Featured in this article:
  • Will Jags take Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (+105)?
  • Quarterback first pick unlikely with Trevor Lawrence

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Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) looks for a receiver during the first half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

The top pick in the 2022 NFL Draft will likely be one of 3 players.

There really hasn’t been a lot of drama atop the NFL Draft the past four years: Everyone pretty much knew that a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback or Heisman-caliber quarterback was going first and that’s what happened: Trevor Lawrence in 2021 to the Jacksonville Jaguars, Joe Burrow in 2020 to the Cincinnati Bengals, Kyler Murray in 2019 to the Arizona Cardinals and Baker Mayfield in 2018 to the Cleveland Browns. All but Lawrence won a Heisman.

The first round of the 2022 draft is scheduled for April 28 in Las Vegas, and a quarterback isn’t going first because none are considered sure things in this class. There’s also the fact the Jaguars own the first pick again and they obviously aren’t taking a QB, although in theory, they could trade out of that spot. The quarterback with the shortest odds to go first overall is the University of Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett at +3000, and he might be lucky to go in the Top 10.

Presuming Jacksonville stays put, the Jags should take Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (+105), Oregon pass-rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux (+105), or Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal (+275).

Should Jags Protect Lawrence?

The Jaguars need help everywhere so any of those above guys would help. Lawrence is the future of that franchise so taking Neal at the top spot to protect him makes a lot of sense, but that might be a few spots too high for Neal. The CBS Sports Big Board ranks Neal only as the No. 6 overall prospect, for example. That site ranks Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton at No. 1, but he’s not going first overall and isn’t even a betting option.

No offensive lineman has gone first since the Kansas City Chiefs took Eric Fisher in 2013. He’s had a solid but not Hall of Fame-caliber career. The last non-quarterback to go first was Texas A&M defensive end, Myles Garrett, to Cleveland in 2017. ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. ranks Hutchinson his top prospect but just barely over Thibodeaux. Hutchinson is considered a safer pick with perhaps a higher floor but also a lower ceiling than Thibodeaux, who was the top high school recruit in the Class of 2019. The only knock on Thibodeaux is that may take a few plays off here and there.

The only Oregon player to go first overall was quarterback George Shaw in 1955 to the Baltimore Colts. Two Michigan players have gone first: Running back Tom Harmon to the Chicago Bears in 1941 and offensive tackle Jake Long to the Miami Dolphins in 2008.

There are no odds on the No. 2 overall pick posted, yet but the Detroit Lions almost surely will take either Hutchinson or Thibodeaux (whichever one Jacksonville doesn’t unless the Jags go Neal) because they took Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell at No. 7 overall last year.

James Guill

James Guill is a former professional poker player who writes fro GambleOnline.co about poker, sports, casinos, gaming legislation and the online gambling industry in general. His past experience includes working with IveyPoker, PokerNews, PokerJunkie, Bwin, and the Ongame Network. From 2006-2009 he participated in multiple tournaments including the 37th and 38th World Series of Poker (WSOP). James lives in Virgina and he has a side business where he picks and sells vintage and antique items.

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