Projected 2022 NFL draft order: Texans, Lions, Jets vie for top pick

The Houston Texans are the team that’s most likely to have the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft when it begins on Thursday, April 28, according to the preseason 1-32 draft order projections from the ESPN Football Power Index (FPI). Could the Texans target a quarterback next April? ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay lists five signal-callers among the top 20 prospects in his first 2022 draft rankings, but in his first mock draft, he has Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux going to Houston.

Each week during the season, FPI projects the draft order by simulating the remainder of the season 10,000 times. Game probabilities are based largely on the model’s ratings for individual teams in addition to game locations. The order is based on the records the model believes the teams will have after 17 games, and the order is based on each team’s average draft position in the simulations. “Stats to know” are courtesy of ESPN Stats & Information.

Check out the full 1-32 projection for the 2022 NFL draft:


1. Houston Texans

Projected record: 5-12
Average draft position: 5.2
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 24%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 66.3%

Stat to know: David Culley takes over as head coach for the Texans. At 65, Culley will be the oldest coach at the time of his head-coaching debut in NFL history, according to Elias Sports Bureau. Culley spent the past two seasons as the Ravens’ passing game coordinator. Over that span, Baltimore ranked 31st in passing yards per game (186.4), ahead of only the Jets.

2. Detroit Lions

Projected record: 6-11
Average draft position: 7.1
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 14.5%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 52.4%

Stat to know: For the first time since 2008 (Jon Kitna), the Lions will start Week 1 with someone other than Matthew Stafford under center after the Lions traded the former No. 1 overall pick to the Rams for Jared Goff and several draft picks, including two future first-rounders. Although only Tom Brady (47) won more games than Goff (42) over the last four seasons, Goff ranked 24th in the NFL in Total QBR during that span.

3. New York Jets

Projected record: 6-11
Average draft position: 8.5
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 9.7%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 41.4%

Stat to know: Second-year defensive lineman Quinnen Williams ranked fourth in the league in pass rush win rate as an interior defender (17%). Even better, his run stop win rate as an interior defender was the best in the NFL (49%). His 7.0 sacks were tied for the second-most of any player in the AFC East, trailing only Miami’s Emmanuel Ogbah (9.0).

4. Jacksonville Jaguars

Projected record: 7-10
Average draft position: 9.6
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 8.4%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 37%

Stat to know: The Jaguars hired Urban Meyer as the franchise’s new head coach in January, making him the latest example of a college coach making the jump to the NFL. As an FBS head coach, Meyer posted a 187-32 record (.854), which is the third-best winning percentage in FBS history (min. 10 seasons). Since 2000, 11 first-time NFL head coaches have made the jump from college. Of those 11, only three posted a winning record with the team that hired them (Bill O’Brien, Chip Kelly, Jim Harbaugh), and none of them remain head coaches in the NFL.

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5. Philadelphia Eagles

Projected record: 7-10
Average draft position: 10.2
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 7.4%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 35.6%

Stat to know: Nick Sirianni (Colts offensive coordinator, 2018-20) becomes the seventh straight head coach hired by the Eagles who had never before served as a head coach in the league. Eagles quarterbacks averaged the third-slowest time to throw in the NFL, while the Colts were third-fastest last season. Additionally, the Eagles allowed the most sacks (65) and had the third-most turnovers (29) while the Colts finished top-three in sacks allowed (21) and turnovers (15).

6. Cincinnati Bengals

Projected record: 7-10
Average draft position: 10.8
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 5.2%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 28.4%

Stat to know: The Bengals enter the 2021 season having not won a playoff game since the 1990 season — the longest active drought in the NFL. The Bengals have missed the playoffs entirely in five straight seasons entering the year and they’ve finished last in the AFC North in three straight seasons, their most consecutive last-place finishes since 1991-93.

7. Las Vegas Raiders

Projected record: 7-10
Average draft position: 11.8
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 3.7%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 23.2%

Stat to know: New defensive coordinator Gus Bradley has his work cut out for him. The Raiders ranked in the bottom 10 in most defensive categories last season, including last in opponent drive score percentage (nearly 46% of opponent drives against Las Vegas ended in a touchdown or field goal). Nearly 24% of opponents’ pass attempts were what Next Gen Stats define as “open throws” (3-5 yards of separation between target and nearest defender), which ranked 24th. The Raiders also allowed a 73.6 QBR when playing zone coverage, the worst rate in the league.

8. New York Giants

Projected record: 7-10
Average draft position: 11.9
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 4.4%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 26.9%

Stat to know: Daniel Jones threw 11 touchdown passes in 2020 (14 starts) after throwing 24 in 2019 (12 starts), but despite the drop-off he actually had a better Total QBR last season. While he had the second-highest completion rate on throws 25-plus yards downfield (52%) last season, he could use more consistency in the quick-passing game. He had the second-worst completion rate (66%) on throws 10 or fewer yards from the line of scrimmage.

9. Atlanta Falcons

Projected record: 7-10
Average draft position: 12
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 3.8%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 23.6%

Stat to know: After spending the past two seasons as the Titans’ offensive coordinator, Arthur Smith takes over as the Falcons’ head coach. Atlanta has seen its yards per play decrease in each of the previous three seasons, going from 6.2 in 2018 to 5.5 in 2020. As for Smith, his Titans offense ranked fourth in yards per game and second in points per game last season.

10. New York Giants (via CHI)

Projected record: 7-10
Average draft position: 11.9
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 4.4%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 26.9%

Stat to know: The Giants swapped first-round picks with the Bears in the 2021 draft and picked up three additional picks from Chicago — a 2021 fifth-round pick, a 2022 first-round pick and a 2022 fourth-round pick. It’s the first time general manager Dave Gettleman had traded down in the first round in his career, but he certainly seems to have made the Bears pay a premium.

11. Carolina Panthers

Projected record: 8-9
Average draft position: 13.4
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 2.9%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 19.3%

Stat to know: Since Matt Rhule arrived in Carolina he has drafted 11 defensive players, which is tied for the third most in the NFL over the last two years. And the defense saw a significant improvement from 2019 to 2020, going from 31st in PPG allowed to 18th.

12. Arizona Cardinals

Projected record: 8-9
Average draft position: 14.6
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 1.8%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 14.4%

Stat to know: The addition of DeAndre Hopkins was expected to boost the verticality of the Cardinals’ offense, but the offense was still a work in progress last season. Hopkins finished top three in the NFL in targets, receptions and receiving yards, but Arizona still had the fifth-most pass attempts behind the line of scrimmage last year with 149 — 59 to wide receivers.

13. Pittsburgh Steelers

Projected record: 8-9
Average draft position: 15.7
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 1.2%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 10.7%

Stat to know: The Steelers had the fewest total rush yards (1,351) and fewest yards per rush (3.6) in the league last season. They selected former Alabama RB Najee Harris in the first round of the 2021 draft. It was the first time the Steelers have drafted a RB in the first round since taking Rashard Mendenhall 23rd overall in 2008.

14. Washington Football Team

Projected record: 8-9
Average draft position: 15.8
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 1.7%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 13.1%

Stat to know: Chase Young became the first Washington player ever to win Defensive Rookie of the Year last season. He ranked seventh among edge rushers in pass rush win rate and run stop win rate in 2020 (ESPN Metrics/NFL Next Gen Stats); he’s the only player to rank top seven in both categories.

15. Los Angeles Chargers

Projected record: 9-8
Average draft position: 16.3

FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 1.1%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 9.7%

Stat to know: With 29 more touchdown passes in 2021, Justin Herbert would join Dan Marino as the only two players to pass for 60-plus TDs in their first two NFL seasons (Marino had 68). His 70 Total QBR was the third-best of any rookie since the metric was implemented in 2006, behind only Dak Prescott and Russell Wilson. The major area for Herbert to improve is in the fourth quarter of games, when he had four touchdowns and four interceptions last season (compared to 27 TDs and 6 INTs in the first three quarters).

16. Denver Broncos

Projected record: 9-8
Average draft position: 16.5
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 0.9%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 9.3%

Stat to know: Vic Fangio announced on Aug. 25 that Teddy Bridgewater had won the quarterback competition against Drew Lock. Last year, Lock had the league’s highest air yards per attempt average (9.0) while Bridgewater ranked 27th in that metric (7.0). Lock threw into what NFL Next Gen Stats defines as “Tight Windows” (less than 1 yard of separation) on 19% of his throws, sixth-highest. Bridgewater threw into such coverage on just 12% of his throws, fifth-lowest.

17. Minnesota Vikings

Projected record: 9-8
Average draft position: 17.1
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 1.2%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 9.9%

Stat to know: Justin Jefferson is coming off a historic rookie season. Jefferson finished with 1,400 receiving yards, the most by any rookie in the Super Bowl era (since 1966). Of those receiving yards, 606 came against press coverage (less than 3 yards cushion) according to NFL Next Gen Stats, the most by any player last season.

18. New Orleans Saints

Projected record: 9-8
Average draft position: 17.6
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 0.8%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 7.8%

Stat to know: Alvin Kamara scored 21 total touchdowns (16 rushing, 5 receiving) in 2020, the most in a single season in Saints history. And in his career if Kamara is involved, the Saints win; they are 17-2 when Kamara gets at least 20 touches in a game (including playoffs). New Orleans also averages over a yard more per play with Kamara on the field vs when he is not since his rookie season in 2017.

19. Philadelphia Eagles (via IND)

Projected record: 7-10
Average draft position: 10.2
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 7.4%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 35.6%

Stat to know: The Eagles get a conditional pick in the trade with Indianapolis for Carson Wentz that becomes a first-rounder if the QB plays more than 75% of the Colts’ offensive snaps. He’ll have every opportunity to hit that target, though his injury history is such that it’s a tough call. The Eagles get the Colts’ second-rounder if the threshold isn’t met.

20. Dallas Cowboys

Projected record: 9-8
Average draft position: 18.6
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 0.8%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 7.6%

Stat to know: Dak Prescott returns under a new four-year, $160 million contract after suffering a compound fracture in his right ankle in Week 5. Prescott recorded 10 games with at least a 90 QBR from 2016 to 2019, the most by any QB in the NFL. The Cowboys floundered last season without him, averaging 11.5 fewer PPG, finishing 4-7.

21. Philadelphia Eagles (via MIA)

Projected record: 7-10
Average draft position: 10.2
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 7.4%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 35.6%

Stat to know: The Eagles acquired the Dolphins’ first-round pick prior to the 2021 draft when the teams swapped first-round picks, allowing Miami to move up to No. 6. Philadelphia dropped to No. 12 but added the 2022 first-rounder. The Dolphins also sent the 123rd pick in 2021 to Philadelphia in return for the 156th pick.

22. New England Patriots

Projected record: 9-8

Average draft position: 19.4
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 0.4%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 4.7%

Stat to know: The Patriots missed the postseason for the first time since 2008 and their third-place finish in the division was their worst since finishing last in 2000, Bill Belichick’s first season as head coach. They had won the division the last 11 seasons, the second-longest streak of any MLB, NBA, NFL or NHL team according to Elias Sports Bureau. Only the Atlanta Braves won more consecutive division titles (14 from 1991 to 2004). Since Belichick took over in 2000, the Patriots have not gone consecutive seasons without winning the division.

23. Tennessee Titans

Projected record: 9-8
Average draft position: 19.6
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 0.5%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 5.8%

Stat to know: Stopping opponents on third down and in the red zone will be crucial if the Titans hope to turn things around defensively in 2021. The defense allowed the highest third down conversion rate (52%) and the third-highest red zone touchdown percentage (69%) in the NFL. Tennessee made the playoffs despite recording just 19 sacks, tied with the 1979 Broncos for fewest by a playoff team in the 16-game era.

24. New York Jets (via SEA)

Projected record: 6-11
Average draft position: 8.5
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 9.7%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 41.4%

Stat to know: This pick comes to the Jets via the Jamal Adams trade. New coach Robert Saleh is rebuilding from top to bottom and with him comes this year’s first-round pick, quarterback Zach Wilson. The Jets rank last in Total QBR (43.7) over the last 15 seasons, having thrown the fewest touchdown passes (276) and the most interceptions (269) in that time. But Wilson has dazzled in training camp, and expectations are high that the Jets might finally have a good NFL signal-caller.

25. Detroit Lions (via LAR)

Projected record: 6-11
Average draft position: 7.1
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 14.5%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 52.4%

Stat to know: This pick belongs to Detroit as part of the deal that sent Matthew Stafford to the Rams. The Lions figure to have multiple needs as they remake their roster. Detroit signed former Packers RB Jamaal Williams this offseason, giving them a potential thunder-and-lightning duo along with D’Andre Swift. Swift averaged 3.3 yards before contact per rush in 2020, seventh-best among running backs, while Williams averaged 2 yards after contact, 15th-best among backs in 2020.

26. Miami Dolphins (via SF)

Projected record: 9-8
Average draft position: 19
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 0.4%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 4.9%

Stat to know: The Dolphins return their four players with the most receptions from last season and added Will Fuller V in free agency along with using the sixth-overall pick in the draft on Alabama WR Jaylen Waddle. As a team Miami averaged 10.6 yards per reception last season, 25th in the NFL. The addition of Fuller should address this issue as he averaged 16.6 yards per catch last season, second-most among players with 50 receptions. The Dolphins acquired this 49ers’ pick in the deal that allowed San Francisco to move up and select Trey Lance at No. 3.

27. Cleveland Browns

Projected record: 10-7
Average draft position: 21.9
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 0.1%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 2.3%

Stat to know: Last season was Kevin Stefanski’s first as head coach, and he became the first Browns head coach to win 11 games in his first season with since Cleveland joined the NFL in 1950. The former offensive coordinator helped the Browns score 408 points last season, their highest-scoring season since 1964. Stefanski turned the Browns into a run-first offense as they ranked third in the league in rushing.

28. Green Bay Packers

Projected record: 10-7
Average draft position: 21.9
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 0.2%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 3%

Stat to know: Aaron Rodgers’ 84.3 QBR last season was the third-highest single-season QBR since ESPN began tracking in 2006, behind only Tom Brady in 2007 (87.0) and Peyton Manning in 2006 (86.4). Rodgers was particular great off play-action. Of Rodgers’ 48 touchdowns, 23 came via the play-action pass, the most by any quarterback in a single season since ESPN began tracking the stat in 2006.

29. Baltimore Ravens

Projected record: 10-7
Average draft position: 22.6
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 0.1%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 1.7%

Stat to know: Last season the Ravens became the fourth team since the playoffs expanded to 12 teams in 1990 to make the playoffs despite finishing last in passing yards. The Eagles in 1998 and 1999 were the last team to finish last in passing in consecutive seasons. One area Lamar Jackson and the Ravens pass game could look to improve is against blitzes. Jackson threw 6 TD passes against the blitz in 2020 after throwing 21 in 2019, which was the most by any QB in the last 15 seasons.

30. Buffalo Bills

Projected record: 11-6
Average draft position: 24.1
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 0.1%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 1%

Stat to know: Stefon Diggs led the league in receptions (127) and receiving yards (1,535) last season, both single-season franchise records and most ever by a veteran player in his first year with a new team. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Diggs’ catch percentage was 11.7 percentage points above expectation, highest of any player with at least 75 targets.

31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Projected record: 11-6
Average draft position: 25.7
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: less than 0.1%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 0.7%

Stat to know: After winning Super Bowl LV, the Buccaneers are set to return all 22 starters from the Super Bowl, becoming the first team in the salary cap era (since 1994) to return every Super Bowl starter. Tampa is also seeking to become the first team since the 2003-04 Patriots to repeat as Super Bowl champions. The quarterback of those teams was, of course, current Bucs starter Tom Brady.

32. Kansas City Chiefs

Projected record: 12-5
Average draft position: 26.9
FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: less than 0.1%
FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 0.2%

Stat to know: Patrick Mahomes, currently a +475 favorite to win 2021 MVP according to Caesars Sportsbook, is seeking to become the third player to win multiple MVPs in his league before turning 27. Jim Brown did so in the NFL and Joe Namath did so in the AFL.

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