Gallagher’s 2022 NFL Mock Draft 1.0

NFL Draft

The 2021 NFL Draft is a little under a week away. It is set to kick off on Thursday night in Las Vegas. There is lots of buzz around the league. Reports are beginning to surface about where respective players could land. There is also speculation about teams looking to move up to snag the person of their choosing. Multiple franchises have more than one pick in the first round. The Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets, and Philadelphia Eagles are all scheduled to make more than one selection on night one. With the Jacksonville Jaguars still reportedly undecided at the top, here is my mock draft 1.0.     

Make sure to check out all of our NFL Draft Scouting Reports.

1) Jacksonville Jaguars – Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan

Travon Walker is still gaining a lot of traction to be the first name called on Thursday night due to his massive athletic upside. However, the Jaguars need to add a franchise cornerstone on the defensive side of the ball. Look for Hutchinson to get the nod. He was a premier pass rusher at the University of Michigan. A prototypical 4-3 defensive end, the 21-year-old las the length, power, and speed to be a 10-year starter for the team.

2) Detroit Lions – Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon

One of the worst units at getting to the quarterback a year ago, the Lions desperately need a star on the defensive line. Once regarded as the top overall player in the draft, Thibodeaux’s ceiling is thought of by many as the highest in the class. Possessing a devastating first step off the edge, he can set up opposing offensive lineman while beating them with his smooth hands. Stout as a run defender, he can hold up at the point of attack while shooting gaps to make plays in the backfield.

3) Houston Texans – Ikem Ekwonu, OL, North Carolina State

While the Texans could look to add to their defense with this pick, the team needs to address their offensive line if they hope to help out second-year man Davis Mills next season. One of the worst units in the league in 2021, they surrendered 2.6 sacks per game while averaging a measly 3.6 yards per carry in the run game. A versatile player, Ekwonu has more than three years of experience at the left tackle position. Maintaining the size to kick inside to guard in the NFL, he has the nastiness and power at the point of attack to be a Pro Bowl player early on.

4) New York Jets – Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia

Needing to add a star rusher for head coach Robert Saleh, landing Walker would be one of the best-case scenarios for the Jets. Starting on the Bulldog’s defense last season, the Upson-Lee High School alum recorded 33 tackles and six sacks in 13 games. He possesses all the tools to mold into a star at the pro level. The Georgia native has the versatility to line up both inside as a one technique along with off the edge.

5) New York Giants – Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

Scheduled to make two selections in the first ten picks, expect the Giants to address their offensive line early on. Making multiple moves in free agency, the team inked veterans Jon Feliciano and Mark Glowinski to deals to join star left tackle Andrew Thomas. With question marks still present at the right tackle spot, new head coach Brian Daboll indicated at the NFL’s Annual League meeting that the team is looking to add to the position group.

6) Carolina Panthers – Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh

Reportedly doing their homework on the quarterback class before the draft, the Panthers are searching for an upgrade over Sam Darnold. Linked to the team throughout the entire process, Pickett has a connection to current head coach Matt Rhule after he initially committed to play for him at Temple University. Shooting up draft boards this season, Pickett has both the mobility and accuracy to make plays down the field. The senior was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy after tossing for 4,319 yards and 42 touchdown scores.

7) New York Giants – Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinatti

Beginning to take calls on star cornerback James Bradberry, the Giants need to address the defensive back spot. With depth options present on the roster in Adoree’ Jackson, Rodarius Williams, and Darnay Holmes, if the team does indeed part with Bradberry, Gardner would be the perfect fit for defensive coordinator Wink Martindale’s heavy blitz scheme. A shutdown corner for the Bearcats, he never allowed a touchdown over his four years with the program. Excelling in 2021, the Detroit native allowed just 131 yards in coverage across 14 games.

8) Atlanta Falcons – Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

Atlanta underwent massive changes to their wide receiver room in the offseason. The team lost their number one option after it was revealed that Calvin Ridley would be suspended for a year for betting on games. In free agency, the Falcons also saw Russell Gage sign with their bitter rival, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The perfect option to bolster their passing attack, Wilson has all the tools too morph into a number one receiver down the line. A monster after the catch, he is dynamic with the ball in his hands.

9) Seattle Seahawks – Jermaine Johnson, EDGE, Florida State

Choosing to transfer from Georgia after two years with the program, Johnson landed with the Seminoles last season. Quickly becoming one of the best playmakers on the defensive side of the ball across college football last season, the 6’5″ senior racked up 11.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss in just 12 games. Offering terrific length as a pass rusher, Johnson has terrific hands that allow him to get off blocks with ease. Furthermore, he has the speed and flexibility to bend and turn the corner around tackles, making him the perfect building block for the Seahawk’s defense.

10) New York Jets – Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

Determined to add speed to their wide receiver room, the Jets were in the sweepstakes for Chiefs star Tyreek Hill before he was ultimately dealt to the Miami Dolphins. Williams is working his way back from a Torn ACL injury after suffering it in the National Championship game against Georgia. A game breaker in the passing game, he has the ability to run past opposing defensive backs down by turning on a second gear. The Junior is also a twitchy route runner who can create separation with ease, making him the perfect weapon for quarterback Zack Wilson.

11) Washington Commanders – Kyle Hamilton, SAF, Notre Dame

Stopping the slide of one of the best players in the class, Hamilton would give the Commanders a versatile chess piece in their secondary. Playing faster in game than his 4.59 second 40-yard dash time at the combine indicates he shined all over the field during his time at Notre Dame. The 21-year-old has a rare football IQ and instincts that allow him to make plays on all three levels of the defense. A willing tackler, he can play the Will Linebacker role while also having the ball skills to drop back and play center field. This makes him the perfect pairing to play alongside Kamren Curl.

12) Minnesota Vikings – Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU

Shining during his first two seasons at LSU, Stingley Jr. started with the Tigers as a freshman in 2019. Helping lead the team to a national championship title, he recorded 38 tackles, six interceptions, and 15 pass breakups while also earning first-team All-SEC honors. Slated by many to be a top-three pick in the draft, he only appeared in three games last season after suffering a Lisfranc foot injury. Holding all the tools to be a number one cornerback in the NFL, he has the speed, length, and athleticism to make up with any receiver on the boundary. This makes him great value for Minnesota at 12.

13) Houston Texans – George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue

In the market for help at the Edge position, the Texans finished 31st in the NFL a year ago with more than 142 yards allowed on the ground per game. They were almost bottom in the bottom fifth in the league with just 1.9 sacks averaged each contest. Already inking Obo Okoronkwo to a one-year deal in free agency, Karlaftis would give new head coach Lovie Smith another impactful pass rusher to use at his disposal.

14) Baltimore Ravens – Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia

Choosing to make significant investments along their defensive line last offseason, the Ravens inked Michael Pierce to a deal while also re-signing Calais Campbell. However, with both players over 30 heading into next season, look for general manager Eric Decosta to look to get younger at the position. A monster for the national champion Bulldogs in 2021, Davis earned the Chuck Bednarik Award while also being voted as a first-team all-American. Benefitting from his tremendous size and athleticism, he constantly commands a double team in the middle and can free up blocks for other players on the defense.

15) Philadelphia Eagles (via Miami) – Drake London, WR, USC

Philadelphia is still holding two first-round picks after their trade with the Saints. Needing to keep adding weapons to their wide receiver room, London would be the perfect compliment alongside Devonta Smith for quarterback Jalen Hurts. A big-bodied physical player on the outside, he can box out smaller defenders when running routes while also having the ability to go up and high point the football downfield.

16) New Orleans Saints (via Philadelphia, Indianapolis) – Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

New Orleans is in desperate need of a big-play threat for their offense. The Saints need a strong number two option to pair with Michael Thomas. Widely regarded as one of the best route runners in the draft, Olave shined for Ohio State last season. Helping lead the team to a second-place finish in the Big10 East, he recorded a career-high 65 receptions for 936 yards and 13 touchdowns.

17) Los Angeles Chargers – Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

Quickly reworking their offensive line last season, the Chargers inked Corey Linsley and Matt Feiler to deals while also drafting Rashawn Slater. Locked in on the left side, the team still has question marks to address at the right tackle spot. Without veteran Bryan Bulaga for the majority of the year due to injury, the team was forced to rely on Storm Norton to handle the duties. The fifth-round pick struggled mightily, making Cross a substantial upgrade to help protect quarterback Justin Herbert.

18) Philadelphia Eagles (via New Orleans) – Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

A three-year starter at the University of Utah, Lloyd is a dynamic player in the middle of the field. A physical player in the run game, he can come down and fill a lane while making plays from sideline to sideline. Along with this, he also has the coverage skills to match up with opposing tight ends and running backs in the passing game. An exceptional leader, he could be a captain on the Eagle’s defense for years to come.

19) New Orleans Saints (via Philadelphia) – Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa

Already addressing one significant need at the receiver position by drafting Olave, the Saints hit on another by drafting Penning. The team lost longtime left tackle Terron Armstead in free agency after he inked a five-year $75 million dollar deal with the Miami Dolphins. Capable of slotting in at the spot for the team in week 1 next season, Penning has the length and lateral mobility on the edge while also maintaining the nastiness to win routinely against opposing edge rushers.

20) Pittsburgh Steelers – Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

Pittsburgh will head into next season without Ben Roethlisberger under center for the first time in 18 seasons. Searching for their signal-caller of the future, the team brought in veteran Mitch Trubisky on a two-year $8 million deal. Already undergoing a pre-draft visit with Willis, the Steelers have shown interest in the senior throughout the entire process. Physically gifted at the quarterback spot, he has the arm strength to make any throw on the field. Furthermore, the Atlanta, Georgia, native has the mobility to tuck the ball and make plays with his legs.

21) New England Patriots – Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

Defensive back is a glaring need that the Patriots need to address before the start of next season. The team lost All-Pro J.C. Jackson to the Los Angeles Chargers after he inked five year $82.5 million deal in free agency. With veteran Malcolm Butler and Jalen Mills currently penciled in as the starters for New England, McDuffie would give Bill Belichick a capable starting option from day one. A former wide receiver, he has a high football IQ with the straight-line speed to keep up with any opposing player.

22) Green Bay Packers – Daxton Hill, DB, Michigan

While the popular call will be to add a wide receiver with this pick, Safety is an under-the-radar need for Green Bay. Adrian Amos is set to become a free agent at the end of next season. Furthermore, after not yet picking up his 5th-year option, 2018 first-round pick Darnell Savage Jr. is also on an expiring contract. A versatile piece for defensive coordinator Joe Barry, Hill can play both single high safety or as the nickel defender in the slot.

23) Arizona Cardinals – Zion Johnson, IOL, Boston College

Set along their offensive line heading into next season, the Cardinals will return their group of Rodney Hudson, D.J. Humphries, Justin Pugh and Kelvin Beachum. Filling in their vacancy at right guard during free agency, the team inked Will Hernandez to a one-year $1.1 million deal. With depth still needed for the position group, four of their five starters are currently set to hit free agency in 2023. A smart player, Johnson is as consistent as they come as a blocker. Likely to play guard in the NFL, he also has the ability to kick out to tackle if needed.

24) Dallas Cowboys – Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa

One of the biggest issues that plagued the Dallas Cowboys a year ago, the team struggled to keep Dak Prescott upright. They surrendered 33 sacks in 17 games. After losing Connor Williams in free agency, the group was forced to rely on Connor McGovern to man the left guard spot. Likely to address a premium pick on their interior, Linderbaum would give the Cowboys a Pro Bowl caliber talent. A former wrestler, he has the hands, balance and the power at the point of attack to open up run lanes inside.

25) Buffalo Bills – Andrew Booth Jr, CB, Clemson

Home to one of the best rosters in the league, the Bills still have a glaring need at the cornerback position. They are set to go into next season with former seventh-round pick Dane Jackson and Cam Lewis as their starters. All-Pro Tre’Davious White is still working his way back from a torn ACL after suffering it in week 12, while Levi Wallace departed for the Pittsburgh Steelers in free agency. Offering the size, length, athleticism, and ball skills to be a shutdown starter in the NFL, Both is scheme versatile with the ability to play any type of coverage.

26) Tennessee Titans – Kenyon Green, IOL, Texas A&M

Tasked with replacing two starters along their offensive line, the Titans lost longtime guard Rodger Saffold and David Quessenberry to the Bills in free agency. With only one pick inside the first two rounds as a result of their trade for Julio Jones a year ago, Green has an NFL-ready body after starting for three seasons for the Aggies. He has the strength to be a lead blocker in the run game while also maintaining the pass blocking skills to meet opposing defenders at the point of attack and knock them back from the line of scrimmage.

27) Tampa Bay Buccaneers –Travis Jones, DT, Connecticut

Needing to get younger and quicker along the interior of their defensive line, the Buccaneers brought back veteran William Gholston to play alongside Vita Vea. However, the team lost Ndamukong Suh, leaving a hole at the position. A prospect rising up draft boards after a strong performance at the Senior Bowl, Jones best projects as a traditional one technique at the NFL level. He has the size and frame to eat up blocks while also firing off the ball as a pass rusher.

28) Green Bay Packers – Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

The Packers have a massive hole present in their wide receiver room. The team shipped out star Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders in exchange for a first and second-round draft pick. Along with this, they also lost speedster Marquez Valdes-Scantling to the Chiefs in free agency. The perfect addition to Matt Lafleur’s offense, Burks has the versatility to play in the backfield, slot, and on the boundary. A good route runner, he is tough to bring down after the catch.

29) Kansas City Chiefs – Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State

Choosing to part ways with Hill in the offseason, the Chiefs shipped him to the Dolphins. With a massive need now present at the wide receiver spot, Watson would give head coach Andy Reid another burner at the position. Possessing all the traits present to be a superstar pass catcher down the line, he has excellent speed, agility, and body control when running routes that allow him to beat man coverage with ease.

30) Kansas City Chiefs – Boye Mafe, EDGE, Minnesota

Kansas City is without multiple pieces from their defensive line group from last season. The team lost Melvin Ingram and Jarran Reed in free agency. Needing to find help for Frank Clark and Chris Jones, Mafe would give defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo another dynamic pass-rushing option. A four-year player at Minnesota, he offers the athleticism to win on the edge with ease with his dynamic first step and hand power to get off opposing offensive lineman.

31) Cincinnati Bengals – Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

The Bengals choose to bring back Eli Apple on a one-year $4 million deal after his career year with the team. Enjoying a career year, he shined down the stretch for the group, helping them to reach the Super Bowl for the first time in over 30 seasons. Still needing to add depth at the position, Elam has the makeup to be a high-end starting cornerback at the pro level. A smooth physical player in coverage, he can push Apple for the starting job right away.

32) Detroit Lions – Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia

The best player remaining on the board at the end of Round 1, Dean, would give the Lions a potential anchor in the middle of their defense. Earning the Dick Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker in 2021, the 21-year-old is always around the football, with his ability to make plays from sideline to sideline. Good in pass coverage, he has the instincts to quickly diagnose plays while also having the football IQ to make plays on throws both in the short and intermediate games.

Check us out on our socials:   
Twitter: @PTSTNews and @TalkPrimeTime
Facebook Page: Prime Time Sports Talk
Join our Facebook Group: Prime Time Sports Talk 
Instagram: @primetimesportstalk

Follow Chris Gallagher on Twitter @ChrisGally06

Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images

Check us out on our socials:   
Twitter: @PTSTNews and @TalkPrimeTime
Facebook Page: Prime Time Sports Talk
Join our Facebook Group: Prime Time Sports Talk 
Instagram: @primetimesportstalk

Share this:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *