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).