After a fourth attempt at putting this together, I realized that I had zero quarterbacks being selected. While there is a case to be made for a first round without a single QB coming off the board, it's also highly unlikely. So I went back to the drawing board and tried to project which teams might take a bite from the signal-caller tree. Here are the results:
It just makes too much sense. The Michigan native and University of Michigan product stays local, immediately helping the Lions while strengthening the culture that head coach Dan Campbell is implementing.
I really considered pegging the most gifted edge rusher in this class at No. 1 overall to Jacksonville. New Texans head coach Lovie Smith has no problem with this former Duck migrating to Houston.
The Jets continue to gather help for talented young QB Zach Wilson. If one of the top three edge rushers remains on the board come draft night, New York could go in that direction.
The Giants have been trying to improve their offensive line for years, and this versatile performer started at three different positions -- playing well in each of them -- during his Alabama career. Neal will help give QB Daniel Jones the best opportunity to succeed in a make-or-break season.
In this exercise, it's Carolina that makes the first move on a QB from the 2022 class. GM Scott Fitterer recently mentioned the Panthers' strong need for a field general who will take hold of the starting job and own it. They opt for this young man's upside.
Pass rush is a need for Big Blue, and what a final college season of production -- and postseason of polish -- from the ACC Defensive Player of the Year.
Seattle's roster has need areas all over the place, but defense must be a priority. Notre Dame's Kyle Hamilton got consideration here as a hybrid playmaker, but the pick is the guy they call "Sauce," who has paired a tremendous 2021 season with an eye-popping run-up to the draft.
Plenty of questions about his last two seasons -- see: uneven play, injuries -- but it's impossible to forget Stingley's freshman campaign. He was beyond dominant in 2019, both in practice against Ja'Marr Chase and on game day versus the best the SEC had to offer. Jets fans are hoping for a revival of "Revis Island."
My favorite player in the draft. I know worries emerged when he posted slower-than-anticipated 40 times at the NFL Scouting Combine and Notre Dame's pro day, but Hamilton's easily fast enough on tape. His range, length, ball skills and tackling would pair nicely with current Commanders safety Kamren Curl. I also expect Washington to strongly consider a QB, even after the acquisition of Carson Wentz.
Savvy, smart, fluid -- McDuffie has impressed many an evaluator. The Vikings start with a fresh talent at the cornerback position under new GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and first-time head coach Kevin O'Connell.
As the best pass-protecting OT in the draft, Cross gives second-year QB Davis Mills more help as the Texans try to work their way back to the top of the AFC South division that they owned for a recent stretch.
Not only did Davis put on the show of shows at the combine, but he fits what the Ravens covet from their defensive interior players: speed and playmaking ability, both of which are crucial in an AFC North that loves to run the ball.
The Eagles re-signed Fletcher Cox to a one-year deal, but adding his eventual replacement now is an excellent idea.
With the re-signing of QB Jameis Winston, I expect the Saints to try to push the ball downfield more often, and Olave has a penchant for creating big plays over the top.
The Chargers selected LT Rashawn Slater in last year's first round, and he was a strong candidate for Offensive Rookie of the Year. This draft cycle, the Bolts look to greatly improve the right side, and Penning has the temperament that they are seeking.
Plenty of Eagles fans -- including one particularly enthusiastic one we met at the combine -- are eager to see the LB position addressed, but Booth's athleticism and ability to play well in zone coverage fit Philly's style, simultaneously giving Darius Slay a running mate on the opposite side.
The Steelers have been out in force doing their homework on this year's crop of QBs, and they should have plenty of information on Pickett, given that they share a training facility with Pitt. Pickett's ascension during the 2021 season was enthralling, and the Steelers get a chance to bring him along slowly after the addition of Mitch Trubisky. A potential surprise pick here: Cincinnati QB Desmond Ridder.
After trading Davante Adams to the Raiders, the Packers use the pick acquired to select his replacement -- and nab a wideout fast enough to take the top off of defenses, as head coach Matt LaFleur desires.
The Cowboys need to revamp their offensive line and get back to their forceful running days. This powerful and athletic guard will match well with All-Pro stud Zack Martin.
A road grader who totally fits the Titans' scheme and attitude on offense. Tennessee continues to seek players who help make Derrick Henry the best RB in the NFL when healthy. Smith could be an immediate starter at guard or tackle.
Yes, Ojabo's Achilles injury at Michigan's pro day could cause him to fall into Day 2 of the draft, but the Bucs have the infrastructure to wait for him to get healthy and become a top pass rusher for them down the line.
Kansas City must continue to upgrade its pass rush in a division that is now loaded with top QBs. With a skill set that reminds me of current Chief Frank Clark, Mafe's an enticing option here for K.C.
I was leaning toward projecting Georgia LB Nakobe Dean to the Lions here (he would make a dandy addition), but we've seen a QB come off the board 32nd overall twice over the last several years (Lamar Jackson, 2018; Teddy Bridgewater, 2014). With the Lions still making up their minds about incumbent QB Jared Goff's long-term future, this tough, gritty, quick decision-maker is in play. Corral might be my favorite QB in the class because of his overall playmaking ability.