Mock Draft was done before the National title game between Georgia & Alabama. An updated mock without Jameson is at the very bottom of the page.
DRAFT ORDER IS BASED ON END OF REGULAR SEASON STANDINGS
1. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
Passing up on Hutch or Thibs may seem like a dumb idea, but the Jaguars need to be able to block for Trevor Lawrence and with Cam Robinson coming off a franchise tag and being a free agent at the end of the season, OT is a MAJOR need.
Because of his unique blend of size, strength and flex, Neal has played RG, RT and LT while at Alabama, so his position flexibility is one of his strongest attributes for the Jaguars. If Cam Robinson returns, Neal will play RT, if not, he will be the new anchor for the offensive line at LT. Ikem might be better all around because of his run blocking, but Neal is the better pass blocker which is what JAX is going to need.
2. DETROIT LIONS
While not a massive need compared to other positions, the Lions can’t pass up on the Detroit native and former Michigan Wolverine. Hutchinson has the toughness, grit and competitive edge that HC, Dan Campbell gushes over. Not a great Orange Bowl performance stat wise, but he actually didn’t do bad considering UGA’s RT, Salyer had to get help the entire game from RB’s and TE’s chipping him.
3. HOUSTON TEXANS
Houston needs to look at taking a QB at some point in the draft, just not this high, so a trade back is very possible. Davis Mills hasn’t been awful, so they could try him for another season with better weapons around him, very unlikely, but possible.
Thibodeaux is great against the run and rushing the QB, and still getting better! He will automatically give them a big piece that they have been missing with Watt’s departure because the defensive line is embarrassing. Offensive line is a big need, so it would not be a shock if they draft Neal or Ekwonu, whichever one is available.
4. NEW YORK JETS
Saleh needs to build the defense to his liking, and that starts with the safety position. LaMarcus Joyner and Marcus Maye are both set to hit FA. Maye is coming off a franchise tag who has had an injury shortened season. Both are likely gone. Most “draft experts” believe Kyle Hamilton is the best player in the draft, his size, explosiveness very high football IQ will create massive problems for offenses he’s facing.
5. NEW YORK GIANTS
Giants have a MASSIVE issue on the offensive line. Andrew Thomas has finally taken that leap forward at LT, but the rest of the line is not good. “Icky” would be an immediate starter at RT to solve one of the issues. He’s been called a smaller Mekhi Becton because of his mauler style of play. He has the flexibility to play guard or tackle, and he’s one of the highest rated run blockers in all of college football over the last 10 years.
6. CAROLINA PANTHERS
The Panthers are a team that could be in the DeShaun Watson trade mix, so this might not be their pick. If they keep it, then the best option is to go for an OT, since their line is ranked DEAD LAST. I mocked the Panthers to take Rashawn Slater last year because the line was an issue then as well, they opted to take Jaycee Horn instead. No QB will succeed with their offensive line. Cross is young, still learning and needs to cut down on penalties, but would be a great addition blocking for Ryan and the next future QB of the Falcons.
7. NEW YORK GIANTS via BEARS
The Giants offensive line is bad… remember me saying that? They need interior line help badly, while guard might be the biggest area of need, center is also a pretty big need. Currently running Billy Price and Matt Skura who are both set to be FA’s at the end of the season. Linderbaum is one of the best center prospects ever and this will mark the first time a center has ever been drafted in the top 10. (If you don’t count Bruce Matthews who was drafted as an “inside blocker” at 9 in 1983.)
8. ATLANA FALCONS
Falcons need a Matt Ryan successor soon, but like Washington, they might stick with their QB one more season and see what they can get in the 2023 draft.
Falcons need a lot of help in several places on the defense, having the top CB in the draft slide to them would be gold. Stingley had a shortened season due to an injury, but is still by far the best corner in the draft. He would make an immediate impact opposite AJ Terrell.
9. DENVER BRONCOS
Broncos have QB issues that they may want to address ASAP. They are a team that is in the Deshaun Watson, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Matt Ryan trade mix. Teddy wasn’t bad for Denver but he’s set to be a free agent and Lock is clearly not the answer they hoped he could be. Kenny “Two Gloves” has been rising up boards. His knocks are that he’s a (Super senior), he’ll be 24 at draft time and he has 8-1/4” hands.
According to Dane Brugler of The Athletic, Pickett has very good accuracy and has a good handle on the ball which are two things hand size limits, which is why he wears the gloves.
10. NEW YORK JETS via SEAHAWKS
Continuing to build the defense up, Saleh takes the second best CB in the draft to pair with 2021 standout, Bryce Hall. Booth has long arms, has controlled hip movement and has a great ability in tracking the ball with terrific speed. Although this season hasn’t been his best, he is still a tremendous cover corner.
11. WASHINGTON COMMANDERS
New team name on 2/2/22! The Commanders love Heinicke, so it wouldn’t be a shock if they decided to stick with him for one more season since the QB class is not particularly amazing, especially compared to the talent in the 2023 draft with Bryce Young & CJ Stroud leading the way.
Washington needs to get Heinicke and McLaurin some help to keep defenses a little more honest. Garrett Wilson is by far the best WR in this class, has next level body control, is a terrific separator and shows it week in and week out.
12. MINNESOTA VIKINGS
With Patrick Peterson and Mackenzie Alexander both being FA’s at the end of the season, CB is the biggest need for the Vikings. But passing up on a freak edge rusher like Ojabo may be too hard to pass up. Ojabo is still learning but has sky high potential. Would make a terrific addition on the other side of Danielle Hunter.
13. CLEVELAND BROWNS
Ojabo is a possibility here if Clowney doesn’t return, but it seems as if Myles Garrett and the Browns want to bring back Clowney which would mean Ojabo would not be a fit. Browns like to invest in their defense with their draft picks, and they continue that trend with a guy that Ryan Roberts of RiseNDraft says is a less physical but more flexible Nick Bolton, while Dane Brugler of The Athletic says he is more of a Jonathan Vilma 2.0, creating a scary linebacker duo with JOK.
14. BALTIMORE RAVENS
Patrick Mekari has proven to be a solid RT since Stanley was injured and Villanueva had to move over to LT… but Villanueva and Mekari are both going to be a free agents at the end of the season, and if at least Mekari is not brought back, RT is a glaring need. Penning is a small school tackle that will get looked down on, but is gritty and tough and could shine at the senior bowl and the combine to raise his draft stock. He would be a great addition to play RT for an offensive line that desperately needs good talent blocking for Lamar.
15. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES via DOLPHINS
With Derek Barnett is set for free agency, the Eagles will need to address that spot. Walker is a tremendous player and is rising up the boards. His lack of stats is what is hurting his stock at the moment, but Dane Brugler’s analysis of him says that because they have him playing all over the field 4i, NT & LB, it’s hard for him to collect stats. Dane has him ranked as his DE3.
16. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES via COLTS
3 years in a row? Yes, Eagles go with another WR in the first round, why? Jalen Reagor is the answer. According to Dane Brugler of The Athletic, Williams is the best at stretching the field in the last several years of the draft. He would be a perfect addition to help the offense with DeVonta giving defenses a difficult decision on how to face the Eagles.
17. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
The Chargers defensive line needs to get Bosa some help. Jerry Tillery needs to be replaced as well as the aging Linval Joseph.
Leal is a freak of an athlete that would fit perfectly in the Chargers 3-4 base scheme, with closing speed that doesn’t fit his 290lb frame, he gives off a lot of Jonathan Allen vibes. What will keep him out of the top 10 to 15 will be his inconsistent play.
18. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
With the experiment of Jameis seemingly over and the dumb contract extension given to Taysom, the Saints still need a legitimate heir to throne after the retirement of Drew Brees in 2020.
Corral has a big time arm with smooth tools but can be stubborn at times with his decision making. He was injured during the Sugar Bowl against Baylor, but x-rays came back negative so he is good to go.
19. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
ThE eAgLeS dOnT dRaFt Lb’S iN tHe FiRsT rOuNd. Josie Roseman will remember how big the Micah Parsons selection was for the Cowboys defense and will look to reflects that. Devin Lloyd would be an automatic starter for their defense replacing soon to be free agent Ryan Kerrigan or just replacing Shaun Bradley, I understand they are both OLB’s and Lloyd is ILB, but he actually played inside and weakside for the Utes.
Dane Brugler of The Athletic has Lloyd as his LB1 and mocked at #5 overall in his mock 1.0 on 11/30/21. Ryan Roberts of RiseNDraft compares him to Titans legend, Keith Bulluck.
20. PITTSBURGH STEELERS
The Steelers NEED to find a replacement for Ben since he is retiring. Howell lost several weapons for his final year in college and it showed. Despite that, he still did pretty well passing over 3k yards all 3 seasons. He has great composure under pressure, a great arm and good accuracy. He is also dangerous on the ground, running for over 800 yards with 11 rushing TD’s last season.
21. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Patriots need to give Mac better WR’s. The Pats don’t have a very good track record of drafting WR’s in the first round (N’Keal Harry), but Mac needs to have a legit #1. London could go higher, but may also stay low because of a fractured ankle injury that ended his college season. He should be ready to go for the combine.
According to Ryan Roberts of RiseNDraft, London has a lot of Brandon Marshall to his game.
22. MIAMI DOLPHINS via 49ERS
Miami has a big issue with the offensive line, and while an OT would be a much better selection, Green can fill a big void on the inside at LG which would move Austin Jackson back outside to RT or just to the bench where he probably belongs. This is a bit lower than I’d like to put him, but it’s hard to place him at the moment.
23. LAS VEGAS RAIDERS
OT is a bigger need after last seasons blunder with drafting Alex Leatherwood to play RT, who is now playing inside at RG. With the top OT’s off the board, anyone else at this point would be like drafting Alex Leatherwood in the 1st again, that means Kinnard. Giving Carr a little more talent to throw to would be another option.
Treylon is a lot like DK Metcalf, but not as fast. He has massive hands that requires 5x gloves, and he will cause major mismatches because of his size and athleticism giving the Raiders a much needed extra threat.
24. ARIZONA CARDINALS
Arizona needs a CB badly. Murphy has done a good job, but he’s better off in the slot. They need to fill the outside in a big way. “Sauce” Gardner is a press-man corner with tremendous close ability, he has given up 0 TD’s in over 1,000 career snaps (entire college career) and QB’s have a 30% comp percentage when throwing his way.
25. CINCINNATI BENGALS
Fixing the offensive line is THE priority this off-season, Kinnard is a mountain of a man that played RT at Kentucky and was very dominant doing so, but most draft experts believe he may fit better inside. With all the needs on the line, he could play RT or inside for the Bengals.
Kinnard’s biggest strength is his run blocking ability which will be massive for Mixon, he does have a big weakness in pass pro vs speedy guys which is why a move inside would be more beneficial to him playing against DT’s and having a better chance at improving his pass pro technique.
26. DETROIT LIONS via RAMS
Lions have a lot of needs in a lot of places, so having this second pick in the 1st is a dream come true to be able to add another skill position. WR depth is among one of those many things and thankfully this draft has a good amount of WR’s that can make it this far. Olave has smooth route running skills, fantastic catch point, good hands and good speed will pair well with Amon-Ra
27. BUFFALO BILLS
The Bills have a couple spots on defense that need to be filled, one of those is replacing the 311lb Star Lotulelei on the defensive interior.
Davis will be instrumental in shutting down RB’s trying to come up the middle, he will also help his ends by taking up a few blockers by himself. Playing time (40% of Georgias defensive snaps) will limit the teams and how high Davis gets drafted.
28. DALLAS COWBOYS
LB could be a target here with Keanu Neal & LVE set to hit free agency this off season, but with Dean and Lloyd off the board, that’s ruled out because no other LB is currently worthy. Safety could also be a target here with Kearse & Kazee also set to be free agents, although the 2nd best safety, Daxton Hill, is being looked at as a nickel/slot CB. With so many CB’s already rostered, that’s out. The next thing is defensive end with Randy Gregory & Dorance Armstrong set for free agency in the off season.
And that’s where Cameron Thomas comes in. Cameron is starting to rise up the charts, this is one of Dane Brugler’s 1st round sleepers, and when Dane has a 1st round sleeper, you pay attention to that. Thomas is #1 in pressures in all of college football with 72, and is tied for 2nd for sacks and TFL’s in the MWC. According to Dane Brugler of The Athletic, he’s been almost unblockable, has great lateral quickness and has a non stop hustle that Cowboys coaches will love. Plays on the DL the way JJ Watt, Chris Jones and Aaron Donald play. (This is a comparison to the style of pass rusher, not comparison to the player.)
29. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Chiefs have a number of spots that need to be addressed. A better WR2 and a CB1 are the highest priorities. Ward has done a great job, but the secondary needs help on the opposite side of him. Trent McDuffie is a fantastic athlete, consistent with no glaring weaknesses.
30. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
The Buccaneers will likely be doing a roster overhaul in the off-season, so no position is truly wrong here if that does happen. But CB is an issue that needs to be addressed. McCreary is a tough, physical and fast man coverage CB.
According to Dane Brugler of The Athletic, he has top 20 tape, but according to Jim Nagy nobody that he’s talked to views him in the first (yet), because of his lack of length with 29 5/8” arm length and 71 3/4” arm span. Jordan Reid of ESPN’s comp of McCreary is Chicago Bears, Jaylon Johnson.
31. TENNESSEE TITANS
Titans did a great job drafting Caleb Farley last season, but now they need to get him help on the other side to replace the aging Janoris Jenkins. Initially I thought adding another WR was the answers, but I think they found something with Ikhine. OL could be a target as well
Elam is excellent in both man and zone coverages, has fantastic recovery ability, great ball tracking, and is a willing tackler (RiseNDraft). Size will create mismatches.
32. GREEN BAY PACKERS
The Packer way is to not help the offense with more weapons, so instead they grab the sliding Karlaftis to give them a replacement for Lowey or Keke. Karlaftis is very powerful, technically refined and has tremendous handwork which enables him to get by the blocker.
According to Dane Brugler of The Athletic, Karlaftis isn’t loved by the NFL as much as he is by Twitter. Most draft analysts have him as DE3, but Dane’s NFL sources say they grade him as a late 1st to early 2nd round guy.
UPDATED MOCK AFTER JAMESON WILLIAMS ACL TEAR. 1/11/22