NFL Draft 2022 Recap
Here’s our biggest takeaways from this year’s NFL draft.
The NFL Draft is kind of like that old John Mulaney bit about a giant pile of money. For draft fans, half the fun comes from comparing teams who use their money pile to maneuver around the competition alongside others who light their giant money pile on fire and use the leftovers to sign a waffle.
This year’s NFL Draft didn’t feature many picks worthy of a raised eyebrow, but it still had several winners and losers. Let’s break down a few of the biggest ones:
No one liked this year’s quarterbacks
Teams approached this year’s quarterback class with all the enthusiasm of someone grabbing a late dinner from a gas station hot dog tray. Kenny Pickett was this year’s only first-round quarterback selection, and you’d have to go all the way back to 2013 to find a quarterback class that elicited as much of a collective meh.
Despite draft analysts’ love for Malik Willis and Desmond Ridder, both quarterbacks’ third-round landing spots fell well short of projections. But with the Tennessee Titans and Atlanta Falcons, both quarterbacks also landed with teams that can afford to have them sit down and develop.
Willis’s throwing talent and mobility in particular were a highlight during the pre-draft process:
Wide receivers got moved/paid
A.J. Brown’s draft day trade to the Philadelphia Eagles was the latest aftershock from the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Christian Kirk signing. The Eagles immediately signed Brown to a four-year, $100 million contract while the Titans signed Brown’s replacement in Arkansas wide receiver/boar hunter Treylon Burks.
The current approach around wide receiver salaries reflects teams’ weird economics: you’ll pay your good receiver $100 million, or you’ll move them to a team that wants to pay them $100 million.
The draft reflected the flipside of this approach—13 wide receivers were picked in the first two rounds of this year’s draft, which continues a trend that’s accelerated in recent years:
|Year||Receivers drafted in first two rounds|
With college wide receivers becoming increasingly pro-ready out of the gate, more NFL teams are willing to draft players like Christian Watson and Wan’Dale Robinson early in order to pay them far less than $100 million. (And if you’re a good wide receiver, we’d suggest keeping your moving boxes out in the garage.)
Players worth watching
The Georgia Bulldogs had an NFL-record 15 players drafted this year, and one of the most notable was defensive tackle Jordan Davis, who went to the Philadelphia Eagles. Despite weighing 341 pounds, Davis put up a 4.78-second 40-yard dash time. According to Next Gen Stats, that’s the fastest time for a player over 310 pounds since 2003.
Jordan Davis ran an official 4.78 40-yard dash at 341 pounds, the fastest time by any player over 310 pounds to be invited to the combine since 2003.— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) March 5, 2022
🔹 Production: 74
🔹 Athleticism: 97
🔹 Overall Score: 84
» All three scores rank top 3 among 2022 DTs#NextGenScores pic.twitter.com/kfxEUzqSa4
Elsewhere, Atlanta Falcons linebacker Troy Andersen was a Swiss Army knife at Montana State with stints as quarterback, fullback, running back, and linebacker. He was also one of only four players in this year’s draft class to earn a perfect 10.0 Relative Athletic Score, which measures players’ physical stats.
And finally, the Baltimore Ravens earned plaudits for a draft class that drew a balance between long-term and immediate needs. But really, we just want them to do this with offensive lineman Daniel Faalele (6 ft., 9 inches, and 379 lbs) at some point during the regular season: