NFL Mock Draft 2.0: Trades and Pro Days in the books
MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 31: Aidan Hutchinson #97 of the Michigan Wolverines walks off the field after losing to the Georgia Bulldogs in the Capital One Orange Bowl for the College Football Playoff semifinal game at Hard Rock Stadium on December 31, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
A lot has happened since our first NFL Mock Draft, which was the Monday after the Combine. Since then, three top quarterbacks have been traded, while another returned from retirement. On top of that, there was another trade with two teams readjusting position in the first round.
Of course, this all comes as Pro Days and Top-30 visits are going on. The board looks a lot different now than it did a month ago.
With all of that, it’s time to update our league-wide mock. Even though the Dolphins have just four picks in the NFL Draft, which begins April 28 in Las Vegas, and their first pick isn’t until Day 2, when their third-rounder (No. 102) comes up, let’s take a look at who other teams may be taking in the first round.
Note: Trades with outlined conditions were made for this mock specifically. Previously-completed trades are not detailed. This article previously appeared at 98.5 The Sports Hub.
1. Jaguars: 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)
Is Hutchinson the best player in this draft? All of the experts seem to believe the Jaguars think he is. At the end of the day, this mock draft is about projecting what will happen, and things seem to be leaning towards Hutchinson being the first name called on April 28.
Previous pick: OT Evan Neal, Alabama
2. Lions: 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)
Walker’s stock has shot up since the Combine. The Lions tend to favor athletically-gifted players, and you just know Dan Campbell wants to build his team from the line of scrimmage back.
Previous pick: EDGE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan
3. Texans: 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)
Houston gets arguably the best overall player in the class to fall to them with the third overall pick. Neal should be a franchise cornerstone tackle for at least a decade, protecting Davis Mills or whoever the Texans brings in to play the position in the future.
Previous pick: CB Derek Stingley, LSU
4. Jets: CB Derek Stingley, 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)
Stingley’s stock had started to dip following the Combine, which he missed due to injury. However, he was healthy for his Pro Day and put on a show for the scouts in attendance. He has the upside of a true lockdown man corner, and shouldn’t get out of the top 5.
Previous pick: S Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame
5. Giants: OT Ikem Ekwonu, North Carolina State
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – MARCH 04: Ickey Ekwonu #OL12 of North Carolina State 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)
This pick remains unchanged from our first mock. Ekwonu is a potential first-overall pick, and the Giants get him fifth overall. Whether it’s Daniel Jones or another quarterback under center in the future, he needs to be protected.
Previous pick: Unchanged
6. Commanders (from Panthers): 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)
The Panthers are the top team on the board that truly needs a quarterback. They can afford to move back a few spots and still have that be true. In doing so, they add two top-100 picks.
The Commanders have one of the best defensive fronts in the NFL, and now they add a potential elite player in the secondary to compliment that group. Some experts have Gardner ranked ahead of Stingley on their boards, so even while trading up this may be seen as a value pick.
Previous pick: OT Charles Cross, Mississippi State (Panthers)
7. Saints (from Eagles via Giants): 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)
The Giants already made a top-five pick, and realistically could be in the hunt for a quarterback next year. It makes all the sense in the world for them to spread out their draft assets here, with more to come later
Why did the Saints sacrifice a future first to add a second first-round pick in 2022? Many believe it’s to facilitate a move into the top 10. That’s the case here, as they shoot up from the mid-teens to seventh overall. With the pick, they add a replacement for Terron Armstead in Cross. This could also be a move for a quarterback, but it seems like New Orleans wants to give it a full shot with Jameis Winston. Plus, this QB class isn’t great, and they’ll eventually need a tackle anyway.
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)
By trading Matt Ryan, the Falcons have signaled they’re ready to enter a rebuild. The team has a number of needs, so at this point, it’s best player available. That’s Thibodeaux, who had seven sacks in 10 games last year for Oregon. Thibodeaux was the consensus top overall pick in the draft for much of the college football season, so this is another potential value pick.
Previous pick: CB Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner, Cincinnati (Vikings)
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)
In some ways, this may be a reach. But in others, this pick almost makes too much sense. Williams would have been the top receiver in this class and a lock for a top 10 pick had he not torn his ACL in the National Championship last year. By all accounts, he’s been flying through his rehab and may be able to play at some point in 2022.
At the same time, the Seahawks are in a post-Russell Wilson rebuild, and don’t necessarily need production from Williams in Year 1. They can let him take his time to recover. When they add a quarterback in 2023, he’ll come into a great situation with a fully-healthy Williams on one side and D.K. Metcalf on the other.
Previous pick: EDGE George Karlaftis, Purdue (Broncos)
10. Jets (from Seahawks): 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 Jets already added on defense by drafting Stingley, and now turn their attention to the offensive side of the ball. Wilson is the kind of well-rounded receiver who will make life easy on a young quarterback. He brings a slightly different dynamic than the Jets’ current top two receivers Corey Davis and Elijah Moore.
Previous pick: WR Drake London, USC
11. Panthers (from 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)
See Pick 6 for trade details
The Panthers’ move down pays off, as they’re still able to get their guy in Willis. Unlike other quarterback-needy teams like the Saints and Seahawks, Carolina’s decision makers may not have the luxury of being able to wait for a stronger class in 2023. They make Willis the top arm off the board just outside of the top 10.
Previous pick: QB Malik Willis, Liberty (Commanders)
12. Vikings: 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)
This is somewhat of a fall for Hamilton, who some consider to be a top five pick. The beneficiary of his slide is Minnesota. The Vikings get a versitile play-maker, who will be able to eventually step in for 33-year-old All-Pro safety Harrison Smith.
Previous pick: WR Chris Olave, Ohio State (Falcons)
13. Texans (from Browns): DL 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)
With the first of their many picks received in return for Deshaun Watson, the Texans get a potential generational playmaker on the defensive side of the ball. Davis proved at the Combine he’s more than just an early-down nose tackle, and should be a player Nick Caserio can build around for years to come.
14. Ravens: EDGE 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)
Baltimore could use help on the offensive line, but it’s a deep class at both tackle and guard. Instead, they focus on the defensive side of the ball. The Ravens had trouble filling the void left by the departure of Matthew Judon last year. Johnson should be able to play a starting role on the edge right away, and has impact player upside.
Previous pick: C Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa
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)
Sometimes, the most obvious answer is the right answer. The Eagles were desperately thin at linebacker last year, and the best linebacker in the draft falls to them at 15. No need to overthink things.
Previous pick: LB Devin Lloyd, Utah
16. Giants (from Colts via Eagles): 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)
See Pick 7 for trade details
With the first of their two picks received from the Saints, the Giants continue add in the trenches. This time, it’s on the defensive side of the ball. Karlaftis is a potential top-15 talent, but his stock may be dropping due to impressive Combine numbers from a number of other players at the position. However, he doesn’t slide all the way out of the top half of the first round.
Previous pick: DT Jordan Davis (Eagles)
17. Bills (from Chargers): 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)
The Bills have been aggressive all offseason, so why stop now? They move up to address a major need.
In order to contend in the AFC, teams are going to need to be able to cover. Buffalo’s cornerback group is the team’s biggest question mark right now, with Tre’Davious White coming off a torn ACL, and Levi Wallace leaving in free agency. To try to bridge the gap, they add a versatile corner by taking McDuffie.
Previous pick: WR Garrett Wilson (Chargers)
18. Eagles (from Saints): 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)
The Eagles seem to value receivers based on physical traits – they either like guys who are really big or really fast. Last year, they added a fast receiver in DeVonta Smith. This year, they go with size in London, who is 6-foot-5, 220 pounds. Some suggest London could be a fringe top 10 pick, but he’s had to delay his Pro Day twice due to injuries. That could hurt him in a deep receiver class.
Previous pick: LB Nakobe Dean, Georgia (Saints)
19. Bears (from Eagles via Saints & Giants): 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 7 for previous trade details
A lot has been made about the Bears’ roster shortcomings despite not having a first-round pick this year. Under new leadership, Chicago is going to kick the can down the road on not having that first-round selection, and borrow from the future to jump into the top 20 this year.
This is also the real reason the Giants traded down from seven – to add a future premium asset to help next season if they need to move up to get a quarterback. By trading with the Saints first, they still get to make multiple first-round picks in 2022 and get an extra first in 2023.
The NFL is a copycat league, and one of the latest trends is pairing quarterbacks with their college receivers. By moving back into the first round, the Bears are able to reunite Justin Fields with Olave, while adding a much-needed playmaker on offense.
Previous pick: EDGE David Ojabo, Michigan (Chiefs)
20. Cowboys (from Steelers): 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)
Did you notice the theme developing here? The Steelers need a quarterback, but feel confident they can move back and get their guy. So, they use this as a chance to add more draft assets.
Dallas’ offensive line is on the verge of being a mess. The team released La’el Collins earlier this offseason, and Tyron Smith is 31 and has been limited by injuries over the last two seasons. Knowing that, they jump two potential tackle-needy teams in the Patriots and Packers to take Penning. Penning is still somewhat of a developmental player, but the Cowboys may not need him to start to begin the season.
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)
At the beginning of the pre-draft process, Dean didn’t seem like a fit for the Patriots. But as the Patriots’ scheme starts to shift, he’s looking more and more realistic as a do-it-all off the ball linebacker. He has the high football IQ needed to play the role in New England. On top of all that, he’s met with the Patriots on multiple occasions leading up to the draft.
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 Packers need a big, physical receiver to replace the big, physical receiver they traded to the Raiders in Davante Adams. At 6-foot-2, 225 pounds Burks can win physically down the field against most cornerbacks and is also a threat with the ball in his hands.
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)
Beyond Byron Murphy, the Cardinals lack both top-tier talent and depth at cornerback. Booth would not only provide another starter and depth, but help them deal with some of the bigger receivers in the NFC West (Metcalf, Allen Robinson).
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)
See Pick 20 for trade details
The Steelers have had as a close a look at Pickett as any NFL team. If the concerns about his hand size are really overblown, they’d know better than anybody. They make the pick and keep the 2021 ACC Player of the Year at Heinz Field.
Previous pick: G Kenyon Green, Texas A&M (Cowboys)
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)
See Pick 17 for trade details
The Chargers struggled mightily against the run last year, allowing 4.6 yards per carry. That ranked 28th in the NFL. They were also middle of the pack as a pass rushing unit. In Wyatt, they get a versatile defensive lineman that should be able to help in both situations.
Previous pick: CB Trent McDuffie, Washington (Bills)
26. Titans: G 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)
If the Titans are going to contend, they’re going to do it running the football. That’s not going to be easy with uncertainty at guard. To sure things up, they add Green who should be a Day 1 starter in the NFL.
Previous pick: G Zion Johnson, Boston College
27. Buccaneers: G 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)
Tampa lost both starting guards this offseason, with Ali Marpet retiring and Alex Cappa leaving in free agency. They already added one starter by trading for Shaq Mason, but the left guard spot is still up for grabs. Johnson should be able to fill the role right away.
Previous pick: DL Devonte Wyatt, Georgia
28. Packers: DB Daxton Hill, Michigan
ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN – NOVEMBER 27: Daxton Hill #30 of the Michigan Wolverines tackles Jaxon Smith-Njigba #11 of the Ohio State Buckeyes during the first quarter at Michigan Stadium on November 27, 2021 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)
The Packers use their second first-round pick to improve their secondary. Hill will add depth throughout the defensive backfield to start, and could fill a number of different roles as the season progresses.
Previous pick: WR Jahan Dotson, Penn State
29. Chiefs (from 49ers via. Dolphins): 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)
There’s a case to be made that the Chiefs will use these back-to-back picks at the end of the first round to move up. That’s a possibility – a situation we sort of addressed in our first mock draft. However, they have two glaring needs and the board has fallen favorably for both. They use the first of the two picks to add an explosive inside and outside receiver in Dotson, who combined with Marquez Valdes-Scantling should help fill the hole left by Tyreek Hill’s departure.
Previous pick: OT Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa (Dolphins)
30. Chiefs: CB Kaiir Elam, Florida
ATLANTA, GEORGIA – DECEMBER 19: Najee Harris #22 of the Alabama Crimson Tide leaps over Kaiir Elam #5 of the Florida Gators during the second half of the SEC Championship at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 19, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
The Chiefs have a big hole at cornerback, which has become more glairing as other teams in the AFC West have loaded up on quarterbacks and deep threats. Elam has No. 1 corner potential, and the Chiefs hope he’ll reach that ceiling sooner rather than later.
Previous pick: Jermaine Johnson II, Florida State (49ers)
31. Bengals: 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)
The Bengals complete their overhaul of their offensive line by taking Linderbaum. By adding him to the mix, they can move Ted Karras back out to guard and will have replaced four starters from last season.
Previous pick: OT Bernhard Raimann, Central Michigan
32. Detroit Lions: 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 Lions are more than a year away, so they can afford to make a pick that’s a true investment in the future. That pick is Ojabo, who was projected to go in the top half of the first round before tearing his Achilles at his Pro Day. He’s not expected to play in 2022, but he should be good to go at Detroit comes out of its rebuild in 2023. The fifth-year option on the contract makes the lost year not sting as bad.