Post Combine Mock Draft
Boy was it nice to have the combine back this year after it was cancelled in 2021 due to the pandemic. The combine isn’t for everybody, and its importance varies depending on whom you ask in the football world, but it is a fun event that is helpful in supplementing the evaluations of NFL prospects. The freakish athletic abilities that were put on display by some of these prospects far exceeded expectations and turned many heads. Now that the combine has come and gone, it seems fitting that we do a post combine mock draft. Here is how I see the first round shaking out as of early March.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan
Hutchinson may not offer the superstar ceiling that is typically seen from a #1 overall pick, but it is hard to see him not being an impact player. Hutchinson has a nonstop motor and wins with both speed and power. The Jaguars franchising Cam Robinson likely takes them out of the running to select a left tackle and leads to Hutchinson being the first pick of the post combine mock draft.
2. Detroit Lions – Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
Thibodeaux’s stock has slowly plummeted and there have been questions about his love for the game. Still, this was the unanimous preseason #1 pick that may have the highest ceiling of any player in his draft. The Lions likely want the best edge player on the board here.
3. Houston Texans – Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
With rumors of the Texans looking to deal Laremy Tunsil and their need to revamp the offensive line, a left tackle makes sense for them here. Neal is not the perfect left tackle prospect, but his impressive physique and movement skills will likely land him among the top five picks.
4. New York Jets – Travon Walker, DE, Georgia
Walker cemented a top of the first-round selection with his ridiculous combine performance. His athleticism for an edge player of his size has never been seen before. He needs to show more pass rush chops than he did on film at Georgia, but he was asked to fill other roles there. The Jets will bank on Walker having more production to pair with his elite run defense and versatility.
5. New York Giants – Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
Of the three left tackles prospects talked about as potential top five picks, Cross is the one that I view as the best. In a Mike Leach air raid offense, he was asked to do far more in pass protection than most left tackles and he held up to the task. Cross projects as a top-tier pass protector at the next level.
6. Carolina Panthers – Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State
There was much debate throughout the year whether Ekwunu would be better suited at guard or tackle which seems silly at this point. A lot of teams will have Ekwunu as their #1 tackle and it is easy to see why. He is a mauler and shows high-level consistency from snap to snap.
7. New York Giants (Via Bears) – Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
As I have said numerous times on this website, Lloyd is my favorite prospect in this class, and he is going to make some team really happy. With his impressive versatility and knack for always being near the play, Lloyd will be an early favorite to win defensive rookie of the year.
8. Atlanta Falcons – Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
Hamilton slips a little in this mock which is largely due to his lackluster combine performance. Hamilton is still a top three prospect in this class, but his combine will make it easier for teams to justify not taking a safety so high. Just watch Hamilton’s film and you will see some of the most impressive range on the back end. The Falcons should sprint to the podium with this pick.
9. Seattle Seahawks – Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
The second inside linebacker selected in the top 10, Dean would slide in the middle of the defense in place of Bobby Wagner here. Dean’s play speed is lighting fast, and he has the smarts and leadership to be the leader of a defense. There isn’t much of a drop-off from Lloyd to Dean.
10. New York Jets (Via Seahawks) – Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
The Jets stick with upgrading the trenches with this selection. Linderbaum has a chance to be one of the highest centers drafted in recent memory because of the rare traits he offers. He would be a great fit with the Jets in an offense with some Kyle Shanahan zone-scheme roots.
11. Washington Commanders – Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
A quarterback here was almost a slam dunk, but now Washington should be looking elsewhere after acquiring Carson Wentz. Olave has a strong chance to be the first receiver to come off the board. What is perhaps most impressive about Olave is his scheme-proof versatility.
12. Minnesota Vikings – Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
Gardner has long been my #1 cornerback in this class. He offers elite size and length, and his production was elite. This was a dude who didn’t give up a touchdown for nearly three years. Gardner projects to stick with the opposition’s X receiver and be a dominant man corner.
13. Cleveland Browns – Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
This pick would certainly turn plenty of heads. The biggest question on draft night will be when the first quarterback comes off the board. Here, it is Willis at #13. Willis will be a project who could likely use a year from the sidelines, but there is elite arm talent to work with.
14. Baltimore Ravens – Trevor Penning, OT, Washington
Penning appears to have some of the most varying opinions on him of guys towards the top of the draft. He seems to be a tier below the top three tackles in the majority of opinions, but Penning’s size and mean play style will make teams think twice. Nothing from the combine or Senior Bowl has done damage to his stock.
15. Philadelphia Eagles (Via Dolphins) – Jermaine Johnson, DE, Florida State
The MVP of the Senior Bowl, Johnson had a good showing at the combine as well. There may be no one else in this class who has done as much to help their stock then Johnson has. He is the best edge player at the point of attack in this draft and offers underrated bend.
16. Philadelphia Eagles (Via Colts) – Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
McDuffie belongs in the conversation as the top cornerback in this draft due to his elite athleticism and stickiness in coverage. He is on the smaller side, but he plays physically. As long as he doesn’t get boxed out by a bigger receiver, he will be in position to make a play.
17. Los Angeles Chargers – Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
A 4.8 forty time at 340 pounds. Are you serious? It is important to not overreact to testing numbers and rather use them as an evaluation supplement, but that is scary stuff. Davis’s one concern appears to be whether he can play more snaps than he did in college, but he is dominant when he is out there.
18. New Orleans Saints – Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
Burks’ stock is almost certain to slip after what may have been the most disappointing combine performance. It was so disappointing because of the high expectations he had coming in. Burks should still hear his name called in round one. He is a dynamic receiver that can line up all over the formation. He is fun to watch when the ball is in his hands.
19. Philadelphia Eagles – Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia
Another Georgia defensive tackle comes off the board. Wyatt may be even better than Jordan Davis. It wouldn’t be hard to argue Wyatt is the more well-rounded prospect because of his pass rushing potential. Wyatt improved as the season went on and has seen his stock steadily rise.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers – Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
The Pittsburgh Panther stays home in this scenario. At this stage in the offseason, it is likely the Steelers go quarterback here. Pickett is the most pro-ready quarterback in this draft but has some size and fumble concerns teams will need to look past.
21. New England Patriots – Lewis Cine, S, Georgia
Cine is the prospect in this class who I view in a much higher light than the majority does. I think Cine in the first round should be a lock with his incredible National Championship and combine performances. He is best suited as a downhill safety who plays closer to the line of scrimmage.
22. Las Vegas Raiders – George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue
Karlaftis is a tricky evaluation to figure out. I personally am not the highest on him, but it isn’t hard to envision him being productive from the jump. The ceiling is lower than some of the other top edge players, but Karlaftis has impressive traits and has proven he can apply pressure.
23. Arizona Cardinals – Zion Johnson, OG/OT, Boston College
On the offensive side of the ball at the Senior Bowl, Zion Johnson was the name that stood out the most. Johnson played all over the offensive line and even did a fine job at center. His positional versatility is one of the best in the draft, although he is likely best suited as a guard.
24. Dallas Cowboys – Derek Stingley, CB, LSU
If Stingley was mocked in the final third of the first round early in the draft process, you would have been considered crazy. So this may be the biggest surprise of this post combine mock draft. Now, the evaluations seem to be all over the place. The bottom line with Stingley is he has as much talent as anyone in this draft, but hasn’t showed consistent play since his true freshman season. He was incredibly impressive, though, and that is what teams will cling to.
25. Buffalo Bills – Andrew Booth, CB, Clemson
Of all the corners in this draft, no one finished the year stronger than Booth. His play was too up and down at the start of the year which raised some concerns, but he settled down and became a true difference maker on the back end. Booth is exceptionally strong in man coverage.
26. Tennessee Titans – Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
If you wanted to argue Garrett Wilson is a better prospect than Chris Olave, I wouldn’t bat an eye. Wilson isn’t as polished a route runner as Olave, but he is more dangerous with the ball in his hands. Wilson is also terrific contorting his body all different ways when the ball is in the air.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – David Ojabo, OLB, Michigan
Ojabo slips a bit in this mock draft, but it wouldn’t be surprising if some team decided they wanted him in the first 10 or 15 picks. Ojabo needs to add some functional strength and address concerns that exist against the run, but he is explosive and nuanced as a pure pass rusher.
28. Green Bay Packers – Drake London, WR, USC
London will be a pick your poison kind of receiver in that some teams will prioritize his play strengths, while some teams wouldn’t draft him this high. If you are looking for a downfield, catch in traffic threat, London is your guy. He is also impressive gaining extra yards.
29. Miami Dolphins (Via 49ers) – Kenyon Green, OG, Texas A&M
Green’s name hasn’t been as loud as some others recently, but he is still a first-round quality talent. In this mock he is the third interior lineman off the board, but he could be the first as well. Green has been key for three years at A&M and is impressively athletic for a guard.
30. Kansas City Chiefs – Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
If Williams ever finds his way onto the Chiefs, it would be hard to envision any secondary matching up with them. Williams is the most explosive receiver in this class and came up big for Alabama in key moments. The medicals will be the primary concern here for teams.
31. Cincinnati Bengals – Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan
Raimann had a meh Senior Bowl, but he has impressive traits that teams covet in their tackles. He is incredibly athletic for a player his size and is super light on his feet. If he can shore up his technique, especially his pad level, watch out.
32. Detroit Lions (Via Rams) – Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina
The third and final quarterback taken in this post combine mock draft sneaks in at #32 to the Lions. This would be a good situation for Howell where he can sit behind Jared Goff for a season. Howell throws a pretty ball and has strong playmaking abilities. His consistency and drop-off in play this past season will be a concern for teams.
Post Combine Mock Draft from Justin Trevisani