Bucky Brooks 2022 NFL mock draft 1.0: Kenny Pickett, Matt Corral only QBs selected in Round 1

With the top 28 picks set for the 2022 NFL Draft, here’s my first projection of how the entire first round will play out in Las Vegas on April 28.

NOTE: The order for the final four spots below will be determined by the outcome of the remaining playoff games.

Jacksonville Jaguars

SELECTION: Evan Neal, OT

  • School: Alabama
  • Year: Junior

Protecting franchise quarterback Trevor Lawrence is the No. 1 priority for Jacksonville. With Cam Robinson set to hit free agency, the Jaguars could pair Neal with 2021 second-rounder Walker Little to man the edges for years to come.

Detroit Lions

SELECTION: Aidan Hutchinson, Edge

  • School: Michigan
  • Year: Senior

Detroit coach Dan Campbell could fall in love with the ultra-athletic, high-motor pass rusher with Michigan roots. Hutchinson’s relentlessness and superb technique could make him a double-digit sack artist early in his career.

Houston Texans

SELECTION: Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge

  • School: Oregon
  • Year: Junior

The electric pass rusher has a boom-or-bust feel to his game, but his raw tools are just too enticing to ignore. If NFL coaching can fully unlock his potential, Thibodeaux could shine as a shop wrecker off the edge on Sundays.

New York Jets

SELECTION: Ikem Ekwonu, OT

  • School: N.C. State
  • Year: Sophomore (RS)

Adding more protection around Zach Wilson should help the Jets’ young QB1 develop in 2022. With Morgan Moses‘ contract up, general manager Joe Douglas could opt to take the big, athletic tackle to shore up the offensive line.

New York Giants

SELECTION: Charles Cross, OT

  • School: Mississippi State
  • Year: Sophomore (RS)

Rebuilding the Giants’ offensive line has to be a top priority for new general manager Joe Schoen. As a Day 1 starter, Cross could immediately help Big Blue re-establish a blue-collar mentality on offense.

Carolina Panthers

SELECTION: Ahmad Gardner, CB

  • School: Cincinnati
  • Year: Junior

Taking an offensive tackle could be the initial plan here, but in this scenario, the cornerback greatly outranks any OT left on the board. Gardner teams with last year’s first-round pick, Jaycee Horn, to give the Panthers a dynamic duo on the island.

New York Giants

SELECTION: David Ojabo, Edge

  • School: Michigan
  • Year: Sophomore (RS)

The Giants have always been at their best when a dominant defensive front can take over the game. The ultra-twitchy pass rusher from Michigan would add significant juice.

Atlanta Falcons

SELECTION: Derek Stingley Jr., CB

  • School: LSU
  • Year: Junior

Despite a pair of subpar seasons to finish his career at LSU, Stingley is a bona fide five-star talent with outstanding tools and playmaking ability.

Denver Broncos

SELECTION: Kenny Pickett, QB

  • School: Pittsburgh
  • Year: Senior (RS)

Will general manager George Paton talk himself into believing Pickett could orchestrate a Joe Burrow-like turnaround at Mile High?

New York Jets

SELECTION: Garrett Wilson, WR

  • School: Ohio State
  • Year: Junior

Building around Zach Wilson will require the Jets to expend top picks on perimeter playmakers. Wilson is an A+ wideout with soft hands and superb route-running skills.

Washington Football Team

SELECTION: Matt Corral, QB

  • School: Ole Miss
  • Year: Junior (RS)

It’s time for Ron Rivera to get his franchise quarterback. The Ole Miss standout is a prolific playmaker with some dual-threat capabilities.

Minnesota Vikings

SELECTION: George Karlaftis, Edge

  • School: Purdue
  • Year: Junior

The energetic pass rusher could step in immediately to spark a front line that needs another QB hunter.

Cleveland Browns

SELECTION: Drake London, WR

  • School: USC
  • Year: Junior

Perhaps adding a supersized pass catcher with extraordinary length and leaping ability can unlock Baker Mayfield‘s full potential. London is a former stud basketball player with a knack for winning 50-50 balls on the perimeter.

Baltimore Ravens

SELECTION: Tyler Linderbaum, C

  • School: Iowa
  • Year: Junior (RS)

The team’s success with eight-time Pro Bowler Marshal Yanda could prompt general manager Eric DeCosta to fish in the Hawkeye pond again when searching for a potential replacement for pending free agent Bradley Bozeman. As an exceptional athlete with a refined technical game, Linderbaum could step in and dominate from Day 1.

Philadelphia Eagles

SELECTION: Kyle Hamilton, S

  • School: Notre Dame
  • Year: Junior

The addition of a playmaking safety with range, ball skills and thump would upgrade an Eagles secondary that could lose a pair of starters in the back end.

Philadelphia Eagles

SELECTION: Treylon Burks, WR

  • School: Arkansas
  • Year: Junior

With three first-round picks, the Eagles can afford to add another wideout to the lineup as a luxury item. Burks’ size, strength and ball skills would make him the perfect WR2 to pair with DeVonta Smith on the outside.

Los Angeles Chargers

SELECTION: Trevor Penning, OT

  • School: Northern Iowa
  • Year: Senior (RS)

The Chargers clearly nailed last year’s first-round pick, Rashawn Slater, who made the Pro Bowl protecting Justin Herbert‘s blind side as a rookie. But right tackle remains a problem area. Penning has the size, length and athleticism to stymie pro pass rushers.

New Orleans Saints

SELECTION: Chris Olave, WR

  • School: Ohio State
  • Year: Senior

In the immediate aftermath of Sean Payton’s decision to step down, it’s hard to project what the plan will be at quarterback. I’ll save that speculation for future mocks, when we know who’s taking over. Olave would give the Saints a polished route runner and point scorer to build around, with or without Michael Thomas in the lineup.

Philadelphia Eagles

SELECTION: Jermaine Johnson II, Edge

  • School: Florida State
  • Year: Senior

The Eagles need to find a replacement for 33-year-old Brandon Graham on the edges. Not to mention, Derek Barnett‘s hitting the open market. Johnson could get the call as an athletic pass rusher with a non-stop motor.

Pittsburgh Steelers

SELECTION: Travon Walker, DL

  • School: Georgia
  • Year: Junior

Figuring Ben Roethlisberger‘s retirement is forthcoming, Mike Tomlin could remake Pittsburgh into a defensive-centric squad once again. Walker would give the Steelers a disruptive D-lineman with the capacity to play as a three- or five-technique in a three-man front.

New England Patriots

SELECTION: Devin Lloyd, LB

  • School: Utah
  • Year: Senior (RS)

The Patriots need an infusion of speed, athleticism and explosiveness at linebacker. The Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year is a bit of a Swiss Army knife at the position with the capacity to play in space or create disruption on blitzes.

Las Vegas Raiders

SELECTION: Jordan Davis, DT

  • School: Georgia
  • Year: Senior

Taking a run-stopper early in the draft isn’t sexy, but Davis is a true difference-maker at the point of attack. The mammoth defensive tackle could single-handedly neutralize opposing ground games and create more pass-rush opportunities for Maxx Crosby and Yannick Ngakoue.

Arizona Cardinals

SELECTION: Trent McDuffie, CB

  • School: Washington
  • Year: Junior

U-Dub has treated the Cardinals well, with Budda Baker and Byron Murphy contributing in a major way in the desert. McDuffie could emerge as the next Husky to step into a starring role as a rock-solid cover corner with a steady game.

Dallas Cowboys

SELECTION: Kenyon Green, OG

  • School: Texas A&M
  • Year: Junior

The Cowboys must address their declining offensive line to help Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott improve their play in 2022. Green would step in as a Day 1 starter at left guard and eliminate some of the leakage in the middle.

Buffalo Bills

SELECTION: Roger McCreary, CB

  • School: Auburn
  • Year: Senior

Secondary play has been the strength of the Bills’ top-ranked defense. McCreary would add another lock-down defender to a unit that specializes in tight coverage.

Tennessee Titans

SELECTION: Jahan Dotson, WR

  • School: Penn State
  • Year: Senior

Upgrading the WR corps is a priority, seeing how the passing game struggled at times this season. Dotson is a big-play specialist with sticky hands and outstanding route-running skills.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

SELECTION: Kaiir Elam, CB

  • School: Florida
  • Year: Junior

The Buccaneers need an athletic corner with A+ cover skills on the island. Elam holds up well in one-on-one matchups and fits Tampa’s style as an aggressive man-to-man defender.

Green Bay Packers

SELECTION: DeMarvin Leal, DL

  • School: Texas A&M
  • Year: Junior

The ultra-athletic Leal possesses the length, athleticism and versatility to thrive in the Packers’ defense. Given the team’s success in developing raw prototypes (SEE: Rashan Gary), Leal could be a perfect fit as a gifted prospect with huge upside.

NOTE: The order for picks 29-32 will be determined by the remaining postseason games. For now, they are presented based on final regular-season record and strength of schedule.

Cincinnati Bengals

SELECTION: Bernhard Raimann, OT

  • School: Central Michigan
  • Year: Senior

The Bengals will make upgrading the offensive line the No. 1 priority this offseason. Raimann has the potential to play inside or outside as a pro.

Miami Dolphins

SELECTION: Nakobe Dean, LB

  • School: Georgia
  • Year: Junior

The high-IQ linebacker is a spectacular leader and sideline-to-sideline playmaker in the middle.

Detroit Lions

SELECTION: David Bell, WR

  • School: Purdue
  • Year: Junior

The ultra-productive pass catcher is not flashy, but is effective as a No. 1 option in the passing game. Bell’s crafty route-running skills would make him a nice complement to Amon-Ra St. Brown.

Kansas City Chiefs

SELECTION: Daxton Hill, DB

  • School: Michigan
  • Year: Junior

The Chiefs need more playmakers in the secondary. Hill’s versatility, instincts and awareness would make him a nice fit in Steve Spagnuolo’s dynamic scheme.

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