A very eventful and exciting NFL season is in the books, but that doesn't mean the game halts. The offseason is finally upon us and it is time to release my first mock draft of the NFL offseason.
While there are very quarterback needy teams picking early on in the draft, there isn't one guy that is the guaranteed QB1 unlike most other years in the past. We could realistically see Kenny Pickett or Malik Willis go first, and possibly out of the top 10 picks, which hasn't happened since 2013.
Also, during the offseason we will almost certainly see some teams trade or sign some quarterbacks, but with the offseason so fresh and new, we will be basing these picks without assuming teams like the Broncos might have Aaron Rodgers or Russell Wilson.
Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
The Jacksonville Jaguars have acquired the number one overall pick in the draft for the second year in a row, a feat they likely didn't want to accomplish. With Trevor Lawrence guiding this team for hopeful years to come, you would like to think that the Jaguars would try to protect him at all costs. Neal is one of the best tackles or linemen in the draft, with one of the highest ceilings of any player. It seems that Neal would be a pretty safe pick at number one.
2. Detroit Lions
Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
You likely could see a quarterback like Malik Willis go at number two to the Lions because of their need for a quarterback, but with the other talent available this early, I think you have to go with one of the best players in the draft with Aidan Hutchinson. He is certainly a game-wrecker, and someone that offensive linemen had fits with in the 2021 College Football Season. He is certainly a very safe pick here.
3. Houston Texans
Ikem Ekwonu, OT, North Carolina State
Ekwonu is a very solid tackle coming out of NC State, one of the best run-blockers if not the best in the draft. He honestly could make a very strong case to be the number one tackle in the draft over Evan Neal because he seems a bit more NFL ready at the moment. You would think with the Texans having a need at basically every position, it would likely be a best player available case scenario.
4. New York Jets
Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
While for most of the season he was considered the best prospect in this draft, his stock has fallen a bit since the end of his season, but that doesn't mean he still isn't one of the most valuable players in this draft. If you're the Jets in this spot, you already have a pretty solid O-Line, or at least some very good pieces, and with a class this loaded with offensive linemen, they could easily take another very solid linemen with the second-round pick or the number ten overall pick that they obtain.
5. New York Giants
Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
If you are the Giants in this spot, you don't really like the position you are in. They would likely want to have one of the top two linemen or even an Edge rusher available, but neither of those are available. With the front office pointing at giving Daniel Jones another shot, what better way to give him the best chance than giving him an offensive line that is competent enough for him to be comfortable. They also have another pick just two spots later that they can use to draft a receiver or the best player available there to build the team.
6. Carolina Panthers
Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
While the Panthers could very likely take a quarterback here or trade down to get one later, this early on I won't make any trades. They have some big needs here that they can address, so Derek Stingley Jr. feels like a safe pick here. While cornerback doesn't seem like a huge need for them, Stephon Gilmore and Donte Jackson are both free agents, and Gilmore is hitting his regression years. They could definitely pair Stingley and Jaycee Horn back there to have a very lethal duo for years to come.
7. New York Giants
Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
While the Giants do have major needs at Edge and the rest of the line, this feels like a spot to take best player available again as there is not really a linemen available that makes sense to take here. They also already have Leonard Williams and Azeez Ojulari off the edge at the moment, which is more than competent. Although Jermaine Johnson could be a nice pick here, I think Kyle Hamilton is a very solid pick here. The Giants really need a game changer in the secondary, which they don't really have at the moment. Kyle Hamilton has the ability to change this defense around for them.
8. Atlanta Falcons
Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
"Sauce" has the ability to lock down anybody and halt an offense on any day. He never gave up a touchdown throughout his career in college with Cincinnati, which is obviously stellar. The Falcons need another corner desperately to pair up with A.J. Terrell. Other than Terrell, they really don't have anybody else that is better than decent at corner. This is a team that is in between a rebuild or a reload, with Matt Ryan likely in his final seasons in the NFL. The Falcons have some very solid weapons, but they could use some more depth if they want to be a playoff team in the next few years.
9. Denver Broncos
Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
I do believe that the Broncos will acquire Aaron Rodgers, but we aren't assuming anything in this mock. This team is a quarterback away from contention, with a stellar defense that might fall off a bit after Vic Fangio was fired, but they also have very solid weapons on offense with Jerry Jeudy and a trio of good receivers, and a solid running back core featuring Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon. If this teams wants to compete, I believe Kenny Pickett would be a very good pick to be their quarterback next season.
10. New York Jets
Drake London, WR, USC
The New York Jets actually have a lot of potential with their team heading into the 2022 season, as long as they draft good. After a very solid Kayvon Thibodeaux pick at number four, they could really turn the offense up with Drake London. He has a lot of potential as the number one receiver on a lot of people's boards. The Jets already have a very solid receiving core to begin with, but they don't really have one guy that makes this core great. Drake London could be that guy and could elevate Zach Wilson's game.
11. Washington Commanders
Matt Corral, QB, Mississippi
Malik Willis is a very good possibility here, but I think that the Commanders like Corral a little more than Willis. Corral seems a bit more NFL ready, although still a very raw prospect, but Willis will need a lot more development. The Commanders are currently in a win-now mode it seems, and I think that Corral would have more upside in the near future than Willis. He would instantly have a few weapons with a great offensive line and Terry McLaurin, Logan Thomas, and an above average run game with Antonio Gibson. Corral could easily perform above standards in 2022 with the Commanders.
12. Minnesota Vikings
Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
Minnesota definitely needs to go defense with their first round pick here, and with some interesting players still on the board here, I like McDuffie to fall to the Vikings. The defense has been abysmal the last few years, and with no real number one corner on this team, McDuffie could be that guy. Patrick Peterson has really been the best corner on the team, and even then he's very old and not going to be decent for much longer. Although there are probably some better defensive players available, cornerback is too big of a need.
13. Cleveland Browns
Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
With the Browns likely going all in this year on Baker Mayfield, they certainly need to give him the best shot to succeed, and there is no way he can do that with as poor a receiving core as he has at the moment. Garrett Wilson definitely has the potential to be one of the best receivers in the next few years, especially with his performance this season with Ohio State. He's a great athlete, and can pretty much do anything at a high level. He is a great fit for the Cleveland Browns here.
14. Baltimore Ravens
David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan
The Ravens have Calais Campbell, who is one of the best in the game, but other than him they don't have much depth at all, and if David Ojabo is available at this spot, I think you can't pass on him. Ojabo was teamed up with Hutchinson, but he was still one of the best rushers in College Football. Ojabo can bring so much to this defense next year. A receiver might be in play here, but if Ojabo is available, I don't think you could pass up the opportunity.
15. Philadelphia Eagles
Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
Lloyd has been the best inside backer throughout the draft process since the season ended, and for good reason. He can do quite a bit for a defense, a good ball hawk, run stopper, and can blitz at a good level if needed. The Eagles have a lot of draft capital, which they can use to get a star quarterback, or they can try to develop a great team around Jalen Hurts, who were a playoff team in the 2021-2022 season, and if Jalen doesn't work out in a year, they can draft someone next year with a great team around them.
16. Philadelphia Eagles
Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
Williams is one of the most pulverizing players in this entire draft, but after his torn ACL, his draft stock seems to have fallen a little bit. He could easily be the WR1 in this draft, but I think that since he won't be able to attend the combine, he won't be the first receiver drafted this year. The Eagles drafted Devonta Smith last year, which was a boom this season. If Williams can team up with Smith, Hurts will have no excuse not to make the playoffs in 2022. Hurts will be in the best spot possible to succeed.
17. Los Angeles Chargers
Jordan Davis, IDL, Georgia
Davis was the star of the defense for one of the best of all time in a lot of people's books. Although he didn't play as much as you would like, he has the ability to completely wreck the O-Line and change the game. The Chargers had one of the worst run defenses in the NFL, and a big reason for that was the D-Line. They don't have a stud on the line, and Jordan Davis can really be that guy.
18. New Orleans Saints
Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
Realistically, I believe that the Saints will have a bridge quarterback for the 2022 season before the draft, but in this case, they would have to take a quarterback. I would think they would draft a receiver with a quarterback, but now they would have to take Malik Willis. Willis has one of the highest ceilings in this draft, but he also needs to develop a lot. The Saints are in a very tough cap situation, so they would likely need to give up quite a bit now, so a raw player like Willis is a great choice here to compete in a few seasons.
19. Philadelphia Eagles
Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia
The Eagles don't have much from the edge besides Josh Sweat, so Travon Walker could be a great fit here. His upside is very high, and with the draft capital that the Eagles have, a player of Walker's caliber can be a huge pick for them to really elevate the team. While Jermaine Johnson could also be a possibility here, Travon Walker is getting a slight nod here for me. He can absolutely change the defense of the Eagles.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers
Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina
The Steelers would realistically take someone in free agency or trade up for a quarterback, but without trades they will have to reach a bit for their quarterback here. Howell has been a very interesting prospect this season while starting the year as one of the top prospects, but throughout the year he was very disappointing and fell way down everyone's boards. Howell still has a lot of potential, especially in this type of draft class, but he just needs to be more consistent at the NFL level. The Steelers have put together a very solid team, and without Big Ben, they seem to be just a quarterback away from being a top contender.
21. New England Patriots
Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
The Patriots are notorious for not having a very good receiving core, but I still think that this is a huge need for them. Cornerback is also a possibility here, but I think that the receivers are very good this year, and the Patriots simply can't pass it up. Burks is one of the biggest receivers in this class, a very physical player at 6'3 225 lbs, and can get the 50/50 ball. His film shows that he doesn't get much separation, but his ability to extend the play and get yards after the catch is incredible. While the size is very different, Deebo Samuel is a great comparison to Burks with his ability to make defenders miss.
22. Las Vegas Raiders
Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
Linderbaum is a very interesting player to predict his pick, as he has the potential to be the best linemen in the draft, but the other linemen in this draft are just barely better. If he falls as far as he has here, I don't think there's a single team that would pass him up here. The Raiders completely dismantled their O-Line last offseason, and after drafting Alex Leatherwood last year, it really showed how big a need this position was for them. I could also see a receiver in play here, but Tyler Linderbaum can be even better than any of the receivers.
23. Arizona Cardinals
Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson
Booth is a player that has a lot of hit or miss potential. He has the potential to be the best corner in the draft, but he could also fall way down if the Cardinals do not develop him well. Although Daxton Hill is likely better at the moment, Booth has better potential and the Cardinals would be just fine with this pick. They don't have a lot of depth at cornerback, so Booth could provide a huge boost to this defense.
24. Dallas Cowboys
Daxton Hill, CB, Michigan
While the Cowboys do have Trevon Diggs, who proved to be very solid this season despite the yards given up, they don't have much else at the position. You also can't bank your defense on a guy who was historically bad and good at the same time. Daxton Hill can be that guy that can be good in coverage and not rely on the ball being thrown to him to get interceptions. He can cover any guy on the field and shut down an offense. The defense was already incredible this year, but it can be even better with depth at cornerback.
25. Buffalo Bills
Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
Olave's draft stock has fallen somehow, which is only because he was paired up with Garrett Wilson and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, so he didn't rack up quite as much stats as prior years. While he was surrounded by other players that took some of his firepower, he still was quite the player. He had the most receptions on the team still, and was the veteran in that receiver room. Buffalo does have Stefon Diggs, but other than him it drops off quite a bit. While Cole Beasley is a very solid second choice and Gabriel Davis was stellar in the playoffs, you would still have to think that receiver is a big need with how good a team they have.
26. Tennessee Titans
Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
Penning's stock has rose quite a bit lately following the Senior Bowl. The Titans could easily take a defensive player here or a receiver, but I think that the offensive line is a bigger need right now. Trevor Penning being available here is also very inquiring, as he can very easily be in the top 15 even. During the Senior Bowl we really saw what he was all about, and that easily rose his stock. He is a great pass-blocker and eats up all the blocks. He is a great prospect for the Titans.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jermaine Johnson II, EDGE, Florida State
I don't know if Jermaine Johnson should fall this far, but if he does, the Bucs will be ecstatic to take him here. Johnson's stock has rose lately as a lot of others have, but he was likely not even a first rounder to possibly even being in the top 10-15. The Bucs need edge help, with not a very solid player there. They could take a linebacker or receiver here as well, but Johnson would be an easy pick for them this late in the draft.
28. Green Bay Packers
Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
Dotson is a very intriguing prospect in this draft. He is a quick and speedy receiver, that is likely in the bottom half of the top 10 receivers, but can easily be in the top 5-3 receivers. The packers are likely losing Davante Adams this offseason as well as Aaron Rodgers, so getting a receiver to see what you have in Jordan Love is a great idea. Even if you do retain Rodgers and maybe even Adams, you would think that the Packers want to appease Rodgers by finally getting him some weapons which they have been thought to get him for years. Dotson can easily be a great WR2 in a Packers offense.
29. Miami Dolphins
George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue
The Dolphins are probably in a best player available situation here, and I think that with George Karlaftis being available here, the Dolphins would be happy to take him here. They don't have much edge rushers, and even then they're not that great, so Karlaftis can elevate this defense big time. Karlaftis is another player that can be a flip of a coin to be in the top ten even, so I could definitely see him going way earlier before the Dolphins pick.
30. Kansas City Chiefs
DeMarvin Leal, EDGE, Texas A&M
Leal is, like a lot of players, easily able to be picked way earlier in the top 15. He is 6'4 290 lbs, so he is very big and strong, but he is also a great athlete for his size. His stock really rose this season with a stellar season. Don't let his size fool you, he can really make you pay with his versatility and ability to play at a lot of positions on the line. He could easily be a standing end in a 3-4 defense, or can be more of an inside rusher. As long as he is used right, he might be one of the biggest steals in the draft.
31. Cincinnati Bengals
Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan
The Bengals really need a linemen here. That's all it is here. They had a breakout season that was cut short due to the offensive line not being able to stop the Rams defensive line. If they can draft a few solid linemen, they are going to be one of the most complete teams in the NFL. To really see the full potential of Joe Burrow, which seems to have been unlocked, they need to protect him. He was sacked 52 times, the most in the NFL this season. Joe Burrow might already be on the Andrew Luck path, which nobody wants, so they need to do everything in their power to protect Burrow.
32. Detroit Lions
Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
While the Lions would love to draft a receiver here, I don't think there's anybody available now that would be worth a pick here. I think that Nakobe Dean is the best player available at this point in the draft. I wouldn't be surprised if Dean goes way earlier, maybe to a team like the Eagles if Lloyd isn't available there. The Lions could just about use help at any position, so they would be more than happy to draft Dean in this situation.