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Syndication: The Enquirer

The 2022 NFL Draft is almost here. Before you know it, the Jacksonville Jaguars will be on the clock Thursday night and mock draft season will be over.

But before we get there, it’s time for one final crack at projecting the first round. What will the Giants and Jets do with their top-10 picks? How high will a quarterback go — and how many will be taken in the first round? Let’s dive in.

1. Jaguars — OT Evan Neal, Alabama
We went with Neal at No. 1 in our last mock and we’re sticking with our guns here. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence was running for his life last year. He needs protection. Nabbing the Alabama standout should assist with that task.

2. Lions — QB Malik Willis, Liberty
It’s hard to imagine Jared Goff is Detroit’s long-term quarterback. The Lions could snag Willis and sit him for a year behind Goff before it becomes more cap-friendly to move on from Goff.

3. Texans — DE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan
Hutchinson slipping to No. 3? We’ve seen crazier things. You must rush the passer in this league and Hutchinson is clearly the top defensive end in the class. He would elevate a Texans unit that was 31st in total defense last year.


4. Jets — CB Sauce Gardner, Cincinnati
The Jets allowed 259.4 pass yards per game last year (third-worst in the NFL). Many believe this pick could be a pass rusher, but the team needs someone to complement cornerback D.J. Reed. Gardner is the best corner in the draft. He would be a Day 1 starter in coach Robert Saleh’s defense.

5. Giants — OT Ikem Ekwonu, N.C. State
The Giants must address the offensive line before doing anything else. Daniel Jones needs protection to prove himself in a make-or-break year. Ekwonu figures to be the top tackle remaining; some would consider him the best in the draft. He and Andrew Thomas could be dominant bookends for years.

6. Panthers — QB Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh
Sam Darnold isn’t the answer. And head coach Matt Rhule needs a new starting quarterback to buy himself time and save his job. Carolina ends up with Pickett with Willis already off the board.

7. Giants — DE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon
The Giants address the pass rush at No. 7 after taking an offensive tackle at No. 5. Leonard Williams and Azeez Ojulari need assistance to disrupt opposing offenses. Thibodeaux has great measurables and would be a nice fit in Wink Martindale’s defense. I also think everyone is overthinking the “big personality” concerns.

8. Falcons — WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio State
The Julio Jones era has been over in Atlanta since last year. Calvin Ridley is also suspended for all of 2022 due to gambling. And while the Falcons could look for a quarterback, the top two passers on the board are already with teams. Best to acquire a top receiver like Wilson to assist Marcus Mariota and the quarterback they possibly draft next spring.

9. Seahawks — OT Charles Cross, Mississippi State
The post-Russell Wilson era commences with a Drew Lock/Geno Smith competition. This team must upgrade the O-line in order to protect either quarterback. Cross is the top tackle available. He should elevate a unit that allowed 46 sacks last year.

10. Jets — WR Drake London, USC
The Jets help out their young quarterback at No. 10 after improving the secondary. London provides superb athleticism and a 6-foot-5 frame that will allow him to be a red-zone threat. This would be great for Zach Wilson entering Year 2.

11. Commanders — S Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame
Washington’s defense needs a boost after a rough 2021 season (359.3 yards allowed per game, 22nd in the NFL). Hamilton‘s versatility is special. He could be an addition to a pass rush that already includes Chase Young and Montez Sweat. He could also be effective in a secondary that no longer includes Landon Collins.

12. Vikings — CB Derek Stingley Jr., LSU
The Vikings need secondary help after sporting the fifth-worst defense against the pass last year (252.9 yards allowed per game). Stingley has tremendous upside and measurables. He likely would be a top-10 pick if not for injuries.

13. Texans — WR Jameson Williams, Alabama
The Texans will need to improve quarterback Davis Mills’ supporting cast if they’re going to roll the dice with him. Williams is coming off an ACL tear, but he’s one of the top receivers in the class. He would be someone Mills can build a rapport with.

14. Ravens — DE Travon Walker, Georgia
We have Walker farther down the board than most other mocks. This would be a steal for the Ravens. Baltimore had just 34 team sacks last season. Walker’s athleticism would help boost a pass rush that needs assistance.

15. Eagles — WR Chris Olave, Ohio State
The speedy and elusive Olave would greatly complement a similar wideout in DeVonta Smith. This potentially scary receiving core would assist with quarterback Jalen Hurts’ development.

16-Saints: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
17-Chargers: Kenyon Green, OT, Texas A&M
18-Eagles: Jordan Davis, DL, Georgia
19-Saints: Jermaine Johnson, DE, Florida State
20-Steelers: Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
21-Patriots: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
22-Packers: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
23-Cardinals: Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
24-Cowboys: George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue
25-Bills: Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson
26-Titans: Zion Johnson, iOL, Boston College
27-Buccaneers: Tyler Linderbaum, iOL, Iowa
28-Packers: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
29-Chiefs: Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State
30-Chiefs: Devonte Wyatt, DL, Georgia
31-Bengals: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
32-Lions: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia

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Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.