Here’s your SEO sentence containing the word draft.
#1 Jacksonville Jaguars – OT Evan Neal, Alabama
I’m sticking with Neal (more so an offensive tackle) despite a common shift to Hutchinson as the top pick. I understand why people see the tagging of Cam Robinson and signing of Brandon Scherff and think it frees them up to take Hutchinson. It does free them up to do just that but I don’t think it rules out bringing in another offensive tackle.
Other than Cam Robinson the Jaguars are sporting Jawaan Taylor and Walker Little, neither of which is reliable and one of them has to start. Hopefully Little develops into a quality starter but his time in college was marred by injury after coming out of high school as a top recruit. Robinson himself could leave town after 2022 as the Jags are unlikely to tag him for a 3rd straight season, as it’s cost prohibitive to tag anyone three straight years, and someone else out there could offer him money Jacksonville is unwilling to beat or match. Besides, it’s not like Robinson is some superstar.
Drafting Neal and having him play LG in 2022 gives Lawrence the best possible offensive line in the first year under Pederson. Then when Robinson leaves for a record breaking guaranteed dollar amount next March, Neal will kick out to left tackle.
#2 Detroit Lions – Edge Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan
This is such a common pairing I’m not sure how much you need me to reiterate what everyone else has already said. I’m sure Dan Campbell is going to salivate over Hutchinson’s motor, and bring the local product’s motor to the Motor City (there I got in a cheesy pun that maybe no one else has made yet).
#3 Houston Texans – OT Ikem Ekwonu, North Carolina St.
The Texans stated they’re going to use the picks from the Watson trade to build around Mills, and while this is their own pick I don’t think we need to take the statement so literally. The obvious first move in using their drat capital to surround Mills with talent is spending #3 on whoever they view as the best OT available. If Neal goes first, that’ll probably be Ekwonu. If Ekwonu goes first, then it’s probably Neal here at 3. If the Jaguars do go with Hutchinson then who knows which tackle they’d prefer if given the choice, but luckily that’s not my problem as of this writing.
#4 New York Jets – Edge Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon
I swear I was the first person to pair Gardner and the Jets in my Mock Draft 1.0 and now it’s become a pretty popular projection. So that makes it all the more painful that I need to move off that pick. While he doesn’t solve all the issues at corner, New York did bring in D.J. Reed. More importantly, Douglas has shown a penchant for the trenches during his time in the Big Apple.
In 2020 he took Mekhi Becton at 11, and last year after taking Zach Wilson he traded up to 14 in order to select Alijah Vera-Tucker. To be fair, there is some circumstance to this. In 2020, with the four elite offensive tackle prospects and the need the Jets had at the position, it made perfect sense to select Becton. And yes, after nabbing a franchise quarterback, reinvesting in his protection is simply wise.
Alas, the pattern exists, and remember, before joining the Jets he spent the prior three seasons in the Eagles organization, watching Howie Roseman invest in the trenches again, and again, and again, with a Super Bowl to show for it. Douglas also handed out his largest money contract in 2022 free agency to Laken Tomlinson.
And you know who really helped take the 9ers defense to another level while Saleh was there? Nick Bosa. The guy Douglas just missed out on in 2019 when he “settled” for Williams. Taking Thibodeaux is taking a shot on this defense landing an elite pass rusher, and that’s not something I think Douglas or Saleh is willing to pass up.
#5 New York Giants – OT Charles Cross, Mississippi St.
I’ve seen Charles Cross all over the place. I’ve seen him as multiple people’s top tackle. I’ve seen him outside the top 20 prospects. I’ve seen him projected outside the top 25 picks. I have no idea how the Giants feel about him, but I do know bringing in both Schoen and Daboll means there’s decent odds the Giants are going to 1. prioritize the trenches and 2. surround Daniel Jones as best as possible.
Maybe that involves reaching for Cross. Maybe they don’t see this as a reach. But they do see the Panthers right behind them at 6 and they desperately need a tackle. Locking in Cross here gives New York bookend tackles with Andrew Thomas, and they’ll still land either Kyle Hamilton or Travon Walker at #7.
Also, Cross reportedly crushed it at his pro day, which involved him working out at right tackle, and the Giants paid him extra attention.
#MississippiState LT Charles Cross said the Giants and Jets have shown the most interest. He's projected to be picked early in the first round of the NFL Draft next month.
— Jon Sokoloff (@JonSokoloff) March 22, 2022
This is likely to be the first hot spot for a trade as well. Conceivably, Carolina at 6, Atlanta and 8, and Seattle at 9 may all be trying to out maneuver one another for their favorite quarterback.
#6 Carolina Panthers – Edge Travon Walker, Georgia
I have absolutely no idea what the Panthers are going to do. They’re easily the most difficult team for me to project in the top 10. I have a hard time believing they’re going to take a quarterback in this class of all classes when everyone’s job is on the line. I still believe they’re going to go the veteran route, though knowing them they’ll trade this pick for Jordan Love or something.
Who will they actually pick? Who knows. Given how my first 5 picks went the best guesses are Walker or Hamilton, simply from best player available. But last year, when they passed on Justin Fields and Mac Jones, they opted for Jaycee Horn, an excellent man corner and and forced him into their zone scheme, over Patrick Surtain II who was a better prospect and better tailored for said zone scheme. Also, I will never pass up an opportunity to remind everyone of the dumbest thing I have ever heard.
This is the dumbest thing I have ever heard https://t.co/vwMoikMSXt
— Jonathan Rosenberg (@frosted_takes) April 24, 2020
I’m not sure if the Panthers consider themselves a veteran team yet, but if not Kyle Hamilton might be too versatile for their liking.
#7 New York Giants – S Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame
How well are the Giants making out here? Not only is Hamilton easily the best player on the board, but Schoen and Daboll could see adding him to Xavier McKinney as forming their own elite safety pair like Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde.
#8 Atlanta Falcons – WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio State
Remember that time the Falcons passed on Justin Fields? Now they’re headed into the season with Marcus Mariota as their starter after trading away the best player in franchise history for a 3rd round pick. No I don’t think the Atlanta braintrust views Mariota as the long-term solution, and the financial commitment says that as well. But as of today I don’t believe one of these quarterbacks is going to go top 10. Atlanta makes plenty of sense as a destination where someone can sit for a year while Mariota starts then take over in 2023 (or mid-way through 2022). But until there’s real (read; blue check) buzz two weeks from the draft or closer about one of these guys top 10 I’m not projecting it.
Anyway, who is Mariota or rookie to be named later throwing to anyway? Enter Wilson.
#9 Seattle Seahawks (F/DEN) – CB Ahmad Gardner, Cincinnati
When I invented the trend of mocking Gardner to the Jets (it’s a joke people) the concept was Gardner is built for the Seattle style defense Saleh is running. Well, guess who has a massive need at corner and runs the Seattle style defense?
#10 New York Jets (F/SEA) – WR Drake London, USC
The Jets were in on the Tryeek Sweepstakes so they clearly want to surround Wilson with more weapons (or they were just being aggressive when a top 3 receiver became available, who can say?). Either way, Wilson does need more weapons. London was obliterating college football before having his season cut short with an ankle injury. A 6’5″ playmaker who can win at all three levels, London perfectly compliments Corey Davis and Elijah Moore.
#11 Washington Commanders – CB Derek Stingley Jr., LSU
Washington deserves credit for their defensive improvement later in the year after starting off so horrendously, but more reinforcements are sorely needed. Stingley has #1 overall talent and falls out of the top 10 due to injuries and inconsistent play the past two years. The Commanders first draft pick sees them shoot for the moon.
#12 Minnesota Vikings – CB Trent McDuffie, Washington
Despite spending multiple first rounders at the position over the past ten years, the Vikings essentially need to start over at corner. McDuffie doesn’t have the typical length you want at the position, but he’s the last of the top tier corners in this class and has excellent acceleration, agility, and tackling abilities.
#13 Houston Texans (F/CLE) – C Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa
Continuing with the build around Mills trend we have Linderbaum. If Garrett or London make it to this pick I think Houston would go in that direction, but for whatever reason I don’t think they’d pull the trigger on Burks, Williams, or Olave (probably personal bias). Where Linderbaum ultimately gets drafted will be interesting as it’s nearly unanimous that he’s the best center prospect in like 8 years. But between positional value and weight concerns he may slide as some teams that have size requirements or run power schemes might not be interested.
Pep Hamilton did run power in Indianapolis, but those teams were built to do so. Pep has said before that his offense is a “no coast” offense and he builds his offense around the players. Assuming Pep can figure out how to make it work with Linderbaum, adding Linderbaum and Ekwonu to Laremy Tunsil creates a really good foundation to this offensive line for either Mills to flourish or whoever they draft in 2023.
Though knowing the Texans they’ll just use this pick on a punter.
#14 Baltimore Ravens – OT Trevor Penning, Nothern Iowa
I love this pairing. I don’t see the signing of Morgan Moses preventing Baltimore from pulling the trigger on Penning. Penning is a monstrous human at 6’7″ 325lbs and physically asserted his will at his level of competition. He may have work to do in pass protection but he is a force as a run blocker and would fit right in with the Ravens’ offense.
Eagles Receive: #20, #84
Steelers Receive: #15
#15 Pittsburgh Steelers (F/MIA/PHI) – QB Malik Willis, Liberty
Yes I heard Rapoport’s sound bite that he thinks multiple QB’s will go in the top 10. This far out from the draft I am still in believe-it-when-I-see-it mode. Most quarterbacks had their pro-day during the week leading up to that comment, and the media cannot help itself but to hype quarterbacks as the draft nears. It also wasn’t a report, it was his opinion based on teams needing quarterbacks in the top 10 (read; Carolina, Atlanta, Seattle). I still think Carolina goes the veteran route and we should all have learned our lesson by now that predicting the Seahawks’ pick is impossible. They never play a normal game nor do they make a normal selection. Atlanta makes the most sense but the truth is these quarterback prospects just aren’t on the level of years prior.
But, of course, it only takes one team to love someone, especially a quarterback. Daniel Jones and Justin Herbert were each taken 6th in back-to-back years, and each pick was chastised as most viewed them as late first prospects. Obviously, the Chargers nailed that pick so I’m sure they don’t care. Trubisky went 2nd in 2017 for some reason and the Bears even traded up for that “privilege.” I’m not ruling it out, I’m just not ready to project it.
However, here at 15 the Steelers don’t want to wait anymore. Of all the (at least in theory) quarterback needy teams, I view Pittsburgh as most likely to get aggressive (I don’t consider Atlanta just drafting someone at 8 as aggressive). Stuck in a division with Burrow, Lamar, and W*tson, Tomlin and company need to join the arms race. Willis has the most upside in this class but also has plenty he needs to work on. The contract given to Trubisky clearly indicates Pittsburgh views him as a stop-gap, not the answer. Trubisky can start in 2022 before Willis takes over in 2023.
Also, teams should always swing for upside at quarterback.
#16 Philadelphia Eagles (F/IND) – WR Treylon Burks, Arkansas
First and foremost, there is no way Roseman makes all three of these picks at their current slots. None. He’s going to move one, if not two, in some fashion, whether he just trades down or flips them for future firsts to have ammo lined up in 2023 in the event Hurts doesn’t progress as desired in 2022.
The pick I think he is least likely to move is 15 because I bet he wants to make sure he gets someone he covets, unless he trades to someone he knows is taking a quarterback (New Orleans, Pittsburgh), in which case he can get the receiver at 16. So basically, exactly what I’m predicting here.
The Burks hype has come back to reality and I think at this point most feel even this is a bit of a reach for him. However, if Burks is the guy Roseman believes is best he’s going to pull the trigger. Between Burks, Olave, and Williams, Burks compliments Smith the most in being a big bodied receiver.
#17 Los Angeles Chargers – OT Bernhard Raimann, Central Michigan
Anyone that has Jordan Davis getting to the Chargers has Jordan Davis going to the Chargers. I’m not saying their run defense is completely fixed but they signed Sebastian Joseph-Day and Austin Johnson in free agency. Well, the Ravens signed Morgan Moses but I still had them taking Penning above, so why is this different? Because of the big question surrounding Jordan Davis; positional value. The Chargers can find another run stuffer or two later on in the draft, but there is a big fall-off at offensive tackle after the top 5.
I’d perhaps even argue right tackle is this team’s biggest need. Timeoutgate was some of the dumbest discourse in sports history, but it really covered up a huge issue Los Angeles had all game.
Does Maxx Crosby have a pressure on every snap?
— Jonathan Rosenberg (@frosted_takes) January 10, 2022
Herbert was under duress every play against Vegas (don’t fact check this). Especially in the AFC West, teams need two high quality offensive tackles. The Chargers can find a two-down nose tackle later, but they’re not going to walk out of the draft with a Week 1 starting right tackle if they pass up the chance in the first round.
#18 New Orleans Saints – WR Chris Olave, Ohio State
If you look at how Winston’s new two year deal is structured, it really seems like he is going to be the guy for the next two seasons. I get it’s well below market rate for a starting quarterback, but are the Saints really going to cut him next year just to save $4,000,000? Maybe if this were a better quarterback class, but especially with Willis off the board is it worth it to take Pickett here?
You know what the Saints do need though? Receivers. Michael Thomas missing all of last season exposed how short handed they are at the position. Adding another Buckeye for Thomas to take under his wing, combined with this being the right spot in the draft for Olave and the pick hitting a huge need makes way too much sense here.
Eagles Receive: #27, #60
Buccaneers Receive: #19, #124
#19 Tampa Bay (F/PHI) – Edge Jermaine Johnson II, Florida State
Tampa sees a wide-open NFC, an unknown duration of the Brady window, and Bruce Arians himself turning 70 in October. This is them going for it in 2022. You may think, hey, edge is the deepest position in the draft, why trade up for one? Normally, I’d agree with you, but Johnson is viewed as a top 11 prospect in this draft by multiple evaluators, so getting him at 19 is a bargain. Does Tampa share that opinion? Who knows, but if they do then Johnson is the immediate impact type of player the Bucs won’t get sitting tight at 27.
#20 Philadelphia Eagles (F/PIT) – LB Devin Lloyd, Utah
I actually think of all my first round projections, including the specific trades, this is the biggest limb I’m going out on. The idea of Roseman taking a linebacker in the first round is a real see-it-to-believe-it situation. However, it’s the most shallow position on this roster after having grabbed Burks (or whatever receiver) earlier. If the Eagles grab a corner here it would be a bit of a reach so after a trade down with the Bucs they’ll let the corner board come to them at 27. Philadelphia will most likely add an edge at some point but given the depth in this class plus all the Day 2 picks I’m projecting the Eagles to have, that will likely come later as well.
Lloyd is a do-it-all linebacker that immediately makes this team better at a position of need.
#21 New England Patriots – DT Jordan Davis, Georgia
If Davis does fall to the Patriots here I’m not sure Belichick will be able to help himself. Do they need an interior defender? No, not really. But do you honestly believe Bill is going to care? Remember, the early days of the dynasty saw Ted Washington anchoring the nose of this defense and Belichick then spent the 21st pick in 2004 on Vince Wilfork, who then anchored it for a decade.
Bringing in a 340lb run-stuffer allows flexibility with how the Patriots can line up in the front-7. Imagine Davis taking up two blockers resulting in Barmore getting 1-on-1’s. Imagine Davis anchoring a 3-man front flanked by Deatrich Wise and Lawrence Guy while Judon and Uche come flying off the edges from a stand-up position.
Other than positional value the biggest question teams need to ask themselves about Davis is how many snaps can he play? He only logged 25 a game at Georgia and it’s hard to decipher if it was necessary due to his conditioning or if it was just how Georgia decided to handle their absurd depth along the front in 2021. The Patriots have plenty of defensive lineman to make sure Davis stays fresh and Belichick personally went to Georgia’s pro day for a reason.
#22 Green Bay Packers (F/LV) – OG Kenyon Green, Texas A&M
I’m not entirely sure the Packers are going to just take Jameson Williams here if the other 4 receivers are off the board since he won’t be available until November(?). If he gets to 28, great. If not then they’ll tap into the next tier of the receiver class. The Packers need to straighten out their offensive line. Bakhtiari’s return helps but they need to decide if they’re going to kick Jenkins back inside or leave him at tackle, where he played really well in 2021. Kenyon Green has experience at every position on the line except for center, so drafting him gives Green Bay a lot of flexibility to just get the five best offensive lineman on the field.
#23 Arizona Cardinals – OG Zion Jonson, Boston College
This entire franchise is a mess. They took Isaiah Simmons and Zaven Collins in back-to-back drafts without any real plan as to how they were going to utilize their uniqueness. They lost to the Lions. And oh yea, they’re publicly feuding with their 24 year-old quarterback after extending their in-over-his-head head coach.
I have no idea who they’re going to take, but I do know their offensive line desperately needs some upgrades. Zion Johnson has experience starting at both tackle and guard, so like the Packers with Green above, taking Johnson helps Arizona just get the five best lineman on the field.
#24 Dallas Cowboys – DT Devonte Wyatt, Georgia
Wyatt would go a lot higher than this. He lit up the combine as well but was overshadowed by the all-universe performance from his teammate Davis. This is a combination of good value hitting a decent need and making sense to add some interior pressure to Dan Quinn’s defense.
#25 Buffalo Bills – CB Andrew Booth Jr., Clemson
The Bills are so loaded (except for the offensive line) this could easily be the best player available. If there is one need other than the offensive line it sort of is corner. Getting White back is huge up they’re thin behind him and no team has enough corners, especially if you want to win today’s AFC.
#26 Tennessee Titans – WR Jameson Williams, Alabama
In 2019 Jeffery Simmons was a projected top 10 pick that fell due to injury and the Titans got a bargain with the 19th pick. In 2021 Caleb Farley was a projected top 10 pick and the Titans pounced when he fell to 22 due to injury. Farley barely played last year so TBD on him but Simmons is a stud. Here we go again. Williams was looking like a top 10 pick until he tore his ACL. The Titans don’t necessarily need him at the beginning of the season after the Robert Woods trade, but they can’t pass on the value and upside here, while also continuing to join the arms in the AFC.
#27 Philadelphia Eagles (F/TB) – CB Kaiir Elam, Florida
As promised, Howie moves down and takes a corner.
#28 Green Bay Packers – WR Jahan Dotson, Penn Sate
I don’t know that Green Bay will take a receiver in the first round even after the Adams trade. I don’t know who they like best after the top 5 receivers. All I know is they desperately need someone and Dotson is a plug-and-play type talent.
#29 Kansas City Chiefs (F/SF/MIA) – Edge George Karlaftis, Purdue
The Chiefs may have traded Tyreek but don’t worry they signed MVS. In all seriousness I don’t think Kansas City is going to force a receiver in the first round but obviously they’ll pull the trigger if someone they like gets to them (or within striking distance of a trade up).
Anyway, Karlaftis could easily go higher than this so this is good value and in a conference with Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow, Desh*un W*tson, Justin Herbert, Russell Wilson, sort of Derek Carr, and potential second year leaps from Trevor Lawrence, Mac Jones, and Zach Wilson, you better have pass rushers.
#30 Kansas City Chiefs – DB Daxton Hill, Michigan
Again, in a conference with everyone listed above you better be able to cover. Daxton Hill projects to safety but played most of his snaps out of the slot last year at Michigan. Such versatility will help Kansas City in the loaded AFC.
#31 Cincinnati Bengals – DB Jalen Pitre, Baylor
Similar to Hill, Jalen Pitre projects to safety but spent most of his time at Baylor playing in the slot. His versatility will also help Cincinnati in the loaded AFC.
Lions Receive: 2023 first
Falcons Receive: #32
#32 Atlanta Falcons (F/LAR/DET) – QB Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh
You may be sitting there saying, “why wouldn’t the Lions just draft a quarterback themselves, why trade the pick?” Well, selling off this pick for a 2023 first guarantees that 2023 pick will be higher next year. The Lions also have pick 34 this year, as well as the Rams 2023 first. With three firsts next year the Lions would have plenty of ammo to move up, if necessary, to get a quarterback. With pick 34 they can add a receiver who will be primed for a second year leap come 2023.
The Lions are wedded to Goff for 2022. They could draft a quarterback here and have him sit until midseason if they like anyone enough. If they don’t they sell this pick to the Falcons, who passed on a quarterback at 8 but still are able to grab the second quarterback off the board in the draft and the one viewed as the most pro-ready. Also, regarding this stupid hand size thing, Pickett would get all his home games, plus the Saints away game, in a dome, while Carolina and Tampa Bay probably won’t be hit with blizzards, so perhaps the Falcons view it as a complete non-issue.