The 2022 NFL draft is finally here (8 p.m. ET on ESPN/ESPN App). After many mock drafts and an offseason of big moves in free agency, it's almost time for the commissioner to announce the picks in Las Vegas.
Liberty's Malik Willis is likely the first quarterback drafted, with Pittsburgh's Kenny Pickett as the next-highest-rated QB. Georgia's Travon Walker has supplanted Michigan's Aidan Hutchinson as the betting favorite to go No. 1 overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
That's an interesting development, considering ESPN's draft experts have Hutchinson and another pass-rusher, Oregon's Kayvon Thibodeaux, ranked higher.
The New York Giants, New York Jets, Houston Texans, Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints, Kansas City Chiefs and Detroit Lions currently have multiple picks in the first round.
The Jets have four picks in the top 38 and GM Joe Douglas said, "If we do this the right way, it could really be special."
By the end of the weekend, every team will love its draft and think it's special. First, we need the picks and the drama.
Draft order | Rankings: Kiper | McShay | Draft cheat sheet
Here are the latest rumors as well as buzz from ESPN's NFL reporters:
Why would the Eagles trade up in the first round?— Tim McManus (@Tim_McManus) April 28, 2022
-- This is considered a deep draft, but there's a limited amount of top-end first-round prospects.
-- The elite players at positions of need (CB, edge, S) will go quickly.
-- They have the ammo with 10 overall picks.
Have maintained Malik Willis' floor is 20 and I'll stick with that. Enough NFL evaluators have him as QB1, and 4-5 of them pointed out he did better in interviews/on the board than given credit for.— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) April 28, 2022
Sounds like the #Eagles are trying to fly up the board. #NFLdraft— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) April 28, 2022
Some #Jets thoughts:— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) April 28, 2022
* Ickey or Sauce at 4. Tough call if they're both there. Both terrific prospects. Ickey would fit into "gotta-help-Zach" theme. Wouldn't be surprised either way.
* At 10 (assuming they keep it), hearing WR or edge. If Ickey at 4, Stingley in play.
I imagine Vikings are going to be on team trade down.— Seth Walder (@SethWalder) April 28, 2022
Two plausible deals that would be close in Jimmy Johnson chart but would be wins for Minnesota by our AV-based chart would be:
Steelers get: 12
Vikings get: 20, 52
Chiefs get: 12, 156
Vikings get: 29, 30
The New York Giants and their GM Joe Schoen don't want to get "too cute"tonight but they are "very open to trading" pick No. 7 #NFLDraft— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) April 28, 2022
Talked to a few scouts who say Georgia DT Devonte Wyatt has Warren Tapp-like tendencies in style of play and explosiveness. And Sapp's old team, the Bucs, picking at 27, could be in the market for an interior defensive lineman.— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) April 28, 2022
Giants are "very open to trading" pick No. 7, Dianna Russini was told by GM Joe Schoen.— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) April 28, 2022
Check out the full comments on the new @ESPNNewYork app. You can find the interview under "Draft Central." #BreakingBigBlue
NFL front office person to me today:— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) April 28, 2022
"Picks 1-2 will be as expected. Then all hell is going to break loose."
He expects a surprise from the #Texans. #NFLDraft
#Saints have been working the phones this week, with possibility to move up or down in the first round, per multiple teams. New Orleans holds the 16th and 19th overall picks.— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) April 28, 2022
What if there's a run on receivers in the middle of the first round tonight? On @SportsCenter, we discussed whether GM Brian Gutekunst might be willing to trade up. pic.twitter.com/Sd8rzadQ1w— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) April 28, 2022
Houston picks No. 3, but Texans also have been exploring a trade back up for a second top-10 pick, per league sources. If the right player is there, the Texans are trying to position themselves to move their second first-round pick at No. 13 to go get him.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 28, 2022
What I'm hearing: Deebo Samuel/Jets ain't dead yet. This sets up the possibility of the ultimate draft-night drama. Quite possible both teams waiting to see what's available at 10 before pulling trigger. #Jets— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) April 28, 2022
-- WR rumblings: Have heard some Garrett Wilson and Jameson Williams talk. Maybe for trade back possibilities? #NFLDraft— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) April 28, 2022
The only way to start draft day. pic.twitter.com/H1B1VX1CcT— Mel Kiper Jr. (@MelKiperESPN) April 28, 2022
Regarding trading back, GM Scott Fitterer indicated earlier this week that 3-4 teams are serious about moving up to 6. He also doesn't want to fall out of the teens. Look at teams with multiple picks with options. https://t.co/aQ1pyDrnrY— David Newton (@DNewtonespn) April 28, 2022
Draft notes 🏈— Field Yates (@FieldYates) April 28, 2022
- The Jaguars & Chiefs have 12 picks, most in the NFL. The Dolphins have just 4
- No team has more premium capital than the Jets, who own picks 4, 10, 35, 38.
- 8 teams have two 1's, the most ever entering a draft
- The Rams and Dolphins have no top 100 pick
One veteran front-office executive this morning: "This is the craziest draft I've seen in 30 years."— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 28, 2022
While Kyle Hamilton would fill the Buffalo nickel role, Washington can find a guy for this later in draft IF it goes elsewhere. Other S's could fill; some LBs can fill. Need is Buff nickel NOT just a S. (I like LB Troy Anderson; smart; athletic; has played multiple spots).— John Keim (@john_keim) April 28, 2022
This will be the fifth time in the past 16 drafts that a QB doesn't go No. 1 overall. The others: Myles Garrett to the Browns in 2017, Jadeveon Clowney to the Texans in 2014, Eric Fisher to the Chiefs in 2013 and Jake Long to the Dolphins in 2008. Now a non-QB to the Jags at 1.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 28, 2022
Connecting dots, based on info-gathering, I'd make this educated guess on #Jets rankings:— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) April 28, 2022
1-4: Hutchinson, Walker, Gardner, Ekwonu
5-10: Neal, Johnson, Wilson, London, Stingley, J. Williams
It's officially draft day!— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) April 28, 2022
My mini-mock (no trades even though Giants want to move pick 7):
1. Jags - Travon Walker
2. Lions - Aiden Hutchnison
3. Texans - Ikem Ekwonu
4. Jets - Jermaine Johnson
5. Giants - Sauce Gardner
6. Panthers - Evan Neal
7. Giants - Charles Cross
Aidan Hutchinson is now the favorite to be selected at the No. 2 pick (-150) AND the No. 4 pick (+200).— Seth Walder (@SethWalder) April 28, 2022
Derek Stingley Jr. now even money to go at No. 3.— Seth Walder (@SethWalder) April 28, 2022
To be clear: Giants and Seahawks are getting calls on their respective picks. This isn't Seattle trying to move to 7 (as far as I know). Teams call each other to check parameters on any potential movement. Carry on. https://t.co/qCLHUtQcWI— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) April 27, 2022