The 2022 NFL Draft included some exciting moments, but here’s why the Giants, Ravens, and Jets became the biggest winners on day one.
What a night it was to be an NFL fan! From the gate, a monkey wrench was thrown in the operation when the Jacksonville Jaguars opted for the upside of Travon Walker over Aidan Hutchinson.
Early in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, there were several teams that didn’t stray from the book. However, a few made some very head-scratching selections. Perhaps the biggest stunner of the night was the New England Patriots selecting Chattanooga center, Cole Strange — a player many had a third or fourth-round grade on entering the draft.
Some interesting selections by some of these teams in the first round made it very easy for the New York Giants, Baltimore Ravens, and New York Jets. These were my clear winners on day one of the NFL Draft.
Giants bolster trenches in the NFL Draft
This couldn’t have worked out any better for New York. The Giants had major needs on both sides of the trenches. Owning the fifth and seventh overall selections, there was no guarantee that they were going to be able to land either EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux or OT Eval Neal. They managed to draft both.
These two players were 5th and 4th on my final big board, respectively. Kudos to the Giants for not overthinking it. Building a great football team starts in the trenches. I think Neal could develop into one of the better offensive tackles in the NFL, while Thibodeaux has all the potential to be the best pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Ravens did what other teams should have
Somehow, the Baltimore Ravens just seem to come away with a good draft each year. This is probably part of the reason why they have the best record in the NFL over the past five seasons. This year is no different. Baltimore wisely traded Marquise Brown (who was in a contract year) for an additional first-round pick in 2022.
With their two selections, the Ravens took a pair of remarkable prospects in S Kyle Hamilton and C Tyler Linderbaum. Both players were excellent value when weighed against the consensus board as Hamilton was selected with the 14th pick and Linberbaum with the 25th selection in the NFL Draft. Baltimore continues to rake in talented players that other teams pass on.
Jets add a few cornerstone players at valuable positions
The Jets are my third winner of round one in the 2022 NFL Draft. While I would have liked to see them address the offensive line for one of their picks (in an effort to give Zach Wilson additional help), it’s hard to argue with the results.
New York had two major needs at cornerback and wide receiver. Fortunately for them, they were able to address both without reaching for need. Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Garnder was my second-favorite player in the draft, and the Jets got him with the 4th overall pick. With their 10th selection, New York landed Garrett Wilson. The electric Ohio State receiver should give Wilson a go-to option early in his career.
There were a few other noteworthy teams from day one, but these three take the cake. While they each had multiple selections in the first round, they did an excellent job taking the best players available, and I think they will be pleased with the results.