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Thursday Round-Up: ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. Makes Picks For First Round Of 2022 NFL Draft

See which players ESPN’s draft guru thinks will come off the board first in next month’s draft.

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Good morning, 12s. Here's a look at what's out there today — Thursday, March 24 — about your Seattle Seahawks.

ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. Makes Picks For First Round Of 2022 NFL Draft

With the scouting combine in the rearview mirror and the NFL Draft now just over a month away, fans across the league are deep into the process of doing their own scouting to see who their favorite team will come away with. Excitement for the draft among 12s has gone up even more as of late, with the Seahawks now owning the No. 9 and No. 40 overall picks thanks to the Russell Wilson trade with the Broncos.

With a top-10 pick, the Seahawks now find themselves in position to add a solid contributor and potential starter on Day 1 of the draft. Earlier this week, ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. released his latest first round mock draft based on his perceived team needs and what he's heard from league executives, scouts and coaches.

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With the first overall pick, Kiper has the Jacksonville Jaguars selecting DE Aidan Hutchinson, the Heisman finalist from the University of Michigan.

"Jacksonville decided to franchise tag left tackle Cam Robinson for the second straight year, taking away its need for a top-tier blindside protector (at least for a year) for quarterback Trevor Lawrence," Kiper says. "Now, Hutchinson is the heavy favorite to go to the Jags -- barring a desperate team trading up … Hutchinson, my top-ranked prospect in this class, could get double-digit sacks playing on the other side of Josh Allen in new coordinator Mike Caldwell's defense."

While some have speculated that the Seahawks will go after a quarterback early in the draft — such as Liberty’s Malik Willis — Kiper has the team selecting one of this year's top pass protectors in Mississippi State's Charles Cross.

"It seems they want to give it a go with [Drew] Lock at quarterback and try to win," Kiper said. "That's why I don't see quarterback being an option here; [Pete] Carroll and general manager John Schneider can instead use this pick on an early starter … [Cross is] a superb pass-blocker who dominated in the SEC. Seattle, which surrendered its original first-round pick in the Jamal Adams trade, has back-to-back Round 2 picks (Nos. 40 and 41) to add potential starters."

Cross started two years in coach Mike Leach's Air Raid offense for the Bulldogs, earning Freshman All-SEC honors in 2020 as a redshirt freshman.

Click here to see Kiper’s full mock draft (ESPN+ subscription required).

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