We are back for our second mock draft of the season, as the NFL Draft order is currently set in stone, barring any trades that could be made. It will be the same formula, as Troy Sorkness will be responsible for the NFC selections, while Jacob Roderiques is in charge of the AFC selections.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: OT Evan Neal, Alabama
Not much changed here, as the Jacksonville Jaguars have a major need at tackle and a franchise quarterback to protect in Trevor Lawrence. Neal has been a staple on the Alabama line for years, as he only gave up one sack on over 550 pass block attempts this season. Head Coach Doug Pederson is a former NFL quarterback, so hopefully he understands the urgency to draft an offensive lineman early.
2. Detroit Lions: EDGE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan
Detroit desperately needs a pass-rusher in the early rounds of the Draft, as they stick with the highest-graded EGDE rusher in the class. Hutchinson immediately bolsters the Detroit Lions roster, who may be overlooked going into next season.
3. Houston Texans: OT Ikem Ekwonu, NC State
Here are where things begin to get interesting, as the Houston Texans address their offensive line void with the third selection. There is a possibility that Laremy Tunsil is traded over the offseason, considering he was being shopped throughout last season leading up to the Trade Deadline. Even if they keep Tunsil, the Texans will still need a right tackle, which is where Ekwonu could fill in. Since 2019, Ekwonu has had the highest PFF run-blocking grade among active OTs (95.4).
4. New York Jets: S Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame
The New York Jets pick remains the same, as Hamilton is arguably the best prospect in this class. Still, he plays at a position that isn’t viewed as valuable. Hamilton provides great leadership in the secondary, making him an asset to any franchise. The upside is too much to pass up here for the Jets, who have a pending free agent in Marcus Maye.
5. New York Giants: EDGE Kayvon Thibideau, Oregon
The New York Giants add Kayvon Thibodeau to their roster and immediately upgrade their pass rush. Thibideau dropping to this point is somewhat of a surprise, but could be a likely scenario based on the needs of the Houston Texans and New York Jets. Thibideau had four games with an 85+ grade, and even had a game in which he totaled 11 hurries across 22 dropbacks. He immediately provides a cornerstone to the defense of the Giants.
6. Carolina Panthers: OT Charles Cross, Mississippi State
The Carolina Panthers are looking to add some support on their offensive line, as they potentially find a solution in Charles Cross. He ranked in the top five in just about every major category and provides immediate protection for whoever trots out at the quarterback for Carolina this upcoming season.
7. New York Giants (from CHI): IOL Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa
The New York Giants got themselves some defensive support two picks prior, and now they turn to protecting Daniel Jones. Tyler Linderbaum adds presence up the middle that will keep Jones upright. He is the only interior lineman with a grade of 85 or higher (89.5). Linderbaum is the best player available for the Giants here in terms of protection for Jones.
8. Atlanta Falcons: WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio State
The Atlanta Falcons select Garrett Wilson, who recently completed a stellar career at Ohio State. Atlanta will be looking to add a receiver piece after the rumor of Calvin Ridley wanting a fresh start. Atlanta snags what is the class’ best route runner and potentially the top prospect at his position.
9. Denver Broncos: QB Malik Willis, Liberty
Malik Willis goes as the first quarterback off the board after a stellar showing at the Senior Bowl. He is more than likely to exceed expectations at the NFL Combine, which will only further his rise to the top. The Denver Broncos are a team that could also afford sitting Willis for a season, as they still have Drew Lock under his rookie contract next season. Giving Willis appropriate time to prepare for the next level will help him reach his respective ceiling.
10. New York Jets (from SEA): EDGE Jermaine Johnson, Florida State
Jermaine Johnson is our first big “surprise”, as he is drafted within the top 10. He had a great showing at the Senior Bowl and should improve upon his draft stock at the NFL Combine. Johnson brings a variety of attributes, but could also be looked at as slightly raw with his pass-rush moves. The New York Jets use both of their first-round picks to bolster their defense for the better.
11. Washington Commanders: WR Drake London, USC
The Washington Commanders select a wide receiver to line up opposite of Terry McLaurin in the form of Drake London. He lead the country in contested catches and was second in yards after the catch. This opens up Washington’s offense, taking pressure off of Antonio Gibson and McLaurin.
12. Minnesota Vikings: CB Derek Stingley Jr, LSU
Derek Stingley Jr. drops a bit here with some concern around his ankle, but the Minnesota Vikings would be pleased with this selection. Stingley had a stellar career at LSU, as he comes in to bolster a Vikings defense that ranked 31st last season.
13. Cleveland Browns: WR Jameson Williams, Alabama
The Cleveland Browns need a strong receiving threat, in which Jameson Williams comes into play. Williams tore his ACL this past season, but should be fully recovered ahead of the upcoming season. The Browns receiving core is dormant and Williams brings top-notch speed and after-the-catch ability to Cleveland.
14. Baltimore Ravens: EDGE David Ojabo, Michigan
The Baltimore Ravens fill one of their needs with the best player available in David Ojabo. He has plenty of upside and won’t be pressured to start immediately. If he is developed correctly, himself and Odafe Oweh create a top pass-rush tandem for years to come.
15. Philadelphia Eagles (From MIA): CB Ahmad Gardner, Cincinnati
The Philadelphia Eagles take Ahmad Gardner to fill an immediate void at the cornerback position. Gardner didn’t surrender a touchdown during his career at Cincinnati, leaving Philadelphia with high hopes for the prospect as he plays alongside Darius Slay Jr.
16. Philadelphia Eagles (from IND): LB Nkobe Dean, Georgia
With their second selection in the first round, the Philadelphia Eagles continue to build upon their defense with Nakobe Dean. The defense for Philadelphia was mediocre at times last season, so the addition of Dean results in a sure tackler. He is the only player since 2014 to have a plus grade both off the edge and in coverage.
17. Los Angeles Chargers: IDL Jordan Davis, Georgia
The Los Angeles Chargers attempt to fill what has been a massive hole in their interior defensive line for years now. Jordan Davis is a consistent nose tackle who can stop the run and pressure the quarterback at a consistent rate. Davis automatically jumps Jerry Tillery in the depth chart and could make an immediate impact.
18. New Orleans Saints: QB Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh
After a lackluster showing in the Senior Bowl, Pickett has fallen down the board a bit. Pickett rewrote the record book at Pittsburgh and is looking to take over for the New Orleans Saints, who struggled without Drew Brees. Adding the highest-graded quarterback across the board should make New Orleans fans optimistic about the future.
19. Philadelphia Eagles: WR Treylon Burks, Arkansas
The Philadelphia Eagles focus on offense with this selection in Treylon Burks. This is an immediate impact pick to go opposite of DeVonta Smith. Burks was graded as the top slot receiver by PFF in 2021. As a result, the Eagles receive three home run picks in the first round.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers: OL Kenyon Green, Texas A&M
The Pittsburgh Steelers are a team to watch this offseason, as they could go for a veteran quarterback through a trade or free agency. In this current scenario, they pass up on the top available quarterbacks through the Draft and instead select Kenyon Green. He played all over the offensive line at Texas A&M, which is a good sign for the Steelers.
21. New England Patriots: CB Andrew Booth Jr, Clemson
The New England Patriots get what could be looked at as a steal here in Andrew Booth Jr. With JC Jackson entering free agency, the Patriots should look to add to their depth chart, even if Jackson re-signs with the team. Booth brings elite athleticism and could have an immediate impact.
22. Las Vegas Raiders: DE George Karlafits, Purdue
George Karlafits falls down the board, given the recent draft stock rise of Jermaine Johnson. The Clelin Ferrell experiment has failed in Las Vegas, leaving an opportunity for Karlafits to play alongside Maxx Crosby.
23. Arizona Cardinals: CB Trent McDuffie, Washington
The Arizona Cardinals address their defensive needs in the late stages of the first round. Trent McDuffie was graded as the best tackler in the class among defensive backs and adds an immediate plug-and-play option in the secondary.
24. Dallas Cowboys: S Jaquan Brisker, Penn State
Jaquan Brisker was an elite playmaker in his college career with Penn State, not allowing any touchdowns across 713 coverage snaps. For a team that needs support in their secondary, Brisker appears to be a fit.
25. Buffalo Bills: IDL Perrion Winfrey, Oklahoma
A jump here for Perrion Winfrey, as the Buffalo Bills try and find a prospect to defend against the run. Winfrey was among the winners of the Senior Bowl, showing his versatile player. It would not be a surprise if he was taken in the late stages of the first round.
26. Tennessee Titans: LB Devin Lloyd, Utah
The Tennessee Titans get a steal at linebacker to add to their top-notch defense in Devin Lloyd. He makes an impact both as a pass-rusher and in coverage. With Harold Landry entering free agency, Lloyd can help fill that void.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DE Travon Walker, Georgia
Travon Walker played a massive role for the National Champion Georgia Bulldogs defense and will look to do that in Tampa Bay. The team needs defensive line assistance with Jason Pierre-Paul entering free agency. Walker steps into that rotation and makes a name for himself.
28. Green Bay Packers: WR Chris Olave, Ohio State
Chris Olave is a big-play threat who is regarded as one of the the best route runners in this class. With uncertainty surrounding the Packers, specifically the future of Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams, the Packers add a much-needed piece to their offense.
29. Miami Dolphins (from SF): OT Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa
The Miami Dolphins get what could be thought of as a raw prospect, but there is tons of potential in Trevor Penning. He has great strength and long arms to get to the point of attack. After his showing at the Senior Bowl, his draft stack will likely continue to rise following the NFL Combine.
30. Kansas City Chiefs: S Daxton Hill, Michigan
The Kansas City Chiefs are limited in their free agency options, but Tyrann Mathieu is unlikely to return to his safety/nickel corner role next season. Daxton Hill fills the role perfectly, making him a great fit in Kansas City.
31. Cincinnati Bengals: OG Zion Johnson, Boston College
As the Cincinnati Bengals fell in the Super Bowl this past weekend, it was clear that there were major improvements needed on the offensive line. Zion Johnson leaped up draft boards with his great showing at the Senior Bowl. This past season at Boston College, ,he only allowed six pressures and posted an 84.4 pass block grade; second in the ACC.
32. Detroit Lions (from LAR): QB Matt Corral, Ole Miss
The Detroit Lions round out the first round by selecting Matt Corral. There is uncertainty surrounding his knee injury, but Detroit is the beneficiary of the bargain selection. From 182 clean pocket throws, Corral didn’t surrender any interceptions. The Lions add in the heir apparent to Jared Goff in what should be a perfect fit.