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2022 NFL Draft Recap: Stock Up, Stock Down


(Mandatory Photo Credit: Bridget Bennett / New York Times)


Written by: Joseph Yun



The 2022 NFL Draft is in the books after a grueling months-long marathon for everyone involved. Las Vegas was a great host as expected and came close to matching the fervor and frenzied passion of the Nashville edition several years ago. Who won the three-day bonanza in Sin City? Who's going home down on their luck after busting out after hitting instead of sitting on 18? What can we look forward to as we wind through the rest of the offseason that has continually given us chaos on a weekly basis?


Up


1. Baltimore Ravens


Selections: 11


Best Pick: ALL OF THEM


Worst Pick: NONE


- Death. Taxes. The Ravens annoyingly hit home run after home run with their draft selections every year. It is inevitable. They are the gold standard and the Evil Empire™ of this event. 2022 was no different with every selection making sense and fitting needs. The 13 teams above them somehow allowed Baltimore to end up with the probable best overall prospect in Kyle Hamilton. The great run of form did not stop after the Ravens got a first-round selection for an inconsistent Hollywood Brown and they flipped that a few minutes later to get C1 Tyler Linderbaum, even if he isn’t a schematic fit, you just know it’ll work out. Day 2 was brilliantly nabbing Travis Jones (who should’ve gone much higher) and EDGE5 David Ojabo who will take a redshirt year learning on the best defenses in football in a similar environment to Ann Arbor. Day 3 is where they really made some hay, drafting two tight ends who should’ve gone much, much higher than their counterparts (Isaiah Likely and Charlie Kolar) and filling the tackle coffers with massive Daniel Faalele who they will hope to develop into Orlando Brown. They finished with Tyler Badie who could fill a role on special teams and play a few reps as the COP back in spot duty during the sixth round.


2. Philadelphia Eagles


Selections: 5


Best Pick: Jordan Davis


“Worst” Pick: NONE


- The Eagles had arguably the best night on Day 1 not named Baltimore after stealing gargantuan nose tackle Jordan Davis from the clutches of the Ravens and trading a piddling amount of draft capital for a bonafide WR1 in AJ Brown from the Titans. Not content to rest on his laurels, GM Howie Roseman did work on Day 2, drafting one of the best center prospects in the fast-rising Cam Jurgens and stealing Nakobe Dean, the best off-ball linebacker in the class when healthy. He then moved up and down the board, ending the class with a decently hyped Grant Calcaterra to fill the void that Zach Ertz left last season. Philadelphia has a burgeoning monster that will challenge if not outright steal the NFC East from bitter rival Dallas and could be slated for more if Jalen Hurts continues to develop.


3. New York Jets


Selections: 7


Best Pick: Jermaine Johnson II


“Worst” Pick: NONE


- The Jets, this offseason, chose the correct path to actually seeing what their young quarterback has got and elected to build around him, unlike several other franchises. Easily, the biggest winners of Day 1 with three primetime athletes in Sauce Gardner (fourth), Garrett Wilson (tenth), and EDGE3 Jermaine Johnson II (26th). Yeah, the two top ten selections are good decisions but why is their third first-round choice the best pick? Johnson was projected to go much higher than 26th and was sniffing top 15 territory. The Jets gave up moderate assets to trade back up with the Titans to nab the Florida State dynamo. Days two and three were about continuing to maximize their window with Zach Wilson. Breece Hall was largely considered RB1 so they traded up with MetLife Stadium co-tenants Giants to pair him with emergent star Michael Carter. The third-round selection of TE2 Jeremy Ruckert makes great sense and is excellent value as is fourth-round rookie tackle Max Mitchell. He doesn’t even have to start but can learn at his own pace due to the depth at the position. 2023 will be interesting for him as there is a bit of intrigue with former first-round selection Mekhi Becton. In fact the only faux pas for the traditionally turbulent franchise was when celebrated former March Madness darling Saint Peters turned Seton Hall coach Shaheen Holloway announced them as the New Jersey Jets. For which he isn’t technically wrong. Noted superfan and legendary sports iconoclast Rich Eisen was downright ebullient throughout the weekend.


4. Los Angeles Chargers


Selections: 8


Best Pick: Zion Johnson


“Worst” Pick: Deane Leonard


- What do you do when you have a budding superstar quarterback? Outside of giving him star weapons (which they had in abundance), protect him of course. The Chargers did that in spades this offseason, culminating in drafting first round selection and meteor like riser Zion Johnson who can play every line position and sixth round behemoth Jamaree Salyer who offers similar versatility. They landed arguably the best running back in the class in the fourth round with Isaiah Spiller, who slots in behind PPR freak Austin Ekeler nicely. LA took athletic but not yet refined stars in S JT Woods and DT Otito Ogbonnia in between all of that, which they could afford to do given the assets they already had on defense. You could argue that two cornerbacks weren’t necessary but they are late round fliers at best so it really doesn’t matter much. Tom Telesco was charged with improving Justin Herbert’s protection and he accomplished that objective.


5. Kansas City Chiefs


Selections: 10


Best Pick: Skyy Moore


“Worst” Pick: NONE


- Oh, hear that sound? That’s the boogeyman of the AFC rumbling back to life after a disappointing end to the season at the hands of the conference title holders, Cincinnati. There wasn’t a bad pick among the ten they selected. They got sensational value from their first two picks and a heist with their third. KC got the fastest rising corner in Trent McDuffie with 1.21 and a standout EDGE with their original 1.30. Both great values but the real steal came at 54th overall when they snatched Skyy Moore away from the league as a pseudo Tyreek Hill replacement. He’s going to eat with Patrick Mahomes tossing him the pigskin. Day 3 was filled with intriguing promise with several selections to a program that routinely churns out good DBs. Joshua Williams might end up being this year’s L’Jarius Sneed as a darkhorse for a lot of ROY teams. Fifth round lineman from Kentucky, Darian Kinnard just adds to the best OL in the NFL. He could start in a couple of years. The trio of seventh round picks (Jaylen Watson, Isaiah Pacheco and Nazeeh Johnson) could make an impact on the 53 before its all said and done. Another home run draft for Mr. Veach and company in the BBQ capital of the world (please don’t come after me, Memphis and St. Louis).


6. Arizona Cardinals


Selections: 8


Best Pick: Trey McBride


“Worst’ Pick: Christian Matthew


- The Cardinals went about filling needs and keeping Kyler Murray happy with more weapons in the draft. Trey McBride was being touted as the top tight end available and was taken as such. He does make a curious selection given the retention of Zach Ertz and Maxx Williams in free agency. They also made a highly secretive trade that saw a first round selection go to Baltimore in exchange for the speedy wideout Hollywood Brown. Arizona needed a backup running back after second leading rusher Chase Edmonds left for Miami in free agency. Enter former USC runner Keontay Ingram in the sixth round to help complement James Conner. The defensive line needed some restocking as JJ Watt is aging and Chandler Jones left in free agency. So they doubled dipped with Cameron Thomas (SDSU) and Cincy’s Myjai Sanders in the third round. OL depth was a key need and they filled it with pretty good value picks (Lecitus Smith sixth round, Marquise Hayes seventh round) late on Day 3. Now the hard part, evolving into a conference contender in a tough division with unhappy quarterback looking for a payday.


7. Green Bay Packers


Selections: 11


Best Pick: Kingsley Engbare


“Worst” Pick: Jonathan Ford


- The seemingly eternal wait for the next first round receiver continues for cheeseheads in Titletown, USA. Green Bay hit needs across the board with every one of their selections. Instead of going out and getting "that dude" to replace the outgoing Davante Adams, they ran the stylistic gamut of receivers with three of their picks. Quay Walker and Devonte Wyatt will help fortify an already talent-laden front seven. There's no immediate pressure on them to produce right away either as both can be brought along slowly due to depth. They also secured three big-time contributors along the line with two huge steals in Zach Tom (fourth round) and Rasheed Walker (seventh round). With that said, their best pick might be fifth round EDGE Kingsley Enagbare who should've been selected at least a round higher than he was. He will help fill the Za'darius Smith void. Now the big question is how fast can these new faces at receiver mesh with Aaron Rodgers in the twilight of his Packers tenure?


DOWN


1. New England Patriots


Selections: 10


Worst Pick: Cole Strange


Second Worst: Kevin Harris


- In true Belichickian fashion, the Patriots marched to their own drumbeat during the entirety of the 2022 draft. To wit, their first round selection of Cole Strange, who many had in the middle of Day 2 at best. Yeah he fits a need but the selection was met with incredulous derision across the board. Perhaps a wee bit early for the small school product from Chattanooga. In a vacuum, the Tyquan Thorton pick could be justified given the lack of speed in the Patriots receiver room but his draft range was lower than the second round. Doubling down on running back when the room is already crowded? Interesting to say the least. The only legitimately good selection that makes any veritable sense is the Bailey Zappe pick in the fourth round. The organization needed to move off of eternal backup Brian Hoyer for a change and Zappe provides that opportunity. The last two selections of lineman make sense in a convoluted way (Chasen Hines and Andrew Steuber) as depth pieces but what sense does it make when your first round pick plays the same position? A head scratching draft to add to the collection for Bill Belichick the coach to rescue Belichick the GM from.


2. Jacksonville Jaguars


Selections: 7


Worst Pick: Chad Muma


Second Worst: Gregory Junior


- Yeah their first round was nice but with dissension within the ranks probably isn’t the best look when it comes to the number one overall selection. Trading up to snag LB1 Devin Lloyd was great and could be that franchise guy at mike. Selecting Chad Muma in the third round after taking Lloyd in the first round is confoundingly Baalke at his best (worst?). I like Muma as a player but doubling down at the same position? Interesting. The rest of the draft was kinda ho-hum and relatively uninteresting. A ground rule double type of draft after the surprise top pick.


3. Chicago Bears


Selections: 11


- The Bears were the antithesis of the Jets this offseason by seemingly refusing to aid in the development of their young quarterback. They are intent to bank on internal development from their pre-existing weapons like Darnell Mooney, David Montgomery, Khalil Herbert alongside acquisitions of ESB, Byron Pringle and rookie Velus Jones, Jr. Chicago did attempt to address their myriad of offensive line issues through the draft with three Day 3 selection at least. Still, a much better draft could’ve been had in addressing their offensive deficiencies.


4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers


Selections: 8


Best Pick: Zyon McCollum


Worst Pick: Rachaad White


- Tampa Bay in totality had a draft not befitting its status of a top level contender. There were some good picks sprinkled in with more than few head scratching ones. Logan Hall makes a ton of sense at the time but Travis Jones was still on the board. They’re betting a good bit of capital that Luke Goedeke comes in and becomes new Ali Marpet. Rachaad White is head scratching due to better running backs being on the board at the time of selection. Same with Cade Otton for his draft slot in the fourth round. I like those two prospects but not the draft range. The rest of Day 3 were gambles so I can’t criticize them too much. Drafting Zyon McCollum was probably their best pick and provides an element of speed that the secondary really needed. He’ll slot in as a nickel and do work behind star veterans before taking their jobs in 2023. A middling class for a franchise that needed a few tweaks to contend now but look towards the post-Brady future and didn’t quite get there.


5. Washington Commanders


Selections: 8


Best Pick: Sam Howell


Worst Pick: Phi Mathis


- The newly christened Commanders had a few moments of returning to their old ways of displaying the inability to balance need over best player available. Snagging Sam Howell in the fourth could be a master stroke given Carson Wentz’s various maladies and inconsistent performances. Howell definitely has a shot at starting in 2023 if not sooner when the team sours on Wentz but not likely given the horrendously grievous capital it gave up to acquire Wentz. Phi Mathis was a curious selection given the depth on the defensive front. Was that a proper job filling a need? No. Another curious case is that of taking Brian Robinson over another need when running back is well stocked in Washington. Cole Turner could become the TE2 behind Logan Thomas immediately. Chris Paul is a shot in the dark and a depth piece up front.


6. Los Angeles Rams


Selections: 8


Best Pick: Quentin Lake


Worst Pick: Derion Kendrick


- The reigning Super Bowl champions took a nonchalant stance towards the draft as their GM Les Snead is wont to do. Both Sean McVay and Snead took another chance to gloat on Thursday night much to the likely chagrin of Bill Belichick. McVay reportedly called the Godfather to apologize for his instantly viral reaction. LA did do some solid work (Quentin Lake) on Day 3 but Derion Kendrick is a walking red flag athletically. Their first selection of Logan Bruss is mystifying, certainly. Overall, lack of athleticism in the class downgrades it by a not so insignificant margin.


7. New Orleans Saints


Selections: 5


Best Pick: Trevor Penning


Worst Pick: Chris Olave


- I love Olave the prospect but giving up all that capital to move up to get him is where the love ends for me. The Alontae Taylor selection is somewhat questionable given that he was graded lower than his draft slot. Penning will slide in as the ready made heir to departed Terron Armstead’s left tackle spot. A lot of depth filling picks here for the Saints for a team in transition losing its top tier coach and quarterback recovering from serious injury. A team that keeps on trucking despite seriously misguided cap management and key personnel losses. Can they keep the good times going or is this the end of the road? Bringing the Honey Badger home adds another layer of intrigue.


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