Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad Gardner walks to the red carpet before the first round of the NFL football draft Thursday, April 28, 2022, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Breaking down players selected in 1st round of NFL Draft

Breaking down players selected in 1st round of NFL Draft

The players chosen in the first round Thursday of the NFL Draft:

1) Jaguars — Travon Walker, 6-foot-5, 275 pounds, Georgia

Breakdown: Speed and athleticism for his size and build are prototypical and he could probably add some weight without losing much of what makes him special. Pass-rush technique needs work.

Fact: One-year starter whose production (13 tackles for loss and 9 1/2 sacks) was just OK playing as part of a deep rotation at Georgia.

Notable: The last team to pick No. 1 overall in consecutive seasons was Cleveland, which picked an edge rusher (Myles Garrett) in 2017 and a quarterback (Baker Mayfield) in 2018). The Jags went QB (Trevor Lawrence) and then pass rusher in Walker.

2) Lions — Aidan Hutchinson, 6-6, 265 pounds, Michigan

Breakdown: Relentless and efficient pass rusher with a good combination of technique and an assortment of moves. Overall athleticism is a notch below some elite pass rushers who have gone in the top five in recent years like the Bosa brothers.

Fact: The Heisman Trophy runner-up last season is the son of former Michigan defensive lineman and team captain Chris Hutchinson.

Notable: The last time the Lions picked a player from Michigan in the first round was OL Jeff Backus at 18th in 2001.

3) Texans — Derek Stingley Jr., 6-1, 195, LSU

Breakdown: Strong man-to-man technique. Plays balanced to mirror receivers. Can get lost in zone coverage and in run support.

Fact: Stingley was an All-American as a freshman but injuries (foot in 2021) and regression by the rest of the defense undercut his next two seasons.

Notable: Matches the highest drafted cornerback in the common draft era. Last time the Texans selected a cornerback in the first round was 2015 (Kevin Johnson, No. 16).

4) Jets — Ahmad Gardner, 6-2, 190, Cincinnati

Breakdown: Tall, long-armed and fast. Moves his lanky frame smoothly and plays aggressively at the line of scrimmage. Not a lot of power in his game and he can get grabby, but the corner nicknamed Sauce was the definition of lockdown.

Fact: Did not allow a TD reception in his three-year college career.

Notable: Gardner is the highest drafted player ever from Cincinnati and the first cornerback taken in the first round by the Jets since Dee Milliner (No. 9) in 2013.

5) Giants — Kayvon Thibodeaux, 6-5, 258, Oregon

Breakdown: Pounces past blockers to make plays in the backfield with uncanny burst and length. Long, lean build doesn’t lend itself to adding weight.

Fact: Former five-star recruit seemed destined to be a first overall draft pick after freshman season, but between injuries and a shortened pandemic season he never put together a fully dominant year.

Notable: Giants had not drafted a defensive end/edge rusher in the first round since taking Jason Pierre-Paul (No. 15) in 2010.

6) Panthers — Ikem Ekwonu, 6-4, 310, North Carolina State

Breakdown: Light on his feet and able to lock up defenders with his long arms. Can get a little too aggressive at times — 10 penalties in his career — but it comes with a desirable toughness. Scores high marks for leadership and likability off the field.

Fact: Nicknamed Ickey after former Bengals running back Ickey Woods by a youth football coach.

Notable: Ekwonu is the first offensive lineman taken in the first round by Carolina since Jeff Otah (No. 19) in 2008.

7) Giants (from Chicago) — Evan Neal, 6-7, 335, Alabama

Breakdown: Remarkable combination of size and explosive athleticism. Balance and sustaining blocks need to become more consistent, but as long he keeps his weight in check there is a lot to like.

Fact: Started 40 games and missed only one in his three-year career, which ended as an All-American.

Notable: Alabama has had at least one first-round pick for 14 consecutive years, tying the record set by Miami from 1995-2008.

8) Falcons — Drake London, 6-5, 210, Southern California

Breakdown: Enormous catch radius with long arms and good hops. Makes lots of contested catches and runs through tacklers after the catch. Top-end speed is lacking and route running needs more precision.

Fact: Was on the way toward Heisman Trophy consideration in 2021 before a right ankle fracture cut his season short.

Notable: Second straight season the Falcons have drafted a pass catcher first, after taking TE Kyle Pitts No. 4 last year.

9) Seahawks (from Denver) — Charles Cross, 6-5, 310, Mississippi State

Breakdown: Good size and length, Cross plays with balance and patience as a pass blocker. Could use some bulk and his run blocking will need development after playing in pass-happy offense.

Fact: Blue-chip prospect out of Mississippi elected to stay in his home state over offers from Southern California and Florida State.

Notable: Cross is Mississippi State’s first top-10 pick since the Eagles took RB Michael Haddix at No. 8 in 1983.

10) Jets (from Seattle) — Garrett Wilson, 5-11, 185, Ohio State

Breakdown: Highly skilled at tracking the flight of the ball. Works the sideline adeptly with excellent footwork and has speed and precision to run away from defenders. On the lean side.

Fact: Playing with other star receivers limited his production, but he caught 23 touchdown passes in 33 career games with 19 starts.

Notable: The last time the Jets took a receiver in the first round was Santana Moss in 2001

11) Saints (from Washington) — Chris Olave, 6-1, 188, Ohio State

Breakdown: Quickness to win off the line of scrimmage and speed to get separation in the open the field. Like his teammate, Wilson, he lacks power, but he’s hard to cover and catches pretty much everything.

Fact: Set an Ohio State record with 35 touchdown catches.

Notable: Last time the Saints selected an Ohio State receiver was Michael Thomas with in the second round (47th overall) in 2016.

12) Vikings —-

13) Texans (from Cleveland) —

14) Ravens —

15) Eagles (from Miami) —

16) Commanders (from Saints through Indianapolis via Philadelphia) —

17) Chargers —

18) Eagles (from New Orleans) —

19) Saints (from Philadelphia) —

20) Steelers —

21) Patriots —

22) Packers (from Las Vegas) —

23) Cardinals —

24) Cowboys —

25) Bills —

26) Titans —

27) Buccaneers —

28) Packers —

29) Chiefs (from San Francisco via Miami) —

30) Chiefs —

31) Bengals —

32) Lions (from Los Angeles) —

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Ralph D. Russo, The Associated Press

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