Pretty sure I've been doing mock drafts for over a decade now and this is easily the most fungible/homogenous draft class I've ever seen. There are a couple of points where it's clear what is happening, but this is a lot like 2013. Anything can happen after No. 1 -- and, frankly, I don't think the Jags are locked at this point. We'll see.
The pass rushers, the offensive and defensive linemen and the defensive backs are stout. The quarterbacks? Not so much!
We've got a month until the draft happens and things are going to be exceptionally fluid as it relates to where these guys are picked. Muddling things up even more is the abundance of a) teams who don't have a first-round pick and b) teams who have multiple first-round picks.
When you're double dipping early in the first round, your strategy changes. Especially when there's a QB Thirst Trap sitting at No. 6. Let's take our first stab at what might happen in the first round.
Round 1 - Pick 1
Aidan Hutchinson EDGE
Michigan • Soph • 6'7" / 268 lbs
The consensus around the league, in the betting markets and with basically every draftnik, is the Jags are taking Hutchinson here. There's a month to go and things could change, but getting a high-floor edge rusher with a much bigger ceiling than people give him credit for (imagine suggesting he's maxed out leaving college) to pair with Josh Allen creates a similar situation to Doug Pederson's Eagles.
Round 1 - Pick 2
Georgia • Soph • 6'5" / 272 lbs
Lots of people are connecting quarterbacks to the Lions here -- it's totally possible they could love Malik Willis -- but Dan Campbell/Brad Holmes/Chris Spielman like to build in the trenches and are big Jared Goff fans as well. They don't view this as a one- or two-year turnaround, so grabbing another rusher is a good move.
Round 1 - Pick 3
Evan Neal OL
Alabama • Soph • 6'7" / 350 lbs
Neal playing on the right side at Alabama makes this a lot more favorable of a draft pick with Laremy Tunsil no longer looking like a trade candidate. Tunsil's still only 27 so it might feel early for a right tackle, but this fortifies the offensive line and gives them some flexibility moving forward if they change their mind on Tunsil.
Round 1 - Pick 4
Cincinnati • Soph • 6'3" / 200 lbs
I trust NFL Media's Lance Zierlein for draft comps and he threw out Richard Sherman for Sauce. Given Sherman's secondary career success with Robert Saleh in San Francisco, that makes it an easy choice here for a CB-needy team.
Round 1 - Pick 5
Ikem Ekwonu OL
NC State • Soph • 6'4" / 320 lbs
The Giants probably expect the Panthers to draft a QB but they can't risk letting them get a look at one of the best OL in the draft so they take "Ickey" here, a high-upside lineman with versatility.
Round 1 - Pick 6
Pittsburgh • Soph • 6'3" / 220 lbs
The Panthers are clearly flustered after being spurned by multiple QBs in the trade market. When you can't convince someone to come play for you, there's only one option and that's the draft. Pickett once committed to Matt Rhule out of college and David Tepper is a Pitt alum. It makes too much sense.
From Chicago Bears
Round 1 - Pick 7
Notre Dame • Soph • 6'4" / 220 lbs
The Giants probably need an edge rusher more than a safety, but I can't help but think of how important the safeties are for Buffalo, where Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll are coming from. Hamilton gives them a rare talent at the position, albeit on a potentially hefty rookie contract for a safety.
Round 1 - Pick 8
Ohio State • Soph • 6'0" / 192 lbs
The Falcons could go literally any position here after the Matt Ryan trade. QB doesn't make sense with this roster. If they're trying to compete at all while doing this rebuild, Marcus Mariota (?) will need another weapon besides Kyle Pitts and, um, Auden Tate. Let's give them the best wideout who could pair with Calvin Ridley when he returns from suspension.
From Denver Broncos
Round 1 - Pick 9
From Seattle Seahawks
Round 1 - Pick 10
Kayvon Thibodeaux EDGE
Oregon • Soph • 6'5" / 258 lbs
The Jets go for the best player available here on a team that could use plenty of defensive help. Suddenly you add the top corner and a high-upside pass rusher. Wideout would be a perfectly fine option here as well.
Round 1 - Pick 12
Jermaine Johnson II EDGE
Florida State • Soph • 6'5" / 262 lbs
The Vikings seem like they're in decent shape on offense but the defense is a problem, especially without Mike Zimmer pulling the trigger. Let's give them the best player on the board, especially when they were having conversations about Danielle Hunter's long-term status.
From Miami Dolphins
Round 1 - Pick 15
Nakobe Dean LB
Georgia • Soph • 5'11" / 231 lbs
What a three-pick stretch for the Eagles. If they can hit on some homers here it completely flips the franchise. Dean isn't Roquan Smith but he's a three-down linebacker with a lot of power to his blitz game.
Round 1 - Pick 17
Washington • Soph • 5'11" / 193 lbs
The Chargers added Khalil Mack and J.C. Jackson in free agency but still need OL help and DE/CB depth. Honestly could go Trent Penning here too, but McDuffie feels like the best player available.
Round 1 - Pick 18
Chris Olave WR
Ohio State • Soph • 6'0" / 187 lbs
They brought back Tre'quan Smith and still have Michael Thomas, but this isn't a team loaded with weapons. My bigger concern is they've gone outside the trenches once in the first round since 2015 and even then they took Ryan Ramcyzk in the first round that year after taking Marshon Lattimore (2017). Maybe adding another Buckeye helps make Michael Thomas happy enough to stay.
Round 1 - Pick 19
Alabama • Soph • 6'1" / 180 lbs
Unless the Eagles trade down multiple times, it's hard to imagine Philly fans coming out of this first round upset with three picks in the mid-round wheelhouse of this draft for pretty good players. This would constitute a major talent haul for the Eagles.
Round 1 - Pick 20
Malik Willis QB
Liberty • Soph • 6'1" / 219 lbs
If the Steelers don't have to move off their spot and can get a guy they're rumored to love, how can they pass on him? Mitchell Trubisky and Dwayne Haskins/Mason Rudolph handle the bridge year for Willis.
From Las Vegas Raiders
Round 1 - Pick 22
Round 1 - Pick 24
Round 1 - Pick 25
David Ojabo EDGE
Michigan • Soph • 6'4" / 265 lbs
Buffalo has invested heavily in the edge rusher position over the past year adding Von Miller, Carlos Basham and Gregory Rousseau. The Bills are one of a few teams that can afford to take Ojabo now, sit him for the entirety of the 2022 season and then allow him to learn from Miller until he is eventually ready to take over.
Round 1 - Pick 26
Georgia • Soph • 6'3" / 304 lbs
The Titans are quietly building a really stout defense with a lot more push up front than just two years ago. Adding more elite talent only helps them here, and the offense profiles fairly well after the Robert Woods trade.
Round 1 - Pick 27
Boye Mafe DL
Minnesota • Soph • 6'4" / 261 lbs
The Bucs have nailed some big picks on defense over the last few years (Antoine Winfield, Devin White, Vita Vea) and Jason Lichte could go back to that side of the ball with Tampa's offense looking pretty stout thanks to the detirement of the 🐐 .
Round 1 - Pick 28
Northern Iowa • Soph • 6'7" / 325 lbs
The Packers could definitely go with a second wideout instead of bolstering the offensive line but there's value with Penning here and maybe the Packers can kick it down the curb to No. 53 for a second wideout.
From Miami Dolphins
Round 1 - Pick 29
South Alabama • Soph • 6'1" / 195 lbs
I'm probably early on Tolbert here in the first, and Ryan Wilson points out he makes some bad focus drops. But he's a dominant wideout with incredibly high upside and thanks to the Chiefs signing MVS and JuJu he doesn't need to play any kind of important role early. Andy Reid is reworking his receiver corps on the fly and we might not be seeing his big picture.
Round 1 - Pick 30
Kaiir Elam CB
Florida • Soph • 6'1" / 191 lbs
One of these two picks has to be defense and everything is in flux. Ideally Melvin Ingram is a post-comp pick bring-back and they can beef up the secondary through the draft with guys who don't need to play immediately barring injury.
From Los Angeles Rams
Round 1 - Pick 32
Kenyon Green OL
Texas A&M • Soph • 6'4" / 323 lbs
People will want the Lions to go QB here but they can keep grabbing dudes in the trenches to try and solidify the roster before adding the QB of the future. It's the smart way to build, it's just surprising the Lions are doing it.