USA TODAY Sports Network projections for all 32 first-round picks


NFL reporters from across the USA TODAY Sports Network collaborated on a mock draft ahead of Thursday night’s first round. Here are their picks.

1. JACKSONVILLE

Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan: Hutchinson is a safe pick with the potential to become a cornerstone on the Jaguars’ defense with Josh Allen. Hutchinson having that type of potential is too good for the Jaguars to pass up.

— John Reid

2. DETROIT

Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon: The Lions have stressed culture fit in their latest rebuild, and for that reason, some wonder whether Thibodeaux is a match. If the Lions can get comfortable with Thibodeaux’s personality, they could have the draft’s best pass rusher.

— Dave Birkett

3. HOUSTON

Travon Walker, DE, Georgia: With needs covering almost the entire roster and the team’s lone star, Laremy Tunsil, entrenched at left tackle, the Texans bet on upside, taking the athletic potential of Walker and hoping he can be the next superstar in a long line of franchise pass rushers in Houston.

— Joel Erickson

Travon Walker and Jermaine Johnson (seen here with Georgia in 2020) are projected to go in the top 10 in the USA TODAY Sports Network’s mock draft.

4. NY JETS

Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State: The Jets need an edge rusher more than anything, but with the top ones off the board, they go with the best player available in Ekwonu. He gives them insurance if Mekhi Becton is slowed by injury again. Ekwonu is a potential long-term starter.

— Andy Vasquez

5. NY GIANTS

Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati: The Giants are in a rare spot picking again at No. 7, with only Carolina between them, so they wait on offensive tackle – their biggest need – and instead go with a lockdown corner who will fit perfectly in new DC Wink Martindale’s system. “Sauce” has all the tools to be special at the next level.

— Art Stapleton

6. CAROLINA

Evan Neal, OT, Alabama: The Panthers see Evan Neal on the board and think back to when Neal was considered a favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick earlier in the draft process. Neal has the potential to be a franchise cornerstone and will protect the Panthers’ next quarterback, whenever that decision is made in Carolina.

— Safid Deen

7. NY GIANTS

Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State: I believe the Giants would take Alabama’s Evan Neal if he was there, but he’s gone to Carolina. Cross is the best pass protector in the class, and the Giants like him enough to count on his development both as a right tackle – he’s played left – and in the run game coming from a pass-happy offense in college.

— Art Stapleton

8. ATLANTA

Jermaine Johnson, DE, Florida State: Atlanta will hope to have more options at pass rusher this early in the draft, but it continues an early run on them with Johnson. He shores up perhaps the worst pass rush in the NFL in ’21, and it’s too soon for value at quarterback.

— Chase Goodbread

9. SEATTLE

Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU: Seattle could be in play for one of the quarterbacks here, but assuming the Seahawks don’t have one rated this high, they can start rebuilding their old “Legion of Boom” by adding a fierce, competitive corner in Stingley Jr.

10. NY Jets

Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame: Wide receiver would have made a lot of sense here, but Hamilton is simply too good to pass on if he falls to No. 10. The Jets had all sorts of problems on defense last year and Hamilton’s ability to drop back in coverage and play near the line would help immediately.

— Andy Vasquez

NFL draft rankings: Aidan Hutchinson, Kayvon Thibodeaux in tight race for No. 1

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11. Washington

Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State: Given the uncertainty of Terry McLaurin’s long-term contract situation, and lack of viable wide receiver options outside of him in DC, Wilson provides help on two fronts. Washington also needs to find out quickly if Carson Wentz is the solution at QB, and providing him with the top receiver in this draft gives him and this offense the best chance to succeed.

— Collin Brennan

12. Minnesota

Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington: The Vikings would love Stingley here, but he’s gone, so McDuffie fits what Minnesota needs. He didn’t give up a TD in his last two years.

— Sal Maiorana

13. Houston

Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa: Laremy Tunsil has the blindside of Davis Mills locked down, but the Texans need help on the other side, where NFL teams are deploying their best pass rushers more often. Penning’s a powerful, nasty blocker who can give Houston the edge protection it needs.

— Joel Erickson

14. Baltimore

Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia: A huge, freakishly-athletic defensive tackle, Davis just seems to fit the profile of an ideal Baltimore defender. The AFC North is known for a brutal brand of football, especially when fall turns to winter in the division’s cold-weather cities, and running at Davis shouldn’t be easy on Ravens opponents.

— Nate Ulrich

15. Philadelphia

Drake London, WR, USC: The Eagles are craving a big wide receiver who can get up for 50-50 balls and take some of the pressure off DeVonta Smith. As a former basketball player, even at Southern Cal his freshman year, London knows how to use his 6-foot-4 height, much like Alshon Jeffery did.

— Martin Frank

16. New Orleans

Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama: He’s big and speedy and one of the top playmakers in a deep receiving class who arrives from Tuscaloosa with plenty of production on his resume.

— Carlos Monarrez

17. L.A. Chargers

Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia: With the top offensive tackles and defensive tackle Jordan Davis off the board, the Chargers identify another position of need – inside linebacker. Dean is a little undersized but he has great instincts, a good football IQ and he’s a tackling machine. Dean would give the Chargers a much-needed playmaker at inside linebacker.

— Tyler Dragon

18. Philadelphia

Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia: Both defensive tackles Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave are in the final year of their contracts. Wyatt, along with 2021 third-round pick Milton Williams, can form a formidable duo for years to come.

— Martin Frank

19. New Orleans

Kenny Pickett, QB, Pitt: Trying to replace Drew Brees with Jameis Winston and Andy Dalton is like trying to replace Secretariat with a donkey and an older donkey. Pickett gives the Saints a big arm and mobility, and the Saints give him time to grow.

— Carlos Monarrez

Kenny Pickett is one of two quarterbacks selected in the USA TODAY Sports Network mock draft.

Kenny Pickett is one of two quarterbacks selected in the USA TODAY Sports Network mock draft.

20. Pittsburgh

Malik Willis, QB, Liberty: The rest of the starting quarterbacks in the AFC North are Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson, so the Steelers ought to take a swing at upgrading over Mitchell Trubisky on the heels of the Ben Roethlisberger era.

— Nate Ulrich

21. New England

Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah: The Patriots defense is currently without Kyle Van Noy, Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins from last season. With Lloyd, the Pats bring in immediate help to the position and some much-needed athleticism.

— Mark Daniels

22. Green Bay

Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State: Packers are rebuilding their receiving corps from the bottom up after trading Davante Adams. Hard to see them passing on Olave unless they prefer the bigger Treylon Burks.

— Pete Dougherty

23. Arizona

Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas: Arizona could go with an edge rusher here such as George Karlavtis or Boye Mafe, but Burks could do wonders in Kliff Kingsbury’s offence. Kyler Murray gets another intriguing target.

— Bob McManaman

24. Dallas

Kenyon Green, OG, Texas A&M: Green’s versatility and enforcer mentality sell the Cowboys at 24. He’ll be their Day 1 favorite at left guard and replace aging Pro Bowl LT Tyron Smith before long.

— Jori Epstein

‘We should be contrarians’: Five takeaways from Dallas Cowboys pre-draft press conference

25. Buffalo

Andrew Booth, CB, Clemson: Cornerback is the one true need the Bills have with Tre’Davious White coming off ACL surgery and Levi Wallace gone to the Steelers.

— Sal Maiorana

26. Tennessee

Zion Johnson, OG, Boston College: The Titans need to replace Rodger Saffold at left guard and Johnson should be a plug-and-play starter at the spot, with versatility to provide depth at multiple positions on an offensive line that must improve in 2022.

— Ben Arthur

27. Tampa Bay

Travis Jones, DT, UConn: With Green and Johnson off the board, the Bucs turn to their defense. With Jones, Tampa gets a replacement for Ndamukong Suh and a nice fit next to Vita Vea for the foreseeable future.

— Mark Daniels

28. Green Bay

George Karlavtis, DE, Purdue: You can never have too many pass rushers, and he’s surprisingly available. WR George Pickens might be another player they’d strongly consider.

— Pete Dougherty

Falling down?: Five players who could fall out of first round

29. Kansas City

Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State: An player with soft hands and silky explosive routes – plus the ability to change a game as a returner – he could (eventually) soften the loss of Tyreek Hill. Current KC wideouts Mecole Hardman and JuJu Smith-Schuster will also be free agents in 2023, when Dotson should be ready to hit high gear.

— Nate Davis

30. Kansas City

Daxton Hill, DB, Michigan: He could also replace a key Chiefs loss, Hill perhaps a slightly bigger version of free agent Tyrann Mathieu. Hill might not have the Honey Badger’s pinchant for the big play, but he can operate deep, in the box or cover in the slot.

— Nate Davis

31. Cincinnati

Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida: The Bengals don’t have to draft a Day 1 starter, but they can draft a rookie who could challenge for a starting spot. Elam fits the Bengals’ long-term plan at cornerback and has the size, speed and physicality to compete with Eli Apple in training camp for a starting role immediately.

— Charlie Goldsmith

32. Detroit

Lewis Cine, S, Georgia: The Lions passed on one Georgia defensive star at No. 2, but they won’t do the same at No. 32. Cine should have an early impact at a major position of need for the Lions.

— Dave Birkett

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NFL mock draft: Projecting all 32 first round picks



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