With the NFL draft just over a week away, it’s time to mock up the first three rounds and predict when the top college players will be drafted and where they are going!
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In just over a week, hundreds of football players will have their dreams come true by getting drafted into the NFL! So naturally, I’ll be making predictions and doing a mock draft for the first three rounds (I’m not doing all 7 rounds because, come on, ain’t nobody got time for that). I also won’t be mocking any draft-night trades; only pre-existing trades will be incorporated in this mock. Let’s get started and see who your favorite team will be taking!
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1) Jacksonville Jaguars- OT Evan Neal (Alabama)
The Jaguars need… a lot. But they have their quarterback of the future, so now they need to put the best possible pieces around him to win. Protecting Lawrence needs to be the #1 priority in Jacksonville.
2) Detroit Lions- DE Aidan Hutchinson (Michigan)
The best players in this draft are on defense, and Hutchinson can help turn the Lions into a better defensive unit. Plus, what a great story it would be to have the Michigan kid stay close to home and play in Detroit?
3) Houston Texans- DE Kayvon Thibodeaux (Oregon)
Houston is probably the least talented roster in the NFL, so the best player available should be their choice. Thibodeaux was the presumptive #1 pick for most of the season, but faded down the stretch as Oregon trailed off. But Thibodeaux can absolutely be a difference-maker for a team that needs all the differences it can get.
4) New York Jets- S Kyle Hamilton (Notre Dame)
If Houston is the least talented, the Jets aren’t far behind. I believe in Zach Wilson as the future of New York, and with another top-10 pick coming later in the draft, I think the Jets will try and go for defense with this pick and the best player left (and maybe in the entire class) is Hamilton.
5) New York Giants- OT Ikem Ekwonu (NC State)
I believe that the Giants could be a pretty good team. I picked them to make the playoffs last year because they have a lot of awesome skill position players, but they are lacking some key pieces; a quarterback is the big one, but I think Dabboll could make Jones serviceable (and there are no franchise quarterbacks in this class). So I think they look to protect Jones with a skilled offensive tackle.
6) Carolina Panthers- QB Malik Willis (Liberty)
Like I mentioned earlier, there are zero franchise quarterbacks in this class in my opinion, and Willis isn’t even the best of them. But the momentum seems to be firmly in the Willis camp, and Carolina has been desperate for anyone to take snaps under center since Cam Newton left.
7) New York Giants- CB Ahmad Gardner (Cincinnati)
Gardner has the potential to be a shut-down corner in this league, and a team that shares a division with teams that have CeeDee Lamb & DeVonta Smith needs a shut-down corner. Between Ekwonu & Gardner, the Giants can get a pretty good haul from the 2022 draft.
8) Atlanta Falcons- DE Travon Walker (Georgia)
I love it when players get to stay close to where they played in college, so let’s keep Walker in the ATL! The Falcons need a lot, but Walker can help build that defense into a respectable unit and help whoever the new QB is for the Falcons.
9) Seattle Seahawks- DE Jermaine Johnson II (Florida State)
Remember when the Seahawks were good? They had a defense that knocked out opposing teams. I think Pete Carroll wants to get back to those days, so taking the best available defensive player should be the play at 9.
10) New York Jets- WR Garrett Wilson (Ohio State)
The Jets went defense at 4, so naturally they should go offense here at 10. Getting Zach Wilson a reliable, talented target needs to be a priority for the Jets; when was the last time they had a great wide receiver??? Plus I love the idea of “The Wilson Brothers” connection that will inevitably sell thousands of shirts.
11) Washington Commanders- OT Charles Cross (Mississippi State)
Firstly, what a wasted opportunity to name the team the Red Tails! I already didn’t like them, but I really don’t after that terrible choice… But what won’t be a terrible choice is taking an offensive tackle who can protect the quarterback (whoever that is!?!?) and has battled against SEC defenses in Charles Cross.
12) Minnesota Vikings- CB Derek Stingley Jr (LSU)
The Vikings have an offense that can compete for a Super Bowl, so they need to address the defensive side and draft a potential shut-down corner.
13) Houston Texans- CB Trent McDuffie (Washington)
After drafting Kayvon Thibodeaux with the 3rd pick, why not stay on that side of the ball? This could give Houston the building blocks of a formidable defense for the next decade, and set them up nicely to focus on offense in the years to come.
14) Baltimore Ravens- WR Drake London (USC)
I do not believe that Lamar Jackson is an elite quarterback, and it seems like the Ravens might not believe it either. But if they do, they need to give him weapons, and London could be a defense-breaking weapon for Baltimore.
15) Philadelphia Eagles- WR Jameson Williams (Alabama)
The Eagles are my favorite team in sports, so take whatever I say about them with a grain of salt. However, pairing two standout wide receivers from Alabama would make me pretty excited for an offense with a bad quarterback.
16) New Orleans Saints- QB Matt Corral (Ole Miss)
Should Corral go this high? He’s my favorite QB in the class, but no he should not. However this is the NFL draft, and quarterbacks always go too high. Winston is not the future of this team, so they get their “guy” here. Plus, they made a big trade to acquire an extra pick; it has to be a quarterback.
17) Los Angeles Chargers- OT Trevor Penning (Northern Iowa)
Justin Herbert is one of the most precious assets in the NFL, so you need to protect him. Penning is the best tackle left, so the Chargers should take him here.
18) Philadelphia Eagles- DT Jordan Davis (Georgia)
After going wide receiver with their first pick, the Eagles need to go for defense at 18 and what bigger (literally) splash could they make than taking the biggest college football player from Georgia, Jordan Davis??? This mammoth of a man will improve any d-line he plays on in the NFL.
19) New Orleans Saints- WR Chris Olave (Ohio State)
Why not pair your new quarterback with a new wide receiver? I like when teams draft with synergy, so look for the Saints to go all-in on the offense this draft.
20) Pittsburgh Steelers- QB Kenny Pickett (Pittsburgh)
While I do love it when a team drafts the local college player, this selection has a lot of football reasoning behind it; it can be cold, windy and downright brutal in Pittsburgh in December, so they need a quarterback who can handle the elements. Pickett played his college ball there, so he is used to the elements and can handle it. Plus, are we really supposed to believe Trubisky is the future of the Steelers? Please.
21) New England Patriots- WR Treylon Burks (Arkansas)
Belichick has been notorious for whiffing on receivers in the first round, so why not take another shot? After they got obliterated by Buffalo in the playoffs, they have to get weapons for Jones, and with so many tackles already gone this seems like a risk worth taking for New England.
22) Green Bay Packers- WR Christian Watson (North Dakota St)
I’ve had Green Bay taking a receiver the entire offseason, but now that DaVante Adams is gone they really need one. This team, despite bringing back Rodgers, is very far away from contention and getting there starts with boosting the offense.
23) Arizona Cardinals- S Daxton Hill (Michigan)
This team appears to have a competent offense, but they need to revamp the secondary after losing a number of key pieces in the secondary over the years. This team is not far away, so they should take a player who can contribute immediately, not a five-year project.
24) Dallas Cowboys- OG Zion Johnson (Boston College)
We all think of Dallas having an amazing line, but it was about five years ago that they were dominant. They need to replenish that talent, and they have almost no flaws anywhere else on the field, so this is the perfect time to get an offensive lineman.
25) Buffalo Bills- CB Andrew Booth Jr (Clemson)
Anyone who watched Buffalo vs. Kansas City in the playoffs can see that the Bills need to improve their secondary. I think Booth is a steal this late in the first round, and has sneaky all-pro potential down the road.
26) Tennessee Titans- ILB Nakobe Dean (Georgia)
The Titans have so much talent that they really can just take a player they like and think can be impactful, regardless of position. I do think they need a quarterback, but this is not the draft to take that swing.
27) Tampa Bay Buccaneers- RB Kenneth Walker (Michigan St)
This is my biggest swing in the first round, but I just get the feeling they want to bolster the run game behind Leonard Fournette. They have plenty of receiving weapons, a loaded defense and a quarterback who just won’t quit; running back is a decent option here.
28) Green Bay Packers- WR Jahan Dotson (Penn State)
Again, the Packers need to spend their entire draft capitol on skill positions. Adding two first-round receivers increases the chances they hit on at least one. Maybe this will finally placate Aaron Rodgers!
29) Kansas City Chiefs- DE George Karlaftis (Purdue)
I don’t think this is a position of particular need for the Chiefs, but I think Karlaftis could be one of the best players in this class, and with back-to-back picks here they can’t pass him up.
30) Kansas City Chiefs- S Jalen Pitre (Baylor)
Josh Allen torched the Chiefs in the playoffs, and he’s just the beginning; KC will have to go through him, Justin Herbert, Joe Burrow & Russell Wilson to name just a few AFC quarterbacks. Improving the secondary needs to be a priority.
31) Cincinnati Bengals- C Tyler Linderbaum (Iowa)
Wow the Bengals have a terrible offensive line! House of Horrors in front of Joe Burrow up there. If the Bengals have seven picks, they should take seven lineman so they have a few backups to spare. If they don’t take an offensive lineman here, Joe Burrow should seriously reconsider his future in Cincinnati.
32) Detroit Lions- QB Sam Howell (North Carolina)
Howell was the preseason top quarterback, but an aggressively mediocre season will have him sliding way down the board. Detroit is the perfect place for him; he can sit and develop behind Goff instead of getting thrown to the, well… Lions (oof).
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33) Jacksonville Jaguars- DE Arnold Ebiketie (Penn State)
34) Detroit Lions- S Lewis Cine (Georgia)
35) New York Jets- RB Breece Hall (Iowa State)
36) New York Giants- OLB David Ojabo (Michigan)
37) Houston Texans- DT Devonte Wyatt (Georgia)
38) New York Jets- ILB Devin Lloyd (Utah)
39) Chicago Bears- G Kenyon Green (Texas A&M)
40) Seattle Seahawks- QB Desmond Ridder (Cincinnati)
41) Seattle Seahawks- OLB Boye Mafe (Minnesota)
42) Indianapolis Colts- TE Trey McBride (Colorado State)
43) Atlanta Falcons- ILB Quay Walker (Georgia)
44) Cleveland Browns- OT Tyler Smith (Tulsa)
45) Baltimore Ravens- Kyler Gordon (Washington)
46) Minnesota Vikings- DT Travis Jones (Connecticut)
47) Washington Commanders- C Cameron Jurgens (Nebraska)
48) Chicago Bears- WR Skyy Moore (Western Michigan)
49) New Orleans Saints- WR John Metchie III (Alabama)
50) Kansas City Chiefs- ILB Christian Harris (Alabama)
51) Philadelphia Eagles CB Kaiir Elam (Florida)
52) Pittsburgh Steelers- CB Roger McCreary (Auburn)
53) Green Bay Packers- DE Logan Hall (Houston)
54) New England Patriots- WR Alec Pierce (Cincinnati)
55) Arizona Cardinals- OT Abraham Lucas (Washington State)
56) Dallas Cowboys- OLB Nick Bonitto (Oklahoma)
57) Buffalo Bills- C Dylan Parham (Memphis)
58) Atlanta Falcons- WR George Pickens (Georgia)
59) Green Bay Packers- G Cole Strange (Chattanooga)
60) Tampa Bay Buccaneers- OT Bernhard Raimann (Cen. Mich)
61) San Francisco 49ers- OLB Drake Jackson (USC)
62) Kansas City Chiefs- WR Wan’Dale Robinson (Kentucky)
63) Cincinnati Bengals- TE Greg Dulcich (UCLA)
64) Denver Broncos- DT Phidarian Mathis (Alabama)
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65) Jacksonville Jaguars- S Nick Cross (Maryland)
66) Detroit Lions- WR Calvin Austin III (Memphis)
67) New York Giants- S Cam Taylor-Britt (Nebraska)
68) Houston Texans- WR Jalen Tolbert (South Alabama)
69) New York Jets- ILB Chad Muma (Wyoming)
70) Jacksonville Jaguars- ILB Channing Tindall (Georgia)
71) Chicago Bears- DE Josh Paschal (Kentucky)
72) Seattle Seahawks- S Jaquan Brisker (Penn State)
73) Indianapolis Colts- OLB Amare Barno (Virginia Tech)
74) Atlanta Falcons- DT DeMarvin Leal (Texas A&M)
75) Denver Broncos- OT Daniel Faalele (Minnesota)
76) Baltimore Ravens- DT Perrion Winfrey (Oklahoma)
77) Minnesota Vikings- ILB Troy Andersen (Montana State)
78) Cleveland Browns- WR Khalil Shakir (Boise State)
79) Los Angeles Chargers- ILB Leo Chenal (Wisconsin)
80) Houston Texans- CB Marcus Jones (Houston)
81) New York Giants- DT Matthew Butler (Tennessee)
82) Atlanta Falcons- CB Tariq Woolen (UTSA)
83) Philadelphia Eagles- CB Coby Bryant (Cincinnati)
84) Pittsburgh Steelers- S Kerby Joseph (Illinois)
85) New England Patriots- OT Luke Goedeke (Central Michigan)
86) Las Vegas Raiders- WR David Bell (Purdue)
87) Arizona Cardinals- RB James Cook (Georgia)
88) Dallas Cowboys- CB Cordale Flott (LSU)
89) Buffalo Bills- WR Bo Melton (Rutgers)
90) Tennessee Titans- OT Darian Kinnard (Kentucky)
91) Tampa Bay Buccaneers- DE Cam Thomas (San Diego St)
92) Green Bay Packers- WR Velus Jones Jr (Tennessee)
93) San Francisco 49ers- CB Josh Jobe (Alabama)
94) Kansas City Chiefs- CB Zyon McCollum (Sam Houston St)
95) Cincinnati Bengals- OT Nicholas Petit-Frere (Ohio State)
96) Denver Broncos- RB Isaiah Spiller (Texas A&M)
97) Detroit Lions- OLB DeAngelo Malone (Western Kentucky)
98) New Orleans Saints- TE Isaiah Likely (Coastal Carolina)
99) Cleveland Browns- OLB Myjai Sanders (Cincinnati)
100) Baltimore Ravens- C Dohnovan West (Arizona State)
101) Philadelphia Eagles- OT Sean Rhyan (UCLA)
102) Miami Dolphins- S JT Woods (Baylor)
103) Kansas City Chiefs- DT Neil Farrell Jr (LSU)
104) Los Angeles Rams- ILB Brandon Smith (Penn State)
105) San Francisco 49ers- TE Jelani Woods (Virginia)