Let's just go ahead and call this what it is: The post-Senior Bowl Overreaction Mock Draft. And that's OK -- even if it's a little ambitious, at least it's something different, and more importantly, it's based on a week's worth of Senior Bowl practices and this past Saturday's game.
Not surprisingly, the conversation starts with the quarterbacks, and Malik Willis and Kenny Pickett -- the usual first-round suspects in these mock drafts for months now -- had good weeks in Mobile. Willis showed off his athleticism and arm strength, while Pickett crushed his interviews (while also holding his own during practices). The third quarterback regularly in our first-round picks, Matt Corral, wasn't eligible for the Senior Bowl. And while he remains our QB1, he's not the first off the board this week.
That honor falls to Willis, who admittedly had his ups and downs during the season but whose physical tools are undeniable.
Other new faces in this week's mock draft also shined at the Senior Bowl (Jermaine Johnson and Zion Johnson), as well as familiar faces like Logan Hall, Roger McCreary, Bernard Raimann and Daniel Faalele.
Keep reading to see all 32 picks, and where all the aforementioned players end up.
Round 1 - Pick 1
Ikem Ekwonu OL
NC State • Soph • 6'4" / 320 lbs
We've routinely had Ekwonu as our top offensive linemen for more than a month, and we've finally talked ourselves into the Jags taking him first overall. Yes, Aidan Hutchinson is probably the safest pick in the entire class, but unless he can play offensive line, too, he's not a huge need for Trevor Lawrence and new coach Doug Pederson.
Round 1 - Pick 2
Aidan Hutchinson EDGE
Michigan • Soph • 6'6" / 265 lbs
Hutchinson is a great example of a player who got better each and every season, and instead of coming out early he stayed in school, balled out as a senior, and made himself into arguably the best player -- on either side of the ball -- in the country during the 2021 college football season. This will be the easiest pick in the draft for any team.
Round 1 - Pick 3
Evan Neal OL
Alabama • Soph • 6'7" / 350 lbs
The Texans appear set at quarterback with Davis Mills, who flashed at times as a rookie, but they still need a head coach. Whoever ends up in the job, it doesn't change the fact that protecting the young QB will be a priority, perhaps even with Kayvon Thibodeaux still on the board.
Round 1 - Pick 4
Kayvon Thibodeaux EDGE
Oregon • Soph • 6'5" / 258 lbs
The Jets would desperately love to get either Ekwonu or Neal here, but with both off the board and Thibodeaux just sitting there, it will be hard for Robert Saleh to pass on the Oregon pass rusher, especially in a deep offensive line class where the Jets also have picks 10, 35, 38 and 69.
Round 1 - Pick 5
Mississippi State • Soph • 6'5" / 311 lbs
New GM Joe Schoen and new head coach Brian Daboll are moving forward with Daniel Jones, and if that's the case -- and stop us if this sounds familiar -- they're going to need to protect him. Cross is coming off a strong season for Mississippi State. He's not yet a finished product, which means he has plenty of room to improve in the coming years.
Round 1 - Pick 6
Notre Dame • Soph • 6'4" / 220 lbs
This isn't worst-case scenario because the Panthers are filling a big need with a special talent, but Hamilton doesn't play offensive line, which is a priority for a team that will also be in the market for a quarterback this offseason. Hamilton has special skills and Carolina does lack depth in the secondary, but we can't imagine the team going into the 2022 season with Sam Darnold under center.
From Chicago Bears
Round 1 - Pick 7
Iowa • Soph • 6'2" / 305 lbs
To continue the theme of many of these top-10 selections, offensive line is a priority, even if, in the Giants case, that means using two top-10 picks on such players. Linderbaum is one of the best offensive linemen in the country. And although a center hasn't gone higher than No. 18 in the last dozen drafts, Linderbaum is so good that it wouldn't be a surprise if he ended up going seventh overall.
Round 1 - Pick 8
Cincinnati • Soph • 6'3" / 200 lbs
We wanted to see "Sauce" Gardner be a little more physical in 2021, and he was that and then some to the point that he has made a legit case as the best cornerback in this class. He's long, athletic, sticky in coverage, and was rarely out of position during Cincinnati's impressive season. In Atlanta, the Falcons have a lot of needs, but it could stand to freshen up the secondary, as former first-rounder A.J. Terrell has been great but there are plenty of questions otherwise.
Round 1 - Pick 9
David Ojabo EDGE
Michigan • Soph • 6'4" / 255 lbs
The Broncos have their new coach in Nathaniel Hackett who, incidentally, has ties to Aaron Rodgers. If Rodgers isn't behind Door No. 2, Denver could certainly consider drafting a QB here. Instead, we have them taking one of the most athletic edge rushers in the class. Ojabo is still raw, but he has the tools to be special.
From Seattle Seahawks
Round 1 - Pick 10
LSU • Soph • 6'0" / 190 lbs
Yes, the Jets have two picks in the top 10 and don't come away with an offensive lineman. We get it, that's crazy talk since the No. 1 priority for months now has been adding more pieces to the offensive line. Zach Wilson routinely spent his Sundays picking himself off the turf, but it's hard to pass on Thibodeaux and Stingley here when this O-line draft class is deep.
Round 1 - Pick 11
Malik Willis QB
Liberty • Soph • 6'1" / 219 lbs
Willis improved his draft stock at the Senior Bowl, to the point that he could conceivably be the first QB off the board. There is no clear-cut No. 1 QB, so it will all come down to personal preference, but Willis checks just about every box for what the NFL quarterback has evolved into.
Round 1 - Pick 12
Arkansas • Soph • 6'2" / 225 lbs
The Vikings have their GM, and while the team could choose to move on from Kirk Cousins, he also feels like the type of QB new coach Kevin O'Connell could work -- and more importantly, win -- with, at least for another year. If so, why not give Cousins another weapon opposite Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen, who turns 32 next season. Burks is a contested and high-point-catch machine who can also outrun defensive backs to the end zone.
Round 1 - Pick 13
Ohio State • Soph • 6'0" / 192 lbs
The Browns have needs at wide receiver, for sure, but the talking points in the coming months will likely concern the QB position. We think Baker Mayfield is much better than he showed last season, in part because he wasn't healthy. Wilson is one of the the most dynamic players in college football, and he'll give Mayfield another downfield option now that Odell Beckham Jr. is in LA.
Round 1 - Pick 14
Jermaine Johnson II EDGE
Florida State • Soph • 6'5" / 262 lbs
No one had a better Senior Bowl week than Johnson. We liked his 2021 tape a lot, but thought of him as a fringe first/second-rounder. He put any such doubts to rest with a dominating practice week in Mobile.
From Miami Dolphins
Round 1 - Pick 15
Nakobe Dean LB
Georgia • Soph • 5'11" / 231 lbs
This has been a popular pairing in our weekly mocks, partly because the Eagles could use Dean in the middle of their D (even if, historically, they don't draft off-ball linebackers in Round 1), and in part because Dean was so dominant during the 2021 season. And while he played on the best defense in the country, don't be fooled -- he didn't ride on the coattails of a dominant Georgia defensive line -- Dean was a huge reason for its success. There are questions about his size and how that translates to the NFL, but his tape tells a different story.
From Indianapolis Colts
Round 1 - Pick 16
Georgia • Soph • 6'5" / 272 lbs
Walker is something of a tweener, which is odd to say about someone who stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 275 pounds. But he can line up as the 3, 4 or 5-tech, and that versatility, coupled with his non-stop motor and consistent playmaking ability, makes him an attractive option for several teams in this range looking to bolster their defensive line.
Round 1 - Pick 17
George Karlaftis EDGE
Purdue • Soph • 6'4" / 263 lbs
Karlaftis adds another dimension to the defensive line. He bounced back this past season after injuries and the pandemic limited his snaps in 2020, but it was in 2019 when he really showcased his potential, as he was nearly impossible to stop en route to recording 17 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks. In LA, he'll line up opposite Joey Bosa a year after the team struggled to replace Melvin Ingram.
Round 1 - Pick 18
Matt Corral QB
Ole Miss • Soph • 6'2" / 205 lbs
Corral has been our QB1 going back to the fall, and we're not yet willing to come off that, even after Willis' Senior Bowl week. But again, with all these QBs so close, there will be a lot of variation in how NFL teams grade these passers. The Saints may be without Sean Payton, but they still have that offensive line, Alvin Kamara (maybe), Michael Thomas and one of the league's best defenses. There are worse landing spots for a rookie QB.
Round 1 - Pick 19
Alabama • Soph • 6'2" / 189 lbs
This likely won't be a popular pick because the Eagles have used first-rounders on wide receivers the last two years, but they'll only have four wideouts under contract after the season, and that includes J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. Williams tore his ACL in the national title game, but he's still one of the best players in this draft class and should be ready to contribute by next October.
Round 1 - Pick 20
Zion Johnson OL
Boston College • Soph • 6'3" / 316 lbs
Kenny Pickett is still on the board, and the Steelers may very well end up drafting him, but Zion Johnson is another player who came to the Senior Bowl and proved he was worthy of first-round consideration. He played left tackle at Boston College and worked at guard and center in Mobile. He's a Day 1 starter and would improve an offensive line that struggled in 2021.
Round 1 - Pick 21
Clemson • Soph • 6'0" / 194 lbs
In many of our mock drafts we've had Booth closer to the top 10 than the bottom third, and he's done nothing to change that. It's just that as we get through more players the board will evolve. To put it another way: the Pats are getting a really good cornerback at No. 21.
Round 1 - Pick 22
Washington • Soph • 5'11" / 193 lbs
The Raiders secondary had some bright spots among its young players -- namely rookies Trevon Moehrig and Nate Hobbs -- but the team also cut 2020 first-rounder Damon Arnette this season and could lose several veterans to free agency. McDuffie was consistently good for the Huskies, and while he played primarily on the outside, he has the skillset to line up anywhere in the secondary.
Round 1 - Pick 23
Logan Hall DL
Houston • Soph • 6'6" / 283 lbs
Last spring, some people were surprised Payton Turner made his way into Round 1. Don't be shocked if his Houston teammate, Logan Hall, follows a similar path. He was unblockable at times last season -- and frequently during Senior Bowl practices -- and at 6-foot-6, 275 pounds, he can line up just about anywhere.
Round 1 - Pick 24
Devin Lloyd LB
Utah • Soph • 6'3" / 235 lbs
Lloyd is a twitchy, sideline-to-sideline player who fits the mold of off-ball linebackers we've seen coming into the league over the last decade. You might note that the Cowboys just drafted Micah Parsons, who excelled as an off-ball linebacker at Penn State but has emerged as one of the most explosive edge rushers in the NFL. Adding Lloyd can take a suddenly good defense and make them great.
Round 1 - Pick 25
Auburn • Soph • 5'11" / 190 lbs
McCreary may not run in the 4.3s, and he may have short arms for the position, but he was one of the most consistent cornerbacks in college football. We saw that on a weekly basis vs. SEC opponents, and again during Senior Bowl week where he remained as advertised. Ultimately, he may not go in Round 1, but in a few years we may look back and wonder why.
Round 1 - Pick 26
Central Michigan • Soph • 6'6" / 303 lbs
Raimann is originally from Austria and moved from tight end to left tackle after the 2019 season, but you wouldn't know it from watching him play. He might be the most athletic O-lineman in the entire class, he's just scratching the surface of his abilities, and the Titans' O-line struggled to keep Ryan Tannehill upright for much of this season.
Round 1 - Pick 27
Chris Olave WR
Ohio State • Soph • 6'0" / 187 lbs
Chris Godwin, who was on the franchise tag, tore his ACL last month, and while the Bucs can still franchise him, Mike Evans, Scotty Miller, Tyler Johnson and Jaelon Darden are the other wideouts currently on the roster. Now in a post-Tom Brady world, whoever ends up under center in 2022 could use another weapon. And Olave, one of the best route runners in college football last season, is exactly that.
Round 1 - Pick 28
Drake London WR
USC • Soph • 6'4" / 213 lbs
London was one of the few bright spots in a disappointing USC season. And while he won't run a 4.3 when healthy, he is a high-point-catch machine who can take over games, which sounds like something both Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams would appreciate in Green Bay (assuming, of course, that one -- or both -- return in 2022).
From San Francisco 49ers
Round 1 - Pick 29
Minnesota • Soph • 6'8" / 380 lbs
Faalele measured 6-foot-8, 387 pounds at the Senior Bowl, and depending on which scout you speak to, he's anywhere from a high-upside first-rounder to a late-Day 2 project. His physical tools are undeniable, and he's new to the position (and football). Once he puts it altogether he could be special.
Round 1 - Pick 30
Hill is part of a Wolverines defense that could end up seeing three players go in Round 1 next spring. He's underrated nationally, but watch him play and it becomes clear pretty quickly that he's in the running for one of the best defensive backs in this class. He's listed as a safety but can line up anywhere, and in Kansas City, the only defensive backs with experience under contract for next season are Juan Thornhill, Rashad Fenton and L'Jarius Sneed.
Round 1 - Pick 31
Kenyon Green OL
Texas A&M • Soph • 6'4" / 323 lbs
The Bengals opted to take Ja'Marr Chase over Penei Sewell and it was the right move, even though Sewell played well in Detroit. But they still need to make protecting Joe Burrow a priority. Green can play either tackle or guard and has the ability to be a Day 1 starter.
From Los Angeles Rams
Round 1 - Pick 32
Pittsburgh • Soph • 6'3" / 220 lbs
Pickett, who had a good Senior Bowl week, could end up being the first quarterback drafted or could be the third or fourth. There's that much variability in this group. He's the most ready to play, and the Lions, who have two first-rounders, will likely be looking for a passer to replace Jared Goff after the 2022 campaign.