The 2022 NFL Draft has come to a close, and it was one for the books. Las Vegas saw NFL draft records broken, multiple star wide receivers traded in the first round and quarterbacks suffer historic falls into the third round. There were also punters being drafted as soon as the fourth round!
There were winners and losers. Some front offices are celebrating their draft hauls while other players are now more nervous about their place on the depth chart thanks to their team’s dealings this weekend. There’s plenty to discuss, so let’s break down our winners and losers from the 2022 NFL Draft (check out our tracker of every single pick along with grades and analysis here).
General manager Joe Douglas crushed this draft. The Jets landed cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner at No. 4 overall, and then Ohio State wide receiver Garrett Wilson at No. 10. They were seen by many as the top players at their respective positions, and both will be immediate-impact guys. The Jets weren’t done there, however, as they traded back into the first round to select Florida State pass-rusher Jermaine Johnson. This was a player mock draft experts had in the top 10, and some in the top five. As he continued his mysterious fall down draft boards, the Jets couldn’t help but squeeze in at the end of the round to pick him up. New York scored what may be three top 10 players on Day 1!
The Jets also made a couple of other intriguing picks. They took former Iowa State running back Breece Hall in the second round, who may be the No. 1 back in this class, and then Ohio State tight end Jeremy Ruckert in the third round, who is considered by some to be the top tight end in this draft class.
Loser: The rookie quarterbacks
Most mock drafts had at least two quarterbacks being selected in the first round. When Thursday night came, however, we saw just one quarterback selected in the opening round with Kenny Pickett to the Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 20 overall. The next quarterback didn’t come until the third round at No. 74 overall, as Desmond Ridder went to the Atlanta Falcons. A dozen picks later, Malik Willis went to the Tennessee Titans, and then Matt Corral was picked by the Carolina Panthers.
To put all of this in perspective, there was only one quarterback taken in the first 50 picks. This is just the sixth time in the common draft era that has happened, and the first time since 2000. There were 54 picks made since the first quarterback was selected, which makes it the second most picks between the first two quarterbacks being selected. The record was set in 1975, when 63 picks elapsed from first to second signal-caller. In all, nine quarterbacks were selected, with five coming on Day 3.
Winner: The University of Georgia
The year of the Dawg. Georgia won the College Football Championship this past season thanks to one of the best defenses in college football history, and they were well represented in the NFL draft. UGA had five defensive players drafted in the first round — including No. 1 overall pick Travon Walker — which is the most by a single school in NFL history. Two more defenders were drafted in the third round, which set another record with the most defensive players selected from a single school in the first three rounds of any NFL draft.
In all, 15 players from Georgia were selected in the 2022 NFL Draft. That is also an NFL draft record.
It was thought maybe Mayfield could be moved during the NFL draft depending on which quarterback-needy teams missed out on prospects. The perceived favorite to land Mayfield was the Panthers, as NFL Media reported that they and the Cleveland Browns had a potential swap. Instead of trading for Mayfield, the Panthers traded up into the third round and selected former Ole Miss signal-caller Matt Corral with the No. 94 overall pick.
Mayfield has been waiting for a trade for over a month, as the Browns won the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes earlier this offseason. Mayfield is due $18.85 million in 2022, and the Browns have probably realized by now that they will have to eat some of that money. Then, there’s also the compensation question.
Who is going to want Mayfield? Maybe the Detroit Lions?
The Eagles were a huge winner in the 2022 NFL Draft. On opening night, they traded for Titans star wideout A.J. Brown, and gave him a four-year, $100 million deal that includes $57 million guaranteed, per ESPN. The Eagles were a team expected to be in the mix for a wide receiver in the first round, but after trading for Brown, Howie Roseman turned his attention to the defense, drafting 6-foot-6, 340-pound defensive tackle Jordan Davis out of Georgia. Running the football against him and Fletcher Cox is going to be nearly impossible.
Philly wasn’t done there. In the second round it stole Nebraska offensive lineman Cam Jurgens, who figures to be Jason Kelce’s successor at some point. Then, the Eagles recorded what may be the steal of the draft in Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean. The first-round talent fell to No. 83 overall due to reports of a pectoral strain that some thought may require surgery. However, he’s expected to be a next week!
Every year, there are talented prospects who fall for what are truly stupid reasons. There’s a great chance teams will be kicking themselves for passing on Dean multiple times.
It was a rough weekend for Tannehill. Not only did he lose his No. 1 wide receiver in A.J. Brown, but Tennessee then drafted his potential replacement in Malik Willis. The Liberty signal-caller was selected by the Titans with the No. 86 overall pick, much to the joy of Titans fans. Not only is Willis seen as the quarterback in this class with the most upside, but Tannehill is not exactly a fan favorite in Nashville right now. He threw three interceptions in the Titans’ playoff loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, undercutting a historic performance from the Titans’ defense. Tannehill is now under some pressure, which hopefully is a good thing moving forward for Tennessee.
The Ravens clearly had one of the best drafts, and it’s because they took the best available player more often than not. Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton may be the best player in the draft, Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum is a legitimate first-round talent and David Ojabo is a first-rounder if he doesn’t suffer a torn Achilles. Maybe he will miss his rookie season, but it’s worth it if he’s a star for many years to come.
It wasn’t just the first few picks that the Ravens scored highly on. Fourth-round pick Daniel Faalele is a 6-foot-8 offensive tackle who could have a bright future in the league, cornerback Jalyn Armour-Davis was an “A+” pick and then Baltimore took two tight ends in Charlie Kolar from Iowa State and Isaiah Likely from Coastal Carolina. That sounds like a weird strategy, but Likely is a versatile pass-catcher who probably will line up in several different spots.
I don’t think the Ravens had the No. 1 draft of any team, but it certainly was one of the best.
The Patriots don’t give a damn about your mock drafts or what you think of their class, which is somewhat respectable. They shocked the world in the first round by taking Chattanooga offensive guard Cole Strange with the No. 29 overall pick. In the second round, New England selected Baylor speedster WR Tyquan Thornton — which was probably the Pats’ best pick of the draft, but it’s thought he could have been taken in the third round instead.
Another interesting pick was that of quarterback Bailey Zappe. There’s nothing wrong with drafting a quarterback, and Zappe is a very interesting prospect, but drafting him in the fourth round just seemed rich.
The offseason overall has been disappointing for the Chiefs, as they traded Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins and watched all of their rivals improve in pretty dramatic fashion. However, they had one of the best drafts.
Kansas City filled two obvious needs in the first round with cornerback Trent McDuffie out of Washington and Purdue pass-rusher George Karlaftis, and then landed Patrick Mahomes‘ newest receiver in Skyy Moore out of Western Michigan in Round 2. While he’s not a hair over 5-foot-10, Moore’s incredibly quick and a legitimate playmaker from the slot. Some viewed him as a legitimate first-round talent.
All five of the Chiefs’ Day 3 picks received a grade of B or higher from CBS Sports NFL Draft expert Chris Trapasso. Kansas City landed two more big cornerbacks in Joshua Williams from Fayetteville State and Jaylen Watson from Washington State, as well as Kentucky offensive lineman Darian Kinnard, who has plenty of upside. To finish out the draft, the Chiefs drafted running back Isaih Pacheco from Rutgers, and another safety in Nazeeh Johnson from Marshall.
The Chiefs’ class will be headlined by the first three picks, but they did a great job hammering the defense — especially the secondary. This was a great haul.
A total of four punters were taken in the 2022 NFL Draft! Per CBS Sports’ John Breech, this year marks just the second time since 2000 that four punters were selected in the same draft.
Ravens (Round 4, pick 130): Jordan Stout, Penn State
Buccaneers (Round 4, pick 133): Jake Camarda, Georgia
Bills (Round 6, pick 180): Matt Araiza, San Diego State
Bears (Round 7, pick 255): Trenton Gill, N.C. State
Shockingly, Araiza — known as the ‘Punt God’ —.
This was probably the best moment of the NFL Draft. When we get past the first round, various team legends, current players and fans get the opportunity to announce some of the picks. For the Vikings, former running back Ed Marinaro was selected to announce the No. 42 overall pick. What happened next was amazing.
Marinaro began rambling at the podium, and a producer actually had to walk out and push him along. Incredible.
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