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USATSI

Prior to this week, we had Washington taking Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral in five straight mock drafts -- all outside the top five -- mostly because while we like Corral and the progress he's made from the 2020 season, but he's not a top five talent. That's no slight against Corral; he has run Lane Kiffin's offense flawlessly, and the improvements from a year ago are hard to miss.

But if Corral were in the 2021 draft class, he'd be QB6. The good news is proclaiming him "QB6" doesn't mean much because it's so incredibly difficult to project how passers will fare in the NFL. As we see here, just past the halfway point of the NFL season, Mac Jones (15th overall to the Pats) is QB1 while Zach Wilson (2nd overall to the Jets) has looked like a fourth-round pick (though, we'd imagine, this has as much to do with playing on a struggling Jets team as it does with Wilson not yet flashing that first-round potential).

Knowing all this, we have Corral going fourth overall to the Texans, who are fresh off a huge win over the Titans in a game where Tyrod Taylor looked much like the veteran starter Houston was hoping for. But Taylor isn't the long-term solution, and if the organization likes Corral, it makes sense to take him, even if that means overdrafting him by 5 to 10 spots.

In other quarterback news, the Steelers keep Kenny Pickett in Pittsburgh, while the Lions used their second first-round pick on Carson Strong, whose first-round fate will be determined by the health of his right knee.

And for the first time this mock-draft season, we have three Michigan defenders going in Round 1.

Alright, keep reading to see how all 32 picks unfold.

One other thing, and this is important: now that we're past the midway point of the season, we're using the 2022 NFL Draft order (via tankathon, with results prior to Monday's game) to determine selections 1-32 below.

Josh Edwards, Chris Trapasso and I do a weekly draft show on YouTube and you can watch this week's episode here

NFL Mock Draft
Round 1
Round 1 - Pick 1
Oregon • Soph • 6'5" / 258 lbs
Projected Team
Detroit
PROSPECT RNK
2nd
POSITION RNK
1st
The Lions would probably love to trade out of this pick 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, the Oregon pass-rusher remains the choice here.
Round 1 - Pick 2
Alabama • Jr • 6'7" / 350 lbs
Projected Team
N.Y. Jets
PROSPECT RNK
7th
POSITION RNK
3rd
Neal isn't our No. 2 prospect but that doesn't mean he doesn't fill a huge need in New York. The Jets have to protect Zach Wilson (once he gets healthy) -- this should be the mantra to begin every draft meeting the team has. Neal is an athletic marvel who has excelled at several O-line positions for the Crimson Tide.
Round 1 - Pick 3
NC State • Soph • 6'4" / 320 lbs
Projected Team
Jacksonville
PROSPECT RNK
4th
POSITION RNK
1st
Ekwonu is one of our favorite players in this draft class. There's talk 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 Jags need.
Round 1 - Pick 4
Ole Miss • Jr • 6'2" / 205 lbs
Projected Team
Houston
PROSPECT RNK
1st
POSITION RNK
1st
We haven't had a QB go this high since our Sept. 13 mock draft, and we understand that the Texans and Tyrod Taylor are coming off a huge win over the Titans, but for as good as Taylor has been when he's healthy, he's not Houston's franchise QB going forward. And if the Texans are convinced that one of the quarterbacks in this class can serve as a big red reset button, then it's probably worth rolling the dice. Corral is the best QB in this class and he was much-improved in '21 after a solid '20 campaign.
Round 1 - Pick 5
LSU • Jr • 6'1" / 195 lbs
Projected Team
N.Y. Jets
PROSPECT RNK
3rd
POSITION RNK
1st
The Jets already addressed the offensive line so here they take the best CB in this class, and perhaps in any of the recent draft classes. Stingley hasn't played since suffering an injury last month but that will have zero impact on his draft stock.
Round 1 - Pick 6
Michigan • Sr • 6'6" / 265 lbs
Projected Team
N.Y. Giants
PROSPECT RNK
12th
POSITION RNK
1st
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 one of the best players -- on either side of the ball -- in the country during the '21 college football season.
Round 1 - Pick 7
Notre Dame • Jr • 6'4" / 219 lbs
Projected Team
N.Y. Giants
PROSPECT RNK
27th
POSITION RNK
3rd
The Giants have young safeties Xavier McKinney and Julian Love, but that doesn't mean there isn't room in the secondary for Hamilton, too. He's a 6-4, 220-pound version of Ed Reed -- a sideline-to-sideline ball hawk -- and that makes him a Day 1 impact player.
Round 1 - Pick 8
Clemson • Jr • 6'0" / 200 lbs
Projected Team
Philadelphia
PROSPECT RNK
5th
POSITION RNK
2nd
The Eagles are on track for three first-round picks, which means there's a great opportunity to address their defense. First up: cornerback. Booth has all the athleticism and tools to be special, and he has balled out for Clemson this season.
Round 1 - Pick 9
Texas A&M • Jr • 6'4" / 325 lbs
Projected Team
Atlanta
PROSPECT RNK
10th
POSITION RNK
1st
The Falcons have needs on both sides of the ball, starting with what Matt Ryan's future is with the team. Whoever ends up under center, the offensive line has to play with more consistency. Green can play either tackle or guard and he has the ability to be a Day 1 starter.
Round 1 - Pick 10
Ohio State • Jr • 6'0" / 192 lbs
Projected Team
Washington
PROSPECT RNK
8th
POSITION RNK
1st
WFT needs a long-term answer at QB, which is why we've typically had them targeting Matt Corral here. But he's off the board and, to his credit, Taylor Heinicke has played well in recent weeks. Instead Washington decides to bolster the wide receiver corps, where Terry McLaurin remains WR1. Of course, the hope is that Curtis Samuel will indeed be an impact player, but even if that happens, there's still plenty of room for Wilson in the offense.
Round 1 - Pick 11
Georgia • Jr • 6'0" / 225 lbs
Projected Team
Philadelphia
PROSPECT RNK
9th
POSITION RNK
1st
Dean plays with the type of urgency and physicality that has been lacking at times in the middle of this Eagles defense. And while Dean's playing on the best defense in the country, don't be fooled -- he's not riding on the coattails of a dominant defensive line -- he's been a huge reason for its success.
Round 1 - Pick 12
Mississippi State • Soph • 6'5" / 310 lbs
Projected Team
Carolina
PROSPECT RNK
11th
POSITION RNK
2nd
Quarterback makes all the sense in the world here, especially since the Panthers appear to be out of the running for Deshaun Watson. But again, if Corral is already off the board, Carolina will have to reach for a passer here. Instead, the Panthers bolster the offensive line. Cross is a high-upside athletic offensive tackle who is having a strong season for Mississippi State.
Round 1 - Pick 13
Georgia • Soph • 6'6" / 330 lbs
Projected Team
Denver
PROSPECT RNK
26th
POSITION RNK
4th
Davis has consistently been a one-man wrecking crew for Georgia this season and he'll likely go much higher than this even if he doesn't offer much as a pass-rusher. He's a pocket collapser, which, on some level, transcends the play call.
Round 1 - Pick 14
Iowa • Jr • 6'3" / 290 lbs
Projected Team
Miami
PROSPECT RNK
24th
POSITION RNK
6th
The Dolphins' offensive line woes aren't from constantly trying to upgrade the position the last few years. It just hasn't happened yet, and until it does, the team will continue to make upgrades. Linderbaum is one of the best offensive linemen in the country, and he's ever bit the top 10 pick, so landing him at No. 14 should be considered a steal.
Round 1 - Pick 15
Texas A&M • Jr • 6'4" / 290 lbs
Projected Team
Las Vegas
PROSPECT RNK
6th
POSITION RNK
2nd
Leal hasn't been as dominant in '21 as he was in '20 but not only does he easily pass the eye test, he's proven he can take over games against some of the best players in the country. Originally a defensive end, Leal, at 6-foot-4, 290, has the versatility and athleticism to play up and down the line, he just needs to play with more consistency from one play to the next.
Round 1 - Pick 16
Purdue • Jr • 6'4" / 275 lbs
Projected Team
Philadelphia
PROSPECT RNK
15th
POSITION RNK
2nd
Karlaftis adds another dimension to the defensive line. Injuries and the pandemic saw him play 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 17
Alabama • Jr • 6'2" / 189 lbs
Projected Team
Cleveland
PROSPECT RNK
13th
POSITION RNK
3rd
Williams had to transfer from Ohio State to Alabama to get playing time (think about that) and he's taken full advantage of his opportunities. In Cleveland, the Browns don't have much depth at wide receiver and Williams, who has been unstoppable against SEC defenders, has put his name into the first-round conversation.
Round 1 - Pick 18
Pittsburgh • Sr • 6'3" / 220 lbs
Projected Team
Pittsburgh
PROSPECT RNK
33rd
POSITION RNK
5th
We love what Pickett's accomplished this season but we also didn't give him a first-round grade. But that doesn't mean he hasn't had a fantastic season, or that he'll end up being among the first 32 selections. It's hard to imagine 39-year-old Ben Roethlisberger returns for another season and if he doesn't, Mason Rudolph has yet to prove he's earned the starting gig behind him. Pickett, meanwhile, will continue to make his case over the final few games of the season and then, of course, the pre-draft process that will likely include a Senior Bowl appearance.
Round 1 - Pick 19
USC • Jr • 6'5" / 210 lbs
Projected Team
New Orleans
PROSPECT RNK
20th
POSITION RNK
1st
London, was one of the few bright spots in a disappointing USC season, is sidelined with a fractured ankle. And while he won't run a 4.3 when healthy, London is a high-point-catch machine who can take over games; he'd be a welcome addition in New Orleans, even though the quarterback situation remains unsettled.
Round 1 - Pick 20
Auburn • Sr • 6'0" / 190 lbs
Projected Team
Minnesota
PROSPECT RNK
18th
POSITION RNK
3rd
The team has already parted ways with 2020 first-rounder Jeff Gladney, and Patrick Peterson is on a one-year deal. Wide receiver could also be an option here but stockpiling defensive backs is never a bad strategy, and McCreary, who has gotten better each year against some of the best WRs in the country, is having a great season for the Tigers.
Round 1 - Pick 21
Washington • Jr • 6'7" / 310 lbs
Projected Team
Buffalo
PROSPECT RNK
36th
POSITION RNK
4th
Josh Allen and the offense hasn't been nearly as consistent as it was a season ago and part of that is due to issues with the O-line. Kirkland has been the cornerstone of the Huskies' offensive line and has a chance to be a first-round talent.
Round 1 - Pick 22
Arkansas • Jr • 6'3" / 225 lbs
Projected Team
L.A. Chargers
PROSPECT RNK
23rd
POSITION RNK
5th
At 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, Burks is a Grown Man. He has all the tools to eventually be WR1, as was evidenced Saturday afternoon when Alabama had no answers for him. In L.A., only receivers Keenan Allen and rookie Josh Palmer are under contract after the season, and if Mike Williams isn't in the Chargers' long-term plans, Burks wouldn't be a bad consolation prize.
Round 1 - Pick 23
Kentucky • Sr • 6'5" / 345 lbs
Projected Team
Cincinnati
PROSPECT RNK
28th
POSITION RNK
4th
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 at the next level but his ability to open holes in the running game makes him an immediate asset for the Bengals' offense.
Round 1 - Pick 24
Cincinnati • Jr • 6'2" / 188 lbs
Projected Team
Tampa Bay
PROSPECT RNK
17th
POSITION RNK
3rd
Carlton Davis and Richard Sherman will be free agents after the season and no CB currently on the roster is signed beyond the '22 season. Gardner, meanwhile, is a long, press corner who fits Todd Bowles' system.
Round 1 - Pick 25
Penn State • Sr • 5'11" / 184 lbs
Projected Team
Kansas City
PROSPECT RNK
29th
POSITION RNK
5th
The Chiefs' offense certainly appears to much closer to the group we're used to seeing, and with only Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman under contract after the season, why not give them another athletic marvel. Dotson has been electric this season for the Nittany Lions, and he threatens the defense at all three levels. He's not going to break a lot of tackles but that assumes defenders are able to get their hands on him; he's as fast as he is elusive, and a legit home run threat every time he touches the ball.
Round 1 - Pick 26
Ohio State • Sr • 6'1" / 188 lbs
Projected Team
New England
PROSPECT RNK
37th
POSITION RNK
7th
Olave is a polished route runner who would give Mac Jones some much-needed options beyond free agent acquisitions, Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne, especially with Jakobi Meyers in the final year of his rookie deal.
Round 1 - Pick 27
Nevada • Jr • 6'4" / 215 lbs
Projected Team
Detroit
PROSPECT RNK
16th
POSITION RNK
2nd
How healthy is Strong's knee? With a clean bill of health he'd be in the running for our QB1, but if NFL teams feel differently -- and some have legit concerns -- he could fall out of the first round altogether. Assuming Strong is healthy, the Lions would have to consider him here.
Round 1 - Pick 28
Michigan • Jr • 6'0" / 192 lbs
Projected Team
Dallas
PROSPECT RNK
25th
POSITION RNK
2nd
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 the best safety in the class after Hamilton.
Round 1 - Pick 29
Washington • Soph • 5'11" / 195 lbs
Projected Team
Baltimore
PROSPECT RNK
50th
POSITION RNK
3rd
Even though McDuffie plays cornerback, we get Tyrann Mathieu vibes when we watch him. We love him as a slot corner who serves as an enforcer in run support and locks down short and intermediate routes, something he does regularly for the Huskies.
Round 1 - Pick 30
Utah • Jr • 6'3" / 235 lbs
Projected Team
Green Bay
PROSPECT RNK
19th
POSITION RNK
2nd
Lloyd is a twitchy, sideline-to-sideline player who fits the mold of off-ball linebackers we've seen coming into the league the last 7-8 years, and while De'Vondre Campbell has been effective for the Packers this season, there's not much depth behind him.
Round 1 - Pick 31
Michigan • Jr • 6'5" / 250 lbs
Projected Team
Tennessee
PROSPECT RNK
21st
POSITION RNK
2nd
The Titans' defense has been much-improved this season but the entire unit was invisible against the Texans on Sunday. It didn't help that Bud Dupree found his way to IR. Ojabo has been a lot of fun to watch this season where he's taken advantage of every opportunity playing opposite Aidan Hutchinson. But don't get it twisted -- he's a twitchy edge rusher who will only get better.
Round 1 - Pick 32
Florida • Jr • 6'2" / 196 lbs
Projected Team
Arizona
PROSPECT RNK
22nd
POSITION RNK
4th
It's been a forgettable season for the Gators but it will be hard to pass on a cornerback of Elam's talents here. He has the size (6-foot-2, 190) and athleticism to be one of the best draft-eligible corners in '21.