Sun Times Mock Draft 1.0: Who goes No. 1?

Just because the Bears don’t have a first-round pick doesn’t mean we can’t engage in the annual rite of [meteorological] spring.

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Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton celebrates an interception in the end zone against Purdue in September.

Michael Conroy, AP Photos

INDIANAPOLIS — Just because the Bears don’t have a first-round draft pick doesn’t mean we can’t engage in that annual rite of (meteorological) spring, the Sun-Times’ Mock Draft 1.0.

The needs of NFL teams will change between the start of free agency on March 16 and the start of the draft on April 28, and our iterations of the mock draft will change with them. But as the NFL Scouting Combine nears its end, here’s our starting point.

1. Jaguars — Alabama OT Evan Neal

Offensive-minded head coach Doug Pederson knows the value of protecting last year’s No. 1 overall pick, quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

2. Lions — Michigan EDGE Aidan Hutchinson

We can’t resist a homecoming: Hutchinson went to high school 20 miles from Ford Field and college 40 miles from the Lions’ stadium.

3. Texans — Oregon EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux

The consensus No. 1 pick for most of the college season had seven sacks in 10 games last year.

4. Jets — N.C. State OT Ickey Ekwonu

Some think Ekwonu — who charmed his way through Combine interviews, even detailing his love of musical theater — could end up being be the first pick in the draft.

5. Giants — Notre Dame S Kyle Hamilton

The Atlanta native has unreal size for his position — he’s 6-4! — and has recovered from a knee injury that ended his season Oct. 23.

6. Panthers — USC WR Drake London

London, who was a monster before breaking his ankle Oct. 30, will help whomever plays quarterback for the Panthers. It can’t be Sam Darnold, can it?

7. Giants (from Bears) — Mississippi State OT Charles Cross

The Giants desperately need blocking help and might even entertain drafting Cross fifth overall. The Bears dealt them this pick in a package for Justin Fields last year.

8. Falcons —Ohio State WR Garrett Wilson

If the Falcons move on from Calvin Ridley — who missed all but five games last year because of a personal matter — they’ll need a receiver to take his place.

9. Broncos — Michigan EDGE David Ojabo

After dealing Von Miller to the Rams, the Broncos need to invest in their pass rush. This one is risky — he’s played in only 20 college games.

10. Jets (from Seahawks) — Iowa C Tyler Linderbaum

A true center has never been drafted this high. But the Jets should be thrilled to protect second-year quarterback Zach Wilson with both Ekwonu and Linderbaum.

11. Commanders — Pitt QB Kenny Pickett

The former WFT has been open about scouring all avenues for a quarterback. They take the highest-floor passer in a ho-hum quarterback draft.

12. Vikings — Cincinnati CB Sauce Gardner

If the Vikings decide to let Kirk Cousins play out the final year of his contract, perhaps new coach Kevin O’Connell will eye a quarterback.

13. Browns — Alabama WR Jameson Williams

The Browns are desperate for receiving help after dealing Odell Beckham. Maybe they’ll find it in free agency, but if not, Williams can fly.

14. Ravens — LSU CB Derek Stingley

He was a superstar as a freshman but was limited to 10 games over the past two years because of injuries. Pro Football Focus says, simply: “There is no better player in the draft.”

15. Eagles (from Dolphins) — Utah LB Devin Lloyd

The Eagles haven’t drafted a linebacker in the first round since Jerry Robinson in 1979. Head coach Nick Sirianni wasn’t born yet.

16. Eagles (from Colts) — Florida State DE Jermaine Johnson

Only the Falcons had fewer than the Eagles’ 29 sacks last year. The Steelers led the NFL with 55.

17. Chargers — Georgia DL Jordan Davis

Our annual plea for the Chargers to draft a pass blocker has been replaced — thanks to Northwestern alum Rashawn Slater’s breakout season — with one for them to finally find a way to stop the run.

18. Saints — Liberty QB Malik Willis

No quarterback in this draft deserves to be a first-rounder on merit. Willis has the best upside, though, for a franchise that started Jameis Winston, Taysom Hill, Trevor Siemian and Ian Book last year.

19. Eagles — Georgia DE Travon Walker

It’s risky to give the Eagles three defensive players in the first round — this is the team that took a receiver in the first round in the last two years — but they need the help.

20. Steelers — Northern Iowa OT Trevor Penning

The Steelers can start him off at guard and kick him outside in a year or two. They could also look at a quarterback here, depending on what they do in free agency.

21. Patriots — Georgia LB Nakobe Dean

Dean is smaller than your typical Pats inside linebacker, but the Butkus Award winner is by far the best player left on our board.

22. Raiders — Ohio State WR Chris Olave

Two years ago, the Raiders drafted receiver Henry Ruggs II in the first round. They cut him in November after he was charged with DUI after he rear-ended another car, resulting in a woman’s death.

23. Cardinals — Alabama WR John Metchie III

Quarterback Kyler Murray isn’t happy, and the Cardinals need to do something about it. Metchie could be a steal if patient teams are comfortable with his recovery from ACL surgery in December.

24. Cowboys — Purdue DE George Karlaftis

Is Micah Parsons an end? A linebacker? Karlaftis would allow them not to force their star to play both spots.

25. Bills — Washington CB Trent McDuffie

Did you see how the Bills’ season ended? They need to find a way to slow the NFL’s most dangerous passing attacks.

26. Titans —Penn State WR Jahan Dotson

The Titans need to be more explosive in the pass game to compete with the aforementioned AFC monsters. A.J. Brown is a star — and Dotson could benefit from teams tilting their defenses toward him.

27. Buccaneers — Boston College OG Zion Johnson

Guard Ali Marpet’s retirement created an immediate hole in the Bucs’ offensive line, and center Ryan Jensen is slated to become a free agent.

28. Packers — Georgia DT Devonte Wyatt

The Packers have a lot of questions to answer between now and the draft. Wyatt would be the fourth Dawgs’ defender taken in Round 1.

29. Dolphins (from 49ers) — Texas A&M RB Isaiah Spiller

We know, we know — It’s too early to draft a running back. But only the Texans averaged fewer yards per carry than the Dolphins’ 3.5 last year.

30. Chiefs — Michigan S Dax Hill

He can play safety, slot corner or outside cornerback. The Chiefs know they need help to slow down the Bills’ Josh Allen.

31. Bengals — Central Michigan OT Bernhard Raimann

The Bengals’ first priority — and their second and third — is to fix their offensive line in front of star Joe Burrow this offseason.

32. Lions (from Rams) — Ole Miss QB Matt Corral

Either Corral or North Carolina’s Sam Howell makes sense here; picking a quarterback in the first round allows the Lions to get a fifth-year option on them.

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