2022 NFL Draft Props: Defensive Players

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2022 NFL Draft Props: Defensive Players

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been itching for some betting opportunities on NFL events since Super Bowl LVI concluded with the Rams beating the Bengals two months ago. The NFL Draft is quickly approaching on April 28-30, which is our one chance to bet on an actual NFL event before preseason action gets going in August.

Unfortunately, most states, including my home state of Pennsylvania, don’t allow betting on the draft since it’s not an actual sporting competition. I may be making a trip to states like New Jersey or West Virginia, which allow wagers on NFL Draft props. Hopefully, you live in or near one of the states that are allowed to offer betting lines on this year’s draft or you have access to an off-shore account.

Since I don’t have access to draft lines in Pennsylvania, I’ll be using lines that are being offered in New Jersey and at off-shore sportsbooks for the purposes of this article. If you can, make sure to shop around for the best lines and odds if possible. You’re going to see more volatility between sportsbooks with an event like the draft than you’ll see on game lines during the season.

I plan on updating these NFL Draft Prop articles and my Best Bets multiple times before the end of April so check back throughout the month.

Note: We’re thrilled to offer Greg Cosell’s rookie profiles once again as part of our 2022 NFL Prospect Guide. I’ve included a small piece of his analysis for each player listed below. Be sure to subscribe to our guide to get his complete analysis for over 100+ players.

Article updates since initial April 8 posting

  • Travon Walker Draft Prop to Consider updated and Best Bet added on April 27

  • Kyler Gordon writeup and Best Bet added on April 26.

  • Derek Stingley Draft Prop to Consider updated and Best Bet added on April 25.

  • Devonte Wyatt writeup and Best Bet added on April 19.

  • Devin Lloyd writeup and Best Bet added on April 14.

  • Kyle Hamilton Draft Prop to Consider updated and Best Bet added on April 14.

Defense

Travon Walker, Georgia

Latest Mock Drafts

  • Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network (March 22): Third overall (Texans), EDGE3

  • Peter Schrager, NFL Network (April 19): First overall (Jaguars), EDGE1

  • Dane Brugler, The Athletic (April 15): Second overall (Lions), EDGE2

  • Todd McShay, ESPN (April 5): Second overall (Lions), EDGE2

Greg Cosell’s Prospect Guide Analysis

Walker is one of those prospects who could well develop into a better NFL player than he was a college player given his NFL-ready frame and his physical and athletic traits. Walker is long and athletic with a sturdy frame, and he has extensive experience playing both outside at DE and inside at DT coming from Georgia's multiple-front defense. There was a powerful feel to his game, both with his hand usage and his short-area movement. That power was reflected both in his run defense and as a pass rusher, where he used his hands effectively…Walker is just scratching the surface of what he can become as a pass rusher and the more I watched his tape the more I saw similarities to Za'Darius Smith coming out of Kentucky as a 4th-round pick in 2015.

Draft Props to Consider

Top 3 Overall Picks Exact Order: 1st Travon Walker; 2nd Kayvon Thibodeaux; 3rd Derek Stingley (+3100, FanDuel, placed April 27) — Walker has been the fastest risers in the pre-draft process thanks in large part to his Combine workout and his freaky measurables, and he’s now the betting favorite to be selected first overall. The 6’5”, 272-pound EDGE defender owns an 84½” wingspan, and he posted 4.51 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 6.89 seconds in the three-cone drill, and a 123” in the broad jump. Our Greg Cosell believes Walker is just scratching the surface of what he could become in the NFL, and he has potentially the highest ceiling of all the EDGE defenders in this year’s class. Stingley is also gaining some late steam and he’s now the betting favorite at +175 to be selected third overall. It’s been kind of assumed that the Lions would select Michigan’s own Aidan Hutchinson if he’s available at No. 2, but there’s been plenty of smoke that the Lions prefer Thibodeaux. It doesn’t hurt that last year’s top pick Penei Sewell practiced against him and played with him at Oregon. This prop is +3100 for a reason but I believe it should be priced more in the +1000-1500 range.

Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan

Latest Mock Drafts

  • Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network (March 22): First overall (Jaguars), EDGE1

  • Peter Schrager, NFL Network (April 19): First overall (Jaguars), EDGE1

  • Dane Brugler, The Athletic (April 15): Second overall (Lions), EDGE2

  • Todd McShay, ESPN (April 5): First overall (Jaguars), EDGE1

Greg Cosell’s Prospect Guide Analysis

What stood out was how well coordinated Hutchinson's feet and hands were as a pass rusher, allowing him to beat OTs with a lethal combination of explosive foot quickness and perfectly timed hand strength and arm moves. What consistently was evident was Hutchinson had a game plan for how he wanted to attack OTs and he approached it as a four-quarter exercise (never was that more apparent than versus Ohio State LT Nicholas Petit-Frere). Hutchinson also showed the ability to play the run effectively, using his hands and arm extension to keep his feet clean and maintain the balance, body control, and power to squeeze gaps and close down running lanes. Hutchinson would fit seamlessly into multiple front looks, whether they be even or odd fronts and he could also move inside as a pass rusher in sub fronts, even at times lining up as a stand-up Joker.

Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon

Latest Mock Drafts

  • Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network (March 22): Third overall (Texans), EDGE3

  • Peter Schrager, NFL Network (April 19): Fourth overall (Lions), EDGE3

  • Dane Brugler, The Athletic (April 15): Fourth overall (Jets), EDGE3

  • Todd McShay, ESPN (April 5): Third overall (Texans), EDGE3

Greg Cosell’s Prospect Guide Analysis

Thibodeaux's tape showed a DE whose game was built more on functional power, with the hand and upper body strength to control and displace OT, than explosive and sudden athleticism with bend and flexibility. As an edge pass rusher, he relied almost exclusively on speed-to-power and hand strength with few moves and counters, showing little refinement in his plan of attack, in addition to at times playing too upright…Thibodeaux showed more as a run defender with his strong, heavy hands than he did as a pass rusher, where his lack of desired bend and flexibility resulted in consistent struggles to flatten his rush path when he was able to clear the arc. There were times watching his tape that Thibodeaux reminded me of Jadeveon Clowney, given he is also powerfully built, playing with power and hand strength, but some stiffness throughout his body. However, Clowney was a bigger man with better pre-draft measurables in almost every area, and Clowney has never developed into a high-level edge rusher in the NFL. You could see Thibodeaux move inside in sub fronts just as Clowney has done successfully in the NFL.

Draft Props to Consider

Kayvon Thibodeaux over 5.5 draft position (+103, UniBet, placed on April 5) — Thibodeaux is the most polarizing of the top prospects and a common refrain in the pre-Draft chatter is that it shouldn’t be a surprise if he slips in the draft. He’s rubbed teams the wrong way in interviews and our Greg Cosell wasn’t too blown away by his tape, either. Greg described him as more of a run defender than a pass rusher with a comparison to Jadeveon Clowney, who owns 41 sacks in 97 career games. Kayvon is clearly loaded with the physical tools to be an impact player, but he has plenty of red flags to push him outside the top-five picks.

Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, Cincinnati

Latest Mock Drafts

  • Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network (March 22): Fourth overall (Jets), CB1

  • Peter Schrager, NFL Network (April 19): Seventh overall (Giants), CB1

  • Dane Brugler, The Athletic (April 15): Seventh overall (Giants), CB1

  • Todd McShay, ESPN (April 5): 10th overall (Jets), CB1

Greg Cosell’s Prospect Guide Analysis

Gardner fits the profile of the long, rangy, athletic, competitive corner that is in increasing demand in today's NFL. Gardner was the boundary corner in both 2020 and 2021, and his tape showed a player who was consistently much more comfortable and efficient playing press man coverage than off coverage, and my sense is he will best project and transition to the NFL predominantly in that role. Gardner possesses the length, the athletic traits, and the aggressive mindset and competitiveness to play both mirror-match press man and physical-jam press man, and his sticky man coverage ability was clearly the best part of his game…While there's no question he is best suited to be a press man corner at the next level, Gardner can also play in zone concepts like Cover 3 and Cover 4 and would be a great fit in Cover 2 with his physicality, jamming receivers off the ball. Gardner is the alpha dog corner in the 2022 Draft class and will likely start in the NFL from Day 1.

Draft Props to Consider

Ahmad Gardner under 7.5 draft position (-135, BetMGM, placed on April 5) — Our Greg Cosell called Gardner the “alpha dog” corner in this year’s class because of his elite length and athleticism that are in demand at the position. At NFL Mock Draft Database, Gardner is the consensus fourth pick to the Jets and the sixth player on the consensus big board. The Jets (4th) and Giants (5th and 7th) are the two most likely candidates to select him in the first seven picks. The Jets allowed the third-most passing yards (4409) and the most YPA (8.0) to opposing offenses last season while the Giants seem dead set on trading James Bradberry in the near future to clear cap space.

Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame

Latest Mock Drafts

  • Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network (March 22): 11th overall (Commanders), S1

  • Peter Schrager, NFL Network (April 19): 13th overall (Texans), S1

  • Dane Brugler, The Athletic (April 15): 11th overall (Commanders), S1

  • Todd McShay, ESPN (April 5): Seventh overall (Giants), S1

Greg Cosell’s Prospect Guide Analysis

Coming soon!

Draft Props to Consider

Kyle Hamilton over 9.5 draft position (-114, FanDuel, placed April 14) — Hamilton had been one of the toughest prospects to get a grasp on where he might land in the draft, but he’s been consistently falling outside the top-10 pick since I initially posted this article on April 8. Per Grinding the Mocks, Hamilton’s expected draft position now sits at 11.2 and his consensus draft position is 11th to the Commanders over at NFL Mock Draft Database. Hamilton is coming off a stellar career at Notre Dame, and he has the length (6’4”, 220 pounds) and the versatility to defend the pass and the run. It’s difficult to envision Hamilton flopping at the next level but I’m still leaning toward him drifting a bit in the draft. Hamilton ran an unimpressive 4.59 seconds in the 40-yard dash, and he doesn’t play a premium position like offensive tackle, quarterback, or EDGE. Most books have Hamilton’s draft position sitting at 8.5 at a juiced price to the over, but I’m willing to bet over 9.5 with much less juice since the Seahawks are unlikely to draft a safety with Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs already locked into large contracts.

Jermaine Johnson, Florida State

Latest Mock Drafts

  • Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network (March 22): Seventh overall (Giants), EDGE4

  • Peter Schrager, NFL Network (April 19): 12th overall (Vikings), EDGE4

  • Dane Brugler, The Athletic (April 15): 13th overall (Texans), EDGE4

  • Todd McShay, ESPN (April 5): 14th overall (Ravens), EDGE4

Greg Cosell’s Prospect Guide Analysis

Hamilton's size, length, natural athleticism, and range consistently jumped off the film, and that overall combination of athletic and physical traits in a body like that is not something you see very often. What was equally impressive was how fast he played with his eyes, which resulted in quick reactions maximizing his play speed and range. Hamilton has all the needed traits to handle all responsibilities of the safety position in today's NFL. He can play on the back end including post safety, he can play quarters coverage, he can play in the box, he can tackle and blitz, he can match up man-to-man on TEs and backs and some slot WRs. There is no question he is a multi-dimensional safety with high-level athletic and physical traits, and in an NFL where the safety position has become more important than ever before, Hamilton can be an impact defender on all three downs.

Draft Props to Consider

Jermaine Johnson under 9.5 draft position (-125, FOXBet) — Johnson, much like his former Georgia teammate Travon Walker, has been a fast riser in the pre-Draft process after a strong Combine showing. The Florida State transfer ran the 40-yard dash in 4.58 seconds and he registered a 125” broad jump while checking in at 6’4⅝” and 254 pounds. Johnson’s draft position prop suggests that four EDGE defenders will be selected inside the top 10, and this is a loaded pass-rushing class with as many as seven in the mix to go in the first round. The Falcons have been extremely quiet about their intentions in the first round and, like the Texans, they have so many needs that they could go in just about any direction with their selection and I wouldn’t be shocked. I don’t have a ton of conviction in where Johnson will land so I’ll be avoiding his props for now.

Derek Stingley, LSU

Latest Mock Drafts

  • Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network (March 22): 20th overall (Steelers), CB3

  • Peter Schrager, NFL Network (April 19): Ninth overall (Seahawks), CB2

  • Dane Brugler, The Athletic (April 15): Ninth overall (Seahawks), CB2

  • Todd McShay, ESPN (April 5): 12th overall (Vikings), CB2

Greg Cosell’s Prospect Guide Analysis

Stingley has the physical and athletic traits all NFL teams look for in outside cornerbacks. At his best he is a press-man corner who showed the traits needed to play both physical press and mirror-match press, with the loose hips and easy transitions demanded in those techniques…Stingley's tape showed that he is not as comfortable nor as good playing off coverage as he is playing press man, with his transitions and direction changes tending to be more sticky and segmented. Stingley has outstanding outside corner traits and there are many reps in which you saw this traits, but there are some concerns with his college tape (even 2019) that must be cleaned up if he is to become a high level man-to-man corner in the NFL. At his best some could well make a comparison to Stephon Gilmore, but I believe Gilmore played a much more physical game as a press man corner coming out of South Carolina.

Draft Props to Consider

Derek Stingley under 9.5 draft position (-132, FanDuel, placed April 25) — Stingley draft position props are on the rise since he impressed at his pro day workout. The prop sat 12.5 before he ran a 4.37-second time in the 40-yard dash on April 6, and you now have to lay heavy juice for him to be a top-10 pick. He looked back to full health during his Pro Day session after undergoing Lisfranc surgery last September, and his potential as a pro has begun to outweigh any motivation concerns teams had earlier in the pre-draft process. ESPN’s Todd McShay isolated both the Texans (No. 3) and Seahawks (No. 9) as being high on Stingley heading into April 28, and the LSU CB’s expected draft position has risen quickly to 8.3 over at Grinding the Mocks.

Jordan Davis, Georgia

Latest Mock Drafts

  • Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network (March 22): 12th overall (Vikings), DT1

  • Peter Schrager, NFL Network (April 19): 19th overall (Saints), DT1

  • Dane Brugler, The Athletic (April 15): 15th overall (Eagles), DT1

  • Todd McShay, ESPN (April 5): 19th overall (Saints), DT1

Greg Cosell’s Prospect Guide Analysis

Davis is a base-defense DT who has shown strong traits to play the run with a desirable combination of strength to control and displace interior OLs and short-area lateral quickness to make tackles. Davis' game is built on strength more than power, and that's an essential difference, with power being the ability to play with velocity and force and strength being much more of controlling and dominating an area…At this point Davis is not a sub-front DT; keep in mind he rarely ever played on third down in Georgia's defense, which tells you the coaching staff did not see him as an inside pass rusher on the money down. Therefore, his value in a higher-percentage 11 personnel NFL will be team and scheme specific.

Draft Props to Consider

Jordan Davis over 13.5 draft position (-133, FOXBet, placed on April 5) — Davis blew up the Combine by running the 40-yard dash in 4.78 seconds while checking in at 6’6⅜” and 341 pounds. His athleticism didn’t always show up on tape as a pass rusher, though, and he rarely played on third downs while at Georgia. At NFL Mock Draft Database, Davis is the consensus 14th pick to the Ravens and the 14th player on the consensus big board. It’s not yet known if Davis can be more than a two-down interior D-lineman, and prospects at higher priority positions like EDGE, offensive tackle, cornerback, wide receiver, and quarterback should push him down the board.

Devin Lloyd, Utah

Latest Mock Drafts

  • Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network (March 22): 16th overall (Eagles), LB1
  • Peter Schrager, NFL Network (April 19): 18th overall (Eagles), LB1
  • Dane Brugler, The Athletic (April 15): 14th overall (Ravens), LB1
  • Todd McShay, ESPN (April 5): 18th overall (Eagles), LB1

Greg Cosell’s Prospect Guide Analysis

Coming Soon!

Draft Props to Consider

Devin Lloyd under 18.5 draft position (+105, Caesars, placed on April 14) — Lloyd is the top linebacker in this year’s draft after being selected as a first-team All-American and as the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year as a redshirt senior last season. He owns a three-down linebacker skill set and he’s a disruptive force with seven sacks and 22 total tackles for loss in 2021. At Mock Draft Database, Lloyd is the consensus 15th overall pick to the Eagles, and Philadelphia will have multiple cracks to pick Lloyd with two picks inside the top 18. Lloyd’s expected draft position over at Grinding the Mocks sits at 20.2 in mid-April, but he’s often regarded as a top-10 prospect in many top draft analysts’ big boards like Daniel Jeremiah.

Devonte Wyatt, Georgia

Latest Mock Drafts

  • Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network (March 22): 15th overall (Eagles), DT2
  • Peter Schrager, NFL Network (April 19): 28th overall (Packers), DT2
  • Dane Brugler, The Athletic (April 15): 27th overall (Buccaneers), DT2
  • Todd McShay, ESPN (April 5): 27th overall (Buccaneers), DT2

Greg Cosell’s Prospect Guide Analysis

Wyatt is neither high-level explosive nor exceedingly strong, and he did not show the kind of pass rush traits (length and elite interior burst and explosiveness) that leads you to believe he can be an above-the-line interior pass rusher in the NFL, so you come away seeing him as a rotational DT with alignment versatility with a limited playmaking dimension to his game. What Wyatt gives you is the versatility to line up and be effective in multiple positions along the defensive front in a base defense, with limited sub defense value at this point as he enters the NFL. Wyatt's game was built on flashes, showing just enough that you feel he could develop into a three-down DT with coaching and experience, but it is not likely that he will ever be a high-level interior pass rusher who can be a dominant force. Wyatt will be one of those foundation pieces that every defense wants to have but not an impact game-changer on the money down. I think you can see similarities to Javon Hargrave's game as an NFL DT.

Draft Props to Consider

Devonte Wyatt under 29.5 draft position (-114, FanDuel) — Wyatt is expected to be the second defensive tackle selected on Day 1 of the Draft, which would also make him the second defensive tackle from Georgia selected with Jordan Davis likely to be picked before him. Davis also overshadowed Wyatt’s special Combine performance when he posted a 4.77-second 40-time and a 111-inch broad jump at 6’2⅞”, 304 pounds. The draft position set for Wyatt appears to be a tad high as he owns an expected draft position of 23.8 at Grinding the Mocks. He’s also the consensus 27th overall pick to the Buccaneers and the consensus 25th prospect at NFL Mock Draft Database. The Chargers, Steelers, Patriots, Cardinals, Buccaneers, Packers (x2), and Chiefs all have needs at defensive tackle in the back half of the first round before the 30th overall pick. I wouldn’t be surprised if Wyatt’s draft position shifts to 27.5 the closer we get to April 28.

Kyler Gordon, Washington

Latest Mock Drafts

  • Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network (March 22): N/A
  • Peter Schrager, NFL Network (April 19): 30th overall (Chiefs), CB4
  • Dane Brugler, The Athletic (April 15): 45th overall (Ravens), CB6
  • Todd McShay, ESPN (April 5): 33rd overall (Jaguars), CB5

Greg Cosell’s Prospect Guide Analysis

Coming soon!

Draft Props to Consider

Total Pac-12 players drafted in the first round: Over 4.5 (+145, Bovada) — The Pac-12 Conference has four near locks to be selected in the first round in Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux (off the board), USC’s Drake London (-83334), Utah’s Devin Lloyd (-1250), and Washington’s Trent McDuffie (-800). The conference would need just one last player to be selected in the first round to cash this plus-money prop, and Gordon is the most likely candidate. At Grinding the Mocks, Gordon’s draft stock has been on the rise since the start of April and he now owns an expected draft position at 31.2. Gordon’s draft position is set at 32.5 (-114) at FanDuel and he’s -115 to be drafted in the first round at PointsBet. This Pac-12 prop is presenting some value at +145 and the conference could always sneak a wild card into the mix if Green wasn’t drafted in the first round.

Brolley’s Best Bets

  • Top 3 Overall Picks Exact Order: 1st Travon Walker; 2nd Kayvon Thibodeaux; 3rd Derek Stingley (+3100, FanDuel). Risk one unit to win 31 units.

  • Total Pac-12 players drafted in the first round: Over 4.5 (+145, Bovada, placed April 26). Risk one unit to win 1.45 units

  • Derek Stingley under 9.5 draft position (-132, FanDuel, placed April 25). Risk 1.32 units to win one unit.

  • Devonte Wyatt under 29.5 draft position (-114, FanDuel, placed April 19). Risk 1.14 units to win one unit.

  • Devin Lloyd under 18.5 draft position (+105, Caesars, placed April 14). Risk one unit to win 1.05 units.

  • Kyle Hamilton over 9.5 draft position (-114, FanDuel, placed April 14). Risk 1.14 units to win one unit.

  • Ahmad Gardner under 7.5 draft position (-135, BetMGM, placed on April 5). Risk 1.35 units to win one unit.

  • Kayvon Thibodeaux over 5.5 draft position (+103, UniBet, placed on April 5) — Risk one unit to win 1.03 units.

  • Jordan Davis over 13.5 draft position (-133, FOXBet, placed on April 5). Risk 1.33 units to win one unit.

Tom is a Senior Writer at Fantasy Points who specializes in fantasy and betting analysis. He’ll be helping you to navigate the waiver wire and manage your fantasy teams while also keeping our betting content robust all year long, especially during the season. Tom's Best Bets against the spread won at 61.5% clip in 2019 and he was a perfect 8-0 on his Best Bets for season win totals in 2020.