NFL draft week is finally here! So it’s time for my final mock draft of the season. I think we will be in for a wild ride on day one of the draft. Your Washington Commanders will have a lot of options at 11 to improve what has been a quiet off-season. I think WR is top of the wish list but if a special defender drops to them they have to consider it. I also think a trade back would be a great option if the scenario presented itself. This team only has six picks so they could look to replenish their options with a trade back in rounds one or two.
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: Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia
The Lions would love to have Aidan Hutchison drop to them but I don’t see that happening. Getting a physical specimen like Walker wouldn’t be a bad consolation prize. Walker can rush from the inside and outside effectively but will eventually be a double digit sack guy off the edge before long. He was asked to eat blocks at Georgia because of all their talent on defense but has the talent to be lethal off the edge in a more prominent role in Detroit.
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 tackles duos in the league. It would be a good start to set up Davis Mills for future success.
4. New York Jets: Jermaine Johnson, EDGE FSU
The Jets need a presence off the edge to go along with 2021 free agent signing Carl Lawson. Johnson II was the ACC defensive player of the year last year with 70 tackles and 12 sacks. The Jets and Robert Saleh would love that kind of production at the next level.
5. New York Giants: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
Cross has been a hot name the past few weeks so I think it could culminate with him being a top five pick. The Giants need a RT to pair with Andrew Thomas and Cross has the chops to man down the position.
6. Carolina Panthers: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
Evan Neal is a mammoth human being that has impressive position flexibility along the O-line. He can start at LT, RT, or either guard spot from day one. The Panthers have needed a LT since Jordan Gross retired so passing up on a talented guy like Evan Neal shouldn’t be an option. He can protect the blindside for whoever will be behind center for Carolina in 2022.
7. New York Giants (From CHI): Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
The Giants need some more juice off the edge. Enter Thibodeaux who is one of the most talented players in this draft. He’s had some concerns about work ethic and motor but his talent and upside is too much to pass up.
8. Atlanta Falcons: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
The Falcons WR room might be the most depleted in all the league. 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 Mariota and Kyle Pitts a guy like Garrett Wilson will go a long way in seeing an improved aerial attack.
9. Seattle Seahawks (From DEN) Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
Gardner should go top ten in this class based on 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): Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
The Jets made a play for Tyreek Hill so we know they are in the WR market. Jameson Williams would be my WR1 in this class if he hadn’t torn his ACL in the National Championship. Williams has elite speed and downfield traits. He has prime DeSean Jackson-type of game breaking skills. He would help Zach Wilson develop into a more complete QB.
11. Washington Commanders: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
This pick comes down to Hamilton, Drake London, Chris Olave, or a trade down for me. I really like London and Olave but I think Kyle Hamilton’s pro bowl ability is too good to pass up here. He will come in and excel in the buffalo nickel role from day one. Hamilton has elite ball skills and elite instincts. He would help transform this defense into a more complete and diverse unit.
12. Minnesota Vikings: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
The Vikings have had problems in the secondary for a few years now. Enter Derek Stingley Jr. Stingley Jr. is my favorite CB in this draft. He has elite man-to-man traits and will be a top CB in the NFL before long. He can be mentored by fellow LSU Tiger Patrick Peterson which will only elevate his game.
13. Houston Texans (From Browns): Drake London, WR, USC
Houston got young QB Davis Mills some help up front with Ekwonu at pick three so they get him a big body receiving target with their second pick of the 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: Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
The Ravens have had troubles stopping the run as of late so they need a new stud NT for the job. Davis is 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.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers (Mock trade with Philadelphia): Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
There has been a love fest between Pittsburgh and Malik Willis since the Senior Bowl. Tomlin wants a mobile new age QB and Willis could give him that. It will take some time but Willis has an elite arm and can develop into a high level starting QB. He can sit behind Trubisky and take over in 2023.
16. New Orleans Saints (From IND, thur MIA) Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
Pickett might not last this long but if he does I think the Saints will gobble him up. He doesn’t have a lot of upside but he can be a competent starting QB as soon as he enters the league. Having Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas will help him succeed right away.
17. Los Angeles Chargers: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
If anyone watched the Senior Bowl practices or game you can tell Penning is a nasty dude. He was also mixing it up and giving something extra at the end of blocks. The Chargers cut Bryan Bulaga so they need a replacement on the right side to protect young superstar Justin Herbert. Rashawn Slater and Penning but would be a nice young tackle duo.
18. Philadelphia Eagles (From NO): Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
The Eagles have a great, seasoned vet in Darius Slay but they need someone on the other side of him. McDuffie can play outside or in the slot and will be one of their top corners as soon as he enters the building. He will be a great complement to Slay and could eventually take over as CB1 when Slay starts to slow down.
19. New Orleans Saints (From PHI): Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
The Saints are going to have Jameis Winston or if this mock rings true Kenny Pickett behind center next year. To set them up for success they need 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.
20. Philadelphia Eagles (Mock trade with Pittsburgh): Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
Devin Lloyd is the best ILB in this class. He has sideline-to-sideline range and tremendous instincts. The Eagles have needed a good ILB for a while now and Lloyd can give them that.
21. New England Patriots: Kenyon Green, G, Texas A&M
The Pats traded a pro bowl guard in Shaq Mason to the Bucs this off-season and need to find his replacement. Kenyon Green is really good prospect who shows effective run and pass blocking skills that could lead to him being a pro bowl guard in his own right.
22. Green Bay Packers (From Raiders): Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
The Packers need to get Aaron Rodgers some more weapons after losing Davante Adams. 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.
23. Arizona Cardinals: Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia
The Cardinals need some more talent in the middle of their defensive line. Wyatt is one of the best DT’s in this class. He’s a force against the run but is effective getting after the passer too.
24. Dallas Cowboys: Zion Johnson, OG, Boston College
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. They need a young road grader like Johnson to pave holes for Zeke Elliot and Tony Pollard.
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. is a long, talented, and experienced corner who 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: Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
Tennessee needs more weapons to go along with A.J. Brown and Robert Woods. Dotson had 91 catches and over 1,000 yards last year. Dotson can play the slot or outside. He would provide a good slot presence for Ryan Tannehill.
27. Seattle Seahawks(Mock Trade with Tampa Bay): Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
The Seahawks jump back into round one to go with a QB who has been steadily moving up boards as of late. I think Ridder can be a quality starter in time. Think Ryan Tannehill type. He can take over for Drew Lock by as soon as midseason and 2023 at the latest.
28. Green Bay Packers: Tyler Smith, G/T, Tulsa
Tyler Smith played tackle at Tulsa but he’s a guard in the NFL. I think he’ll be a really good one too. He could 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 booms 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
Ojabo 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 runner. The talent is there to 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 Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
The Bengals signed Ted Karras to play center this off-season but they can’t pass up Linderbaum here, he’s too talented. They can shift Karras out to guard. Linderbaum is far and away the best center in this class and will be great up front for Joe Burrow.
32. Detroit Lions (From LAR): Sam Howell, QB, UNC
The Lions go QB at the end of round one to secure the fifth year option. Howell is a guy who had a great 2020 but fell off in 2021. The talent is there to eventually be a starting QB in the NFL. He can sit behind Goff next year before throwing to top young targets like Amon-Ra St. Brown and D.J. Chark.
This mock draft will also be a part of this week’s episode of my Roman Around The League Podcast. Download and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.