This was my 39th year doing the NFL draft for ESPN, and I can’t remember a trading frenzy quite like the one we saw in the middle of Round 1 on Thursday. There were picks and players flying off the board faster than I could wrap my head around which team was on the clock. Now that we’ve been through all 262 picks, though, it’s time for one of my favorite exercises every year. This is the piece everyone complains about up until the next draft.
I love doing NFL draft grades, and it helps me put all 32 teams’ classes into perspective. That was tough in 2022, especially with nine teams having multiple first-round picks and 10 teams not having any first-round pick, both of which were the most in the common draft era (since 1967). The defense dominated the top of the draft, and of the 16 offensive players taken in Round 1, a whopping 15 were either offensive linemen (nine) or wide receivers (six).
Let’s get into my team-by-team grades. Same rules apply, as always: I grade all 32 classes using my Big Board and position rankings as the prism to gauge how effectively each team addressed key personnel holes as well as how efficient each was in maneuvering the board and adding extra picks or future assets. I wrapped up Round 1 on Thursday night and Day 2 on Friday night, but in the grades file is where I dump out my notebook.
We’ll start with the best grades and go to the worst, with teams that have identical grades listed in alphabetical order. Here we go: