The flurry of trades and free-agent moves that marked the past few weeks of the offseason will undoubtedly impact the 2022 NFL Draft and which prospects come off the board early in Round 1. The quarterbacks, in particular, could see their stock tumble, with teams aggressively swapping picks or paying big bucks to add veterans to the lineup.
Although the Tier 1 quarterbacks in this class are intriguing prospects with starting potential, the flurry of activity following the NFL Scouting Combine is likely indicative of how the NFL world views their talent and potential at this point. Sure, those opinions could change, but it is hard to ignore the game of musical chairs that we have witnessed this offseason.
With that in mind, I think we will not see a quarterback come off the board in the first round with teams resisting the urge to "push" quarterbacks up the board due to positional value. While I am ready for the host of barbs that will accompany a mock draft without a quarterback, this could be the first time since 1996 that Round 1 passes without a QB being picked.
Let's get to it ...
The high-motor pass rusher with freakish athleticism and refined technique is an ideal complement to Josh Allen on the edge.
Adding a versatile front-line athlete with explosive speed, quickness and power will help the Lions create more pressure on passing downs.
The ultra-explosive edge defender with outstanding first-step quickness and snap-count anticipation is exactly what coach Lovie Smith needs to add some sizzle to the Texans' pass rush.
The long, rangy cover corner with a polished game will remind Jets fans of Antonio Cromartie in his prime.
New general manager Joe Schoen believes in adding prototypes at the marquee positions. Neal is an XXXL edge blocker with outstanding technique and tools.
If Matt Rhule wants to change the temperament of the Panthers’ offensive line, he could opt to add the big-bodied bully from N.C. State, who will pummel defenders at the point of attack.
The Giants are at their best when they are able to harass quarterbacks while bringing just four defenders. Johnson is a dynamic pass rusher with the combination of speed, quickness and hand skills to whip opponents on the edge.
Adding a polished route-runner to the lineup to complement Kyle Pitts should help the Falcons' passing game flourish with Marcus Mariota at the helm.
After releasing Bobby Wagner, the Seahawks could opt to add a versatile linebacker with impact potential as a pass rusher/playmaker/ballhawk from the second level.
It is hard to find safeties with both center-fielder skills and a linebacker mentality. Hamilton has superstar potential as a versatile chess piece with the capacity to play anywhere, from the deep middle to the box.
As a five-star talent with the tools to play as a shutdown corner on the island, Stingley could take the Commanders' defense to the next level if he locks in and performs to his potential.
The high-IQ technician is a scheme-friendly cover corner with the talent and tools to play at an all-star level from Day 1.
Adding a No. 1 receiver is critical to the development of a young quarterback. Whether Houston sticks with Davis Mills, drafts a signal-caller this year or adds one down the road, London is a super-sized pass catcher with the length and leaping ability to expand the strike zone for a passer.
As a man-heavy team, the Ravens cannot resist adding a talented cover corner with outstanding instincts and skills.
Possessing multiple first-round picks, the Eagles could use one to upgrade their receiver corps with a polished route runner who boasts big-play potential.
The Eagles need more speed and athleticism in the defensive backfield to handle some of the explosive offenses and receivers around the league. Gordon is a technician with the athleticism, footwork and ball skills to thrive in a man- or zone-based scheme.
This is all about building a fortress around Justin Herbert to help him flourish as a passer. Cross is a natural pass protector with the balance, body control and hand skills to stymie pass rushers on the edges.
The loss of Terron Armstead, who signed in Miami after manning the left-tackle spot in New Orleans for the past several seasons, creates a void on the edges. Penning is a rock-solid offensive tackle with a nasty disposition and a grown man's game.
The question of how much longer four-time All-Pro center Jason Kelce will play could prompt the Eagles to add an insurance policy this season. Linderbaum is a technician with the footwork and hand skills to shine at the pivot as a pro.
The spectacular catch-and-run specialist is a big-play weapon with polished route-running skills and strong hands.
Bill Belichick has a knack for identifying and developing blue-chip cornerbacks. McCreary has a solid set of tools that should make him a strong fit in a versatile scheme that blends man and zone coverage.
The Packers are not afraid to invest in their offensive line with top picks, having chosen two (Josh Myers and Elgton Jenkins) in Round 2 within the last three drafts. As a former tight-end turned offensive tackle, Raimann is a nimble athlete with the balance and body control to handle athletic rushers on the edges.
The monstrous defensive tackle possesses the strength, power and explosiveness to create chaos between the tackles. Davis plays like a bull in a china shop at the point of attack and would give the Cardinals a disruptive defender in the middle of their front line.
If defensive coordinator Dan Quinn wants an energetic edge rusher to add to the rotation, Mafe might be the pick. The Minnesota standout is a Tasmanian devil off the edges, with a relentless playing style that wears down opponents.
Beefing up the offensive line is a top priority for a Bills team that is close to securing a crown. Johnson is a polished blocker at the point of attack, with the athleticism and movement skills to shine in a zone-based scheme.
Green is a bully-ball specialist with the movement skills and road-grading ability to clear the path for Derrick Henry between the tackles.
Adding a disruptive defender to play alongside Vita Vea at the point of attack could make the Buccaneers' defense downright scary on early downs.
If the Packers break from tradition and add a pass-catcher in Round 1 for the first time since 2002, Watson could be the pick as a long, rangy player with speed and sticky hands.
There is not a single receiver out there who can replace all of traded-way veteran Tyreek Hill's production, but Moore is a dynamic weapon with the explosiveness and versatility to pop in an Andy Reid offense.
Hill is a prototypical nickel defender with the kind of hit, run and cover skills that will make him a hot commodity for a team that loves to attack with pressure.
The Bengals' workmanlike defensive front could use another interior disruptor with pass-rush skills. Hall's energy and effort make him an intriguing option for a defense that wears opponents out with its physicality and relentlessness.
The Lions need more athletic defenders on the field to have a chance to close the gap on their rivals. Ebiketie flashes impressive first-step quickness and closing speed as a bend-and-burst rusher off the edge.