NFL Draft Final Mock: Hutchinson Goes One

by Pat Pryor
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It’s the end of the 2022 NFL Draft mock season. It’s bittersweet, as everyone’s mocks will be wrong a few picks in during this turbulent year. However, we still have one more in store for you here, and it’s controversial. Now this is not a predictive mock, this is as though I was the GM of each of these teams.

1) Jacksonville Jaguars: Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan

This is the first time I’ve had a mock where the Jags go for an edge rusher, but they’re getting a good one after extending Cam Robison. Hutchinson is a powerful end with a good ceiling who can be an immediate difference maker. They will likely go with Travon Walker here, but if I was to switch places with Trent Baalke, my Edge 1 would be the selection to start the draft. 

2) Detroit Lions: Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon

Kayvon Thibodeaux has gone up and down NFL draft boards this season, but the tape speaks for itself. He’s can win with speed, with finesse, or with power. He’s a dominant edge rusher with translatable traits. Adding him to the Lions is simply the right move. He’s the type of guy to “bite your kneecaps off” one play and then ghost rush you the next.

3) Houston Texans: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

Kyle Hamilton is the best player in the draft. The Houston Texans need a great player. There isn’t always a situation where a team can take the best player available and no matter what he’ll be the best player on that side of the ball. With the Texans and Hamilton, that’s the situation. He’s a rangey and dynamic safety who will be the best defensive player on the team. 

4) New York Jets: Jermaine Johnson III, DE, Florida State

While I mentioned this isn’t a predictive mock draft, I do expect this pick to occur if Jermaine Johnson is there. Johnson is a former Bulldog who shined when he started at FSU and continued to improve his stock at the Senior Bowl. Now he joins the Jets and can be one of the best players on the team. If they want to take their next step, JJIII is a great start.

5) New York Giants: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State

Ickey was my OT2 for the majority of the draft cycle, but really after digging into the tackles he took the lead. He has a great ceiling, a very good run blocking floor, and simply plays with the “it” factor on every play. The Giants are going to be a running team with a quarterback coming in the future, making them a perfect situation for Ekwonu to fall into. In the Giants’ new era, they start off with a dominant force on their line. 

Trade! BAL Receives: 6 (1), 242 (7); CAR Receives: 14 (1), 100 (3), 110 (4), 2023 2nd, 2023 4th

6) Baltimore Ravens (from Carolina Panthers)*: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

The Ravens are known for their history of quality protectors, and here they pull the trigger to move up and get one slightly falling. Neal brings a high floor with his huge frame and experience. The Panthers, meanwhile, trade back to regain some extra capital lost in the Sam Darnold trade. 

7) New York Giants (from Chicago Bears): Travon Walker, DE, Georgia

Travon Walker has risen boards and is in the conversation as the number one overall pick. He’s one of the best athletes the draft has ever seen. That being said, he’s raw as a pass rusher and is more of a projection. If you want a projection though, he’s your guy. You aren’t supposed to be able to run a 4.51 40 at 272 pounds, but Walker can. The Giants take a gamble, and hope to shore up their offensive and defensive lines. 

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

It’s not a secret that the Falcons may have the worst wide receiver group in a very long time. They simply cannot go into the season with what they have now, they need to address the position. In this mock, they do that with Garrett Wilson. Wilson is a wide receiver who will make you regret giving him any space. He’s a quality route runner with great speed and very good RAC ability. Giving Mariota at least some offensive support could go a long way.

9) Seattle Seahawks (from Denver Broncos): Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

Well, my loud mouthing about no QBs going in the top 10 backfires here. However, if the draft falls this way, the Seahawks don’t have much of a choice, with Ekwonu, Neal, and the top edges gone. Willis has an extremely high ceiling and some of the best tools ever from a prospect. With no trade partners in sight, the Seahawks take a gamble and grab the first QB of the draft. 

Trade! NYJ Receives: 16 (1), 19 (1), 2023 6th; NO Receives: 10 (1), 38 (2), 117 (4)

10) New Orleans Saints (from Seattle Seahawks via New York Jets): Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

I think the Saints are very content with Jameis Winston at quarterback, And have to replace one of the best tackles in football in Terron Armstead. Here, they have a chance to do that with the great pass protector in Cross. 

11) Washington Commanders: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

The Commanders made an interesting move picking up Carson Wentz and will roll with him for at least a season. They are in desperate need of some support for Terry McLaurin, so adding the deep threat of Williams can take a major burden off him. If they want to compete in the NFC East, they’ll need an explosive offense. The first step to that is adding Jameson Williams in the NFL Draft. 

12) Minnesota Vikings: Drake London, WR, USC

It’s not the year for the Vikings to spend a first on a quarterback in the NFL Draft, so instead they give Kirk Cousins another weapon. London is a large athletic receiver who can both separate and has 50/50 ability. With a departure of Adam Thielen likely next season, London will make a great pairing with Justin Jefferson. 

13) Houston Texans (from Cleveland Browns): Jordan Davis, IDL, Georgia

Once again, the Texans can grab the best player available and he’ll be an immediate upgrade. Davis is a two-gapping run defending beast who uses size and physicality to win. He’d be one of the best players in their front seven and could be a major part of their future. 

14) Carolina Panthers (from Baltimore Ravens)*: Arnold Ebiketie, DE, Penn State

The Panthers traded back to recoup some of their NFL draft picks, but are left in a rough spot. There isn’t a great tackle to be taken here, or a quarterback. They still get a very talented player in Ebiketie, though, as edge rusher is their only remaining glaring need. They could trade again, but instead stay put and take the speed rusher from the Nittany Lions. 

15) Philadelphia Eagles (from Miami Dolphins): Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State

And while on the subject of the Nittany Lions, we have Jahan Dotson joining the Philadelphia Eagles. This marks the end of the Jalen Reagor experiment, as they gain a better player who is creative, has great hands, route running, and more. I considered him a somewhat underrated prospect in the NFL Draft, and could be a difference maker on an offense. 

16) New York Jets (from Indianapolis Colts via Philadelphia Eagles and New Orleans Saints): Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

With their second of now three picks, the Jets decide to support Zach Wilson with the polished route runner, high floor receiver out of Ohio State. He’s quick, can easily get separation, and would be the best receiver in New York. He and Zach Wilson could quickly become an elite duo, allowing the Jets to take the next step towards contention. 

17) Los Angeles Chargers: Devonte Wyatt, IDL, Georgia

The Chargers are essentially calling it a day on Jerry Tillery with this pick. However, they pick up an elite talent in Wyatt. He’s a versatile weapon on the defensive line and fills their biggest need. They need to stop the explosive AFC West, and this is one of several steps. 

18) Philadelphia Eagles (from New Orleans Saints): Daxton Hill, S, Michigan

The Eagles loaded up on another pick next year, but that doesn’t mean they can’t improve this year. Here, they get a true defensive playmaker. Hill is a high end safety with good processing and athleticism. He will be a great addition for the Eagles. 

19) New York Jets (from Philadelphia Eagles via New Orleans Saints): Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson

If this mock were to happen, everyone would be going crazy over the dropping of the corners. The truth is, I think the Edge class is better than the corner class, causing the earlier run. However, Booth is my number 1 corner. He’s fluid, with good ball skills. He would be the best corner on the Jets by a wide margin, providing some competition to Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs. The Jets spread out their selections over three different positions here, which are all significant needs. 

20) Pittsburgh Steelers: Zion Johnson, IOL, Boston College

While many have the Steelers taking a quarterback, I simply don’t have any QBs rated high enough for me to justify that. Instead, they can run with their new addition in Trubisky, and give him as much support as possible. He’s a smart and physical guard who will start immediately for the Steelers. He’ll pave the way for Najee Harris or pass block for Trubisky. If they want their QB, next year’s a good year, but right now Johnson is the fit. 

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

After losing JC Jackson to the Chargers in free agency, the Patriots have a huge need at cornerback. Here, my CB2 falls to them in McDuffie. He’s a versatile corner who is aggressive. If he lands on the team known for developing defensive talent, he’ll get even better. He’s a great talent, and would be the top corner in week one for the Patriots.

22) Green Bay Packers (from Las Vegas Raiders): Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State

The Packers traded one of the best receivers in the league in Davante Adams, and replacing him is no easy task. I really don’t see a scenario where they don’t take a wide receiver with one of their first round picks. Here, they grab Christian Watson, an FCS beast who projects as a true X receiver.

23) Arizona Cardinals: Sauce Gardner, CB, Cincinnati 

I’m aware that Sauce Gardner could easily go in the top five picks of the NFL Draft. However, I don’t have him rated that high. That being said, he remains an elite talent and falling to the Cardinals would simply be perfect, although it won’t happen. The Cardinals need a true number one cornerback. Gardner is exactly that. He’s a big bodied corner with great technique and would be a fantastic addition to a rising competitor in the cardinals. 

24) Dallas Cowboys: Tyler Linderbaum, IOL, Iowa

The Cowboys are a very unique team in the NFL Draft. They have some large needs, but nothing is an overly-glaring need. This allows them to draft for need and overall talent, which is what they get with Linderbaum. A franchise known for historical offensive lines only gets better by adding the best center in the draft, and he can anchor the interior of the line for years.

25) Buffalo Bills: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU

Yet another cornerback falling in this draft. Stingley has great talent, but has struggled since his 2019 freshman year. However, if he’s able to return to that form, he can be an All-Pro caliber corner. Joining a rival of his late-grandfather’s Patriots, Stingley will be an elite talent on a cornerback needy team.

26) Tennessee Titans: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

This is simply a perfect match. The Titans desperately need a higher end linebacker, and Lloyd is the best available in the draft. He’s the type of linebacker to hit triple digit tackles with ease and grab a good amount of sacks and forced fumbles. Really, if he falls to 26, there should be no other move that’s considered.

27) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Travis Jones, IDL, UConn

With Tom Brady returning, the Buccaneers have few needs. They’ve got an extra year to make a quarterback decision, so they shore up the defensive line, making a killer duo with Vita Vea and Travis Jones. Both are physical monsters and will wreak havoc on offensive lines. 

28) Green Bay Packers: George Karlaftis, Edge, Purdue

After getting their new wide receiver with their first pick, the Packers now pick up their new edge rusher. Karlaftis is a power rushing who is just continuing to get better. The Packers need to replace Za’Darius Smith, and Karlaftis could be the man to grab in the NFL Draft.

29) Kansas City Chiefs (from San Francisco 49ers through Miami Dolphins): Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

The Chiefs, similarly to the Packers, traded away a top tier receiver this off-season. They also have the unenviable task of replacing him. Here, they take a gamble on Treylon Burks. A unique slot receiver with physicality, speed, size and 50/50 ability. With the best quarterback in the league, he could blossom. The Chiefs wide receiver group looks very different this year, but they’ll still have Patrick Mahomes throwing to them.

30) Kansas City Chiefs: David Ojabo, DE, Michigan

The Chiefs are still a competitor, and after picking up a wide receiver, they get a player who will redshirt the majority of his first season. Ojabo tore his Achilles at his Pro Day, but still brings excellent, raw talent to the league. Here, the Chiefs will give him a year to improve his game while rehabbing, making him a real force to be reckoned with.

31) Cincinnati Bengals: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

Kaiir Elam is an exciting prospect for a team that really needs a boost into the secondary. After addressing the offensive line in free agency somewhat, the Bengals have the ability to improve on defense. Kaiir Elam is a very versatile corner who can be a key part of the competing Bengals defense.

32) Detroit Lions (from Los Angeles Rams): Quay Walker, LB, Georgia

Quay Walker has emerged as a possible surprise round first round pick, and for good reason. I like his ability to process the play and explode to wherever he’s needed. The Lions have a lot of needs, and could definitely use a player like Walker while grabbing a wide receiver in round two of the NFL Draft.

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