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2022 NFL Mock Draft 2.0: Aidan Hutchinson No. 1; Seahawks Pick Malik Willis

In our two-round mock, Seattle finds a replacement for Russell Wilson and four QBs come off the board in Round 1.

Although we are days away from the start of NFL free agency, this week’s movement in the quarterback market (or, in one notable case, the lack thereof) has given us some clarity.

We’ve learned this week that Aaron Rodgers is staying put in Green Bay and that Russell Wilson and Carson Wentz are on the move to Denver and Washington, respectively. Will Jimmy Garoppolo be traded next? The latest rumors are that the Colts have entered the mix for his services.

The past couple of days have been like the prefrenzy to the frenzy that will take place next week. As franchises plug some of their needs in free agency, it should give us more insight into what they may (or may not) do next month in the draft.

For now, here’s our latest look at how the first round could play out.


1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Aidan Hutchinson, edge, Michigan

After using their franchise tag on offensive tackle Cam Robinson, the Jaguars still rank sixth in available cap space, per Over the Cap. Whether they negotiate a long-term contract with Robinson or use the 2022 season as a bridge to Walker Little becoming their left tackle in 2023, this move likely signals they will go in a different direction than Evan Neal or Ikem Ekwonu at No. 1.

My top-ranked prospect in this year’s draft, Hutchinson set Michigan’s single-season sack record (14) in 2021. His 40-yard dash (4.74) was a little slower than expected, but his 10-yard split (1.62) was good and his agility numbers—three-cone (6.73) and 20-yard shuttle (4.15)—were elite for someone his size. His combination of leadership qualities, nonstop motor, athleticism and production makes him about as safe as it gets.

2. Detroit Lions: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

If Hutchinson were available here, I would expect him to be the pick. Since he’s not in this mock, the Lions could go in a few different directions, but the top offensive tackles seem unlikely after they drafted Penei Sewell last year.

Some may be disappointed by Hamilton’s time in the 40-yard dash at the combine (4.59), but his two interceptions against Florida State highlight his range and coverage ability. With rare size (6'4", 220 pounds), length and versatility, Hamilton would become an immediate impact player on the back end of Detroit’s defense.

3. Houston Texans: Kayvon Thibodeaux, edge, Oregon

If the Texans move Laremy Tunsil this offseason, this pick could be used on their preferred offensive tackle. That said, only four teams had fewer sacks than Houston (32) in 2021, and their only player under contract for ’22 with three-plus sacks last season is Jonathan Greenard. Thibodeaux showed off his combination of speed (4.58 40-yard dash) and strength (27 bench-press reps) at the combine and along with Greenard, he would give the Texans a talented young pass-rushing duo.

4. New York Jets: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

Given Joe Douglas’s preference to build through the trenches, will he begin his Jets’ tenure with a first-round offensive lineman in three consecutive drafts? George Fant played well in the absence of Mekhi Becton, who missed all but Week 1 last season, and Robert Saleh said at the Senior Bowl that drafting a left tackle and having Becton compete at right is on table.

Neal didn’t work out in Indianapolis, but he weighed in at (a svelte) 337 pounds and he should remind us of his elite athleticism at Alabama’s pro day later this month. Especially depending on how the Becton situation plays out, Neal would offer the Jets plenty of positional versatility with experience starting at guard and both tackle spots at Alabama.

5. New York Giants: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State

Left tackle Andrew Thomas played better in 2021 than he did as a rookie in ’20, but the Giants still had one of the league’s worst offensive lines last season. Right tackle Nate Solder and right guard Will Hernandez are both impending free agents. A mauler in the run game, Ekwonu has high-end traits to continue to develop as a pass blocker as well as the experience and versatility to play either tackle or guard.

6. Carolina Panthers: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

This is the Panthers’ only pick in the first three rounds, so they could attempt to find a trade partner that would allow them to acquire additional picks. If they were to move back a few spots, it’s possible that they’d still be able to get Cross. Either way, Cross would fill one of the team’s biggest needs. He has 1,293 pass-blocking snaps over the past two seasons, per PFF, and the former five-star recruit uses his length (34½" arms) and light feet to excel in pass protection.

7. New York Giants (via Bears): Travon Walker, edge, Georgia

Walker’s former Georgia teammate Azeez Ojulari had a team-high eight sacks as a rookie in 2021, but the Giants still ranked 30th in pass-rush win rate last season. Already an outstanding run defender, Walker’s strength, length (35½" arms) and athleticism (4.51 40-yard dash at 272 pounds) should allow him to develop into a more productive pass rusher at the next level.

8. Atlanta Falcons: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

The Falcons may be in an ideal position to trade back with a team interested in securing its choice of QB while still being able to get a quality wide receiver later in the first round. Edge was also a consideration here, but Calvin Ridley is suspended for the 2022 season, and Russell Gage and Tajae Sharpe are heading toward free agency. Wilson ran faster than expected in Indianapolis (4.38 40-yard dash) and is the best all-around talent at wide receiver in this draft class.

9. Seattle Seahawks (via Broncos): Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

Wednesday was quite the day in Seattle. Not only did the Seahawks agree to a blockbuster trade that will send Russell Wilson to Denver, but news broke of Bobby Wagner’s release as well. Perhaps Seattle won’t use this pick on a quarterback, but Drew Lock isn’t the long-term (or short-term) answer. Willis won’t be ready to start Week 1, but no quarterback prospect in this draft class has as much long-term upside as he does. If he lives up to his potential, his dynamism as a runner and ability to stretch the field vertically will give opposing defensive coordinators nightmares.

10. New York Jets (via Seahawks): Jermaine Johnson II, edge, Florida State

After transferring from Georgia to Florida State before the 2021 season, Johnson led the ACC in both sacks (11.5) and tackles for loss (17.5) en route to being named ACC Defensive Player of the Year. Since then, Johnson has aced the predraft process, as he followed up a strong week at the Senior Bowl with an impressive performance at the combine. Not only did Johnson run a 4.58 40-yard dash but he posted a 1.55 10-yard split, which is even more important for a pass rusher.

11. Washington Commanders: Drake London, WR, USC

With the Commanders’ trading for Carson Wentz, it’s much less likely that they’ll use this pick on Kenny Pickett (as they did in my Mock 1.0) or any other quarterback. Last season, injuries limited tight end Logan Thomas and wide receiver Curtis Samuel to only 294 and 84 offensive snaps, respectively, but Terry McLaurin (1,053 yards) was the Commanders’ only pass catcher to exceed 400 yards.

Previously a member of USC’s basketball team as well, London uses his 6'5" frame and large catch radius to turn contested catches into his advantage. London had 88 catches for 1,084 yards and seven touchdowns before his season was cut short by an ankle injury.

Fun side note: Wentz will have three “revenge games” (Philly twice and Indy once) in 2022. Here’s one more option for him to throw the ball to.

12. Minnesota Vikings: Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

It’s very possible that Gardner won’t last until the 12th pick, but if he does, this would be an easy choice for new GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. Three Minnesota cornerbacks played more than 160 defensive snaps last year, and two of them—Patrick Peterson (884) and Mackensie Alexander (689)—are headed toward free agency next week. With ideal length and smooth footwork, the ball-hawking—three interceptions in each of past three seasons—cornerback has the versatility to excel in either press or off coverage.

13. Cleveland Browns: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

After transferring from Ohio State, Williams had a breakout campaign (78/1,561/15) for Alabama in 2021. While Williams tore his ACL in January, he says he’s “ahead of schedule” in his rehab timeline. Although he has game-breaking speed, he’s more than just a deep threat.

14. Baltimore Ravens: Jordan Davis, IDL, Georgia

There are freak athletes, and then there is Jordan Davis. Men his size (a slimmed-down 341 pounds) shouldn’t be able move the way he can (4.78 40-yard dash). Georgia has had a loaded defense, but Davis was a big reason why the Bulldogs ranked top three nationally in run defense in each of the past three seasons. Both Brandon Williams (33 years old) and Calais Campbell (35) are about to become free agents and on the wrong side of 30.

15. Philadelphia Eagles (via Dolphins): Devonte Wyatt, IDL, Georgia

As noted above, the Bulldogs have a lot of “freaks” on defense. According to The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman’s 2021 preseason list, the “biggest freak” of them all is Wyatt. Even if Davis (and Walker) dominated the headlines, Wyatt showed off his elite quickness and athleticism last weekend as well by running a 4.77 40-yard dash at 304 pounds.

16. Philadelphia Eagles (via Colts): Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU

No draft-eligible cornerback has had as strong of a season as Stingley has had. While it’s impressive that he had such elite-level play as an 18-year-old true freshman, 2019 also feels like it was an eternity ago. With his combination of elite speed, fluidity and ball skills, Stingley would be a steal here if he were to regain his ’19 form.

17. Los Angeles Chargers: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa

The last two years’ first rounds have netted the Chargers a franchise quarterback (Justin Herbert) and a franchise left tackle (Rashawn Slater). This pick would shore up the right side long term. Not only did Bryan Bulaga play just 45 snaps in 2021, but the soon-to-be-33-year-old tackle will be a free agent next offseason. Penning has ideal length (34¼" arms), size, strength, toughness and temperament his coaches will appreciate.

18. New Orleans Saints: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh

Pickett’s hand size (8½") is not much smaller than Taysom Hill’s (8¾"), but playing in a controlled environment for eight (or nine) home games and a road game in Atlanta every year would help to minimize (no pun intended) any potential impact. With good arm strength and mobility, Pickett moves quickly through his progressions and throws well on the move. After throwing 39 touchdowns and 25 interceptions from 2017 to ’20, Pickett threw an ACC-record 42 touchdowns to only seven interceptions last season.

19. Philadelphia Eagles: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

A repeat team and prospect pairing from Mock 1.0, Burks (6'3", 225 pounds) would complement DeVonta Smith well. Once Burks builds up speed, few defenders will catch him from behind, even if his 40-yard dash (4.55 at the combine) was a bit disappointing. While not a polished route-runner, the former Razorback said that he tries to mimic his game after Deebo Samuel, and it’s easy to see Samuel’s versatility in Burks. Eagles wide receiver coach Aaron Moorehead also led Burks’s workout at his March 9 pro day.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss

The Steelers have needs at both quarterback and on the offensive line, and I’ve gone back and forth here. The next iteration of my mock will forecast trades, and it’d be reasonable to expect the Steelers to potentially move up for their guy if they’re within striking distance. Corral has a quick release and above-average arm strength, and he significantly cut down his interceptions year over year (14 to five). In addition, his mobility makes him a threat as a runner as well.

21. New England Patriots: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

Lloyd can impact the game in a variety of ways with his ability to cover tight ends, get to the quarterback as a blitzer and defend the run. The Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, Lloyd stuffed the stat sheet with 110 tackles, 22 TFLs, eight sacks and four interceptions in 2021. No coach should appreciate Lloyd’s versatility more than Bill Belichick.

22. Las Vegas Raiders: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

Olave creates easy separation as one of the most polished route runners in this year’s draft class. Due to his speed and ability to track the ball well, he can be a weapon in the vertical passing game. He finished his Ohio State career with a school record for receiving touchdowns (35) and averaged 15.4 yards per catch.

23. Arizona Cardinals: David Ojabo, edge, Michigan

It wouldn’t be a surprise if Ojabo came off the board much earlier than this, but he would help fill some of the pass-rush void if the Cardinals lose Chandler Jones in free agency. While Jones is a three-down player, Ojabo will likely be utilized as a situational pass rusher to begin his NFL career. Despite being relatively new to the game, Ojabo had 11 sacks in his only season as a starter in ’21, and he has as much upside as any pass rusher in this draft class.

24. Dallas Cowboys: Tyler Linderbaum, IOL, Iowa

It’s likely that Linderbaum will be drafted later than where I have him ranked on my big board, but he’s the best player available here. The Cowboys have bigger needs than center (or interior offensive line), but they have gone with the best player available in situations where a talented player fell further than expected (see Lamb, CeeDee).

Linderbaum’s 290-pound frame may limit him to center only, but the Rimington Trophy winner is the best center prospect in not only this draft class but over the past several. He has elite athleticism and movement skills for the position.

25. Buffalo Bills: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

Levi Wallace led Buffalo’s corners in snaps played and is about to become an unrestricted free agent. Meanwhile, the team’s most talented cornerback (Tre’Davious White) is recovering from a torn ACL. Although McDuffie has just average size and length, he’s aggressive and physical in run support and limits yards after the catch. McDuffie has outstanding short-area quickness, fluid hips and is rarely out of position.

26. Tennessee Titans: Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson

Booth is an athletic, agile and scheme-diverse cornerback. Physical and willing as a run defender, he is competitive at the catch point and has outstanding hands, as this highlight reel grab demonstrates.

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Zion Johnson, IOL, Boston College

Not only did Ali Marpet recently retire, but Ryan Jensen, Alex Cappa and Aaron Stinnie will soon reach free agency. A transfer from Davidson, Johnson was a three-year starter for the Eagles and has experience at both left tackle and guard. In addition, he displayed increased versatility at the Senior Bowl by taking snaps at center. Johnson would become a plug-and-play starter for a team that could be searching for a starter at all three interior offensive line spots.

28. Green Bay Packers: George Karlaftis, edge, Purdue

Karlaftis didn’t run the 40 at the combine, but his 38" vertical jump and 10'1" broad jump showed his explosiveness. He lacks ideal length and bend at the top of his rush, but he has a quick first step, violent hands and a nonstop motor with the versatility to line up inside or outside.

29. Miami Dolphins (via 49ers): Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State

Tua Tagovailoa is entering his third season, and it would make sense to use this pick to either improve his protection or weapons. Despite spending plenty of draft capital on their offensive line over the past few years, the unit remains one of the NFL’s weakest, so maybe it makes more sense to address that need via free agency. A nuanced route runner with excellent hands, Dotson had 91 receptions for 1,182 yards and 12 touchdowns for Penn State last season.

30. Kansas City Chiefs: Daxton Hill, S, Michigan

With Kansas City using its franchise tag on Orlando Brown Jr., safety Tyrann Mathieu will be allowed to test the market next week. Even if the Chiefs are able to re-sign Mathieu, four of the team’s top six defensive backs in terms of snaps played are currently unsigned for 2022. The former Wolverine has the speed (4.38 40-yard dash), coverage skills and versatility to make this an easy choice here.

31. Cincinnati Bengals: Kenyon Green, IOL, Texas A&M

Including the postseason, Joe Burrow was sacked 70 times in 20 games in 2021. Whether it’s via free agency and/or the draft, the biggest priority this offseason should be to make sure Burrow isn’t sacked 70 times in ’22. Green was a three-year starter at Texas A&M who has made starts at every position along the offensive line except center.

32. Detroit Lions (via Rams): Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina

Perhaps the Lions will make a bold move with their first pick and draft Malik Willis, but in this scenario, they’ll draft the other quarterback they coached at the Senior Bowl. (Technically, they also coached Bailey Zappe.) The departure of nearly all of his top weapons led to a year-over-year drop in passing production, but Howell is arguably the best deep passer in the class and a plus athlete who ran for 828 yards and 11 touchdowns last season.


33. Jaguars: Lewis Cine, S, Georgia

34. Lions: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia

35. Jets: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

36. Giants: Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State

37. Texans: Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington

38. Jets (via Panthers): George Pickens, WR, Georgia

39. Bears: DeMarvin Leal, IDL, Texas A&M

40. Seahawks (via Broncos): Boye Mafe, edge, Minnesota

41. Seahawks: Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan

42. Colts (via Commanders): Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati

43. Falcons: Arnold Ebiketie, edge, Penn State

44. Browns: Travis Jones, IDL, Connecticut

45. Ravens: Tyler Smith, OT, Tulsa

46. Vikings: Perrion Winfrey, IDL, Oklahoma

47. Commanders (via Colts): Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn

48. Bears (via Chargers): Drake Jackson, edge, USC

49. Saints: Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State

50. Dolphins: Christian Harris, LB, Alabama

51. Eagles: Quay Walker, LB, Georgia

52. Steelers: Daniel Faalele, OT, Minnesota

53. Raiders: Logan Hall, DL, Houston

54. Patriots: Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan

55. Cardinals: Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State

56. Cowboys: Chad Muma, LB, Wyoming

57. Bills: Darian Kinnard, IOL, Kentucky

58. Falcons (via Titans): Kenneth Walker III, RB, Michigan State

59. Packers: Trey McBride, TE, Colorado State

60. Buccaneers: Tariq Woolen, CB, UTSA

61. 49ers: Kingsley Enagbare, edge, South Carolina

62. Chiefs: Troy Andersen, LB, Montana State

63. Bengals: Greg Dulcich, TE, UCLA

64. Broncos (via Rams): Leo Chenal, LB, Wisconsin

Kevin Hanson is contributing mock drafts and position rankings to The MMQB during the 2022 NFL draft season. His mock drafts have been graded as the seventh-most accurate (tied) over the past five years, per The Huddle Report. His ’15 NFL mock draft was graded as the most accurate.

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