Mock Draft

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Lance Zierlein 2022 NFL mock draft 1.0: Two trades; Bucs, Steelers find successors to Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger

In my first projection of how the first round will play out in Las Vegas on April 28, the Giants and Steelers trade up to address pressing needs, with Pittsburgh landing one of the standouts from Reese's Senior Bowl week.

Remember, this mock is a projection of where I believe players will go -- not necessarily a reflection of my opinion as to where the players should go.

Evan Neal
Alabama · OT · Junior

Neal is big, athletic and comes with a winning pedigree. He's an immediate upgrade at either tackle spot.

Aidan Hutchinson
Michigan · DE · Senior

The Jaguars could try to bait Detroit into moving up for the first overall pick, but if the Lions sit tight, they could still get a defender with elite football character and plus traits.

Ickey Ekwonu
N.C. State · OT · Junior

PROJECTED TRADE WITH TEXANS


The Giants move up in a deal with the Texans to ensure they land Ekwonu. He would give the team a tackle/guard option with a nasty playing demeanor and huge upside.

Kyle Hamilton
Notre Dame · S · Junior

Fourth overall is an awfully high pick for a safety, but Hamilton has elite size, toughness and versatility. His style of play could have head coach Robert Saleh banging the table for him.

Derek Stingley Jr.
LSU · CB · Junior

PROJECTED TRADE WITH GIANTS


Stingley has failed to match his 2019 tape over the last two seasons, but his rare combination of height, weight and speed could have GM Nick Caserio envisioning him as Stephon Gilmore 2.0 at a huge position of need.

Charles Cross
Mississippi State · OT · Sophomore (RS)

The Panthers need a quarterback but they also need someone to protect the QB. Cross is game-ready and worthy of a top-10 pick.

Pick
7
New York Giants
(via Bears)
Kayvon Thibodeaux
Oregon · Edge · Junior

New Giants GM Joe Schoen was previously with a Bills team that spent its first two 2021 draft picks at DE and its first pick of 2020 at DE. It's key to get the rush right, and Thibodeaux is a raw but explosive option.

Treylon Burks
Arkansas · WR · Junior

The Falcons could go with Michigan edge rusher David Ojabo here, but Burks gives them a dynamic athlete who, along with Kyle Pitts, can create mismatches galore from a variety of alignments.

David Ojabo
Michigan · Edge · Sophomore (RS)

Unless the Broncos grade this year's QB class differently than I expect, Ojabo could very well be the pick. He's not ready as a run defender but his pass-rush talent is undeniable.

Pick
10
New York Jets
(via Seahawks)
Sauce Gardner
Cincinnati · CB · Junior

Gardner is a long, competitive ballhawk with press-man and Cover 3 talent to fit into a variety of coverage schemes as a rookie starter.

Kenny Pickett
Pittsburgh · QB · Senior (RS)

Pickett's 2021 emergence was eye-popping. A solid NFL Scouting Combine performance and a good interview with Washington might be enough for the Commanders to turn the keys over to him.

Trent McDuffie
Washington · CB · Junior

The Vikings have had their share of issues in the secondary, so McDuffie's route-hounding, technique-driven cornerback play should be a welcome addition.

Jermaine Johnson II
Florida State · DE · Senior (RS)

A darling of Reese's Senior Bowl week, Johnson offers the Browns one of the ascending defenders in this year's draft class.

Travon Walker
Georgia · DE · Junior

If there is one thing the Ravens love, it is rugged defenders in the front seven. Walker is long and powerful as a run-stopper. His pass rush is just OK, but there is room for growth in that area.

Pick
15
Philadelphia Eagles
(via Dolphins)
Kenyon Green
Texas A&M · G · Junior

With the Eagles likely in need of a replacement for pending free agent Jason Kelce, Landon Dickerson could slide into the starting center role, leaving a spot open for Green. He will become a Day 1 starter as a drive-blocking guard with size, athleticism and toughness.

Pick
16
Drake London
USC · WR · Junior

This might not be the pick I would make, but the Eagles need a possession receiver with size and contested-catch talent. London fits the bill.

Malik Willis
Liberty · QB · Senior (RS)

PROJECTED TRADE WITH CHARGERS


Willis might not have played for a traditional college football power, but he is hard to bring down, can extend plays and has the arm to attack all areas of the field. The Steelers move up for their next starting QB.

Chris Olave
Ohio State · WR · Senior

The Saints land a buttery smooth athlete with home-run speed and the athletic ability to uncover on all three levels. They need a quarterback, but might view taking one here as a reach. Olave definitely fits another of the Saints' needs.

Jaquan Brisker
Penn State · S · Senior

Brisker's play has steadily progressed over the last two seasons. He's instinctive, can run and is a terrific tackler on the back end.

Trevor Penning
Northern Iowa · OT · Senior (RS)

PROJECTED TRADE WITH STEELERS


Left tackle Rashawn Slater gave the Chargers a technician who had immediate success as a rookie in 2021. Penning still needs some time to develop, but he's a plus run blocker with early starting potential at right tackle.

Devin Lloyd
Utah · LB · Senior (RS)

Lloyd's highly physical playing style checks the first box Bill Belichick looks for from his linebackers. He won't offer a ton of help in coverage but he will improve the Patriots' speed at the position.

Garrett Wilson
Ohio State · WR · Junior

High-character prospect who can stretch the field and make acrobatic catches. He has work to do with his route-running, but he's competitive and plays with good strength.

Kyler Gordon
Washington · CB · Junior (RS)

Gordon is one of the most explosive cornerbacks in the draft. If he plays to his potential, the Cardinals could have a steal.

Bernhard Raimann
Central Michigan · OT · Senior

The Cowboys might have a more pressing need at guard, but it is hard to find tackles with Raimann's potential, and Tyron Smith isn't as dominant as he used to be.

Jordan Davis
Georgia · DT · Senior

Adding the run-stuffing, space-eating Davis would shore up the run defense and could help unleash Ed Oliver's true potential at three-technique.

Zion Johnson
Boston College · C/G · Senior

The Titans need talent along the interior and Johnson just might offer guard/center value after playing in the pivot at the Senior Bowl. He's a powerful run blocker who stood out in Mobile.

Matt Corral
Mississippi · QB · Junior (RS)

From a size and playing style perspective, Corral doesn't fit the profile of QBs Bruce Arians has grown accustomed to coaching. However, that shouldn't stop GM Jason Licht from making the pick if he believes the former Ole Miss star can be Tampa Bay's long-term answer in the wake of Tom Brady's retirement.

Nakobe Dean
Georgia · LB · Junior

The selection of Dean could be a no-brainer if De'Vondre Campbell departs in free agency. Dean is undersized but has the speed to fly around the field and make a lot of plays.

Pick
29
Miami Dolphins
(via 49ers)
Jameson Williams
Alabama · WR · Junior

Williams is recovering from a torn ACL, but when healthy, he has the speed to fit beautifully into a passing attack that will allow him to catch the ball on the move and stack yards after the catch.

George Karlaftis
Purdue · Edge · Junior

The Chiefs will need to address their secondary this offseason, but it might be tough for them to pass on Karlaftis. He has the ability to collapse the pocket with his power-rushing acumen as either a hand-down or stand-up rusher.

Tyler Linderbaum
Iowa · C · Junior (RS)

Linderbaum is undersized for the position, but he has tremendous feet, plays with excellent leverage and is the best move blocker (blocking on the move in a zone scheme) in this year's draft.

Pick
32
Detroit Lions
(via Rams)
Quay Walker
Georgia · LB · Senior

Walker would give the Lions a heady, tough inside linebacker with early starting talent. Detroit could address its need in the secondary with the second pick in Round 2.

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