1. Texans- Spencer Rattler, QB, Oklahoma
It looks very likely that for the second consecutive year an AFC South team will get the 1st overall pick. The Texans have holes all over their roster, are breaking in a rookie head coach, and will probably be without the services of their star QB for most if not all of the season, so they could very well become the first team to go 0-17. Even if Watson's legal troubles are cleared up, he is adamant about never playing for the Texans again, so either way they shouldn't be expecting good QB play anytime soon (recent rumors have it that he's likely to face indictment from a grand jury, so for the sake of this mock draft I'll assume he does not get traded). While the Texans did just draft David Mills, he is only a 3rd round pick, so I'd imagine that they would use this pick to get their new franchise QB. Right now the jury is out on who the QB1 of this class will be, but my money is on Rattler since Oklahoma QBs have a history of going 1st overall.
2. Lions- Kavyon Thibodeaux, Edge, Oregon
The only team that could threaten to do worse than the Texans would be the Lions, since they have very little talent on their team, their QB situation isn't much better than the Texans, and they have the 6th hardest strength of schedule. Since the Lions passed on Justin Fields (a QB arguably more talented than any in the 2022 class) to take the best player available in Sewell, I could see them doing the same here. Also, supposedly they view Goff as more than just a bridge QB, so it would make sense for them to build around him instead of settling for the QB2 of this relatively average class. Ironically the best player available here is also a lineman from Oregon, however this time it's an edge-rusher. The Lions have needed pass-rush help for as long as I can remember, and Thibodeaux is seen as the best defensive player in this class.
3. Bengals- Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
The Bengals did improve their team with a quality draft, and getting Burrow back from his injury should help them be more competitive. However, their O-line isn't great, their defense still has holes all over, and they have the 6th hardest strength of schedule, so I wouldn't expect too much improvement. In fact, given that Burrow is still slowly coming back from his injury and their 1st round WR has been struggling with drops, I could see them doing even worse this year. Considering they passed on the best OT in last year's draft even though Burrow suffered a season-ending injury as a result of their terrible O-line, perhaps they'll be smart enough to not make the same mistake here.
4. Jaguars- DeMarvin Leal, DL, Texas A&M
Even though drafting Lawrence should help the Jaguars get some more wins, they are still a weak team playing in a tough division, and are breaking in a former college coach, so I can't see them improving much more than this. The Jaguars have plenty of needs, but their once dominant D-line has been gutted in recent years, so I could see them using this pick on the next best D-lineman.
5. (Trade from Eagles to Raiders)- Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
The Raiders could finish better than this, but I think a top 10 pick is still likely given they have the 8th hardest strength of schedule, absolutely gutted their once dominant O-line, and still have several holes on defense. However, if they do finish with a pick this early, it seems very likely that they'll use it on a QB, since it seems like ever since Gruden was hired there's been rumors of them wanting to move on from Carr. Also, since they missed the playoffs again I could see them firing their GM, thus giving Gruden full control of the team. With that control I could see him doing something aggressive like trading up into the top 5 for a gunslinger like Corral.
6. Jets- Derek Stingley Jr, CB, LSU
A new coach and QB should help the Jets improve from their awful season last year, but unfortunately their lack of talent at key positions will limit their upside. The Jets could go with a number of options here, but since they lack any true CB1, getting the best one in the class makes sense.
7. Falcons- Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
With a new head coach, the 3rd easiest strength of schedule, and a quality draft class, the Falcons are due for some improvement from last year. However, they still have an aging Matt Ryan and a lot of holes across the roster, especially on the O-line and D-line, so it will be tough for them to finish better than a top 10 pick. The Falcons were supposedly very interested in Trey Lance last year, so perhaps they would be interested in another strong-armed, mobile QB from a small school. Willis would be a good fit for them since his mobility will make him a lethal threat in what will almost certainly be a run-first offense under their new coach, and since he can develop for a year or two while they wait for Ryan's dead money to become more manageable.
8. (Trade from Raiders to Eagles)- Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
Even though the Eagles have the easiest strength of schedule in the league, it will be difficult for them to finish much better than a top 10 pick given the several holes across their roster. Considering all of their needs, I could see them trading back again to help their rebuild. A QB could be in play here, but it does seem like they're committed to giving Hurts a chance to be their long-term starter, so I would assume they would trust him over the QB4 at best. There are a lot of good players available here, but Hamilton is arguably the best available, and he can provide some much needed help to their mediocre secondary.
9. Steelers- Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
The Steelers have the hardest strength of schedule in the league, an aging Big Ben, and a now weakened O-line, so it will be hard for them to finish better than a top 10 pick. Even though Big Ben is likely to retire after this year, he could always come back for one more year so he doesn't end on a losing season, and even if he doesn't, supposedly Tomlin likes Haskins. So a QB could very well be in play here, but it would probably make more sense for them to address another position rather than take a risk on the QB4 at best. I would imagine that the Steelers would want to use this pick to upgrade their once dominant O-line, and Linderbaum is seen by many as the best interior O-lineman in this class. He makes sense for them since he can properly replace Pouncey, can protect whoever their QB is next year, and can help open running lanes for Harris.
10. Giants- Kenyon Green, OG/OT, Texas A&M
This is the pick that the Bears gave to the Giants in their trade-up for Justin Fields. The Bears have the talent to finish better than this, but unfortunately their coach foolishly thinks that Andy Dalton is a starting caliber QB, and that paired with the 3rd hardest strength of schedule is a good recipe for getting a top 10 pick.
The Giants have finally surrounded Jones with some quality receivers, so now it's about time that they fully committed to protecting their franchise QB. This pick makes sense since they could use upgrades at OG or OT, and I'm sure Gettleman would love to add another hog molly to his O-line.
11. Ravens- Adam Anderson, OLB, Georgia
The Ravens have the talent to be a playoff contender, but unfortunately for them their 2nd hardest strength of schedule holds them back this year. They just used a first round pick on a pass-rusher last year, but that was on a D-lineman, and after losing Judon they could use a pass-rushing OLB like Anderson.
12. (Trade from Panthers to Cardinals)- Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
The Hopkins trade from last year shows that the Cardinals' GM is aggressive, so I could see them trading up here to try and make their team a true Super Bowl contender. After losing Patrick Peterson in Free Agency, the Cardinals lack a true CB1, which is something they direly need in their stacked division, so getting the next best one makes sense here.
13. (Trade from Vikings to Saints)- Carson Strong, QB, Nevada
Similar to how the Patriots realized that they can't replace a Hall of Fame QB with a 1-year rental and ended up drafting Mac Jones, the Saints will soon realize that neither Winston nor Hill can lead their team to a Super Bowl. I could see them trading up for a QB since supposedly they were going to draft Mahomes if he fell to them, and were trying to trade up for Mac Jones last year. Strong makes sense for them since he's a good pocket passer like Brees was, except with a stronger arm that some have compared to Josh Allen's, and enough mobility to maneuver in the pocket.
14. Jets- Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
This is one of the picks that the Seahawks traded to the Jets for Jamal Adams. While the Seahawks should always be considered a contender as long as they have Russell Wilson, it will be difficult for them to make the playoffs with their top 11 hardest strengths of schedule, and due to the defensive losses they suffered in Free Agency. Also, for the purposes of this mock draft I'm assuming that Wilson won't be traded since the Seahawks did make several changes to appease him.
The Jets have done a decent job surrounding their new QB with weapons, but lack a true WR1, so it would make sense to get the best one in the class here.
15. Chargers- Drake Jackson, Edge, USC
The Chargers have the talent and star power at QB to be a contender, but unfortunately for them they still play in a very challenging division and conference, and are breaking in a new head coach. So while they could contend for a Wildcard spot, I think they'll fall just short. Considering Joey Bosa can't stay healthy and they lack any other talent at the position after letting Ingram walk in Free Agency, getting the next best edge-rusher makes sense here.
16. Cowboys- Jordan Battle, S, Alabama
The Cowboys have the 2nd easiest strength of schedule so they could finish better than this, however they have so many holes on the O-line and in the secondary that it's difficult to see them doing so. The Cowboys have some decent talent at CB, however after failing to trade for Earl Thomas or Jamal Adams they lack any threats at safety, so getting the next best one here makes sense.
17. (Trade from Saints to Vikings)- Andrew Jr, CB, Clemson
The Vikings have a fairly talented team, and had a very good draft, so I wouldn't be surprised to see them contend for a Wildcard spot. However, Cousins' deficiencies and their 4th hardest strength of schedule will make that difficult for them. Since the best talents at their positions of need (mainly CB) were already off the board, they didn't mind trading down again this year. The Vikings' two best starting CBs are Free Agents after this season, and considering how bad their defense played last year with mediocre CB play, they should get the next best one here.
18. (Trade from Broncos to Packers)- John Metchie III, WR, Alabama
It doesn't take a genius to figure out why the Broncos would be trading this pick to the Packers. Right now they are the favorites to land Rodgers in 2022, and for good reason. They are a very talented team that is just a QB away from contending, and Elway knows from experience how a future Hall of Fame QB can lead his team to a ring. I would imagine that this trade would include at least 3 first round picks and one of the Broncos young WRs or defensive playmakers to get the deal done. If the Packers wanted more competition for Love they could even take Lock as well, or the Broncos could keep him as a backup. Even though I am predicting the Packers to win the Super Bowl, I still think Rodgers will get traded in 2022 because he wants to pull a Brady and win a ring elsewhere, and since the Packers squeezed another championship out of him they should be ready to move on to Love.
The Packers should help their transition to Love by getting the next best WR here. Even if they are able to resign Adams, Metchie makes sense for them since he has a good combination of speed, hands, and route-running ability.
19. (Trade from Washington to Raiders)- Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
If the Raiders draft a QB, that means Carr will have to end up somewhere. Washington makes the most sense since they desperately need a franchise QB to capitalize on their talented defense, and they should be willing to offer their 1st round pick considering Carr is better than any of the QB prospects available here.
Over the past 3 years the Raiders have used two 1st round picks on CBs, but unfortunately for them, neither of those picks have really panned out. Considering that in this scenario they will now be playing in a division with Mahomes, Herbert, and Rodgers, it would make sense for them to use another 1st round pick on the position.
20. (Trade from Cardinals to Panthers)- Jaxson Kirkland, OT, Washington
I really like the direction our team is going, however I don't see us finishing much better than 7-9 wins. That's still a huge improvement for sure, but don't expect us to challenge for a playoff spot anytime soon. Unfortunately we were out of position of any of the top QBs so we'll have to settle for Darnold for at least one more year, and we were also out of position for any of the top OTs so we didn't mind trading down. We saw this year how much Rhule and Fitterer love to trade down, so unless a prospect we really like falls to us, I'd imagine we would try to trade down to recover the 2nd round pick from the Darnold trade. With this pick I think we would address our biggest need by drafting the next best OT to give Darnold the best chance of succeeding as our franchise QB.
21. Giants- Christian Harris, LB, Alabama
The Giants have a talented LB in Martinez, but other than him the position is lacking quality depth. Considering their defense is already close to being elite, a fast, rangy MLB to be their QB on defense could be the piece they've been missing. Harris has the talent to go higher than this, but unfortunately for him his injury history could cause him to fall.
22. Colts- Zion Nelson, OT, Miami
With Wentz already missing all of the preseason due to injury and being very likely to get injured again during the season, it seems like the Colts won't have to worry about the conditional 2nd round pick they traded to the Eagles becoming a 1st round pick. So if they are lucky enough to keep this pick, I imagine that they would use it to replace their recently retired LT.
23. Eagles- Nik Bonnitto, Edge, Oklahoma
This is the pick that the Eagles gained from their trade-down with the Dolphins. The Eagles have a mix of aging and mediocre edge-rushers going into contract years, so they should get the next best one here.
24. Chiefs- Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
The Chiefs have some solid talent in the secondary, but lack a true CB1, so getting the next best one here makes sense if they want to repeat as division winners.
25. (Trade from Patriots to Packers)- Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
The Packers' GM is aggressive and loves to trade up in the 1st round whenever he can, so I could see him doing so here again to try and keep his team a Super Bowl contender with Love. With this pick it would make sense for them to get one of the better LBs in the class, since they have lacked talent at the position ever since they let Martinez leave in Free Agency.
26. Dolphins- Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State
This is the pick that the 49ers gave to the Dolphins as part of their trade-up for Lance.
The Dolphins have not had a true RB1 since they cut Jay Ajayi, and none of the RBs on their roster appear to be anything more than complimentary talents. Everyone knows that a good run game is a QB's best friend, so to maximize Tua's potential they should get the best RB in the class here.
27. Titans- Aidan Hutchinson, Edge, Michigan
The Titans' D-line has been getting older, weaker, and less effective over the past few years, so they should get the next best D-lineman here.
28. Lions- Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
This is one of the picks that the Rams sent to the Lions as part of the Goff-Stafford trade. After letting their best WRs in Golladay and Jones leave in Free Agency, the Lions desperately need help at the position, and should get the next best one here.
29. Browns- Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
The Browns are a very talented team with few weaknesses on their roster. However, while they have plenty of talent on the edge, they lack any true threats in the middle of their D-line, so they should get the next best DT here.
30. Buccaneers- Jalen Wydermeyer, TE, Texas A&M
Considering the Bucs just won the Super Bowl last year, they obviously don't have many needs. However, Brady and Gronk are probably going to retire together after this season, which means that not only will Trask be their starter, but they'll also be lacking any true threats at TE. Given that Trask will need all the weapons he can get to be a solid starter for them, and that he relied a lot on Pitts in college, getting the best TE in the class makes sense here.
31. Bills- Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M
The Bills have decent talent at RB, however most of the time Allen is their best rusher, and a strong run game would be a huge compliment to their offense, so getting the next best RB makes sense here.
32. (Trade from Packers to Patriots)- Treylon Burks, WR, Alabama
As always, Belichick doesn't mind trading down to get a few more picks. The Patriots tremendously improved their weapons via Free Agency, however their WRs still leave a lot to be desired, especially with Harry's recent request to be traded. Mac Jones will need all the help he can get to be a quality starter, so they should get the next best WR here.