All 32 franchises in the NFL will already be planning for the 2022 NFL Draft as they look to recruit the latest class of talent into the league from college football.
Here is a look at the three players who are likely to go off the board first and where their destination could be.
Last season the Jaguars struggled on defense. They conceded on average 26.9 points per game, the 28th worst record in the NFL. Their opponents completed 69.43% of their passing attempts, while they gave up on average 351.1 yards per game.
In order to improve on this side of the ball, Jacksonville need playmakers, which is why Michigan Wolverines defensive end Aidan Hutchinson is the +155 favorite in the NFL Draft first pick odds. Hutchinson set Michigan’s single season sack record in 2021, with 14 coming across the year. He was the MVP in the Big 10 Championship game and was a finalist for the 2021 Heisman Trophy, finishing second behind QB Bryce Young.
Myles Garrett was the last defensive player to be chosen as the first overall pick in the NFL. Hutchinson has the potential to have a similar impact in the league as the Cleveland Browns DE. Jacksonville are desperate for their first overall pick to provide them some quality in 2022. The Michigan DE can do that, which should help them win more games.
The Detroit Lions had a disappointing season in 2021, but despite finishing with a 3-13-1 record, they look set to stick with QB Jared Goff. To give him a better chance of being successful in 2022, they need to improve their offensive line. Alabama Crimson Tide’s Evan Neal can help them do that.
Neal was a starter for Alabama in their 2021 College Football National Championship success when they defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes at the Hard Rock Stadium in Florida. The OT did a great job of creating the time Mac Jones needed to throw the ball down the field.
The 21-year-old looks sure to be an early first round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Given what they need the most, the Lions are going to find it hard to turn him down.
Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux is another defensive player who looks to have the ability to make an immediate impact in the NFL. With the Houston Texans set to draft their first round player third this year, it could be that the 21-year-old ends up in Texas.
Thibodeaux was voted a unanimous all-American last season. He has decided to miss his senior year and instead make himself eligible for the 2022 NFL Draft.
The Texans are desperate for a player on defense who can have a big impact on a game. Since losing JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney, they have not had a player who can do that. Thibodeaux is someone who can excite the Houston organization and help them make a big step forward in their rebuilding process.
The 2022 NFL Draft takes place between April 28-30. It will take place at the Allegiant Stadium in Nevada.