The 2022 NFL Draft provided some eye-catching moments, to say the least. One of the biggest stories was that only one quarterback went in the first round. However, some other picks also confused and delighted fanbases across the nation. Today we’ll look at the 20 best and 20 worst draft picks.
Of course, we’re not filling this list with first-rounders alone because that is far from telling the whole story. Some feature but there are plenty of other players too. Some franchises found potential late-round bargains or an immediate starter. Others picked players too early or didn’t address their biggest need. Check it out via CBS Sports.
40. Worst – Tyquan Thornton
Let’s start this with the caveat that Thornton is not a bad player, but that the Patriots just picked him too early. They chose him in the second round when most people considered him a third-rounder at best. The difference is staggering when it’s that early in the draft. They passed on other players in key positions because they wanted him.
Thornton possesses incredible speed and is the fastest receiver Bill Belichick ever drafted. But his hand size is small and he’s extremely light. The former Baylor star has potential but there are a lot of risks too. Maybe Belichick pulled off a coup but this is one of his most controversial picks (via NBC Sports).
Johnson fills a hole for the Chargers at offensive guard and is also one of the best picks of the 2022 draft. Yes, he’s a first-round selection, so this isn’t that surprising. But he will be a starter this season and immediately improves the Chargers’ backline (via L.A.Times). He only allowed three sacks in three seasons at Boston College.
That’s a superb record and also proves his consistency. The NFL is a massive step-up but most scouts think that he’ll do it in style. Boston College has an excellent track record of producing offensive linemen. This 312-pound giant hopes to be their next star alumnus. His athleticism is a sight to behold considering his size.
Walker is a top prospect and it’s no surprise that he went in the first round. The former Georgia linebacker was one of a record 15 Bulldogs who became NFL Draft picks. To put that into perspective, not a single Texas Longhorn player was taken. Nonetheless, it’s surprising that the Packers opted for the linebacker (via 247 Sports).
On one hand, it’s a safe choice, but it didn’t fill their biggest need. After the departure of Devante Adams, most people expected them to draft a replacement at wide receiver. Instead, they went for a more conservative choice in Walker. He may prove to be an outstanding building block. But this one confused the fanbase and underwhelmed them. Not the most popular choice.
Denver Broncos General Manager George Payton claimed that Bonitto was the best player on the board when they selected him. The former Sooners star is an explosive athlete who gives Denver incredible pass-rushing depth. While it wasn’t an urgent need, he is an upgrade on some of the players they already have on their roster.
Bradley Chubb has had his fair share of injuries so Bonitto may be an important figure (via USA Today). It’s a slight surprise that another team didn’t select the edge. Yes, Denver may have selected another player to fill a position. But Bonitto fell into their laps.
Robinson became the 43rd overall pick when the Giants selected him in the second round. But spare a thought for the wide receiver because this was one of the most controversial picks of the round. Fans vented their displeasure on social media after the franchise opted for the former Kentucky star (via Fansided).
On paper, Robinson doesn’t stand out at all compared to other wideouts in the draft. Nor does he offer anything different than anybody on the Giants’ current roster. Many people think that they should have gone for the tight end, Trey McBride. Perhaps they pulled off a steal but it’s difficult to trust the Giants’ front office these days.
The Raiders selected White in the fourth round with the 122nd pick. They traded up to secure the services of the running back because they rate him so highly. It may prove to be a wise decision because he led the Bulldogs in rushing yards in back-to-back seasons (via WMBF News).
Many people believe that he is a potential draft steal because of the dynamism he will provide to the Las Vegas attack. They wanted to provide Derek Carr with more weapons and White fits the bill. It will be exciting to see if he can bring his SEC form to the NFL.
Overall, the Colts made some decent picks but they raised eyebrows when they selected Ogletree. The 24-year-old is a relative veteran compared to some of the other athletes in the draft. They used a sixth-round pick on the former Youngstown State tight end (via Prime Time Sports Talk).
The former Penguins tight end isn’t a bad player but he’s not an exciting addition. It’s unlikely that he’ll see much time on the field considering the Colts’ depth in this position. Perhaps they’ll use him as part of a trade but it’s hard to see much use for him in Indianapolis.
Booth is potentially one of the biggest steals in the 2022 draft. The former Clemson cornerback has had his fair share of injury problems. But if he’s over them, the Vikings have a brilliant player on their hands. He was a bonafide first-rounder before his injury woes.
He is an explosive and instinctive athlete with a lot of upsides. Booth is one of the best picks of the year and should earn a starting place. He recorded 37 tackles in 11 games last season and is also very hardworking. Vikings fans will love their new star (via Greenville Online).
On paper, Taylor’s second-round selection was one of the worst picks in the 2022 NFL Draft. This one didn’t excite the fans because it felt like a reach. It appeared as though there were better potential picks on the board. For example, quarterback Malik Willis was still available.
In the end, the Saints passed on Willis and went for the versatile Taylor. He is capable of playing as a safety as well as a cornerback. New Orleans will probably put him on their special teams immediately but it’s still a strange one. Only time will tell if it was the right decision but it doesn’t feel like it (via SB Nation).
Whisper it, but the Jets had an outstanding draft on paper. Analysts believe that Hall is a perfect fit for their scheme and will be a great outlet for Zach Wilson. Not much went right for the quarterback in his rookie season. But he remains confident and believes that he’ll progress with improved protection and weapons.
Hall will play a key role in improving his quarterback’s fortunes. The former Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year arrives as a second-round pick after the Jets traded up for him. He was brilliant in Iowa State colors and should be a huge fan favorite at MetLife Stadium (via Des Moines Register).
Ezeudu is an inspirational figure to many because of his stutter. He refuses to allow his impairment to define him and played football with confidence. However, there is a sense that the Giants reached for him too early in the 2022 Draft. He’s not a bad player but he’s probably not a third-rounder either (via SB Nation).
But according to the record books, he is because they snapped up the UNC offensive lineman. Eweudu came to football late and didn’t receive proper coaching until college. Remarkably, he’s reached such a high level but he’s still relatively unpolished and that could be a problem in the NFL.
Ebner probably won’t be a starter for the Bears but he provides superb depth. The sixth-rounder is a sublime kick returner and gives Chicago a little bit extra. It also shows that the front office had a clear strategy with their picks (via On Tap Sports Net).
They didn’t just blow a late-round pick on a random leftover player. Instead, they cannily used it on somebody who will enhance what they already have. Ebner will be a tremendous impact player because of his work ethic and electric energy on the field and in the locker room.
Jones was one of the fastest players at the NFL combine and also proved that on the field for Tennessee. Many Chicago fans are happy because they drafted him but on paper, they reached for the running back. The Bears selected the 25-year-old in the third round with the No. 71 pick.
Let’s be real here. Jones is a raw player and he remains unproven. He’ll be a decent returns specialist but it feels like they used one of their picks too early. He may live up to his status and become a superstar. But he has a lot of critics to overcome (via USA Today).
Miami didn’t have any early picks after they traded for Tyreek Hill. However, they used their later-round selections wisely. One of the players they obtained was former Cal star Goode. He fell under the radar so they used a seventh-round pick to bring him to Florida.
Many people turn off the broadcast after the third round. But there is still value late in the draft as Goode proves with his versatility. Dolphins fans expect to see him receive substantial game time because of his ability to play inside or outside. He could be a steal in the best sense possible (via Miami Herald).
The Bills opted to beef up their defensive line with the addition of former Baylor star Bernard in the third round. However, he doesn’t appear to be ready for the NFL because he’s light weight and lacks physicality. This will be a problem for him in his rookie season, especially at the Bills’ current level (via Bleacher Report).
There’s a feeling that they reached for the former converted safety because he may not see a lot of game-time. They drafted potential but they need quality right now because they hope to make a Super Bowl run. However, he will learn from recently-signed star Von Miller, so there’s hope.
Kansas City wanted McDuffie but they didn’t believe that they’d be around early enough to get him. However, they swiftly realized that the former Huskies star was within reach. That’s why they traded three picks to the Patriots and moved up the first round to select him. It may be an inspired decision because he has a lot of qualities.
After the departure of Charvarius Ward, the Chiefs knew that they needed to address the position. In McDuffie, they have a Day One starter who should hold the position for years. This was a decisive move and one that should frighten the NFL. Kansas City is going nowhere (via ESPN).
York is a very good kicker. But that doesn’t mean that the Browns should have picked him in the fourth round. It was a reach for a special role player like the former LSU man. There’s no denying his consistency for LSU but Cleveland may not reap the benefits of this pick.
They respect Evan McPherson after he helped redefine the Bengals’ offense in 2021. However, there’s no guarantee that York will do the same for the Browns. Cleveland has a terrible record when they use picks on kickers but York will hope to change this (via Beacon-Journal).
The contrast between 2021’s stacked quarterback class and 2022 couldn’t be starker. Last year, quarterbacks made up the top-three overall picks. However, Pickett was the QB selection in the entire 2022 first round. Pittsburgh fans are very pleased because of his ties to the city.
They once missed out on local college hero Dan Marino so it pleased the fanbase to see this pick. Pickett has a good arm and is an excellent play-caller. Some people believe that the Steelers should have waited to draft a quarterback until next season but they need a passer now (via TRIB Live).
Muma is a great player but this was still a bad pick. He was arguably the third-best linebacker in the 2002 Draft and had a superb college record. However, there was no need for the Jaguars to use a third-round pick on the former Wyoming Cowboys star.
Jacksonville claimed that he represented excellent value but they didn’t need him. They already had free agent Foyesade Olekun on their book. Then they traded up to snatch Devin Lloyd in the first round. Using one of their valuable picks on Muma was somewhat overkill (via The Analyst).
The Bills made a great selection when they traded up for Elam in the first round. They know that their current level means that they’ll work at the back end of round one but they made the best of it. The cornerback will be an immediate contributor to their fortunes.
Elam had a great career with the Gators and is a tremendous athlete. He has the skills to make it at the professional level so it will be exciting to see him blossom. The Florida star had six interceptions in 35 games with 79 tackles. Let’s hope he can maintain high production levels (via Buffalo Bills).
Only a single quarterback left the board before the Falcons selected Ridder with the 74th pick. It was unsurprising that they chose a QB after Matt Ryan’s departure. But it was a shock that they opted for Ridder when other options were available like Malik Willis.
Several analysts believed that Willis was the best quarterback in the 2022 draft. In the end, he went to the Titans and the Falcons took a risk on Ridder. Allegedly, they like the former Cincinnati star’s leadership qualities but questions remain about his prospects as a long-term starter (via Fan Nation).
The Jets had an excellent draft as they secured some important players to help Zach Wilson. They didn’t get a trade for Deebo Samuel over the line but Garrett Wilson is a fine addition. So is Hall, who most analysts considered to be the best running back in the 2022 draft.
Robert Saleh called his group of players explosive and it’s not difficult to see why. Hall is a dynamic and exciting talent with a lot of touchdown potential. He led the FBS in carries of over 30 yards in 2021 and is also a talented receiver. In sum, this looks like one of the best picks they could have made (via CBS Sports).
On the face of it, Faalele is one of the most fun selections from the 2022 draft. But he may prove to be one of the worst if his vaunted size works against him. The 384-pound giant will play for the Ravens in the NFL. However, serious questions remain about his mobility.
The Australian is a likable man and will be a fan favorite if he can put it together. Nonetheless, he came to football late and remains a raw project. Scouts saw his size and this excited them but it may be too good to be true. The offensive tackle maintains that he can be explosive despite his size (via The Guardian).
Walker was the No. 1 overall pick in 2022 and only time will tell if the Jaguars made the right decision. Some analysts maintain that Michigan pass rusher Aidan Hutchinson was a better option. But Jacksonville opted for the former Georgia pass-rusher because of his talent and high production levels.
He only has a single year of college experience but is incredibly versatile. That’s why everybody considered him a top-three pick and he backed this up. He was phenomenal against other SEC teams and became the first Bulldog since Matthew Stafford to go first overall (via Sports Illustrated).
Most analysts expected the Bears to follow in the Jets’ footsteps and help their quarterback. Instead, they went in the opposite direction and focused on defense. They finally selected an offensive tackle in the fifth round when they opted for Jones (via Chicago Tribune).
Jones describes himself as very coachable but he’s also raw. He was decent for the Thunderbirds but it doesn’t appear as though he’s an NFL starter now. But the Bears require a ready-made talent and not somebody for the future. Their conservative picks may work against them.
Jones is unquestionably one of the best steals in the draft. Somehow he fell to the third round when several analysts projected him as a potential first-rounder. The Ravens became the beneficiaries of other teams’ reluctance to pick the former UConn star (via CT Insider).
The offensive linesman took his nutrition seriously in his senior year and it made a massive difference. Baltimore requires a young defensive line and Jones will be a key contributor. This was one of the best picks because of his value and the franchise’s necessity.
The Cowboys took a massive gamble on Clark because he may not even play in 2022. The Louisiana native starred for LSU but suffers from a herniated disc. As a result, he underwent surgery and must complete rehabilitation before he can step onto the field (via Yahoo Sports).
There’s no denying that he’s a talented linebacker but there’s no guarantee he’ll be the same player. Meanwhile, it’s a long time for him to sit on the sidelines and delay his progress at the professional level. Maybe, in the long term, it will prove a canny decision but there are a lot of cons.
There are two reasons why Brooks slid down the draft. First, he’s a relative veteran at the age of 24 and spent six years as a college player. Then, there’s his weight at 284 pounds. But the defensive tackle has a chip on his shoulder and may become one of the steals of the season.
Despite being relatively light, he had a very productive year for Cincinnati. His 7.5 sacks were the most in the conference. Meanwhile, the Bear Cats had one of the top-performing defenses in the nation. Brooks was a big part of that and a great sixth-round pick by the Colts (via Yardbreaker).
The Raiders had a strange draft after making some massive trades. They already had a congested backfield before they selected Brown in the seventh round. The UCLA product is a decent player but Las Vegas didn’t need another positional player like him (via Fansided).
A lot of flaws taint Brown’s games and there are questions about the point of choosing him. They required a defensive back but chose not to bother. It’s a weird decision but Brown knows people are doubting him. He’ll want to prove a point when the season begins.
The Detroit Lions had a couple of first-round picks and used one of them on Williams. They traded up for the talented wide receiver because they’re extremely high on his ability. There is an element of risk involved because he’s coming off an ACL injury.
Nonetheless, the former Alabama star should lift fans off of their seats. He was an All-American with the Crimson Tide after he transferred from the Buckeyes. The Lions may become one of the most-improved teams in the NFL because they drafted great this year (via Detroit Free Press).
From an analytics perspective, the Broncos had one of the worst drafts this year. Dulcich is emblematic of their weak overall class because he’s not great. He’s a functional tight end and a reliable catcher but he doesn’t have elite speed. That makes his selection a bit of a head-scratcher.
Another issue is that he doesn’t necessarily fit Russell Wilson’s game. The quarterback rarely throws to the middle of the field where Dulcich does his best work. It appears as though the former UCLA star is out of sync with Denver’s potential gameplan (via SBNation).
Former Georgia star Jordan Davis polarized the Eagles’ fanbase when they drafted him. However, another Bulldog has the City of Brotherly Love on its feet. Dean could be the biggest steal in the entire draft and the Jets may rue overlooking him.
He dropped to the third round after an average NFL Combine showing. But that isn’t the full story of this player because he was outstanding for Georgia (via Audacy). Dean didn’t allow a single touchdown in 2021. Meanwhile, he had the lowest first-down rate amongst linebackers too.
Davis is another player coming off an ACL tear. However, there are fewer grounds for positivity with the defensive tackle than with the likes of Jameson Williams. Let’s start with the upside because he wouldn’t have earned a selection if he wasn’t decent.
The former UCF defensive tackle is a freak athlete with great instincts. But the problem is his lack of experience because he hasn’t played much for the past two seasons. He opted out during the global health crisis before his injury cost him the majority of 2021 (via Fansided).
Detroit had another top selection in edge defender Paschal. They picked the former Kentucky star in the second round because of his strength and leadership qualities. Dan Campbell wants players who’ll bite people’s kneecaps and it looks like he’s building a team in that image.
The Lions already appear to be a different prospect than last season. Paschal is another example of excellent scouting and choosing the right player at the right time. He’s not the greatest athlete but his consistency and versatility for the Wildcats should make him an asset (via Detroit Free Press).
A single glance at the image above shows why Flott is one of the worst picks of the year. It looks like a gust of wind would blow him away. His slender frame means that he’s extremely quick but he’s also not the most strong or durable athlete (via LSU Reveille).
The Giants surprised many people when they picked Flott in the third round when many had him going in the fifth. He was decent for LSU but his anticipation levels aren’t the best. It remains to be seen if somebody with his frame can make it in the NFL.
Ojabo is a flashy edge rusher who was brilliant for the Michigan Wolverines. Now he plays for the Ravens after they drafted him in the second round. This worked out well for several reasons. First, Ojabo knows Mike McDonald well because he worked with the defensive coordinator before.
He also played for Jim Harbaugh, the brother of Baltimore coach, John. On paper, he’s a great fit for the Ravens’ scheme and should fit in easily. Furthermore, he fell into their laps because most people expected him to be a mid-first round pick (via Baltimore Sun).
It may seem harsh to put a seventh-round selection this high on a list of worst picks, but Hicks is a special case. Yes, it’s not his fault, and congratulations because he’ll make lots of money. But that doesn’t stop him from being a complete waste of a pick. The Broncos don’t need him but still went for him (via SBNation).
This wasn’t even a case of going for the best player still available because that was probably Thayer Munford. Denver had a questionable draft after the exciting hype of their offseason. If they presented Russell Wilson with new cleats it would have given the roster more than Hicks will.
Neal was the best offensive tackle in the draft and now he’s a Giant. His staggering size indeed meant that this was already true but he’s playing for the appropriate franchise. Neal instantly upgrades their quarterback protection, even if it won’t be Daniel Jones for much longer.
He’s likely going to play in several Pro Bowls over the next few years because he’s so good. Few players are as NFL-ready as Neal. The No. 7 overall pick was one of the Crimson Tide’s most versatile and important athletes. Now he’s ready for the big step up (via The Union Journal).
Let’s caveat this with the fact that Bill Belichick has forgotten more about football than anybody reading this has ever learned. That being said, Strange is one of the most bizarre first-round picks of the past 10 years. Nobody expected the former six-year Chattanooga guard to go so early (via CBS Sports).
At best, they expected him to fall to the third round. That’s where Sean McVey assumed that he would be able to pick him. Strange may prove to be one of the most underrated talents in the draft. Belichick already pulled this off with a certain quarterback. But it’s still a reach because he could have taken him in the second or later.
Hutchinson has better odds to be the rookie defensive player of the year than the No. 1 pick. Detroit made him the second-overall pick after the Jags opted for Travon Walker. This pleased the Lions because they had their hearts set on the former Michigan star from the beginning.
This isn’t a case of them just saying that either. Many analysts believe that Hutchinson, not Walker, is the better athlete. Hutchinson hails from the city and went to school there so he’s already a massive fan favorite. This was a match made in heaven (via NBC Sports).