2022 NFC Draft Review

By Cameron DaSilva | Posted 24 days ago

Leading up to the 2022 NFL draft, there was a lot of uncertainty with this class. There were questions about the quarterback group and the overall quality of the first-round prospects, but there were nine trades on Day 1 and six wide receivers were taken in the top-20, which were the biggest storylines of the night.

 

On Day 2 and 3, teams found great value in what was viewed as a deeper class in the third and fourth rounds, rather than a top-heavy class in Round 1. Filling immediate needs while also not reaching for players is a challenge, but it’s also what makes the draft so much fun.

So how did each team in the NFC do? We ranked them in three tiers: The Good, The Average and The Ugly.

 

The Good

 

Atlanta Falcons

USC WR Drake London (No. 8 overall)
Penn State Edge Arnold Ebiketie (No. 38 overall)
Montana State LB Troy Andersen (No. 58 overall)
Cincinnati QB Desmond Ridder (No. 74 overall)
Western Kentucky Edge DeAngelo Malone (No. 82 overall)
BYU RB Tyler Allgeier (No. 151 overall)
Georgia OG Justin Shaffer (No. 190 overall)
Georgia TE John FitzPatrick (No. 213 overall)

 

The Falcons addressed arguably their biggest need in Round 1, taking London to give Marcus Mariota a promising young target to go with Kyle Pitts. Their selections of Ridder and Malone look like good values, too, with Ridder potentially becoming the starter in 2023. Ebiketie will help provide a spark to one of the league’s worst pass rushes, too, once again filling a big hole for the Falcons. 

 

Carolina Panthers

NC State OT Ickey Ekwonu (No. 6 overall)
Ole Miss QB Matt Corral (No. 94 overall)
Penn State LB Brandon Smith (No. 120 overall)
Virginia Tech Edge Amaré Barno (No. 189 overall)
Tennessee OG Cade Mays (No. 199 overall)
Baylor CB Kalon Barnes (No. 242 overall)

 

The Panthers didn’t take the bait and reach for Kenny Pickett or any other quarterback at No. 6 overall, which was the right move. Instead, they took arguably the best offensive lineman before selecting a quarterback in the third round at No. 94 overall. Corral could wind up being the best quarterback in the class, too. Barno is an athletic freak who shouldn’t have slipped to the sixth round, while Barnes has rare speed for the cornerback position.

 

Detroit Lions

Michigan Edge Aidan Hutchinson (No. 2 overall)
Alabama WR Jameson Williams (No. 12 overall)
Kentucky DL Josh Paschal (No. 46 overall)
Illinois S Kerby Joseph (No. 97 overall)
Virginia Tech TE James Mitchell (No. 177 overall)
Oklahoma State LB Malcolm Rodriguez (No. 188 overall)
Jackson State Edge James Houston (No. 217 overall)
Arizona State CB Chase Lucas (No. 237 overall)

 

Hutchinson fell in the Lions’ lap at No. 2 overall after the Jaguars shockingly took Travon Walker first in the draft. The Lions then made a huge trade up for Williams, once again building around Jared Goff instead of taking a quarterback to replace him. Joseph was a fantastic pick in the third round, and Paschal has great versatility across the defensive line, showing the ability to line up almost anywhere.

 

New York Giants

Oregon Edge Kayvon Thibodeaux (No. 5 overall)
Alabama OT Evan Neal (No. 7 overall)
Kentucky WR Wan'Dale Robinson (No. 43 overall)
North Carolina OG Joshua Ezeudu (No. 67 overall)
LSU CB Cordale Flott (No. 81 overall)
San Diego State TE Daniel Bellinger (No. 112 overall)
Iowa S Dane Belton (No. 114 overall)
Indiana LB Micah McFadden (No. 146 overall)
Arizona State DT DJ Davidson (No. 147 overall)
North Carolina OMarcus McKethan (No. 173 overall)
Cincinnati LB Darrian Beavers (No. 182 overall)

 

It was a huge haul for the Giants in this year’s draft, and a targeted one. They added three offensive linemen, two linebackers and an edge rusher, as well as a potential starter at cornerback in Cordale Flott. With the Giants’ first four picks, there’s a good chance all of them will become starters early on as rookies. The tandem of Thibodeaux and Neal was a sensible and smart one for the Giants to come away with.

 

Philadelphia Eagles

Georgia DT Jordan Davis (No. 13 overall)
Nebraska C Cam Jurgens (No. 51 overall)
Georgia LB Nakobe Dean (No. 83 overall)
Kansas LB Kyron Johnson (No. 181 overall)
SMU TE Grant Calcaterra (No. 198 overall)

 

The biggest move Philadelphia made was the acquisition of A.J. Brown, who they traded a first- and third-round pick for on Thursday night. He makes the Eagles’ class a great one, as does Davis – the best interior defender in the draft. Dean fell much farther than most expected, but he’ll be an early contributor on defense for the Eagles. Jurgens received rave reviews from Jason Kelce, who he should replace in 2023.

 

Green Bay Packers

Georgia LB Quay Walker (No. 22 overall)
Georgia DT Devonte Wyatt (No. 28 overall)
North Dakota State WR Christian Watson (No. 34 overall)
UCLA OT Sean Rhyan (No. 92 overall)
Nevada WR Romeo Doubs (No. 132 overall)
Wake Forest OT Zach Tom (No. 140 overall)
South Carolina LB Kingsley Enagbare (No. 179 overall)
Georgia Tech LB Tariq Carpenter (No. 228 overall)
Miami DT Jonathan Ford (No. 234 overall)
Penn State OT Rasheed Walker (No. 249 overall)
Nebraska WR Samori Toure (No. 258 overall)

 

The Packers took advantage of having two first-round picks by double-dipping on defense, taking two Georgia standouts to help solidify that side of the ball. Walker is a freakish athlete and Wyatt pairs nicely with Kenny Clark. The Packers then added a weapon for Aaron Rodgers by selecting Watson at the top of the second round, and then bringing aboard another one (Doubs) in the fourth round. Ryan, Doubs, Tom and Enagbare all look like great mid-round values and could contribute early on.

 

The Average

 

Arizona Cardinals

Colorado State TE Trey McBride (No. 55 overall)
San Diego State DE Cameron Thomas (No. 87 overall)
Cincinnati Edge Myjai Sanders (No. 100 overall)
USC RB Keaontay Ingram (No. 201 overall)
Virginia Tech OG Lecitus Smith (No. 215 overall)
Valdosta State DB Christian Matthew (No. 244 overall)
Penn State Edge Jesse Luketa (No. 256 overall)
Oklahoma OG Marquis Hayes (No. 257 overall)

 

As a whole, the Cardinals’ class looks pretty good. Luketa is an intriguing defender who lasted until the seventh round, and Hayes was expected to go much earlier than he did. What I didn’t like from the Cardinals’ moves in the draft was their decision to trade a first-round pick for Marquise Brown, who’s in the final year of his contract. That knocked their grade down a tier, even knowing DeAndre Hopkins will now miss six games. 

 

Chicago Bears

Washington CB Kyler Gordon (No. 39 overall)
Penn State S Jaquan Brisker (No. 48 overall)
Tennessee WR Velus Jones (No. 71 overall)
Southern Utah OT Braxton Jones (No. 168 overall)
Miami (Ohio) Edge Dominique Robinson (No. 174 overall)
San Diego State OG Zach Thomas (No. 186 overall)
Baylor RB Trestan Ebner (No. 203 overall)
Illinois C Doug Kramer (No. 207 overall)
Southern OG Ja'Tyre Carter (No. 226 overall)
California DB Elijah Hicks (No. 254 overall)
N.C. State P Trenton Gill (No. 255 overall)

 

The Bears did well to turn their six picks into 11 by trading back, stockpiling selections to round out their roster. That alone makes this a better class than expected. And they got off to a good start by taking Gordon and Brisker in the second round – two immediate starters and two of the better defensive backs in the class. Robinson also has a chance to start early on. VelusJones is an older rookie at 25 years old, but he’ll contribute right away as a receiver and punt returner.

 

Los Angeles Rams

Wisconsin OG Logan Bruss (No. 104 overall)
South Carolina State CB Decobie Durant (No. 142 overall)
Notre Dame RB Kyren Williams (No. 164 overall)
UCLA S Quentin Lake (No. 211 overall)
Georgia CB Derion Kendrick (No. 212 overall)
Montana State DE Daniel Hardy (No. 235 overall)
Kansas State S Russ Yeast (No. 253 overall)
Michigan State OT A.J. Arcuri (No. 261 overall)

 

The Rams were already behind the eight ball after trading first-, second- and third-round picks for Matthew Stafford and Von Miller last year, so their initial selection came at No. 104 overall. They addressed their two biggest needs right away with Bruss and Durant, who could be Day 1 starters. Kendrick is a good value in the sixth, and Williams gives Sean McVay another playmaker in the backfield.

 

Minnesota Vikings

Georgia S Lewis Cine (No. 32 overall)
Clemson CB Andrew Booth (No. 42 overall)
LSU OG Ed Ingram (No. 59 overall)
Oklahoma LB Brian Asamoah (No. 66 overall)
Missouri CB Akayleb Evans (No. 118 overall)
Minnesota DE Esezi Otomewo (No. 165 overall)
North Carolina RB Ty Chandler (No. 169 overall)
Illinois OT Vederian Lowe (No. 184 overall)
Michigan State WR Jalen Nailor (No. 191 overall)
South Carolina TE Nick Muse (No. 227 overall)

 

Cine snuck into the first round as one of the best safeties in the class, and he’ll immediately make an impact in the secondary for new coach Kevin O’Connell. Booth shores up the cornerback position, and Ingram looks like he should be a future starter either next season or the following year. Asamoah is a do-it-all, playmaking linebacker who can rush the passer and drop back into coverage as an off-ball defender.

 

San Francisco 49ers

USC Edge Drake Jackson (No. 61 overall)
LSU RB Tyrion Davis-Price (No. 93 overall)
SMU WR Danny Gray (No. 105 overall)
UTSA OT Spencer Burford (No. 134 overall)
Toledo CB Samuel Womack (No. 172 overall)
Fordham OT Nick Zakelj (No. 187 overall)
UCF DT Kalia Davis (No. 220 overall)
Penn State CB Tariq Castro-Fields (No. 221 overall)
Iowa State QB Brock Purdy (No. 262 overall)

 

Jackson was a good value near the end of the second round, but then the 49ers took another running back with Davis-Price in the third round – hardly a position that needed to be addressed early on. Gray’s speed should get him on the field often as a rookie, and Burford adds depth to the offensive line, being able to play either tackle or guard at the next level.

 

Seattle Seahawks

Mississippi State OT Charles Cross (No. 9 overall)
Minnesota Edge Boye Mafe (No. 40 overall)
Michigan State RB Kenneth Walker III (No. 41 overall)
Washington State OT Abraham Lucas (No. 72 overall)
Cincinnati CB Coby Bryant (No. 109 overall)
UTSA CB Tariq Woolen (No. 153 overall)
Ohio State Edge Tyreke Smith (No. 158 overall)
Rutgers WR Bo Melton (No. 229 overall)
Lenoir Rhyne WR Dareke Young (No. 233 overall)

 

Cross was a rock-solid pick at No. 9 overall, giving Drew Lock protection on the edge. Where the Seahawks went wrong was passing on Malik Willis multiple times, particularly in the third round when they could’ve had him at No. 72 overall. They made up for it with Bryant, Woolen and Smith, all of whom were great selections on Day 3. Bryant and Woolen were among the favorite cornerbacks in this class and to get them on Day 3 is excellent value.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Houston DL Logan Hall (No. 33 overall)
Central Michigan OG Luke Goedeke (No. 57 overall)
Arizona State RB Rachaad White (No. 91 overall)
Washington TE Cade Otton (No. 106 overall)
Georgia P Jake Camarda (No. 133 overall)
Sam Houston State CB Zyon McCollum (No. 157 overall)
Minnesota TE Ko Kieft (No. 218 overall)
LSU LB Andre Anthony (No. 248 overall)

Hall fills a need on the interior of the defensive line, especially with Ndamukong Suh still being a free agent. Goedeke and Otton will help as blockers next season, and Otton has the potential to be Rob Gronkowski’s replacement at tight end. McCollum was a steal in the fifth round, making this draft class even better for Tampa Bay.

 

Dallas Cowboys

Tulsa OT Tyler Smith (No. 24 overall)
Ole Miss DE Sam Williams (No. 56 overall)
South Alabama WR Jalen Tolbert (No. 88 overall)
Wisconsin TE Jake Ferguson (No. 129 overall)
North Dakota OT Matt Waletzko (No. 155 overall)
Fresno State CB DaRon Bland (No. 167 overall)
LSU LB Damone Clark (No. 176 overall)
Arkansas DT John Ridgeway (No. 178 overall)
Oklahoma State LB Devin Harper (No. 193 overall)

 

The Cowboys strategically filled immediate needs with their first four picks, even if their choices in prospects weren’t perfect. Smith committed 16 penalties last season, which was coincidentally a problem for the Cowboys all year, too. Williams has off-the-field red flags stemming from a sexual battery arrest, but Dallas seems confident that he’s learned from his mistake. Tolbert and Ferguson are good values, while Clark could wind up being a steal once he returns from injury, likely in 2023.

 

The Ugly

 

New Orleans Saints

Ohio State WR Chris Olave (No. 11 overall)
Northern Iowa OT Trevor Penning (No. 19 overall)
Tennessee CB Alontae Taylor (No. 49 overall)
Appalachian State LB D'Marco Jackson (No. 161 overall)
Air Force DT Jordan Jackson (No. 194 overall)

 

The Saints moved up five spots to secure Olave, giving up a third – and fourth-round pick. That was after making a puzzling trade with the Eagles to land the 16th and 19th picks by giving up first- and second-rounders next year. Penning doesn’t seem like a great value at No. 19 overall, and as a whole, the Saints came away with just five players, while also being short on picks next year, too.

 

Washington Commanders

Penn State WR Jahan Dotson (No. 16 overall)
Alabama DT Phidarian Mathis (No. 47 overall)
Alabama RB Brian Robinson (No. 98 overall)
Louisiana S Percy Butler (No. 113 overall)
North Carolina QB Sam Howell (No. 144 overall)
Nevada TE Cole Turner (No. 149 overall)
Tulsa G Chris Paul (No. 230 overall)
Oklahoma State CB Christian Holmes (No. 240 overall)

 

Dotson felt like a reach at No. 16 after trading down five spots, especially with Treylon Burks on the board. Mathis should’ve gone later than he did, too, while Robinson is a nice complement to Antonio Gibson, being the physical runner that he is. This class could wind up being a really good one if Dotson and Howell turn out to be quality NFL players. 

 

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