Most mock drafts project what we think the teams might do with the draft picks at each given selection. Not this one.

In this version, I put the GM hat on for each of the 32 NFL teams and lay out what choices I would make for each pick in the first three rounds of the 2022 NFL draft.

This is in no way a predictive mock draft. Several players listed in the first round here won’t hear their names until much later in the draft, and there are at least two likely first-rounders in the actual draft who are not included in the first two rounds. These are my personal choices, not the NFL’s.

No trades, specialists or first-round TEs or RBs. Those are the only rules to live by in this mock.

  1. Jaguars: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, North Carolina State. The goal is to build around last year’s No. 1 pick, QB Trevor Lawrence. Ekwonu has the highest ceiling of any tackle prospect. The Jaguars' situation with LT Cam Robinson--playing on the franchise tag in 2022--sets up perfectly to help Jacksonville develop Ekwonu and play him at left guard for a year if need be. And the need does indeed present itself.

  2. Lions: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan. This is a very difficult decision, one that I will break down in much greater detail at Lions Wire. The tl;dr--the Lions cannot afford to miss, and Hutchinson is as surefire to be above-average at his position as anyone in this class. Really love Kyle Hamilton’s fit here too, but the depth of the safety class swings me to the pass rush at the two spot. I see Hutchinson very similarly to another No. 2 overall pick--Chris Long. Detroit needs that.

  3. Texans: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame. So many possibilities here, but in the end, the need for a playmaker with an elite ceiling at a position of major need and importance in new coach Lovie Smith’s defense wins out. Hamilton is my No. 1 player in the draft and compares pretty strongly to Hall of Famer John Lynch at safety. With an extra pick at No. 13 and no pressure to win now, I love taking the best talent here.

  4. Jets: Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, CB, Cincinnati. Sauce covers the outside better than any CB prospect coming into the league in at least the last two drafts. I like the concept of Sauce Island in New York, and the stage and pressure won’t be too big for Gardner.

  5. Giants: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama. Seeing Neal in person at the Combine made me appreciate just how physically impressive he is and why I think his ceiling is higher than many others believe. He’s not done growing as a player yet, but where he’s at already is good enough to start at one tackle spot for the Giants for the next decade. They need a bona fide hit. That’s Neal.

  6. Panthers: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State. I’m very tempted to take a QB here, but I just can’t do it. Instead, I’ll make life a lot better for Sam Darnold or Baker Mayfield or whoever the QB will be by taking the rock-solid Cross to man the left tackle spot. He’s the most NFL-ready of the top group at tackle but do not mistake that for a low ceiling. This is the biggest reach in the round based on my personal big board, where Cross sits well outside the top 10. Sometimes fit and culture matter more…

  7. Giants: Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia. So much potential! And despite what some will yell at you, Walker does have some production and impressive film to go with the almost superhuman athleticism. He’s the kind of boom/bust prospect a new regime can take with a bonus pick like this.

  8. Falcons: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah. Lloyd can do it all in the second level of the defense. The Falcons have so many needs all over the roster, but solidifying the middle of the defense with an ascending, scheme-diverse talent with a very high floor makes too much sense to pass on here. Higher than I’d typically like to take an off-ball LB but Lloyd’s ability to impact the passing game makes him an exception.

  9. Seahawks: Jermaine Johnson, EDGE, Florida State. His tour de force Senior Bowl week is difficult to ignore, even if it came after the end of a one-year-wonder season for the Seminoles after transferring from Georgia. Great scheme fit in Seattle, too.

  10. Jets: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State. My top receiver in this class, and the reason he’s the top meshes very well with precisely what the Jets need in a WR: Olave gets open all over the field and reliably catches the ball. We’ll worry about YAC and blocking later…

  11. Commanders: Zion Johnson, OG, Boston College. Is this too high for an interior offensive lineman? Probably. But if I’m GM Martin Mayhew, I’m loading up the protection to try and make Carson Wentz work out at QB so I don’t have to chase that dragon forever. Johnson is an instant replacement for Brandon Scherff. All the other players I’d consider here play on the DL and WAS already has way too much invested there.

  12. Vikings: Dax Hill, S, Michigan. Hill can help the Vikings secondary in multiple ways. Not only is he a high-end safety prospect who can both cover and tackle, but he’s also the best slot CB prospect in this class. Base nickel D player that doesn’t need to get subbed out when the opposing personnel package changes. I’m a big believer HIll will be a better pro than collegian and he was pretty dang good for the Wolverines too.

  13. Texans: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon. Thibodeaux is a tough one to slot because there are times his talent says top 5 and there are more times where he looks like he belongs on Day 2. His athletic style fits nicely with Lovie Smith’s base defense and the upside is too high for a talent-poor team like the Texans to ignore.

  14. Ravens: Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia. Wyatt’s ability to disrupt across the front of the formation is an attractive lure for a Ravens defense that sorely needs some youthful players of consequence on the line. I’m mighty tempted by some WRs here but the depth at the position allows Baltimore to wait.

  15. Eagles: Andrew Booth, CB, Clemson. Booth is a player I’m generally higher on than the consensus, but even I’m aware that projecting him while coming off an injury is likely a tough sell. I think his quickness, smarts and talent prevail in the end as a perfect accomplice for Darius Slay, who isn’t getting any younger.

  16. Saints: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas. In the debate of OT vs. WR, the playmaker wins here in part because I don’t have another OT anywhere close to here in value. Burks is a unique weapon with his size, power and the glimpses we saw of his downfield ability at Arkansas.

  17. Chargers: George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue. It’s very tempting to take Jordan Davis here, but I’m more bullish on the more diversely skilled and versatile Karlaftis. Really good football player who bolsters the defensive front both right away and long term.

  18. Eagles: George Pickens, WR, Georgia. Yeah, another highly-drafted receiver for the Eagles. But Pickens is a perfect complement for Devonta Smith and can really help Coach Sirianni and the team discern if Jalen Hurts is the long-term answer at QB. A big playmaker on the outside should do the trick.

  19. Saints: Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss. The first QB comes off at 19 and to a team that doesn’t necessarily scream out for an immediate need, either. Corral isn’t for everyone but I’m a fan of his ability to make plays both in the pocket and when the designed action breaks down. I trust in his chances to hit his ceiling more than the other QB prospects, too.

  20. Steelers: Kenyon Green, OL, Texas A&M. Not gonna lie, I initially wrote down Malik Willis here. But I just don’t see Willis in such a lofty light. Green is a building block who I believe is Pro Bowl-caliber at guard or possibly right tackle very quickly. I’ll take my chances later with a developmental QB and roll with a lineman who will make the run game instantly better.

  21. Patriots: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama. At some point, the Patriots will need to get a viable weapon for Mac Jones. He and Williams didn’t overlap for the Crimson Tide but it’s easy to see them having a strong connection and powering a more diverse and dynamic Patriots offense. Strongly considered Jalen Pitre here too.

  22. Packers: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State. The window with Aaron Rodgers is closing, and getting the franchise QB as much help as possible to win now is the only way to go for Green Bay. Wilson accomplishes that mission with playmaking flair.

  23. Cardinals: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU. The risk is worth the potential reward for Arizona with Stingley, whose freshman tape in 2019 screams No. 1 overall. His Lisfranc injury and relative apathy in the last two seasons is middle-round scary, but there is too much talent and potential to keep passing Stingley over at this point.

  24. Cowboys: Jalen Pitre, S, Baylor. A lot of options here, but adding a versatile player into the secondary wound up making the most sense. Pitre can play either safety spot or slot CB, and his ability to snuff the run from any of those spots stands out. As others have noted, there’s some Tyrann Mathieu to his game.

  25. Bills: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida. Hard to find huge needs for the Bills, but outside CB is one. Elam offers great length and showed he can handle a broad diversity of assignments without a lot of help for the Gators.

  26. Titans: Quay Walker, LB, Georgia. Walker’s ability to translate his length into power is unusual for a 6-foot-4 LB. I don’t think he’ll be quite the coverage asset in the NFL he was in college, but Walker is a very good all-around prospect that can help shore up the middle-of-field defense in Nashville.

  27. Buccaneers: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington. There was an urge to grab the QB of the future here, but I can’t just set 2021 2nd rounder Kyle Trask on fire. So I turned to cornerback, where the depth is shaky and teams that play from ahead a lot always need help. McDuffie is a smart, quick and scheme-versatile CB who is ready to play right away.

  28. Packers: Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan. Admittedly a reach based on my own big board, but the idea of Moore playing the Randall Cobb role for Rodgers is way too juicy to pass up. Moore’s instant speed and spatial awareness would fit very well in Green Bay.

  29. Chiefs: Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn. McCreary’s lack of length and weirdly short arms hold him back from being CB1 in this class. His overall skills are (sometimes) that great. The Chiefs can take that risk with a mentally tough, big-game corner

  30. Chiefs: Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia. Davis anchoring the interior of the line helps Chris Jones and really the entire Chiefs defense play that much more aggressively and impressively. Davis reminds me very much of former Lions DT Shaun Rogers when he was healthy and motivated. The Chiefs get a lot better with that kind of guy.

  31. Bengals: Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa. Nothing against Ted Karras, who was a smart signing to help fill the massive hole on the Cincinnati interior offensive line, but Linderbaum has a higher ceiling and impressive long-term outlook. Keeping Joe Burrow upright and comfortable is the primary organizational imperative.
  1. Lions: Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State. Safety is currently a dark place for the Lions, where they have a solid starter in Tracy Walker and quite literally nothing else beyond 2022. Brisker steps in as an instant starter and long-term building block with his range, tackling and speed.

Second Round

  1. Jaguars: Chad Muma, LB, Wyoming
  2. Lions: Logan Hall, DE, Houston
  3. Jets: Boye Mafe, EDGE, Minnesota
  4. Giants: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
  5. Texans: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
  6. Jets: Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
  7. Bears: Travis Jones, DT, UConn
  8. Seahawks: Malik Willis, QB Liberty
  9. Seahawks: Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington
  10. Colts: Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
  11. Falcons: Lewis Cine, S, Georgia
  12. Browns: Arnold Ebiketie, EDGE, Penn State
  13. Ravens: Tariq Woolen, CB UTSA
  14. Vikings: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
  15. Commanders: Kenneth Walker, RB, Michigan State
  16. Bears: Cole Strange, OL, Chattanooga
  17. Saints: Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan
  18. Chiefs: Josh Paschal, EDGE, Kentucky
  19. Eagles: Cameron Thomas, EDGE, San Diego State
  20. Steelers: Alec Pierce, WR, Cincinnati
  21. Packers: Luke Goedeke, OL, Central Michigan
  22. Patriots: David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan
  23. Cardinals: Calvin Austin, WR, Memphis
  24. Cowboys: Isaiah Likely, TE, Coastal Carolina
  25. Bills: Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State
  26. Falcons: Drake London, WR, USC
  27. Packers: Jeremy Ruckert, TE, Ohio State
  28. Buccaneers: Eyioma Uwazurike, DT, Iowa State
  29. 49ers: Kerby Joseph, S, Illinois
  30. Chiefs: Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State
  31. Bengals: Perrion Winfrey, DT, Oklahoma
  32. Broncos: D’Marco Jackson, LB, Appalachian State

Third Round

  1. Jaguars: Kingsley Enagbare, EDGE, South Carolina
  2. Lions: Khalil Shakir, WR, Boise State
  3. Giants: Troy Andersen, LB, Montana State
  4. Texans: Dameon Pierce, RB, Florida
  5. Jets: Daniell Faalele, OT, Minnesota
  6. Jaguars: Greg Dulcich, TE, UCLA
  7. Bears: David Bell, WR, Purdue
  8. Seahawks: Channing Tindall, LB, Georgia
  9. Colts: Marcus Jones, CB, Houston
  10. Falcons: Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina
  11. Broncos: DeMarvin Leal, DT, Texas A&M
  12. Ravens: Darian Kinnard, OL, Kentucky
  13. Vikings: Brian Asamoah, LB, Oklahoma
  14. Browns: Tyler Smith, OL, Tulsa
  15. Chargers: Phidarian Mathis, DT, Alabama
  16. Texans: Charlie Kolar, TE, Iowa State
  17. Giants: Martin Emerson, CB, Mississippi State
  18. Falcons: Trey McBride, TE, Colorado State
  19. Eagles: Jojo Domann, LB, Nebraska
  20. Steelers: Nick Cross, S, Maryland
  21. Patriots: Leo Chenal, LB, Wisconsin
  22. Raiders: Bryan Cook, S, Cincinnati
  23. Cardinals: Drake Jackson, EDGE, USC
  24. Cowboys: Cam Jurgens, IOL, Nebraska
  25. Bills: Nik Bonnito, EDGE, Oklahoma
  26. Titans: John Metchie, WR, Alabama
  27. Buccaneers: Christian Harris, LB, Alabama
  28. Packers: Braxton Jones, OT, Southern Utah
  29. 49ers: Darrian Beavers, LB, Cincinnati
  30. Chiefs: Zyon McCollum, CB, San Houston State
  31. Bengals: Coby Bryant, CB, Cincinnati
  32. Broncos: John Ridgeway, DT, Arkansas
  33. Lions: Verone McKinley, S, Oregon
  34. Saints: Matthew Butler, DT, Tennessee
  35. Browns: Wan’Dale Robinson, WR, Kentucky
  36. Ravens: Abraham Lucas, OT, Washington State
  37. Eagles: Kevin Austin, WR, Notre Dame
  38. Dolphins: Damarri Mathis, CB, Pittsburgh
  39. Chiefs: Myjai Sanders, EDGE, Cincinnati
  40. Rams: Cam Taylor-Britt, CB, Nebraska
  41. 49ers: Ed Ingram, IOL, LSU