Mel Kiper Jr. projects NC State's Ikem Ekwonu to go No. 1 overall in latest mock draft
ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. released a new mock draft just before the start of the scouting combine on Tuesday morning.
According to Kiper, NC State’s Ikem Ekwonu is now projected to be the No. 1 overall pick in this draft. Kiper says Ekwonu is being considered along with three other players: Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson, Alabama’s Evan Neal and Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux.
Kiper believes the Jacksonville Jaguars will decide to invest in its offensive line. The Jags picked quarterback Trevor Lawrence No. 1 overall in last year’s draft.
Here’s an excerpt of Kiper’s analysis:
“Ultimately, I lean toward Jacksonville getting protection for quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who struggled as a rookie. This could go the other way if the organization brings back Cam Robinson in free agency, but Ekwonu — who is a hot name among NFL teams — would be an immediate upgrade. If the Jags can protect Lawrence with Ekwonu on the left side and Walker Little on the right, they can begin to turn around the offense.”
Ekwonu would be the third No. 1 overall pick in program history. NC State’s Mario Williams went first in 2006. Roman Gabriel went No. 1 overall in 1962.
Ekwonu will have a big chance to separate himself from Neal and other offensive lineman at the scouting combine this week.
The 2022 NFL Draft is April 28-30.