It is officially draft day. Time for one final no-trade prediction of how the First Round will play out.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Travon Walker, Edge Rusher
Travon Walker’s stock has escalated faster than anyone else’s during this draft process. Trent Baalke will bank on Walker’s upside and athleticism over Hutchinson’s high-floor and proven productivity.
2. Detroit Lions – Aidan Hutchinson, Edge Rusher
With Hutchinson available, the Lions will sprint to the podium. Malik Willis is definitely an option, but keeping the homegrown talent in Michigan would be a huge bonus for the culture that Dan Campbell is continuing to build.
3. Houston Texans – Ahmad Gardner, Cornerback
Lovie Smith’s Texans have needs across the board, but securing a star on the defensive side of the ball is priority number one for the rebuild. Gardner is the consensus top cornerback and would be a day-one impact starter in Houston.
4. New York Jets – Jermaine Johnson, Edge Rusher
The New York Jets need serious juice on the defensive side of the ball. Jermaine Johnson is an elite run-defender and has the traits to develop into a top-tier pass rusher. He and Carl Lawson could give Robert Saleh an elite edge presence.
5. New York Giants – Evan Neal, Offensive Tackle
The Giants need to see if Daniel Jones is the quarterback of the future and must protect him at all costs. Evan Neal can play anywhere on the offensive line and would be an immediate upgrade. Neal and Thomas would give the Giants one of the best tackle tandems in the league.
6. Carolina Panthers – Charles Cross, Offensive Tackle
Carolina could go offensive tackle or quarterback. Matt Rhule is in win-now mode or he’ll be searching for a new job come next spring. Given their current QB situation, I truly believe that they’ll make a play for Jimmy Garoppolo before training camp. Cross is arguably the best pass protector of the draft to help keep Garoppolo upright.
7. New York Giants – Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge Rusher
This could very well be a trade-back opportunity for the Giants. But if they stay put, they take one of the highest upside prospects in the draft in Kayvon Thibodeaux. Thibodeaux has been a victim of prospect fatigue, but he’ll use that chip on his shoulder in New York’s market.
8. Atlanta Falcons – Garrett Wilson, Wide Receiver
The first wide receiver comes off the board to replace Calvin Ridley in Atlanta. Wilson would immediately be their number one receiver and would pair nicely with Kyle Pitts.
9. Seattle Seahawks – Ikem Ekwonu, Offensive Tackle
It is hard to imagine one of the top tackles falling this far, but this draft is too heavy on the defensive side of the ball. Seattle would be ecstatic to have their left tackle of the future in Ekwonu.
10. New York Jets – Jameson Williams, Wide Receiver
The Jets may end up trading this pick to the 49ers for Deebo Samuel. But with no trades, the best option is Jameson Williams. Give Zach Wilson a true deep threat with elite speed.