Who should be the #1 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft?
Do the Jacksonville Jaguars take Michigan EDGE rusher Aidan Hutchinson? Maybe they take someone to rush the pass rusher, but they prefer Travon Walker out of Georgia or Kayvon Thibodeaux from Oregon. Or, instead of rushing the opposing quarterback, maybe they protect their own…that could mean Evan Neal from Alabama, Ikem Ekwonu of N.C. State. They could just throw traditional positional value out the window and grab safety Kyle Hamilton out of Notre Dame or Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner from Cincinnati.
If it seems like dropping a dozen different names, that’s because this draft is one of the most enigmatic in recent memory.
Many years, the question of who is going first is answered weeks and even months before the draft. Last year, the Jaguars may not have turned the card in, but the worst kept secret in football was that Trevor Lawrence would be the #1 overall pick. They did their due diligence, sure, but Lawrence was one of the best generational quarterback prospects in a long time.
In other years, while there may not be a Lawrence or an Andrew Luck at the top of the draft class, there is likely one or two prospects who stand head and shoulders above the rest, and a team just needs to decide what they need more.
This year, for a variety of reasons, there are numerous players and positions that could go No. 1 overall, and that’s before factoring any potential trades in. The 33rd team asked around and got some opinions about who should be the #1 overall pick. We also partnered with Oddschecker.com to get the odds and best bets leading up to the draft.
Travon Walker, Georgia Edge Rusher
“The 1st Round is about acquiring potentially ELITE talent. If I’m the Jaguars, that means I’m going with Travon Walker! Hutchinson is a really good player, but Walker has the physical traits to be an elite player for years to come. It doesn’t hurt he just helped Georgia win a National Title, either. You are also getting that championship mentality which Jacksonville desperately needs.”—Shaun King, former NFL quarterback and Super Bowl champion.
“I don’t believe that Jacksonville will be able to trade the pick. There is not that much separation in talent at the top of the draft. Also I don’t see any team trading up because there is not a QB like Trevor Lawrence in this year’s draft. The “safest” pick would be Aidan Hutchinson, who is a very good football player but some are asking how high his ceiling really is. I don’t believe they go offensive tackle because they franchised Cam Robinson and spent money in free agency on Brandon Scherff. If they didn’t franchise Robinson, I think they would have picked an OT. They need help on defense and especially an edge rusher. I predict they take Travon Walker. He gives them a potential Pro Bowl pass rusher opposite Josh Allen if they can develop him.” —Rick Spielman, longtime NFL executive and former Minnesota Vikings General Manager (2012-2021)
The 33rd Team has Travon Walker ranked as the #37 Overall Prospect and the #7 overall EDGE rusher in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Evan Neal, Alabama Offensive Tackle
“I want them to go Evan Neal, even if I think they will go Hutchinson. They need to give Lawrence a fair shot at seeing what he can do instead of trying to lean on him to win games and loading up on defense.” — Sam Schwartzstein, Sports Executive and former Stanford Offensive Lineman
The 33rd Team has Evan Neal ranked as the #1 Overall Prospect and the #1 overall offensive tackle in the 2022 NFL Draft.
#1 Overall Pick Odds from Oddschecker
For the second year in a row, the Jacksonville Jaguars are on the clock with the first overall pick. Last year they selected phenom quarterback, Trevor Lawrence and this year oddsmakers are anticipating Aidan Hutchinson to come off the board first. There’s an argument to be made for taking an offensive lineman to help protect your investment at quarterback but with a 62.96% chance of going first overall, it feels like Aidan Hutchinson will have his name called first on draft night.”— Matt O’Leary, Oddschecker.com
Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan Edge Rusher
“With many of the top QBs now residing in the AFC, the Jaguars need to bolster their defensive unit to affect opposing QBs on critical downs—not only for their division but also if they want to build themselves to be equipped to take on the AFC. Hutchinson also has the ability to be an effective player in the run game on early downs which is needed when you’re playing in a division featuring Jonathan Taylor & Derrick Henry. His play style looks to have the ability to rush opposite of Josh Allen and be able to take advantage of 1-on-1 opportunities in critical passings downs.” — Gerald Alexander, former NFL defensive back and Miami Dolphins defensive backs coach (2020-2021)
“Hutchinson should be the pick. He is a smart and productive player that should be a good player at the next level. He might not have compelling long term Hall of Fame caliber ability, but should be a good player for a long time “ — Mike Tannenbaum, The 33rd Team Founder and former Miami Dolphins Executive Vice President (2015-2018)
“The Jaguars will pick Aidan Hutchinson. His motor is special, bordering on rare. That gives him a very high floor, even if his athletic ceiling is lower than Travon Walker’s. An offensive tackle is also possible—particularly with Robinson on the tag—but edge can provide more value both immediately and over time.” — Tom Lewand, Sports Executive and former Detroit Lions President (2008-2015)
The 33rd Team has Aidan Hutchinson ranked as the #4 Overall Prospect and the #2 EDGE Rusher in the 2022 NFL Draft.
#1 Overall Pick Line Movement via Oddschecker.com
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“The biggest riser through this entire process has been Travon Walker. Walker, who was way off the board just two months ago, is now the second most likely player to go first overall and feels like a lock to land somewhere in the top three.”— Matt O’Leary, Oddschecker.com