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!
From Chicago Bears
Round 1 - Pick 1
Florida • Soph • 6'4" / 244 lbs
Andy Dalton acting as the bridge in Carolina to Anthony Richardson starting by November? Yessir.
Round 1 - Pick 2
Bryce Young QB
Alabama • Jr • 5'10" / 204 lbs
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
Will Levis QB
Kentucky • Sr • 6'4" / 229 lbs
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
C.J. Stroud QB
Ohio State • Jr • 6'3" / 214 lbs
The Colts are ecstatic that they land Stroud without having to move any extra selections.
Round 1 - Pick 5
Tyree Wilson EDGE
Texas Tech • Sr • 6'6" / 271 lbs
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.
From Los Angeles Rams
Round 1 - Pick 6
Jalen Carter DL
Georgia • Jr • 6'3" / 314 lbs
The Lions can't pass on the talent of Carter here, even with his off-field concerns.
Round 1 - Pick 7
Will Anderson Jr. EDGE
Alabama • Jr • 6'4" / 253 lbs
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
Nolan Smith EDGE
Georgia • Sr • 6'2" / 238 lbs
Smith's monster combine catapults him into the Top 10 to a team that desperately needs more juice at the edge-rusher spot.
From Carolina Panthers
Round 1 - Pick 9
Lukas Van Ness EDGE
Iowa • Soph • 6'5" / 272 lbs
Van Ness is a young, long and athletic outside pass rusher with plenty of size. Perfect addition to the Bears defense.
From New Orleans Saints
Round 1 - Pick 10
Oregon • Soph • 6'1" / 197 lbs
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
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.
From Cleveland Browns
Round 1 - Pick 12
Bryan Bresee DL
Clemson • Soph • 6'6" / 298 lbs
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 • Jr • 6'6" / 313 lbs
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 • Jr • 6'1" / 196 lbs
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 • Sr • 6'4" / 246 lbs
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
Deonte Banks CB
Maryland • Jr • 6'0" / 197 lbs
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 • Jr • 6'1" / 281 lbs
Kancey is the Javon Hargrave replacement the Steelers have missed for the past few seasons.
Round 1 - Pick 18
Myles Murphy DL
Clemson • Jr • 6'5" / 268 lbs
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 • Sr • 6'5" / 333 lbs
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
Zay Flowers WR
Boston College • Sr • 5'9" / 182 lbs
How about a Tyler Lockett-type wideout to learn from ... Tyler Lockett in Seattle?
Round 1 - Pick 21
Illinois • Jr • 6'0" / 181 lbs
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 • Jr • 6'3" / 208 lbs
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 • Jr • 6'3" / 193 lbs
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 • Jr • 6'4" / 315 lbs
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 • Jr • 6'4" / 313 lbs
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 • Jr • 6'7" / 264 lbs
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 • Sr • 6'5" / 249 lbs
Campbell has Tremaine Edmunds size and awesome coverage chops. Immediate Edmunds replacement for Buffalo.
Round 1 - Pick 28
Texas • Jr • 5'11" / 215 lbs
This selection comes after the Bengals move Joe Mixon this offseason. Wouldn't be totally crazy. More firepower in Joe Burrow's offense.
From Denver Broncos
Round 1 - Pick 29
Jahmyr Gibbs RB
Alabama • Jr • 5'9" / 199 lbs
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
Jalen Redmond EDGE
Oklahoma • Jr • 6'2" / 291 lbs
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
Will McDonald IV EDGE
Iowa State • Sr • 6'4" / 239 lbs
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.