Ladies and gentlemen, the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft has come to an end. What an exciting night of twists, turns, overall sweating, confusion, and paranoia. You’d think all that being described would sound kind of stressful. It was, but that fun kind of stress.
Things definitely went some sort of way last night. I am here to grade those first-round picks for you all. The classroom was filled with noise and chatter of good things and bad last night. Who received a good grade, and who already failed the draft. Let’s find out, shall we?
1.) Jacksonville Jaguars – Travon Walker (EDGE/Georgia)
Well, it happened. Walker went first overall. I like the kid, but does he really deserve to be the top pick in this draft. That’s up for debate. The lower grade comes from taking a guy with upside athleticism instead of taking a good athlete with good character traits like Hutchinson.
2.) Detroit Lions – Aidan Hutchinson (EDGE/Michigan)
The Lions’ wet dream has come true as they land the blue-chip Michigan product that the knee biter Dan Campbell has always dreamed of. He won’t go far from where he played at Michigan, but I think we can agree he can surely take the Lions far as an organization. Great pick!
3.) Houston Texans – Derek Stingley Jr. (CB/LSU)
The health concerns might be there for Stingley, but I personally believe this is a great pick for the Texans. They needed help in that secondary so badly, and they get a slam dunk pick with the LSU stud right here. I was a little shocked at first, but then I remember when Stingley did at his pro day. The dude is ready to get back on the field and dominate just like he did his freshman year at LSU.
4.) New York Jets – Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner (CB/Cincinnati)
The Jets waste little time with Stingley being off the board, so they select Sauce Gardner to be the shutdown corner they need in this division. With receivers like Stefon Diggs and Tyreek Hill in your division, this seems like a no-brainer pick to me. An easy A+. This kid is gonna be such a stud, and Jets head coach Robert Saleh is gonna love him in the secondary.
5.) New York Giants – Kayvon Thibodeaux (EDGE/Oregon)
He was once thought out to be the #1, but now Kayvon Thibodeaux finds himself being taken here at the #5 spot. I honestly think this is a great spot for him with Brian Daboll as head coach. The defense just instantly got better in the trenches with this massive Oregon addition to help out this leaky Giants defense.
6.) Carolina Panthers – Ikem Ekwonu (OT/NC State)
Thank god, the Panthers didn’t pull the trigger on a quarterback. They will finally be addressing a trash need they have had for a while in an offensive tackle. Icky has been the best tackle in the draft for me for a while, so to me this is for sure an A for the Panthers and company.
7.) New York Giants – Evan Neal (OT/Alabama)
They went to the trenches with their first pick, and now the Giants will also address a glaring need at offensive tackle. Adding Evan Neal is perfect. He will pair up with Andrew Thomas, and finally, Daniel Jones should have some protection. The Giants walk away with two great additions to their team.
8.) Atlanta Falcons – Drake London (WR/USC)
Drake London in our hearts at TFTB was the #1 guy for the wideout department. I personally believe that Garrett Wilson should have gone here though. He’s a better route runner, but Atlanta has taken big receivers like Julio Jones and Roddy White in the past. It’s an interesting pick indeed.
9.) Seattle Seahawks – Charles Cross (OT/Mississippi State)
Seattle doesn’t fudge the pick. That’s crazy man. In my mind, it was either tackle or quarterback, and they finally did something to address their terrible tackle situation. This will help Drew Lock or Geno Smith in the long run. Personally, I think they will run the ball a lot so taking the best pass-blocking tackle is a little weird and why the grade suffers a bit.
10.) New York Jets – Garrett Wilson (WR/Ohio State)
The Jets were in the hunt for a receiver and were #1 in the Deebo Samuel sweepstakes. However, when Garrett Wilson became available, the Jets bounced on it knowing they are getting the best route runner to help develop Zach Wilson right. Wilson, Davis, and Moore sound great to me if I’m Zach Wilson and the Jets.
11.) New Orleans Saints – Chris Olave (WR/Ohio State)
The second Ohio State wideout comes off the board as the Saints trade up with the Washington Commanders to get him. I’ll be honest, I had him mocked to the Saints with their second pick. I know they had a huge run on receivers in this draft, but I think they could have got him later without giving up any capital. Olave is still a great pick which is why it is a B+.
12.) Detroit Lions – Jameson Williams (WR/Alabama)
I’m gonna be real here guys. I know the Lions needed a receiver, but they gave up a lot of capital to move up and take Jameson Williams who is most likely not going to start the season healthy. When you normally see a draft haul getting tossed like that you would think it would be for a quarterback, but no, it was for a receiver. That’s odd to me. I like the player, but giving up capital and a weird situation with him in Detroit makes this, not the greatest grade.
13.) Philadelphia Eagles – Jordan Davis (IDL/Georgia)
Only a matter of time before Davis got picked, but he goes to the Eagles who trade up with the Texans to get him. He is an instant starter for the defense and the eventual replacement for Fletcher Cox. It’s a great pick for them to slide ahead of the Ravens to take him.
14.) Baltimore Ravens- Kyle Hamilton (S/Notre Dame)
This was more of a best player available pick than a big team need. The Ravens already have Marcus Williams at free safety so adding Kyle Hamilton to play strong safety is such a brilliant move. Dammit, I hate them. You can argue that a corner had to be in play, or maybe even an interior offensive lineman. They got screwed when Jordan Davis got taken ahead of them, but they make up for it in a big way with Kyle Hamilton.
15.) Houston Texans – Kenyon Green (IOL/Texas A&M)
Kenyon Green getting drafted before the first half of the draft surprises me a little bit. It is not a bad thing by any shadow of a doubt, but you have to wonder if this pick could have been made later. Love the kid, but just a little early for me considering there might have been bigger needs for the Texans at this spot in the draft.
16.) Washington Commanders – Jahan Dotson (WR/Penn State)
I don’t hate this pick. The receivers are starting to go down the drain so you take the chance on a second-round kid like Dotson. I hate how Dotson’s name reminds me of Doctson’s name, but, I digress. You had to get a guy to help out Carson Wentz in this offense. I probably would have went corner here, but I think this is a decent pick for Washington.
17.) Los Angeles Chargers – Zion Johnson (IOL/Boston College)
I’m not gonna lie, I like this better than them selecting Trevor Penning. Zion has versatility with his ability to excel at guard and play center as well. Herbert and company should have no worries with this offensive line with him on it no matter if he plays guard, center, or even right tackle if they want to go that route. Good pick by the Bolts!
18.) Tennessee Titans – Treylon Burks (WR/Arkansas)
I have a little bit of faith in Treylon Burks. However, you gave up AJ Brown to make this happen… This was not a smart play by Tennessee, and I think they will end up regretting this in the long run. It was an odd move indeed for the Titans. AJ Brown was such an important piece to that offense which is why this hurts so much.
19.) New Orleans Saints – Trevor Penning (OT/Northern Iowa)
Penning is an established run blocker so getting him as a starting left tackle isn’t the worst. However, we don’t know what is happening with the Alvin Kamara situation. Who really knows what is going to happen? He’s a tough guy who loves to play physical, but Northern Iowa is a small school. Can he stand up to the NFL level? I honestly don’t know.
20.) Pittsburgh Steelers – Kenny Pickett (QB/Pitt)
The more I think about this, the more I think we made the right decision. A lot of Steelers fans won’t agree with that statement, but oh well. We know what we can get with Pickett. Willis was a project and we have proven that developing quarterbacks isn’t our strong suit. This seems like the right pick to fight against Trubisky for the starting role.
21.) Kansas City Chiefs – Trent McDuffie (CB/Washington)
It is no secret that Kansas City needed a corner. They picked up the best one available in my opinion. McDuffie has the style and the speed to be a great corner option for the Chiefs. Washington breeds corners. Don’t forget that. This is a great pick by the Chiefs.
22.) Green Bay Packers – Quay Walker (LB/Georgia)
This was a head-scratcher for me. Not only was Quay Walker not the best linebacker in this draft, but he also wasn’t even the best linebacker on his own team with Nakobe Dean there. It doesn’t make sense to me even though I probably knew they weren’t going to go receiver in the first round. This was up there for bad picks so the grade makes sense here.
23.) Buffalo Bills – Kaiir Elam (CB/Florida)
Kaiir Elam was my last corner on my top five, but to be honest, it could have been Kyler Gordon easily in that spot as well. It was a weird thing in my opinion for the Bills to trade up to get Elam when I believe he would have been there for them to take without giving up capital. Also, when guys like Booth and Gordon are there, this might be a little bit of a head-scratcher for me on this one.
24.) Dallas Cowboys – Tyler Smith (OT/Tulsa)
I know Dallas wants to beef up that offensive line, but this could have waited. Your number one need was pass rush in my honest opinion, and you had Jermaine Johnson right there to take. Instead, they went with an interior lineman turned offensive tackle in Tulsa’s Tyler Smith. He is a bit raw which makes me question this pick. Dallas needs to win now not later. So taking a highly penalized project isn’t the best route to take.
25.) Baltimore Ravens – Tyler Linderbaum (IOL/Iowa)
This pick was originally the Cardinals’ pick, but the Ravens sent Marquise Hollywood Brown to Arizona in exchange for their first-round pick. Then trading down with Buffalo gave them the opportunity to select the best interior offensive lineman in this draft; center Tyler Linderbaum. The Ravens have now taken the two clear-cut guys in their position with Hamilton and Linderbaum. Goddamn it.
26.) New York Jets – Jermaine Johnson (EDGE/Florida State)
It was a bit of a longer wait than most hoped, but Jermaine Johnson finally goes off the board. The Senior Bowl stud’s draft stock shot through the roof after the Senior Bowl to the point where he was apparently getting presented as a top ten pick in this draft. The Jets moved up to take the Titans’ pick to take him, and man this is a spectacular move by Gang Green here with Johnson to finally improve the edge rush alongside a healthy Carl Lawson.
27.) Jacksonville Jaguars – Devin Lloyd (LB/Utah)
Speaking of trading up, the Buccaneers traded out of the first round to give Jacksonville another first-round selection, and man was this a great one. They snagged Utah linebacker Devin Lloyd essentially replacing Myles Jack who they cut to save cap space. Lloyd is a sure-fire grade A talent for them in this Jacksonville defense who already took Travon Walker with the first overall pick.
28.) Green Bay Packers – Devonte Wyatt (IDL/Georgia)
The Packers go back-to-back Georgia defensive players now taking a defensive tackle in Devonte Wyatt. The talent was there, but the off-the-field issues caused some teams to back off selecting him. It was a need for Green Bay, but we will have to see how everything shakes out before I call this a great pick by them.
29.) New England Patriots – Cole Strange (IOL/Chattanooga)
This was by far the biggest head-scratcher in the entire first round. Now, don’t get it twisted here. Bill could see a huge potential for this guard from Chattanooga, but honestly, I don’t see it. Strange was a third or even a fourth-round talent that made his way into the first round. There is so much tape from the Senior Bowl of him getting absolutely mossed in one on one protection. Mac Jones better say his prayers here.
30.) Kansas City Chiefs – George Karlaftis (EDGE/Purdue)
He had to get taken at some point right? Karlaftis kind of suffered in this draft based on arm length and a weird playstyle, but I like the kid going here to the Chiefs. He provides some youth to a pass-rushing attack led by an aged Melvin Ingram. Karlaftis can easily make a name for himself here for the former Super Bowl champions.
31.) Cincinnati Bengals – Daxton Hill (S/Michigan)
With Linderbaum off the board, the Bengals had to go secondary here whether it was corner or safety. Their cornerback room needs more help in my opinion, but with Jessie Bates still not having signed his franchised tender made this pick a little bit more realistic. Daxton Hill was the second-best safety in this class, so the Michigan star should flourish quite well to help in the secondary in this brutal AFC North division.
32.) Minnesota Vikings – Lewis Cine (S/Georgia)
The Vikings got this pick by trading down twenty spots with their rival; the Detroit Lions. They desperately needed to go secondary here as their cornerback room is garbage. Instead, they went to the other part of the secondary in the safety department with Georgia Bulldog; Lewis Cine. I don’t hate this pick at all considering Harrison Smith is getting up there in age. A decent pick to close out the first round.