Back in February, posted my first NFL mock draft of the NFL offseason, basing selections off the team’s immediate needs of the time. With free agency now taking place, teams filled some major holes in their roster, now not having the same positional needs. In this installment, I will give pick my NFL Mock Draft 1-10.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: DE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan
In my original mock draft, I had Jacksonville passing up on the Heisman finalist in favor of offensive tackle Evan Neal. However, the Jaguars locked down both ends of the offensive line, as Cam Robinson and Jawaan Taylor are under contract next season.
So instead, the Jaguars select the best overall prospect in the draft. Hutchinson will be an immediate force off the edge in the 3-4, and should be a cornerstone in Jacksonville’s rebuild.
2. Detroit Lions: QB Malik Willis, Liberty
Malik Willis separated himself from the other quarterbacks in the draft class, as his pro day showcased his phenomenal arm and ability to make off platform throws. Well many do not have the Lions selecting quarterback with the second overall pick, I believe it is appropriate for a team in an obvious rebuild to go after the electrifying prospect over a below average veteran like Jared Goff. Willis joins an offense that already includes a great young cast of playmakers such as De’Andre Swift and Amon-Ra St. Brown.
3. Houston Texans: S Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame
One of the best athletes in the draft, Notre Dame‘s Kyle Hamilton provides an immediate upgrade to Houston’s defense. The team also lost starting safety Justin Reid in free agency, making this fit all the more clear.
4. New York Jets: OT Evan Neal, Alabama
My former first overall pick, Evan Neal is a polished offensive tackle with exceptional measurables. The addition of Neal with give the Jets two legitamate offensive tackles to protect Zach Wilson for the considerable future.
5. New York Giants: OT Ikem Ekwonu, N.C. State
Another former contender to be the first name called, Ikem Ekwonu will add some pass protection to a struggling Giants offensive line. Ekwonu is surprisingly nimble and technical for his size, further raising his potential to become a pro bowl player at the next level.
6. Carolina Panthers: OT Charles Cross, Mississippi
The third straight offensive tackle off the board, Charles Cross is no stranger to blocking NFL-level talent during his time in the SEC. Carolina could look for a quarterback here, but no matter what rookie is behind center, they will have no chance to develop if the pass protection is as abysmal as it was a year ago.
7. New York Giants: DE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon
One of the best defenders in the draft, snagging Thibodeaux at seven would be a steal for New York. Some analysts still have the Oregon game-wrecker as the first pick over Hutchinson, mainly due to the greater potential from Thibodeaux, who has higher measurables.
Regardless, Thibodeaux instantly becomes a star in the Big Apple, and can potentially become one of the league’s best sack artists.
8. Atlanta Falcons: Garrett Wilson, Ohio State
With the suspension of Calvin Ridley and the departure of Matt Ryan, Atlanta lacks any real explosiveness on offense. Wilson can fix that right away, as this Ohio State touchdown machine can add to a young receiving group that already features pro-bowl rookie Kyle Pitts.
9. Seattle Seahawks: QB Matt Corral, Mississippi
Although Russell Wilson is gone, it still feels wrong having the Seahawks draft a quarterback. It is necessary, however, and Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral has the talent and resume to fit right into Seattle.
Corral has been one of the best statistical college quarterbacks since starting for the Rebels, and doing all this while playing in the SEC. Corral can start right away, and will not be afraid to sling the ball downfield to DK Metcalf or Tyler Lockett.
10. New York Jets: CB Derek Stingley Jr.,
If Stingley was able to declare for the draft after his freshman season, he may have been a top five pick. The cornerback has all the tools to be a superstar in the NFL, but has had a slight decline in play since 2019. Despite this, New York should be comfortable knowing they got a long-time starter in the LSU product.