Up to this point, I've done three previous 2022 Mock Drafts; you can find the links to them below. One of them was a Buccaneers-only exercise in which I tried to find a reasonable pick for our team at each of their six spot in the draft. The other two were your usual first-round exercises, in which I made a prediction for each team picking in the round, including the Buccaneers at pick number 27. In neither of those did I allow myself to trade any of those 32 picks.
Well, those days are gone. All the pent-up desire to move some of these picks around and get teams in position to pursue bolder strategies that I've tamped down over the past month? I'm letting it out, baby! Every other week in our Buccaneers.com Mock Draft series I'm deviating from the usual approach and working on some kind of gimmick. And for Mock Draft 4.0 that gimmick is: TRADES! Lots of trades.
This time around, I tasked myself with predicting the 32 picks in the first round and engineering at least six trades. As it turned out, I hit that goal right on the head. And, yes, the Buccaneers were one of the teams involved in a trade. Read on for the possibly off-the-wall results.
If you care to review what we've said in previous weeks and how things have changed, here are our previous efforts:
Mock Draft 1.0 (Carmen Vitali's final contribution.)
Mock Draft 2.0 (My first attempt, without trades.)
Mock Draft 3.0 (A mock dedicated solely to the Bucs' 2022 draft picks)
Mock Draft 4.0 (My second straight mock, still without trades.)
A little explanation. I used the Jimmy Johnson draft value chart and made sure that these trades were realistic in that regard. I'm not going to go through the full specifics of how each trade was made even, but please trust me that I made the numbers work. In some cases, I had to use 2023 picks to even things out a bit.
So let's begin. Look out for the **TRADE ALERT** notification between picks.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: EDGE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan
I've gone offensive line at this spot in my previous mocks but I have to agree with the shifting sentiment in the mock draft community. The Jaguars put their franchise tag on left tackle Cam Robinson and the cupboard isn't exactly bare on the other end with Jawaan Taylor and Walker Little to choose from. Pairing Hutchinson with Josh Allen would give the Jaguars a ferocious pass rush off the edge.
**TRADE ALERT**: Seattle trades pick number nine, a 2022 second-round pick (#41) and a 2023 first-round pick to Detroit for pick number two.
2. Seattle Seahawks (from Detroit): QB Malik Willis, Liberty
So you probably noticed that the Seahawks used most of what they got from Denver in the Russell Wilson trade to land his replacement here. But even after this deal they still have an extra second-rounder, plus a quarterback who is much cheaper and about 10 years younger. I like the idea of the Seahawks going with a QB who adds value with his legs, since Pete Carroll really just wants to run the ball anyway. As for the Lions, I think they stay put if Hutchinson is available but don't like the culture fit for Kayvon Thibodeaux and aren't desperate for an offensive lineman.
3. Houston Texans: T Ikem Ekwonu, North Carolina State
The Texans might have liked to move down too, as they can use help just about everywhere, but I couldn't find another willing trade partner. Houston's offensive line was bad in 2021 and Laremy Tunsil may be on the way out.
4. New York Jets: S Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame
Yeah, yeah, the Jets need to help out young quarterback Zach Wilson with better protection or more dynamic pass-catchers. But hey, how about helping him out with a defense that can keep the game close. New York allowed the most points in the league in 2021. Hamilton would make an instant impact and allow new DC Jeff Ulbrich to get creative.
5. New York Giants: T Evan Neal, Alabama
The Giants land a potential first-overall prospect at number five and get an instant replacement for Nate Solder.
**TRADE ALERT**: N.Y. Jets trade pick number 10, a 2022 third-round pick (#69) and a 2022 fourth-round pick (#115) to Carolina for pick number six.
6. N.Y. Jets (from Carolina): EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux
Okay, now I have the Jets swinging really big on defense. This is a Big Apple power play, as the Jets see Thibodeaux slide to six but don't think he'll get past the Giants at number seven. Even after this deal, the Jets still have two more second-round picks plus a fourth and two fifths.
7. New York Giants (from Chicago): EDGE Travon Walker, Georgia
Since it was my theory that the Jets were worried about the Giants taking an EDGE in Thibodeaux, I'll see it through here with the other New York team turning to the next best pass rusher on their board, the rapidly-rising Walker. Get ready to see a lot of Walker's Bulldog teammates in this mock.
8. Atlanta Falcons: CB Ahmad Gardner, Cincinnati
Since I kept this pick the same from my most recent mock draft, I'm just going to save some time and plagiarize myself: The Falcons generated a league-low 18 sacks in 2020 and so would obviously be tempted to grab an EDGE rusher like David Ojabo or maybe a wrecker in the middle like Jordan Davis to pair with Grady Jarrett. But Atlanta also badly needs another cornerback to go with rising star A.J. Terrell and Gardner has begun to separate himself from the ranks. The 6-3, 190-pound defender has great length, is extremely competitive and was able to rip off a 4.41-second 40-yard dash in Indy.
9. Detroit Lions (from Denver through Seattle): CB Derek Stingley, Jr.
Cornerback is a big need for the Lions, but I don't think they would have gone in that direction had they stayed at number two. I like how this worked out. Stingley is a potential star but the Lions could have also gone with a wide receiver, defensive tackle or even linebacker here. No harm in the trade down, and they could be closer to contention next year when they have two first-round picks in hand.
10. Carolina Panthers (from Seattle through N.Y. Jets): T Charles Cross, Mississippi State
This one is pretty simple. The Panthers need a lot of help on their offensive line – have needed it for a few years now, really, and Cross is great value at this spot.
11. Washington Commanders: WR Treylon Burks, Arkansas
I had this as a possible landing spot for Pitt QB Kenny Pickett but no more after the Commanders trade for Carson Wentz. Instead, they get Wentz some help with the first receiver off the board. The "disappointment" of Burks' 4.55-second 40 has faded away at this point and teams still see a big and fast open-field threat.
**TRADE ALERT**: L.A. Chargers trade pick number 17, a 2022 third-round pick (#79) and a 2023 third-round pick to Minnesota for pick number 12.
12. Los Angeles Chargers (from Minnesota): DT Jordan Davis, Georgia
Yes, the Chargers just traded for Khalil Mack to pair with Joey Bosa, but why not go all in on building a dominant front. L.A.'s run defense was atrocious in 2021 but the powerful Davis would fix that quickly, and the speed and quickness he showed at the Combine suggest some untapped pass rush potential. After Davis destroyed the Combine, the Chargers felt like they had to get ahead of Cleveland to get Davis.
13. Cleveland Browns: WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio State
I gave the rapidly-climbing Davis to Cleveland in my last draft, but somehow the Chargers (as composed in my head) knew that and thwarted that plan. I know the Browns just traded for Amari Cooper but Jarvis Landry is likely headed out and Baker Mayfield needs a full complement of weapons if the team is going to find out for sure if he's the long-term answer.
14. Baltimore Ravens: C Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa
This is another repeat pick from last time. I still think the Ravens let Bradley Bozeman walk and draft his plug-and-play replacement.
15. Philadelphia Eagles (from Miami): EDGE Jermaine Johnson, Florida State
In my last mock draft, the Eagles got Johnson with the third of their three first-round picks, but I think they have to rearrange their priorities this time around. Johnson is one of the fastest risers in mock drafts this month and I don't think he lasts to number 19 at this point.
**TRADE ALERT**: Pittsburgh trades pick number 20, a 2022 third-round pick (#84) to Philadelphia for pick number 16 and a 2022 sixth-round pick (#192).
16. Pittsburgh Steelers (from Indianapolis through Philadelphia): QB Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh
Right around the middle of the first round seems like the right range for Pickett, who probably hasn't convinced every QB-needy team that he's the answer. But he only has to convince one of them, and in this case the Steelers are not only one of those teams but they believe the Saints are too. Thus they give up one of their only five other picks to make the leap up four spots for their Big Ben successor.
17. Minnesota Vikings (from L.A. Chargers): DE George Karlaftis, Purdue
I've kind of been all over the board with Karlaftis, putting him in the top 10 in my first effort but dropping him to 23rd in the most recent one. I probably overreacted to his underwhelming Combine performance; he's probably more of a mid-round guy. The Vikings actually had a pretty good pass rush overall last year, but it was kind of a whole-defense kind of thing and I don't know if they can count on another 8.0 sacks from DJ Wonnum. Even if Wonnum proves that was no fluke, the Vikings could still use another edge rusher for their rotation with him and Danielle Hunter.
18. New Orleans Saints: WR Drake London, USC
A lot of analysts think New Orleans is going to go after a quarterback in this draft, and I think the Saints are perfectly happy to help that narrative breath, but I think it's a smokescreen. They might land Deshaun Watson or they might go back to Jameis Winston, but either way I think they stick with a veteran passer and get him some much-needed help on the receiving end.
19. Philadelphia Eagles: LB Nakobe Dean, Georgia
Even after switching to the pass-rusher at pick number 15 the Eagles still land a coveted playmaker for the middle of their defense here.
20. Philadelphia Eagles (from Pittsburgh): WR Chris Olave, Ohio State
And even after trading down with their instate rivals they still get an impact wide receiver four picks later. The Eagles only regret this move if they seriously preferred London over Olave; they would certainly hate to pick the wrong receiver in the first round again.
21. New England Patriots: CB Trent McDuffie, Washington
I'm pretty sure the Patriots aren't going to give J.C. Jackson the Jalen Ramsey money he reportedly wants. They'll just draft a replacement.
22. Las Vegas Raiders: WR Jameson Williams, Alabama
Hunter Renfrow catches a lot of passes but he isn't exactly a blazer. Williams is, and the Raiders want that. Derek Carr needs a real deep threat.
23. Arizona Cardinals: EDGE David Ojabo, Michigan
Actually, I think the Cardinals will be lucky if Ojabo falls this far, but that's what happened here, giving Arizona a potential replacement for Chandler Jones.
24. Dallas Cowboys: T Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa
The Cowboys are expected to trade or cut La'el Collins and Ty Nsekhe is a pending UFA. Is Terrance Steele really the answer. I've had the Cowboys taking a linebacker in previous mock drafts but they may be adding Bobby Wagner, so the attention shifts to the offensive line this time around.
25. Buffalo Bills: DT Devonte Wyatt, Georgia
I think the Bills take Jameson Williams if he falls this far but without that option they hit a position of need on their interior defensive line.
26. Tennessee Titans: LB Devin Lloyd, Utah
Harold Landry re-signed with the Titans and quickly said that he expects the defensive front to be the driving force in a Tennessee playoff run, but that defense could use some help in the middle, too. Rashaan Evans, Jayon Brown and David Long all missed time due to injuries last year, leading to playing time for such midseason pickups as Avery Williamson and Zach Cunningham. Plus, Evans and Brown could depart in free agency.
**TRADE ALERT**: Cincinnati trades pick number 31, a 2022 fourth-round pick (#134) and a 2023 third-round pick to Tampa Bay for pick number 27.
27. Cincinnati Bengals (from Tampa Bay): G Zion Johnson, Boston College
The Bengals are reportedly going after Alex Cappa, but that shouldn't be the end of their work on the offensive line. With O-Line going fast and the Packers and Dolphins possibly looking in that direction, too, the Bengals make a small move up to get ahead of those teams and land one of the better performers at the recent Combine.
28. Green Bay Packers: WR George Pickens, Georgia
Pickens is another player who seems to be drawing more attention as we inch closer to the real draft. Pickens is big and fast, and now that Aaron Rodgers is committed to Green Bay they need to get him a real number-two receiver to pair with Davante Adams.
29. Miami Dolphins (from San Francisco): G Kenyon Green, Texas A&M
The Bengals were right about the Dolphins, who are about as needy on the O-Line as Cincy, if not more so. Green was going higher than Johnson in most mock drafts before the Combine but Johnson had the better Combine performance. Still, it's good value for Miami here at the end of the round.
30. Kansas City Chiefs: S Daxton Hill, Michigan
This is the second mock in a row that I've sent Hill to the Chiefs, who need help all over their secondary, particularly if Tyrann Mathieu isn't re-signed.
31. Tampa Bay (from Cincinnati): CB Andrew Booth, Clemson
Full disclosure: I worked on this draft and made this trade before the reports of a possible Alex Cappa departure. With that in mind, I maybe should have stayed put at 27 and just taken Johnson, as I did in the last mock. Maybe I'll go back to O-Line in the next mock, but I promised to make at least six trades in this one and I can't change it back now. Anyway, the Buccaneers could very much use a cornerback with free agency pending for Carlton Davis and both Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting heading into the last year of their contracts. Booth has the size, length and physical style of play that Todd Bowles likes at cornerback.
**TRADE ALERT**: Indianapolis trades 2022 second-round pick (#42) and 2022 third-round pick (#82) to Detroit for pick number 32 and 2023 fourth-round pick.
32. Indianapolis (from L.A. Rams through Detroit): QB Matt Corral, Ole Miss
The Colts might have been able to stay put at 42 and get a quarterback, depending upon how they feel about Corral, Sam Howell and Desmond Ridder. However, the value of trading up to number 32 to get Corral is that, if he pans out, they get that valuable fifth-year option on his contract. That's only the case for first-round picks. Of course, the Lions could stay put and do the same thing, but I don't think they're quite ready to contend this year so they roll one more year with Jared Goff and try to find their long-term answer in next year's draft, or free agency.