No surprise here. I really tried to consider all possible options and think what other direction the Jaguars might go with the first pick of this 2022 NFL Mock Draft, but Aidan Hutchinson seems to be a near lock.
Sure, they could go with a tackle, even after placing the franchise tag on Cam Robinson and drafting Walker Little in the second round just a year ago. They could even go with the athletic upside of Travon Walker, as has been reported as a possibility atop the 2022 NFL Mock Draft world as of late. However, the consistent production of Hutchinson seems hard to pass up.
The Michigan Wolverine has been the consensus number one overall selection in any recent 2022 NFL Mock Draft that you look at after his Heisman Trophy Finalist season in 2021. He may not have the freakish athletic upside of some other edge rushers in this class, but he always seems to find a way to get to the quarterback. He is technically sound and has a sufficient blend of power and athleticism to win matchups at the next level, and will likely find a home in Jacksonville.
The Detroit Lions are one of the biggest wildcards near the top of this 2022 NFL Mock Draft. General manager Brad Holmes and the team could really go in a variety of different directions. If they really like a quarterback like Malik Willis, they could go in that direction. After taking Penei Sewell a year ago, they could bookend him with another young tackle like Evan Neal or Ikem Ekwonu. They could go with a different defensive star like Kayvon Thibodeaux, Kyle Hamilton or Ahmad Gardner.
In this 2022 NFL Mock Draft, they go with the hottest name in NFL Draft circles, Travon Walker. Walker tested well at the Combine and offers a level of versatility that few others can provide. He can play up and down the defensive line and fill any role that a defensive coordinator could ask of him.
While the production was not there for Walker last season, you can attribute that to the role that he was asked to play throughout his career at Georgia. He was often asked to play inside, while rushing linebackers could attack the edge and rack up the sacks. He still managed to tally six sacks in 2021 and teams always love the opportunity to mold a prototypical body and athlete into the complete football player that they are looking for.