JWMS Newspaper Club
NFL DRAFT 2022: Winners & Losers by Suvir S.
As the NFL Draft wraps up, we can look back at the winners and losers. This draft could impact franchises for decades to come, and for some organizations, this could be the turning point. So many teams did amazing things in Las Vegas and now we look at the teams that hit the jackpot.
New York Giants
The Giants have been one of the worst run organizations in football over the last decade, but the Giants new general manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll have done well in their 1st draft. With their 1st pick, they selected Kayvon Thibodeaux. He is an edge rusher from Oregon who was thought of as the consensus #1 overall pick until around a month ago when his foot injury and concerns about maturity arose. But in many recent public interviews, Thibodeaux has been very well-spoken. He is explosive off the edge and has an amazing combination of speed, strength, and size. The Giants followed this pick with the drafting of offensive tackle Evan Neal from Alabama. Neal played many different positions on the offensive line, helping Alabama win a National Championship in 2020. The Giants offensive line has been mediocre at best, and Neal will help the Giants finally have a competent offensive line.
New York Jets
For the 2nd year in a row, general manager Joe Douglas killed the draft. With their 1st pick, the Jets took cornerback Ahmad “Sauce’’ Gardner 4th overall out of Cincinnati. Sauce has a rare blend of size, (6-foot-3) combined with stellar speed (a 4.41-second 40-yard dash). Gardner brings a swagger to the Big Apple that the Jets have lacked since Darrelle Revis. The Jets were not done, nabbing WR Garrett Wilson from OSU. Wilson is one of the best wideouts in the draft and could help QB Zach Wilson, who was lacking a go-to receiver. They finished off the 1st round by trading back to get Senior Bowl star, Jermaine Johnson II from FSU. Johnson had an amazing Senior Bowl and draft combine and fell for no apparent reason, no injury concerns, or anything of that nature. Johnson will help bolster the lackluster Jets defense. In the later rounds, Joe Douglas got stellar running back Breece Hall and the best tight end in the class, Jeremy Ruckert.
Every year, the Ravens kill the draft and somehow get steals across the board. While Kyle Hamilton needs to be coached up, he was arguably the best safety in the class and will not be asked to do much in the already great Ravens secondary. With a versatile game and a 6-4 frame, he has game-changing All-Pro potential. Right after drafting Hamilton, Baltimore sent receiver Marquise Brown and a third-rounder to the Arizona Cardinals for the No. 23 overall pick. After another trade netted the Ravens an extra fourth-rounder, they took Tyler Linderbaum, center at No. 25. Linderbaum was the best interior offensive lineman in the class, and the Ravens have lacked a center for years. The Ravens kept the hits coming in the later rounds, drafting edge rusher David Ojabo, who looked like a top-20 talent before tearing his Achilles at Michigan's pro day at pick 45. The Ravens have the same defensive coordinator as Michigan, and Ojabo could recover fast enough to return before the playoffs. Ojabo is a freak athlete and will be a monster for the defense.
The Eagles made a surprising postseason appearance in 2021, but their youth showed in a tough 31-15 loss. Philadelphia needed help on their defense but also needed to help young quarterback Jalen Hurts. General manager Howie Roseman knocked this draft out of the park, with 6-6, 341-pound athletic phenom Jordan Davis at No. 13 overall. Davis is a run-stopping beast and helped the Georgia Bulldogs win their first National Championship in 40 years. Shortly after taking Davis, the Eagles traded No.18 and 101 overall picks for superstar wideout A.J Brown from the Titans. Brown is only 24 and is only getting better. The Eagles gave Brown the contract he was looking for, a four-year, $100 million contract with $57 million guaranteed. The cherry on top though was snagging another Georgia defensive player, Nakobe Dean. Dean was a consensus first-round pick, but his injury concerns and size dropped his stock. But nobody could have seen Dean making it to the 3rd round! Dean is a great tackler and reads defenses like a book. Even if injuries force him to miss a large part of the 2022 season, it's well worth it. The Eagles have needed a linebacker for years, and Dean could be it.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs have always gotten great depth picks over the years and this year was no exception. The Chiefs traded up with the New England Patriots to get cornerback Trent McDuffie from Washington. McDuffie is a shutdown corner and with the Raiders getting Davante Adams and the Broncos getting Russell Wilson, the Chiefs needed a great cornerback and McDuffie is just that. The Chiefs also got Purdue edge rusher George Karlaftis at No.30. Karlaftis has great get-off speed and amazing hand placement, all very important traits. The Chiefs have needed another pass-rusher alongside Frank Clark for years, and Karlaftis is an amazing addition to the defense.
The draft in Las Vegas had many teams get exponentially better, especially established powerhouse teams. So many of the young talent has impacted the league’s best teams and helped the worst build up. Every class has its stars and busts. But who will that be from this class?