There’s just one week left in the 2021 NFL season and it’s time for another 2022 NFL mock draft. The final draft order is still being crystallized and by the end of Week 18, either the Jacksonville Jaguars or the Detroit Lions will emerge with the No. 1 overall pick.
This wide receiver class for the 2022 NFL Draft is loaded with pass-catchers who could be difference makers for their respective franchises quickly. We saw three receiver threats (four if you lump in Kyle Pitts) taken in the Top 10 of last year’s draft. Given the immediate needs of the team’s near the top of this year’s board however, we may not see receivers start to get their names called until the middle of the round. Still, there’s certain guys who could thrive if paired with the right quarterback and the right situation.
Depending on who you ask, Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson is at the top of this year’s receiver class. The receiver out of Austin, TX, improved his stats in each of his three seasons with the Buckeyes, culminating it with a 2021 campaign where he hauled in 70 receptions for 1,058 yards and 12 touchdowns.
The presence of Wilson and fellow draft prospect Chris Olave led to Jameson Williams transferring from OSU to Alabama this past offseason and boy did he thrive in Tuscaloosa, AL. The 6’2” wideout hauled in 75 receptions for 1,507 yards and 15 touchdowns this year and has an opportunity to force his way into the Top 10 conversation when the Tide faces Georgia in next week’s College Football Playoff title game.
Both Treylon Burks out of Arkansas and Drake London from USC are tall receiver prospects whose speed could separate them from the pack. Both guys went over 1,000 yards for their respective teams during the 2021 campaign.
Other notable receivers who could improve their stocks include Jahan Dotson out of Penn State, the aforementioned Olave from Ohio State, David Bell from Purdue, and George Pickens from Georgia.
We put together a 2022 NFL mock draft analyzing whether the team’s at the top of the board need a receiver and who they could end up picking come draft time.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: DE Kayvon Thibodeaux - Oregon
Needs: WR, OT, DL
The Jaguars are in dire need of help at receiver. Their best receiver, D.J. Chark, is a free agent and was injured this season and their younger receivers haven’t shown a lot of promise. They should have grabbed a wide receiver last year instead of grabbing a running back in the first round. Hopefully they rectify that pick this year.
2. Detroit Lions: DE Aidan Hutchinson - Michigan
Needs: QB, CB, OG, DL, WR
The Lions have seen some strides taken by their early round wide receiver Amon St. Brown and look to have made a good choice with him, but after him there are plenty of question marks at the position in Detroit. They need a true No. 1 wide receiver to help bring them out of the NFC North basement.
3. Houston Texans: DB Derek Stingley Jr. - LSU
Needs: QB, WR, CB, DL
The Texans will have Brandin Cooks next season, but it is a wasteland after him for the most part. They need a quarterback more than a receiver, but they need both and this year is another good crop of receiving talent.
4. New York Jets: OL Evan Neal - Alabama
Needs: CB, OL, DL
Elijah Moore was a great pick and showed he can be instant offense and Corey Davis, when healthy, was a consistent receiver. They will likely lose Jamison Crowder to free agency and Braxton Berrios, also a free agent, has upped his price tag with a strong season. Denzel Mims appears to be a lost cause at his point, so there is likely to still be a real need for wide receiver help, but probably not in the first round.
5. New York Giants: OL Tyler Linderbaum - Iowa
Needs: QB, DL, OL
The Giants have talent at receiver, with Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard, Kadarius Toney and Darius Slayton. Unfortunately, injuries and poor quarterback play did the group no favors. With nobody leaving in free agency, they’ll likely stand pat early in the draft.
6. Carolina Panthers: QB Kenny Pickett - Pittsburgh
Needs: QB, OL, DL
D.J. Moore is a true talent at receiver, while Robby Anderson is a solid WR2. Terrace Marshall Jr. didn’t live up to his rookie hype, but is a player you want to nurture on your team. More depth is needed, but an early pick isn’t likely in the books.
7. New York Jets (from Seahawks): Safety Kyle Hamilton - Notre Dame
Needs: See above
Needs: See above
9. Washington Football Team: QB Malik Willis - Liberty
Needs: QB, OT, CB, WR
The young talent Washington has at receiver didn’t step up this season and are all replaceable, while the stronger role players like Cam Sims, Deandre Carter and Adam Humphries are all free agents. They really need someone to take the pressure off of Terry McLaurin and an early pick at the position isn’t out of the question.
10. Atlanta Falcons: Edge George Karlaftis - Purdue
Needs: QB, EDGE, LB, RB, WR
There’s a chance that Calvin Ridley returns next season, but even if he does, the team is weak at receiver. And if Ridley stays away from football, they will be extremely thin at the position. Their best receiver at the moment is Russell Gage, who is a free agent and probably a WR3 on strong offenses. They need help at the position.
11. Denver Broncos: QB Matt Corral - Ole Miss
Needs: QB, EDGE, OT, OG
Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick, and K.J. Hamler have a lot of talent and there is no reason for the Broncos to use an early pick on the position.
12. Minnesota Vikings: Edge David Ojabo - Michigan
Needs: EDGE, OG, CB
The Vikings have one of the best receivers in the game in Justin Jefferson. They don’t need to worry about bringing in a true No. 1 receiver and Adam Thielen should have another year or two in him as a sturdy red zone target. Adding some depth is probably a good idea, but they are still strong at the position.
13. Cleveland Browns: WR Jameson Williams - Alabama
Needs: EDGE, DT, WR
Jarvis Landry never seemed to be fully healthy this season, Odell Beckham Jr. forced his way out and Donovan Peoples-Jones is still on the edge of revealing his true value. They need a No. 1 receiver and should try to find one in this draft.
14. Philadelphia Eagles (from Dolphins): DB Andrew Booth Jr. - Clemson
Needs: EDGE, CB, WR
The Eagles always need wide receivers and that hasn’t changed this season. DeVonta Smith showed enough to feel good about his ability to be a solid player and a No. 1 moving forward, but Jalen Reagor continued to underwhelm. They need to add a productive receiver this off season.
15. New Orleans Saints: WR Garrett Wilson - Ohio State
Needs: QB, WR, CB
The Saints should get Michael Thomas back next season, but after him they have very little in the way of consistent receiving talent. They need a true outside receiver who can get separation on his own, especially if Thomas’ injuries have slowed him down over the last couple seasons.
16. Baltimore Ravens: LB Nakobe Dean - Georgia
Needs: OT, EDGE, DT, LB
Marquise Brown took a step forward this season, but has still been inconsistent. They have some young talent that could step up, but nobody they can feel great about yet. Brown will continue to be a good target along with tight end Mark Andrews, which may be all the Ravens need, but adding to that depth is a good idea with just two useful receivers.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: OT Ikem Ekwonu - NC State
Needs: QB, OT, OG, CB, DT
The Steelers have a true No. 1 receiver in Diontae Johnson and a talented, but still raw receiver in Chase Claypool. JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Washington are likely gone in free agency, so finding a consistent WR3 is on the agenda.
18. Las Vegas Raiders: OG Kenyon Green - Texas A&M
Needs: OG, WR, DT
The Raiders invested in some young wide receivers of late, but had to release Henry Ruggs, while Bryan Edwards hasn’t lived up to his hype. The good news is that Hunter Renfrow took a big step forward this season. Unfortunately, Renfrow isn’t a natural boundary receiver, which they will need to find this off season.