While the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams are preparing for Super Bowl LVI, the rest of the NFL has already shifted focus to the offseason.
And one of the biggest dates on the offseason calendar each year is the NFL draft, where teams replenish their rosters with young talent.
With just under three months until the event, here’s everything you need to know about the 2022 NFL Draft.
When is the 2022 NFL Draft?
The 2022 NFL Draft will be held over three days from Thursday, April 28, to Saturday, April 30. Day 1 features the first round of the draft, while the second and third rounds take place on Day 2. The event concludes with Rounds 4-7 on Day 3.
The start times for each day have yet to be announced.
How can I watch the 2022 NFL Draft?
The NFL draft will be broadcasted on ESPN and the NFL Network, though full broadcast details haven’t been announced.
Where is the 2022 NFL Draft being held?
Allegiant Stadium, home of the Raiders, in Las Vegas is the site of the 2022 NFL Draft. Las Vegas was scheduled to host the 2020 draft until the event was changed to a virtual one due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This will be the first time the draft is held in Sin City.
When is the 2022 Senior Bowl?
The Senior Bowl takes place on Feb. 5 at 2:30 p.m. ET. The game will air on the NFL Network. Quarterbacks Kenny Pickett and Malik Willis headline the prospects who will compete at Hancock Whitney Stadium located on the University of South Alabama campus in Mobile.
When is the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine?
Draft prospects will also have a chance to put their skills on display at the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine. That event runs from March 1-7 at Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts.
Who has the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft?
The 3-14 Jacksonville Jaguars edged out the 3-13-1 Detroit Lions for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 draft.
Jacksonville also had the No. 1 pick last year, selecting quarterback Trevor Lawrence out of Clemson. The Jags are the first team to have the top pick in consecutive drafts since the Cleveland Browns in 2016 and 2017, when they selected defensive end Myles Garrett and quarterback Baker Mayfield.
The Lions would have landed the top overall selection if they didn’t upset the Green Bay Packers on the final day of the regular season. Instead, Detroit will pick second.
The Houston Texans, New York Jets and New York Giants round out the top five of the draft order. Both the Jets (pick Nos. 4 and 10) and Giants (pick Nos. 5 and 7) have two selections inside the top 10. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Eagles hold three picks inside the top 20 with Nos. 15, 16 and 19.
Who will be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft?
Will the Jaguars copy the Browns’ strategy and use their back-to-back top picks on a quarterback and defensive end? That seemed likely in the late stages of the college football season, as Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux and Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson were dubbed by experts as the top contenders for the No. 1 pick.
But what was once a two-man race for the No. 1 pick has turned into a three-man race, with Alabama tackle Evan Neal entering the picture. Drafting a potential cornerstone player who could help protect Trevor Lawrence for the foreseeable future would make a lot of sense for Jacksonville.
Who are the top prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft?
While these may not be the first nine players off the board, here are some of the biggest names who could be drafted early in Round 1:
OL Evan Neal, Alabama
After starting at right tackle in 2020, Evan Neal moved over to the far-left side of the Crimson Tide’s O-line this past season. Neal, at 6-foot-7 and 350 pounds, allowed just two sacks over 1,000-plus snaps in 2021, per Pro Football Focus, and was a consensus All-American.
DE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan
Aidan Hutchinson racked up 14 sacks, good for second-most in the nation, 16.5 tackles for loss and 58 combined tackles en route to winning the 2021 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year award. The Wolverines pass-rusher was a unanimous All-American selection and the Heisman runner-up to Alabama quarterback Bryce Young.
DE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon
Kayvon Thibodeaux was the popular choice to go No. 1 before the emergence of Hutchinson and Neal. Over his 30 career games with the Ducks, Thibodeaux totaled 19 sacks, 35.5 tackles for loss and 126 total tackles. He earned unanimous All-American honors with a seven-sack campaign in 2021.
S Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame
A safety hasn't been selected in the top 15 since LaRon Landry went No. 6 overall to Washington in 2007, but Kyle Hamilton could end that drought. Hamilton appeared in 31 career games with the Fighting Irish, tallying 138 tackles, eight interceptions and 16 passes defended. A knee injury limited Hamilton to just seven games in 2021, but he still managed to be a consensus All-American with 34 tackles and three picks.
CB Derek Stingley Jr., LSU
Derek Stingley Jr. burst onto the scene as a freshman in 2019, hauling in six picks and breaking up 15 passes to earn consensus All-American honors. But the LSU cornerback’s numbers dipped the following year with zero interceptions and five passes defended in seven games. Stingley Jr.'s 2021 season was cut short after just three games due to foot surgery.
WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio State
Along with Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson is one of two Buckeyes wideouts who could go in Round 1. Wilson, who is 6-foot and 198 pounds, achieved career highs across the board in 2021, making 70 catches for 1,058 yards and 12 touchdowns in 11 games.
QB Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh
A Heisman finalist and the ACC Player of the Year, Kenny Pickett had a historic senior season at Pitt. The 6-3, 220-pound signal caller passed for 4,319 yards, 42 touchdowns and seven picks with a 67.2 completion percentage. Pickett’s 42 passing TDs set a conference record, as he quarterbacked the Panthers to their first-ever ACC title.
QB Matt Corral, Ole Miss
Matt Corral once again showed off his dual-threat ability as a junior with Ole Miss. The 6-foot, 200-pound quarterback threw for 3,343 yards and 20 touchdowns, while adding 614 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground. It was his second straight season with at least 3,300 yards passing and 500 yards rushing. And after throwing 14 picks in 10 games two seasons ago, Corral trimmed that down to just five picks in 13 games.
QB Malik Willis, Liberty
Malik Willis joins Pickett and Corral as the quarterbacks who seem to have the best chance to be drafted in the first round. Willis is another dual-threat player, but much more dangerous as a runner than Corral is. The 6-1, 215-pound QB rushed for 1,822 yards and 27 touchdowns over his 23 games at Liberty. In 2021, Willis passed for 2,857 yards, 27 touchdowns and 12 picks with a 61.1 competition percentage.
What is the 2022 NFL Draft order?
Here’s a look at the full order for the first round of the draft (the losing team in the Super Bowl will be slotted at No. 31 and the winning team at No. 32):
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- Detroit Lions
- Houston Texans
- New York Jets
- New York Giants
- Carolina Panthers
- New York Giants (via Chicago)
- Atlanta Falcons
- Denver Broncos
- New York Jets (via Seattle)
- Washington Football Team
- Minnesota Vikings
- Cleveland Browns
- Baltimore Ravens
- Philadelphia Eagles (via Miami)
- Philadelphia Eagles (via Indianapolis)
- Los Angeles Chargers
- New Orleans Saints
- Philadelphia Eagles
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- New England Patriots
- Las Vegas Raiders
- Arizona Cardinals
- Dallas Cowboys
- Buffalo Bills
- Tennessee Titans
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Green Bay Packers
- Miami Dolphins (via San Francisco)
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Cincinnati Bengals or Detroit Lions (via L.A. Rams)
- Cincinnati Bengals or Detroit Lions (via L.A. Rams)