The 2022 NFL Draft was full of surprises this year, but these seven selections in particular caught us completely off guard.
The NFL Draft never seems to disappoint… that is unless your team is the one that seems to make outrageous decisions when they are on the clock. As always, the 2022 NFL Draft offered plenty of excitement.
Late in the first round, we had the first big “Did they really just do that?” moment. From there, some other picks inside the top three rounds threw us through a loop. I’ve done a lot of research and film study over the past three months, but it’s just hard to get behind some of these picks. Here are my five biggest draft reaches in 2022:
C/G Cole Strange, Patriots
I really like Cole Strange. However, I liked him similarly to how I liked former Wisconsin-Whitewater center Quinn Meinerz last year. I think I could get behind strange if he was even a late second-round pick or especially if he was a third-rounder. However, the fact that Strange went 29th overall in the first round is bizarre.
You just shouldn’t take players from that small of a school in the first round of the NFL Draft — regardless of how much you might like them. Strange could very well turn out to be one of the better centers in the league, but if he doesn’t, this pick is going to be scrutinized for a long time… and rightfully so.
WR Tyquan Thorton, Patriots
I hate to pick on the New England Patriots again, but what on earth were they doing in the first two rounds? After reaching way down the consensus board for Cole Strange in round one, Bill Belichick takes (in my mind) a day-three receiver in the second round.
Tyquan Thorton has speed (4.28) and size (6’2 3/8”), but not a whole lot else. I thought his tape looked like a late-round prospect. Even after a give him a bump on my board because of his elite speed, I couldn’t have even considered him before the fourth round. The Patriots took him with the 50th overall pick in round two. A few picks later, much better football players like George Pickens, Alec Pierce, and Skyy Moore were drafted. Best of luck with that, Bill.
WR John Metchie, Texans
I can see what might attract some teams to John Metchie. He had outstanding production this past season at Alabama — one of the best schools in the nation. However, I personally was not a huge fan of Metchie’s game, as he lacked any sort of calling card.
Metchie doesn’t have great size at 5’11 1/4” and 187 pounds and he has short arms. He’s not a particularly good athlete and he more or less has to win in contested situations and with physicality after the catch (which isn’t ideal for a player his size). I had Metchie 98th overall on my draft board but the Texans took him with the 44th overall pick. Like the Thorton pick, there were much better receivers still on the board.
WR Velus Jones Jr., Bears
This was one of the hardest picks for me to make sense of. Speed kills in the NFL, but it also forces NFL teams to make bad decisions. Velus Jones Jr. is very fast (4.31 40-yard at the NFL Combine) and has decent size, but he doesn’t have much else going for him.
Jones played a whopping 6 seasons in college at USC and Tennesse, but he only once managed to earn over 280 receiving yards. In reality, Jones was drafted for his return abilities, but I’m not too keen on spending the 71st overall pick on a return man that you have to engineer touches for who will be 25 years old as a rookie.
RB Tyrion Davis-Price, 49rers
Be honest: how many of you were watching Tyrion Davis-Price cut-ups prior to the 2022 NFL Draft? I’m willing to bet that most fans tuning in didn’t even know who this man was. Davis-Price was not particularly productive or efficient as a running back at LSU, and this selection was interesting, to say the least.
His tape is quite underwhelming, and I don’t think he was on anyone’s radar on the first two days of the draft. However, the 49ers apparently felt comfortable taking him in the third round with other running backs like Brian Robinson, Dameon Piece, Zamir White, and Isaiah Spiller still on the board. If anyone can make Davis-Price work, it’s San Francisco. They value 6’0” running backs who can run 4.48.
There were plenty of other head-scratching decisions made during the 2022 NFL Draft, but these five are particularly noteworthy due to the draft capital these teams spent. I think most will prove to be big reaches a few years down the line.