The 49ers will be waiting a long time to make their first pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, but the No. 1 overall selection could have a rippling impact.
Unlike the 2021 NFL Draft, when the Jacksonville Jaguars selected quarterback Trevor Lawrence, it doesn’t seem likely another quarterback will be selected No. 1 overall.
Especially considering the Jags are again picking at No. 1 after an abysmal 3-14 season a year ago.
With Lawrence in place, the odds of another quarterback being the first player off the boards in this year’s draft are slim. If anything, Jacksonville is going to take a hard look at other cornerstone players to spark what’ll still be a lengthy rebuild.
As for the San Francisco 49ers, well, they’re not poised to select until Round 2, No. 61 overall, to be precise. So, at least on the surface, they won’t care about the prospect the Jaguars select.
Unless things get a bit tricky and weird.
NFL Draft betting odds for No. 1 overall pick in 2022
In all likelihood, the Jags are going to be looking at one of the top-three pass-rushers in this year’s class, Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux, Georgia’s Travon Walker or Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson.
As far as which player winds up being selected at No. 1, the oddsmakers over at WynnBET feel the favorite is the latter, Hutchinson coming in at -400 to be the first player selected this April:
- EDGE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan: -400
- EDGE Travon Walker, Georgia: +400
- EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon: +900
- OT Evan Neal, Alabama: +1000
- OT Ikem Ekwonu, NC State: +1100
- QB Malik Willis, Liberty: +3000
- OT Charles Cross, Mississippi State: +4000
- QB Kenny Pickett, Pitt: +5000
- DB Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame: +5000
- QB Matt Corral, +7000
Three quarterbacks — Willis, Pickett and Corral — grace the top 10 in odds, although it’s important to note this isn’t a big board, rather oddsmakers’ perspectives on who goes No. 1.
But it does provide something useful. In a class where the quarterbacks aren’t particularly deep or boast a kind of “lock” Lawrence was last year, there nevertheless could be an early run on signal-callers anyway.
Especially if Jacksonville ends up trading down, or if the No. 2-drafting Detroit Lions elect to start that run on QBs, too.
How top of 2022 NFL Draft might influence 49ers
Here’s the start of the 2022 NFL Draft order:
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- Detroit Lions
- Houston Texans
- New York Jets
- New York Giants
- Carolina Panthers
Four of those teams — the Lions, Texans, Giants and Panthers — could be looking at quarterbacks to replace their current options, particularly as one-year wait-and-develop options.
Let’s assume the Jaguars trade out of the No. 1 spot, knowing teams always trade up for quarterbacks in the draft and potentially reaching those betting odds of Willis going tops to some aggressive team trading up. The Jags could still land Hutchinson later, or at least they could dip into a deep class of pass-rushers.
Could that prompt another team to trade up into the top five, too, perhaps for someone like Pickett or Corral?
The key team to watch here, though, is the Panthers. At least from the Niners’ vantage point.
Carolina is arguably the last realistic team in the market for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo via trade, and there not being a hot market for Jimmy G right now means no action is necessary. But the Panthers, who have no shot at winning the NFC South in 2022, decide they want to improve their lot under center over last year’s flameout, Sam Darnold, finding a long-term option at No. 6 overall in the NFL Draft would seem a logical route to take.
Unless one, two or potentially three of the top quarterbacks are grabbed early.
One quarterback is likely to go in the top five of the 2022 draft. Two would be possible, sure, and three would be unlikely but not completely out of the question. It’s happened before (look at 2021), albeit earlier classes had better talent.
If the Panthers miss out on a quarterback at No. 6 and decide another year with Darnold under center simply isn’t worth it, they may return to the 49ers and kindly ask what the price tag on Garoppolo might be.
That’s where the Niners get interested in who goes No. 1. And Nos. 2 through 5, for that matter.