The NFL season is over, the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine are in the books, the wheels are already moving on free agency and pro days are in full swing as well. Put differently: all the mock drafts we've done up to this moment are about to be rendered moot as teams begin the process of reshaping their 2022 rosters.
But the point of mock drafts isn't about nailing every single pick six, five, four, even two months out from the actual draft, but instead about giving passionate fans something to be, well, passionate about. With that in mind, it's our first (of many) multi-round mock drafts. This one's a three-rounder, and for the first time since early fall, we have quarterback Sam Howell making an appearance among the top 32 picks.
(Confession: Back in November, we re-watched UNC's lackluster season-opening effort vs. Virginia Tech and had some serious doubts about Howell's game without much help around him. But last week, we finally got around to studying three more of his games and now feel much better about what he was able to do and how that might translate to the next level.)
All told, three quarterbacks go in Round 1, with another in Round 2 and two more in Round 3. Meanwhile, five defensive backs, six edge rushers and eight offensive linemen all go in the first round. As for all 103 picks (including third-round compensatory selections), the Lions, Jets and Giants are on the clock five times each while the Rams and Panthers are each on the clock just once.
OK, let's get to it. Keep reading to see how all three rounds play out.
Round 1 - Pick 2
Aidan Hutchinson EDGE
Michigan • Soph • 6'7" / 268 lbs
Hutchinson told us at the combine that the folks who think he's reached his ceiling are, to put it politely, grossly misinformed. He's 21, is coming off a monster '21 campaign, and also tested through the roof. He's the safest pick in this class.
Round 1 - Pick 3
Evan Neal OL
Alabama • Soph • 6'7" / 350 lbs
By the time you read this, Deshaun Watson could have been traded, but there was no scenario where he was going to be the Texans QB in 2022. That job belongs to Davis Mills, and adding O-line depth would make the most sense here. Neal didn't work out at the combine, but some teams will have him as OT1 -- and we get it -- and he's a safe pick here at No. 3.
Round 1 - Pick 4
Mississippi State • Soph • 6'5" / 311 lbs
Cross plays in Mike Leach's Air Raid offense, which means he's not asked to do a lot of run blocking. And he'll tell you that's one of the things he wants to improve, even though he was very good in that area last season (and prior to Leach's arrival). Either way, Cross' athleticism shines through and that, coupled with his strength, makes him a top-10 draft day target.
Round 1 - Pick 5
Kayvon Thibodeaux EDGE
Oregon • Soph • 6'5" / 258 lbs
The talk that Thibodeaux doesn't love football is just that. He proved it during his Oregon career, plus, as one team put it to us: "Maybe we're overthinking this one." Bottom line: Thibodeaux has game-changing talents and should be among the first players drafted. The Giants would love OL help here but fixing the DL isn't a bad backup plan.
Round 1 - Pick 6
Notre Dame • Soph • 6'4" / 220 lbs
Carolina would love an offensive linemen here but with three off the board they'll have to redirect their efforts. QB makes the most sense, and that could be the pick here if they don't make a move for Deshaun Watson and address the O-line in free agency. For now, though, they're taking Kyle Hamilton, who has Ed Reed-type instincts in center field, though he can line up anywhere.
From Chicago Bears
Round 1 - Pick 7
Devin Lloyd LB
Utah • Soph • 6'3" / 235 lbs
The Giants still need OL help but Lloyd is a special talent. We were impressed by him during the '21 season and nothing changed at the combine. He's the prototypical off-ball linebacker in today's NFL (pay no attention to his 4.7-something 40 times -- he plays immeasurably faster), and it's like he was built in a lab. This may seem high but, well, it's not.
Round 1 - Pick 8
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 a 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. He's just scratching the surface on how could he can be and his combine performance -- a 4.51 40, a vertical of 35.5 inches and a mind-boggling 3-cone of 6.89 seconds -- certainly doesn't hurt.
From Denver Broncos
Round 1 - Pick 9
Malik Willis QB
Liberty • Soph • 6'1" / 219 lbs
We've been upfront about Wills: we have a second-round grade on him based on his body of work in college, but that doesn't mean teams looking for a quarterback won't take one a round or so before they should. Willis had a great week at the Senior Bowl and reports are that he interviewed well in Indy. He's built like Russell Wilson but obviously in much rawer form. Unfortunately he won't get time to grow into the job in Seattle, but he has the physical tools to be the best passer in this class, all he needs is experience.
From Seattle Seahawks
Round 1 - Pick 10
Cincinnati • Soph • 6'3" / 200 lbs
The Jets get better on both sides of the ball with their two top-10 picks; Gardner is a long, physical corner who can run with any WR he goes up against. He didn't give up a single TD during his career and in '21 he was as close to shutdown as you're going to see.
Round 1 - Pick 11
Ohio State • Soph • 6'0" / 192 lbs
We're not gonna lie -- trading for Carson Wentz was underwhelming. But what's done is done; Terry McLaurin is one of the best young players in the league but he's also in the final year of his rookie deal. And while Curtis Samuel is entering Year 2, he didn't exactly set the world on fire in '21. Wilson, meanwhile, is one of the the most dynamic players in college football and his game in many ways reminds us of Odell Beckham Jr.
Round 1 - Pick 12
Jermaine Johnson II EDGE
Florida State • Soph • 6'5" / 262 lbs
After transferring from Georgia, Johnson had a fantastic season at Florida State. And he told us at the combine that he felt like he had something to prove going from the SEC to the ACC. Well, he did that and then some, then he dominated the Senior Bowl, and followed that up with an electric workout in Indy. The Vikings need help at CB, and that could be an option here, but with rumors swirling of a Danielle Hunter trade on the horizon, beefing up edge rusher makes sense here too.
Round 1 - Pick 13
Drake London WR
USC • Soph • 6'4" / 213 lbs
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 be WR1. Yes, the Browns traded for Amari Cooper over the weekend, but Jarvis Landry has also been granted permission to seek a trade. Put another way: WR remains a need in Cleveland.
Round 1 - Pick 14
LSU • Soph • 6'0" / 190 lbs
Stingley didn't work out at the combine as he recovers from a foot injury, and he only played three games in '21, but it's hard to forget just how dominant he was in '19 as a freshman, where he spent practices going up against Justin Jefferson, Ja'Marr Chase, Terrace Marshall and Racey McMath. He's a ball hawk, not to mention an asset in the return game, and he'll only last this long because hasn't played a lot of football in the last 12 months. He shouldn't last this long, but if he does the Ravens won't wait around.
From Miami Dolphins
Round 1 - Pick 15
Nakobe Dean LB
Georgia • Soph • 5'11" / 231 lbs
This continues to be 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 '21 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 their 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
David Ojabo EDGE
Michigan • Soph • 6'4" / 265 lbs
David Ojabo isn't a finished product -- he didn't come to the States until 2015 -- and that's what makes him so exciting. He was incredibly disruptive for Michigan last season and he's only going to get better once he understands what he's supposed to be doing, which won't take long for the Academic All-American.
Round 1 - Pick 17
Jordan Davis DL
Georgia • Soph • 6'6" / 336 lbs
Davis dropped some weight, showed up at the combine and at 6-foot-6, 341 pounds, ran the 40 in 4.78 seconds, had a 32-inch vertical, and a broad jump of 10 feet, 3 inches -- and oh, by the way, he was a one-man wrecking crew in the SEC. It's easy to say Davis is a two-down player but his obvious strength and surprising speed make a legit three-down threat who just needs to refine his pass-rush arsenal beyond the bull rush. The biggest question is if he can keep his weight down, which directly correlates to his stamina and his ability to stay on the field.
Round 1 - Pick 18
Georgia • Soph • 6'3" / 304 lbs
Wyatt is another player who changed some minds with his Senior Bowl week and he continued to convince folks of his first-round talents by putting on a show at the combine. Incredibly quick off the snap and powerful once he gets going, he can be unstoppable when he's on his game. The Saints have needs at QB (Jameis Winston could be re-upped) and wide receiver, but there is little-to-no depth along the interior defensive line and Wyatt solves that here.
Round 1 - Pick 19
Washington • Soph • 5'11" / 193 lbs
Even though McDuffie balled out on the outside for the Huskies this season, we get Tyrann Matthieu vibes when we watch him. He has the athleticism to line up anywhere -- and he told us at the combine that he can do just that at the next level. 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
Sam Howell QB
North Carolina • Soph • 6'1" / 220 lbs
The more we watch Howell the more we like. He carried the Tar Heels in '21, after losing his two best WRs and two best RBs to the NFL. It wasn't pretty at times, but he has the arm strength and the athleticism coach Mike Tomlin has talked about wanting in his QB, and there's no reason for him to be rushed onto the field in '22, where Mason Rudolph and/or Dwayne Haskins will have first dibs on earning the job.
Round 1 - Pick 21
Alabama • Soph • 6'1" / 180 lbs
Williams tore his ACL in the national title game but he's still one of the best players in this draft class, should be ready to contribute next October, and if not for the injury he's likely the first wideout off the board. The Patriots receivers improved from '20 to '21 but there's still some work to be done there.
Round 1 - Pick 22
Kenyon Green OL
Texas A&M • Soph • 6'4" / 323 lbs
Green can play outside or inside and at Texas A&M he lined up against some of the best defensive linemen and edge rushers in the country. Yes, the Raiders used a first-round pick on Alex Leatherwood in '21, but he struggled when moved inside to guard. If Josh McDaniels' offense is going to work, the offensive line has to be a cohesive unit, even if that means doubling down on the unit with back-to-back first-rounders.
Round 1 - Pick 23
Zion Johnson OL
Boston College • Soph • 6'3" / 316 lbs
It appears Kyler Murray and the Cards will patch up whatever social-media-manufactured issues remain between then, and then patching up the OL should be No. 2 on the to-do list. Zion Johnson is another player who went 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 at several positions.
Round 1 - Pick 24
Iowa • Soph • 6'2" / 305 lbs
Tyler Biadasz was good at times last season but there's certainly room for upgrading the interior OL. And if Tyler Linderbaum is still on the board, this is a layup for the front office. Linderbaum is one of the best offensive linemen, even at center, and he could certainly go much higher than this.
Round 1 - Pick 25
Clemson • Soph • 6'0" / 194 lbs
Andrew Booth had a strong '21 season for Clemson and he's only going to get better with experience. With Tre White returning from ACL surgery, the Bills would have the makings of one of the most athletic secondaries in the AFC.
Round 1 - Pick 26
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), and once he puts it altogether he could be special.
Round 1 - Pick 27
Chris Olave WR
Ohio State • Soph • 6'0" / 187 lbs
Tom Brady suddenly coming out of retirement changes the Bucs' offseason in a big way. They did franchise Chris Godwin, and Mike Evans is still dominant, but there's not much else in the WR cupboard when it comes to experience or proven playmaking abilities. Olave is one of the best route runners in the class and he'll make life easier for whomever ends up under center in Tampa.
Round 1 - Pick 28
Arkansas • Soph • 6'2" / 225 lbs
Burks is a contested and high-point catch machine. Don't be fooled by his 4.55 40 at the combine -- he regularly outran defensive backs to the end zone in the SEC and that won't change in the NFL. The scariest part of his game is that he's not even close to his ceiling yet, and what better way to get there than in Green Bay.
From San Francisco 49ers
Round 1 - Pick 29
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 at 6-foot-6, 275 pounds, he can line up just about anywhere. The Dolphins have depth along the defensive line but many of those contracts will be up after the '22 season. So while the team would love to continue to add offensive linemen or even a wide receiver, Hall isn't a reach and more importantly, he fills a need.
Round 1 - Pick 30
George Karlaftis EDGE
Purdue • Soph • 6'4" / 263 lbs
The defense got better over the course of the season but the Chiefs need to do a better job getting after the quarterback. Karlaftis looks the part, and flashed at times last season for Purdue. If he can play with more consistency he could end up as a steal at this point in the draft process.
Round 1 - Pick 31
Kentucky • Soph • 6'5" / 322 lbs
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. Darian 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 was an issue all season.
From Los Angeles Rams
Round 1 - Pick 32
Pittsburgh • Soph • 6'3" / 220 lbs
Admittedly, we've been all over the board with where Pickett might end up. And the truth is that we love what he accomplished last season. He's a leader, coming off an impressive '21 season for the Panthers, and he ripped off a 4.73 40 at the combine, which betters Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes' times. In the meantime, the Lions have Jared Goff for at least another season, are building on what coach Dan Campbell accomplished in Year 1, and Pickett can have time to ease into the job.
33. Jacksonville: Boye Mafe, EDGE, Minnesota
34. Detroit: Daxton Hill, S, Michigan
35. NY Jets: George Pickens, WR, Georgia
36. NY Giants: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
37. Houston: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
38. NY Jets (via CAR): Cam Thomas, EDGE, San Diego St.
39. Chicago: Lewis Cine, S, Georgia
40. Seattle (via DEN): Tyler Smith, OT, Tulsa
41. Seattle: Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington
42. Indianapolis (via WSH): Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
43. Atlanta: Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota St.
44. Cleveland: Travis Jones, DT, UConn
45. Baltimore: Bernard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan
46. Minnesota: Jalen Pitre, S, Baylor
47. Washington (via IND): Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State
48. Chicago (via LAC): Nicholas Petit-Frere, OT, Ohio State
49. New Orleans: Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
50. Miami: Ken Walker, RB, Michigan State
51. Philadelphia: Trey McBride, TE, Colorado State
52. Pittsburgh: Christian Harris, LB, Alabama
53. Las Vegas: Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn
54. New England: Chad Muma, LB, Wyoming
55. Arizona: Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State
56. Dallas: Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan
57. Buffalo: Arnold Ebiketie , EDGE, Penn State
58. Atlanta (via TEN): Derion Kendrick, CB, Georgia
59. Green Bay: Nik Bonitto, EDGE, Oklahoma
60. Tampa Bay: Dylan Parham, OG, Memphis
61. San Francisco: Bryan Cook, S, Cincinnati
62. Kansas City: Tariq Woolen, CB, UTSA
63. Cincinnati: Martin Emerson, CB, Mississippi St.
64. Denver (via LAR): Brian Asamoah, LB, Oklahoma
65. Jacksonville: Jalen Tolbert, WR, South Alabama
66. Detroit: Troy Andersen, LB, Montana State
67. NY Giants: Chris Paul, OL, Tulsa
68. Houston: Kingsley Enagbare, EDGE, South Carolina
69. NY Jets: Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M
70. Jacksonville (via CAR): Quay Walker, LB, Georgia
71. Chicago: Calvin Austin III, WR, Memphis
72. Seattle: Cole Strange, OG, UT-Chattanooga
73. Indianapolis (via WSH): Luke Goedeke, OT, Central Michigan
74. Atlanta: Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
75. Denver: Myjai Sanders, EDGE, Cincinnati
76. Baltimore: Sam Williams, EDGE, Ole Miss
77. Minnesota: Max Mitchell, OT, Louisiana
78. Cleveland: Coby Bryant, CB, Cincinnati
79. LA Chargers: Khalil Shakir, WR, Boise State
80. Houston (via NO): Dameon Pierce, RB, Florida
81. NY Giants (via MIA): Jeremy Ruckert, TE, Ohio State
82. Indianapolis: Phil Mathis, DL, Alabama
83. Philadelphia: Kerby Joseph, S, Illinois
84. Pittsburgh: Rasheed Walker, OT, Penn State
85. New England: Marcus Jones, CB, Houston
86. Las Vegas: Wan'Dale Robinson, WR, Kentucky
87. Arizona: DeMarvin Leal, DL, Texas A&M
88. Dallas: Leo Chenal, LB, Wisconsin
89. Buffalo: John Metchie, WR, Alabama
90. Tennessee: Michael Clemons, EDGE, Texas A&M
91. Tampa Bay: Nick Cross, S, Maryland
92. Green Bay: Perrion Winfrey, DL, Oklahoma
93. San Francisco: Luke Fortner, OC, Kentucky
94. Kansas City: Kalia Davis, DT, UCF
95. Cincinnati: Eyioma Uwazurike, DT, Iowa State
96. Denver (via LAR): Alontae Taylor, CB, Tennessee
97*. Detroit: David Bell, WR, Purdue
98*. Cleveland: Drake Jackson, EDGE, USC
99*. Baltimore: Jamaree Salyer, OL, Georgia
100*. New Orleans: Carson Strong, QB, Nevada
101*. Miami (via SF): Chasen Hines, OL, LSU
102*. Kansas City: Juanyeh Thomas, S, Georgia Tech
103*. LA Rams: Logan Bruss, OL, Wisconsin