10. New York Jets (via SEA): Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
With their first pick in this mock draft, I almost took Derek Stingley Jr. for the New York Jets.
This is a team that hired a defensive-minded head coach in Robert Saleh, and then went out and (wisely) invested a ton of NFL Draft assets on offense in his first year as captain of the ship.
As much as the Jets emphasized offense in 2021, they might need to do the same defensively in 2022. Ahmad Gardner has a reputation of being a shut-down type of cornerback and joining him up with the talent the Jets are assembling on the defensive front could lead to a lot of opportunities to make plays on the ball.
11. Las Vegas Raiders (projected trade with Commanders): Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
The Washington Commanders need a new quarterback STAT. This defense is ready-made for a playoff run.
The Commanders have an absolute stud WR1 with Terry McLaurin. If they can swing a trade for Derek Carr, I think this team is going to seriously be in business.
The going rate for Carr would be — at least — a first-round pick in 2022 and probably quite a bit more. Not to mention, Carr is going to be asking for $40 million per year on his next contract.
Although this kind of acquisition might give off some Alex Smith vibes, Carr has proven he can not only endure in difficult circumstances in the AFC West, but he has been a difference-maker in some key wins against the Chiefs and Chargers.
For Las Vegas, this would pave the way for a hypothetical trade for Jimmy Garoppolo to reunite with Josh McDaniels in the AFC West. Trading for Garoppolo might be a means to a 2023 NFL Draft end, but in this scenario the Raiders get Devin Lloyd, one of the top playmakers on defense in all of college football.
Lloyd is an absolute stud with size, range, athleticism, and instincts. He would be a great fit in the middle of an improving Raiders derfense.