Edge rusher Travon Walker of national champion Georgia, a dynamic playmaker combining speed and athleticism, was the first overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft. He was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The 6-foot-5, 275-pound Walker, who has some raw elements to his game but an extremely high ceiling for his skills, joins former Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence as the second straight top overall selection by the Jaguars.
Walker, one of several Bulldogs likely to be chosen in the opening round, was a one-year starter whose production (13 tackles for loss and 9 1/2 sacks) doesn’t jump out because he was part of a deep rotation at Georgia. His talent level certainly impressed the Jaguars, the NFL’s worst team the past two years.
The second pick was Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson, a player whose consistency and relentlessness helped the Wolverines to their first College Football Playoff. He was selected by the Detroit Lions.
The 6-foot-6, 265-pound edge rusher, whose father Chris was a star player at Michigan in the 1990s, was the Heisman Trophy runner-up last season.
He said this week in Las Vegas that he “couldn’t wait until the process is over and I get back to ball.” He’ll do so for one of the league’s worst teams in recent seasons.
The final player to round out the top three picks was Derek Stingley Jr., a defensive back from LSU. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Stingley, who excels in man coverage, was chosen by the Houston Texans. Injuries, including to his foot in 2021, led to lesser numbers last season — but the grandson of former Patriots receiver Darryl Stingley, who was paralyzed in a 1978 preseason game, has been a coveted cornerback throughout the draft process.
A record eight teams had two first-round picks at the beginning of the night. That’s one more than the previous high of seven set four times before, including in 2019 and 2020. Meanwhile, a record eight teams won’t make their first selections until Friday night unless they trade back into the first round.
The teams without first-round picks are the Rams, Bears, Browns, Broncos, Colts, Raiders, Dolphins and 49ers. The Seahawks traded away their first-round pick last year, but jumped back into the first round in the blockbuster Russell Wilson trade with Denver last month.