Squawka NFL

The 2022 Draft: All you need to know about the Las Vegas showpiece

By Stuart Dick

Published: 15:27, 16 December 2021

The NFL’s 32 franchises will convene next April in Las Vegas, Nevada for the 2022 NFL Draft, where each will select from the best eligible college players to help gear up for a Super Bowl run.

The annual NFL Draft is one of America’s most entertaining sports events. The aim of ensuring parity across the league, the draft awards the worst teams in the NFL the opportunity to draft the best available college players, in the hope that bad teams will improve rapidly.

Each team is awarded seven draft picks each season – one pick in each round. These picks can be used to draft players, or they can be used as assets to be traded to other teams, either to improve one’s own draft position, or to acquire an existing NFL player from another team.

From a player’s perspective, the draft is vital for their chances of making it in the NFL. Players strive to perform impressively at the NFL Scouting Combine and at college pro days to ensure that scouts from NFL teams are aware of their talents.

However, several players who have gone undrafted have gone on to have extremely successful NFL careers – most notable among this group are offensive lineman Jason Peters and quarterback Tony Romo, each of whom became a household name.

With the 2021 NFL regular season now reaching its closing stages, Squawka NFL takes an early look at the 2022 NFL Draft.

When and where does the 2022 NFL Draft take place?

The 2022 NFL Draft is currently scheduled to begin on Thursday April 28 – with the first round starting at 8pm EST (1am BST). The second and third rounds of the draft take place a day later, on Friday April 29, with the final four rounds taking place on Saturday, April 30.

The venue for this year’s draft – the 87th in NFL history – is Las Vegas. Vegas was scheduled to host the event during the 2020 offseason, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced the 2020 Draft online, and with teams selecting players via video conference.

This year, some 259 players will be drafted by the 32 teams. This figure represents the usual 255 selections, plus four added picks via Resolution JC-2A, awarded to teams who’ve developed minority head coaching and general manager candidates.

What and when is the 2022 Scouting Combine?

The main precursor to the Draft, the NFL Scouting Combine takes place each offseason, typically in late-February/early-March, at the Indianapolis Colts’ Lucas Oil Stadium. The Scouting Combine allows the 32 NFL teams to scout and interview the top 2022 college prospects in one setting.

Prospects are put through a series of physical and mental tests to help teams evaluate them. These include the 40-yard dash, 20-yard shuttle run, the bench press, the Wonderlic test, medicals and drug tests. Teams are also allowed to conduct 60 15-minute interviews.

The 2022 Scouting Combine is scheduled to take place between March 1-7 2022, ahead of the start of free agency.

Which team will have the #1 pick?

The team with the worst record in the preceding NFL regular season is awarded the #1 overall pick in the NFL Draft. This season, that honour currently belongs to the Detroit Lions.

With just four games remaining on the NFL schedule, the most likely recipients of the first overall pick are the Lions, the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Houston Texans.

The current odds for finishing with the NFL’s worst regular season record in 2021:

  • Detroit Lions 20/37 (-185)
  • Houston Texans 5/2 (+250)
  • Jacksonville Jaguars 8/1 (+800)
  • New York Jets 35/1 (+3500)

Odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook (William Hill) correct as of Thursday December 9.

Who are the top prospects?

In the absence of any can’t-miss/’generational’ quarterback prospect(s), a trio of highly-touted edge rushers – Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux, Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson and Purdue’s George Karlaiftis – will be of particular interest to teams at the top of the draft order. All three are expected to garner consideration from teams with top-five picks.

Defensive backs Kyle Hamilton (Notre Dame) and Derek Stingley Jr. (LSU) are also considered top-tier talents, as is Texas A&M defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal.

On the offensive side of the ball, quarterback will still be a premium position, with Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett, Liberty’s Malike Willis and Ole Miss’s Matt Corral all expected to attract early-round attention.

Other offensive talents include linemen Evan Neal (Alabama) and Tyler Linderbaum (Iowa), with Ohio State wide receivers Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave among the top playmakers available.

Interesting 2022 NFL Draft facts:

As a resulting of previous trades, several teams own multiple first-round picks: the Philadelphia Eagles have the most, with 3 (their own, plus Miami’s and Iniadanpolis’), while the New York Giants (own + Chicago’s), New York Jets (own + Seattle’s) and Detroit Lions (own + the Rams’) each have two. The Chicago Bears, Seattle Seahawks and the Los Angeles Rams are not currently scheduled to select in round one.

The New Orleans Saints have forfeited their sixth-round selection for repeated violations of the NFL’s COVID-19 guidelines.

Four teams – the San Francisco 49ers, the Rams, the Saints and Baltimore Ravens – have been awarded additional third-round selections under Resolution JC-2A, which rewards teams for developing minority head coach and general manager candidates.

In the last seven drafts, six quarterbacks and one defensive end have been selected first overall.

The Los Angeles Rams have traded their first, second, third and fourth-round picks in the 2022 NFL Draft, but could still receive five compensatory picks. The Rams, along with the Colts, have held the #1 overall pick seven times each, the most in NFL history. Meanwhile, the Ravens, Seahawks and the Denver Broncos have never held the first overall pick.

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