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You’ve heard this is the most unpredictable draft in years. Not even the top pick is a given.

You’ve read the latest mock drafts not only from ESPN gurus Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay, but one in which they collaborated.

Now it’s time for our NFL Nation reporters to share their expertise on the 2022 NFL draft as we close in on Round 1 (8 p.m. ET, Thursday, ABC/ESPN/ESPN App).

NFL Nation reporters played general manager for the teams they cover and executed a first-round mock on Tuesday night. By the end, there were three quarterbacks taken — including one with the last pick of the round — and seven wide receivers, though the first of them didn’t come until No. 10. Trades were not allowed.

Here are the full results:

Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan

Offensive tackles Ikem Ekwonu and Evan Neal and defensive end Travon Walker are certainly in play here, but the Jaguars go with the player who helps fix their biggest weakness: pass rush. The Jaguars sacked opposing quarterbacks 50 times over the past two seasons, fewer than any team but the Jets (47), and that’s not going to get it done in a conference with Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, Joe Burrow … you get the picture. The addition of Hutchinson, who set a single-season record at Michigan with 14 sacks in 2021, means opponents will no longer be able to concentrate on stopping DE/LB Josh Allen. — Mike DiRocco


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Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon

After a 3-13-1 finish, the Lions have laundry list of needs and can go in a number of directions. However, at No. 2, they desperately need a game changer. That’s what Thibodeaux will bring to the franchise. He’s aggressive and has an explosive first step that can help a Lions defense that ranked 31st in points surrendered per game (27.5). Thibodeaux recorded seven sacks during his junior season and was named a unanimous All-American at Oregon, where Lions right tackle Penei Sewell was his teammate. — Eric Woodyard


Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

The Texans might not be sure Davis Mills is their quarterback of the future, but they know they need to protect him to find out. By not trading left tackle Laremy Tunsil this offseason and drafting Neal, Houston will keep 2019 first-round pick Tytus Howard at guard. The Texans’ offensive line struggled last season, allowing 44 sacks with a 40% team pass rush win rate, according to research by ESPN Stats & Information. Neal is ESPN’s third-ranked player overall and started at both tackle spots and left guard at Alabama. — Sarah Barshop


Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State

Defensive end Travon Walker is tempting because he plays a need position and his measurables are off the charts, but GM Joe Douglas sticks with his best-player-available philosophy. Ekwonu is a safe pick with tremendous upside and the ability to start at left or right tackle. He brings plenty of nasty to the running game. The Jets don’t need a tackle, per se, but that could change. Mekhi Becton is coming off knee surgery and has battled weight issues; George Fant is entering the final year of his contract. This would be the third straight year they take a lineman in the first round. Overkill? Yeah, maybe, but this is how Douglas does business. — Rich Cimini

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Check out footage from NC State OT Ikem Ekwonu as he gets ready to be a top pick in the 2022 NFL draft.


Travon Walker, DE, Georgia

With the way the board fell, the top two offensive tackles are gone but perhaps the top edge player is staring the Giants in the face. Walker is too hard to pass up in this situation. Edge rusher is a major need, and the Giants are enamored of Walker’s potential. The Giants haven’t had a top-tier pass-rusher since trading Jason Pierre-Paul. Since 2015, they have had one edge rusher (Markus Golden) reach double-digit sacks. Hard to fathom given their former dominance at the position. Even though Walker’s production at Georgia was limited, there is belief given more opportunities that will change quickly. — Jordan Raanan


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Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

Ideally, Carolina trades back to recoup a second- or third-round pick lost in trades last year. Regardless, the most glaring needs are left tackle and quarterback. With the top tackles gone, the Panthers take Willis, who has the highest ceiling among the quarterbacks. They can survive with Brady Christensen at left tackle. They can’t survive with Sam Darnold at quarterback. Willis is a risk, but as offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo noted, he’s a “swing for the fence” guy. This is a swing that could be a long-term solution at a position that has been problematic for more than three seasons. — David Newton


Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

OK, this is going to irk the fan base to not get a right tackle with either of these top-seven picks. It just worked out that way. Yes, the Giants are high on Mississippi State offensive tackle Charles Cross. He definitely has some supporters in the building. But so does Gardner, who didn’t allow a receiving touchdown in three years at Cincinnati. With James Bradberry likely gone by the end of the weekend, cornerback makes a ton of sense here. It’s a premium position and it fills a major need, for this year and beyond. — Jordan Raanan


Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

The Falcons are a team in need of everything. Wide receiver was heavily considered here with the top edge rushers off the board, but instead the selection is a versatile player who can make defensive coordinator Dean Pees’ system immediately better. Hamilton might have the highest floor of any draft prospect and gives Atlanta a solid player. — Michael Rothstein

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Check out the best highlights from former Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton ahead of the NFL draft.


Jermaine Johnson II, DE, FSU

Offensive tackle Charles Cross and cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. are possibilities in this scenario, as each would address bigger needs. But Johnson is arguably a better prospect than Cross and a safer pick than Stingley, who’s coming off a foot injury. That might matter to an organization that has made its share of early-round mistakes recently and can’t afford to miss on its first top-10 pick since 2010. Johnson has big-time production on his résumé (12 sacks last season en route to being named ACC Defensive Player of the Year) and the body type (6-foot-5, 250) the Seahawks are looking for at outside linebacker in their 3-4 defense. Coach Pete Carroll can never have enough pass-rushers, and he’d have a strong group with Johnson joining Darrell Taylor, Uchenna Nwosu and Jamal Adams. — Brady Henderson


2 Related

Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

Failing a trade for Deebo Samuel, the Jets need to draft a wide receiver in the first round, a true WR1 for second-year QB Zach Wilson. Drake London’s size (6-foot-4) and catch radius make him attractive, but Wilson’s explosiveness and separation ability give him the edge. He’d fit in nicely with Elijah Moore and Corey Davis. The Jets haven’t had a Pro Bowl receiver since Brandon Marshall (2015). They’re overdue. They really like Jameson Williams, but this could be too high for a player coming off an ACL tear in his left knee. He’s in play if they trade down, something they would consider. — Rich Cimini


Drake London, WR, USC

The Commanders probably would consider tackle Charles Cross and perhaps receiver Jameson Williams, depending how confident they are about when he’d return from a torn ACL in his left knee. But Washington would like a big target among its receiving corps and really likes London. At 6-foot-4, he provides a wide catch radius for quarterback Carson Wentz so he doesn’t always have to pinpoint throws. The Commanders also love how London makes contested catches; for some that reveals an inability to create separation but for others it shows the type of catches players have to make all the time in the NFL. Washington’s offense hasn’t ranked in the top 10 in yards or points since 2016; adding more talent was a must. — John Keim


Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU

The Vikings have drafted a cornerback in the first round three times in the previous seven drafts, but none of the three — Trae Waynes (2015), Mike Hughes (2018) and Jeff Gladney (2020) — remain with the team. The Vikings re-signed Patrick Peterson and added free agent Chandon Sullivan, but the position needs the kind of energetic infusion Stingley can provide. Stingley’s injury issues can’t be ignored, but he’s a top-five prospect without them. The risk at No. 12 is more than reasonable. — Kevin Seifert


Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

This is another pick that strengthens a position of need for the Texans. Olave is a speedy receiver who will give Davis Mills another strong option alongside Brandin Cooks and second-year pro Nico Collins. The former Ohio State standout never registered more than 1,000 receiving yards in four college seasons, but he did have 13 touchdowns in 2022. This pick improves a position of need for Houston and gives it another playmaker. Houston’s offense ranked 29th last season in Football Outsiders’ pass DVOA, so adding protection in Neal and a playmaker in Olave should go a long way to improve that. — Sarah Barshop

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Check out Chris Olave’s best moments in college that make him a top prospect in the 2022 NFL draft.


Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia

The Ravens have more pressing needs at pass-rusher and cornerback, but they can’t pass on Davis, who would be their top-rated player on the board. Baltimore loves big, quick and intimidating lineman, and no one fits that description better in this draft than a nose tackle nicknamed “Godzilla.” Davis can be a foundation piece in the front seven for the Ravens, who didn’t re-sign longtime defensive tackle Brandon Williams. There will be high expectations with Davis, who was primarily a run-stopper in college. The only other interior defensive lineman drafted in the first round by the Ravens was Haloti Ngata, a five-time Pro Bowl player and relentless game wrecker. — Jamison Hensley


Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

Davis would have been the pick if Baltimore didn’t snatch him. It wouldn’t be a bad idea for general manager Howie Roseman to make a small trade up for the 6-foot-6, 341-pound line wrecker. While picking a receiver in the first round for a third consecutive year is less than ideal, Williams is the best player available. His game-changing speed will be worth the wait as he recovers from ACL surgery on his left knee. Paired with fellow Alabama standouts Jalen Hurts and DeVonta Smith, the Eagles’ offense will be extra explosive with the addition of Williams, who averaged 19.9 yards per reception and racked up 15 touchdowns last season. — Tim McManus


Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

Quarterback Kenny Pickett is an intriguing possibility and receiver would be a consideration if one of the top four prospects had fallen. But the value with Cross is too high to pass up at another position of need. In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Saints trade up for one of the top tackles in this draft after losing perennial Pro Bowler Terron Armstead in free agency. Cross proved himself as an elite pass-blocker last year, and he could become the kind of cornerstone that Armstead was for the next decade. — Mike Triplett


Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa

Protecting quarterback Justin Herbert must be a priority for the Chargers to realize their potential of a deep playoff run. Last year, the Bolts selected Rashawn Slater with a first-round pick to fill a need at left tackle. With the selection of Penning, they fill a vacancy at right tackle. A three-year starting left tackle at Northern Iowa, the 6-foot-7, 325-pound Penning is known for his physical attributes — height, broad shoulders and long arms — but also for a bruising mentality. He’s expected to be a capable starter immediately. — Lindsey Thiry


Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

It would be a mild upset if the Eagles don’t walk away with a defensive lineman with one of their two first-round picks. Both George Karlaftis and Devonte Wyatt make sense in this spot. And who knows, maybe they’ll even have a discussion about quarterback Kenny Pickett at this pick. But defensive back is screaming for help. The Eagles are still without a starting corner opposite Darius Slay. They’ve seemingly kept the spot open should they land a CB early. McDuffie didn’t fill up the stat sheet at Washington but has traits to be successful in man or zone coverage and played with a physicality that will speak to defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon. — Tim McManus


Kenny Pickett, QB, Pitt

The Saints aren’t a sure thing to draft a quarterback. They might actually use both first-round picks to help support Jameis Winston with a left tackle and wide receiver. But Pickett has fallen far enough in this draft, and New Orleans would be a great fit for him with an offense that has always relied on rhythm and timing under longtime offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr. — Mike Triplett

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Check out the plays that make Kenny Pickett capable of being a franchise QB in the NFL.


Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia

With Kenny Pickett and Malik Willis selected, along with top-tier cornerback and safety options, the Steelers have to look at the best player available. The Steelers addressed most significant positions of need in free agency with one exception: defensive line. While the Steelers might prefer Wyatt’s Georgia teammate, nose tackle Jordan Davis, Wyatt is a more versatile defender. The Steelers struggled against the run last season, and Wyatt gives them an instant boost there — and adds youth to an aging position group. But, selecting Wyatt raises off-the-field concerns, including his arrest on family violence charges two years ago, which could drop him from draft boards and prompt the Steelers to trade back in hopes of acquiring Desmond Ridder and extra draft capital. — Brooke Pryor


Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

While there will likely be motivation to trade down, the possibility of landing the No. 1-rated linebacker this deep in the draft made Lloyd the pick over Michigan defensive back Daxton Hill, whose ability to play corner increases his value. Similar to 2008 when the Patriots selected linebacker Jerod Mayo in the first round (10th overall), Lloyd projects as a four-down player and has potential to transform a defense in need of speed and physical ability. — Mike Reiss


Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

If Burks isn’t available at 22, the Packers might continue their two-decade streak of passing on first-round receivers. He might be the last receiver the Packers still have on their board at 22. He has the size and strength (6-2, 225) the Packers lost in Davante Adams. That should make up for whatever lack of speed might scare some teams away. — Rob Demovsky


Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State

The Cardinals haven’t given quarterback Kyler Murray any help in the past two first rounds, so now, amid the chaos of their offseason, is their chance to draft a playmaker who could help Arizona’s offense instantly. Watson has the size (6-4) and speed (4.36-second 40) to add a dynamic option to the Cardinals’ offense. And learning from the likes of DeAndre Hopkins and A.J. Green as a rookie isn’t a bad way to enter the NFL. — Josh Weinfuss

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Check out the best highlights of North Dakota State’s Christian Watson’s football career.


Zion Johnson, G, Boston College

While you could make a case for a receiver, pass-rusher or maybe even linebacker, the Cowboys have yet to fill their needs on the offensive line in free agency and have the opportunity to go with Johnson as a walk-in starter at left guard. He would be the fourth first-rounder the Cowboys have selected on the offensive line since 2011 with Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin. If he could replicate what those guys have done, the Cowboys might have a vaunted offensive line again. — Todd Archer


Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State

With the way the board went, trading up or down would be the ideal situation for the Bills. Need-wise, cornerback makes sense with Andrew Booth available, but that’s not a position where general manager Brandon Beane has historically invested top draft picks. Instead, the Bills go for a player who immediately becomes the team’s No. 1 running back and can help in the passing game, especially in creating yards after catch. Drafting a running back in the first round is risky, but at No. 25, the logical options are limited and Hall immediately improves the offense. — Alaina Getzenberg


Kenyon Green, G, Texas A&M

Green is a nasty offensive lineman who finishes blocks and plays with a mean streak that blends with the Titans’ physical approach. He is a three-year starter who has played four different positions along the offensive line. Green’s versatility is a good fit for the Titans because he’s a natural fit at left guard, which is exactly what Tennessee needs after releasing Rodger Saffold. With 35 career starts under his belt, Green is a plug-and-play prospect. — Turron Davenport


Lewis Cine, S, Georgia

Yes, the Bucs have needs at defensive tackle and guard and still don’t know the status of tight end Rob Gronkowski. But with defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt and guard Zion Johnson off the board, Cine and Daxton Hill were best available with Cine’s skill set being a better fit to replace Jordan Whitehead, whom the Bucs lost in free agency. Cine is a thumper, very active downhill and versatile in that he can cover. And while they signed Keanu Neal in free agency, it’s a one-year deal, and he has a history of injuries. They could still find help in the trenches on Day 2. — Jenna Laine


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George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue

GM Brian Gutekunst loves defense in the first round. He has made five previous first-round picks and four have been on that side of the ball. After releasing Za’Darius Smith, there’s a need for another pass-rusher — especially one who can rush both inside and on the edge. — Rob Demovsky


Daxton Hill, DB, Michigan

The departure of Tyrann Mathieu leaves a void in the secondary and free-agent addition Justin Reid is only part of the solution. Hill’s speed and coverage ability would allow the Chiefs to be versatile at the back end of their defense, an important element in coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s system. — Adam Teicher


George Pickens, WR, Georgia

Even after signing JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, there is still playing time available at wide receiver this season. Longer term, the Chiefs are going to need playmakers with Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman being prospective free agents at the end of the season. Pickens has high-end ability and in this scenario, it would be up to the Chiefs to get that out of him. — Adam Teicher

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Check out the best highlights that contributed to a stellar college career for Georgia’s George Pickens.


Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson

Cincinnati has the luxury of not needing to find an immediate starter in the draft. That leaves them to attack cornerback depth, an area team executive Duke Tobin identified as an issue after last year’s Super Bowl loss. Booth has what the Bengals are looking for at outside corner — good speed, quality length and the ability to play the ball in the air. That last part is incredibly valuable, especially for a Bengals team that won the AFC (and nearly the Super Bowl) because of its defensive turnovers. Booth had three interceptions in his third and final year at Clemson. With Eli Apple and Chidobe Awuzie projected as Week 1 starters, Booth has the luxury of working his way into the rotation and finding his footing in the NFL. — Ben Baby


Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati

It’s no secret current Lions quarterback Jared Goff is the guy for right now — and maybe even next year. But, the quarterback depth on this roster certainly can’t be overlooked forever. Both David Blough and Tim Boyle haven’t proven they can run the show if something were to happen to Goff, and the Lions need to address this position badly. Ridder is also a proven winner, ending his college career with the third-most wins by a quarterback in college football history with 44. The Lions need that mentality as they’re in the midst of a rebuild. — Eric Woodyard


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