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2022 NFL Mock Draft: Panthers, Seahawks and Steelers all land quarterbacks in first round

Alabama

• Jr

• 6’7″

/ 337 lbs

Projected Team

Jacksonville

PROSPECT RNK

4th

POSITION RNK

1st

Jacksonville can go in a couple of different directions with this top spot. Aidan Hutchinson has been a popular selection here, but nothing should be more important to the Jaguars’ brass than making sure last year’s No. 1 pick in Trevor Lawrence develops into the generational quarterback he was billed to be. In that spirit, protecting him should be paramount. Cam Robinson did sign his franchise tag, but there is still no long-term answer. Neal could play right tackle in 2022 and then make the transition to the left side in 2023 if Robinson departs.

Michigan

• Sr

• 6’7″

/ 260 lbs

Projected Team

Detroit

PROSPECT RNK

2nd

POSITION RNK

1st

Best-case scenario here for the Lions with the Jaguars addressing the offensive line. Hutchinson makes sense in so many different ways. He’s a local kid and fills a big need as Detroit struggled to pressure the quarterback in 2021.

NC State

• Soph

• 6’4″

/ 310 lbs

Projected Team

Houston

PROSPECT RNK

10th

POSITION RNK

4th

With no slam-dunk quarterback in this class, the Texans will give Davis Mills a shot to be “the guy” next season, which frees them up to improve the rest of the roster with their two first-rounders. With their top selection, they’ll add to the offensive line with Ekwonu. He’s an extremely versatile offensive lineman that can play tackle or guard at a high level. Pairing him with star left tackle Laremy Tunsil would be the foundation of a very strong O-line, which would be very good news for Mills and this rebuilding franchise.

Georgia

• Jr

• 6’5″

/ 272 lbs

Projected Team

N.Y. Jets

PROSPECT RNK

13th

POSITION RNK

1st

Walker has been getting some No. 1 overall buzz, but the Jets are able to land him at No. 4. Walker’s versatility at his size gives him a chance to be a special talent and would immediately help raise the ceiling of the Jets’ defensive line for the foreseeable future. New York may also consider Kayvon Thibodeaux here as well.

Oregon

• Soph

• 6’4″

/ 254 lbs

Projected Team

N.Y. Giants

PROSPECT RNK

5th

POSITION RNK

2nd

Thibodeaux falls in the Giants’ lap and is a no-brainer selection. New York is in desperate need of improving its pass rush and Thibodeaux has all the talent in the world to be a foundation piece for this defense.

Pittsburgh

• Sr

• 6’3″

/ 217 lbs

Projected Team

Carolina

PROSPECT RNK

30th

POSITION RNK

2nd

There have been rumors that the Panthers may trade back from this spot to pick up more capital (next pick at No. 137 overall). If they stay at this spot, quarterback is a clear and obvious need for them and there are a number of connections that lead to Pickett being their choice. Ownership is a big donor to Pitt and Pickett once committed to playing for Matt Rhule at Temple.

Mississippi State

• Soph

• 6’5″

/ 307 lbs

Projected Team

N.Y. Giants

PROSPECT RNK

8th

POSITION RNK

2nd

The Giants would love to have the likes of Neal or Ekwonu falling to them with one of their first-rounders, but they still address that big need at the tackle position by taking Cross. He should be able to start a right tackle out of the gate and form a young pairing with left tackle Andrew Thomas.

Ohio State

• Jr

• 6’0″

/ 183 lbs

Projected Team

Atlanta

PROSPECT RNK

7th

POSITION RNK

1st

Quarterback could be a route for the Falcons here with Matt Ryan in Indianapolis and Marcus Mariota currently slated to be the Week 1 starter. However, wide receiver is also a position of great need with Calvin Ridley suspended and no depth outside of that to speak of. Wilson is our top-ranked receiver in this class and has shades of Odell Beckham Jr. in his game, which is exactly the type of high-end pass-catcher the Falcons need.

Liberty

• Jr

• 6’1″

/ 219 lbs

Projected Team

Seattle

PROSPECT RNK

23rd

POSITION RNK

1st

This might be a little too high for Willis, but never underestimate a team’s willingness to reach for a quarterback. Drew Lock doesn’t instill a lot of confidence at the position in the aftermath of the Russell Wilson trade and Seattle could see a raw version of their former quarterback in Willis, which may lead to this pick.

Cincinnati

• Jr

• 6’3″

/ 190 lbs

Projected Team

N.Y. Jets

PROSPECT RNK

3rd

POSITION RNK

1st

With the top corner in the draft still sitting on the board, the Jets waste no time on this pick. “Sauce” Gardner, Bryce Hall, and free agent signee D.J. Reed form a strong unit in the secondary in a division that has a number of star receivers.

Notre Dame

• Jr

• 6’4″

/ 220 lbs

Projected Team

Washington

PROSPECT RNK

1st

POSITION RNK

1st

Washington could very well go after a receiver at this spot, but Hamilton is a playmaker who should be able to help immediately in the Commanders’ secondary. His low 40 time is noteworthy, but shouldn’t send him falling down the board much farther than this.

LSU

• Jr

• 6’0″

/ 195 lbs

Projected Team

Minnesota

PROSPECT RNK

6th

POSITION RNK

2nd

Patrick Peterson is back with Minnesota and the veteran corner would be an ideal mentor for the fellow LSU Tiger in Stingley to help mold the Vikings’ secondary for the long haul.

Georgia

• Sr

• 6’6″

/ 341 lbs

Projected Team

Houston

PROSPECT RNK

18th

POSITION RNK

2nd

Houston added a big body for the offensive side of the ball earlier in the first round and now adds one on defense. Davis fills an immediate need for the Texans’ defensive line and has drawn comparisons to Vince Wilfork due to his sheer size. That’s notable when considering the New England ties in the Texans’ front office.

Florida State

• Sr

• 6’5″

/ 254 lbs

Projected Team

Baltimore

PROSPECT RNK

20th

POSITION RNK

3rd

Baltimore had pass-rusher Za’Darius Smith in their grasps, but the veteran then decided to renege on that agreement to join the Ravens and went back into the free agent pool. Here, Baltimore gets an electric pass-rusher in Johnson to pair with 2021 first-round pick Odafe Oweh.

Alabama

• Jr

• 6’2″

/ 179 lbs

Projected Team

Philadelphia

PROSPECT RNK

11th

POSITION RNK

2nd

For the third consecutive year, the Eagles take a receiver in the first round. Williams would have arguably been the top pass-catcher in this class had it not been for him tearing his ACL in the College Football Playoff title game. When healthy, he all the speed and route-running ability that you’re looking for in a top-tier receiver.

Northern Iowa

• Jr

• 6’7″

/ 321 lbs

Projected Team

New Orleans

PROSPECT RNK

35th

POSITION RNK

8th

New Orleans had a need at the position after losing Terron Armstead in free agency and I don’t see the Saints going quarterback after signing Jameis Winston to a two-year deal.

Boston College

• Sr

• 6’3″

/ 312 lbs

Protecting Justin Herbert is of the greatest importance as he enters Year 3 and is set to face off in the toughest division in the NFL. Johnson gives L.A. someone who can start in the interior from the jump.

Utah

• Jr

• 6’3″

/ 237 lbs

Projected Team

Philadelphia

PROSPECT RNK

16th

POSITION RNK

2nd

Adding Lloyd to a linebacker unit that already consists of free agent additions like Haason Reddick and Kyzir White would bring this position to another level. While his 40 time may say otherwise, Lloyd plays fast and can line up all over the field.

USC

• Jr

• 6’4″

/ 219 lbs

Projected Team

New Orleans

PROSPECT RNK

12th

POSITION RNK

3rd

Michael Thomas has struggled to see the field over the last two seasons due to injury and New Orleans needs a high-upside receiver to inject into this offense. London is a big body who can go up and get the football, which would complement Thomas well if he’s fully healthy.

Cincinnati

• Sr

• 6’3″

/ 211 lbs

Projected Team

Pittsburgh

PROSPECT RNK

75th

POSITION RNK

5th

It’s no secret that the Steelers need a long-term option at quarterback. It’s possible they trade up to take their preferred signal-caller, but if they stand pat there’s a chance that both Willis and Pickett are off the board, which leads them to Ridder.

Washington

• Soph

• 5’11”

/ 193 lbs

Projected Team

New England

PROSPECT RNK

16th

POSITION RNK

2nd

The DeVante Parker trade likely takes New England out of the receiver conversation in the first round unless their top-graded wideout is still on the board. They could go with Nakobe Dean to address their need at linebacker or snag a tackle, but arguably the club’s biggest need is at corner with J.C. Jackson departing in free agency. McDuffie would likely be a Day 1 starter in this secondary with a chance to develop into a true No. 1 corner.

Ohio State

• Sr

• 6’0″

/ 187 lbs

Projected Team

Green Bay

PROSPECT RNK

25th

POSITION RNK

5th

Sammy Watkins’ arrival in Green Bay shouldn’t shake up its draft strategy too much. After all, it’s going to take a small army to replace Davante Adams. Olave is said to be the best route-runner in this class, which is a trait that should get him forming a quick rapport with Aaron Rodgers.

Purdue

• Jr

• 6’4″

/ 266 lbs

Projected Team

Arizona

PROSPECT RNK

27th

POSITION RNK

4th

Arizona has a massive need on the edge after losing Chandler Jones in free agency and can begin addressing it by adding Karlaftis to this front seven. The 6-foot-4, 266-pounder already has an NFL body that he can use to get after the quarterback in Vance Joseph’s defense.

Texas A&M

• Jr

• 6’4″

/ 323 lbs

Green has shown an ability to be a versatile weapon across the O-line as he started at every position outside of center for the Aggies. He moves well at 325 pounds and is well-polished at this stage of his career. He’d challenge left guard Connor McGovern for the starting spot from the jump or push for the right tackle spot opposite Tyron Smith.

Clemson

• Jr

• 6’0″

/ 194 lbs

Projected Team

Buffalo

PROSPECT RNK

17th

POSITION RNK

3rd

Booth replaces Levi Wallace in Buffalo’s secondary and would create a dangerous one-two combo with Tre’Davious White.

Arkansas

• Jr

• 6’2″

/ 225 lbs

Even with the addition of Robert Woods, the Titans needs as many pass-catching weapons as they can to compete in this high-powered AFC. Burks plays much faster than his sluggish 4.55 40 at the combine suggests and should be able to pick up plenty of yards after the catch.

Georgia

• Sr

• 6’3″

/ 307 lbs

Projected Team

Tampa Bay

PROSPECT RNK

34th

POSITION RNK

7th

The Buccaneers get younger at the position by replacing Ndamukong Suh with Wyatt on the inside to play alongside Vita Vea.

Georgia

• Jr

• 5’11”

/ 229 lbs

Love the value here for Green Bay. Dean’s size has him fall into the back half of the first round here, but he’s an explosive, three-down linebacker that pairs well with De’Vondre Campbell.

Minnesota

• Sr

• 6’4″

/ 265 lbs

Projected Team

Kansas City

PROSPECT RNK

24th

POSITION RNK

3rd

Wide receiver is a clear need, but the Chiefs could also use some help rushing the passer. Mafe would give Kansas City a nice replacement for Melvin Ingram with a higher upside.

Penn State

• Sr

• 5’11”

/ 178 lbs

Similar to the situation in Green Bay, no one player is going to replace the productivity of Tyreek Hill, but Dotson is a solid piece to add to this offense for Patrick Mahomes.

Iowa

• Jr

• 6’2″

/ 296 lbs

Ted Karras is a decent stopgap interior lineman, but Cincinnati could select its long-term center at this spot with Linderbaum and further create a wall in front of Joe Burrow.

Michigan

• Jr

• 6’0″

/ 191 lbs

Projected Team

Detroit

PROSPECT RNK

19th

POSITION RNK

2nd

If the Lions are going to select a quarterback at some point in this draft, taking Matt Corral at this spot may be the smart move simply to have the long-term security of the fifth-year option. If they decide to punt on the position altogether and roll with Jared Goff, safety is a need. Hill can line up all over the secondary, giving Detroit some much-needed versatility.

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