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Todd McShay 2022 NFL Mock Draft: Hutchinson, Hamilton Go 1, 2; Thibodeaux to Seahawks

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVMarch 9, 2022

AP Photo/Darron Cummings

In his latest mock draft released Wednesday, ESPN NFL draft expert Todd McShay made some changes at the top, including Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson going No. 1 overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

McShay's previous mock from last month had Hutchinson going second to the Detroit Lions and Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal going first to the Jags. On Wednesday, Neal dropped to the New York Jets at No. 4 overall and Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton leapt up to the Lions at No. 2.

Here is a rundown of the top 10 in McShay's updated 2022 NFL mock draft:

1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan

2. Detroit Lions: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

3. Houston Texans: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State

4. New York Jets: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

5. New York Giants: Travon Walker, DE, Georgia

6. Carolina Panthers: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

7. New York Giants (via CHI): Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

8. Atlanta Falcons: Drake London, WR, USC

9. Seattle Seahawks (via DEN): Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon

10. New York Jets (via SEA): Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

One of the biggest fallers from McShay's prior mock was Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, who dropped from the New York Giants at No. 5 overall to the Seattle Seahawks at ninth.

Taking Thibodeaux's place at fifth overall is Georgia defensive end Travon Walker, who jumped up from 16th in McShay's previous mock.

The change at the top of Neal to Hutchinson came on the heels of the Jaguars applying the franchise tag to offensive tackle Cam Robinson.

McShay expressed his belief that Jacksonville will shy away from an offensive tackle with that pick after retaining Robinson and instead address one of its other biggest needs.

The Jaguars tied for 27th in the NFL last season with just 32 sacks, but Hutchinson would provide a huge boost in that regard after racking up 14 sacks last season and finishing second in the Heisman Trophy voting.

It isn't often that a safety goes in the top five of the NFL draft, let alone with the No. 2 overall pick, but McShay views Hamilton as a worthy choice in that spot.

Detroit has a clear need in the secondary after tying for the third-most touchdown passes allowed last season, and Hamilton would be a huge help in that regard after recording eight interceptions and 16 passes defended in three seasons at Notre Dame.

The Lions already spent the No. 3 overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft on cornerback Jeff Okudah, and if they add Hamilton to the mix, they will have one of the most talented young secondaries in the league.

Thibodeaux was once viewed as a strong candidate to go No. 1 overall in the 2022 NFL draft, but he arguably didn't achieve the level of production expected over his final two seasons at Oregon with 10 sacks in 17 games.

It is impossible to ignore Thibodeaux's raw ability, however, making him the perfect pick for a rebuilding Seahawks team at No. 9 overall.

After agreeing to trade quarterback Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos for a bevy of draft picks and players on Tuesday, the Seahawks are essentially rebuilding from the ground up, and grabbing a player with the chance to be an elite pass-rusher at ninth overall would give them a great building block.

Also of interest in McShay's new mock was the positioning of the quarterbacks. McShay had three of them come off the board in Pittsburgh's Kenny Pickett to the Washington Commanders at No. 11, Liberty's Malik Willis to the Pittsburgh Steelers at 20th and Ole Miss' Matt Corral to the Atlanta Falcons at No. 29 after a projected trade up.

This isn't considered a strong draft for quarterbacks, but the Commanders, Steelers and Falcons all either have an immediate or medium-term need under center and are strong candidates to consider addressing the position early in the proceedings.

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