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Folks, as this long and crazy NFL season winds down, we’re beginning to see more clarity in the draft process. During the senior bowl when many of the team executives are scouting players and getting information on draft prospects, rumors begin to start to fly. I’ve always believed that in the NFL where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
With that being said, some teams are better at disguising their cards than other teams. The Giants are historically bad at covering up who they want. They’re so bad that they allowed a division rival to jump them last year in the draft for the player they wanted. Smarter organizations put out smoke signals like the 49ers did last season when they took Trey Lance.
So let me be the first to welcome you to silly season! For the next 2-3 months we will be inundated with rumors that may or may not be true. Let’s all enjoy the ride this year as draft season is beautiful!
- Jacksonville Jaguars: T Evan Neal, Alabama
Many people expect the Jaguars to take either Aidan Hutchinson or Kayvon Thibodeaux here but I have a gut feeling that they’re going to opt to take an offensive lineman. No franchise has ever needed a player to succeed more than Jacksonville needs Lawrence to succeed so they’ve got to protect him.
2. Detroit Lions: Edge Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan
The Michigan man stays home and the Lions get my top rated player on the board in this year’s draft.
3. Houston Texans: T Ikem Ekwonu, North Carolina State
There’s a growing consensus that Ekwonu could be the top tackle off the board in this year’s draft. While I’m not ready to declare that at this time, the Texans are getting an absolute stud here.
4. New York Jets- CB Derek Stingley Jr., LSU
The Jets secondary is depleted and Stingley will provide them with a swagger on defense that they haven’t had in quite some time. This is my “don’t overthink it” pick of the draft.
5. New York Giants: Edge Kayvon Thibodeaux
If the draft falls like this then Giants fans are going to be partying incredibly hard. There are rumors in league circles that there are concerns about Thibodeaux’s floor as an edge prospect. I’m not buying it and I think that this pick with the Giants will be as low as he falls.
6. Carolina Panthers: QB Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh
Panthers owner David Tepper is growing impatient and wants to see a winning team. The Matt Rhule reign has gone pretty horribly so far but he will get one last chance to bring in a QB to make this team a winner.
7. TRADE: Denver Broncos (Via New York Giants via Chicago): QB Matt Corral, Ole Miss
The Broncos move up a few spots here with the Giants and get their quarterback. Like the Panthers, the front office is going to grow impatient and realize that they can’t keep kicking the quarterback can down the road.
New York Giants Receive: 2022 Round 1, Pick 9, 2022 Round 2 Pick 40, 2022 Round 4 Pick 113
Denver Receives: 2022 Round 1, Pick 7
8. Atlanta Falcons: S Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame
Kyle Hamilton is a great player but no safety should be taken in the top ten. This fits the Falcons draft profile of taking good players in the wrong spots.
9. New York Giants (Via Denver): CB Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, Cincinnati
For a team that needs virtually everything and is potentially going to have to cut their best cornerback this offseason, this pick makes a lot of sense. Gardner was a stud in college and his game will translate well to the NFL.
10. New York Jets: WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio State
The Jets need to get Zach Wilson more playmakers and Wilson is one of the best receivers in this class. He’s not my personal favorite but a lot of teams will like him because he’s a very good volume receiver.
11. Washington Commanders: IOL Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa
Brandon Scherff is likely leaving town so Linderbaum can come in and replace him on the interior of the offensive line. His presence will be very…commanding. *rim shot*
12. Minnesota Vikings: CB Trent McDuffie, Washington
The Vikings are old and thin at cornerback and Mcduffie is a very solid prospect. They could also be on the quarterback watch if they end up moving on from Kirk Cousins.
13. Cleveland Browns: WR Drake London, USC
The Cleveland Browns have a lot of needs offensively including finding a franchise quarterback. Unfortunately for Browns fans, Baker Mayfield isn’t it but the front office is going to give him one more go. In order to best protect him and give him another chance, they will get him a big target he can’t miss.
14. Baltimore Ravens: Edge David Ojabo, Michigan
Ojabo is a polarizing prospect but he will grow into a complete edge player. The Ravens get a steal here.
15. Philadelphia Eagles: LB Devin Lloyd, Utah
Philadelphia’s defense is bad and Lloyd will be a commanding presence in the middle of the field. Many teams have a top ten grade on Lloyd.
16. TRADE: Pittsburgh (Via Philadelphia via Indianapolis): QB Malik Willis, Liberty
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. The Steelers are rumored to love the quarterback out of Liberty for some reason and they trade up to get him here.
Philadelphia Receives: 2022 Round 1 Pick 20, 2022 Round 2 Pick 52, 2022 Round 5 Pick 138
Pittsburgh Receives: 2022 Round 1 Pick 16
17. Los Angeles Chargers: Edge George Karlaftis, Purdue
For the second year in a row the Chargers have a solid player fall to them at a premium position and they take it and run.
18. New Orleans Saints: WR Jameson Williams, Alabama
The Saints have a lot of needs but getting a wide receiver for whoever their quarterback is needs to happen. Michael Thomas has fallen off the face of the earth and Williams is a do-it-all receiver.
19. Philadelphia Eagles: Edge Jermaine Johnson, Florida State University
Johnson has all the traits you look for as an edge rusher. He is going to continue to move up draft boards.
20. Philadelphia Eagles (via Pittsburgh): CB Andrew Booth Jr., Clemson
Some people have Booth as the best cornerback in this draft. I see him more as the 4th or 5th best corner.
21. New England Patriots: LB Nakobe Dean, Georgia
The Patriots sure do love their Georgia Bulldogs and they sure do love their inside linebackers. The knock on Dean is his size but Belichick will find a way to make it work.
22. Las Vegas Raiders: WR Chris Olave, Ohio State
The Raiders only draft fast players from Ohio State, Alabama, or Clemson so this checks out.
23. Arizona Cardinals: T Charles Cross, Mississippi State
The biggest frauds in the NFL bolster their offensive line here. This coming season will be a make or break year for Kliff Kingsbury.
24. Dallas Cowboys: DE Arnold Ebiketie, Penn State
NFL scouts are a lot higher on this year’s edge rusher class than the general public is and Dallas could use another edge player.
25. Buffalo Bills: WR Treylon Burks, Arkansas
Gabriel Davis may have made a name for himself in the AFC Divisional round this year but the Bills are a team that has virtually everything. So now it’s time to get more!
26. Tennessee Titans: T Bernard Raimann, Central Michigan
The Titans line isn’t getting any younger and Raimann is a high upside prospect with a unique story. He is already an effective player and he’s only going to get better.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: QB Sam Howell, North Carolina
The Buccaneers are at a crossroads now that Tom Brady has decided to hang them up. They could roll with Kyle Trask or they could take another quarterback who has more upside. I have them doing the latter.
28. Green Bay Packers: WR Jahan Dotson, Penn State
With Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams likely heading out the door, the Packers will need to get Jordan Love a weapon.
29. Miami Dolphins: Edge Travon Walker, Georgia
The Dolphins organization is a complete and total mess but I have them going best player available right here.
30. Kanas City Chiefs: DL Jordan Davis, Georgia
Patrick Mahomes massive contract begins to kick in next year and they need help on defense. In a division with good rushing attacks, they’ve got to get stronger in the trenches.
31. Cincinnati Bengals: OL Kenyon Green, Texas A&M
PROTECT JOE BURROW AT ALL COSTS!
32. Detroit Lions (Via Los Angeles) : CB Roger McCreary, Auburn
Once again, the Lions need virtually everything. Getting two premium positions in the first round helps their cause significantly.