1. Jacksonville Jaguars - Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan
It looks as if Hutchinson’s separating himself to be the
clear first overall pick in this draft. The Jaguars have options
along the offensive line, leaving pass rushing as a clear hole
in their roster. Hutchinson recorded 14 sacks with 16.5 tackles
for a loss as a senior at Michigan. He’s also one of the
safest prospects in this draft, giving Jacksonville’s defense
a potential All-Pro player without adding much risk because of
Previous Pick - Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan
2. Detroit Lions - Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
This is one of the most difficult picks of the entire draft. On
one hand, this feels extremely aggressive for Detroit. On the
other hand, it makes far too much sense. They stated that they’ll
create their offense to the strength of their quarterback, which
suggests the Lions are at least considering Willis. This would
be an ideal landing spot, as he could start his career behind
before taking over. Willis would give HC Dan Campbell and Detroit
an elite quarterback prospect, and we’ve consistently seen the
position overdrafted in the past. I do feel this is a bit aggressive,
but he’s the type of player that could turn around a franchise
if he hits his ceiling. It’s important to note that this
pick is a big question mark. It’s very possible that I change
this selection in my final mock draft, although I’m holding
tight for now.
Previous Pick - Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
3. Houston Texans - Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State
New head coach Lovie Smith heaped praise on Davis
Mills, calling him their quarterback heading into the season.
This is far too early in this particular draft to select his replacement,
meaning they’ll have to shift their focus elsewhere. Although
the Texans have several holes, they should be focused on giving
Mills every opportunity to find success early in his career. Houston
could look to further their rebuild by trading Laremy Tunsil,
opening a massive hole at tackle. Ekwonu could immediately step
in and fill that hole. He could be the top overall pick in this
draft, and he’d be a top player for the Texans for years to come.
Previous Pick - Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State
4. New York Jets - Travon Walker, DE, Georgia
The Jets could go a few different ways with this pick, although
some of the prospects seem to be trending in different directions.
Kyle Hamilton was a popular pick here, but he’s falling down the
draft board a bit. They could also take Ahmad Gardner, who could
go higher than most expect. I’m leaning toward Walker, although
he’s only a 1A to Gardner’s 1B at this point. He’s
making waves in the draft community, and New York would benefit
from a pass rusher as much as they would with help in the secondary.
Walker could end up in the top-5, and the Jets could use the help
along their defensive front.
Previous Pick - Travon Walker, DE, Georgia
5. New York Giants - Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
Neal is losing a bit of momentum at this point in the process,
but there’s very little reason to believe he falls too far. Head
coach Brian Daboll already said he’s studying old film of Kenny
Golladay and Kadarius
Toney to get the most out of them this season. With Neal being
the clear best tackle at this point in the draft, they can help
out a bit more in what should be a make-or-break season for the
quarterback. Regardless of his success, Neal with Andrew Thomas
would set New York’s line for the future.
Previous Pick - Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
6. Carolina Panthers - Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi
The Panthers have two very clear needs early in the draft. They
need to improve their offensive line with an offensive tackle
and they need a new starting quarterback after missing in free
agency. The problem with this pick is that they would be reaching
at both positions, and I’m not projecting trades. There’s one
key difference here, though. Sam
Darnold is under contract for one more year and will make
nearly $19 million regardless of if he plays or not. Carolina
can help their offensive line with Cross, even if he is a reach,
and allow them to select one of the top quarterbacks next year
in what should be a significantly better draft class.
Previous Pick - Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
7. New York Giants - Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon
“The Giants could luck their way into an elite pass rusher with
this pick. They struggled to consistently get pressure on the
quarterback last season, ranking in the bottom third of the NFL
in sacks, hurry rate, and pressure rate. Thibodeaux was seen as
the clear favorite for the first overall pick before the season.
He returned to form in 2021, posting 49 tackles, 12 for a loss,
and 7 sacks for the Oregon Ducks. Thibodeaux comes with as much
upside as any pass rusher in this draft class and he’ll pair well
with Azeez Ojulari,
who enjoyed a solid rookie season. Although there are some concerns
with Thibodeaux’s overall ability, he’s going to be an elite pass
rusher from early in his career, which is exactly what the Giants
This was my initial analysis for New York taking Thibodeaux with
their first pick in the draft in my last mock. Evan Neal fell
in this one, though, and he was the clear pick in that situation.
With that being said, it’s all still true, and the Giants could
luck their way into Thibodeaux with the Panthers having more pressing
issues than an edge rusher.
Previous Pick - Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon
8. Atlanta Falcons - Jermaine Johnson, Edge, Florida State
The Falcons featured arguably the worst pass rush in the NFL last
season. They ranked last in pressure rate while also ranking in
the bottom five in hurry and knockdown rate. Johnson quietly jumped
up draft boards, and won’t be considered as a reach at this
pick anymore. Atlanta could go with a cornerback, which would make
more sense in terms of most big boards. The emphasis should fully
be on adding a pass rusher here, though. Johnson recorded 70 tackles,
17.5 for a loss, and 11.5 sacks for Florida State last season. He
also looked outstanding at the Senior Bowl and continues to climb
throughout the offseason.
Previous Pick - Jermaine Johnson, Edge, Florida State
9. Seattle Seahawks - Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
The Denver Broncos traded Seattle this pick in the deal for Russell
Wilson. Oddly enough, the pick stays the same. The Seahawks
have several holes throughout their roster, and they have the ability
to take the best player available here. They could opt for a wide
receiver if they are trading DK
Metcalf, but Gardner is the clear CB1 in this draft, and he
can immediately help their secondary. Quite frankly, this is entirely
too low for the star cornerback, who is likely a top-5 talent in
this draft. He could fall a bit because of team needs or depth at
Previous Pick - Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
10. New York Jets - Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
The Jets continue to help their defense early in the draft. They
selected a high-upside edge rusher as their first pick, and they
can solidify their secondary with this pick. Stingley always boasted
tremendous upside, although there were questions about his production
later in his collegiate career. He impressed with his metrics at
his Pro Day, and Stingley was given a clean bill of health. There’s
an outside chance that Gardner and Stingley could both be selected
in the top 5, although that isn’t the case with this mock
draft. Instead, they’re both selected in the backend of the
Previous Pick - Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
11. Washington Commanders - Drake London, WR, USC
For whatever reason, Washington was willing to trade for Carson
Wentz, solidifying their quarterback for this season. It’s
a bit too early to take a shot on anyone left, specifically after
giving up picks for Wentz. Instead, they can add another great
receiving option to pair with Terry
McLaurin. London boasts elite range as a receiver, and he’d
be an outstanding complement to the way McLaurin plays. He’d add
a new dimension to the Washington offense that they didn’t have
The Vikings have holes throughout their secondary along with their
interior defensive line. With Gardner and Stingley off the board,
they can shift away from cornerback, as Trent McDuffie is likely
a tier below them. Hamilton and Jordan Davis are both solid options
here, as they’re the top options at each of their respective
positions. Hamilton is seemingly falling a bit at this point in
the process, but there was a time when he was seen as a top 5 pick.
He has the higher ceiling and can impact the game in a way that
Davis can’t. For that reason, the Vikings will add a young
potential star to the backend of their defense.
Previous Pick - Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
13. Houston Texans - Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
The Texans get this pick as a part of the Deshaun
Watson trade with the Cleveland Browns. There are a few different
ways they could go here, although they desperately need help at
cornerback. McDuffie hasn’t given up any touchdowns over his last
15 games at Washington, and he has the potential to become a difference-maker
in the NFL. He’s seen as one of the safer prospects in this draft,
and he’ll immediately add talent to the Houston secondary.
Previous Pick - Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
14. Baltimore Ravens - Jordan Davis, DT, Georiga
I mocked Tyler Linderbaum to the Ravens in each of my first two
drafts, but I’m switching from the interior offensive line
to the interior defensive line. Davis is the best defensive tackle
in the draft, and he continues to fly up draft boards. He has the
ability to take on multiple blockers, which will free up other positions
for one-on-one matchups. Davis has the potential to be a top run-stuffer
in the NFL, and he’ll make all of Baltimore’s pass-rushers
around him better. He’s the type of player that will immediately
help any defense he’s playing for.
Previous Pick - Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
15. Philadelphia Eagles - Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
The Eagles could add Kenyon Green to help fix their offensive line,
but it could be more important to get Jalen
Hurts more weapons. Garrett Wilson is coming off of an outstanding
season at Ohio State, posting 70 receptions for 1,058 yards and
12 touchdowns over 11 games. He flashed game-changing potential
throughout his collegiate career, and Wilson would be an elite option
to pair with DeVonta
Smith in their offense. The Eagles and Saints both have two
picks out of the next five, and I don’t believe Philadelphia
will allow New Orleans to jump them on a wide receiver.
Previous Pick - George Karlaftis, Edge, Purdue
16. New Orleans Saints - Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
The Saints traded for this pick, specifically ahead of the Chargers.
They both have similar holes, making this pick relatively difficult.
I expect the Eagles wanted to stay ahead of New Orleans to have
their pick of the wide receivers. With that being said, the class
is so deep that the Saints can make that move without worrying about
who will be left. Olave is an outstanding prospect that has the
ability to stretch the field, which will pair nicely with Michael
Thomas. He’ll add a high-upside option that the Saints
haven’t had in recent seasons.
Previous Pick - Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson (Philadelphia
17. Los Angeles Chargers - Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
The Chargers are in a position where they could select an offensive
tackle, edge rusher, linebacker, or defensive tackle. Luckily
at this point, all of those positions have high-end talent available.
It’s a great problem to have, although I’m penciling in Lloyd,
who has the potential to be taken in the top-10 depending on how
the draft shakes out. He’s a sideline-to-sideline linebacker with
the ability to rush the passer. Lloyd will add tremendous versatility
to the Chargers defense, making them that much more dangerous.
Previous Pick - Travon Walker, DE, Georgia
18. Philadelphia Eagles - Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson
This draft class has several outstanding cornerback options with
only Ahmad Gardner separating himself from the rest of the options.
With Derek Stingley Jr. and Trent McDuffie already off the board,
the Eagles can slide to the next best at the position. Booth can
immediately slide into a big role for Philadelphia, as he’s
a high-IQ option in the secondary. He’s one of many cornerbacks
in this class that boasts Pro Bowl potential.
19. New Orleans Saints - Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
The Saints have a few key holes they could plug here, but they re-signed
Smith in free agency. They’ll also be getting Michael
Thomas back for this season. New Orleans lost Terron Armstead
to the Miami Dolphins in free agency, though, and they have a massive
hole at offensive tackle now. If they want any chance of success,
they’ll need to keep Winston upright, and Penning gives them
the best chance of that with this pick.
Previous Pick - Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State (Philadelphia
20. Pittsburgh Steelers - Zion Johnson, G, Boston College
The Steelers are in an interesting spot where they could draft a
quarterback with this pick. With that being said, unless Malik Willis
falls, I don’t see that happening. They signed Mitchell
Trubisky in the offseason, and they can use him until drafting
a quarterback in a better class next year. Instead, they can use
this pick on an offensive lineman that will help anyone starting
behind center. Pittsburgh needs help on the interior of their offensive
line, and Johnson is an outstanding guard option in this draft.
Previous Pick - Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
21. New England Patriots - Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington
The Patriots took a surprising step forward with Mac
Jones at quarterback last season. They still rely heavily
on their defense, though, and J.C.
Jackson could leave in free agency. The Patriots could use
their first-round pick to select his replacement, allowing the
team to continue to rely on their defense while the young quarterback
continues to progress. Gordon recorded 2 interceptions and 7 pass
deflections over 12 games for Washington last season. He’s a player
that boasts the ability to cover WR1s in the NFL once he finds
his footing, and that’s the type of player New England would love
to select here.
Previous Pick - Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington
22. Green Bay Packers - Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
The Packers received this pick from the Las Vegas Raiders in the
trade. It only makes sense that they use it on his replacement.
Granted, Green Bay doesn’t draft wide receivers in the first,
but they may not have a choice this season. Burks has game-changing
potential that he flashed at Arkansas, and Aaron
Rodgers could potentially mold him into a high-end wide receiver
in the NFL. The Packers could look for a safer player here, but
they need to replace arguably the best receiver in the league.
Upside is one of the only ways to do that.
The Cardinals were able to get plenty of pressure on opposing
quarterbacks last season, but they also blitzed at one of the
highest rates in the NFL. I initially slated David Ojabo into
this pick, but he recently tore his Achilles, which will likely
slide him out of the first round. Instead, the Cardinals can shift
their focus to Mafe, who is another high upside edge rusher. He
consistently improved at Minnesota, recording 34 tackles, 10 for
a loss, and 7 sacks during his senior season. He could potentially
take some of the pressure off of the Arizona defense.
Previous Picks - Boye Mafe, Edge Minnesota
24. Dallas Cowboys - Kenyon Green, OL, Texas A&M
The Cowboys need help along their offensive line, specifically
in the interior. Green is expected to play guard in the NFL, and
he could be a day one starter for Dallas. With that being said,
he boasts the upside to move out to tackle if need be. Green played
four different positions throughout his college career, and we’ve
seen versatile linemen be drafted at a premium in the past. I
expect that to be the case once again for Green during the draft.
Previous Pick - Kenyon Green, OL, Texas A&M
25. Buffalo Bills - Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
The Bills are one of the most complete teams in the NFL, and they
don’t truly need to reach at any position. I could see them
grabbing a cornerback here, but Linderbaum is a significantly better
prospect than any corner available. He has the potential to become
one of the best centers in the NFL later in his career, and he can
immediately add depth to the Bills interior offensive line. He’s
the type of player that can be groomed for the future while giving
Buffalo an outstanding option if they’re dealing with injuries
around playoff time.
Previous Pick - Zion Johnson, G, Boston College
26. Tennessee Titans - Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
It was clear that the Titans lacked wide receiver depth when A.J.
Brown got injured last season. They cut Julio
Jones in the offseason, adding to the problem. Dez
Fitzpatrick comes with plenty of upside, but it’s unlikely
the Titans want to rely on him for a major role this season. Instead,
they can draft Williams, who was seen as the best wide receiver
prospect in this draft at one time. He’s dropped down the
ranks after suffering a major injury, and he’d be a steal
at this point in the draft for Tennessee.
Previous Pick - Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia
Tampa Bay quietly has plenty of holes to fill, and they could
look to add to their defensive front with this pick. Wyatt comes
with elite size, and he can immediately take the pressure off
of the other pass rushers. Last season, Wyatt posted 39 tackles,
7 for a loss, and 2.5 sacks for Georgia. He could immediately
help Tampa Bay’s defensive line impact games in the way they could
need this season.
Previous Pick - Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia
28. Green Bay Packers - Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central
Oddly enough, it feels as if the Packers could take two first-round
wide receivers in this draft. They already grabbed one with their
first pick, and I don’t believe they go that deep into the position
at this point, though. Instead, they need help along their offensive
line, specifically right tackle. Raimann is an athletic tackle
that has the potential to start from day one.
Previous Pick - Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan
29. Kansas City Chiefs - George Karlaftis, Edge, Purdue
The Chiefs paying Patrick
Mahomes is proving to open several holes in their roster. They
have a big hole at edge rusher. Karlaftis created plenty of pressure
at Purdue, and he’s a relatively safe prospect coming into
the NFL. He may not have the ceiling as many others at this position,
but the Chiefs simply need safe players on the defensive side with
Mahomes’ ability to create points offensively.
Previous Pick - Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
30. Kansas City Chiefs - Dax Hill, S, Michigan
The Chiefs are going to need help at safety, specifically if Tyrann
Mathieu leaves in free agency. Even if Mathieu stays, there
will be holes in the Kansas City defense that Hill can contribute.
Hill ended last season with 69 tackles including 4.5 for a loss
and 0.5 sacks. He also ended last season with 2 interceptions,
8 pass deflections, and 1 fumble recovery over 14 games. Hill
can fill the void at safety or he can shift over to their slot
corner position. His versatility can help Kansas City’s defense
Previous Pick - Dax Hill, S, Michigan
31. Cincinnati Bengals - Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
The Bengals need to get better in the secondary after they added
help on the offensive line in free agency. After Gardner and Stingley,
the position is relatively open, and even with a few other cornerbacks
coming off the board before this pick, there are several options
the Bengals can choose from. Elam could be a late riser for teams,
as he comes with tremendous upside. He has the potential to become
a CB1 at the NFL level, which is the type of upside Cincinnati can
take a chance on at this point in the draft.
Previous Pick - Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn
32. Detroit Lions - Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
The Lions have several holes they need to fill, and they drafted
an edge rusher earlier in this draft. They can shift their focus
to their offense with their second pick. Amon-Ra
St. Brown broke out as a rookie last season, and he looks
to have an outstanding future in Detroit. Although D.J.
Chark signed with Detroit, it was a one-year deal, and I don’t
expect that to shift their focus off of Dotson here. Dotson isn’t
the biggest receiver, but he comes with plenty of explosion, great
hands, and tremendous route-running skills. He posted 91 receptions
for 1,182 yards and 12 touchdowns in 12 games for Penn State last
season. Dotson would make an outstanding pairing with St. Brown
for years to come.