2022 NFL draft recap

2022 NFL draft recap
May 04
12:56 2022

The 2022 NFL draft has come and gone. Some teams achieved their goals of filling roster holes and upgrading positions of need. Some teams drafted well, while others fumbled their picks. This year also showed us that several teams value experienced players over draft capital.

The 2022 NFL draft was one of the more unique drafts in recent memory due to lack of high-profile quarterbacks. There was only one quarterback taken in the first round, which was former Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett. 

Teams in the league saw this lack of potential at the quarterback position in the draft and instead chose to shop around the league for their potential starters. Russell Wilson, Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson were all traded to different teams and Marcus Mariota was signed in free agency.

Other starters like Jimmy Garoppolo and Baker Mayfield are also still on the trading block and I’m sure teams are more comfortable with those two than the crop of quarterbacks in this year’s draft. I guess that was the reason why Malik Willis fell all the way to the third round and Desmond Ridder was selected in the second round as the second quarterback off the board.

For years it has been commonplace for teams to panic and over-draft a quarterback because they are the most important position on the field. Teams realize now that they can trade draft capital for a proven commodity instead of praying for production from a rookie. There were also eight quarterbacks drafted in the first round of the last two drafts, so those teams are still waiting to see if their investment pans out.

One NFL source told ESPN’s Matt Miller that “None of these [quarterbacks] were seen as can’t-miss starters. And this league right now, you’re either a franchise quarterback or you aren’t, so why waste a pick on a guy you’re not convinced about?”

While the quarterback position was down this year, the wide receiver position was as strong as ever. There were 17 receivers taken in the first three rounds of this year’s draft, which is tied with 1994 and 2007 for the most in the first three rounds in draft history. 

It seems as though the receiver position has skyrocketed in value over the last few years. Teams are trading for Pro-Bowl caliber receivers and giving them more money than what we have seen in the past. This year alone, Amari Cooper, Marquise Brown, A.J. Brown, Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill were all traded and received big paydays. There will be more paydays to come for players like Deebo Samuel and Terry McLaurin soon. This is a good sign for the up-and-coming receivers and shows that the position has increased in value.

Receivers are coming into the league more pro-ready than ever before. It was rare for a receiver to come into the league and look pro-ready from day one years ago. Over the last decade we have seen receivers become more productive earlier and earlier in their careers. Just look at Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase; they are two of the best receivers in the league and they only have three years of experience combined. 

Another thing I noticed in this year’s draft was the continued dominance of SEC (Southeastern Conference) players selected. For years the SEC has been the dominant conference when it comes to talent and NFL teams want that talent on their rosters.

There were 34 players selected in the first three rounds of the draft this year and Georgia had a total of 15 players selected overall, which is the most by any school all time since the draft was reduced to seven rounds in 1994. A total of 65 SEC players were taken this year, which is ridiculous if you really think about it.

NFL teams want the most pro-ready players they can find, and the SEC continues to collect the most talent of any conference. NFL teams see that these players are able to perform at a high level against the best talent in the country and realize that their skills would most likely translate to the next level.

I don’t foresee any changes anytime soon as long as Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Florida, Auburn  and Texas A&M continue to gobble up all of the top tier talent across the Southeast and beyond. And with Oklahoma and Texas joining in the coming years, it’s only going to get better for the SEC. The league will continue to look to the SEC first for their talent to draft.

The draft always gives teams new hope every year. The hope is that the players that they selected pan out to help them achieve the ultimate goal of winning a Super Bowl. The entire league saw that the Cincinnati Bengals went from worst to first and nearly won a championship, so I am sure teams have the hope they can do the same. I hope that this at least is the case for my Washington Commanders.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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