Happy NFL Draft day to all who celebrate! ESPN NFL draft expert Todd McShay has officially released his final NFL mock draft ahead of the first round. This final edition included two quarterbacks off the board in round one and just one trade, but there still lay plenty of surprises ahead.
As has been speculated this week, McShay sends Georgia DE Travon Walker to the Jacksonville Jaguars No. 1 overall. Michigan DE Aidan Hutchinson had been slated as the odds favorite to be selected first overall ahead of draft week, but Walker gained the edge, now with odds at -450 to be the first player selected. Hutchinson didn’t last long, however, as McShay had him drafted to the Lions second overall.
Continuing with the initial defensive wave, McShay sends LSU CB Derek Stingley Jr. to the Texans at No. 3. Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, currently the favorite on DraftKings Sportsbook to be the first corner off the board at -140, falls to the Giants at No. 7 with their second pick in this year’s draft. If Gardner did make it to the Giants there on draft night, New York would be getting a huge value for the Cincinnati prospect who didn’t allow a single touchdown in his collegiate career. It’s worth noting that odds for this exact top-three order are at +190 — the lowest odds for any top-three pick combination in this year’s draft.
Liberty QB Malik Willis is the first quarterback off the board in this final edition, drafted No. 20 overall to the Pittsburgh Steelers — one of just two quarterbacks to go in the first round of this mock. The second is Kenny Pickett, drafted No. 32 overall to the Detroit Lions, who secured this pick from the Rams in the Matthew Stafford trade in 2021. The biggest surprise here is that the Panthers forego the quarterback position this year, but they do make a worthy investment at No. 6 with Alabama OT Evan Neal.
Looking at the skill players, McShay has seven wide receivers going off the board in the first round. First up is OSU prospect, Garrett Wilson, heading to the New York Jets at No. 10. Wilson is currently the favorite to be the first wideout off the board at -130 on DraftKings Sportsbook. At No. 25, McShay has the Bills taking Iowa State RB Breece Hall as the only running back off the board on Day 1.
The only trade in McShay’s final mock includes a swap between the Texans and Cowboys, where Dallas trades up from No. 24 to No. 13 to select OT Trevor Penning. The Northern Iowa prospect would help to fill an immediate need on offensive line left by the departure of La’el Collins who was released earlier this offseason and signed with the Bengals.