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2022 NFL mock draft: Random names out of a hat edition

It’s time for the most important—and least accurate—mock draft of the season.

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2021 NFL Draft Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Mock draft season is absurd. It used to be a fun little part of the offseason where the league’s top analysts would make their best guesses at where each prospect would land on draft day and teach us about each prospect along the way.

But the market has flooded with mock drafts and everything is out of control. Analysts will drop weekly mock drafts with drastic changes in every edition for the sake of putting out something fresh, not necessarily to be insightful or accurate. The point, for many draft analysts, is to be provocative and interesting, but that doesn’t really serve the general public any good.

So in an effort to add one more useless mock draft on top of the pile, I am keeping my annual tradition alive of creating the most useless—and my only—mock draft of the year: the mock draft where I just pull random names out of the hat.

This was a tradition created by former Pride of Detroit managing editor Sean Yuille. It was initially created as a way of mocking Matt Millen, thinking it could potentially produce a better draft class than the former Lions general manager. As someone who finds mock drafts to be a general waste of my time and yours, I was happy to continue the tradition when I took over.

If you’re curious, here’s how previous mock drafts have played out:

Now onto this year’s mock. The methodology of this mock is simple: I take the top 34 prospects on Arif Hasan’s Consensus Big Board, write their names on little pieces of paper, and pick them one by one. The order they get picked, the order they go on the draft board. Simple enough?

Alright, let’s just get into the selections.

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars — OT Evan Neal, Alabama
  2. Detroit Lions — DT Devonte Wyatt, Georgia
  3. Houston Texans — WR Drake London, USC
  4. New York Jets — WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio State
  5. New York Giants — OT Charles Cross, Mississippi State
  6. Carolina Panthers — CB Andrew Booth, Clemson
  7. New York Giants — OT Ikem Ekwonu, NC State
  8. Atlanta Falcons — WR Jahan Dotson, Penn State
  9. Seattle Seahawks — EDGE David Ojabo, Michigan
  10. New York Jets — EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon
  11. Washington Commanders —LB Nakobe Dean, Georgia
  12. Minnesota Vikings — OG Kenyon Green, Texas A&M
  13. Houston Texans — OG Zion Johnson, Boston College
  14. Baltimore Ravens — WR Chris Olave, Ohio State
  15. Philadelphia Eagles — QB Kenny Pickett, Pitt
  16. New Orleans Saints — S Daxton Hill, Michigan
  17. Los Angeles Chargers — QB Malik Willis, Liberty
  18. Philadelphia Eagles — EDGE Travon Walker, Georgia
  19. New Orleans Saints — S Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame
  20. Pittsburgh Steelers — WR Jameson Williams, Alabama
  21. New England Patriots — DT Jordan Davis, Georgia
  22. Green Bay Packers — EDGE George Karlaftis, Purdue
  23. Arizona Cardinals — EDGE Boye Mafe, Minnesota
  24. Dallas Cowboys — S Lewis Cine, Georgia
  25. Buffalo Bills — LB Devin Lloyd, Utah
  26. Tennessee Titans — WR Treylon Burks, Arkansas
  27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — CB Trent McDuffie, Washington
  28. Green Bay Packers — iOL Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa
  29. Kansas City Chiefs — EDGE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan
  30. Kansas City Chiefs — OT Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa
  31. Cincinnati Bengals — CB Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, Cincinnati
  32. Detroit Lions — EDGE Jermaine Johnson, Florida State
  33. Jacksonville Jaguars — CB Derek Stingley Jr., LSU
  34. Detroit Lions — CB Kaiir Elam, Florida

If you swapped the Lions’ Picks 2 and 32, it wouldn’t look that bad. You could certainly justify Jermaine Johnson as the second overall pick and Devonte Wyatt at 32—although both would be unconventional choices. Throw in Kaiir Elam at 34 (get over your Florida cornerback fears, y’all!) and at least the Lions got three defensive upgrades in their first three picks! The draft could certainly go much worse for Detroit, although hopefully it goes much better.

The random mock actually got off to a somewhat reasonable start, with the Jaguars going with Evan Neal first overall, but it quickly spiraled out of control. Two wide receivers made the top five—although both are considered near the top of this year’s class. Four top-10 talents (Hutchinson, Gardner, Johnson and Stingley) were all selected in the final six picks.

The most shocking pick of the draft is easily the Los Angeles Chargers drafting Malik Willis, causing Justin Herbert to immediately call his agent and ask out of LA. As for the most realistic pick, Charles Cross going to the Giants is a great fit for need, although I’m sure New York is hoping Neal or Ikem Ekwonu are still there with the fifth overall pick. Congratulations to the Chiefs for their steal of the draft, landing Aidan Hutchinson 29th overall.

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