We're two weeks out from the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Mock draft season is reaching its end. To whit, Mel Kiper Jr. posted one of his final iterations on ESPN+ this morning, attempting to peer into his crystal ball and sift through the rumor mill to determine what direction teams are leaning in.
Kiper's latest mock didn't contain a ton of surprises. Aidan Hutchinson is still the presumptive top pick, even though noise has grown louder about the Jaguars' potential interest in Travon Walker. Malik Willis goes No. 6 to the Panthers. But what stood out most about the draft expert's newest prediction is he believes there's a chance up to seven wideouts get picked in the first round. Seven! That's a lot!
Kiper predicts as follows:
Atlanta Falcons (No. 8) -- Garrett Wilson
New York Jets (No. 10) -- Drake London
Philadelphia Eagles (No. 15) -- Chris Olave
New Orleans Saints (No. 19) -- Jameson Williams
Green Bay Packers (No. 22) -- Christian Watson
Arizona Cardinals (No. 23) -- Treylon Burks
Tennessee Titans (No. 26) -- Jahan Dotson
Now, we know this is a very good receiving class. There has been a general expectation that as many as five could go in the first 32 picks. But that was assumed to be the cap. No more. Kiper's drafts are as good a reflection we'll find in regards to how scouting departments around the league are thinking. Dedicating nearly a quarter of al the picks in the first round to one position is notable, especially when it's at wideout.
It feels especially so because it is widely understood that this year is also a very deep WR class. There could be a ton of wideouts going in the top 64 or 100 picks this year. We'll see how close Kiper comes to omniscence, but it seems that teams are more willing to take a chance on receivers this year than any other position.