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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

2022 NFL Draft Recap

Several teams shine with their selections, while other teams underwhelm

 

By PATRICK FIGUEROA — sports@theaggie.org 

 

After one of the craziest offseasons in NFL history, the 2022 NFL Draft is now complete. While nobody knows how any of these prospects’ careers will turn out, we can still predict which teams will have future success based on the moves they made during this draft. Multiple teams had drafts that are worth highlighting, while other teams’ drafts were more questionable. 

Winner: Baltimore Ravens 

As per usual, the Ravens had a successful NFL draft. With two first round picks, they acquired two high-end prospects — safety Kyle Hamilton from Notre Dame and center Tyler Linderbaum from Iowa. While there are concerns about Hamilton’s athleticism and Linderbaum’s size, both were elite college football players that produced on the field. They followed up day one of the draft with an impressive day two, as they acquired high-upside pass rusher David Ojabo from Michigan in the second round and Senior Bowl standout Travis Jones from UConn in the third. Ojabo was a first round talent before he tore his Achilles tendon during his Pro Day. Despite the injury, this second-round acquisition could be a steal given Ojabo’s high potential. Travis Jones was also a potential steal, as he was projected to be a second round pick. This haul was impressive, and it’s also worth mentioning some of their later picks, like Minnesota’s offensive tackle Daniel Faalele and Iowa State’s tight end Charlie Kolar, both of whom were selected in the fourth round. 

Winner: Kansas City Chiefs 

A team that has played in the AFC Championship game for the past four seasons seemed to only get better with this draft. The Chiefs addressed two of their biggest defensive needs in the first round — selecting cornerback Trent McDuffie from Washington and edge rusher George Karlaftis from Purdue. They also addressed an offensive need by selecting wide receiver Skyy Moore from Western Michigan in the second round. Additionally, the Chiefs were able to add some positional depth in the third round with safety Bryan Cook from Cincinnati and linebacker Leo Chenal from Wisconsin. This was an important draft for the Chiefs after they traded away superstar wide receiver Tyreek Hill earlier this offseason. It is safe to say that they delivered with good draft picks that should allow them to continue their success and fight for another AFC title.

Winner: New York Jets

The New York Jets, amid a rebuild, were in desperate need to add starting caliber talent to their roster. After a solid free agency where they added players like offensive guard Laken Tomlinson, cornerback DJ Reed and safety Jordan Whitehead, they followed it up with a good draft class. With three picks in the first round, the Jets selected cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner from Cincinnati, wide receiver Garrett Wilson from Ohio State and edge rusher Jermaine Johnson from Florida State. They were also able to get one of the best running backs in this year’s draft class, Breece Hall from Iowa State, in the second round. All of these players addressed major needs on the Jets’ roster, and they should be able to instantly contribute to the team. Keep an eye out for some of their late round picks, like third-round tight end Jeremey Ruckert from Ohio State and fourth-round offensive tackle Max Mitchell from Louisiana, as well. 

Loser: Minnesota Vikings 

The Minnesota Vikings made a questionable decision during the first round of the NFL Draft when they traded away the 12th overall pick to their division rival, the Detroit Lions. Not only did this allow the Lions to address a need, but this meant that the Vikings would move down 20 spots in the first round. As a result, they missed an opportunity to get a high-end, instant impact player. Also, the return on this trade was underwhelming, as they only moved up in the second round and acquired a third-round pick in return. With some of their picks, they reached for players that were not projected to go until later in the draft. At least they acquired cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. from Clemson, who can help their thin defensive back room. 

Loser: Arizona Cardinals 

The Arizona Cardinals did not have a first-round pick. This was because they traded their first-round pick to the Ravens for wide receiver Marquise Brown and a fourth-round pick on draft night. The former first round pick, Marquise Brown, has been underwhelming during his NFL career. Also, the Philadelphia Eagles acquired an elite wide receiver, AJ Brown, for a first-round pick. This made the Cardinals trade look worse, but if there is any reason to be optimistic about this trade, it is the fact that Marquise Brown and Cardinals quarterback, Kyler Murray, were a dynamic duo in college. Also, the Cardinals did need a receiver, so at least they addressed a need with their first round pick. Despite some reasons to be optimistic, this trade was questionable for the Cardinals. 

Loser: Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears made solid selections with their three picks on the second day of the NFL draft. They added cornerback Kyler Gordon from Washington, safety Jaquan Brisker from Penn State and wide receiver Velus Jones Jr.  from Tennessee. Despite these being good picks for the team, the Bears needed to provide more offensive support for their young second-year quarterback Justin Fields. After an underwhelming free agency that added little offensive support, the Bears needed to address their offensive needs, most notably offensive line, during the draft. Failing to do so puts Justin Fields in a tough spot. He will need to do a lot more than what a second-year quarterback should be asked to do. While Chicago acquired players who should have good NFL careers, there is uncertainty if the same can be said for their quarterback. 

With the conclusion of the 2022 NFL Draft, the beginning of offseason training for NFL teams, like OTAs, minicamps and training camps, is right around the corner. Also, the NFL schedule release is imminent, as the full schedule is set to be released on Thursday, May 12 at 5 p.m. PT. While there are still some free agents still available to be signed, such as Julio Jones, Tyrann Mathieu and Odell Beckham Jr., the conclusion of the NFL draft signals that the beginning of the 2022 NFL season is getting closer. 

 

Written by: Patrick Figueroa — sports@theaggie.org 

 

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