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TRO 2022 Mock Draft - Round 1

Draft week is finally here. TRO is here to release its official Round 1 Mock Draft. Who will your team select?

via VisitLasVegas

The 2022 NFL Draft is nearly here. This year's Draft is loaded with talent, spread across a heap of positions. There's probably 45 different players that could be selected in the first round this year. It's a relatively deep draft, with only a handful of quarterback prospects, a ton of wide receivers, numerous elite edge rushers, and a selection of blue-chip offensive linemen. Given the lack of this Draft being top heavy, lots of teams will be looking to trade back into the draft, to accumulate more picks for a greater value. The problem is, who will be willing to trade up? The teams situated with several later picks will come out of this Draft as winners. The spread of talent in this year's Draft makes it one of the hardest ones to try to predict. Nevertheless, TRO is here to take a stab at doing so, setting forth its Round 1 Mock Draft as follows:

1. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS - Travon Walker, DL, Georgia

via Dale Zanine / USA TODAY Sports

Normally, we don't recommend buying into Draft-week hype, as teams love to hide behind false reports, and smoke and mirrors, to try to confuse their competition. We also think teams with the number one overall pick, more often than not go for the "safer" options. Since the Jaguars franchise tagged offensive tackle Cam Robinson, we think they'll likely take advantage of one of the premier pass rushers in this year's class. We initially had Aidan Hutchinson pegged as the number one overall pick, as the Heisman finalist hit it out of the park in every statistical category, has said and done everything off the field, and looks to be a lock to be a 10-sack a year kind of player. That being said, Trent Baalke, the Jaguars General Manager has a track record of drafting for traits instead of collegiate production. Travon Walker has all of the traits to excite anybody. He knocked the combine out of the park, and he is a physical specimen. In 2011, Trent Baalke (as General Manager for the San Francisco 49ers) selected edge-rusher Aldon Smith over collegiate superstars J.J. Watt and Robert Quinn. Baalke has recently compared Walker to Smith, and we think he will similarly be intrigued by his physical upside. Jacksonville will also be excited by Walker's ability to line up all over the defensive front, similar to Micah Parsons, who will be the kind of defensive player teams will be trying to imitate for years to come.

(Other possibilities: Hutchinson, Ickey Ekwonu).

2. DETROIT LIONS - Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan

via Julia Schachinger / Michigan Daily

With Aidan Hutchinson not being the first overall pick, this is a no-brainer for Detroit. Dan Campbell gets to keep the best defensive player in the country in the state of Michigan. It will give fans something to be excited about for a long time. Hutchinson is a machine. He earned a spot as a Heisman finalist by totaling 14 sacks and 62 tackles this past year. His technique is the best in this class, and he gives 110% on every down. Not only did he put up the third most sacks in the country, but he also was among the top in win % rate at beating his man. The Draft is full of uncertainty, educated guesses, and a bit of luck, but Hutchinson is about as sure as a thing as they come.

(If Jacksonville takes Hutchinson, look out for Detroit to take Kayvon Thibodeaux or Travon Walker).

3. HOUSTON TEXANS - Ikem "Ickey" Ekwonu, OT, N.C. State

via NBC Sports

We think Ickey Ekwonu is the best offensive tackle in this class which totes multiple day-one starters. He has the perfect combination of skill and tenacity. Not only is he an absolute unit of a human being, but he also brings the pain as he seeks out work on every snap until the whistle blows. He'll solidify this line, allowing Houston to evaluate Davis Mills while they continue their rebuild.

4. NEW YORK JETS - Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon

via Sean Meagher / Mlive

We don't think Kayvon Thibodeaux's decision not to work out at the combine, after telling folks he would, harmed his stock. We also do not buy into the rumored concerns questioning his dedication, work ethic, or love for the game. Thibodeaux is a raw prospect, and an absolute athletic freak. He has the tools to have the most explosive career of any pass-rusher in this class. If any coach can maximize that kind of potential, while keeping any dedication cocnerns ar bay, its defensife line-minded Robert Saleh.

5. NEW YORK GIANTS - Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

via Todd Kirkland / Getty Images

The Giants need offensive line help. Evan Neal drew the most hype early on, and rightfully so. Nothing has tanked his stock, and his resume speaks for itself. Despite being 351 lbs, this kid is ripped. He's played, and exceeded at, three different spots on the offensive line for Alabama, and he will undoubtedly have success at the next level. By anchoring their offensive line with Neal, New York can look to fully evaluate Daniel Jones, and assist Saquon Barkley in returning to form.

6. CAROLINA PANTHERS - Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

via Jonathan Bachman / Getty Images

The Panthers have three options in this Draft, all which have equal probability of happening: 1) they take whichever quarterback they think is worth the sixth pick and can help immediately; 2) they take whichever remaining offensive tackle is left (likely Charles Cross), ending their annual revolving door of left tackle woes of the last eight years; or 3) they trade back to gain some much-needed draft capital (they don't pick again until round four) to try to take an offensive lineman and a quarterback later in the Draft. We think the Panthers make a move for a quarterback, and that player will be Malik Willis. He has a rocket arm (easily the biggest in the class and in recent memory), incredible playmaking ability with his legs, is built like a compact tank, and has a contagiously positive personality. Sam Darnold is not the answer in Carolina, and if you don't take your shot at a quarterback that you can finally call your own, while holding the sixth pick, then when will you ever do it? Matt Rhule won't hinge his career on a quarterback room of Sam Darnold and P.J. Walker. Willis will have lots to learn, and mechanics that need cleaning up, but he fits both the mold of quarterbacks offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo has historically been (correctly) high on, and of course the play style of a certain quarterback the people of the Carolinas were used to seeing on Sundays.

7. NEW YORK GIANTS - Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

via CBS Sports

TRO's top cornerback of the Draft. Sauce has the length and ball skills to thrive on an island. He never let up more than 13 receiving yards in a game this past season, and he NEVER let up a single touchdown reception in his three year career at Cincinnati. He is a true shut-down corner, and if you combine that with James Bradberry, all of a sudden it becomes nearly impossible to win through the air, on the outside, when facing the Giants.

8. ATLANTA FALCONS - Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

via Gregory Shamus / Getty Images

Atlanta has a lot of needs, but after losing Julio Jones this past year, Russell Gage this year, and having Calvin Ridley suspended for all of 2022, this team needs playmakers. This is a good year to need a playmaker, as it is the deepest wide receiver class we've seen in some time. Expect no less than five, possibly as many as seven, wide receivers to go in the first round, and it will all start with the Falcons. Garrett Wilson is the total package. He runs the whole route tree cleanly, he's quick, and has the agility to fit in Atlanta's passing attack.

9. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS - Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

via Jonathan Bachman / Getty Images

With Duane Brown on his way out the door, the Seahawks will look to find a new long-term answer at the left tackle position. Charles Cross is one of the more polished pass-protectors in this class. He's a true technician who always finds his assignment, and will make a good fit in Seattle as they look to reset after the Russell Wilson era. The security he provides will allow the Seahawks the opportunity to evaluate Drew Lock, and will set the foundation for his successor, should there need to be one.

10. NEW YORK JETS - Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

via Jason Getz / USA Today Sports

Jameson Williams is the best receiver in this class. An ACL injury in this past National Championship game is the only thing that will prevent him from being the first receiver off the board. He has that combination of length, speed, and ball skills that many elite wide receivers in the NFL possess. The Jets can afford to wait for Williams to return back to 100%, and he will be the perfect addition for Zach Wilson, who will be entering his second year after finishing the end of his rookie season on a positive note.

11. WASHINGTON COMMANDERS - Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

via Getty Images

Kyle Hamilton will find a home in Washington, playing for a good defensive coach in Ron Rivera, on a team with a great, young defensive line looking for help deep in the secondary. Hamilton finished the season as one of the top overall players in the Draft. His combine numbers, particularly his 40 time, may cause this slide outside of the top 10, but don't be alarmed when he enters the scene as a household name. Hamilton's 40 time will be an afterthought, when teams are reminded how cerebral of a player he is, and his quickness and positioning is what makes him so good. He's one of the best safety prospects we've seen since Derwin James.

12. MINNESOTA VIKINGS - Derek Stingley, Jr., CB, LSU

via Brian Rothmuller / Icon Sportswire / Getty Images

There's no doubt that the Vikings love Derek Stingley, Jr. It's a match made in heaven. Stingley even seems to be enamored with Minnesota, as he would have to opportunity to play with and learn from LSU legend, Patrick Peterson, and he also won't have to worry about his uniform changing color schemes. Stingley was the nation's top corner, until an injury sidelined him. Teams were concerned about his recovery, until he absolutely lit up his pro-day workout. He hasn't missed a beat, and looks to be the next great corner from DBU (LSU). If he makes it to Minnesota, they won't think twice about turning this draft card in to the podium Thursday night.

13. HOUSTON TEXANS - Drake London, WR, USC

via John McCillen / USC Athletics

If Houston wants to continue to rebuild and evaluate Davis Mills, they need to protect him and give him weapons. As we stated above, they checked one box with the number three pick, and here, they'll take a receiver. Head coach Lovie Smith was the head coach that drafted Mike Evans in Tampa Bay back in 2014. He'll look to securing a similarly skilled receiver as he helps turn the tide in Houston. Like Evans, where London lacks in speed, he's the best in his class in terms of contested catch ability, ball skills, and body positioning. London is also a collegiate basketball player with insane jumping abilities. His definition of "open" is different than that of any receiver in this year's Draft.

14. BALTIMORE RAVENS - Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa

via Charlie Neibergall AP Photo

Trevor Penning plays brings a certain nasty to the tackle position. He's ferocious, and sometimes turns a deaf ear to a whistle. If there's one coach that can channel this nasty into consistent productivity, it is John Harbaugh. Penning is a physical, mobile tackle, that never stops until the play is truly finished. This kind of blocker can help solidify Baltimore's line, and will fit Lamar Jackson's style of play perfectly. Penning is good at creating a safe pocket, but anytime Lamar tucks the ball and runs, or escapes the pocket, Penning will thrive at moving and continuing to locate blocking assignments beyond a play's initial design.

15. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES - Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

via NBC Sports

The Eagles have a history of taking shots at wide receiver in previous drafts, and passing on D.K. Metcalf and Justin Jefferson in the past has forced them to keep searching for premier weapons. Last year’s pick of DeVonta Smith seemed to be solid, but they still need more at the position to field a competitive offense and to properly evaluate what they have in Jalen Hurts. Treylon Burks makes sense for Philadelphia’s first first round pick. He is a versatile weapon that can turn any reception into substantial YAC. He also can be used in the run game, quick-hitting screens, or can be sent deep to verticality stretch the field. Burks has the size and speed to haul in receptions from Hurts as he keeps plays alive with his legs, and is even long enough to snag the throws that Hurts might “miss” a little high.

16. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS - Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

via USA Today

The Saints need help at receiver. Even if we can expect Michael Thomas to finally return to the field, New Orleans craves a speedy target that runs polished routes to compliment Thomas’s skill set. Chris Olave will be a good fit for the Saints offense, and will help them gain a much needed boost in their passing attack. Not only does he run precise routes with speed and precision, Olave also has a tendency to be on the same page with his quarterback, particularly when plays break down, always finding a way to stay in their line of vision and get open. This should compliment Jameis Winston’s ability to stretch plays in a crumbling pocket.

17. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS - Jordan Davis, DL, Georgia

via Tony Walsh / UGA

The Chargers have a defensive line boasting Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack coming off the edges. After parting ways with veteran Linval Joseph, the Bolts need some help in the interior of their defensive line. Jordan Davis is the best defensive tackle in this class. He has the raw size and power to plug up the middle, stop the run, and take some attention off of the star edge rushers. He might not fill the stat sheet, but he will serve an essential role, doing all of the dirty work necessary to help take this defense to the next level.

18. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES - Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

via Shafkat Anowar / Deseret News

The Eagles have neglected their off ball linebacker group for some time. Devin Lloyd is a versatile backer, with the ability to play anywhere. He is physical, he plays fast, and he has a knack for maintaining his focus on the ball at all times. Lloyd is the kind of downhill, no nonsense bruiser, Philadelphia has longed for at the position. He would be a perfect use of their second first round pick.

19. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS - Jermaine Johnson, II, EDGE, Florida State

via Tomahawknation

Jermaine Johnson, II has the tools to the be a top 10 pick. New Orleans will gladly scoop him up with the 19th pick. Johnson is a very instinctive player, with raw abilities, and is a natural edge setter in the run game. His strength and athleticism can easily be coached to turn him into a premier pass rusher at the next level as well. The Saints could set him opposite of Cam Jordan, giving him the ultimate example to learn from, and also will afford him lots of 1v1 matchups with blockers his rookie season and beyond.

20. PITTSBURGH STEELERS - Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh

via Justin Berl / Getty Images

We have a feeling Pittsburgh is interested in both Malik Willis and Kenny Pickett. With no QBs being taken after Carolina at six, we think the Steelers can’t pass up on the local prospect. It helps that he has spent his college career sharing facilities with the Steelers, but Pickett is also the most pro-ready player at the position in this year’s class. He has good athleticism, can run a pro-style offense, and has a nice touch on his passes. While there might be concerns with his ceiling, he will have a high enough floor to succeed in Pittsburgh, where there’s a focus on defense and running the football. The Steelers have shown they can get it done with questionable and up and down quarterback play. Pickett has the consistency necessary to keep this organization playing at a high level, even if he ends up sitting behind Mitch Trubisky for a year or two.

21. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS - Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

via 247Sports

After parting ways with J.C. Jackson, and playing in a conference with Stefon Diggs, Tyreek Hill/Jaylen Waddle, and presumably a top receiver in this class for the Jets, the Patriots can’t afford to neglect the cornerback position. Trent McDuffie reeks of a Bill Belichick type player. He’s smart, focused, physical, patient, and contributes in stopping the run. McDuffie can do it all, and plays the position with a natural sense of confidence. While he doesn’t have the size of the two corners taken before him, he makes up for it with his brain and heart.

22. GREEN BAY PACKERS - Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State

via Julio Cortez / AP Photo

The Packers finally have to use a first round pick on a weapon for Aaron Rodgers, right? Their defense is stout, key veterans have been resigned, and most importantly, they have lost Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantlung to free agency. Their receiving room is thin, despite signing Sammy Watkins, and they need to get younger and faster at the position. Jahan Dotson is the perfect fit for Green Bay. He’s fast, smooth, creates deep ball separation, makes spectacular catches, and can perfectly run routes short, medium, or deep. He’s a smart player that uses his strengths to work sidelines and confuse members of opposing secondaries. It also helps that he is used to playing in cold weather, and his collegiate head coach was formerly the wide receiver coach for ……the Green Bay Packers.

23. ARIZONA CARDINALS - Andrew Booth, Jr., CB, Clemson

via Clemson Athletics

The Cardinals need some help in their secondary. In a division with Cooper Kupp/Allen Robinson, D.K. Metcalf/Tyler Lockett, and Deebo Samuel(maybe?)/Brandon Aiyuk, cornerback is not a position Arizona can afford to neglect. Andrew Booth, Jr. is a sizable corner that thrives in press coverage and playing physical. Where he needs improvement in footwork, he makes up for in natural instincts and ball skills. Booth also is not afraid of getting his hands dirty in the run game either. He’s a raw prospect, with the potential to develop into a premier all around player, which is exactly what the Cards can use.

24. DALLAS COWBOYS - Zion Johnson, OL, Boston College

via USA Today

Zion Johnson is a versatile and incredibly bright player. He can thrive in any system and play any of the three interior spots on an offensive line. He'll be a perfect fit to help plug some of the holes on the Cowboys line, while still having the benefit of playing alongside Zack Martin. Selecting a rookie lineman here will provide stability at an affordable price to help keep Dak Prescott upright.

25. BUFFALO BILLS - Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State

via USA Today

If a running back goes in the first round, it will be Breece Hall. He was the most productive back in the country. He possesses the size of an NFL back, can change pace and direction on a dime, has the patience of a pro runner, and is a capable receiver out of the backfield. Buffalo has long needed help at the running back spot, and Hall would come in and immediately assume the RB1 role as a key weapon in the Bills' potent offense.

26. TENNESSEE TITANS - Kenyon Green, OL, Texas A&M

via Jerome Miron / USA Today

Tennessee can use some help along their interior offensive line, to make King Henry's life easier, and to keep Ryan Tannehill calm and accurate. Kenyon Green is a run game specialist. He is a human bulldozer and excels at moving other large humans out of his way. Green already has good handwork and a great understanding of leverage. He needs improvement as a pass blocker, but his style of play will fit the Titans' offense perfectly.

27. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (trade w/ Tampa Bay Buccaneers) - Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss

via USA Today

Tampa Bay is a team with a loaded roster, heavily favored to win their division. They could use an interior lineman, some depth at defensive tackle and corner, and start planning for the future at linebacker, but given their position in the first round of this deep draft, the Buccaneers could be better suited moving back to gain additional day two or day three picks to draft several players that can contribute down the road, and Seattle has an interest to come back into the first round to get out in front of Detroit's second first round pick to select a quarterback prospect that they can work with. Matt Corral has the skillset and tendencies of a thrower that should intrigue Pete Carrol and the Seattle front office. Corral has the quickest release in the Draft, but he is also patient in letting routes develop. He is a gifted runner and a confident player. Affording him the opportunity to sit on the bench for a year or two will allow him to mature as a decision maker (when it comes to his running style), and will also help him gain control of a more complex offense than the one that was ran at Ole Miss. He's a good fit for Seattle, and this trade would allow them to take a shot at a potential future franchise quarterback without exhausting their top 10 first round pick.

28. GREEN BAY PACKERS - George Pickens, WR, Georgia

via Todd Kirkland / Getty Images

Back are the Packers, selecting another weapon for Aaron Rodgers. After years of not using first round picks on pass catchers, look for Green Bay to use BOTH first round picks this year on the wide receiver position. This will round out their receiver room, appease Rodgers after he signed an extension to stay with the team (despite the impending trade of Davante Adams), and increase their chances of at least one of these picks turning into a star player. George Pickens only played in the final four games of last year's season after overcoming an early ACL tear. So, while the numbers were not there from this past year, he's shown premier flashes in years prior. Pickens has an elite catch radius, great hands, and has that sudden break a great anticipatory thrower can capitalize on. He'd be a nice compliment to Jahan Dotson, and he would be able to use his catching ability to succeed with Rodgers's ability to squeeze the ball in tight windows.

29. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS - George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue

via Quinn Harris

The Chiefs could use a boost coming off of the edge to increase their defensive production and take some of the load off of Chris Jones’s plate. George Karlaftis will be a good late first round find for them. Karlaftis is a strong rusher with impressive ankle flection. He’s a textbook, productive, not overly explosive pass rusher. He can get the job done consistently, especially if playing alongside a force in the middle. It’s a good fit for both parties here.

30. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS - Daxton Hill, S, Michigan

via Robin Alam / Icon Sportswire / Getty Images

While Daxton Hill didn’t get the same pre-Draft hype Kyle Hamilton did, he’s still a day one talent at the safety spot. He’s speedy, explosive, and versatile to the point where he can be plugged in different schemes and positions. He‘s a unique talent, and with the loss of Tyrann Mathieu, Kansas City would be wise to utilize a committee and combination of newly acquired Justin Reid, Juan Thornhil, and Hill to emulate success deep in the secondary going forward.

31. CINCINNATI BENGALS - Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa

via YahooSports

The best center in this class, and tremendous value for a late round pick. Tyler Linderbaum reminds us of how good Creed Humphrey was coming into the Draft and immediate his impact was for the Chiefs as a rookie last year. Linderbaum is a day one starter, and would be the perfect longevity answer to completing the Bengals‘ entire offensive line overhaul they’ve started on this off-season. Cincinnati could effectively push Ted Karras out to guard, to make for a stout offensive line unit, doing a complete 180 from the group that took the field in the Super Bowl.

32. DETROIT LIONS - Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati

via ProFootballNetwork

It appears the Lions are ok with Jared Goff for the time being, but definitely have one eye on the future as they shore up their roster and let Dan Campbell’s culture continue to grow. With the last pick in the first round, Detroit can take a crack at Desmond Ridder, the quarterback who had third most wins in FBS history (44). He’s a through and through leader who has impressed off the field. He’s a poised pocket passer with solid anticipation and the athleticism to break a run if necessary. His deep ball and velocity could use some improvement, but he’s a very coachable player with a steady hand, and is someone worth taking a flyer on late in the first round.

Enjoy the Draft and be sure to come back and check out TRO’s Draft grades for each team after the weekend!

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