2022 NFL Draft Winners & Losers (5-8-22)
By: Cody Stewart
Headline Photo Credit: McManus Design IG Page
32 NFL Teams are going to win the Super Bowl this upcoming season. Well, at least that’s what the majority of the franchises believe after last Thursday’s NFL Draft. The seven-round event brings so much excitement and optimism year-end and year-out. There is one caveat to it all though, that’s a lot easier said than done, “Draft good players”. Let’s take a look at the winners and losers of the 2022 NFL Draft.
New York Jets
With four picks within the first 38 selections, the Jets positioned themselves to get top players. After selecting Ahmad Gardner (CB) and Garrett Wilson (WR) with picks four and ten, Gang Green traded back into the first round at pick 27 to select Jermaine Johnson II (EDGE), who many believe was a Top-10 prospect. Left with one second-round pick after trading up, the Jets took the best running back in this class, Breece Hall. Getting second-year QB Zach Wilson a couple of playmakers is good. Doing all of that while getting two stud defensive players to help a team who ranked dead last defensively in 2021 is even more impressive.
New York Giants
Like their Stadium Tenants, the New York Football Giants held two selections in the Top-10 of this year’s draft. For a team with many holes, the Giants had to draft top-tier talent, but also for need. Luckily for them, that combination worked.
At pick five, New York selected the top EDGE in this class, Kayvon Thibodeaux. Coming right back up with pick seven, the Giants drafted the top and most versatile Offensive Lineman, Evan Neal. Both players and positions were a big need for Big Blue heading into the off-season.
The Giants were able to get playmakers on offense like Wan’Dale Robinson, more bodies on the Offensive Line, and a steal in the sixth round of LineBacker Darrien Beavers.
When you look at the Eagles’ draft this season, there are a few things to keep in mind. For starters, when the 2021 season ended, the Eagles we’re set to select three times in the first round (16th, 18th, and 19th overall). A few weeks before the draft, Philadelphia and New Orleans agreed on a trade that gave the Saints one of the Eagles’ first-round picks, but Philly would get a ‘23 First and ‘24 Second Round pick from New Orleans. Secondly, on draft night, the Eagles traded the 18th overall pick to the Tennessee Titans for Pro Bowl Wideout AJ Brown.
Many would say the team from the City of Brotherly Love won the draft by simply acquiring one of the best Wide Receivers in the league, but it doesn’t stop there. The Eagles selected Defensive Tackle Jordan Davis in the first round, then took Nakobe Dean, Linebacker from Georgia, in the third round. Dean may be the steal of the draft as he fell due to medicals, but it won’t take long for him to be a staple of that defense.
You rarely see two teams in the same division make a trade with one another. Especially when that division is the NFC North. This rare feat happened not once, but twice in this year’s NFL Draft with Minnesota.
Sitting with the twelfth pick, And Safety Kyle Hamilton still on the board, Minnesota’s phone rang with Detroit calling to move up from 32. All it took was a swap of second-round picks and a Lions third to move up 20 spots. Detroit went on to select possibly the best Wide Receiver in the draft, Jameson Williams, while Minnesota took Safety Lewis Cine.
Early in the second round, the Vikings traded back yet again with Green Bay. The Packers went on to get Aaron Rodgers a big weapon in Wide Receiver Christian Watson. Both trade backs netted little return for the Vikings, but it made two divisional foes better.
New England Patriots
If we are being honest here, drafting hasn’t been a strong suit over the last few years for the Patriots. Sony Michele (no longer on the team) and N’Keal Harry are just a couple of examples of players the Patriots whiffed on in the first round.
In the first round this year, New England selected Cole Strange, an offensive lineman out of Chattanooga. Many believed Strange was a player that could’ve been had late in round two or early round three. In Round four, the Patriots selected Bailey Zappe, Quarterback out of Western Kentucky. After selecting Mac Jones in the first round last year, who had a good rookie season, spending an early Day three pick on the same position is being reckless with draft capital.
The most obvious thing heading into this year’s draft was the Washington Commanders wanting to get their newly acquired QB, Carson Wentz, another weapon. While Washington did select Jahan Dotson in the first round, they had a chance to get a guy like Jameson Williams or Chris Olave but traded down with the New Orleans Saints. Terry McLaurin and Jameson Williams could’ve been one of the best young duos in the league.
In the second round, Washington selected Phidarian Mathis, DT out of Alabama. The position drafted made a ton of sense with news coming out earlier in the week that the team would be moving on from Daron Payne after this season. What didn’t make sense was the fact that the second-best DT was still on the board, Travis Jones.