No need for a calendar reminder but we've entered crunch time for franchises all around the league with the 2022 NFL Draft just weeks away. While prospects are still being flown around the country for private workouts and a handful of pro days could determine how high previously injured players go, it's to the point where the bulk of scouting is in the books and that full draft board is pretty much set.
One interesting storyline that has dominated the headlines has been the lack of standouts at the quarterback position, with some calling this the least talented crop of passers in nearly a decade. What happens if even the QB-needy teams pass until later on in the draft? That's one scenario at play in this mock draft.
With all that in mind, here's a look at who could go where in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft:
1. Jacksonville Jaguars — Aidan Hutchinson, Edge, Michigan
The depth of offensive line options available in this draft could be a factor in the Jaguars going the safe route and nabbing Hutchinson, who has a chance to reach double-digit sacks early in his career and provides an immediate boost to a defense desperate for a star.
2. Detroit Lions — Travon Walker, DL, Georgia
Dan Campbell and the front office figure to kick the tires on pretty much every position of need at No. 2 but may not quite find their options are a great fit in terms of value. Walker has a tremendous ceiling though and has a chance to fill a number of gaps on that lackluster defense going forward.
3. Houston Texans — Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
Lovie Smith knows all too well that the secondary needs major work for Houston to be competitive and there's no more ready CB for the league right now than Gardner. The history with DBs selected this high isn't the greatest but with an extra first-rounder to play with, the team can go for one of the highest-rated prospects on the board without worry.
4. New York Jets — Ikem Ekwonu, OL, NC State
General manager Joe Douglas has to be overjoyed at seeing Ekwonu fall into his lap and give the team either a bookend or replacement for Mekhi Becton going forward. His run blocking and tenaciousness should be a nice fit with the Jets and you just know the Big Apple is going to embrace somebody nicknamed "Ickey."
5. New York Giants — Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
New head coach Brian Daboll is bound to get the inside info on Neal form his old boss Nick Saban and walk away convinced this can be the building block desperately needed regardless of what happens at the QB position. His size and quickness is a rare combination at the high level needed and he seems like a good fit in the NFC East moving forward.
6. Carolina Panthers — Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
Quarterback is what everybody remains focused on but drafting one isn't a job-saver for head coach Matt Rhule like many make it out to be nor is it something ownership might want after hearing how bad the QB class is this year. Enter Lloyd, who could be the perfect fit alongside Shaq Thompson and give the franchise a real captain on the defensive side of the ball that can also rush the passer.
7. New York Giants (from Chicago) — Jermaine Johnson II, Edge, Florida State
Johnson was unleashed with the Seminoles and has seen his stock rise as he looked impressive down the stretch in ACC play before doing the same at the Senior Bowl and Scouting Combine. He'll be able to inject some much-needed life into the G-Men's pass rush.
8. Atlanta Falcons — Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
It wouldn't be shocking if the Falcons kick the tires on a QB despite signing Marcus Mariota but they'll have better luck in their rebuild waiting another draft to address that spot. The offense does feature Kyle Pitts but still lacks a No. 1 wideout, which Wilson has all the tools to become in short order under Arthur Smith.
9. Seattle Seahawks (from Denver) — Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
Stingley has a divided opinion across the league given injury history and lack of playing time recently. Still, the talent is undeniable and Seattle has a division full of premium WRs to battle that the former Tigers corner is plenty capable of handling.
10. New York Jets (from Seattle) — Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
It would not at all be surprising if McDuffie is thrown in as a starter right away as a rookie given the state of the Jets' pass defense last season. He's not everybody's cup of tea given some slight size concerns but those that watch the tape will know he's capable of making an impact early on.
11. Washington Commanders — Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
QB remains an option in D.C. even after the Carson Wentz trade but Hamilton falling into the franchise's lap is not something that typically happens. Few have his ability to find the ball and attack it, while concerns about his speed are overblown for a team that badly needs a top-tier safety.
12. Minnesota Vikings — Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge, Oregon
While the flashes of talent are undeniable for Thibodeaux, there are varying opinions about his ability to make a consistent impact at the next level on top of vague scout-speak that has spread questioning his total commitment to football. The new regime in the Twin Cities doesn't seem like the type to be swayed by all that and instead knows that the former Duck has top-10 talent.
13. Houston Texans (from Cleveland) — Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
Cross is one of the best pass blockers in the draft and that's no shock after excelling in the Air Raid scheme the past two years. He still needs to add to his game but figures to slide in early for the Texans to help boost an offense that struggled to keep their QB upright.
14. Baltimore Ravens — Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
A pick that will evoke plenty of memories from 2006 and the team nabbing a similarly freakish and overpowering defensive tackle in Haloti Ngata. Davis' addition to that Ravens front seven gives them an incredibly young and active front capable of shutting down just about any offense.
15. Philadelphia Eagles (from Miami) — Daxton Hill, DB, Michigan
His teammates got a lot more press in the draft cycle but Hill has a chance to have just as good of a career given his versatility and speed. He'll contribute right away due to his ability to play corner, nickel or safety.
16. New Orleans Saints (from Indianapolis/Philadelphia) — Drake London, WR, USC
New Orleans trading up made many think QB but the Saints believe they're closer to contention in the wide-open NFC than most expect. London would provide an excellent option for Jameis Winston and finally allow for a legit complement to Michael Thomas.
17. Los Angeles Chargers — Kenyon Green, OL, Texas A&M
Protecting Justin Herbert remains a top priority as the team tries to keep pace in the AFC West. Green can start pretty much anywhere from right tackle to left guard and helps equally in opening up space for Austin Ekeler.
18. Philadelphia Eagles (from New Orleans) — Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
Teams have come to understand that building around speed, speed and more speed is a consistent way to find wins and threaten opponents with each snap. Olave brings that to the table in addition to his tough hands and smooth route running.
19. New Orleans Saints (from Philadelphia) — Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
Terron Armstead out, Trevor Penning in? The FCS star brings plenty of length (6-7) and is a mauler when pulling or getting out in space. He'll have to learn a bit on the job but fits the mold of what the Saints have brought in at tackle over the years.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers — George Karlaftis, Edge, Purdue
The organization loves those that check all the intangibles boxes and compete with every snap. Karlaftis not only fits in that respect but can also bring a dose of size and power needed to compete six times a year in the AFC North.
21. New England Patriots — Leo Chenal, LB, Wisconsin
Lengthy and instinctive, Chenal seems to live in the opposing backfield no matter if he's chasing a tailback down or going after the QB.
22. Green Bay Packers (from Las Vegas) — Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
The first-round WR drought can finally be broken as Aaron Rodgers finds a new best friend to stretch the field in Green Bay. Williams won't be ready to go until the playoffs at the earliest but can be a heck of a late-season weapon in a pick aimed at the ultimate prize and not about Week 1.
23. Arizona Cardinals — Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson
The organization is extremely thin in the secondary and it would not at all be a surprise if the first few picks help address needs on the back end. Booth has all the physical tools to compete right away and is adept in a variety of schemes.
24. Dallas Cowboys — Zion Johnson, OL, Boston College
Johnson can spot start at right tackle if needed but has a chance to really boost Dallas' interior OL that never could seem to click in recent years. His athleticism and strength will endear him to Dak, Zeke and the rest of the 'Boys who will finally get the push needed up the middle.
25. Buffalo Bills — Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia
There are few players who can fire off the ball like Wyatt can and still chase down a ball carrier running away from the line. He was overshadowed a bit on that Bulldogs front seven but could be a missing piece for a very talented Bills squad.
26. Tennessee Titans — Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
After changing the faces at wideout some this offseason, the Titans know they still need somebody on the outside to bring a little extra that a Robert Woods out of the slot doesn't. Burks has size, speed and freakish body control to make anything Ryan Tannehill throws his way catchable.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Lewis Cine, DB, Georgia
It wouldn't shocking if the Bucs made a move up for a top-tier interior lineman but if they stay put, Cine could be an ideal player to pair with Antoine Winfield Jr. given how the former Bulldog enforcer roams around the back end and doubles as a hard-hitter coming down the alley.
28. Green Bay Packers — Arnold Ebiketie, Edge, Penn State
Za'Darius Smith's exit means somebody has to get after the QB for the Packers come crunch time and Ebiketie has a chance to be a star in that regard. He's still a bit raw but the ceiling is off the charts and there's enough as a pure rusher off the edge to get you excited about what he brings to the Green Bay D.