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2022 NFL Mock Draft: Free agency and trades continue to shake up the 1st round

Washington continues to bolster their defense with 1st round picks

The NFL draft is a month away so it’s time for a first round mock draft. A lot of shake-up in recent weeks due to all the crazy moves this off-season. We have seen a lot of first round picks change hands as of late. Who would’ve thought guys like Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill would have new addresses in 2022? Now their former teams are looking for their replacements. The Chiefs and Packers are now definitely in the market for playmakers. Your Washington Commanders will have a lot of options at #11 to improve what has been a quiet off-season. Do they go get new weapons for Wentz or a difference maker in the secondary? A lot of options to choose from for the organization.

1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Aidan Hutchison, EDGE, Michigan

The Jaguars loaded up in free agency at multiple areas (by overpaying), including the O-line. They tagged Cam Robinson and signed Brandon Scherff, so I think they’ll set their sights on their front four here and get the top defensive player in the draft at pick one.

2. Detroit Lions: Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

Yep, I’m doing it. This is bold but after Malik’s pro day, and having been coached by the Lions at the Senior Bowl, I think they’ll feel comfortable enough to pull the trigger. Willis’ potential is unlimited and he’ll be in a great situation to sit this year behind Jared Goff before taking over in 2023.

3. Houston Texans: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State

The Texans can go for any player they want here and it would be an upgrade on their current roster. They have the worst roster in the league. I like Ekwonu here to pair with Laremy Tunsil to form one of the best tackle duos in the league. It would be a good start to set up QB Davis Mills for future success.

4. New York Jets: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

Hamilton is one of my favorite players in the draft. His versatility, ball skills, and center field-type range will make him one of the best in the league very early in his career. Pairing Hamilton with recent signing Jordan Whitehead would give Robert Saleh a talented young secondary to work with.

5. New York Giants: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

Evan Neal is a mammoth human being that has impressive position flexibility along the o-line. He can come in and start at RT from day one opposite Andrew Thomas. The Giants offensive line has been a problem for years so they go with Neal here to help rectify it.

6. Carolina Panthers: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh

I think this is high for Pickett but the Panthers have struck out on so many QB upgrades this off-season that they get their guy here at #6. Pickett was recruited by Matt Rhule when he was at Temple so they have a long-lasting relationship that could be the driving force for this pick.

7. New York Giants (From CHI): Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon

The Giants need another threat to rush the passer opposite last year’s second round pick Azeez Ojulari. Enter Thibodeaux, who is one of the most talented players in this year’s class. He only drops this far due to motor and work ethic issues.

8. Atlanta Falcons: Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia

Atlanta has the worst roster in the league outside of Houston. They need upgrades everywhere. They could go WR here but getting a physical specimen like Travon Walker would be a great pick. He’s a local guy that had a great combine that propelled him up draft boards. He would be the Falcons best pass rusher since John Abraham.

9. Seattle Seahawks (From DEN): Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

Gardner should go top ten in this class based off his “sauce” nickname alone. The Seahawks have always loved long, rangy corners and that describes Sauce perfectly. He’s 6’3” and runs a 4.4 forty. He didn’t allow a TD in his four-year college career! He has a chance to be special.

10. New York Jets (From Seahawks): Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

The Jets made a play for Tyreek Hill so we know they are in the WR market. Wilson is my favorite WR in this class. His suddenness in and out of routes along with being an acrobat while the ball is in the air will make him special at the next level. Getting Zach Wilson a guy like Garrett Wilson will go a long way in seeing if he can be a franchise QB.

11. Washington Commanders: Derek Stingley, Jr., CB, LSU

Washington should be looking at WR, CB, and LB with their first pick. I would look at Garrett Wilson, Drake London, or Chris Olave if available. LB Devin Lloyd would be another option but 11 is a little rich for me. With Wilson off the board here, I am going with Derek Stingley, Jr. He had an amazing freshman year back in 2019 but has barely played the last two years due to Covid and injuries. He is a special player that has some Charles Woodson and Champ Bailey in his game. That’s high praise but he was going up against stud WRs Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson everyday in practice and did more than hold his own in those matchups. If he can neutralize guys like that, sign me up for him at pick #11.

12. Minnesota Vikings: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

The Vikings improved their pass rush this off-season by signing Zadarius Smith. They add talent to the backend of that defense with CB Trent McDuffie in the first round. McDuffie can play outside or in the slot and will be their top corner from day one.

13. Houston Texans (From Browns): Drake London, WR, USC

Houston got Davis Mills some help up front with Ekwonu at pick #3, so they get him a big body receiving target with their second pick of the 1st round. London has some Mike Evans to his game. He is very nimble after the catch and is a terror in jump ball situations.

14. Baltimore Ravens: Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa

Baltimore lost Bradly Bozeman to Carolina in free agency so they get his replacement here in Linderbaum. He is far and away the best center in this class and will be great up front for Lamar Jackson.

15. Philadelphia Eagles (From Miami): Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia

The Eagles go with a havoc-wrecking DT with their first of three 1st round picks. Wyatt had a great Senior Bowl and is a guy that will be a problem in the run game along with adding some solid interior pass rush capability.

16. Philadelphia Eagles (From Colts): Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

The Eagles haven’t had an impact off the ball LB in years, but Devin Lloyd can eventually be that guy for them. He ran a slower 40 time, but on tape he flies around the field and is always one of the first to the ball.

17. Los Angeles Chargers: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

I don’t expect Cross to last his long but it’s just the way this mock shook out that he’s here at #17. LA needs a replacement for Bryan Bulaga, so getting Cross here would be a steal.

Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

18. New Orleans Saints: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

The Saints are going to give Jameis Winston another shot to be their long-term guy at QB. To set him up for success he needs more weapons to go with Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara. Olave is the most NFL-ready WR in this class. I would not be surprised at all to see him put up 1,000 yards in year one.

19. Philadelphia Eagles: Jermaine Johnson II, EDGE, Florida State

The Eagles picked up Hasson Reddick and re-signed Derek Barnett in free agency but could still use some juice on the edge. Johnson II, a Georgia transfer, had 12 sacks last year and was the ACC defensive player of the year. He can become a double digit sack guy relatively quickly in his career.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa

If anyone watched the Senior Bowl practices or game you can tell Penning is a nasty dude. He was always mixing it up and giving something extra at the end of blocks. That kind of personality would fit well in Pittsburgh and give some quality blind side protection for Trubisky or whoever is behind center.

21. New England Patriots: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

The Patriots need to get Mac Jones some more weapons to further his development. Burks can contribute in a variety of ways. From the outside, slot, the backfield, he can do a little bit of everything. He is that modern day chess piece that so many NFL teams crave nowadays.

22. Green Bay Packers (From Raiders): Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

The Pack surprised everyone after trading All-Pro WR Davante Adams to the Raiders. It’s finally time they took a WR in first round during the Aaron Rodgers era. I love Williams’ game. Prior to the ACL tear, he was right there with Garrett Wilson for me. He is an elite deep threat that can break open a game at any moment.

23. Arizona Cardinals: Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia

Jordan Davis could easily go higher than this but his lack of pass rushing prowess could see him slide just a tad. He’s an athletic freak (see his 4.78 forty time at 341 lbs) and a special run defender. He will elevate a team’s run defense immediately.

24. Dallas Cowboys: Kenyon Green, OG, Texas A&M

The Cowboys have had a lot of losses this off-season which is good news for the rest of the NFC East. Their o-line is getting old and is injury prone. Green is a top guard prospect in this class. He can help get their once potent run game back on track.

25. Buffalo Bills: Andrew Booth, Jr., CB, Clemson

The Bills lost CB Levi Wallace in free agency to Pittsburgh. Tre’Davious White is coming off a torn ACL so it’s an unstable position group right now. Booth, Jr. can step in for White if he’s late to start the season before eventually forming a potent duo with White for the foreseeable future.

26. Tennessee Titans: Zion Johnson, G, Boston College

The Titans, as we know, love to run the ball. If they have success. it will start with Derrick Henry. so getting a road-grader like Johnson to clear the way for him would be a wise investment.

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Matt Corral, QB, Mississippi

Tampa Bay could go for a guard or interior defensive lineman here but I have them taking a long-term approach with this selection. The GOAT came back after a month-long retirement but won’t play forever. Corral is a guy that will be loved in the locker room. He is a gamer with an elastic strong arm that will have a bright future if given time to develop.

28. Green Bay Packers: Cole Strange, G, Chattanooga

Strange is a guy that has been rising up draft boards as of late. He was a nasty mauler at Chattanooga who would help Green Bay switch to more of a balanced offensive attack. After trading Adams, they might look to pound the rock more with Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon.

29. Kansas City Chiefs (From SF, thru MIA): Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State

The Chiefs made the shocking trade of Tyreek Hill and now need to add more talent for the great Patrick Mahomes. After signing Marquez Valdes-Scantling they might look for more of a possession WR to build a complete receiver room. Watson’s performance at the Senior Bowl, then a 4.36 forty were huge boons to his draft stock. He would give Mahomes a quality 6’4” target that he really hasn’t had at WR before.

30. Kansas City Chiefs: David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan

Ojabe unfortunately tore his Achilles during his pro day last week. He was a top 15 player before the injury and now he’s a borderline first rounder. The talent is there for a Pro Bowl player off the edge. The Chiefs would be more than happy to wait for that type of player to recover from his injury.

31. Cincinnati Bengals: Perrion Winfrey, DT, Oklahoma

The Bengals did a great job at improving their offensive line with La’el Collins, Alex Cappa, and Ted Karras. Those moves allow them to add a dynamic interior player in Winfrey. He will help make up for the loss of Larry Ogunjobi.

32. Detroit Lions (From LAR): Boye Mafe, EDGE, Minnesota

Mafe is a dynamic, instinctual player off the edge that can start from day one for a team. The Lions cut Trey Flowers and have had trouble pressuring the QB as of late. Mafe would be a great selection for them to close out the first round.

Hope you enjoy my first mock for Hogs Haven! I’m excited for the partnership!

This mock draft will also be apart of this week’s episode of my Roman Around The League Podcast. Download and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.