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Grading Every Team’s Performance in the 2022 NFL Draft

All 262 picks are in the books. Who came out on top?

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Arizona Cardinals

Round 2, Pick 55: Trey McBride, TE, Colorado State
Round 3, Pick 87: Cameron Thomas, DE, San Diego State
Round 3, Pick 100: Myjai Sanders, DE, Cincinnati
Round 6, Pick 201: Keontay Ingram, RB, Southern California
Round 6, Pick 215: Lecitus Smith, G, Virginia Tech
Round 7, Pick 244: Christian Matthew, CB, Valdosta State
Round 7, Pick 256: Jesse Luketa, OLB, Penn State
Round 7, Pick 257: Marquis Hayes, G, Oklahoma

The Cardinals’ first pick came on day two, in the form of Colorado State tight end Trey McBride, who should complement Zach Ertz well early in his career while bringing potential to develop into a big-impact, high-volume pass-catcher down the line. San Diego State defensive end Cameron Thomas is a tough and versatile lineman who should factor into the team’s pass-rush group from day one, and Cincinnati edge rusher Myjai Sanders is an undersized but explosive developmental player with quick-twitch athleticism. If we include the Cardinals’ Thursday night trade for Ravens’ receiver Marquise Brown in their haul (Arizona gave up no. 23 overall in exchange for Brown and the no. 100 pick), it’s clear that Arizona got better on offense going into 2022. But the blockbuster trade for Brown feels like a short-sighted attempt to add speed to the offense and to, I don’t know, placate Kyler Murray? For a team with plenty of roster holes, I didn’t love that value for the Cardinals, who will need to shell out a big-money extension to Brown shortly down the road.

Grade: B-


Atlanta Falcons

Round 1, Pick 8: Drake London, WR, USC
Round 2, Pick 38: Arnold Ebiketie, DE, Penn State
Round 2, Pick 58: Troy Andersen, LB, Montana State
Round 3, Pick 74: Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
Round 3, Pick 82: DeAngelo Malone, EDGE, Western Kentucky
Round 5, Pick 151: Tyler Allgeier, RB, BYU
Round 6, Pick 190: Justin Shaffer, G, Georgia
Round 6, Pick 213: John FitzPatrick, TE, Georgia

The Falcons made one of the most intriguing picks of the draft in USC wide receiver Drake London, who combines size with catch-point prowess and run-after-the-catch ability. Together with Kyle Pitts, London could become part of one of the more fearsome pass-catching duos in the league. I loved Atlanta’s second-round pick of Penn State edge rusher Arnold Ebiketie, who I viewed as a first-round talent. Montana State linebacker Troy Andersen and Western Kentucky pass rusher DeAngelo Malone both may need some time to develop in the NFL, but that duo provides a boost to the Falcons’ overall team speed on defense. The real wildcard in Atlanta’s draft is Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder, who fell further than most analysts had predicted. That’s potentially massive value for the Falcons, who won’t be forced to rush Ridder into action right away and can develop him behind Marcus Mariota. If Ridder emerges as a starter for this team, we’ll look back on this class as a franchise-changing group.

Grade: A


Baltimore Ravens

Round 1, Pick 14: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
Round 1, Pick 25: Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
Round 2, Pick 45: David Ojabo, DE, Michigan
Round 3, Pick 76: Travis Jones, DT, Connecticut
Round 4, Pick 110: Daniel Faalele, OT, Minnesota
Round 4, Pick 119: Jalyn Armour-Davis, CB, Alabama
Round 4, Pick 128: Charlie Kolar, TE, Iowa State
Round 4, Pick 130: Jordan Stout, K/P, Penn State
Round 4, Pick 139: Isaiah Likely, TE, Coastal Carolina
Round 4, Pick 141: Damarion Williams, CB, Houston
Round 6, Pick 196: Tyler Badie, RB, Missouri

The Ravens are the living embodiment of the “He can’t keep getting away with it!” meme. Baltimore put on a clinic for shrewd drafting over the weekend, exercising patience as good players repeatedly fell directly into their laps. The team started the weekend off with a pair of day-one picks after trading receiver Marquise Brown to the Cardinals for no. 23 overall, using those selections to address two of the team’s biggest needs by taking my top-ranked safety in Notre Dame’s Kyle Hamilton and my top-ranked center in Iowa’s Tyler Linderbaum. The Ravens took a top-15 talent in Michigan pass rusher David Ojabo with their first pick on day two, smartly rolling the dice that the former Wolverine will regain his prior form after suffering an Achilles tear at his pro day. Then they added an arbitrage version of Jordan Davis by taking UConn’s Travis Jones in the early third round. Jones is a massive run-plugging nose tackle with elite athleticism and should contribute from day one. I liked a handful of their day-three picks, too: Minnesota offensive tackle Daniel Faalele is a massive road-grader with surprisingly nimble feet, while tight ends Charlie Kolar and Isaiah Likely are both versatile pass-catching weapons for Lamar Jackson.

Grade: A+


Buffalo Bills

Round 1, Pick 23: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
Round 2, Pick 63: James Cook, RB, Georgia
Round 3, Pick 89: Terrel Bernard, LB, Baylor
Round 5, Pick 148: Khalil Shakir, WR, Boise State
Round 6, Pick 180: Matt Araiza, P, San Diego State
Round 6, Pick 185: Christian Benford, CB, Villanova
Round 6, Pick 209: Luke Tenuta, OT, Virginia Tech
Round 7, Pick 231: Baylon Spector, LB, Clemson

The Bills quietly put together a solid, no-frills draft. They addressed a critical need in the first round by grabbing Florida cornerback Kaiir Elam, who brings good size, elite speed, and ball-hawking talent to Buffalo. He should be a plug-and-play starter. I like the fit of Georgia running back James Cook, who will play a hybrid role for the Bills as an explosive runner and versatile receiver (basically he’ll be a more dynamic version of what I assume they were trying to sign J.D. McKissic to do). Boise State receiver Khalil Shakir is a great value and one of my favorite day-three sleepers, giving new offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey a dynamic run-after-the-catch playmaker who can line up all across the formation. Add in the Punt God Matt Araiza in the sixth round and Buffalo comes out of this draft with a handful of early contributors.

Grade: B+


Carolina Panthers

Round 1, Pick 6: Ickey Ekwonu, OT, NC State
Round 3, Pick 94: Matt Corral, QB, Mississippi
Round 4, Pick 120: Brandon Smith, LB, Penn State
Round 6, Pick 189: Amaré Barno, DE, Virginia Tech
Round 6, Pick 199: Cade Mays, OT, Tennessee
Round 7, Pick 242: Kalon Barnes, CB, Baylor

The Panthers made a great pick at no. 6 overall, grabbing NC State offensive lineman Ickey Ekwonu, a mauler on the blindside who moves people in the run game and plays with light feet in pass protection. But overall, Carolina’s draft was underwhelming, mostly due to the team’s lack of draft capital. General manager Scott Fitterer didn’t have second- or third-round picks after using those assets in trades for Sam Darnold and CJ Henderson last year, but he was able to grab a few boom-or-bust players on days two and three that could bring tons of upside down the road. The Panthers traded up into the third to take an inexpensive roll of the dice on Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral, an undersized but dynamic passer who can compete with Sam Darnold early on. Penn State linebacker Brandon Smith, Virginia Tech pass rusher Amaré Barno, and Baylor corner Kalon Barnes are all high-end athletes with moldable traits.

Grade: C


Chicago Bears

Round 2, Pick 39: Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington
Round 2, Pick 48: Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State
Round 3, Pick 71: Velus Jones Jr., WR, Tennessee
Round 5, Pick 168: Braxton Jones, OT, Southern Utah
Round 5, Pick 174: Dominique Robinson, DE, Miami, Ohio
Round 6, Pick 186: Zachary Thomas, OL, San Diego State
Round 6, Pick 203: Trestan Ebner, RB, Baylor
Round 6, Pick 207: Doug Kramer, C, Illinois
Round 7, Pick 226: Ja’Tyre Carter, OT, Southern
Round 7, Pick 254: Elijah Hicks, S, California
Round 7, Pick 255: Trenton Gill, P, North Carolina State

The Bears grabbed a pair of good defensive players in the second round in Washington cornerback Kyler Gordon and Penn State safety Jaquan Brisker, but the complete and total lack of urgency this team has shown in surrounding second-year quarterback Justin Fields with more talent is bewildering. While teams like the Jets, Giants, and Dolphins have been aggressive this offseason to add playmakers for their respective young quarterbacks in Zach Wilson, Daniel Jones, and Tua Tagovailoa, the Bears seem almost indifferent to getting Fields more help. New GM Ryan Poles signed a handful of scrap-heap receivers in free agency and then waited until the third round to draft 24-year old Velus Jones Jr., a speedster who never produced big numbers in college. The team added a few intriguing later-round developmental types after trading back repeatedly on day three, but I just can’t get on board with the Bears’ process in this draft.

Grade: C-


Cincinnati Bengals

Round 1, Pick 31: Daxton Hill, S, Michigan
Round 2, Pick 60: Cam Taylor-Britt, CB, Nebraska
Round 3, Pick 95: Zach Carter, DL, Florida
Round 4, Pick 136: Cordell Volson, OL, North Dakota State
Round 5, Pick 166: Tycen Anderson, S, Toledo
Round 7, Pick 252: Jeffrey Gunter, LB, Coastal Carolina

Versatility was the motif for the Bengals’ draft, with the team using its top two picks on line-them-up-anywhere defensive backs in Michigan’s Daxton Hill and Nebraska’s Cam Taylor-Britt. They weren’t done there, though: Third-round Florida defensive lineman Zach Carter is also capable of lining up all across the line, and fifth-round safety Tycen Anderson out of Toledo brings experience at both safety and nickel cornerback. Cincy’s weekend as a whole wasn’t super flashy, but the players they added give defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo a boost in schematic flexibility in 2022 and beyond.

Grade: B


Cleveland Browns

Round 3, Pick 68: Martin Emerson, CB, Mississippi State
Round 3, Pick 78: Alex Wright, DE, UAB
Round 3, Pick 99: David Bell, WR, Purdue
Round 4, Pick 108: Perrion Winfrey, DT, Oklahoma
Round 4, Pick 124: Cade York, K, LSU
Round 5, Pick 156: Jerome Ford, RB, Cincinnati
Round 6, Pick 202: Mike Woods II, WR, Oklahoma
Round 7, Pick 223: Isaiah Thomas, DE, Oklahoma
Round 7, Pick 246: Dawson Deaton, OL, Texas Tech

The Browns didn’t have a first-round pick after sending that to Houston in the Deshaun Watson trade, but they made do with the remaining picks they had by adding some talent to a few key position groups. Mississippi State cornerback Martin Emerson is a long, silky smooth playmaker in the secondary. UAB edge rusher Alex Wright is a big, long-levered defensive lineman with intriguing athletic traits. Purdue receiver David Bell is a reliable possession receiver who lacks speed but makes up for it with savvy route-running skills. And Oklahoma defensive tackle Perrion Winfrey is a tall, powerful lineman who could work his way into the rotation on the interior. All in all, Cleveland’s haul lacked a marquee pick, but there’s plenty of potential across the board.

Grade: C+


Dallas Cowboys

Round 1, Pick 24: Tyler Smith, OT, Tulsa
Round 2, Pick 56: Sam Williams, DE, Mississippi
Round 3, Pick 88: Jalen Tolbert, WR, South Alabama
Round 4, Pick 129: Jake Ferguson, TE, Wisconsin
Round 5, Pick 155: Matt Waletzko, OT, North Dakota
Round 5, Pick 167: DaRon Bland, CB, Fresno State
Round 5, Pick 176: Damone Clark, LB, LSU
Round 5, Pick 178: John Ridgeway, DT, Arkansas
Round 6, Pick 193: Devin Harper, LB, Oklahoma State

The Cowboys addressed a major need by taking Tulsa offensive lineman Tyler Smith in the first round, solidifying the left guard spot in the short term while giving the team a potential successor to Tyron Smith. Their day-two haul has some promise, too: Mississippi edge rusher Sam Williams has an explosive first step and the tools to develop into a productive rotational pass rusher, while South Alabama receiver Jalen Tolbert gives Dak Prescott another big, playmaking downfield threat. Dallas got great value on day three when they grabbed LSU linebacker Damone Clark, and Arkansas defensive tackle John Ridgeway is a big, hulking mountain of a man who should be able to earn snaps as a rotational lineman. Smith might be the only instant-impact starter in this group, but overall I like the talent Dallas added.

Grade: B-


Denver Broncos

Round 2, Pick 64: Nik Bonitto, DE, Oklahoma
Round 3, Pick 80: Greg Dulcich, TE, UCLA
Round 4, Pick 115: Damarri Mathis, CB, Pittsburgh
Round 4, Pick 116: Eyioma Uwazurike, DL, Iowa State
Round 5, Pick 152: Delarrin Turner-Yell, S, Oklahoma
Round 5, Pick 162: Montrell Washington, WR, Samford
Round 5, Pick 171: Luke Wattenberg, OL, Washington
Round 6, Pick 206: Matt Henningsen, DT, Wisconsin
Round 7, Pick 232: Faion Hicks, CB, Wisconsin

The Broncos were one of the eight teams that came into the draft without a first-round pick (hello, Russell Wilson), so they didn’t have a ton of ammunition to work with. Still, they added a few intriguing day-two prospects that could end up carrying this class. I’m a fan of Oklahoma pass rusher Nik Bonitto, a twitched up but undersized defender who plays with a quick first step and plenty of bend. And UCLA tight end Greg Dulcich is an exciting big-play threat down the seam. And while I’m a little confused about how the team plans to split reps between Dulcich and Albert Okwuegbunam (and whether that pick was a bit redundant), the bottom line is that the team got Wilson another dynamic run-after-the-catch target to throw to. On day three, the selection of Iowa State defensive lineman Eyioma Uwazurike stood out. At 6-foot-6, 316 pounds, he’s a massive human being who can line up at multiple spots on Denver’s front.

Grade: B-


Detroit Lions

Round 1, Pick 2: Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan
Round 1, Pick 12: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
Round 2, Pick 46: Josh Paschal, DE, Kentucky
Round 3, Pick 97: Kerby Joseph, S, Illinois
Round 5, Pick 177: James Mitchell, TE, Virginia Tech
Round 6, Pick 188: Malcolm Rodriguez, LB, Oklahoma State
Round 6, Pick 217: James Houston, LB, Jackson State
Round 7, Pick 237: Chase Lucas, CB, Arizona State

The Lions added the football equivalent of two venti-double-shot iced coffees worth of talent in Round 1, grabbing my top-ranked player overall in Michigan pass rusher Aidan Hutchinson before aggressively trading up to the 12th spot to nab Alabama receiver Jameson Williams. I wasn’t in love with the process behind moving that far up for a non-quarterback, but it’s hard to deny that Williams brings legit game-breaking potential as a lid-lifting touchdown scorer. On day two, the Lions grabbed Kentucky edge defender Josh Paschal, who is the type of big, physical dominator that Dan Campbell surely loves. Watch out for tight end James Mitchell too once he gets back onto the field (he’s still rehabbing from a torn ACL). Mitchell is a versatile move H-back who can line up all over the formation and create mismatches up the seam.

Grade: A


Green Bay Packers

Round 1, Pick 22: Quay Walker, LB, Georgia
Round 1, Pick 28: Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia
Round 2, Pick 34: Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State
Round 3, Pick 92: Sean Rhyan, OL, UCLA
Round 4, Pick 132: Romeo Doubs, WR, Nevada
Round 4, Pick 140: Zach Tom, OT, Wake Forest
Round 5, Pick 179: Kingsley Enagbare, DE, South Carolina
Round 7, Pick 228: Tariq Carpenter, LB, Georgia Tech
Round 7, Pick 234: Jonathan Ford, DT, Miami
Round 7, Pick 249: Rasheed Walker, OT, Penn State
Round 7, Pick 258: Samori Toure, WR, Nebraska

The Packers’ commitment to the “Antagonize Our MVP Quarterback At Any Cost” bit reached its apex in Round 1 when the team took back-to-back defenders (linebacker Quay Walker and defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt), and while it was an extremely funny turn of events, both Walker and Wyatt should be impact players for the Green Bay defense. Besides, the Packers finally did the right thing on day two and traded up for North Dakota State pass-catcher Christian Watson, securing Aaron Rodgers a new hyper-athletic playmaker to throw to. Watson is raw and has to clean up some drops, but he’s got a rare combination of size, speed, and movement skills. I liked the team’s third-round selection of offensive lineman Sean Rhyan, a burly, wide-bodied blocker who can line up at guard or right tackle. And on day three, Green Bay grabbed the duo of Wake Forest offensive lineman Zach Tom and Penn State offensive tackle Rasheed Walker, giving the team more excellent depth on the line.

Grade: B+


Houston Texans

Round 1, Pick 3: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
Round 1, Pick 15: Kenyon Green, G, Texas A&M
Round 2, Pick 37: Jalen Pitre, S, Baylor
Round 2, Pick 44: John Metchie III, WR, Alabama
Round 3, Pick 75: Christian Harris, LB, Alabama
Round 4, Pick 107: Dameon Pierce, RB, Florida
Round 5, Pick 150: Thomas Booker, DE, Stanford
Round 6, Pick 170: Teagan Quitoriano, TE, Oregon State
Round 6, Pick 205: Austin Deculus, OT, LSU

It’s hard to pick holes in the Texans’ draft. LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. is one of my favorite players in this class, a souped-up playmaker who the Texans can build their secondary around long term. I thought that taking Texas A&M guard Kenyon Green at 15 was a slight reach, but he should bring a nice boost to the team’s offensive line and can play at multiple spots in a pinch. Baylor defensive back Jalen Pitre is a highly versatile joker piece defender who can line up just about everywhere on the field. And I’m a huge fan of Alabama receiver John Metchie III, who does just about everything well and should make an impact early in his career. The Texans even grabbed one of my favorite running backs in this class on day three, swooping in to take Florida’s Dameon Pierce with the 107th pick. I won’t be surprised if he emerges as the team’s starter in year one.

Grade: A


Indianapolis Colts

Round 2, Pick 53: Alec Pierce, WR, Cincinnati
Round 3, Pick 73: Jelani Woods, TE, Virginia
Round 3, Pick 77: Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan
Round 3, Pick 96: Nick Cross, S, Maryland
Round 5, Pick 159: Eric Johnson, DT, Missouri State
Round 6, Pick 192: Andrew Ogletree, TE, Youngstown State
Round 6, Pick 216: Curtis Brooks, DT, Cincinnati
Round 7, Pick 239: Rodney Thomas II, LB, Yale

The Colts were hamstrung by the fact they didn’t have a first-round pick (it was traded to the Eagles in the abysmal Carson Wentz deal), but GM Chris Ballard managed to add some talent on days two and three nonetheless. Cincinnati receiver Alec Pierce is a big, vertical pass-catcher who should complement Michael Pittman Jr. well and give new quarterback Matt Ryan another much-needed playmaker on the outside. Virginia tight end Jelani Woods is somehow the only human on the planet that is as big as Mo Alie-Cox. Central Michigan left tackle Bernhard Raimann was a nice value in the third round, and Maryland safety Nick Cross is a super athletic thumper in the secondary. I’m not sure Indy will get any superstars out of this draft, but the team improved its depth at a few positions.

Grade: C+


Jacksonville Jaguars

Round 1, Pick 1: Travon Walker, DE, Georgia
Round 1, Pick 27: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
Round 3, Pick 65: Luke Fortner, C, Kentucky
Round 3, Pick 70: Chad Muma, LB, Wyoming
Round 5, Pick 154: Snoop Conner, RB, Mississippi
Round 6, Pick 197: Gregory Junior, CB, Ouachita Baptist
Round 7, Pick 222: Montaric Brown, CB, Arkansas

Jacksonville took a home-run swing in selecting Georgia defensive end Travon Walker, who brings high-end athletic traits and a prototypical frame but never produced much in college. That decision carries plenty of risk. Then, despite desperately needing to surround quarterback Trevor Lawrence with more talent, GM Trent Baalke decided to trade back up into the first round to take an off-ball linebacker in Utah’s Devin Lloyd. Their first pick on the offensive side didn’t come until the third round, in the form of Kentucky center Luke Fortner, which I saw as a bit of a reach. And instead of adding one of the many talented receivers in this year’s class, Jacksonville took another linebacker (Wyoming’s Chad Muma) in the third round before trading up in the fifth to take a backup running back in Ole Miss’s Snoop Conner. Walker and Lloyd bring upside, but I can’t help but be underwhelmed by the Jaguars haul―and I’m worried about the lack of help around Lawrence.

Grade: C+


Kansas City Chiefs

Round 1, Pick 21: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
Round 1, Pick 30: George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue
Round 2, Pick 54: Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan
Round 2, Pick 62: Bryan Cook, S, Cincinnati
Round 3, Pick 103: Leo Chenal, LB, Wisconsin
Round 4, Pick 135: Joshua Williams, DB, Fayetteville State
Round 5, Pick 145: Darian Kinnard, OT, Kentucky
Round 7, Pick 243: Jaylen Watson, CB, Washington State
Round 7, Pick 251: Isiah Pacheco, RB, Rutgers
Round 7, Pick 259: Nazeeh Johnson, S, Marshall

The Chiefs knocked it out of the park over the weekend, seemingly finding value with every pick they made. Kansas City general manager Brett Veach gave his defense a much-needed infusion of talent in Round 1, moving up a few spots to take a versatile cornerback in Washington’s Trent McDuffie before staying at no. 30 to take Purdue edge rusher George Karlaftis. I loved that Kansas City came out of the second round with Western Michigan receiver Skyy Moore, who should soak up targets in the short and intermediate passing game and make life easier for Patrick Mahomes. Cincinnati safety Bryan Cook is a hard-hitting defender with excellent tackling chops and plenty of range. And Wisconsin linebacker Leo Chenal might end up being an absolute steal: He’s big, physical, extremely athletic and brings a fiery demeanor to the field. Keep an eye on Fayetteville State corner Joshua Williams, too: He’s long, quick-footed, and fluid in coverage.

Grade: A+


Las Vegas Raiders

Round 3, Pick 90: Dylan Parham, OL, Memphis
Round 4, Pick 122: Zamir White, RB, Georgia
Round 4, Pick 126: Neil Farrell Jr., DT, LSU
Round 5, Pick 175: Matthew Butler, DT, Tennessee
Round 7, Pick 238: Thayer Munford, OL, Ohio State
Round 7, Pick 250: Brittain Brown, RB, UCLA

After trading first- and second-round picks to the Packers to acquire receiver Davante Adams, the Raiders’ first pick didn’t come until midway through the third round. Las Vegas grabbed a burly interior offensive lineman in Memphis’s Dylan Parham with the 90th pick, adding some much-needed depth at the guard spot. I’m a fan of Georgia running back Zamir White, who looks like the heir apparent to Josh Jacobs (whose fifth-year option was declined this week). The Raiders grabbed a pair of defensive tackles in LSU’s Neil Farrell Jr. and Tennessee’s Matthew Butler, sticking with the trenches early in the seventh round to take Ohio State’s Thayer Munford. Overall it was a meat-and-potatoes draft for Vegas, but one that’s tough to get too excited about. Raiders fans can console themselves by watching old Derek Carr to Davante Adams highlights from Fresno State (I’m only including draft-day trades in these grades).

Grade: C-


Los Angeles Chargers

Round 1, Pick 17: Zion Johnson, G, Boston College
Round 3, Pick 79: JT Woods, S, Baylor
Round 4, Pick 123: Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M
Round 5, Pick 160: Otito Ogbonnia, DT, UCLA
Round 6, Pick 195: Jamaree Salyer, OT, Georgia
Round 6, Pick 214: Ja’Sir Taylor, CB, Wake Forest
Round 7, Pick 236: Deane Leonard, CB, Mississippi
Round 7, Pick 260: Zander Horvath, FB, Purdue

Chargers GM Tom Telesco continued to prove he’s one of the most savvy drafters in the league this weekend, landing a day-one starter in the first round in Boston College’s Zion Johnson. Johnson is a big, athletic blocker who can line up at multiple spots on the line, providing a pass-protecting boon to Justin Herbert. Texas A&M running back Isaiah Spiller should provide a nice boost to Austin Ekeler too by taking some of the load off the superstar back’s shoulders. Spiller is a shifty early-down back who can be a factor in the passing game when given opportunities. Georgia offensive lineman Jamaree Salyer was a great value pick in the sixth round, giving the team more depth at a crucial position.

Grade: B


Los Angeles Rams

Round 3, Pick 104: Logan Bruss, OL, Wisconsin
Round 4, Pick 142: Decobie Durant, CB, South Carolina State
Round 5, Pick 164: Kyren Williams, RB, Notre Dame
Round 6, Pick 211: Quentin Lake, S, UCLA
Round 6, Pick 212: Derion Kendrick, CB, Georgia
Round 7, Pick 235: Daniel Hardy, OLB, Montana State
Round 7, Pick 253: Russ Yeast, S, Kansas State
Round 7, Pick 261: AJ Arcuri, OT, Michigan State

The Rams have made it a lifestyle to only pick in the mid- and later-rounds of the draft, and the team’s first pick didn’t come until late in the third. Wisconsin offensive lineman Logan Bruss should compete for the starting right guard spot from day one, and he represents excellent value at that spot. Notre Dame running back Kyren Williams is an excellent pass blocker and skilled receiver who could spell starter Cam Akers on clear passing downs. And along with a mid-draft trade for cornerback Troy Hill (L.A. gave up a 2023 fifth-round pick), the Rams got deeper in the secondary by taking South Carolina State nickel Decobie Durant, UCLA safety Quentin Lake, Georgia cornerback Derion Kendrick, and Kansas State safety Russ Yeast. All in all, not terrible for the small amount of draft capital on hand.

Grade: C


Miami Dolphins

Round 3, Pick 102: Channing Tindall, LB, Georgia
Round 4, Pick 125: Erik Ezukanma, WR, Texas Tech
Round 7, Pick 224: Cameron Goode, OLB, California
Round 7, Pick 247: Skylar Thompson, QB, Kansas State

After trading multiple picks for Tyreek Hill, the Dolphins’ first pick didn’t come until late in the third round. The team grabbed a rotational Georgia linebacker in Channing Tindall, who’s raw but hyper athletic and explosive when flying downhill. Texas Tech receiver Erik Ezukanma is an intriguing mid-round pickup because of his run-after-the-catch talent, and Kansas State quarterback Skylar Thompson is a fine seventh round flier. Miami didn’t have much to work with and consequently didn’t come away with a whole lot in this draft. Dolphins fans can take solace in the idea that Tyreek Hill is a de facto member of this group (but I’m only including draft-day trades in this exercise).

Grade: D


Minnesota Vikings

Round 1, Pick 32: Lewis Cine, S, Georgia
Round 2, Pick 42: Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson
Round 2, Pick 59: Ed Ingram, G, LSU
Round 3, Pick 66: Brian Asamoah, LB, Oklahoma
Round 5, Pick 118: Akayleb Evans, CB, Missouri
Round 5, Pick 165: Esezi Otomewo, DL, Minnesota
Round 5, Pick 169: Ty Chandler, RB, North Carolina
Round 6, Pick 184: Vederian Lowe, OT, Illinois
Round 6, Pick 191: Jalen Nailor, WR, Michigan State
Round 7, Pick 227: Nick Muse, TE, South Carolina

New general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah put together an interesting first draft with the team, curiously trading multiple times with division rivals en route to amassing a total of 10 picks. The Vikings did work on their back seven in this draft: I liked the selection of Georgia safety Lewis Cine, who plays with a physical and fiery downhill style; Clemson cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. is a nice value for Minnesota in the second round, and should challenge to start right away; Oklahoma linebacker Brian Asamoah is an athletic and rangy middle-of-the-field defender; and Missouri corner Akayleb Evans provides depth in the secondary. On offense, it will be interesting to see if the team looks to involve North Carolina running back Ty Chandler in the passing game. He’s an explosive dual-threat back with top-end speed.

Grade: B-


New England Patriots

Round 1, Pick 29: Cole Strange, G, Chattanooga
Round 2, Pick 50: Tyquan Thornton, WR, Baylor
Round 3, Pick 85: Marcus Jones, CB, Houston
Round 4, Pick 121: Jack Jones, CB, Arizona State
Round 4, Pick 127: Pierre Strong Jr., RB, South Dakota State
Round 4, Pick 137: Bailey Zappe, QB, Western Kentucky
Round 6, Pick 183: Kevin Harris, RB, South Carolina
Round 6, Pick 200: Sam Roberts, DL, Northwest Missouri State
Round 6, Pick 210: Chasen Hines, G, LSU
Round 7, Pick 245: Andrew Stueber, OT, Michigan

The Patriots put together one of the more confusing drafts I can remember. Chattanooga guard Cole Strange was the surprise pick of the first round, and while I do think he can develop into a starter, he was a massive reach. Baylor receiver Tyquan Thornton is a blazing deep threat, but again, 50th overall felt a bit rich (okay, a lot rich). I liked the team’s selections of Houston corner Marcus Jones and Arizona State corner Jack Jones, but following that up by taking a pair of running backs (South Dakota State’s Pierre Strong and South Carolina’s Kevin Harris) just made me throw up my hands. Rolling with Western Kentucky quarterback Bailey Zappe over North Carolina’s Sam Howell was a head-scratching decision too. Overall, an all-time classic Bill Belichick draft.

Grade: C-


New Orleans Saints

Round 1, Pick 11: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
Round 1, Pick 19: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
Round 2, Pick 49: Alontae Taylor, CB, Tennessee
Round 5, Pick 161: D’Marco Jackson, LB, Appalachian State
Round 6, Pick 194: Jordan Jackson, DT, Air Force

The Saints consistently march to the beat of their own drum when it comes to the draft, but I find it hard to talk myself into their strategy this year in particular. For starters, I wasn’t a big fan of their decision to trade multiple 2022 picks, a 2023 first-round pick, and a 2024 second-round pick to add an extra first-round pick in this draft (they originally ended up with no. 16 and no. 19). I didn’t love that they then traded third- and fourth-round picks to move up from no. 16 to no. 11 and take Ohio State receiver Chris Olave, particularly with so many other talented receivers still on the board. I thought both the Trevor Penning and Alontae Taylor selections were reaches. I generally don’t think it’s good process to draft just five players in any given year.

Now, it’s certainly possible Olave will turn into a star and that Penning will develop into a solid starter. But the Saints are putting an awful lot of draft capital eggs into that particular basket. And if neither of those things happen, it could set them back dramatically.

Grade: C-


New York Giants

Round 1, Pick 5: Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon
Round 1, Pick 7: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
Round 2, Pick 43: Wan’Dale Robinson, WR, Kentucky
Round 3, Pick 67: Joshua Ezeudu, G, North Carolina
Round 3, Pick 81: Cor’Dale Flott, CB, LSU
Round 4, Pick 112: Daniel Bellinger, TE, San Diego State
Round 4, Pick 114: Dane Belton, S, Iowa
Round 5, Pick 146: Micah McFadden, LB, Indiana
Round 5, Pick 147: DJ Davidson, DT, Arizona State
Round 5, Pick 173: Marcus McKethan, G, North Carolina
Round 6, Pick 182: Darrian Beavers, LB, Cincinnati

I loved the Giants’ first-round haul. New GM Joe Schoen hit an absolute home run in grabbing Oregon pass rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux (my no. 2 overall player) and Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal (my no. 4 overall player) with the fifth and seventh picks, respectively. That duo should serve as foundation-builders for what Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll are trying to build in New York. But I have some questions about the decision to take Kentucky receiver Wan’Dale Robinson at no. 43 overall, especially when guys like John Metchie III, George Pickens, Skyy Moore, Alec Pierce, Jalen Tolbert, and a handful of other receivers were still on the board. I’m hoping and assuming that Daboll has a specific plan that gets Robinson heavily involved in the offense, but the former Wildcats playmaker is undersized and relatively limited as a downfield playmaker.

Anyway, other than that small quibble, I liked the Giants’ draft a lot―and I love that they ended up drafting 11 players. A few highlights: North Carolina guard Joshua Ezeudu is an athletic blocker who adds depth to the offensive line; San Diego State tight end Daniel Bellinger is a smooth-moving Y tight end who could develop into Daboll’s new version of Dawson Knox; and Cincinnati linebacker Darrian Beavers is an old-school thumper who brings an intimidating presence to the middle of the field.

Grade: A-


New York Jets

Round 1, Pick 4: Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
Round 1, Pick 10: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
Round 2, Pick 26: Jermaine Johnson II, DE, Florida State
Round 2, Pick 36: Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State
Round 3, Pick 101: Jeremy Ruckert, TE, Ohio State
Round 4, Pick 111: Max Mitchell, OT, Louisiana
Round 4, Pick 117: Micheal Clemons, DE, Texas A&M

I liked every one of the players the Jets took this weekend. Cincinnati’s Sauce Gardner was my top-ranked corner and brings shutdown talent to the outside for New York. Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson was my top-ranked receiver and should be a dynamic three-level threat for Zach Wilson. Florida State’s Jermaine Johnson was my fourth-ranked edge rusher and should be a day-one impact starter. Iowa State running back Breece Hall was my top-ranked running back and should be a heavy volume difference maker on the ground. Add in another quality future starter in Ohio State tight end Jeremy Ruckert and Jets GM Joe Douglas has an absolute stew going.

Grade: A+


Philadelphia Eagles

Round 1, Pick 13: Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
Round 2, Pick 51: Cam Jurgens, C, Nebraska
Round 3, Pick 83: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
Round 6, Pick 181: Kyron Johnson, LB, Kansas
Round 6, Pick 198: Grant Calcaterra, TE, SMU

Eagles GM Howie Roseman wheeled and dealed his way to a wild weekend haul. He moved up to get in front of the Ravens in the first round to select Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis, a mammoth of a man who brings extraordinary speed and quickness for a 341-pound frame. He then turned his second of two first-round picks into superstar Titans receiver A.J. Brown, securing a big, YAC-creating pass-catcher to pair with DeVonta Smith. He grabbed a hyper-athletic center prospect and potential future Jason Kelce successor in Nebraska’s Cam Jurgens in the second round, then stopped Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean’s shocking fall later in the round. It didn’t matter what they did on day three because that series of events secures Philly an A+ draft.

Grade: A+


Pittsburgh Steelers

Round 1, Pick 20: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
Round 2, Pick 52: George Pickens, WR, Georgia
Round 3, Pick 84: DeMarvin Leal, DE, Texas A&M
Round 4, Pick 138: Calvin Austin III, WR, Memphis
Round 6, Pick 208: Connor Heyward, TE, Michigan State
Round 7, Pick 225: Mark Robinson, LB, Mississippi
Round 7, Pick 241: Chris Oladokun, QB, South Dakota State

My first reaction to Pittsburgh’s draft is to look at where all the other quarterbacks went in this draft and wonder whether the Steelers overpaid by a round or two when they took Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett at no. 20 overall. I do like what the team did later in the draft to surround their new signal-caller with playmaking talent: Pittsburgh grabbed Georgia receiver George Pickens in the second round, giving the team another effective deep threat and big-bodied red-zone target. They then added Memphis’s Calvin Austin in the fourth round, providing the team another boost of pure, turbo-charged speed. Adding that duo to a skill group that already includes running back Najee Harris and receivers Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool should help Pickett hit the ground running, whenever he does find the field.

Grade: C+


San Francisco 49ers

Round 2, Pick 61: Drake Jackson, OLB, USC
Round 3, Pick 93: Ty Davis-Price, RB, LSU
Round 3, Pick 105: Danny Gray, WR, SMU
Round 4, Pick 134: Spencer Burford, OL, UTSA
Round 5, Pick 172: Samuel Womack, CB, Toledo
Round 6, Pick 187: Nick Zakelj, OT, Fordham
Round 6, Pick 220: Kalia Davis, DT, Central Florida
Round 6, Pick 221: Tariq Castro-Fields, CB, Penn State
Round 7, Pick 262: Brock Purdy, QB, Iowa State

The 49ers put together my All-Intriguing Class of this draft. Missing a first-rounder thanks to the trade-up for Trey Lance in 2021, San Francisco’s first pick was no. 61, which they used to select USC pass rusher Drake Jackson. Jackson’s a high-upside pass-rusher with excellent movement skills and athletic traits―but he still needs to develop a better repertoire of moves and figure out what weight he wants to play at. I loved the Niners’ selection of LSU running back Ty Davis-Price, who could serve as an excellent complement to Elijah Mitchell and help Kyle Shanahan convince Deebo Samuel he won’t be a running back anymore. I’m looking forward to watching SMU receiver Danny Gray in action too. Gray fits this offense like a glove, boasting excellent run-after-the-catch speed and elusiveness in the open field.

Grade: B-


Seattle Seahawks

Round 1, Pick 9: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
Round 2, Pick 40: Boye Mafe, DE, Minnesota
Round 2, Pick 41: Kenneth Walker III, RB, Michigan State
Round 3, Pick 72: Abraham Lucas, OT, Washington State
Round 4, Pick 109: Coby Bryant, CB, Cincinnati
Round 5, Pick 153: Tariq Woolen, CB, UTSA
Round 5, Pick 158: Tyreke Smith, DE, Ohio State
Round 7, Pick 229: Bo Melton, WR, Rutgers
Round 7, Pick 233: Dareke Young, WR, Lenoir-Rhyne

The Seahawks were both very off-brand and very on-brand in this draft. They got things started with an uncharacteristically analytically sound first-round choice in Mississippi left tackle Charles Cross, who was not only universally considered a first-round pick (which is VERY weird for Seattle), but projects as an immediate starter at one of the most important positions on the field. Pete Carroll and John Schneider got back to their typical Seahawky ways on day two, taking a running back in Michigan State’s Kenneth Walker III with the 41st pick. But adding in what I’d consider smart and down-the-fairway picks in Minnesota defensive end Boye Mafe, Washington State tackle Abraham Lucas, and Cincinnati cornerback Coby Bryant, I’d say the Seahawks had a pretty decent draft.

Grade: B+


Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Round 2, Pick 33: Logan Hall, DE, Houston
Round 2, Pick 57: Luke Goedeke, G, Central Michigan
Round 3, Pick 91: Rachaad White, RB, Arizona State
Round 4, Pick 106: Cade Otton, TE, Washington
Round 4, Pick 133: Jake Camarda, P, Georgia
Round 5, Pick 157: Zyon McCollum, CB, Sam Houston State
Round 6, Pick 218: Ko Kieft, TE, Minnesota
Round 7, Pick 248: Andre Anthony, DE, LSU

The Buccaneers just keep drafting good players. After trading out of the first round, Tampa Bay landed Houston defensive lineman Logan Hall in the second round, a versatile and long pass-rusher who can play all across the line. They grabbed Central Michigan guard Luke Goedeke later in the round, shoring up their offensive line. Then they added Arizona State running back Rachaad White in the third before grabbing Washington tight end Cade Otton in the fourth. All four of those picks should contribute meaningful snaps in 2022.

Grade: B+


Tennessee Titans

Round 1, Pick 18: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
Round 2, Pick 35: Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn
Round 3, Pick 69: Nicholas Petit-Frere, OT, Ohio State
Round 3, Pick 86: Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
Round 4, Pick 131: Hassan Haskins, RB, Michigan
Round 4, Pick 143: Chigoziem Okonkwo, TE, Maryland
Round 5, Pick 163: Kyle Philips, WR, UCLA
Round 6, Pick 204: Theo Jackson, CB, Tennessee
Round 6, Pick 219: Chance Campbell, LB, Mississippi

I’ll start off by saying I thought the Titans did a great job at picking good players in this draft. I love Arkansas receiver Treylon Burks and he should be an immediate starter and impact player for Ryan Tannehill and the Tennessee offense. Auburn cornerback Roger McCreary is a sticky cover man with versatility to line up both outside or inside. Ohio State tackle Nicolas Petit-Frere helps add depth to the team’s line. And Liberty quarterback Malik Willis is the ultimate lottery ticket. Willis may never end up paying off, but he landed in a pretty good situation after falling two rounds further than most people expected. Willis can sit and learn behind Tannehill in the short term, and once he’s ready to start he should find a well-suited system for his skill set in Tennessee.

I also liked the Titans’ selections of Michigan running back Hassan Haskins and UCLA receiver Kyle Philips, who should both contribute as role players early on. The only reason Tennessee isn’t getting a higher grade here is that they traded away superstar receiver A.J. Brown rather than paying him what he wanted.

Grade: B+


Washington Commanders

Round 1, Pick 16: Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
Round 2, Pick 47: Phidarian Mathis, DT, Alabama
Round 3, Pick 98: Brian Robinson Jr., RB, Alabama
Round 4, Pick 113: Percy Butler, S, Louisiana
Round 5, Pick 144: Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina
Round 5, Pick 149: Cole Turner, TE, Nevada
Round 7, Pick 230: Chris Paul, OL, Tulsa
Round 7, Pick 240: Christian Holmes, CB, Oklahoma State

The Commanders put together a perfectly average, aggressively fine draft; they got several reliable, good players who will probably be productive but may never be stars. It was… an acceptable result.

After trading out of the no. 11 spot so the Saints could take Chris Olave, Washington took a less exciting and less dynamic version of Olave in Jahan Dotson. They came back in the second round and took a very solid if unspectacular interior defender in Alabama’s Phidarian Mathis. Washington grabbed an exceedingly sturdy but limited running back in Alabama’s Brian Robinson in the third. They took a flier on North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell, who shockingly fell to the fifth round. And then they grabbed an intriguing jump-ball winning tight end in Cole Turner later in the round. All of those players may end up contributing to this team.

Grade: C