2022 NFL Draft: Winners and Losers
With every new NFL season comes the NFL draft. All NFL draft teams pick young college prospects to be the “future” of that franchise. NFL teams will always come out of the draft with their heads held high thinking that they just had the best draft ever. That is where I (Logan Lepiscopo), a man with perhaps as many credentials as your next-door neighbor comes in to play. Every draft not only comes with young men having their dream come true, but it comes with NFL teams that won, and lost the draft. I cannot lie a lot of teams I think did very well in the draft this year, but with every winner there must be a loser. Hence why in this article I will be providing my own personal opinions on what five NFL teams won the draft, and which five NFL teams lost the draft.
In no particular order my first winner of the draft is none other than the Baltimore Ravens. Not only was Baltimore able to get an absolute steal in Kyle Hamilton, but they also were able to trade back up into the first round (via. Marquise Brown trade) to select Tyler Linderbaum. The Ravens grabbing the best safety and the best interior offensive lineman in this year’s draft thought, hey, why not grab David Ojabo a guy that was considered a top 20 pick before his torn achilleas on his pro day. The team then added a very athletic interior defensive lineman with Travis Jones, and with six, yes six, fourth round picks the team filled in depth all around the field. Everybody is so willing to write off the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North with the awful play at the end of last season, the Bengals Super Bowl run, and the Browns adding Deshaun Watson. But I will be one of the first to say, here in early May, do not be surprised if the Ravens run the AFC North and perhaps the AFC this 2022-23 NFL season.
*Kyle Hamilton (Rd. 1, 14) – Tyler Linderbaum (Rd. 1, 25) – David Ojabo (Rd. 2, 45) –
Travis Jones (Rd. 3, 76) – Daniel Faalele (Rd. 4, 110) – Jayln Armour-Davis (Rd. 4, 119) – Charlie Kolar (Rd. 4, 128) – Jordan Stout (Rd. 4, 130) – Isaiah Likely (Rd. 4, 139) –
Damarion Williams (Rd. 4, 141) – Tyler Badie (Rd. 6, 196)*
New York Jets
It would have been very difficult for the Jets to mess up this draft holding two picks in the top 10. What I believe was already going to be a solid young cornerback group, just got significantly better with the addition of Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner. Following up last year’s draft securing a star in Elijah Moore the Jets snagged Garrett Wilson at the tenth overall pick, a man that was regarded by many as the best receiver in this draft. To top it all off in round one the Jets traded into the 26th overall selection to add Jermaine Johnson, another player whose name was at the top of his position rankings. Just when people thought the Jets were done, the phones rang to have the Jets move up in the second round and add Breece Hall to the running back room. Argued as the best running back in the class, and the dysfunctionality of the Jets running back room last year it seems lonely right that despite adding Michael Carter last season that another halfback be brought in. Carter came out of split backfield at the University of North Carolina last season with Javonte Williams, with the addition of Breece Hall the Jets could have Carter back into that role that he was so comfortable in at UNC. With the Jets last three picks the team added depth at the tight end, offensive tackle, and defensive end positions.
*Sauce Gardner (Rd. 1, 4) – Garrett Wilson (Rd. 1, 10) – Jermaine Johnson (Rd. 1, 26) –
Breece Hall (Rd. 2, 36) – Jeremy Ruckert (Rd. 3, 37) – Max Mitchell (Rd. 4, 111) –
Michael Clemons (Rd. 4, 117)*
Kansas City Chiefs
As a Raiders fan, it pains me to write this, but the Chiefs killed this draft. It was like Andy Reid walked into a grocery store with his shopping list, got everything he needed, and once he had everything on the list, he went along he picked a few extra things too. The Chiefs traded up for an excellent cornerback, Trent McDuffie, who should translate very well into the nickelback position. The Chiefs then picked up George Karlaftis with the 30th overall pick in the draft, giving the team the ability to now move Chris Jones back into his more natural position as a defensive tackle. Despite all the free agent additions at wide receiver, no number of receivers can add up to what Tyreek Hill did in that offense, which is why the team also in the second round drafted Skyy Moore. The team may have signed Justin Reid in free agency, but having drafted Bryan Cook, who was part of that great Cincinnati Bearcats defense, the team now has some depth at the safety position. Also, with an already weak linebacker group Leo Chenal should come in and be an immediate starter for the Chiefs. Joshua Williams, Jaylen Watson, and Nazeeh Johnson are all three cornerbacks that can really help solidify the group be depth for the sake of starters being injured. Darian Kinnard is also a solid addition for the team, and guy that is going to fill in well behind Trey Smith and Joe Thuney.
*Trent McDuffie (Rd. 1, 21)– George Karlaftis (Rd. 1, 30) – Skyy Moore (Rd. 2, 54) –
Bryan Cook (Rd. 2, 62) – Leo Chenal (Rd. 3, 103)– Joshua Williams (Rd. 4, 135) –
Darian Kinnard (Rd. 5, 145) – Jaylen Watson (Rd. 7, 243) – Isaiah Pacheco (Rd. 7, 251) –
Nazeeh Johnson (Rd. 7, 259)*
This one may catch a lot of people off guard, but the Carolina Panthers had one of the better drafts this year. Ikem Ekwonu was a steady name in the conversation of being the best offensive tackle in this year’s draft class, and he fell right into the Panthers laps at number six overall. Despite Desmond Ridder and Malik Willis being available the team did not trade up for either and instead took a leap in the third round for Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral. This pick may have been the steal of the draft, perhaps you could argue Nakobe Dean, but if Corral plays at the level he was before his injury the Panthers could have finally found their new franchise quarterback. Before Corral’s injury he was regarded not only as the best quarterback in his class, but that he had a real shot of being one of the top picks in the draft. Carolina also got some extra protection with Cade Mays in the sixth round, currently being the backup on the depth chart to Pat Elflein. The team added more talent to their defense bringing in linebacker Brandon Smith, edge rusher Amare Barno, and cornerback Kalon Barnes. All three guys are going to have to work extremely hard to get play time next season, with Barno and Barnes being the fastest at their positions their athleticism alone could propel them to being on the final roster.
*Ikem Ekwonu (Rd. 1, 6) – Matt Corral (Rd. 3, 94) – Brandon Smith (Rd. 4, 120) –
Amare Bano (Rd. 6, 189) – Cade Mays (Rd. 6, 199)– Kalon Barnes (Rd. 7, 242)*
The Seahawks made a huge change this offseason, and despite knowing Drew Lock was the team starter before the draft the team did not draft a quarterback, with many opportunities. Rather at number nine overall the Seahawks found their left tackle for the future with Charles Cross. The team also got Abraham Lucas to help on the offensive line. Not only did the team help put the offensive line, but the team added two late round wide receivers; Bo Melton from Rutgers and Dareke Young out of Lenoir Rhyne. The biggest addition to the offense must be running back Kenneth Walker. Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny are set to be free agents after this NFL season, and I by no means see Seattle paying either money to stay as a starter. The Seahawks defensively needed a complete makeover, Boye Mafe will help a struggling pass rush and Coby Bryant and Tariq Woolen will both help the awful secondary the Seahawks have had in recent years. I am a huge fan of the Tariq Woolen pick, 6’4” 205 lbs. and tested incredibly well, ran a 4.26 40-yard dash, 42” vertical and a 10’11” broad jump. Though the quarterback position may not be fully straightened out, the team is on its way back to the playoffs.
*Charles Cross (Rd. 1, 9) – Boye Mafe (Rd. 2, 40) – Kenneth Walker (Rd. 2, 41) –
Abraham Lucas (Rd. 3, 72) – Coby Bryant (Rd. 4, 109) – Tariq Woolen (Rd. 5, 153) –
Tyreke Smith (Rd. 5, 158) – Bo Melton (Rd. 7, 229) – Dareke Young (Rd. 7, 233)*
Philadelphia Eagles, Detroit Lions, New York Giants, and Pittsburgh Steelers
New England Patriots
Okay, so I understand Cole Strange tested incredibly well at the NFL combine, but did he really test well enough to be a first-round pick? Obviously trading away Trent Brown left a big hole in the offensive line, but was it necessary to reach for Strange at the end of the first round? That is not the only reason I am giving the Patriots the title of a draft loser… Why draft Bailey Zappe? I get he was a record breaker and did great things at Western Kentucky, and maybe it was just a fourth-round pick, but now he is just going to sit behind Mac Jones and get no true playing experience. The cornerback position was the Patriots biggest need and though the team did address the position by drafting Marcus and Jack Jones, it did not seem it was of the upmost importance to the team. The team also has a stable of running backs and then proceeded to add two more to the roster with Pierre Strong and Kevin Harris. The team did not address what was perhaps the team’s biggest need going into the draft line, linebacker. Despite all the ties to Devin Llyod being the team’s first round pick; the Patriots traded down and as talked about earlier and shown below drafted Cole Strange.
*Cole Strange (Rd. 1, 29) – Tyquan Thornton (Rd. 2, 50) – Marcus Jones (Rd. 3, 85) –
Jack Jones (Rd. 4, 121) – Pierre Strong (Rd. 4, 127) – Bailey Zappe (Rd. 4, 137) –
Kevin Harris (Rd. 6, 183) – Sam Roberts (Rd. 6, 200) – Chasen Hines (Rd. 6, 210) –
Andrew Stueber (Rd. 7, 245)
This truly depends on what, you personally viewed as the Chicago Bears biggest need heading into the draft. I will say however that I strongly disagree with you if you think that defense was the side of the ball that needed to be addressed. Not only did the Bears not have a first-round pick, but then with both of their second-round picks Chicago selected a cornerback and a safety. Offensive line was surely a bigger need to protect Justin Fields, starting just ten games last season Fields was sacked 36 times. The team added four offensive linemen in the draft, and three in free agency, though two signed in free agency (Lucas Patrick and Dakota Dozier) are currently listed as starters they are on one- and two-year deals. I also have no idea what Pro Football Focus Fantasy Football was talking about with the “crazy” additions of Byron Pringle in free agency and drafting Velus Jones, but this offense still sucks. Justin Fields has no support in Chicago. It is very sad to see that is the case, but Darnell Mooney, Byron Pringle, and Velus Jones as a starting three wide receiver group does not scare me, nor should it scare any defensive coordinators. I usually like to elaborate on things at the end of a paragraph, but I am going to keep this blunt… The Chicago Bears failing to build around Fields is going to be the reason he cannot put himself in the conversation of a starter-caliber quarterback.
*Kyler Gordon (Rd. 2, 39) – Jaquan Brisker (Rd. 2, 48)– Velus Jones (Rd. 3, 71) – Braxton Jones (Rd. 5, 168) – Dominique Robinson (Rd. 5, 174) – Zachary Thomas (Rd. 6, 186) – Trestan Ebner (Rd. 6, 203) – Doug Kramer (Rd. 6, 207) – Ja’Tyre Carter (Rd. 7, 226) –
Elijah Hicks (Rd. 7, 254) – Trenton Gill (Rd. 7, 255)*
I am sure this is going to catch a lot of people caught off guard, but I do not think that the Bengals hit well on the draft this year. Cornerback was the unanimous need for the Bengals heading into free agency, the team resigned Eli Apple and Tre Flowers. The team drafted Cam Taylor-Britt but standing at just 5’10” and weighing less than 200 lbs. it is very unlikely that he becomes one of the starting corners for the Bengals, especially with Mike Hilton still being on the roster. I will say that I like the Daxton Hill pick however, I discussed this in my Bengals and Rams article just before the draft that it would be in Cincinnati’s best interest to draft a safety with Jessie Bates on the franchise tag and Vonn Bell set to be a free agent after this 2022-23 season. I will say this was a draft for the Bengals to just add depth to the roster but other than the first two picks I am not a big fan of the rest of the selections. Tycen Anderson is very athletic, standing at 6’1” and weighing in at 209 lbs. Anderson ran a 4.36 40-yard dash and showed great signed of agility by running the three-cone drill in 6.64 seconds. But we all know the usual hype of a player rising up draft boards after the NFL combine and college pro days, I think the speed that Anderson showed was enough to get him into that fifth-round selection. All the Bengals picks will be great for depth, but I truly only see Daxton Hill working into a starting role with the team in 2022.
*Daxton Hill (Rd. 1, 31) – Cam Taylor-Britt (Rd. 2, 60) – Zachary Carter (Rd. 3, 95) –
Cordell Volson (Rd. 4, 136) -Tycen Anderson (Rd. 5, 166) – Jeffery Gunter (Rd. 7, 252)*
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams are flying in high off that Super Bowl victory, while Sean McVay and company are laughing off all the homework, they did on Cole Strange to end up being a first-round pick, the team did not do a fantastic job drafting this year. Now the Rams are in a position that a draft is not the biggest need for them to capitalize on, I mean come on now they signed quarterback Matthew Stafford, offensive tackle Joe Noteboom, and center Brian Allen all to three-year extensions. Oh, did I forget to mention that the Rams also brought in Allen Robinson, Bobby Wagner, and traded to get Troy Hill back from the Cleveland Browns. This Rams draft was like the Cincinnati Bengals, just building depth for the roster and looking at expiring contracts. I do not want this to seem like I am just saying contenders just drafting for depth are losers in the draft, I am honestly just not a fan of the players that the Rams drafted. Kyren Williams has the potential to be featured in the offense this season, but being that Darrell Henderson is going to be a free agent after this season it is more likely Williams will be featured with and behind Cam Akers.
*Logan Bruss (Rd. 3, 104) – Decobie Durant (Rd. 4, 142) – Kyren Williams (Rd. 5, 164) – Quentin Lake (Rd. 6, 211) – Derion Kendrick (Rd. 6, 212) – Daniel Hardy (Rd. 7, 235) –
Russ Yeast (Rd. 7, 253) – AJ Arcuri (Rd. 7, 261)*
My last loser of the draft is the Miami Dolphins. Not only did the team only have four draft picks this year, but none of their picks really caught my eye. Obviously, the Dolphins did a lot of spending in the offseason, adding Chase Edmonds, Raheem Mostert, Tyreek Hill, Cedrick Wilson, Terron Armstead, and resigning Xavien Howard and Emmanuel Ogbah. This Dolphins team is poised to contend in the AFC East and the entire AFC, they may not have hit in the draft, but they did an incredible job in free agency. Channing Tindall and Cameron Goode will be good additions to the linebacker group, but with Erik Ezukanma and Skylar Thompson I do not see the value or purpose of the picks. Miami brought in three new wide receivers and resigned Preston Williams, so why spend a fourth-round pick on Ezukanma? Now Skylar Thompson I have no idea what the need for this pick was and believe me a seventh-round pick is not the most valuable item in the world, but Thompson will likely be the fourth string quarterback on the Broncos roster come the start of the NFL season.
*Channing Tindall (Rd. 3, 102) – Erik Ezukanma (Rd. 4, 125) – Cameron Goode (Rd. 7, 224) – Skylar Thompson (Rd. 7, 247)
Washington Commanders, Minnesota Vikings, and Los Angeles Chargers