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Ben Roethlisberger and Sean Payton made it official last week; the former is retiring after an 18-year career and the latter is stepping away from the game at least for the 2022 season. Both teams are now in the market for their next franchise quarterback and both teams could find him in the draft. New Orleans has the 18th selection and Pittsburgh will be on the clock two picks later, and this week, we have both targeting passers.

The Saints have a lot of salary cap math to get into the black but they have a solid offensive line, Alvin Kamara and possibly Michael Thomas, not to mention one of the NFC's best defenses. Put another way: There are worse destinations for a rookie QB. The Steelers' offensive line is a work in progress but it's one of the most stable organizations in the league. And unlike the Saints, Pittsburgh -- for the first time in a long time -- has cap space to work with. So in addition to plugging holes up front, there will be opportunities to add depth in free agency on the other side of the ball, too.

Meanwhile, six edge rushers are among the first 32 picks, and if your team doesn't get one on Day 1, don't worry; this is a deep group and there will be opportunities to land difference-makers in later rounds, too. For now, keep reading to see which QBs end up in New Orleans and Pittsburgh, as well as how the other 30 selections unfold.

NFL Mock Draft
Round 1
Round 1 - Pick 1
Michigan • 6'7" / 260 lbs
Projected Team
Jacksonville
PROSPECT RNK
4th
POSITION RNK
2nd
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 '21 college football season. The Jags have taken an edge rusher in the first round in two of the last three drafts, but we don't expect there to be teams clamoring to trade up to the top pick in this draft and Jacksonville may be stuck here.
Round 1 - Pick 2
Oregon • 6'4" / 254 lbs
Projected Team
Detroit
PROSPECT RNK
3rd
POSITION RNK
1st
The Lions would probably love to trade down because for as good as Thibodeaux has been, he won't be the final piece to turning things around in Detroit. But since there are no trades in this mock draft, and there may end up being no team moving up this high for, say, a QB in the actual draft, the Oregon pass-rusher remains the choice here.
Round 1 - Pick 3
Notre Dame • 6'4" / 220 lbs
Projected Team
Houston
PROSPECT RNK
1st
POSITION RNK
1st
Justin Reid is in the final year of his deal for Houston, and while the team could certainly look to bolster the offensive line, or perhaps be in the market for a QB, it will need first to find a head coach. Hamilton, meanwhile, is coming off a spectacular season for the Fighting Irish where he was routinely the best player on the field.
Round 1 - Pick 4
NC State • 6'4" / 320 lbs
Projected Team
N.Y. Jets
PROSPECT RNK
9th
POSITION RNK
3rd
The Jets have to protect Zach Wilson -- that's where the conversation has to begin this offseason. Ekwonu is one of our favorite players in this draft class. There was talk in the fall that he may have to move inside to guard but when you watch him play, he's perfectly suited to be a dominant tackle, which is exactly what the Jets need, despite taking Alijah Vera-Tucker and Mekhi Becton in recent drafts.
Round 1 - Pick 5
Alabama • 6'7" / 350 lbs
Projected Team
N.Y. Giants
PROSPECT RNK
6th
POSITION RNK
2nd
This feels like best-case scenario for the Giants, who now have a new GM and head coach, and appear fully committed to Daniel Jones. Neal is one of the best offensive linemen in this class, and should Jones return, the Giant have to protect him.
Round 1 - Pick 6
Mississippi State • 6'5" / 311 lbs
Projected Team
Carolina
PROSPECT RNK
10th
POSITION RNK
4th
Quarterback makes all the sense in the world here, but it's important to remember these two words: Fit matters. Put Mac Jones on the the Jets and he probably looks a lot more like Zach Wilson than a legit Rookie of the Year candidate. So knowing that, the Panthers bolster the offensive line and perhaps find their next franchise QB via free agency or a trade. Cross is a high-upside athletic offensive tackle who had a strong season for Mississippi State.
Round 1 - Pick 7
Iowa • 6'2" / 305 lbs
Projected Team
N.Y. Giants
PROSPECT RNK
5th
POSITION RNK
1st
If new coach Brian Daboll is indeed committed to Daniel Jones, then he'll need to fix the offensive line, even if 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 • 6'3" / 200 lbs
Projected Team
Atlanta
PROSPECT RNK
14th
POSITION RNK
2nd
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 made a legit case to be 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 could stand to freshen up the secondary where former first-rounder A.J. Terrell has been great, but there are plenty of questions otherwise.
Round 1 - Pick 9
Ole Miss • 6'2" / 205 lbs
Projected Team
Denver
PROSPECT RNK
19th
POSITION RNK
2nd
The team fired Vic Fangio after the season and in his final presser, he made it clear that upgrading the QB position was critical, especially in a division where the three other teams have top-flight passers. We'll see what happens either through free agency or via trade but if the Broncos use the draft to target a QB, Corral would be an option here -- he's our top passer, though there's no clear-cut No. 1 like in previous years.
Round 1 - Pick 10
Michigan • 6'4" / 255 lbs
Projected Team
N.Y. Jets
PROSPECT RNK
36th
POSITION RNK
5th
The Jets signed Carl Lawson last offseason but an injury kept him sidelined throughout 2021; that said, there remains a need to beef up the pass-rushers and second-year coach Robert Saleh would love to get his hands on Ojabo, the Michigan standout who is just scratching the surface on his abilities.
Round 1 - Pick 11
Georgia • 5'11" / 231 lbs
Projected Team
Washington
PROSPECT RNK
11th
POSITION RNK
1st
Dean played in 2021 with the type of urgency and physicality that made him one of the best players in college football. He might be undersized but you wouldn't know it to watch him. WFT, where rookie Jamin Davis flashed at times, could use another middle-of-the-field enforcer on a defense that slipped some in '21.
Round 1 - Pick 12
LSU • 6'1" / 195 lbs
Projected Team
Minnesota
PROSPECT RNK
2nd
POSITION RNK
1st
The Vikings have a new general manager, and may have a new head coach by the time you're reading this. Questions remain about the QB position and the depth at wide receiver, but if Stingley is on the board here the Vikings would be hard-pressed to pass him up. The team already parted ways with 2020 first-rounder Jeff Gladney, and Patrick Peterson was on a one-year deal.
Round 1 - Pick 13
Arkansas • 6'2" / 225 lbs
Projected Team
Cleveland
PROSPECT RNK
18th
POSITION RNK
3rd
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. Burks has the size and speed to take over games, which will make life easier for Mayfield and Kevin Stefanski in '22.
Round 1 - Pick 14
Clemson • 6'0" / 194 lbs
Projected Team
Baltimore
PROSPECT RNK
16th
POSITION RNK
3rd
The Ravens' secondary was decimated by injuries this season; Jimmy Smith is in the final year of his deal and Marcus Peters and Tavon Young are set to hit free agency after next season. Booth has all the athleticism and tools to be special, and he balled out for Clemson this season.
Round 1 - Pick 15
Ohio State • 6'0" / 192 lbs
Projected Team
Philadelphia
PROSPECT RNK
7th
POSITION RNK
1st
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. Wilson is one of the the most dynamic players in college football and he'll give Jalen Hurts another downfield option alongside DeVonta Smith.
Round 1 - Pick 16
Utah • 6'3" / 235 lbs
Projected Team
Philadelphia
PROSPECT RNK
17th
POSITION RNK
2nd
Lloyd is a twitched up, sideline-to-sideline player who fits the mold of off-ball linebackers we've seen coming into the league over the last decade. The Eagles might not have a history of taking off-ball linebackers in the first round but that doesn't mean they shouldn't consider it here.
Round 1 - Pick 17
Georgia • 6'5" / 275 lbs
Projected Team
L.A. Chargers
PROSPECT RNK
28th
POSITION RNK
2nd
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 nonstop 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 18
Liberty • 6'1" / 219 lbs
Projected Team
New Orleans
PROSPECT RNK
20th
POSITION RNK
3rd
We have a second-round grade on Willis but -- and stop us if you've heard this already -- that doesn't mean teams looking for a quarterback won't take one 15 to 30 picks before perhaps they should. The Saints will be looking for a new coach and a new QB, assuming, of course, Taysom Hill or Ian Book aren't considered short-term solutions. The team could re-up Jameis Winston, but if the offense is looking for an athletic playmaking QB in the mold of Hill, Willis is an upgrade in every respect -- he'll just need time to grow into the role.
Round 1 - Pick 19
Washington • 5'11" / 195 lbs
Projected Team
Philadelphia
PROSPECT RNK
29th
POSITION RNK
7th
Even though McDuffie balled out on the outside for the Huskies this season, we get Tyrann Mathieu vibes when we watch him. He has the athleticism to line up anywhere and in Philly he'll join a secondary with Darius Slay, Avonte Maddox and not much else because of impending free agency or inexperience.
Round 1 - Pick 20
Pittsburgh • 6'3" / 220 lbs
Projected Team
Pittsburgh
PROSPECT RNK
15th
POSITION RNK
1st
We love what Pickett's accomplished last season but let's be clear: He's not Joe Burrow. He's very, very good, and he deserves to be in the first-round conversation, especially with so many QB-needy teams. Which brings us to the Steelers, who have myriad needs, starting with the offensive line, but who could talk themselves into Pickett here if Plan B involves Mason Rudolph and/or Dwayne Haskins.
Round 1 - Pick 21
USC • 6'4" / 213 lbs
Projected Team
New England
PROSPECT RNK
22nd
POSITION RNK
5th
At 6-foot-5, London was a high-point-catch machine before his '21 season ended prematurely with an ankle injury. He has all the tools to eventually be WR1, and in New England he'd be a welcome addition to a Pats offense that appears to have found its next franchise QB in Mac Jones.
Round 1 - Pick 22
Purdue • 6'4" / 275 lbs
Projected Team
Las Vegas
PROSPECT RNK
8th
POSITION RNK
3rd
Karlaftis adds another dimension to a defensive line that already includes Maxx Crosby. Injuries and the pandemic saw him bounce back in '21 after playing limited snaps in '20 but Karlaftis was nearly impossible to stop in '19 when he recorded 17 TFLs and had 7.5 sacks.
Round 1 - Pick 23
Alabama • 6'1" / 179 lbs
Projected Team
Arizona
PROSPECT RNK
12th
POSITION RNK
2nd
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 next October. The Cardinals, meanwhile, have DeAndre Hopkins (who went down with a late-season injury) and Rondale Moore but Christian Kirk is in the final year of his deal, and Arizona can move on from A.J. Green if it chooses.
Round 1 - Pick 24
Houston • 6'6" / 283 lbs
Projected Team
Dallas
PROSPECT RNK
38th
POSITION RNK
4th
Last spring, some people were surprised Payton Turner made his way into Round 1. Don't be shocked if his Houston teammate, Hall, follows a similar path. He was unblockable at times this season and at 6-foot-6, 275 pounds, he can line up just about anywhere.
Round 1 - Pick 25
Michigan • 6'0" / 192 lbs
Projected Team
Buffalo
PROSPECT RNK
27th
POSITION RNK
6th
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 he can line up anywhere.
Round 1 - Pick 26
Texas A&M • 6'4" / 323 lbs
Projected Team
Tennessee
PROSPECT RNK
13th
POSITION RNK
5th
Green can play either tackle or guard and he has the ability to be a Day 1 starter, which fills a huge need in Tennessee where the O-line was an issue all season.
Round 1 - Pick 27
Auburn • 5'11" / 190 lbs
Projected Team
Tampa Bay
PROSPECT RNK
30th
POSITION RNK
8th
McCreary was the most consistent cornerback in college football this fall, and that's all you want from that position, so while he lacks the high-end athleticism of some of the other names often mentioned as first-round talents, he's rarely out of position and almost always making positive plays for his team.
Round 1 - Pick 28
Georgia • 6'6" / 336 lbs
Projected Team
Green Bay
PROSPECT RNK
24th
POSITION RNK
1st
Kenny Clark remains a bright spot in the middle of the defense in Green Bay but questions remain about the unit. Davis is more than a two-down player and the one-man wrecking crew could go a long way in solving Green Bay's issues slowing up opponents' rushing attacks.
Round 1 - Pick 29
Ohio State • 6'1" / 188 lbs
Projected Team
Miami
PROSPECT RNK
21st
POSITION RNK
4th
Yes, the Dolphins need to hire a head coach; either way, the team should continue to bolster the offensive line but the wide receiver position will need some attention, too; only Jaylen Waddle, DeVante Parker and Allen Hurns are under contract after the '21 season. Olave is one of the best route runners in this class and would give Tua another downfield threat (assuming, of course, Tua remains in the long-term plans).
Round 1 - Pick 30
San Diego State • 6'5" / 290 lbs
Projected Team
Kansas City
PROSPECT RNK
71st
POSITION RNK
7th
Thomas, who can play anywhere along the defensive line, set career bests in tackles for loss (20.5) and sacks (10.5) this season for the Aztecs, and he appears to just be scratching the surface on his abilities. He's as good against the run as he is getting after the quarterback.
Round 1 - Pick 31
Kentucky • 6'5" / 345 lbs
Projected Team
Cincinnati
PROSPECT RNK
43rd
POSITION RNK
10th
The Bengals opted to take Ja'Marr Chase over Penei Sewell and it was the right move, even though Sewell has shown well in Detroit. But they still need to make protecting Joe Burrow a priority. Kinnard is a mauler who plays with an edge and he can wreak havoc as both a run- and pass-blocker. He may have to kick inside but either way, Cincy's O-line has been an issue all season.
Round 1 - Pick 32
Cincinnati • 6'1" / 210 lbs
Cook reminds us of Richie Grant, and is more versatile than Raiders 2017 first-rounder Richie Grant. He's incredibly effective against the run, and can line up in the box, in the slot or in center field. In Detroit, two safeties are headed for free agency, another is a restricted free agent, and another has just one year left on his contract. Adding depth in the secondary will be a priority this offseason.