As a bit of Friday fun I thought I’d put together ‘Craig’s Unofficial Mock Draft’. The type of mock draft where I throw all my usual rules out of the window and do something a little bit different.
Why do that? Well, for three reasons really.
Firstly, I was two-thirds of the way through my Mock Draft 3.0 when the Saints & Eagles trade landed, scuppering two rounds’ worth of work. Rebuilding that from scratch will take time and I’m now minded to save doing so until my final mock.
Secondly, I normally do a full three rounds with detailed analysis on all my 1st round picks. But here I thought a quick first rounder with a few short thoughts would do the trick.
And thirdly, I don’t normally allow myself to project trades. But I figured I’d try and live a little on the wild side here and so you’ll see there are two trades as you go through this mock.
So here it is. After all, as Rebecca Black famously said, “It’s Friday, Friday, gotta Mock Draft on Friday.”
1. Jaguars – Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
At this point I think it will be a surprise to everyone if Hutchinson isn’t the newest member of the Jacksonville Jaguars come draft night.
2. Lions – Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
Dan Campbell couldn’t hide his love for Willis during the Senior Bowl. This pick has been locked in for me since the moment I saw that interview.
3. Texans – Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
It wouldn’t shock me if the Texans did something stupid like drafting another edge rusher ahead of Thibodeaux. But for now I’ve assumed they’ll make the logical selection here.
4. Saints (trade from NY Jets) – Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina
The Saints give up their two first round picks plus some loose change to get their man at QB and jump ahead of the Panthers and Falcons. The Jets agree to take the deal with the top two edge rushers off the board by the time they are on the clock.
5. Giants – Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
The Giants would be delighted to see Evan Neal still available when it’s their turn to pick. They’d run the card up to the podium faster than Daniel Jones was getting sacked last season.
6. Panthers – Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
Carolina has to settle for third place in the quarterback sweepstakes, selecting Kenny Pickett here. Matt Rhule simply has to hit on a QB or he’ll be out of a job soon.
7. Giants – Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia
This is still a bit rich for me when it comes to where I’d draft the overhyped Walker. But with a strong desire to build in the trenches and Evan Neal added two picks earlier, Walker it is.
8. Falcons – Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State
Ikem Ekwonu would be a great fit in Arthur Smith’s offense and the Falcons have to get better on the offensive line. Ekwonu could immediately start at right tackle with a view to moving over to the left side if needed.
9. Seahawks – Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
The Seahawks are another team that need to improve their offensive line which was an area of the team Russell Wilson constantly complained about. Charles Cross is a high level pass protector.
10. Jets – Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
There are some rumours that the Jets are considering taking ‘Sauce’ at 4. Getting him here after trading down is a bonus for them and they still have two more first round picks to play with.
11. Commanders – Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
Washington needs to improve the interior of its offensive line if they want to keep Carson Wentz upright and improve their run game. So why not take one of the only blue chip players in this draft?
12. Vikings – Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
Speaking of blue chip players, Kyle Hamilton is another who belongs on that list. His presence will immediately improve a Vikings secondary which was an area of weakness in 2021.
13. Texans – Derek Stingley, CB, LSU
With the second of their first round picks the Texans can afford to take a bit of a chance on someone. Here they go with Derek Stingley who has struggled with injuries over the last couple of years but has demonstrated elite ability when healthy.
14. Ravens – Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
The chance for the Ravens to add the most athletic nose tackle ever known to have existed may well be too much to pass up. Davis scored a perfect 10 on the RAS scoring system, which is frankly ridiculous for a man of his size.
15. Eagles – Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
The Eagles find themselves with the pick of the wide receiver group here. Garrett Wilson has all the right traits to be an elite receiver and could quickly become Jalen Hurts favourite target.
16. Jets – Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
The Jets find themselves in position to add a difference maker at the heart of their defense. Devin Lloyd is a natural leader who would come in and set the tone as a rookie.
17. Chargers – Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
“Herbert looks…throws downfield for Olave…Touchdown Chargers.” Be ready to hear that call over and over again after the Chargers draft themselves the cleanest route runner with the deep speed to boot in this draft.
18. Eagles – Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
Nakobe Dean may not have the ideal height you look for in a linebacker but he more than makes up for it. He was the heartbeat of the title-winning Georgia defense and the Eagles hope he’ll bring that same winning mentality to Philadelphia.
19. Jets – Drake London, WR, USC
London is another player the Jets are rumoured to be keen on targeting on draft night. His height makes him an attractive proposition in the red zone as well as his ability to win contested catches. Zach Wilson will be delighted.
20. Steelers – Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
Is there anyone in this draft that more typifies the Pittsburgh Steelers than Trevor Penning? With needs on the offensive line this pick just makes so much sense.
21. Patriots – Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
Mac Jones would be delighted to see Jameson Williams land in New England. While the two never played together at Alabama, Jones will surely have heard good things from a bunch of his former teammates.
22. Packers – Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
Treylon Burks doesn’t necessarily fit the Packers usual mould at wide receiver. But Aaron Rodgers loves guys who have the ability to gain yards after the catch and Burks has that in spades.
23. Cardinals – Andrew Booth, CB, Clemson
The Cardinals secondary definitely needs an injection of talent, particularly at cornerback. Andrew Booth is a physical player who excels in man coverage and so will appeal to Arizona here.
24. Cowboys – Zion Johnson, IOL, Boston College
Johnson shone at the Senior Bowl as he showed his versatility by spending lots of time after practice working on snapping the ball as a center. For a team like the Cowboys that could stand to get better on the O-Line, Johnson would be a great fit.
25. Bills – Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
If you saw the Chiefs beat the Bills in the playoffs, you know how much Buffalo needs to improve in its secondary. Kaiir Elam would go some way to doing just that.
26. Titans – George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
I found myself shocked that Karlaftis made it this far. But when he did, the Titans simply had to add to add him to their pass rush rotation.
27. Buccaneers – Devonte Wyatt, DL, Georgia
Another Georgia defender comes off the board in round one as the Bucs take Devonte Wyatt. Lined up alongside Vita Vea, Wyatt is likely to pose major problems for opposing offenses.
28. Packers – Kenyon Green, IOL, Texas A&M
After breaking with tradition and drafting a wide receiver earlier in round one, the Packers go back to their usual modus operandi here. Kenyon Green would give Green Bay a number of options on the offensive line.
29. Chiefs – Jermaine Johnson, EDGE, Florida State
Many are expecting Johnson to go higher than this but when he slides, the Chiefs simply have to pounce. His high motor will give the Kansas City defense an immediate boost.
30. Seahawks (trade from KC Chiefs) – Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
The Seahawks trade up to get the benefit of a 5th year option on a quarterback. Matt Corral is a gunslinger who could well have gone higher had he not suffered an injury just before the end of the 2021 season.
31. Bengals – Lewis Cine, S, Georgia
The Bengals continue to have needs along their offensive line. But with the lack of value here and another of the Georgia defensive playmakers available to them, they go with Lewis Cine.
32. Lions – David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan
Many will be hoping the Lions get a shot at Michigan star Aidan Hutchinson with the second overall pick. But getting a fifth year option on his compatriot David Ojabo who may well need to redshirt his rookie year wouldn’t be a bad consolation prize.
Why not try out our Mock Draft Simulator below and see what you can come up with? And don’t forget to check out our brilliant Draft Talk podcasts too!
Grey Cup Highlights and what to do with Zach Wilson – Ninety-Nine Yards
- Grey Cup Highlights and what to do with Zach Wilson
- DRAFT TALK – Mid-Season NFL Rookies Of The Year
- Time up on Trades and Dodgy Coaches
- Credit where its due, and where it isn't
- Lets play, 'is my quarterback any good?'
- Draft Talk – 2023 NFL Draft Prospects Report After Week 5
- UK Minnesota Vikings Special
- Boos, Brawls and we preview week 3
- Don't Write them Off Yet
- College Starts and Cut day Surprises