Few Surprises Among NFL Draft First-Round Picks
The misinformation highway finally came to a halt as fact was separated from fiction during the first round of Thursday’s NFL Draft.
The NFL first-round draft results went mostly according to form. Sure, the Houston Texans’ pick of cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. might have stunned those who didn’t believe the reports that he was the can’t-miss prospect in the eyes of the team’s scouts and executives, but most of the early picks were expected to go pretty close to where they landed.
The New York Jets have frustrated their fans for years with picks that were hard to explain. However, it would be hard to find a franchise that had a better night than the Jets in the NFL first-round draft results.
Seeing marquee receivers Marquise Brown and A.J. Brown shipped away for first-round selections was not part of the plan going into the draft. Both those moves went against the 2022 NFL Draft predictions.
The NFL Draft odds were spot on when it came to projecting players coming out of the elite conferences. When Georgia defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt went to Green Bay with pick No. 28, the total went over the 10.5 when it came to first-round picks from Southeastern Conference schools. With George Karlaftis going late in the first round to Kansas City, the number of Big Ten players selected went over the 6.5 total.
Keep on reading for some of the most compelling storylines from an entertaining night of 2022 NFL Draft first-round picks.
We Must Sack the Quarterback
A year ago, it was the quarterback position that dominated in the early stages of the NFL Draft. The top three selections and five of the top 15 picks were quarterbacks.
The 2022 NFL Draft was all about finding players who can put pressure on these QBs.
Travon Walker was the first player chosen followed by Aidan Hutchinson at No. 2. Kayvon Thibodeaux went fifth overall as defensive players were the top five players selected to headline the NFL first-round draft results.
Walker, one of five members of the 2021 Georgia defense selected in the first round, trailed Hutchinson and Thibodeaux in the odds to be the top pick until recently when he had -500 odds to become the No. 1 overall selection.
The biggest surprise when it came to the edge rushers was potential top-10 pick Jermaine Johnson II lasting until pick No. 26. The Jets, who passed on Thibodeaux to take cornerback Ahmad Gardner with the fourth overall pick, traded back into the first round as Johnson’s mysterious slide down the draft board continued.
Receivers on the Move
San Francisco 49ers star Deebo Samuel was thought to be the receiver most likely to be on the move after he has made his displeasure known with the team that drafted him.
However, it was former first-round picks Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and A.J. Brown who were dealt during the first round on Thursday night.
Marquise Brown went from Baltimore to Arizona and will be reunited with former college teammate Kyler Murray. The Ravens then picked up an extra fourth-round pick by moving from No. 23 to 25. Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum was the 25th pick. He will help Baltimore, as only the Chicago Bears allowed more sacks during the 2021 season than the 57 allowed by the Ravens. Some of those sacks were a result of quarterback Lamar Jackson trying to extend plays. Cutting down on negative-yardage plays will be a major point of emphasis for Baltimore in 2021.
Defensive coordinators must have shuddered at the thoughts of A.J. Brown and Julio Jones playing on the same team. Neither of them are with the Tennessee Titans any longer. Brown had a huge payday coming and that was something the Titans couldn’t deal with, so they sent him to the Philadelphia Eagles. Tennessee selected Arkansas receiver Treylon Burks with the first-round pick that it received in the trade.
Quarterbacks in holding pattern
Quarterbacks are typically rather popular at the top of the annual NFL drafts, with a signal caller taken first overall in 10 of the last 13 drafts.
There was no rush for the passers to come off the board on Thursday night. The only quarterback selected in the opening round in the NFL first-round results was Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett, who was selected by the hometown Pittsburgh Steelers with pick No. 20. That is the latest the first quarterback was selected since Jim Druckenmiller was the 26th selection in 1997. Pickett was listed at +400 to be the first quarterback chosen.
There were some who thought Liberty’s Malik Willis could go as high as No. 6 to the Carolina Panthers. However, he is still waiting to hear his name called as Pickett was the only QB selected in the first round.
Bulldogs have Plenty of Bite
The numbers will show that the 2021 Georgia defense was one of the top units in recent memory. It was the defense that led the Bulldogs to their first national title since 1980.
The NFL scouts were paying attention as five players off that defense went in the first round.
Four players off the University of Miami defense went in the first round in the 2004 draft and Florida State matched that mark two years later.
Thursday started with defensive lineman Walker going first overall. Fellow defensive linemen Jordan Davis and Devonte Wyatt went with picks Nos. 13 and 28. Green Bay doubled up with Georgia products by making Quay Walker the first linebacker chosen with the 22nd pick before selecting Wyatt at No. 28.
The first round ended with safety Lewis Cine going to Minnesota with the 32nd pick. Linebacker Nakobe Dean was thought to have a chance to go in the first round as well, but he will have to wait until the second round of the draft continues on Friday night.
It should be noted that five Alabama offensive players went in the first round just a year ago.
Packers still Looking for Receivers
One of the most bizarre trends over the years has been the Green Bay Packers‘ refusal to take a receiver in the first round to help out future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
The last time Green Bay took a receiver in the opening round was in 2002, when Javon Walker was the 20th overall pick. Walker played in just 48 games over four seasons with the Packers before finishing his career with the Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders. He did have a huge season with 89 catches for nearly 1,400 yards in 2004. That was the year before Rodgers fell to the Packers with the 24th selection in the 2005 draft.
With two first-round picks and all-everything receiver Davante Adams being traded to the Las Vegas Raiders in the offseason, this was thought to be the year when that streak ended.
None of Green Bay’s 2022 NFL Draft first-round picks were used on pass catchers.
Green Bay opted not to trade up to get one of the top receivers and when they picked at No. 22 and 28, the receivers on the board weren’t rated as the top options, so Green Bay doubled up on defensive players.
New York State of Mind
It hasn’t been the easiest of stretches for fans of the New York Giants and Jets.
The Jets have one winning season since 2010 while the Giants have posted five straight seasons with at least 10 losses for the first time in franchise history.
Both teams took steps toward what they are hoping are more successful times.
The Jets selected cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner fourth overall and came back to pick receiver Garrett Wilson with the 10th pick. They were expected to wait until early in the second round to pick again, but with intriguing defensive end prospect Jermaine Johnson II sliding down the board, the Jets traded up to No. 26 to select the 2021 Atlantic Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
The Giants picked Oregon defensive end Thibodeaux with the fifth pick and two selections later added mammoth former Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal, addressing two of the many needs on their roster.
Patriots Pull off Shocker
It is easy to look at the number of Super Bowl titles won by the New England Patriots and chalk that up to Bill Belichick zigging when others are zagging.
The truth, however, is that in recent years that the draft record of the Patriots has been just so-so. The last first-round picks of New England to become Pro Bowl players are Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower, who were both selected in the first round in 2012.
Quarterback Mac Jones, the Patriots’ top pick in 2021, looks like the real deal, but Dominique Easley, Malcom, Isaiah Wynn, Sony Michel and N’Keal Harry aren’t exactly slam-dunk selections.
New England pulled off the most surprising pick of the first round when Chattanooga offensive lineman Cole Strange was the 29th overall pick. There were suggestions that he might be a mid-round selection.Follow us on Twitter