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Former California High School Players Lead the Way in First Round of 2022 NFL Draft

California high school football led the way in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft in Las Vegas.

Five former California high school players were picked in the first round.

Georgia and Texas had four former high school football players chosen each, followed by Florida, Iowa, Michigan, and North Carolina with two each. Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Tennessee each had one former high school player selected on Thursday.

The Jacksonville Jaguars chose defensive end Travon Walker No. 1 overall. Walker, who played his high school football at Upson-Lee High School in Thomaston, Georgia is the fifth former high school football player from Georgia to be selected as the top pick.

It’s the second year in a row that the Jags chose a former Georgian No. 1 overall. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who prepped at Cartersville High, was the top selection in the 2021 NFL Draft.

The other former overall No. 1 picks from Georgia are quarterback Cam Newton (Westlake HS) by the Carolina Panthers in 2011, running back George Rogers (Duluth HS) by the New Orleans Saints in 1981 and guard Ken Rice (Bainbridge HS) by the Buffalo Bills in 1961.

Related: See where every No. 1 overall pick went to high school

Kayvon Thibodeaux of Oaks Christian High School was the first of five Californians taken. The New York Giants chose the defensive end with the No. 5 overall pick.

The other former Californians taken Thursday night were wide receiver Drake London (Moorpark HS) by the Atlanta Falcons at No. 8, wide receiver Chris Olave (Mission Hills HS) at No. 11, cornerback Trent McDuffie (St. John Bosco HS) at No. 21 by the Kansas City Chiefs and linebacker Devin Lloyd (Otay Ranch HS) at No. 27.

One player picked in the first round enters the NFL with family ties to the league. The Buffalo Bills chose cornerback Kaiir Elam (The Benjamin School - Florida) at No. 21. Elam’s father Abram Elam was a safety in the league from 2005 through 2012 for four different teams. Kaiir’s uncle Matt Elam was a first round draft pick by the Baltimore Ravens in 2013.

First Round Picks in the 2022 NFL Draft

Pick Team Player Position High School State
No. 1 Jacksonville Jaguars Travon Walker DE Upson-Lee Georgia
No. 2 Detroit Lions Aidan Hutchinson DE Divine Child Michigan
No. 3 Houston Texans Derek Stingley CB The Durham School Louisiana
No. 4 New York Jets Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner CB Detroit Martin Luther King Michigan
No. 5 New York Giants Kayvon Thibodeaux DE Oaks Christian California
No. 6 Carolina Panthers Ikem Ekwonu OT Providence Day North Carolina
No. 7 New York Giants Evan Neal OT IMG Academy Florida
No. 8 Atlanta Falcons Drake London WR Moorpark California
No. 9 Seattle Seahawks Charles Cross OT Laurel  Mississippi 
No. 10 New York Jets Garrett Wilson WR Lake Travis Texas
No. 11 New Orleans Saints Chris Olave WR Mission Hills California
No. 12 Detroit Lions Jameson Williams WR  Cardinal Ritter Missouri
No. 13 Philadelphia Eagles Jordan Davis DT Mallard Creek North Carolina
No. 14 Baltimore Ravens Kyle Hamilton S Marist Georgia
No. 15 Houston Texans Kenyon Green G Atascocita Texas
No. 16 Washington Commanders Jahan Dotson WR Nazareth Pennsylvania
No. 17 Los Angeles Chargers Zion Johnson G Riverdale Baptist Maryland
No. 18 Tennessee Titans Treylon Burks WR Warren Arkansas
No. 19 New Orleans Saints Trevor Penning OT Newman Catholic Iowa
No. 20 Pittsburgh Steelers Kenny Pickett QB Ocean Township New Jersey
No. 21 Kansas City Chiefs Trent McDuffie CB St. John Bosco California
No. 22 Green Bay Packers Quay Walker ILB Crisp County Georgia
No. 23 Buffalo Bills Kaiir Elam CB The Benjamin School Florida
No. 24 Dallas Cowboys Tyler Smith OT North Crowley Texas
No. 25 Baltimore Ravens Tyler Linderbaum CB Solon Iowa
No. 26 New York Jets Jermaine Johnson II DE Eden Prairie Minnesota
No. 27 Jacksonville Jaguars Devin Lloyd ILB Otay Ranch California
No. 28 Green Bay Packers Devonte Wyatt DT Towers  Georgia
No.29 New England Patriots Cole Strange G Farragut Tennessee
No. 30 Kansas City Chiefs George Karlaftis DE West Lafayette Indiana
No. 31 Cincinnati Bengals Daxton Hill S Tulsa Booker T. Washington  Oklahoma
No. 32 Minnesota Vikings Lewis Cine S Cedar Hill Trinity Christian Texas

Photo: AP/John Locher


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