Johnson still a player who would be really hard for them to pass up regardless of who else is still on the board.
25. Buffalo Bills
DL Devonte Wyatt, Georgia
Devonte Wyatt played up and down the defensive line during his time at Georgia, which would be great news for the Bills, who have numerous pending free agents at the position.
26. Tennessee Titans
WR Jameson Williams, Alabama
This could be the steal of the draft. Jameson Williams is arguably a Top 10 talent when healthy and would be a huge boost to Tennessee’s passing game with A.J. Brown and Julio Jones.
CB Trent McDuffie, Washington
How to replace Tom Brady as one of Tampa Bay’s many needs, but Trent McDuffie knocks the need for CB help off the list and would immediately upgrade their secondary.
WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio State
Whether or not Aaron Rodgers and Devonte Adams return in 2022, WR is still a big need for the Packers. Garrett Wilson is a potential No. 1 WR regardless of what else happens.
29. Miami Dolphins (from San Francisco)
LB Nakobe Dean, Georgia
Miami can go just about any direction here based on roster needs, but if they stick to their board Nakobe Dean is the highest ranked player still on the board who fills a need for them.
S Daxton Hill, Michigan
With Tyrann Mathieu potentially departing via free agency and the need to upgrade the CB position, the Chiefs kill two birds with one stone by drafting Daxton Hill, the most versatile DB in the draft.
31. Cincinnati Bengals
OG Zion Johnson, Boston College
Anyone who watched the Bengals in 2021 knows their biggest weakness/need is to upgrade the interior of the OL and Zion Johnson is a plug-and-play OG who would do just that.
32. Detroit Lions (from LA Rams)
QB Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati
Detroit has Jared Goff under contract for a few more seasons, but it’s never too early to find their long-term QB solution. With the fifth-year option for first-round picks, they’d essentially have five years to figure out if Desmond Ridder is that player.