Ekwonu, Gardner rise, Neal No. 1 in post-combine NFL mock draft

Former Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal remains the No. 1 player in my mock draft for 2022. File Photo by Alex Butler/UPI
1 of 5 | Former Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal remains the No. 1 player in my mock draft for 2022. File Photo by Alex Butler/UPI

MIAMI, March 9 (UPI) -- Top college football prospects Ickey Ekownu and Sauce Gardner are among the players who delivered impressive performances at the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine and improved their positions in my latest mock draft.

Hundreds of players were measured and tested mentally and physically last week in Indianapolis. Former Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal was widely projected as the top overall pick in many mock drafts before the combine, but slipped in some rankings.


He remains my No. 1 overall pick, followed by former Michigan edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson and Ekwonu, an offensive tackle from North Carolina State.

Gardner, a former Cincinnati cornerback, and Oregon edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux round out other Top 5 picks.

Former Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder, Ohio State wide receiver Chris Olave and Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis are among the other players who improved on their draft stock at the combine.

Overall, my latest first-round mock draft features seven offensive linemen, seven defensive linemen, five defensive backs, five wide receivers, four quarterbacks, three linebackers and a running back.

Mock Draft 2.0

1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

2. Detroit Lions: Aidan Hutchinson, Edge, Michigan

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

4. New York Jets: Sauce Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

5. New York Giants: Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge, Oregon

6. Carolina Panthers: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh

7. New York Giants: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

8. Atlanta Falcons: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

9. Seattle Seahawks: Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

10. New York Jets: Travon Walker, Edge, Georgia

11. Washington Football Team: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

12. Minnesota Vikings: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa

13. Cleveland Browns: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

14. Baltimore Ravens: Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia


15. Philadelphia Eagles: David Ojabo, DE/OLB, Michigan

16. Philadelphia Eagles: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

17. Los Angeles Chargers: Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia

18. New Orleans Saints: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU

19. Philadelphia Eagles: Jermaine Johnson II, Edge, Florida State

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss

21. New England Patriots: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

22. Las Vegas Raiders: Kenyon Green, G, Texas A&M

23. Arizona Cardinals: Drake London, WR, USC

24. Dallas Cowboys: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia

25. Buffalo Bills: George Karlaftis, Edge, Purdue

26. Tennessee Titans: Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington

27. Cincinnati Bengals trade with Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan

28. Green Bay Packers: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

29. Miami Dolphins: Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State

30. Kansas City Chiefs: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers trade with Cincinnati Bengals: Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa

32. Detroit Lions: Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati

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