Open Rants by NoHeroes94




2022 NFL Draft Grades (Rounds 1 - 2)
Published at 5/10/2022
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Introduction/Results

Welcome to my post-draft grades! I grade them a few days after the draft, then at the end of the regular season. My version last year got a ton of views thanks to a website feature for multiple weeks. Before I proceed, this is a recap from the results of this year’s mock (skip to Pick 1 if you don’t care).

In my mock draft, I disclosed that due to the amount of double-picks in the 1st round I’d calculate by either “Method 1” (right selection) or “Method 2” (right team), whichever was higher. I got 8 picks correct this year. This was my precise target, so I’m pretty happy considering how erratic this year was!. 

Based on Method 2, I managed to get 8 correct. 


  • Travon Walker (1 - Jaguars) (also correct via Method 1)

  • Aidan Hutchinson (2 - Lions) (also correct via Method 1)

  • Sauce Gardner (4 - Jets) (also correct via Method 1)

  • Evan Neal (7 - Giants) (mocked at No. 5, same team)

  • Garrett Wilson (10 - Jets) (also correct via Method 1) 

  • Chris Olave (11 - Saints) (mocked at No. 16, same team via trade-up)

  • Quay Walker (22 - Packers)(mocked at No. 28, same team)

  • Logan Hall ~+ (33 - Buccaneers)(mocked at No. 27, same team via trade-down)

~+ The Buccaneers took Logan Hall 33rd overall only after a trade down from the 27th pick as predicted. Considering this was their original 1st round pick (traded down), and the very 1st pick of the 2nd round, rather than an ‘original’ 2nd round selection, I think that’s close enough to be considered correct even if it wasn’t the same round (just 6 picks apart).  Perhaps revisionist logic, but I’m going with this. 

NoHeroes94 Draft Scores

2022 - 8 Correct

2021 - 12 Correct 

2020 - 6 Correct 

Now, onto the grades!

1-1

Jaguars

Travon Walker

EDGE

Georgia

In my final mock draft, I stated the following: --“Given the Jaguars' history, I'd take the double [Hutchinson], but it would be hard to be too critical given that Walker is one of the few blue-chip talents in this weaker top-end draft class.”

This grade will reflect that. In the end, Travon Walker was a top-3 talent in this class and has unreal potential. His athleticism and versatility is off the charts, and I like the fit. Equally, Hutchinson’s high floor and still high ceiling set means that I would have gone in that direction. Walker’s pass rushing ability is still a projection, but the Jaguars could be getting more of a No. 1 overall worthy prospect if he plays to his skill-set. I would have preferred Hutchinson, but Walker was the other worthy candidate and betting on upside isn’t a bad thing.

Grade: B

1-2

Lions

Aidan Hutchinson

EDGE

Michigan

The Lions didn’t take long to run this card in, and for good reason. After the conclusion of the regular season, Hutchinson was the consensus No. 1 overall pick until about a week ago, where it felt the tides were turning in Walker’s favor. Whilst the former has more athletic potential, Hutchinson is the best pure football player and productive defensive end right now and it isn’t close. The Lions are a team who needs to capitalize on its various selections in year 2 of this rebuild, and this is a stellar start in that regard.  

Grade: A

1-3

Texans

Derek Stingley Jr.

CB

LSU

You know the narrative by now; Stingley Jr.’s freshman (2019) season and upside was off the charts, and seemed worthy of a top-5 selection. He has a shut-down cornerback skill-set. Since 2020, though Stingley Jr. has been inconsistent and injury prone as a fringe 1st rounder. The Texans are banking on his skill-set and upside here. I’m a critic of Stingley’s, but he has been trending as a top-10 pick, and I felt comfortable with stingley in the 7-12 range after Gardner. Additionally, the Texans absolutely had to get better at cornerback. 

This isn’t a failed pick, but I don’t love it, nor the logic. I feel Sauce Gardner was comfortably CB1 by the end of the process with several years of quality tape and high athletic traits, and No. 3 for a player with so many concerns is very high. Additionally, the Texans seemed short-sighted here strategically even if they preferred Stingley Jr. They really need some OL help, with some premium options available. Tytus Howard has been okay, but has not done enough yet to warrant a lucrative extension or the franchise tag. Meanwhile, Laremy Tunsil could be on the move soon as he’s very expensive. Their remaining OL is a mess, and needs several upgrades.

I think the Texans would have left Thursday night a better football team drafting OL first, then CB. They did the opposite and got Stigley Jr. + Green, rather than Ekwonu + McDuffie/Hamilton (both would have been available if they had not traded down). They could have even traded down a bit and taken Elam, Hill or Booth Jr. None of this matters if Stingley Jr. becomes a superstar, but he is a definite ‘boom or bust’ prospect, and I feel the Texans could have made their overall team better by doing it differently.

Grade: C

1-4

Jets

Sauce Gardner

CB

Cincinnati

The Jets must have been thrilled when Sauce Gardner landed in their laps. The Jets had an outstanding 1st round, and it started with the right pick that opened the board for them later. D.J. Reed was a stellar signing, but they needed another cornerback and they’ve gotten their potential future franchise star Sauce Gardner. I had Gardner as my No. 2 player by the end of the process, and along with Reed and Bryce Hall consolidated their secondary with BPA. Great pick, although they’d have been ill advised to go elsewhere with it. 

Grade: A

1-5

Giants

Kayvon Thibodeaux

EDGE

Oregon 

So much for Thibodeaux’s reported slide. Charlie reported that the Giants reportedly wanted Gardner or Stingley Jr. badly, but would revert to Thibodeaux as their defensive player in the top-7 if they both went both they picked. As usual, he was right on the money. With all OT’s available, the Giants smartly decided to take their defender now to avoid a trade up. The worst case scenario was the Panthers took 1 of the 3 top-tier OT’s.

I would have been lower on this pick had Gardner been available, but I like the Thibodeaux pick a lot with him off the board. He does have a unique character that some will not like, but his character concerns were very overblown by the media. Thibodeaux seems to have a Deion Sanders personality where he just wants to establish himself both on the field and as a personality. That has its pros and cons. However, on the field, Thibodeaux is immensely talented and deserving of a top-10 selection, as well as arguably BPA if you remove tackles from the equation.

Grade: B+

1-6

Panthers

Ickey Ekwonu 

OT

N.C. State

The Panthers had to be ecstatic that all 3 premium OTs got to the pick, as many thought at least 1, possibly 2 could be gone. I had Ickey here in previous updates, but presumed he’d go in the top-5. However, the CB’s pushed the OT’s down the board, the Panthers had their pick of the bunch. For the 2nd straight draft, they picked a local product. In my opinion, Ekwonu is the best offensive lineman in this class, and although Cross may be a more talented pass protector, Ekwonu is the most balanced between pass and run with equally insane upside. Ekwonu can be the Panthers LT upgrade they’ve sorely needed. Between not panicking to move up for a QB, making the right decision at LT and then taking the right OT prospect specifically (in my opinion), this deserves  the first max grade

Grade: A+

1-7

Giants

Evan Neal

OT

Alabama

It was a given that the GIants were going to take an OT, the questions were (a) which one, and (b) at 5 or 7? Due to the CB’s, they took their defender at 5, which left them with Neal or Cross here. I think Cross has more upside in pass protection, but Neal is the right pick. He has insane potential as an All-Pro caliber RT or G, which he can play in New York. He also has the physical tools to move to LT if they’d prefer to shift their line a bit, and his versatility gives the Giants a ton of options. For a team who needed better blocking up front quickly, Neal feels the sensible choice here. 

Grade: B+

1-8

Falcons

Drake London

WR

USC

I was originally a bit surprised this was not Garrett Wilson, but it was only a mild one. I had close grades on the top-4 receivers by the end (all were 7 ranks apart on my big board, from 8 to 15), and had previously mocked Drake London to the Falcons in other updates, so I’m a bit gutted I didn’t revert to that pick closer to the time. London to the Falcons makes so much sense, as Arthur Smith probably saw his next A.J. Brown in him. 

London has some speed concerns, but like Pitts, is a mismatch receiving nightmare who can bully opposing cornerbacks with his physicality. With Thibodeaux gone, I thought they may have taken Johnson, but he ended up sliding - likely due to character concerns (I’ll appreciate Charlie’s ‘Why the Slide?’ article on Johnson post draft). Given their needs at WR and EDGE, either/or made a lot of sense, and London was my WR2 (by a hair, he was my WR1 earlier in the process) so this is a good pick overall. 

Grade: B+

1-9

Seahawks

Charles Cross

OT

Mississippi State

The top-10 went beautifully for the Seahawks; they missed on the top-2 CB;s, but had both Cross and Johnson fall into their laps. Either/or pick would have been lauded, but Cross was probably the best pick they could have made. They neglected Wilson’s blocking for much of his tenure, to the point where it was a likely big reason their relationship ended up going south. This was amongst the best picks of the 1st round. Cross isn’t as far down the road developmentally as Ekwonu or Neal, but many scouts felt he had the most talent in the class. Most thought he wasn’t getting past the Panthers at No. 6, so at No. 9, this is extremely good value. The Seahawks have made some weird picks in recent years, but this was a bonafide home run. Again, I had mocked this in previous updates. 

Grade: A+

1-10

Jets

Garrett Wilson 

WR

Ohio State

I can’t stress enough how well the Jets did with all of these selections. Like at No. 4, they had their prime target just fall to their laps. It was an open secret that the Jets were enamored with Wilson, but he had to get past the Falcons at No. 8. Fortunately for them, they opted for another receiver in London. Wilson was my WR1 and No. 7 player by the time the draft came, and the fit makes too much sense. Wilson is an explosive YAC weapon with good speed, game-altering playmaking ability and is a high character individual by all accounts. 

Grade: A+

1-11

Saints 

Chris Olave

WR

Ohio State

Olave was someone I mocked to the Saints at No. 16. However, with the 2 receivers taken off the board so early, it started a crazy receiver rush (6 ended up going in the top-18 selections). For the Saints, this was a solid move to secure someone they coveted, as it would have been very unlikely he’d have made it to No. 16. I prefer Jameson Williams to Olave, but Olave was still the 15th ranked player on my big board and if he was their guy, this move was necessary. The Saints need some stability in the position after not really having Michael Thomas healthy for 2 years. 

For the Commanders, this trade is puzzling. I’d have understood if they were out on a receiver, but they ended up taking Dotson at No. 16. I love Dotson, and was higher on him than most, but I still recognise that Olave is a better prospect who was there for the taking. More on that later. 

Grade: B+

1-12

Lions

Jameson Williams

WR

Alabama

This was an exceptional trade-up pick which I am going to give this an A+ for two reasons.

Firstly, Jameson Williams was close to being a WR1 candidate before his injury. He settled as WR3, and No. 12 on my big board, but was a fraction behind Wilson and London, so he was taken in the right range. Given the recent drama with 2nd round receivers like Deebo, A.J. Brown and Metcalf (more on that later) getting your WR in the 1st round will be coveted. The Lions absolutely have a WR1 prospect in Williams and have the 5th year option in him now.

Secondly, and most pertinently, the Lions fleeced the VIkings - a divisional rival - in this trade. Giving up No. 32 and No. 34 for No. 12 feels like a no-brainer move and I’m shocked they did not have to sacrifice a future 1st to move up 20 (!) spots. Yes, the Lions needed to build their roster, and you need more picks to do that. However, they desperately needed a WR1, and did so essentially by downgrading their 2nd round pick by 12 selections and another Day 2 pick. To get a franchise receiver, that is absolutely worth it. 

For Minnesota, I simply don’t know why they’d trade a premium pick to a divisional rival to take a WR that could burn them for 5-10 years, especially with prospects like Jordan Davis, Trent McDuffie and Kyle Hamilton on the board who could have been great day 1 starters. What makes it worse is they did it again in Round 2! 

Grade: A+

1-13

Eagles

Jordan Davis

DT

Georgia

Howie Roseman is absolutely superb at navigating the draft, and he had an A+ opening night. Like in 2021, the Eagles skipped forward two spots to ensure someone ahead of them didn’t take the prospect they coveted. It was an open secret the Ravens loved Davis, and even if the intel is wrong, why take the risk for such a coveted prospect? They gave up very little to take their future franchise DT. I think Davis is a top-10 talent who is going at a good range due to his limited pass-rushing arsenal. However, Davis is a freakish athlete with a very unique skill-set. Davis may not make a monstrous impact Day 1, but could develop into a superstar at the position and be a seamless transition from Fletcher Cox, who is getting older and now only on the team on a 1-year deal. 

Grade: A+

1-14

Ravens

Kyle Hamilton

S/LB

Notre Dame

The Ravens had an incredible draft overall. They’ll be disappointed they missed out on Jordan Davis, but took another highly talented prospect instead. Hamilton does have some projection concerns, as he’s a bit of a tweener, but Hamilton has an unteachable skill-set and incredible tools. The Ravens need help at strong safety and linebacker, and Hamilton can help in either/or category. Despite his late ‘slide’, Hamilton was amongst the most talented players in the class. This isn’t an exceptional steal or anything, but the Ravens will be happy with this ‘Plan B’ pick.

Grade: B+

1-15

Texans

Kenyon Green

G

Texas A&M

This grade would be worse if not for the trade down. I like the Texans recouping draft capital for giving up a couple of spots. However, this is a bit of a reach for Kenyon Green. I thought the absolute earliest he’d come off the board was No. 23 to the Cardinals, and I wouldn’t have loved that pick either. Ideally, Green is a late 1st/early 2nd round pick. Green is a high-floor starter, so I won’t fail the pick, and I think he’ll be a good player. They could have done much better, though. Again, this is a bi-product of what I said earlier - taking a CB No. 3 overall with the needs that team has was not ideal. 

Grade: C-

1-16

Commanders

Jahan Dotson

WR

Penn State

I’m conflicted with this pick. On one hand, I was very high on Jahan Dotson relative to others. I really, really liked him and was a good mid-to-late-1st round option. However, I don’t love the returns because of this trade down. At No. 11, the Commanders were in prime position to take Chris Olave. Olave - like Dotson - has a high floor, but is more athletically gifted and the better prospect. As much as I like Dotson, Olave was unequivocally the better prospect. Perhaps they had close grades on the two, but it seems odd they’d move down and let another team take close to the consensus better prospect. Perhaps Dotson will have a better career than Olave, changing this grading in the future - the reason I re-grade selections. For now, the trade down is a head scratcher, even if I do like Dotson. 

Grade: C

1-17

Chargers

Zion Johnson

G

Boston College

I was a bit surprised when the pick was turned in. I imagine the plan is for Feiler to play RT in 2022. However, I would have much preferred them to take Tyler Smith or Trevor Penning and have a locked-in RT of the future rather than draft a guard and bank on Feiler playing well at RT. This was early for Johnson, in my opinion, although it's less of a reach than Kenyon Green was (I had him going No. 24 overall). Still, I think the Chargers could have done better here.

Grade: C

1-18 

Titans

Treylon Burks

WR

Arkansas

This is probably the trickiest re-grade of the bunch. On one hand, I think Burks going off the board as the 6th receiver makes sense - I actually had him as No. 7 on my board. On the basis he was the best receiver available, and the Titans have a need there, I would hav behind Watson, although there wasn’t a vast divide between them, so I would have given this a B+. However, factoring in the A.J. Brown trade is a must and it weights this pick down quite a bit. The Titans essentially laterally replace Brown with Burks, and whilst Burks is a solid prospect – Burks was often considered an ‘A.J. Brown’ type player – I do not believe he is the caliber of talent Brown was. I think Brown was worthy of an extension, and if the reports are true, low-balling him to that extent is ridiculous ($16-18M APY, apparently). That being said, if the Titans weren’t willing to pay A.J. Brown, then drafting Burks is as close of a comp as you’re going to get. Ultimately…we’ll have to see. Burks is a good replacement, but they don’t improve with this pick thanks to the move.

Grade: B- 

1-19 

Saints 

Trevor Penning

OT

Northern Iowa 

The Saints were reported to really like Tyler Smith, so with both on the board, I would have expected Smith to be the pick. However, Penning is an excellent prospect in his own right, and the margins between the two are slim. Tyler Smith has more natural talent and athleticism, but is raw and needs development. Penning is a bit overzealous at times, but is a higher floor prospect whilst still being pretty athletic. Overall, the Saints couldn’t go wrong, and I think they made the correct decision taking two of the best players at two premium positions of need.

Grade: B+

1-20 

Steelers

Kenny Pickett

QB

Pittsburgh

This feels like the Mac Jones pick of this draft class, with Pickett being the highest-floor prospect and pro-ready with equal questions around his athleticism and ceiling as a 1st round prospect. Despite Jones’ great rookie season, I’m still not convinced he’ll end up being the best QB of that draft class. He’ll have a good career, but may never be an elite player. I feel similarly to Pickett, and despite my disdain at the 49ers potentially picking him 3rd overall, do think he’s a superior prospect to Pickett. I have no problem with the Steelers `playing it safe’ with Pickett, and I imagine he’ll be a solid starter, but I can’t imagine him being more than a Cousins/Prescott caliber QB. That’s fine, but you probably won’t be competing for championships that way. Although he slid to the 3rd round with the remaining QB’s, I preferred Willis to Pickett. 

Grade: B-

1-21

Chiefs 

Trent McDuffie

CB

Washington 

Aside from one pick coming up, this was my next favorite selection of the opening round. McDuffie was my CB2, and preferred him to Stingley Jr. who went 3rd overall! Stingley has a higher ceiling than McDuffie - arguably even Sauce - but McDuffie feels like a very rounded prospect who does so much well. The Chiefs had a huge need at cornerback after losing Charvarius Ward, but have managed to plug that gap with a very safe prospect who still has a ton of upside. He might even be an improvement over Ward long-term. I mocked McDuffie at No. 12 to the Vikings, and felt he was all but sure to have gone in the late teens, so this trade up was worth it for a player I had as my No. 14 overall prospect. 

Grade: A+

1-22

Packers

Quay Walker

LB

Georgia

The longer the 1st round went on, the more it felt like the Packers weren’t going to get their WR in the opening round (although they did an excellent job in Day 2 trading up). Walker is a fine consolation prize and had him going to the Packers – albeit at No. 28. Devin Lloyd was my favorite linebacker in this class, but Walker ascended quickly to LB2 quite late in the process. With excellent athleticism and a great ethic, interviewing well with teams, I can understand the argument in a team talking Walker over Lloyd. This isn’t amazing value (I think this was his ceiling, perhaps the pick prior) but a solid player who fills a solid need in their 3-4 defense. 

Grade: B

1-23

Bills

Kaiir Elam

CB

Florida

I view the Buffalo Bills as having one of the strongest draft records in the past few seasons, and view their current regime in high esteem. That being said, I did not love their draft class this year, and Elam was amongst my least favorite picks of the first round. Firstly, I don’t understand the mild trade up. The Cowboys probably weren’t going to take Elam, and if they were, there were another 3 CB’s that were viewed as top-40 prospects (Booth Jr, McCreary and Gordon) so they had plenty of options. Secondly, I also happen to think all 3 named players are better, safer and more pro-projectable players than Elam. Teams were really worried with Elam’s game speed and dire tackling. He’s a solid coverage CB, and I think the Bills could coach him up, but he screams bust potential. As it stands they passed on 2-3 better CB’s than the one they took, and traded up for the displeasure. I really can’t rate this highly, and think I would have even preferred Breece Hall here.

Grade: D

1-24

Cowboys

Tyler Smith

OT

Tulsa

I think this was another one of the better selections in this draft class. Although this isn’t a steal, Smith could have gone earlier than this. The often ill-informed media was very hot and cold on Smith, but it would have been a huge shock if Smith fell out of the 1st round. I’m mildly biased, as Smith was a huge draft crush of mine, but I think the Cowboys made an excellent decision. They can plug their hole at RT with Smith, and he has the upside to replace the other T. Smith on their roster - Tyron - if he retires or leaves (he’s turning 32 this season). He could even play guard day 1, if they so wish. Tyler is raw, but he has amongst the best physical skill-sets in this draft of any position, including tackle. With more development, it wouldn’t shock me if Smith ended up being a top-3 offensive lineman from this class. 

Grade: A

1-25

Ravens

Tyler Linderbaum

C

Iowa 

The Ravens are a cheat code when it comes to drafting. They managed to flip bad-fit WR Marquise Brown for a 1st round pick, then trade back and take a Day 1 starter. Linderbaum got a lot of sliding stock reports late in the process due to his arms and being undersized. Whilst those concerns are real, Linderbaum had amongst the best college tape of any player in this class, period. The Ravens have managed to likely upgrade from departing free agent Bradley Bozeman, and if he could continue to add to his frame and get stronger, then Linderbaum has All-Pro potential. Hard to grade this as anything but the maximum. 

Grade: A+

1-26

Jets

Jermaine Johnson II

EDGE

Florida State

The second the prompt that the Jets traded up came on the screen, everyone knew who it was for. I can’t believe Johnson slipped this far. I understand that he had some late character reports, but if it was nothing criminal, there was no reason for him to slide this far. I had Thibodeaux and Johnson as EDGE 3A and 3B on my draft board, with very little splitting them. Had the Falcons, Seahawks or Jets themselves taken Johnson at 8-10, I wouldn’t have questioned it. Many beat reporters thought JOhnson was a target at No. 4, let alone 10, let alone 26! This is absolutely incredible value for a player who was a likely backup option if the receivers they liked were gone at 10. This is an A+ pick, and - easily - the best pick of the round (on paper). The Jets left the opening round with a shutdown CB, new WR 1 and likely an EDGE 1. That’s how you draft.

Grade: A+ (Best Pick of the 1st Round) 

1-27

Jaguars

Devin Lloyd

LB

Utah 

This trade wasn’t on the level of the Jermaine Johnson move, but I liked this pick a lot too. The linebacking depth in this class was good, but there was a reasonable chance Lloyd - most people’s LB 1 (including myself) could go to the Patriots, Chiefs or Bengals - or perhaps could have been taken before 33 by someone else trading up. Despite signing Foye Oluokun, they needed another inside linebacker as they look set to move to a 3-4 defense once again.  Their inside linebacking group is now set with solid tacklers, and Lloyd has the dynamic ability to bring some heat on the blitz as well. A very good pick. 

Grade: A-

1-28

Packers

Devonte Wyatt

DT

Georgia

This pick could end up being a huge steal, or a wasted selection. It sort of depends how Wyatt’s off-field character holds up. The reports were pretty damning, but talent wise, Wyatt was as good as any other prospect they could have feasibly taken at this pick. If Wyatt can stay clean, this is great value for him and he’ll be a tremendous asset to their defensive front. I’m semi-annoyed at myself because I continuously mocked Wyatt to the Packers, before dropping him out of my 1st round due to his character reports. Lesson learned. 

Grade: B

1-29

Patriots

Cole Strange

C/G

Chattanooga

The Patriots had a truly abysmal draft that made the Mayock-Raiders’ selections from 2019-2021 look like good value selections (co-incidentally, I thought the Raiders did well post-Mayock with the capital they had). I simply don’t know what Bill Belichik was doing. They took two running backs, even though they didn’t really have much need there, reaching with both of their top-50 picks (egregiously) and drafted someone so unknown in the 6th round that the TV coverage didn’t even know what college he went to. The only two picks I liked were Marcus Jones and Chasen Hines, and neither pick was special. 

I feel a bit bad for the player, because I like Cole Strange quite a bit; I think he’s a talented prospect who could end up being a solid pro. Perhaps in a year I’ll look back and wonder if this was quite as bad as it seems now. He has good versatility at guard or center, and was a solid top-75 prospect who warranted a late 2nd/early 3rd selection. However, anything before the mid-50’s would have been a big reach for Strange. I had him as my 75th player, DJ had him 74th, and some had him well past triple digits. 

This is an insane reach, roughly equivalent (if not worse) than the Tytus Howard 3 years ago by the Texans. The Patriots needed another guard, and traded down very likely because Johnson/Green were both off the board. I completely understand the need, but they should have traded down instead of panicking and reaching here. They should have drafted a cornerback here and taken a guard at No. 50, instead of reaching for a Day 3 receiver there. Cole Strange very possibly could have been there himself.  

Grade: F (Worst Pick of the 1st Round)

1-30

Chiefs 

George Karlaftis

EDGE

Purdue

The Chiefs had a top-5 draft class, and unlike the Patriots, trusted their board and made good value picks. I never viewed Karlaftis as a true top-16 player like many others did, but thought he had some value in the late 1st round. This isn’t a steal, but it is pretty good value. The Chiefs needed help on the edge, and this was greatly addressed with this pick.

 

Grade: A

1-31

Bengals 

Daxton Hill

CB/FS

Michigan

The Bengals are probably sending New England a thank you card for passing on Hill for a Day 2 reach, as he landed right in their laps. Safety may feel like an odd pick with Jessie Bates, but I had a niggling feeling that the relationship may be ending in divorce rather than via an extension. Additionally, Hill projects better as a nickel cornerback than free safety. The Bengals’ draft indicated that they were unsatisfied with the back level of their defense, making numerous secondary picks. Hill reportedly didn’t interview very well, but had the talent to go earlier than this. I had him going No. 18 to the Eagles, perhaps a touch early, but he should have gone in the 20’s to a team like the Bills or Patriots. 

Grade: A-

1-32

Vikings 

Lewis Cine

SS

Georgia

The Vikings made some very weird moves. Although I didn’t mind the personnel they came away with, they squandered opportunity and gave both the Lions and Packers new No. 1 wide outs. Why? They moved down 20 spots with a division rival in ROund 1 without recouping a 1st round pick! It’s insane. At No. 12, they could have taken Trent McDuffie or Kyle Hamilton; Jermaine Johnson and Jordan Davis were also on the board. I like Lewis Cine, mocking him here to the Lions in the past, and to them at No. 34 in my final mock draft. This isn’t an indictment on him - in fact, it’s the only thing saving the selection, as this is good value for Cine with a trade down. However, they missed out on a different caliber of prospect moving down that dramatically, and to do so with a divisional rival and handing them a new dangerous receiving threat (then repeating the mistake!) is an egregious decision.

Grade: C-

2-33 

Buccaneers 

Logan Hall

DT

Houston 

The Buccaneers were likely hoping that Kenyon Green or Zion Johnson were available, but both were taken off the board (rather early). The Buccaneers did the wise thing and traded down. Logan Hall was on my radar for the Buccaneers (coincidentally, this is the 2nd consecutive year I’ve mocked the Bucs’ 1st selection correctly, which is kind of cool), and I love the fact they traded down and still got him. He was a mild reach at No. 27 - viewed him more as a high to mid 2nd rounder, but thought the fit with him as a Suh-replacement as a 3-4 DE was terrific, and clearly, they agreed. Trading down and still taking hall is good work, and this is the sweet spot for him. For what it’s worth, I prefer Hall to Payton Turner, who was taken 28th overall last year. 

Grade: A- 

2-34

Packers

Christian Watson

WR

NDSU

The Packers were left in a bind in the opening round, as all top-6 WR’s by consensus went off in the top-18. I like that they didn’t panic and took two of the best defenders off the board instead (Wyatt was only graded a B- because of the character risk, he was worthy of going that spot talent-wise). However, they desperately needed another receiver and I love the aggressive trade up for Watson. Again, like the Lions, they conned the Vikings into giving them a receiver who could potentially torch them for 5+ years. I don’t understand why the Vikings made this trade; it’s less egregious capital wise than the Lions move, but it was blatantly obvious what position they were moving up for. 

Watson was a late riser, but ended up as WR 6 on my board, ahead of Burks. I think this is the absolute sweet spot for Watson. I wasn’t convinced he’d end up a 1st rounder, and felt that Deebo Samuel/Michael Pittman Jr./Tee Higgins sort of range, right at the top of the 2nd round, made sense. Love the aggressive trade up, getting a receiver in spite of a rival, and that they didn’t panic on Day 1 so again - A+ for me. 

Grade: A+

2-35

Titans

Roger McCreary 

CB

Auburn

This is a pretty solid pick. The Titans invested a 1st round pick in Caleb Farley, but his injury issues came to light and barely played. The Titans needed another CB anyway, and I like the fit. McCreary is a very talented cornerback with superb tape, but fell from the 1st round due to his physical limitations and size. I actually expected him to slide more into the mid-2nd round, but still think the value is fine - I prefer McCreary to Elam by quite some way. McCreary will probably be limited to nickel, but this is a pick the Titans needed to make. 

Grade: B

2-36

Jets

Breece Hall

RB

Iowa State

The Jets left Day 1 with a new franchise receiver, shutdown cornerback and edge rusher. With this pick, they did a Roseman-esque ‘skip’ over the Texans to get themselves an RB1. Overall, this is a good choice. Hall became the consensus RB1 (although I personally prefer Walker), and this was about the range for him. I don’t think Hall is on the level of Javonte Williams from the 2021 class, and I do quite like Michael Carter, but there was a need for a bell cow back to take the pressure off Zach Wilson, which Hall can potentially be. 

Grade: B+

2-37

Texans

Jalen Pitre

S

Baylor 

I’m pretty lukewarm on this pick. Firstly, I’m pretty sure they were set to take Breece Hall then panicked a little bit. Secondly, I was a bit lower on Pitre than the media and many others were. Whilst I think walterfootball.com underrated him a bit as a Day 3 backup, but equally, I do think top-50 is a bit rich. I had Pitre pegged as a late 2nd/early 3rd rounder, so I consider this another reach for Houston. Pitre has versatility to an extent, which I imagine Caserio as a former Patriot covets, but Pitre is much more of a tweener than Hamilton is criticized to be late in the process, and I struggle to see what his home will be in the NFL. 

Grade: C

2-38

Falcons

Arnold Ebiketie 

EDGE

Penn State

I love this website, but I didn’t quite get the site’s main live grade reservations with this pick. The Falcons desperately need pass rush help, having the worst sack total in the NFL last year. The plan always felt to be WR  then EDGE, or EDGE then WR. Opting for a receiver first, if they needed to sacrifice a 4th rounder to get a fringe 1st round talent, then so be it. With the Seahawks (twice) and Bears (who just lost Khalil Mack) in front of them, it was pretty conceivable that one of those teams could have taken Ebiketie. Boye Mafe and Arnold Ebiketie had similar grades for me as high-2nd round prospects who could sneak into the 1st, and Ebiketie in particular had rave reviews throughout the off-season process. This is about right value wise, but he’s a very athletic outside linebacker who is a terrific 3-4 OLB fit for the Falcons and their intent to get the pass rusher they coveted is noted in my grade. 

Grade: A-

2-39

Bears

Kyler Gordon

CB

Washington

Another pick where I respectfully disagree with the site consensus. I like this selection quite a lot. I thought Gordon had a shot of making the 1st round, so I would say this is decent value for him. Additionally, the Bears desperately needed cornerback help. Jaylon Johnson has been a solid pro, but otherwise, they have little talent at the position. OL and WR were bigger needs. The former had no real range-worthy options short of a reach, whereas WR there were arguably better players, but also better depth later down the line. All things considered, I think this was a smart pick. 

Grade: A

2-40

Seahawks

Boye Mafe

EDGE

Minnesota

The world held their breath every time the Seahawks picked on Day 2, in case they took a QB and….they never did. However, I think they had a good draft compared to recent years, taking good players at key spots. I loved their decision to take Charles Cross at No. 9, but it did mean they needed a strong defensive playmaker on Day 2. I like the Mafe pick as a result. The 1st round felt a bit rich for Mafe, but this is the right sort of range for Mafe. Mafe is older and has some physical limitations, but he’s a high effort pass rusher going into a scheme which I think will suit him. He was the best edge rusher not named David Ojabo left on the board, so overall, a quality selection. 

Grade: B+

2-41

Seahawks

Ken Walker III

RB

Michigan State

I share this site’s view that taking running back in the 1st round is very often a mistake, as the shelf-life of the position is diminishing year on year, and there is always a wealth of Day 2 and 3 talent. However, I have liked recent Day 2 picks at the position - Jonathan Taylor in 2020, Javonte Williams in 2021, after addressing bigger needs earlier on Day 1. Walker was one of the more talented Day 2 offensive prospects, irrespective of position, and the run-game is a critical part of the Seahawks’ offensive identity, so I like the pick and the fit. Rashaad Penny finally seemed to be clicking, but he’s on a 1-year prove it deal, and has been terribly inconsistent, so that shouldn’t factor into this decision. I like the pick, and the fit. 

Grade: B+ 

2-42

Vikings 

Andrew Booth Jr.

CB

Clemson

This pick would be an A+ if not for the trade. I think Booth Jr. was in contention for being the 4th best CB in this class, and if you consider Dax Hill a safety, that’s ultimately where I ended up ranking him (5th if you consider Hill a nickel CB). I mocked him at No. 25 to the Bills, but I’m not surprised Booth Jr. fell to the 2nd round due to his medical situation, but I still think he’s a late-1st round talent, so this is good value. Trading down in itself should make this even better, right? Usually, yes. Not with a divisional rival, though. Gifting them Watson is a huge error, and to repeat the mistake after gifting the Lions Jameson Williams is horrendous. The Vikings ultimately ended up with two solid secondary talents in Lewis Cine and Andrew Booth Jr., but at the cost of gifting 2 of their 3 divisional rivals premium prospects they should have had no business in acquiring, especially from Minnesota. This gets knocked down to a B because of that greater context, but I do think Booth - player wise - is an excellent choice. 

Grade: B

2-43

Giants

Wan’Dale Robinson

WR

Kentucky

I love what the Giants did on the opening night of the draft, but I didn’t love what they did here. After missing out on Sauce and Stingley Jr. with their two top-10 picks, I thought they were in prime position to take Gordon or Booth Jr. at No. 36, and that was still the case at No. 38, so I don’t love the 2nd trade for them with the Falcons, who got a terrific player in Ebiketie. CB is a big need in their scheme if they do release/trade James Bradberry, and could have had a fringe 1st rounder fall to them atop the 2nd. Instead, they’ve drafted a receiver I had going a bit lower than this. 

I don’t think Robinson is an egregious reach; I wouldn’t have questioned late 2nd round too much - but above Pickens and Moore? Not so sure about that. Robinson is a great speed threat and has some after the catch ability, which indicates to me the new regime may actually trade Toney. If they don’t - and I don’t think his market will be strong - they basically just got another Kadarius Toney with a bit less talent. This grade may change a lot in a year, but for now, not a fan.  I’d have much rathered one of the corners. 

Grade: C+

2-44

Texans

John Metchie III

WR

Alabama

The Texans’ bad draft continues. Fans must be disappointed, possibly outside of the Stingley Jr. pick which at least could pan out to be an incredible pick if he stays healthy and plays hard. This is the worst pick of the bunch, in my opinion. Firstly, Metchie is a capable receiver who - like Robinson - makes sense in the late 2nd/early 3rd conversation. I like his skill-set quite a bit. However, Skyy Moore and George PIckens are far more talented. Based on the mild reach alone, this is probably a C-. However, Metchie is coming off an injury and the Texans are rebuilding, so why are they trading 3 mid-round picks (a 3rd and two 4ths) for a No. 2 receiver coming off a big injury, with better prospects on the board? Don’t like this pick much, and with the trade, I’m going to give it the 2nd F of the draft so far. 

Grade: F

2-45

Ravens

David Ojabo

EDGE

Michigan

See pick No. 25 for my ‘Ravens are a drafting cheat code’ comment. The Ravens are brilliant at drafting because they don’t panic, trust their board, and take good players of value. 

Injury or not, Ojabo should have gone earlier than this. I honestly think Ojabo would have been in the conversation for Baltmimore at No. 14 had he not torn his achilles. NFL conditioning programs are so good these days that I would have personally taken Ojabo and accepted little return as a rookie whilst he rehabbed. Ojabo has as much natural talent as the 1st round edge rushers taken, arguably more than Jermaine Johnson, but was the rawest of the bunch. The Ravens won’t care. By 2023, Ojabo and Oweh - a good 1st round selection from last year - should be terrorizing AFC defenses. 

Grade: A+ (Best Pick of the 2nd Round)

2-46

Lions

Josh Paschal

EDGE/DT

Kentucky

The Lions have drafted well under their newish regime, having a solid 2021 class and a good opening night. I like Paschal in this sort of range. They did need to address other areas. Still, I won’t be too harsh as this was a bit of a lull in the linebacking depth - a bit too early for some of the Day 2 guys, and Nakobe Dean’s slide due to injury rendered him obsolete as an option this early. Additionally, most of the 2nd round-worthy cornerbacks were gone, so perhaps they just went BPA on their board. 

Grade: B

2-47

Commanders

Phidarian Mathis 

DT

Alabama

This isn’t great value for the Commanders. I like Mathis as a 3rd round prospect with some good tools and high character traits, but the top-50 is a bit rich. This pick also indicates to me that the Daron Payne trade speculation is legit, as I don’t know where Mathis fits otherwise. The Commanders needed a safety and ideally a cornerback, and I thought someone like Jaquan Brisker - who went off the board next -  would have made more sense here. 

Grade: C-

2-48

Bears

Jaquan Brisker

S

Penn State

This is a difficult one. On one hand, Brisker is excellent. The Bears needed a strong safety, and Brisker is an excellent prospect who I really liked throughout this process. This is reasonable value for Brisker, and he does fill a need. However, I’d argue the Bears’ OL/WR needs were much higher priorities. They did address both later in the draft, but Skyy Moore or George Pickens would have been excellent picks. I can forgive them for passing on one of the receivers at 39, but they should have capitalized on the opportunity here. LIke the Texans, this short-sightedness impacted the caliber of receivers they took later in the draft. 

Grade: C+

2-49

Saints 

Alontae Taylor

CB/S

Tennessee

I don’t mind this choice. I thought Taylor was more of a 3rd round prospect, but he is a good player, and his versatility to safety gives the Saints some options. Their top-end CB and S play is decent on paper, but Maye wasn’t himself with the Jets last year, and any injuries could spell big issues for their secondary. Bradley Roby is always a hit or miss player. The Saints could have made better choices, but it’s definitely not a bad pick either.

Grade: B-

2-50

Patriots

Tyquan Thornton

WR

Baylor

The Patriots get the dubious distinction of having the worst pick in both the 1st and 2nd rounds. Honestly, though, I don’t know what the Patriots were doing. They first reached on a 3rd round guard on Thursday night despite there being range worthy cornerback available, and then made this absolutely insane reach on Thornton. 

Tyquan Thornton has some upside as a deep threat, but he was a Day 3 receiver - arguably late Day 3 (I had him as a 6th round talent). He had pretty average production in college, and never played up to his athletic potential in college. He had no business being considered on Day 2. The Patriots, who had a good draft class in 2021, were pretty horrendous this year. 

Grade: F (Worst Pick of the 2nd Round)

2-51

Eagles

Cam Jurgens

C

Nebraska 

This is a decent pick for the Eagles. I think Jurgens being taken here is the sweet spot for him. He’s a very good center who is a high floor starter at the next level. Some people had Jurgens ahead of Linderbaum apparently, although I think Linderbaum was one of the better talents of this draft class in general. This pick indicates this is Kelce’s last rodeo, as Jurgens will be their heir apparent. The only catch with this pick for 2022 is that they’ll likely need to redshirt Jurgens, or accept that he may not be a great guard as a rookie. Like Linderbaum, Jurgens doesn’t project well at other positions due to size limitations.

Grade: B

2-52

Steelers

George Pickens 

WR

Georgia

This is reminiscent of the Devonte Wyatt selection. Pickens could be an insane steal here; without his injuries and maturity issues, he’d be a likely top-20 pick. However, Pickens has some character issues and reportedly interviewed horrifically with teams, to the extent that they took him off their boards. In the lower 2nd round, I like a team taking a gamble on an arguable 1st round talent. Pickens has a WR 1 skill-set, so if he can play to that, this will be a terrific pick. That is a big ‘if’, however. 

Grade: B-

2-53

Colts

Alec Pierce

WR

Cincinnati

The Colts have drafted incredibly in recent years, and I have a feeling this pick will continue that trend. Pierce was underrated by the media, but this is the sort of range he should have gone. He belongs in the Pickens/Moore range, and all 3 went off the board consecutively. Pierce is a big, fast receiver with a great skill-set and good college production. He will be a valuable asset next to Michael Pittman Jr., who has also been a solid 2nd round player two years in. With T.Y. Hilton gone, and Parris Campbell being a massive disappointment, the Colts needed another top-end receiver. Trading down and getting a player of this caliber is to be commended, and bumps this from a B+ to an A 

Grade: A

2-54

Chiefs 

Skyy Moore

WR

Western Michigan

A lot of media outlets will likely grade this an A+. I too like the pick, and it’s a great fit, but this is the right range for Moore to go. I wasn’t as low on him as some of the draft stock reports indicated (3rd - 4th round grades), but I valued him here over the 1st round like others did (PFF, mainly). This is a great pick though. The Chiefs made some decent signings after trading Tyreek Hill, but none moved the needle as WR 1 players. Moore has more upside than them, and some terrific speed and after the catch ability. 

Grade: B+

2-55

Cardinals

Trey McBride

TE

Colorado State

I agree with the site on this one. McBride in himself is going in his sweet spot, late 2nd/early 3rd round is when I thought he’d go. The Cardinals have a good player, and this grade isn’t a reflection on him. However, they just extended Zach Ertz and retained Maxx Williams, so they have a log-jam at the position. They also really needed edge rushers. They got some nice options in the 3rd round, but they could have taken a Drake Jackson or Nik Bonnito here and then drafted a similar caliber tight end later; Isaiah Likely, or Greg Dulchich. McBride is a good player, but it’s a weird fit. He does some things different from Ertz, but unless they’re running a bunch of two TE sets - which counters the Hollywood Brown trade - I do not like the fit at all. 

Grade: C-

2-56

Cowboys

Sam Williams

EDGE

Mississippi

If you haven’t noticed, I default to a B- if the player is talented and could have gone higher, but has serious off-field/character concerns. Case in point here. Sam Williams would have been a 1st rounder if clean. I seriously think, tape-wise, Sam Williams is a top-5 edge rusher in this class, and he was exceptional last year. However, he has some serious off-field issues. The Cowboys have done this time and time again, to varying degrees of success. The Cowboys clearly have their own way of operating, and the player’s talent level warrants this type of selection, but it’s risky. I actually thought Williams may slide to Day 3 due to his off-field stuff. 

Grade: B-

2-57 

Buccaneers 

Luke Goedeke

G/OT

Central Michigan 

Charlie reported that several teams prefer Goedeke to Raimann, so congratulations to him on that terrific pre-draft report, as that clearly ended up being the case. I quite like Goedeke, but like other 2nd round picks, I thought he was more of a 3rd rounder. This is a bit early for Goedeke for my liking; equally, he’s a talented player who can play multiple spots, and they needed a guard to come in and replace the other spot. Don’t think this is amazing value, but it’s still a decent pick based off their needs and who is available. 

Grade: B-

2-58

Falcons

Troy Andersen

LB

Montana State

This was a logical and high-upside pick for the Falcons. They desperately needed another linebacker after losing Foye Oluokun to the Jaguars, and Andersen is a nice pickup. I have Christian Harris rated higher than Andersen, but not by very much (6 spots on my big board), and had Andersen going late 2nd/early 3rd, so this is fair value for a prospect with a lot of potential (if raw)

Grade: B+

2-60

Vikings 

Ed Ingram

G

LSU

Ezra Cleveland has been an above average left guard for the Vikings, but on the other side they have limited options. Ed Ingram is a terrific prospect weighed down a bit by off-field concerns. This is decent value for him, as I thought he could have gone earlier than this. Talented prospect with big off-field concerns? You know the drill by now for the post-draft grading. 

Grade: B-

2-61

49ers

Drake Jackson

EDGE

USC

As a 49ers fan, I was actually very happy with our class considering we didn’t have a 1st round pick. The Tyrion Davis-Price pick was terrible, but beyond that, I think we had a solid B/B+ draft with some good Day 3 OL depth picks, and some talented late fliers with Davis/Castro-Fields. Aside from Davis-Price, I had all players higher on my big board than when they went off, and I think Dohnovan West, Leon O’Neal Jr. and Jason Poe were great ‘draftable’ UDFA pick-ups.

When the pick was in, I was saying to my family “please be [Drake] Jackson or Nik Bonnito”. Jackson fell out of 1st-round consideration in 2021 due to inconsistent production and fluctuating weight, although it is important to note this was seemingly a conditioning demand rather than a by-product of work ethic (e.g. Mekhi Becton). Despite this, I expected Jackson to still be a top-50 selection. Jackson had to deal with a mess of a USC organization and was often used out of position. Jackson has a 1st round skill-set and was starting to put it all together at the end of time at USC, where he was actually used almost exclusively from the edge instead of in coverage. He’s also only 21. This is a good pick for the 49ers, who have plenty of EDGE depth, but little longevity at the position beyond 2022 (aside from Nick Bosa).

Grade: A-

2-62

Chiefs 

Bryan Cook

S

Cincinnati

This fit alongside Justin Reid makes sense, as the Chiefs don’t seem invested in Thornhill. I had Bryan Cook a round later than this, but the value isn’t horrendous - he’s an instinctive safety who seemed to be getting better and better throughout his college career. I’ll put this as a B-, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Cook became a great NFL player. 

Grade: B-

2-63

Bills

James Cook

RB

Georgia

I didn’t love the idea of the Bills taking Breece Hall at No. 25 (well, No. 23 after their trade up). I much prefer the idea here. Cook is a quality starting-caliber running back who could be the most talented player in the new rotation there (Devin Stingletary and Zach Moss). The Bills had to improve their ground attack, and Cook is a better player than his production showed. 

Grade: B+

2-64

Broncos 

Nik Bonnito

EDGE

Oklahoma

The Broncos made a great selection with their 1st pick. Bonnito reportedly has minor character concerns, but they seem more minor compared to other players drafted before him like Devonte Wyatt, Ed Ingram and  Sam Williams and I haven’t read concrete information as per those prospects with Bonitto, so I won’t downgrade this. Bonnito was a late 2nd/early 3rd round caliber edge rusher, so I really liked him coming off the board here value wise. Whilst undersized, I also think the Broncos is an ideal landing spot for him, where he can rotate with Randy Gregory coming off the edge in that 3-4 scheme. 

Grade: A-

Round 3 grades incoming (week commencing 9th May).





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