Draft season is upon us, and with the first half of the draft being set following Week 18 of the NFL, it's time for another mock draft. My approach to these is always the same: predictive. I wouldn't draft some of these players this way, but the NFL may be higher or lower than me for a particular reason. If you're looking for Mock Draft 1.0, click here. I've also included where these players sit on my personal big board through about 120 prospects viewed. Just for fun.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars - Kayvon Thibodeaux
6'5, 250 lbs
Overall Ranking: 1
Photo by Sean Meagher/The Oregonian
The Jacksonville Jaguars are very far away from competing, but having back-to-back first overall picks should help. Kayvon Thibodeaux and Aidan Hutchinson are in the same tier for me, but Thibodeaux displays a combination of bend and strength that screams first overall pick. He's not Myles Garrett or Chase Young, but he is damn close.
2. Detroit Lions - Aidan Hutchinson
6'6, 265 lbs
Overall Ranking: 2
As aforementioned, Aidan Hutchinson and Kayvon are in the same tier (and they actually came out with identical grades) for me. Hutchinson and the Lions are a match made in heaven. Hutchinson is a powerful edge rusher with a high motor. Some will cite his performance against Georgia as a knock, but if you watch snap-for-snap, he was actually quite good (Bennett got the ball out quickly and Georgia gave Hutchinson the Chase Young treatment). Let the knees be bitten.
3. Houston Texans - Evan Neal
6'7, 360 lbs
Overall Ranking: 15
The Texans don't necessarily have a need at left tackle; Laremy Tunsil is still under contract in 2022 and their offensive line didn't perform too poorly in 2021. However, 6'7/360 with movement skills is going to be incredibly hard for any team to pass up. Tunsil has an out as he heads into 2023, and Evan Neal has played multiple positions along the line at Alabama over his three years. Neal cleaned a lot of his problems up in 2021, and he's certain to be near the top of every team's board in April.
4. New York Jets - Derek Stingley
6'1, 195 lbs
Overall Ranking: 14
Photo by Matthew Emmons/USA-TODAY Sports
The Jets have a lot of needs. It's no secret. And while they've gotten some stellar play out of Bryce Hall in 2021, they have been terrible in coverage. While the Jets should be in the market of best player available (and BPA here would be Kyle Hamilton, probably), almost-best-player-available-at-a-position-of-dire-need makes some sense. And Stingley is one hell of a football player. His athleticism often was missing from his 2020 film, but watching his 2019 film was like watching the Ja'Marr Chase of corners. He has incredible ball skills, can play within multiple schemes, and profiles as a high-level CB1.
5. New York Giants - George Karlaftis
6'4, 275 lbs
Overall Ranking: 5
I'm just going to be honest; I have no clue what the New York Giants will do in this draft. Will Gettleman be there? Judge? Will they face the music and move on from Daniel Jones if not? Perhaps. They do have two top-seven picks, so the possibilities are endless. But this draft class is the Year of the EDGE, and another comes off the board here. Karlaftis is a high-motor guy with incredibly strong hands. His powerful 275-pound frame mixed with abnormal athleticism makes him an immediate impact player for a team that needs impact players desperately.
6. Carolina Panthers - Charles Cross
6'5, 310 lbs
Overall Ranking: 13
The Carolina Panthers simply cannot use this pick on a quarterback. They can't (they probably will, but I chose to give them the benefit of the doubt). Charles Cross is an athletic left tackle that actually ranks just above Evan Neal for me. He has powerful hands, outstanding movement skills, is great in the run game and with room to grow. Cross sometimes has clunky footwork in pass sets, but he anchors so well that it matters less. I expect him to be a franchise tackle; something the Panthers needed before they brought in Sam Darnold and Cam Newton.
7. New York Giants (from CHI) - Tyler Linderbaum
6'3, 289 lbs
Overall Ranking: 7
Yeah, I don't know. This team is in shambles. The offensive line had resources pumped into it for years and it still feels like they've only drafted one notable player in the last five years. They're a terrible team that can often get bullied in the trench. Tyler Linderbaum doesn't get bullied in the trench, though. Although undersized, Linderbaum displays great functional strength, a tremendous anchor, and is a force when run blocking. Saquon would love this fellow.
8. Atlanta Falcons - Kyle Hamilton
6'4, 219 lbs
Overall Ranking: 3
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images
I know the Falcons just spent a decently-high draft pick on Richie Grant, but Hamilton supersedes the concern about that. Some have him as the best player in the draft, and if not for positional importance, he would without a doubt be a top-three pick. Hamilton does it all. You want to play single-high? Hamilton can. You want to use your safeties in the box? That's fine! Hamilton can do that. His range is incredible and his ball skills are top tier. He is an incredible tackler that should certainly be a day one impact player.
9. Denver Broncos - Kenny Pickett
6'2, 220 lbs
Overall Ranking: 50
Remember when I said "I wouldn't draft some of these players this way?" Yeah, this is what I meant. Kenny Pickett is a good quarterback. Following a breakout fifth year, Pickett has widely become the consensus QB1. His pre- and post-snap processing progressively got better throughout the year and he showed adequate arm strength. I have no idea who the coach will be and what quarterback he prefers, but I feel confident saying that it won't be Teddy Bridgewater or Drew Lock. Pickett would step into a situation with one of the best assortment of skill players in the NFL. Would he unlock all of them?
10. New York Jets (from SEA) - Jameson Williams
6'2, 189 lbs
Overall Ranking: 12
Speed is important to NFL teams. Jameson Williams has loads of it. He's going to run in the low 4.3s and he goes to Alabama. That's truly all you need to know. He has an ability to stretch the field, and while the Jets have some of that in Elijah Moore and Corey Davis, they don't have a wide receiver in this mold on the roster. Zach Wilson's ability to throw the deep ball would certainly improve with a guy that leaves defenders in the dust.
11. Washington Football Team - Sam Howell
6'0, 225 lbs
Overall Ranking: 37
I think the NFL is going to like Sam Howell. His leadership skills are outstanding, he can make every throw, and he displayed an ability to create with his legs in 2021 (it won't translate, but alas). He also has some bad film at times in 2021. His eyes can be a tick slow, his instinct to pull down and run may be too ingrained, and his off-platform work leaves a little to be desired. However, in a fake UNC offense (RPO-based with a bad OL and a mostly-bad group of WRs), it's tough to truly evaluate what kind of quarterback he will be at the next level. I think he'll be a damn good one. And I think the NFL will agree.
12. Minnesota Vikings - Andrew Booth
6'0, 200 lbs
Overall Ranking: 10
Andrew Booth is my personal CB1. He has plus-athleticism, is scheme versatile, and is one of the best tackling corners I've studied since I've been scouting (2017-ish, for those wondering). I know tackling doesn't necessarily move the needle for this position, but it should. Booth is incredible instinctual and profiles as an island corner, and the Vikings are in desperate need of a secondary worth something. Certainly, with Mike Zimmer potentially heading out the door, we could look at more of a teardown and therefore, a quarterback selection. But I think the Vikings will be looking to reinvigorate that secondary. They need it.
13. Cleveland Browns - Garrett Wilson
6'0, 192 lbs
Overall Ranking: 8
Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images
I go back and forth with this pick. On one hand, Treylon Burks is my WR1 for a variety of reasons that I'll get to later. On the other hand, Garrett Wilson is one of the best separators in the class. The Browns consistently have guys on the field who can't separate, so I went with Wilson. When you combine his footwork with his insane body control, Wilson could have a Stefon Diggs-esque ceiling. The Browns need a wide receiver like that.
14. Baltimore Ravens - Ikem Ekwonu
6'4, 320 lbs
Overall Ranking: 18
A lot of folks have Ikem going in the top 10, and while that could still be the case, he's a tremendous fit with the Ravens. He's a tenacious, mobile tackle prospect that can kick in to play guard when needed. He's got strong hands and consistently finishes his blocks; something that the Ravens will value to the highest degree this offseason as they look to improve the offensive line and prepare for the return of JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards. Ikem would be an All-Pro in this offense.
15. Philadelphia Eagles (from MIA) - Trent McDuffie
5'11, 193 lbs
Overall Ranking: 17
I can't help but feel like I'm watching Denzel Ward when I pop on the Trent McDuffie film. He's incredibly fluid, sticky, and he flies around the field. He's a bit undersized, but he makes up for that with physicality and effort. He's up there with Booth as the best tackling corner prospects I've watched, consistently preventing chunk plays from happening when assisting in run support. McDuffie is going to be a riser through this process. The Eagles have three first-round picks, meaning they can splurge a little and add to an area they may not have glaring needs at.
16. Philadelphia Eagles (from IND) - Treylon Burks
6'3, 232 lbs
Overall Ranking: 6
An area they do have glaring needs at is wide receiver. After drafting a wide receiver in the first the last two years, and consistently spending high capital on the position, they still find themselves struggling at the position. DeVonta Smith has worked out thus far, but outside of him, they have nobody. Treylon Burks would provide Jalen Hurts and the Eagles with a different type of wideout. Burks is a massive, athletic receiver that can win in a variety of ways. He was used on schemed end-arounds. He was used on go routes. He takes slants to the house. He does it all. He's going to get knocked for his inability to separate, but he can separate just fine; it's just occurring at the catch point instead of with twitchy movements and footwork. Give Jalen weapons and let him prosper.
17. Los Angeles Chargers - Drake London
6'5, 210 lbs
Overall Ranking: 9
Drake London is not just a jump ball wide receiver. He may have been considered that in 2020, but his 2021 film tells a different story. He improved his release and won from the outside. He expanded his route tree. He displayed twitch that is truly abnormal for players his size. He did it all. He has the potential to be "better Mike Williams" (he disregards his body similar to Mike, that's for sure). The Chargers may be moving on from Big Mike, and what better way to replenish than with a guy who would bring out the best in Justin Herbert?
18. New Orleans Saints - Matt Corral
6'1, 205 lbs
Overall Ranking: 38
I don't know a lot, but I know the Saints punched above their weight in 2021. They shouldn't have had a shot at the playoffs after Jameis Winston went down, but they were in it until the very last second of the late slate in Week 18. Jameis returning makes some sense; he performed well prior to getting injured and he showed a ton of improvement from his Bucs days. However, he's more of a stop-gap option. Even if he returns, there's a chance the Saints go with a quarterback. Matt Corral is a good one. He is athletic with an accurate, strong arm, and displayed improvement in the decision-making area in 2021. I don't know if he's special, but I do know that he could be a good NFL starter for a lot of years. In a Sean Payton offense, that wouldn't be in question at all.
19. Philadelphia Eagles - David Ojabo
6'5, 250 lbs
Overall Ranking: 4
Make a strength a bigger strength and prosper. That model has allowed for the Ravens, Patriots and Steelers to be powerhouses in the NFL for a long, long time. The Eagles have a stellar pass rush. Javon Hargrave provides it from the interior while Josh Sweat gets there from the edge. However, Derek Barnett is gone and Ryan Kerrigan was awful in 2021. David Ojabo is a bit raw, but the bend and athleticism have shades of 2021 rookie Odafe Oweh. Oh, and Ojabo was productive despite that rawness. I have Ojabo rated ahead of Karlaftis. I actually have him as a top five player in the class. Here, he falls a bit to a situation that would maximize his strengths.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers - Carson Strong
6'4, 215 lbs
Overall Ranking: 39
Carson Strong is the perfect Ben Roethlisberger replacement. He actually has tons of similar qualities to a younger version of Ben. Big arm. Really good eyes. Very nice touch on deep balls. And the Steelers have to understand that they can't go another year trying to find out if Mason Rudolph is it. He's not. Strong would step into probably the best situation of the rookie quarterbacks. The offensive line would still need some work, but Strong is willing to step up in pockets and sling it in the face of pressure (whether that sling gets to his wideouts or the other team is TBD, but still).
21. New England Patriots - Daxton Hill
6'0, 192 lbs
Overall Ranking: 42
Bill loves drafting athletic defensive players, and that's exactly what Daxton Hill is. Do they need a safety? Probably not that much, no. Do they need a player to slide into the slot? Not really. But this is what Bill does. Hill is a really talented player, displaying next-level burst and range while also sliding in at slot corner, playing single-high safety, and being utilized as a chess piece. He'd assume a similar role in New England, though very likely get tons of reps at cornerback (where he's quite good).
22. Miami Dolphins (from SF) - Kenyon Green
6'4, 325 lbs
Overall Ranking: 11
Photo by Sam Cook/Associated Press
Kenyon Green is a polarizing prospect. On one hand, he can be an incredible force in the run game as a guard for a team. On another hand, he brings versatility, as he mostly played tackle in 2021. On a third hand, he struggled to do that. If teams view him as a tackle, I don't expect he'll go this highly. If teams view him as a versatile piece, I think this may end up being kind of low. He's quite athletic and a massive human; NFL teams typically like that combination.
23. Las Vegas Raiders - Roger McCreary
6'0, 190 lbs
Overall Ranking: 25
The Raiders have gotten some inspired play from their corners this year following the release of Damon Arnette. Unfortunately, there's just not a lot of depth or even talent on the roster. Rookie Nate Hobbs has been a pleasant surprise when he's not getting DUIs and Casey Hayward has been himself. Roger McCreary would step in and provide the team with some talent. He's an athletic corner with really good ball skills and solid technique. With reports that Mayock may be out, I don't feel the need to put Derion Kendrick here, either.
24. Arizona Cardinals - Travon Walker
6'5, 275 lbs
Overall Ranking: 68 *ducks*
Walker is another guy that I'm lower on than consensus. The strength he displays through his hands is certifiably absurd, but he lacks the bend I think he may need to be an impact edge rusher at the next level. However, if the Cardinals want to get some JJ Watt security on the roster, Walker is a decent place to start. Walker moves differently for a 275-pound man, and that's going to mean something to teams.
25. Cincinnati Bengals - Nakobe Dean
6'0, 225 lbs
Overall Ranking: 20
The Bengals don't have a ton of needs, honestly. They're the AFC North champions for a reason. Their offensive line has not been good, and their secondary has struggled at times in 2021. But their linebacker room is really shallow, and Nakobe Dean being here at the back of the first feels like a pipe dream. Dean is my top linebacker and does tons of things well. He's got range, and while he's undersized, he is one hell of an athlete. He sheds blocks incredibly well and provides a ton in coverage when asked. He's a MIKE at the next level, and the Bengals need a couple of those.
26. Buffalo Bills - Breece Hall
6'1, 220 lbs
Overall Ranking: 16
Photo by Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press
Breece Hall and Isaiah Spiller are the clear-cut RB1 and 2 for me, and while I put Kenneth Walker here before, I think he's too similar to Devin Singletary for that to make sense. Singletary has played well down the stretch, but the Bills need a running back to lean on when they get into grind-it-out games against division rivals. Their model is perfect for beating the Chiefs; not so perfect for consistently beating the Patriots. Breece provides that. He's shown he can carry a load while displaying patience, burst, and finally in 2021, some breakaway speed. The Bills would add a new dynamic to their offense. They could use that, honestly.
27. Detroit Lions (from LAR) - Jaquan Brisker
6'1, 204 lbs
Overall Ranking: 30
Jaquan Brisker is a versatile safety that has risen up a ton of draft boards this season. He can play single-high, as a split safety, or down in the box. He's a good tackler and an even better coverage player. He is decently athletic and could step in and perform immediately for the Lions. They need players like that.
28. Dallas Cowboys - DeMarvin Leal
6'4, 290 lbs
Overall Ranking: 23
I'm honestly torn on DeMarvin. On one hand, I think he's too small to consistently win even from a 3-tech position. On the other, I think he could provide matchup advantages to whatever defense that drafts him. The Cowboys just had success with an undersized defensive tackle (Osa Odigizuwha) in the 2021 NFL Draft; why not double up? They have needs everywhere, but getting versatile pieces to plug up the middle of the defense makes some sense so that they can allow their edge rushers and Micah Parsons to prosper in pass rush.
29. Kansas City Chiefs - Chris Olave
6'1, 185 lbs
Overall Ranking: 27
The NFL will be higher on Chris Olave than you think. Despite going back to school and being "the WR3" for the Buckeyes, Olave had an incredibly productive 2021 season. His ability to separate with crisp footwork mixed with some really nice body control makes for a consistently open wideout. Open is good with Patrick Mahomes, and Olave could slide right into his most suitable role: a WR2 for an explosive offense.