When you do a mock draft on a weekly basis, it is important to explore all possibilities and how certain situations could impact the entire draft. In today's thought exercise, Green Bay deals both Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams, which creates holes on their roster and effectively turns the offense over to Jordan Love.
Also, the historical context can get lost when discussing the NFL Draft. The Saints are sure to explore taking a quarterback in the first round; that is significant because New Orleans has not used a first-round pick on the position since Archie Manning was taken in 1971.
The 2022 NFL Draft order has been updated through the conference championships, and only two teams remain in contention for Super Bowl LVI. The order of Bengals and Rams was determined by win-loss records.
Without further ado, let's kick this thing off!
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Round 1 - Pick 1
Kayvon Thibodeaux EDGE
Oregon • Soph • 6'5" / 258 lbs
Thibodeaux has the most upside of the edge rushers, and Jacksonville is looking to land a No. 1 overall-caliber player. When looking back in five years, the Oregon product probably has as good of a chance to be that type of player as anyone else. The combination of Josh Allen and Thibodeaux is appealing.
Round 1 - Pick 2
Aidan Hutchinson EDGE
Michigan • Soph • 6'7" / 268 lbs
Hutchinson is obviously very familiar with the region and embodies the style of play that Dan Campbell hopes to foster inside that locker room. Romeo Okwara and Hutchinson give Detroit a power rushing duo to terrorize the rest of the NFC North.
Round 1 - Pick 3
Evan Neal OL
Alabama • Soph • 6'7" / 350 lbs
If Davis Mills is going to be given a fair opportunity to win the starting job long-term, then he needs at least average talent around him. Houston needs to improve at essentially every position on offense, and it begins with Neal, who is a massive bookend tackle to Laremy Tunsil.
Round 1 - Pick 4
Ikem Ekwonu OL
NC State • Soph • 6'4" / 320 lbs
Ekwonu has the versatility to play tackle or guard at the next level. Given general manager Joe Douglas' past, he believes in building a dominant offensive line and then installing the skill talent. New York is well on its way to that dominant unit if Mekhi Becton, Alijah Vera-Tucker and Ekwonu can stay healthy. There is no reason for Zach Wilson not to show more development next season.
Round 1 - Pick 5
Mississippi State • Soph • 6'5" / 311 lbs
The Giants made a public commitment to Daniel Jones, and I'm certain Brian Daboll's work with Josh Allen -- another big-bodied quarterback with mobility -- did not hurt his chances of getting the New York head coaching job. Dave Gettleman leaned into the choice last offseason, and I expect that to continue even with Gettleman gone. Andrew Thomas showed a lot of improvement in Year 2 so the idea is that Cross gives them two great players in pass protection.
Round 1 - Pick 6
Malik Willis QB
Liberty • Soph • 6'1" / 219 lbs
Willis has been an obvious standout at the Reese's Senior Bowl. He has shown more consistency as a passer in Mobile, and that is a dangerous consideration given his great mobility and arm strength. If there is a quarterback worthy of top 10 consideration, it is the Liberty product. With defenses opting for smaller, faster players, it places more emphasis on quarterbacks having at least average mobility.
From Chicago Bears
Round 1 - Pick 7
George Karlaftis EDGE
Purdue • Soph • 6'4" / 263 lbs
New York sticks to a plan building through the trenches. It began on the offensive side of the ball with Charles Cross and continues with Karlaftis, who is a mature pass rusher that wins with power and hands. It would be ideal to find a consistent speed rusher to compliment him on the other side, but the Purdue product seems like a solid double into the gap if nothing else.
Round 1 - Pick 8
Ohio State • Soph • 6'0" / 192 lbs
There is some uncertainty as to what will happen with Calvin Ridley moving forward. If he does not return to the team, then there is urgency to add another player to compliment Kyle Pitts. Pitts, although talented enough to play on the boundary, would benefit from having that as one tool in Atlanta's bag rather than being the only tool.
Mock Trade from Denver Broncos
Round 1 - Pick 9
Drake London WR
USC • Soph • 6'4" / 213 lbs
In this hypothetical, Aaron Rodgers is traded to Denver in exchange for the No. 9 overall selection as well as future compensation. Green Bay has not historically drafted wide receivers early because they have had Brett Favre and Rodgers to elevate those around them. Ideally, Jordan Love can become that type of player, but his limited exposure has not sparked much excitement. London is a big-bodied wide receiver who can win jump-ball opportunities for Love. If Rodgers is out, it would not come as a surprise if the team franchise tagged Davante Adams and then traded him to a place like Las Vegas. The absence of Adams increases the need for London.
From Seattle Seahawks
Round 1 - Pick 10
LSU • Soph • 6'0" / 190 lbs
New York selected Ikem Ekwonu with its first selection. After not finding any edge rushers to its liking, it selects the first cornerback in Stingley. The Jets got a lot of production out of cornerbacks that were largely taken on Day 3, and now that group gets bumped down one spot with the addition of Stingley.
Round 1 - Pick 11
Notre Dame • Soph • 6'4" / 220 lbs
Washington continues adding talent on defense. A year after taking linebacker Jamin Davis in the first round, the new-look Commanders add Hamilton to command the secondary. The safety is regarded as one of a few blue-chip talents in this class, so Washington is getting good value at No. 11 overall.
Round 1 - Pick 12
Cincinnati • Soph • 6'3" / 200 lbs
New head coach Kevin O'Connell has familiarity with Kirk Cousins, so I do not expect the team to move on from him. It becomes more likely that the Vikings use the pick on defense and cornerback is a big need. Gardner is a competitive and confident man coverage cornerback.
Round 1 - Pick 13
Arkansas • Soph • 6'2" / 225 lbs
With two wide receivers off the board, Cleveland's choices are more limited. However, Burks could be the best wide receiver to come out of this class when looking back. He has a unique combination of size and speed. Arkansas used him in the slot quite a bit, and the Browns could use a big slot wide receiver to contribute in the run game as well.
Round 1 - Pick 14
Devin Lloyd LB
Utah • Soph • 6'3" / 235 lbs
Patrick Queen and Malik Harrison have not played up to expectations, so that could have the Ravens looking for a solution this offseason. Lloyd is a player who I have compared to Fred Warner because of his ability to get off blocks and his improvement in coverage.
From Miami Dolphins
Round 1 - Pick 15
Nakobe Dean LB
Georgia • Soph • 5'11" / 231 lbs
Linebackers are taken with back-to-back picks as Philadelphia nabs Dean. More stoutly constructed, Dean is a physical player who will blow up lead blocks and do the dirty work for that Eagles front seven.
From Indianapolis Colts
Round 1 - Pick 16
Clemson • Soph • 6'0" / 194 lbs
After addressing the second level of its defense, Philadelphia bolsters the secondary with the addition of Booth, who has had significant exposure to a zone scheme at Clemson. His transition to the Eagles, opposite Darius Slay, should be smooth. The NFC East franchise has an identity on offense and re-groups on defense.
Round 1 - Pick 17
Jordan Davis DL
Georgia • Soph • 6'6" / 336 lbs
Los Angeles' run defense was horrendous. It needs a big body up front to muddy gaps and draw attention from Joey Bosa. Davis comes from a Georgia defense with an embarrassment of riches on the front seven. He is accustomed to being self-less and creating opportunities for his teammates.
Round 1 - Pick 18
Pittsburgh • Soph • 6'3" / 220 lbs
The second quarterback comes off the board as Pickett steps into a New Orleans offense that will be without Drew Brees and Sean Payton for the first time since 2005. Pickett does not have the ceiling to become one of those top five or even top 10 NFL quarterbacks, but he can be a productive player who brings consistency back on that side of the ball.
Round 1 - Pick 19
Jermaine Johnson II EDGE
Florida State • Soph • 6'5" / 262 lbs
Philadelphia concludes its first-round makeover of the defense with an edge rusher. The Eagles have now addressed each of the three defensive levels and set themselves up to have a young defensive core that can grow together over the next decade. One thing that the franchise does well is create continuity along that defensive line.
Round 1 - Pick 20
Matt Corral QB
Ole Miss • Soph • 6'2" / 205 lbs
The third and final quarterback to be taken in the first round is Ole Miss' Corral. The California native showed improved decision-making this year and an ability to attack all three levels of the defense. He is a bit undersized but possesses the ability to extend plays with his feet.
Round 1 - Pick 21
Washington • Soph • 5'11" / 193 lbs
New England values depth in the secondary, and there has been a bit of a need for a boundary cornerback after Stephon Gilmore was traded. It is an easy decision to bring JC Jackson back and watch him impact passing lanes with McDuffie for years to come.
Mock Trade from Las Vegas Raiders
Round 1 - Pick 22
David Ojabo EDGE
Michigan • Soph • 6'4" / 265 lbs
I would imagine there is a less than 50% chance that both Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams are gone, but the possibility exists so it has to be played out. The Raiders acquire Adams in exchange for the No. 22 overall selection and the Packers add Ojabo, who is a good replacement for one or both of Za'Darius and Preston Smith.
Round 1 - Pick 23
Iowa • Soph • 6'2" / 305 lbs
Rodney Hudson has been great for that Arizona locker room and offensive line, but the reality is that his career is drawing to a close. The Cardinals would be wise to jump on a top 10 talent falling to them this late because of positional value.
Round 1 - Pick 24
Georgia • Soph • 6'3" / 304 lbs
Dallas needs to improve up the middle. In previous projections, I have slotted either Devin Lloyd or Nakobe Dean to Dallas, but it makes more sense for them to add a defensive tackle like Wyatt. It can be easy to look at the success of that Georgia front and attribute it to the entire group rather than an individual player but Wyatt was fantastic. He can play the run in addition to pushing the pocket.
Round 1 - Pick 25
Kenyon Green OL
Texas A&M • Soph • 6'4" / 323 lbs
Buffalo needs to find more consistency along its offensive line. I actually liked what Spencer Brown did when he was on the field, but he has to stay healthy. The Bills could also consider some secondary help as well given how the AFC Championship ended.
Round 1 - Pick 26
Alabama • Soph • 6'1" / 180 lbs
Julio Jones showed a little life upon his late return, but that is a short-term fix. Considering A.J. Brown and Jones both dealt with injuries this year, it would not be a bad decision to add a third in the event of emergency next season and then he takes over for Jones the following the year. Williams is also great value and would be walking into a great situation not being rushed to return from his own injury. Tennessee has taken chances on injured players like Jeffery Simmons and Caleb Farley in recent years.
Round 1 - Pick 27
Chris Olave WR
Ohio State • Soph • 6'0" / 187 lbs
Chris Godwin is likely gone from Tampa Bay. It is unknown how the Buccaneers' strategy will change moving forward without Tom Brady. They had gone all in on the past two seasons and may opt to cut back and regain salary cap health.
Round 1 - Pick 28
Northern Iowa • Soph • 6'7" / 325 lbs
David Bakhtiari missed essentially the entire season and right tackle has been an issue since Bryan Bulaga departed. A team that is so reliant on its run game needs an offensive line. Penning is good value at this stage of the first round.
From San Francisco 49ers
Round 1 - Pick 29
Central Michigan • Soph • 6'6" / 303 lbs
Similar to Philadelphia, I would not be surprised if Miami leaned into a more run-based offense with some sprinkles of RPO action. If that is the case, then the Eagles need to fix the offensive line because it is a problem right now. My only hesitation with putting Raimann in the first round is his age. He will be one of the oldest rookies in the NFL, but a decade of great play is better than what the Dolphins are getting right now.
Round 1 - Pick 30
Georgia • Soph • 6'5" / 272 lbs
Jarran Reed is on a one-year deal and has not played particularly well. Kansas City could bring in Walker, plug him next to Jones and create a lot of pass rush opportunities through the interior.
Round 1 - Pick 31
Kentucky • Soph • 6'5" / 322 lbs
Kinnard has the flexibility to play tackle or guard at the next level. I think he would make a better interior player but when on the fence, try the player at tackle first because there is a shortage of good ones in the league. Kinnard is a mauler who is better suited as a run blocker, but Cincinnati needs to upgrade its offensive line.
From Los Angeles Rams
Round 1 - Pick 32
David Bell WR
Purdue • Soph • 6'1" / 212 lbs
Bell has great body control and makes plays after the catch. Amon-Ra St. Brown was fantastic for that team over the second half of the season, and Bell would be a great compliment to his skillset by making plays above the rim for Jared Goff.