• Ben Matthews

Best and Worst Picks of Every Round in the 2022 NFL Draft

The annual NFL Draft has been and gone in the blink of an eye! I, for one, cannot wait to dig into the 2023 class, but there is still much to debate about the landing spots of this year's crop of talent. The dust is now settling, so today I take a look at the best and worst picks of every round in the 2022 NFL Draft.

The Best And Worst Picks Of Every Round In The 2022 NFL Draft
This is just a small selection of the best and worst picks of every round in the 2022 NFL Draft. Let us know your thoughts and who we missed on Twitter @GridironXtra

I am going to run through each round from one to seven and include a few honourable (and dishonourable) mentions along the way!


Let's dig in.


By Ben Matthews.

 

Round One


Best pick: Jermaine Johnson (26th overall) — New York Jets. This has been an excellent draft by the Jets. Decisive and concise, the organisation added seven players, all within the first four frames, who will add quality to positions of need.


The trade up to secure Johnson highlighted their decisiveness as they snagged the best player available at that juncture and a top ten talent in the process. Johnson will pair nicely opposite the returning Carl Lawson on the edge and can win with speed and power.


He is the best edge setter in the class of all the defensive ends and will be an immediate starter with double-digit sack upside.



 

Worst pick: Chris Olave (11th overall) — New Orleans Saints. Firstly let me preface this by saying that this is not a knock on the player. Chris Olave has the talent to be an outstanding pro at the NFL level and he will become a reliable WR2 at the very least.


My question is aimed at the Saints organisation which, by making this pick, has sent out a message that they believe they are in a position to win now. Furthermore, not only did New Orleans forsake a better (if currently injured) receiver in Jameson Williams, they gave up a third and fourth-rounder to do so.

When coupled with the pick of Trevor Penning at 19, the Saints are on a mission to surround preemptive starter, Jameis Winston, with the requisite supporting cast to succeed in 2022. I question whether Winston is truly capable of leading an organisation to the promised land, even after the talent drain suffered by the rest of the NFC in 2022.

 

Round Two


Best pick: Andrew Booth (42nd overall) — Minnesota Vikings. After a questionable round one trade, the Vikings got things right back on track with the selection of Booth. The Clemson product is a sensational cover corner with the potential to be special. His instincts are off the charts and will prove to be scheme transcendent at the next level.

Booth displays unparalleled ball skills but is so much more. A first-round talent who was my CB2, he has an ability to stay with his man thanks to his fleet-footedness and fluid hips and possesses a genuine tenacity and ferociousness in run support. An outstanding addition to the secondary in Minnesota.



 

Worst pick: Tyquan Thornton (50th overall) — New England Patriots. George Pickens, Alec Pierce, Skyy Moore; have a look at what you could have won, New England. The same could be said for the New York Football Giants, who selected Wan’Dale Robinson earlier in round two at 43 overall.

The major difference? Well, despite both Robinson and Thornton being over-drafted, the Giants traded down twice to make their selection and in doing so, collected more ammo for later in the draft. New England did the opposite, trading away a fifth-round pick for the right to select the speedster from Baylor.

Thornton may be the fastest wideout in the 2022 NFL Draft but is raw and rail-thin. I feel that the Pats should have selected one of the aforementioned names to secure both an immediate contributor and a higher floor player at the position.

 

Round Three


Best pick: Abraham Lucas (72nd overall) — Seattle Seahawks. I could not, in good faith, select anyone else here in the third round for all the love I have given to Lucas in the pre-draft process. He was my OT4 behind Ikem Ekwonu, Charles Cross and Evan Neal, and has been criminally underrated in the run-up to the 2022 NFL Draft.

A smooth mover in space, he has highly explosive traits and was the most impressive participant during NFL Combine drills in March. Lucas brings first-round value in round three.

Hear me wax lyrical about Lucas below on the NFL Draft Punks Podcast (20:40 into the episode).


Honourable mention: Tyrion Davis-Price (93rd overall) — San Francisco 49ers. My RB4. TDP is going to be a superstar.

 

Worst pick: Cordale Flott (81st overall) — New York Giants. The Giants still make the cut on the worst picks list! Unfortunately, after an outstanding day one, Joe Schoen’s draft went a little haywire. After adding gadget receiver Robinson in round two, Flott became another player who was over-drafted with better players at the position on the board.

Flott is versatile, which is precisely what the Giants need right now in the secondary but they need immediate contributors. Flott is not.

Dishonourable mention: Velus Jones (71st overall) — Chicago Bears. A likely special teams contributor in the return game and WR3/4 is not what Justin Fields ordered.

 

Round Four


Best pick: Eyioma Uwazurike (116th overall) — Denver Broncos. This is a great pick by the Broncos. My fifth rated interior defender, Uwazurike was taken by Denver as an immediate replacement for Shelby Harris over 50 spots lower than his true value.

Uwazurike can immediately contribute at the 5-tech position but has pass-rushing upside when shaded inside and easily sheds blocks in the run game. An excellent under the radar, high floor pick by George Paton.


Honourable mention: Jalyn Armour-Davis (119th overall) — Baltimore Ravens. Another underrated player in the pre-draft process. Armour-Davis will earn a starting spot outside for Baltimore if Marcus Peters or Marlon Humphrey decline. He has everything in his toolkit to succeed at the NFL level.

 

Worst pick: Cade York (124th overall) — Cleveland Browns. Yes, this is a copycat league, but just because divisional rival Cincinnati drafted Evan McPherson in the middle rounds last year (to great success), does not mean to say that the Browns should duplicate everything they see at a micro-scale.

York may well turn out to be every bit as successful as McPherson. That would be ideal after an inconsistent kicking game hampered them in 2021. An immensely positive first four picks preceded this one after not possessing a selection in the first couple of frames; Cleveland decided to go off the reservation here.

Yes, they had managed to trade down, yes, he may be the best kicker in the draft, but round four? A touch rich for my blood.


Dishonourable mention: Bailey Zappe (137th overall) — New England Patriots. Attempting to pull the Jimmy Garoppolo con will not work again. To risk it whilst some excellent developmental offensive linemen such as Matt Waletzko and Zach Tom were on the board, is lunacy. Especially because there are no guarantees that left tackle Isaiah Wynn will be on this team come 2023.

 

Round Five


Best pick: Sam Howell (144th overall) — Washington Commanders. There were many options to choose from in round five, but Washington saw the opportunity to pounce on a player who has been somewhat unfairly maligned in this year’s cycle.

Carson Wentz has the starting job at quarterback for now but is washed up. Taylor Heinicke is a slightly above average backup but neither is going to be a long term difference-maker for the Commanders. The addition of Howell will give the team a genuine camp battle at the position and is a low-risk, high-reward playmaker who was projected as a second-rounder by many. Snagging him in the fifth is great value and worth a shot.

Reunited with college teammate Dyami Brown, Howell could become the QB1 in Washington by season end. Washington needs a PR boost and must continue to take potshots at the position after its overdue rebrand. Could Howell become the face of their franchise? Don’t count it out.


Honourable mention: Khalil Shakir (148th overall) — Buffalo Bills. Cole Beasley is gone and Jamison Crowder has been brought in as a veteran presence for Josh Allen in the slot. Shakir is a high floor receiver who offers immediate value at the position. He also brings special teams value and is a solid pickup for the Super Bowl contenders.

 

Worst pick: Snoop Conner (154th overall) — Jacksonville Jaguars. Conner is merely a backup option and will serve as an insurance policy for all the wear and tear that James Robinson sees in Jacksonville.

The franchise has 2021 draftee Travis Etienne returning this season and he is a multi-faceted weapon who will contribute greatly in the passing game, something that Conner will not. There were better, more complete backs available at this point in the draft and so Conner has a tall order on his plate to prove that he is not a reach when all’s said and done.

Dishonourable mention: Teagan Quitoriano (170th overall) — Houston Texans. The Texans continue to build their roster at all positions and decided that the fifth round was the time to pounce on a tight end. Quitoriano however, is a reach, and the team may live to rue the decision to opt for this prospect over the likes of James Mitchell of Virginia Tech and SMU’s Grant Calcaterra, who were taken later on and offer much higher upside.

 

Round Six


Best pick: Jamaree Salyer (195th overall) — Los Angeles Chargers. A prospect rated in the top-100 by many, Salyer inexplicably fell during the 2022 NFL Draft. The fall must have delighted the Chargers brass as they scooped up an excellent offensive lineman who projects as a guard in the NFL.

Salyer played at tackle within a winning environment at Georgia and so brings a versatile presence that will alleviate roster spot pressure during cutdowns. He has a stout anchor and a thick lower half allowing him to use exceptional power against bull-rushing opponents.

Salyer should compete for a starting spot as a rookie. You really can’t ask for more than that in round six.

Honourable mention: Malcolm Rodriguez (188th overall) — Detroit Lions. Ultra competitive, terrific tackler, core special teamer and a legitimate hybrid option in nickel packages to cover slot receivers.

Another excellent pick late on for the Lions, Rodriguez could mature into a three-down player over time but will come in and compete as a nickel backer right away. He has excellent athleticism with sideline-to-sideline speed. Dan Campbell will be pumped!

 

Worst pick: Curtis Brooks (216th overall) — Indianapolis Colts. When you reach the sixth and seventh rounds of the draft, criticising any pick in a vacuum is a disingenuous exercise.

Brooks may come in and be an intriguing practise squad stash; even better, he could compete for a roster spot. The reason why I question the pick is not for the player, but due to the fact that Indy selected Eric Johnson in the round prior.

The prize for both Brooks and Johnson is to make the final roster, and an interesting camp battle will ensue. However, doubling down on a position at this stage of the draft with two late-round flyers may not have been the best decision when the team requires more competition in the secondary. An upside corner would have been better value here.

 

Round Seven


Best pick: Montaric Brown (222nd overall) — Jacksonville Jaguars. A mixed overall 2022 NFL Draft for the Jags, but I can get on board with this pick. I love what Brown brings: great length and physicality at the line, he can easily reroute receivers and is calm and considered in press coverage.

He displays a competitive mindset and is a real playmaker; Brown had five interceptions in 2021 and plays with an edge to his game. He is not afraid to tackle or hit and will be an asset in run support.

Third in the nation for the lowest passer rating allowed (17.5) per PFF, Brown is a brilliant upside pick here in round seven.


Honourable mentions: Bo Melton (229th overall) — Seattle Seahawks. Great kid, top-notch speed, will be used on screens and end-arounds, as well as a deep threat. Thayer Munford (238th overall) — Las Vegas Raiders. Offers flexibility at guard or tackle for the Raiders. Real shot to make the roster. Rasheed Walker (249th overall) — Green Bay Packers. Starter ability with good foot speed and anchor. Can sometimes overset, but the potential is there for him to attain a roster spot. Jeffrey Gunter (252nd overall) — Cincinnati Bengals. Not crazily explosive, but a powerful edge player for his size who can set the edge. Bit of a tweeter, but has intriguing upside if he can develop some pass rush moves with NFL coaching.

 

That does it! No dishonourable mentions, or poor picks in the seventh round, that seems ludicrous and unfair on guys battling for roster spots.

Let me know who was missed off this list on Twitter @BenAMatthews or join the discussion for more 2022 NFL Draft coverage @GridironXtra.

Thanks for reading!


To hear more 2022 NFL Draft analysis over the coming weeks, listen to the Franchise 33 NFL Show on your chosen podcast provider.



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