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4 Pac-12 stars projected to be first-round picks in 2022 NFL Draft

Apr 26, 2022

The 2022 NFL Draft begins Thursday in Las Vegas and draft experts agree that four Pac-12 stars will have their names called in the first round, which would be the most since 2018.

But the projections for where these players are headed ranges wildly from expert to expert. With less than a week to go, we analyzed mock drafts from experts at The Ringer, ESPN, CBS, and Pro Football Focus to try and predict when each Pac-12 star will come off the board.


For almost the entire offseason, draft experts had been projecting that Kayvon Thibodeaux and Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson would be the top two picks in the draft. Hutchinson has become the favorite to be taken No. 1 overall in recent weeks, but Thibodeaux will be close behind him.

In a league that is always coveting edge rushers, Thibodeaux, a freak athlete with a 6-foot-5 frame, should make a huge impact wherever he lands. The former Duck tallied 49 tackles (12 for loss) and seven sacks in 10 games last season.


Just a three-star prospect when he arrived at Utah, Devin Lloyd helped his draft stock more than any other player on this last year with a phenomenal season that saw the linebacker take home 2021 Pac-12 Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year honors. Lloyd set personal highs in tackles (110), sacks (8), and interceptions (4) while leading the Utes to their first Rose Bowl in program history.

Lloyd is expected to go in the middle of the first round, and the New England Patriots seem like an obvious fit. The Pats are picking at No. 21, have a need at linebacker, and as ESPN’s Mel Kiper pointed out, “Lloyd just feels like a Bill Belichick-type player.”

They will be lucky if he's still on the board, though.


This draft class is extremely deep at wide receiver and as many as eight wideouts could be taken in the first round. But even amongst this talented group, Drake London’s talent stands out.

The reigning Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year is everything a pro team could want in a wide receiver. The Ringer’s Danny Kelly believes London’s “scintillating combination of size, fluid athleticism, and route-running skills can allow him to develop into a true No. 1 outside threat.”

London caught 88 passes for 1,084 yards and seven touchdowns in just eight games for USC last season before suffering a season-ending ankle injury.

Fellow Trojan Amon-Ra St. Brown became the steal of the draft last year when the Lions scooped him up in the fourth round.  London isn’t falling anywhere near that far this year.


Out of all the Pac-12 stars expected to go in the first round, Trent McDuffie seems to have the draft experts the most conflicted. Depending on who you ask, the Washington cornerback is either knocking on the door of the top-10 or could be selected as late as 25th overall. Either way, he's a consensus first-rounder.

McDuffie’s talent and production are impossible to ignore. As Pro Football Focus’ Ryan Weisman points out, McDuffie has not allowed a touchdown since 2019. Not one!

"Outside of length, McDuffie has everything you could want from a high-end cornerback," reads his PFF draft profile. "At only 5-foot-11, he plays consistently bigger than his listed size. He allowed only 16 catches from 36 targets for 111 yards with no scores and five pass breakups in 2021."


Player/ School

The Ringer’s Danny Kelly

CBS’s Ryan Wilson

Pro Football Focus

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.

Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon

No. 2 overall, Detroit Lions

No. 4 overall, New York Jets

No. 2 overall, Detroit Lions

No. 3 overall, Houston Texans

Devin Lloyd, Utah

No. 12 overall, Minnesota Vikings

No. 18 overall, Philadelphia Eagles

No. 15 overall, Philadelphia Eagles

No. 21 overall, New England Patriots

Drake London, USC

No. 18 overall, Philadelphia Eagles

No. 11 overall, Washington Commanders

No. 10 overall, Philadelphia Eagles

No. 10 overall, New York Jets

Trent McDuffie, Washington

No. 25 overall, Buffalo Bills

No. 12 overall, Minnesota Vikings

No. 11 overall, Washington Commanders

No. 14 overall, Baltimore Ravens

Find out where these Pac-12 stars are headed when the 2022 NFL Draft gets underway in Las Vegas on Thursday, April 28 at 5 p.m. PT on ABC and ESPN.