jaxon-smith-njigba.jpg
USATSI

With NFL free agency here, first-round draft needs are crystalizing for every team around the league, but some murkiness still remains. 

On the quarterback front, we still await the Aaron Rodgers decision, but signs do point to him signing with the New York Jets, or at least Gang Green's reported interest in the likes of Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, and even Marcedes Lewis indicate they're rolling out the red carpet for Rodgers. 

There are still some quarterback dominoes yet to fall, of course. For this mock, I have the quarterback carousel as follows:

  • Aaron Rodgers traded to the New York Jets
  • Lamar Jackson plays for the Ravens on the franchise tag in 2023

After previous mocks explored scenarios in which Jackson plays on a different team next season, let's check on the ripple effect it'd have on the rest of the league if Jackson does return to the Ravens.  

One more note: There will only be 31 first-round picks this year because the Dolphins were stripped of their selection due to tampering.

Let's get to the picks!

NFL Mock Draft
Round 1
Round 1 - Pick 1
Florida • Soph • 6'4" / 244 lbs
Projected Team
Carolina
PROSPECT RNK
9th
POSITION RNK
4th
Andy Dalton acting as the bridge in Carolina to Anthony Richardson starting by November? Yessir.
Round 1 - Pick 2
Alabama • Soph • 5'10" / 204 lbs
Projected Team
Houston
PROSPECT RNK
2nd
POSITION RNK
1st
The Texans upgrade the quarterback position in a big way with Young, who has all the improvisational brilliance to succeed in today's NFL.
  Mock Trade from Arizona Cardinals
Round 1 - Pick 3
Kentucky • Soph • 6'4" / 229 lbs
Projected Team
Washington
PROSPECT RNK
6th
POSITION RNK
2nd
Levis is a big, strong, physical specimen at quarterback with a strong arm and plus running ability. Ron Rivera likes that type.
Round 1 - Pick 4
Ohio State • Soph • 6'3" / 218 lbs
Projected Team
Indianapolis
PROSPECT RNK
4th
POSITION RNK
2nd
The Colts are ecstatic that they land Stroud without having to move any extra selections.
Round 1 - Pick 5
Texas Tech • Soph • 6'6" / 275 lbs
Projected Team
Seattle
PROSPECT RNK
6th
POSITION RNK
2nd
The Seahawks landed stud interior pass-rusher Dre'Mont Jones in free agency and pair him with the long, bendy, athletic edge-rusher Wilson at No. 5 overall.
Round 1 - Pick 6
Georgia • Soph • 6'3" / 314 lbs
Projected Team
Detroit
PROSPECT RNK
8th
POSITION RNK
3rd
The Lions can't pass on the talent of Carter here, even with his off-field concerns.
Round 1 - Pick 7
Alabama • Soph • 6'4" / 243 lbs
Projected Team
Las Vegas
PROSPECT RNK
1st
POSITION RNK
1st
Does this fill the most immediate need on the Raiders roster? Absolutely not -- hello, Maxx Crosby -- but Anderson is too talented and was too productive in college for Las Vegas to pass on him here.
Round 1 - Pick 8
Georgia • Soph • 6'2" / 238 lbs
Projected Team
Atlanta
PROSPECT RNK
9th
POSITION RNK
1st
Smith's monster combine catapults him into the Top 10 to a team that desperately needs more juice at the edge-rusher spot.
Round 1 - Pick 9
Iowa • Soph • 6'5" / 272 lbs
Projected Team
Chicago
PROSPECT RNK
3rd
POSITION RNK
1st
Van Ness is a young, long and athletic outside pass rusher with plenty of size. Perfect addition to the Bears defense.
Round 1 - Pick 10
Oregon • Soph • 6'2" / 205 lbs
Projected Team
Philadelphia
PROSPECT RNK
32nd
POSITION RNK
6th
Gonzalez is an immediate replacement for the now released Darius Slay. Similar cornerbacks too. Plenty of length and athleticism.
Round 1 - Pick 11
Georgia • Soph • 6'5" / 311 lbs
Projected Team
Tennessee
PROSPECT RNK
31st
POSITION RNK
5th
Jones is super strong and athletic with his best football in front of him. After his combine workout, he probably solidified himself as OT1 in this class.
Round 1 - Pick 12
Clemson • Soph • 6'5" / 305 lbs
Projected Team
Houston
PROSPECT RNK
31st
POSITION RNK
3rd
This may feel a tick early for Bresee, but the Texans bet on his upside and high-level traits.
Round 1 - Pick 13
Ohio State • Soph • 6'6" / 313 lbs
Projected Team
N.Y. Jets
PROSPECT RNK
14th
POSITION RNK
2nd
Johnson is a super long, athletic blocker who feels very NFL-ready at the left or right tackle spot. The Jets give up their second- and third-round picks in 2023 and 2024 along with Elijah Moore in the Rodgers deal.
Round 1 - Pick 14
Ohio State • Soph • 6'0" / 197 lbs
Projected Team
New England
PROSPECT RNK
21st
POSITION RNK
1st
The Patriots have to get more dynamic at receiver and Smith-Njigba is exactly that type of wideout, particularly in space. Bill Belichick will love his short-area quickness and how well he tested in the agility drills at the combine.
Round 1 - Pick 15
Utah • Soph • 6'4" / 240 lbs
Projected Team
Green Bay
PROSPECT RNK
24th
POSITION RNK
2nd
Kincaid is the most gifted pure receiving tight end in this class, and he'll be an immediate favorite target for Jordan Love.
  Mock Trade from Washington Commanders
Round 1 - Pick 16
Maryland • Soph • 6'2" / 205 lbs
Projected Team
Arizona
PROSPECT RNK
33rd
POSITION RNK
6th
The Cardinals have holes galore on their roster and add a long, speedy outside cornerback for the first pick of the Monti Ossenfort era. In the massive trade down, the Cardinals receive this pick, Washington's 2023 second-round selection (No. 47 overall), third-round selection (No. 97) and a first and second in 2024.
Round 1 - Pick 17
Pittsburgh • Soph • 6'0" / 280 lbs
Projected Team
Pittsburgh
PROSPECT RNK
40th
POSITION RNK
4th
Kancey is the Javon Hargrave replacement the Steelers have missed for the past few seasons.
Round 1 - Pick 18
Clemson • Soph • 6'5" / 275 lbs
Projected Team
Detroit
PROSPECT RNK
5th
POSITION RNK
1st
A three-down defensive end with massive size and pass-rushing flashes, this is another in-the-trenches selection for GM Brad Holmes.
Round 1 - Pick 19
Tennessee • Soph • 6'6" / 333 lbs
Projected Team
Tampa Bay
PROSPECT RNK
30th
POSITION RNK
4th
With this selection, the Buccaneers can flip Tristan Wirfs to left tackle and stay very good at the right tackle spot with the strong and advanced Wright.
Round 1 - Pick 20
Boston College • Soph • 5'9" / 182 lbs
Projected Team
Seattle
PROSPECT RNK
52nd
POSITION RNK
3rd
How about a Tyler Lockett-type wideout to learn from ... Tyler Lockett in Seattle?
Round 1 - Pick 21
Illinois • Soph • 6'0" / 185 lbs
Projected Team
L.A. Chargers
PROSPECT RNK
17th
POSITION RNK
2nd
Not the most sizable need for the Chargers but Witherspoon is too good to pass on here. More talented coverage players in Brandon Staley's secondary.
Round 1 - Pick 22
TCU • Soph • 6'4" / 215 lbs
Projected Team
Baltimore
PROSPECT RNK
5th
POSITION RNK
1st
The Ravens jump at the opportunity to take Johnston at this juncture. He falls because of the wide open nature of TCU's offense in 2022.
Round 1 - Pick 23
Penn State • Soph • 6'2" / 194 lbs
Projected Team
Minnesota
PROSPECT RNK
16th
POSITION RNK
3rd
Porter has offensive tackle arm length and plus man coverage ability. The Vikings again go to the secondary well early in the draft.
Round 1 - Pick 24
Oklahoma • Soph • 6'5" / 315 lbs
Projected Team
Jacksonville
PROSPECT RNK
25th
POSITION RNK
3rd
This pick is to better protect Trevor Lawrence and to fill in the spot likely vacated by impending free agent Jawaan Taylor.
Round 1 - Pick 25
Northwestern • Soph • 6'4" / 313 lbs
Projected Team
N.Y. Giants
PROSPECT RNK
22nd
POSITION RNK
1st
The Giants add Skoronski, who could begin his career at guard, to the blocking unit in front of Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley.
Round 1 - Pick 26
Georgia • Soph • 6'7" / 265 lbs
Projected Team
Dallas
PROSPECT RNK
38th
POSITION RNK
1st
Washington is a sixth offensive lineman every time he's on the field and has monster upside as a receiver at this size and with his athleticism.
Round 1 - Pick 27
Iowa • Soph • 6'5" / 243 lbs
Projected Team
Buffalo
PROSPECT RNK
85th
POSITION RNK
10th
Campbell has Tremaine Edmunds size and awesome coverage chops. Immediate Edmunds replacement for Buffalo.
Round 1 - Pick 28
Texas • Soph • 5'11" / 215 lbs
Projected Team
Cincinnati
PROSPECT RNK
7th
POSITION RNK
1st
This selection comes after the Bengals move Joe Mixon this offseason. Wouldn't be totally crazy. More firepower in Joe Burrow's offense.
Round 1 - Pick 29
Alabama • Soph • 5'9" / 200 lbs
Projected Team
New Orleans
PROSPECT RNK
14th
POSITION RNK
2nd
Shades of the 2021 NFL Draft, when Travis Etienne and Najee Harris went back-to-back late in the first round. Gibbs has Alvin Kamara-like explosiveness and receiving capabilities.
Round 1 - Pick 30
Oklahoma • 6'2" / 291 lbs
Projected Team
Philadelphia
PROSPECT RNK
89th
POSITION RNK
15th
The Eagles hope to fill the vacancy left by Javon Hargrave's departure with a similarly sized, explosive up-the-field interior rusher.
Round 1 - Pick 31
Iowa State • Soph • 6'3" / 241 lbs
Projected Team
Kansas City
PROSPECT RNK
15th
POSITION RNK
2nd
The Chiefs have to get better at edge rusher, even after picking George Karlaftis in Round 1 a year ago. McDonald has serious juice around the corner.