NFL Draft: First Round Mock 2.0

NFL Draft: First Round Mock 2.0

This article is part of our NFL Draft series.

The 2022 NFL Draft is just hours away, so here's my last crack at predicting how the first round will unfold. For the latest two-round mock draft, check out Mario Puig's article that went up on the site earlier Thursday.

1.) Jacksonville Jaguars

The Pick: Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia 

Right or wrong, it's happening.

2.) Detroit Lions

The Pick: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan

Hutchinson won't fall past his home-state Lions

3.) Houston Texans

The Pick: Derek Stingley Jr., Cornerback, LSU

4.) New York Jets

The Pick: Ahmad Gardner, Cornerback, Cincinnati

This one is tough because there are so many rumors tying the Jets to different players at this spot. It's believed that head coach Robert Saleh doesn't like to invest major draft capital in cornerback, and the Jets would have all the offensive tackles available to them in this scenario. Is Mekhi Becton on the outs in New York after two seasons? Or could the Jets go with Jermaine Johnson, the edge rusher they are linked to over Kayvon Thibodeaux? I'll say that Saleh has a change of heart when it comes to Gardner and the Jets go with a cornerback at 4.

5.) New York Giants

The Pick: Evan Neal, Offensive Tackle, Alabama

Sifting through which tackle the Giants would target in this scenario is a challenge because all of Neal, Ikem Ekwonu or Charles Cross all have their cases to be the first tackle off the board. I land on Neal, though, as he's the most physically dominant of the trio who started 40 games for the Tide at an All-American level. He also has experience at both tackle spots.

6.) Carolina Panthers

The Pick: Malik Willis, Quarterback, Liberty

The Panthers really should trade this pick and get some draft ammo for the middle rounds because, as it stands, they won't have another pick until 137 (late 4th). Unfortunately for them, there aren't many teams with the ammo to move up to the sixth pick, and the ones that do might not be compelled to do so with this class being light on quarterback talent compared to other years. I projected Seattle moving up to this spot in my first mock but the sense is that Seattle is more likely to trade down than up.

TL;DR: Carolina gets stuck at six and takes the best quarterback in the class. 

7.) New York Giants

The Pick: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon

The Giants would be thrilled to walk out of tonight with their No.1 tackle and one of the best edge prospects in this class. Thibodeaux's stock has been a roller coaster throughout the pre-draft process but the odds of him being a Top 10 pick are now -2500 at DraftKings, so he isn't falling far after all. 

8.) Houston Texans via trade

Trade Details: Houston Sends: Nos. 13 and 37 in the 2022 Draft; Atlanta sends Nos.8 and 82 to Houston

The Pick: Ikem Ekwonu, Offensive Tackle, North Carolina State

Like Carolina, Atlanta should be looking to trade back and get more draft capital. Taking a receiver is obviously in play for the Falcons given their depth chart, but Atlanta can still address that position at 13 while picking up some mid-round ammo along the way.

From Houston's perspective, tackle remains a need and could even be in play at 3. If the board shakes out this way with two of the top three tackles still available, Houston would be wise to move up and grab one as neither will be there at 13. 

9.) Seattle Seahawks

The Pick: Charles Cross, Offensive Tackle, Mississippi State

This fits both need and best player available for the Seahawks. Kenny Pickett is not worth starting your rebuild around. 

10.) New York Jets

The Pick: Jameson Williams, Wide Receiver, Alabama

No Deebo Samuel trade this time. Jameson Williams would be a nice consolation at 10, though, and would give Zach Wilson a legit receiving corps to develop alongside. 

11.) Washington Commanders  

The Pick: Drake London, Wide Receiver, USC

So begins the run on receiver. Washington needs a legit threat opposite Terry McLaurin and London offers that. Plus, there isn't a guard or linebacker worth taking here. 

12.) Minnesota Vikings

The Pick: Kyle Hamilton, Safety, Notre Dame

Vegas' over/under on Hamilton is right in this range (11.5-12.5) and while it's hard to see him going much higher than 12, it's also hard to see him slide into the middle part of the first. 

13.) Atlanta Falcons

The Pick: Garrett Wilson, Wide Receiver, Ohio State

Like I said, Atlanta needs a receiver. Well, it needs a lot of things, but receiver is particularly dire. Adding a speedy player with run-after-the-catch ability like Wilson to complement Kyle Pitts would be a start.

14.) Baltimore Ravens  

The Pick: Jordan Davis, Defensive Tackle, Georgia

There seems to be more and more momentum building towards Davis being the pick for Baltimore if he's there at 14. Baltimore is old up front outside of end Justin Madubuike, and Michael Pierce is not a permanent answer at nose. Davis fixes a lot of problems for that defensive line.

15.) Philadelphia Eagles

The Pick: Jermaine Johnson, EDGE, Florida State

Philly is a hard team to shop for this year. Finishing second-worst in the league in sacks in 2021 leads me to believe they'll want to add some pass rush help and Johnson shouldn't fall past 15 even if he isn't the cleanest fit in this scheme.

16.) New Orleans Saints

The Pick: Chris Olave, Wide Receiver, Ohio State

This one feels inevitable. 

17.) Los Angeles Chargers

The Pick: Trevor Penning, Offensive Tackle, Northern Iowa

Getting a read on the second-tier tackles has gotten tricky with Bernhard Raimann seemingly slipping to the second round and Tulsa's Tyler Smith moving up. Penning is still the likeliest to go first of that next tier behind Neal/Ekwonu/Cross and the Chargers still need an upgrade opposite Rashawn Slater. A trade back is definitely in play if a speedy receiver isn't available at 17. 

18.) Philadelphia Eagles

The Pick: Quay Walker, Linebacker, Georgia

Walker has gotten some late helium and going inside the Top 20 is now a distinct possibility. He wasn't as productive in college as teammate Nakobe Dean, but Walker has more NFL tools at 6-foot-4 and 242 pounds with 4.52 speed and an elite 3-cone time. Getting a duo of Jermaine Johnson and Quay Walker would give some scary athleticism to Philly's front seven.

19.) New Orleans Saints

The Pick: Tyler Smith, Offensive Tackle, Tulsa

Double-tapping receiver would be a fun turn from New Orleans but I look for the Saints to add to the offensive line if they stick at 19. 

20.) Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pick: Kenny Pickett, Quarterback, Pittsburgh

I'll bite on the narrative hook, line and sinker. Mitchell Trubisky being there on a two-year deal won't stop Pittsburgh from looking to find its future Ben Roethlisberger replacement. 

21.) New England Patriots

The Pick: Nakobe Dean, Linebacker, Georgia

I'm sticking to what I projected in the first mock and linking Dean to the Patriots. He's not the prototypical Pats linebacker (read: he's small) but his football I.Q. is unmatched among his peers at his position. 

22.) Green Bay Packers  

The Pick: Treylon Burks, Wide Receiver, Arkansas

Consensus has soured a bit on Burks in recent weeks but I'll still be surprised if he falls out of the first. The Packers need to at least try to restock the receiving corps and adding Burks would be a solid value at 22. 

23.) Arizona Cardinals

The Pick: George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue

I don't know what the Cardinals are doing and neither do they. Still, Karlaftis makes too much sense if he's available here. Otherwise, they risk not filling the void left by Chandler Jones.

24.) Dallas Cowboys  

The Pick: George Pickens, Wide Receiver, Georgia

The sense this week has been that Pickens will fall to the second round. We can't apply conventional wisdom to the Cowboys' draft tendencies, though. Amari Cooper is gone and Michael Gallup is coming off a late-season ACL tear. Dallas going receiver in Round 1 would not shock me. 

25.) Buffalo Bills

The Pick: Kaiir Elam, Cornerback, Florida

Another late helium guy, Elam probably should have gotten more serious first-round consideration all along. I will not be surprised if he comes off the board tonight and Buffalo is a perfect landing spot. 

26.) Tennessee Titans

The Pick: Zion Johnson, Guard, Boston College

Tennessee's offense is built around Derrick Henry and the offensive line needs help at both guard spots. Johnson is a road grader that can be a plug-and-play option right away.

27.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Pick: Kenyon Green, Guard, Texas A&M

Ali Marpet ain't walking through that door. Tampa Bay needs to make sure Tom Brady stays upright. 

28.) Green Bay Packers

The Pick: Tyler Linderbaum, Center, Iowa

Josh Myers was a second-round pick a year ago so this might be dubious, but Linderbaum is the best player available in this scenario. 

29.) Kansas City Chiefs

The Pick: Devonte Wyatt, Defensive Line, Georgia

Devin Lloyd would be tempting here but the Jermaine Carter signing this offseason lessens the need at inside linebacker. Wyatt may be close to his developmental ceiling but that's alright when his tools are as good as they are. He can get on the field right away in this scenario.

30.) Kansas City Chiefs

The Pick: Jahan Dotson, Wide Receiver, Penn State

Kansas City leaving the first round without a receiver seems unlikely. Dotson is the best one left and would make plenty of sense here. 

31.)  Cincinnati Bengals  

The Pick: Daxton Hill, Defensive Back, Michigan

Cincinnati adds a versatile defensive back who can play multiple spots in the secondary. Guard is also an option, but if that market dries up by 31, a trade back would not be surprising. 

32.) Detroit Lions

The Pick: Devin Lloyd, Linebacker, Utah

Lloyd falling this far would be a huge boon for the Lions, who still need some help in the linebacking corps. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John McKechnie
John is the 2016 and 2021 FSWA College Writer of the Year winner. He is a Maryland native and graduate of the University of Georgia. He's been writing for RotoWire since 2014.
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