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ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26: A video board displays the text "THE PICK IS IN" for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium on April 26, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
  • In this latest NFL mock draft, a common point in Dolphins draft discourse this offseason has been “[Player X] won’t make it to the Dolphins at the 29th overall pick,” with the response of “only 28 players can go before 29.” Given the uncertainly of this year’s board, it’s a good discussion to have. Really, compared to recent years, it’s gonna be strange having to wait so long for the Dolphins to make their first pick after trading the 15th pick to Philly.

    With the NFL Combine now in the books though, the first-round picture is starting to become clearer. Which players truly don’t have a shot to fall out of the top 20, and who are the candidates to slide down the board on April 28? Let’s take a look with a 32-team, first-round NFL mock draft. This article was originally written by Alex Barth and appeared on 98.5 The Sports Hub .

    Note: Trades referenced were made for this mock specifically. Previously-completed trades are not detailed. No lie, while I was writing this I got word of the Aaron Rodgers contract and had to go back and make some changes. Things can move fast in the offseason, so let’s call this ‘the best we’ve got as of 1pm on March 8th’ 

  • 1. Jaguars: OT Evan Neal, Alabama

    MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA – JANUARY 11: Evan Neal #73 of the Alabama Crimson Tide blocked by Tyler Friday #54 of the Ohio State Buckeyes during the third quarter of the College Football Playoff National Championship game at Hard Rock Stadium on January 11, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

    There are a pair of very talented pass rushers also in the conversation for the first overall pick, but neither is generational. So instead, the Jaguars invest in protecting Trevor Lawrence’s blindside and make Neal the first Alabama player to be selected with the top pick in the NFL Draft since running back Harry Gilmer in 1948.

  • 2. Lions: EDGE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan

    ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN – OCTOBER 23: Aidan Hutchinson #97 of the Michigan Wolverines plays against the Northwestern Wildcats at Michigan Stadium on October 23, 2021 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

    Detroit goes with the higher-floor option of the two elite edge rushers in this class, keeping Hutchinson in the state of Michigan. This pick could have a trickle-down impact on the Patriots too. There’s been rumors that the Lions could be looking to move on from former Patriots edge defender Trey Flowers, and landing one of the edge rushers at the top of the board would only make such a move more realistic. Could it set up a reunion for Flowers in New England?

  • 3. Texans: CB Derek Stingley Jr., LSU

    ATLANTA, GEORGIA – DECEMBER 07: Derek Stingley Jr. #24 of the LSU Tigers intercepts a pass intended for George Pickens #1 of the Georgia Bulldogs in the third quarter during the SEC Championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 07, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

    There’s a number of ways the Texans could go with this pick, but it’s the two top decision makers in Houston that make Stingley the most logical choice. General manager Nick Caserio comes from a Patriots program that traditionally builds defenses from back-to-front, while new head coach Lovie Smith’s background is working with defensive backs. There’s a lot of talk about Stingley falling coming out of the Combine, but that’s likely just recency bias after he sat out the workouts. Don’t be fooled, he’s a top-five caliber player.

  • 4. Jets: S Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame

    INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – MARCH 06: Kyle Hamilton #DB51 of Notre Dame runs a drill during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 06, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

    The Jets heavily focused on the offensive side of the ball in last year’s draft, so this year they start on defense. Hamilton can play a wide range of safety roles, and his selection could end up being a make-good for the Jets’ whole Jamal Adams saga.

  • 5. Giants: OT Ikem Ekwonu, North Carolina State

    The New York Giants may have had the worst offensive line in the NFL last year. Luckily for them, a potential franchise left tackle falls to them in Ekwonu.

  • 6. Panthers: OT Charles Cross, Mississippi State

    INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – MARCH 04: Charles Cross #OL06 of Mississippi State runs a drill during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 04, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

    Some projections have the Panthers taking a quarterback here, but there’s too much talent on the board to reach for a QB in a historically bad year at the position. Instead, Carolina prepares its offensive line for the signal caller it’ll trade for or draft in 2023, and adds Cross to bolster things up front.

  • 7. Giants: EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon

    EUGENE, OREGON – NOVEMBER 13: Quarterback Jayden de Laura #4 of the Washington State Cougars passes the ball over Defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux #5 of the Oregon Ducks during the second half of the game at Autzen Stadium on November 13, 2021 in Eugene, Oregon. Oregon won 38-17. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

    Given the fact the Giants could likely be in the market for a quarterback next year, it would make sense for them to move back and add draft capital in 2023. However, Thibodeaux’s fall is too good to pass up. At one point, the Oregon edge rusher was the projected top pick in this draft. Getting him at seven is a steal.

  • 8. Vikings (from Falcons): CB Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner, Cincinnati

    CINCINNATI, OH – OCTOBER 03: Ahmad Gardner #12 of the Cincinnati Bearcats intercepts a pass in the first quarter of the game against the South Florida Bulls at Nippert Stadium on October 3, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

    Atlanta needs a receiver, but none have come off the board yet. That means the Falcons are comfortable moving down, and adding future draft assets that could help them land Matt Ryan’s eventual replacement.

    Falcons get:

    –12th overall pick

    –77th overall pick

    –2023 3rd-round pick

    Vikings get:

    –8th overall pick

    –113th overall pick

    The Vikings get aggressive here to move up and land some much-needed help in their secondary. With a strong showing at the combine, Gardner separated himself as the clear CB2 in this class and Minnesota makes sure he doesn’t fall out of the single digits.

  • 9. Broncos: EDGE George Karlaftis, Purdue

    WEST LAFAYETTE, INDIANA – NOVEMBER 27: George Karlaftis #5 of the Purdue Boilermakers reacts after a play during the second quarter in the game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Ross-Ade Stadium on November 27, 2021 in West Lafayette, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

    The Broncos are another team that realistically could go with a quarterback, but instead here they take advantage of a strong top-tier edge class. With Von Miller gone and Bradley Chubb struggling to stay on the field, Denver looks to add another cornerstone pass rusher by drafting Karlaftis.

  • 10. Jets (from Seahawks): WR Drake London, USC

    LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 9: Drake London (15) of the USC Trojans hurdles Utah Utes defenders as he scores a touchdown on a pass reception during the first half of a college football game on October 9, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

    Having already added on defense with the fourth overall pick, the Jets now turn their attention towards getting help for Zach Wilson. With Elijah Moore established in the slot, they look for a big body outside receiver and make London the first pass catcher off the board. Worst-case scenario, he replaces Corey Davis who has an out in his contract after next season. Best case scenario, that duo becomes a matchup nightmare on the perimeter with Moore working on the inside.

  • 11. Commanders: QB Malik Willis, Liberty

    MOBILE, ALABAMA – DECEMBER 18: Malik Willis #7 of the Liberty Flames throws the ball during the first half of the LendingTree Bowl against the Eastern Michigan Eagles at Hancock Whitney Stadium on December 18, 2021 in Mobile, Alabama. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

    Teams like the Lions, Giants, and Panthers likely will be back picking towards the top of the draft next year, where they can grab a quarterback in a stronger class. The Commanders however have a good enough roster in a wild enough division that that’s not a guarantee for them. Knowing that, they take advantage of this draft spot and make Willis the first quarterback selection of the 2022 Draft. There’s not a lot of consensus on what the QB board will look like come draft day, but Willis’ strong Combine performance and fit in Washington’s existing offensive system make him the pick here.

  • 12. Falcons (from Vikings): WR Chris Olave, Ohio State

    COLUMBUS, OHIO – NOVEMBER 20: Chris Olave #2 of the Ohio State Buckeyes catches a pass for a touchdown during the first half of a game against the Michigan State Spartans at Ohio Stadium on November 20, 2021 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

    See Pick 8 for trade details

    Patience pays off for Terry Fontenot and the Falcons. With Calvin Ridley out for the 2022 season, the Falcons need to get Matt Ryan a top target if they hope to capitalize on his closing window. Olave is actually a very similar receiver to Ridley in terms of skill set, so he’s a logical fit who should be able to hit the ground running in Atlanta.

  • 13. Browns: WR Treylon Burks, Arkansas

    TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA – NOVEMBER 20: Treylon Burks #16 of the Arkansas Razorbacks stiff arms Malachi Moore #13 of the Alabama Crimson Tide on the way to scoring a touchdown during the first half at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 20, 2021 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

    The run on wide receivers continues. Looking to replace Odell Beckham at the outside receiver position, the Browns snag maybe the most polarizing pass catcher in this class in Burks. His ability with the ball in his hands would make him a great fit in Cleveland’s offensive system.

  • 14. Ravens: C Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa

    INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MAR 03: Tyler Linderbaum #OL27 of the Iowa Hawkeyes speaks to reporters during the NFL Draft Combine at the Indiana Convention Center on March 3, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

    After losing Lamar Jackson to injuries for multiple games last year, Baltimore should make it a point this offseason to upgrade their protection. With starting center Bradley Bozeman set to hit free agency, Linderbaum is a logical replacement. Centers don’t usually go this high in the draft, but Linderbaum isn’t most centers.

  • 15. Eagles (from Dolphins): LB Devin Lloyd, Utah

    SALT LAKE CITY, UT – NOVEMBER 26: Devin Lloyd #0 of the Utah Utes celebrates sacking Brendon Lewis #12 of the Colorado Buffaloes during their game November 26, 2021 at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City , Utah. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

    With the first of their three first-round picks, the Eagles add some much-needed linebacker help. This one is pretty straight forward – the Eagles need linebackers and Lloyd is clearly the top linebacker in this class.

  • 16. Eagles (from Colts): DT Jordan Davis, Georgia

    INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – JANUARY 10: Jordan Davis #99 of the Georgia Bulldogs celebrates with the National Championship trophy after the Georgia Bulldogs defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide 33-18 in the 2022 CFP National Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 10, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

    Because the Eagles have such a bounty of draft capital both this year and next year, they can afford to get creative with some of their picks. That’s the case here, as they take a player with monumental upside in Davis. The star from the Combine would create a fearsome pairing with Fletcher Cox in the middle of the Philly defense, and could be the eventual replacement for the 31-year-old nose tackle whose name has come up in trade rumors in recent years.

  • 17. Chargers: WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio State

    ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN – NOVEMBER 27: Garrett Wilson #5 of the Ohio State Buckeyes catches a pass as Vincent Gray #4 of the Michigan Wolverines defends in the fourth quarter during the game at Michigan Stadium on November 27, 2021 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)

    The way things are trending, it appears as though the Chargers are going to lose star receiver Mike Williams to free agency. Not wanting to make things harder on their star young quarterback Justin Herbert, they grab a replacement in Wilson.

  • 18. Saints: LB Nakobe Dean, Georgia

    ATLANTA, GEORGIA – DECEMBER 04: Bryce Young #9 of the Alabama Crimson Tide looks to pass as Nakobe Dean #17 of the Georgia Bulldogs defends in the second quarter of the SEC Championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 04, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

    The Saints seem prime to go through at least a semi-rebuild over the next year or two, so right now it’s all about adding talent. New head coach Dennis Allen’s background is on the defensive side of the football, so he has the team add the best defensive player available at this point, Dean.

  • 19. Chiefs (from Eagles): EDGE David Ojabo, Michigan

    STATE COLLEGE, PA – NOVEMBER 13: David Ojabo #55 of the Michigan Wolverines celebrates after recording a sack against the Penn State Nittany Lions during the first half at Beaver Stadium on November 13, 2021 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

    The Eagles look to move down here and spread the value of their third first-round pick. They manage find a trading partner at the back end of the round in the Chiefs.

    Eagles get:

    –30th overall pick

    –132nd overall pick

    –2023 2nd-round pick

    –2023 4th-round pick

    Chiefs get:

    –19th overall pick

    –164th overall pick

    Brett Veach has shown he isn’t afraid to be aggressive in the first round. With Frank Clark a logical salary cap-related cut, Kansas City moves up to grab his replacement. At this point in the draft Ojabo, who had 11 sacks last year for Michigan, can likely be categorized as a steal.

  • 20. Raiders (from Steelers): WR Jameson Williams, Alabama

    INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – JANUARY 10: Jameson Williams #1 of the Alabama Crimson Tide carries the ball as he is pushed out of bounds by Derion Kendrick #11 of the Georgia Bulldogs during the first quarter in the 2022 CFP National Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 10, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

    Could the Patriots get jumped on the board by a couple of familiar faces? Dave Ziegler and Josh McDaniels pull ahead of Bill Belichick with this trade, and use it to snag a player the Patriots very well may have their eyes on.

    Steelers get:

    –22nd overall pick

    –125th overall pick

    –2023 6th-round pick

    Raiders get:

    –20th overall pick

    McDaniels and Ziegler know they need a speedy wide receiver to replace Henry Ruggs. At the same time, they know the Patriots are likely looking for such a player as well. Vegas moves up two spots (mirroring a deal pulled off by the Eagles in 2019), jumping the Patriots to take Williams.

  • 21. Patriots: CB Andrew Booth, Clemson

    COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA – NOVEMBER 27: Cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. #23 of the Clemson Tigers makes an interception on a pass intended for wide receiver Josh Vann #6 of the South Carolina Gamecocks in the second quarter during their game at Williams-Brice Stadium on November 27, 2021 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

    With J.C. Jackson seemingly on his way out of New England, cornerback unquestionably becomes the biggest need for the Patriots. They’re able to grab Booth after a slight slide to 21. Booth is the kind of long, athletic press corner that Bill Belichick generally targets, and seems ready for a significant role in his first year in the NFL.

  • 22. Steelers (from Raiders): QB Kenny Pickett, Pitt

    PITTSBURGH, PA – NOVEMBER 11: Kenny Pickett #8 of the Pittsburgh Panthers drops back to pass in the first quarter against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Heinz Field on November 11, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

    Hand size concerns will hurt Pickett’s draft stock, but it’s a good thing the Steelers have already seen him play in Pittsburgh. The 2021 ACC Player of the Year remains at Heinz Field as the potential heir apparent to Ben Roethlisberger.

  • 23. Cardinals: EDGE Travon Walker, Georgia

    INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – JANUARY 10: Travon Walker #44 of the Georgia Bulldogs pressures Bryce Young #9 of the Alabama Crimson Tide in the fourth quarter during the 2022 CFP National Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 10, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

    Last season, Arizona had one of the best edge-rushing duos in football in Chandler Jones and J.J. Watt. Now Jones in a pending free agent and Watt has just one year left on his deal and is coming off an injury that cost him most of the 2021 season. Looking to add some youth to the group, they take Walker off the record-breaking Georgia defense.

  • 24. Cowboys: IOL Kenyon Green, Texas A&M

    INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MAR 03: Kenyon Green #OL18 of the Texas A&M Aggies speaks to reporters during the NFL Draft Combine at the Indiana Convention Center on March 3, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

    The Cowboys offensive line isn’t what it once was. Regression has hit the group hard, especially on the interior. Jerry Jones sees a chance with Green to address a need and pick a player from an in-state school, and he can’t pass it up.

  • 25. Bills: CB Trent McDuffie, Washington

    SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – NOVEMBER 28: Trent McDuffie #22 of the Washington Huskies intercepts a pass during the final seconds of play to secure a 24-21 win against the Utah Utes at Husky Stadium on November 28, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

    Buffalo’s lack of depth in the secondary got exposed last year when Tre White was lost for the season due to a knee injury. Knowing there’s likely shootouts against teams with deep receiving groups (Chiefs, Bengals) in their future, the Bills use McDuffie’s slight slide as a chance to sure up their secondary.

  • 26. Titans: IOL Zion Johnson, Boston College

    INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – MARCH 04: Zion Johnson #OL22 of Boston College runs the 40 yard dash during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 04, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

    Last year’s playoff loss to the Bengals made it clear – if the Titans are going to make any real noise it’s going to be on the back of the running game, not throwing the ball. Looking to make things easier up the middle, the Titans grab Johnson, who played with Mike Vrabel’s son Tyler at BC.

  • 27. Buccaneers: DL Devonte Wyatt, Georgia

    ATLANTA, GEORGIA – DECEMBER 04: Bryce Young #9 of the Alabama Crimson Tide carries the ball as Devonte Wyatt #95 of the Georgia Bulldogs defends in the second quarter of the SEC Championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 04, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

    With Tom Brady’s retirement making an already bad salary cap situation worse, the Buccaneers simply need to add talent. Wyatt is clearly the best player on the board at this point, and will be a welcomed addition to a defensive line set to lose multiple contributors to free agency this spring.

  • 28. Packers: WR Jahan Dotson, Penn State

    COLLEGE PARK, MARYLAND – NOVEMBER 06: Jahan Dotson #5 of the Penn State Nittany Lions scores a touchdown in the third quarter against Jakorian Bennett #2 of the Maryland Terrapins at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium on November 06, 2021 in College Park, Maryland. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

    200 million dollars later, it looks like Aaron Rodgers is going to end up staying in Green Bay. Since this is the case he’ll likely ask the team to get him another weapon. Dotson’s shiftiness and formational versatility would play well in the Packers’ system, especially if he’s seeing mostly single coverage while teams key in on Davante Adams.

  • 29. Dolphins (from 49ers): OT Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa

    INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MAR 03: Trevor Penning #OL38 of the Northern Iowa Panthers speaks to reporters during the NFL Draft Combine at the Indiana Convention Center on March 3, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

    Whoever is under center for the Dolphins moving forward, whether it’s Tua Tagovailoa or another quarterback, Miami needs to protect the quarterback position better than they did in 2021. They take the best offensive lineman left on the board in Penning, whose athleticism will play well in Mike McDaniel’s ‘Shanahan’ offense.

  • 30. 49ers (from Chiefs via Eagles): Jermaine Johnson II, Florida State

    CLEMSON, SOUTH CAROLINA – OCTOBER 30: Defensive end Jermaine Johnson II #11 of the Florida State Seminoles scores a defensive touchdown while eluding offensive lineman Walker Parks #64 of the Clemson Tigers during the fourth quarter during their game at Clemson Memorial Stadium on October 30, 2021 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

    Looking to get back into the first round after moving their first round pick last year to acquire Trey Lance, the 49ers pull of a trade structured similarly to the one the Ravens used in 2018 to land Lamar Jackson. Having already made two first-round picks, Philly is fine spreading out its draft capital a little further, turning one top-60 pick into two.

    49ers get:

    –30th overall pick

    –121st overall pick

    Eagles get:

    –61st overall pick

    –131st overall pick

    –2023 2nd-round pick

    With this trade, the 49ers add Johnson to their already impressive edge rotation. They have a number of capable defenders playing opposite Nick Bosa, but none are the kind of established threat that will draw attention away from the two-time Pro Bowler. At the very least, Johnson adds depth to the rotation, but if he hits his ceiling he gives San Francisco what could be a devastating one-two punch on the edge.

  • 31. Bengals: OT Bernhard Raimann, Central Michigan

    INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – MARCH 04: Bernhard Raimann #OL40 of Central Michigan runs a drill during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 04, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

    Let’s not make this any more complicated than it needs to be. We all saw how the Bengals failed to protect Joe Burrow during the playoffs. Raimann is the best offensive lineman available, so he’s the pick.

  • 32. Lions (from Rams:) QB Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati

    ARLINGTON, TEXAS – DECEMBER 31: Desmond Ridder #9 of the Cincinnati Bearcats looks to pass against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the first quarter in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic for the College Football Playoff semifinal game at AT&T Stadium on December 31, 2021 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

    Rounding out the first round, the Lions grab a high-upside quarterback in Ridder. This is a low-risk, high-reward play for Detroit – if Ridder plays well, they get their quarterback of the future 32nd overall. If he’s not the guy, they have two more first-round picks next year thanks to the Matthew Stafford trade, and can take another shot at finding ‘the guy.’