The best draft pick each NFL team made in 2022

The 2022 NFL Draft is in the books, and we won’t know the success and failures of each team’s draft for years to come. However, as it stands now, these appear to be their best picks.

 

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Arizona Cardinals: Trey McBride, TE (Round 3)

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Kliff Kingsbury showed he could utilize a quality pass-catching tight end last year, and McBride adds a much-needed weapon with DeAndre Hopkins set to miss the first six games of the season. Tight ends often have growing pains in their rookie campaigns, but McBride could be an exception with exemplary receiving skills that led to over 1,100 yards receiving at Colorado State last year.

 

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Atlanta Falcons: Desmond Ridder, QB (Round 3)

Atlanta Falcons: Desmond Ridder, QB (Round 3)

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Atlanta made the most of a dire quarterback situation, adding Ridder to give Marcus Mariota some competition. Mariota is hoping to revitalize his career under his former coordinator, Arthur Smith, but Ridder shows little downside as a third-rounder with a similar athletic skillset. The Falcons can utilize what they have here before a terrific quarterback draft class in 2023.

 

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Baltimore Ravens: Tyler Badie, RB (Round 6)

Baltimore Ravens: Tyler Badie, RB (Round 6)

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The Ravens remain a run-heavy offense and have big questions at running back with J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards returning from major injuries. The team clearly wanted to shore up their running back depth with Badie, who was a highly productive back at Mizzou last season and could be a nice fit should the team’s top backs prove rusty.

 

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Buffalo Bills: James Cook, RB (Round 2)

Buffalo Bills: James Cook, RB (Round 2)

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Running back has been a problem in recent seasons that the Bills have addressed in the draft, with limited success. Cook represents a very high floor, with great receiving skills that will at least make him a viable third-down back this season. At his best, Cook could turn out to be a bell cow and the missing piece of the Bills’ offense.

 

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Carolina Panthers: Matt Corral, QB (Round 3)

Carolina Panthers: Matt Corral, QB (Round 3)

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The Panthers are in terrible shape at quarterback, with Sam Darnold still looking like a position starter. It’s a bad situation of their own doing, but Corral gives them an out as a highly productive, accurate college passer. The value is right for the upside, after completing 67% of his passes in college and getting good tutelage from Lane Kiffin.

 

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Chicago Bears: Velus Jones Jr., WR (Round 3)

Chicago Bears: Velus Jones Jr., WR (Round 3)

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The Bears failed to give Justin Fields the weapons he deserves, but Jones has a chance to be a nice find. He has the speed to contribute in multiple facets and be a complementary piece opposite Darnell Mooney.

 

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Cincinnati Bengals: Daxton Hill, S (Round 1)

Cincinnati Bengals: Daxton Hill, S (Round 1)

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Cincinnati’s defensive improvement was one of the most significant of any unit in football last season, but it’s good to see they still want to make it better. Hill gives the team much-needed depth in the secondary and is potentially a long-term teammate for star safety Jessie Bates.

 

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Cleveland Browns: David Bell, WR (Round 3)

Cleveland Browns: David Bell, WR (Round 3)

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Wide receiver was arguably the deepest position in this year’s draft, so some talented wideouts who would usually be drafted early fell. Bell is in that category as a highly productive player with the ability to get open on command. He recorded 232 catches in three seasons at Purdue and should have an immediate role in the revamped Browns offense.

 

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Dallas Cowboys: Jalen Tolbert, WR (Round 3)

Dallas Cowboys: Jalen Tolbert, WR (Round 3)

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Wideout wasn’t a problem area for the Cowboys, but the depth did take a hit after moving on from Amari Cooper. The team had the luxury of drafting upside with CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup holding down the fort for now, and Tolbert certainly provides it. He averaged nearly 18 yards per catch at South Alabama and could be a great developmental project.

 

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Denver Broncos: Greg Dulcich, TE, (Round 3)

Denver Broncos: Greg Dulcich, TE, (Round 3)

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The Broncos traded starting tight end Noah Fant to acquire Russell Wilson, so their tight end depth was hurting. While new starter Albert Okwuegbunam has shown flashes, his long injury history should give the team some pause. Dulcich adds insurance and showed big-play ability at UCLA.

 

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Detroit Lions: Jameson Williams, WR (Round 1)

Detroit Lions: Jameson Williams, WR (Round 1)

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The Lions are a long way from competing again and needed to find upside in this year’s draft. They certainly found it with Williams, who will be one of the fastest players in the NFL when he eventually returns from a torn ACL. Some teams might have been scared off by the injury, but the Lions have the luxury of giving Williams all the time he needs to heal as they continue a rebuild. They might have just found the most impactful player in the entire 2022 class.

 

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Green Bay Packers: Romeo Doubs, WR (Round 4)

Green Bay Packers: Romeo Doubs, WR (Round 4)

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The Packers went heavy at wideout after losing Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling in the offseason. They took three wide receivers, and Doubs presents the best value. The fourth-rounder had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons at Nevada and has excellent speed.

 

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Houston Texans: Christian Harris, ILB (Round 3)

Houston Texans: Christian Harris, ILB (Round 3)

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Teams rarely select inside linebackers early these days with the employment of five-plus defensive backs becoming more common, but Harris is too talented to fall this far. He had 10 sacks over the last two seasons at Bama and is a sideline-to-sideline tackling machine. Harris should be an excellent building block for the rebuilding defense.

 

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Indianapolis Colts: Bernhard Raimann, OT (Round 3)

Indianapolis Colts: Bernhard Raimann, OT (Round 3)

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The Colts struggled at left tackle last season and desperately needed a long-term answer. Raimann lacks experience on the offensive line but has a chance to be a quality starter in a year or two. Indy’s strong player development and drafting gives them time to develop Raimann, who will likely turn out to be a strong value down the line.

 

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Jacksonville Jaguars: Devin Lloyd, LB (Round 1)

Jacksonville Jaguars: Devin Lloyd, LB (Round 1)

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Most mock drafts didn’t see Lloyd falling as far as he did in the first round, as perhaps the player in the 2022 class most comparable to Micah Parsons. That is to say, Lloyd has the best chance to make an impact immediately for a defense that desperately needed a rebuild.

 

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Kansas City Chiefs: Skyy Moore, WR (Round 2)

Kansas City Chiefs: Skyy Moore, WR (Round 2)

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KC got several phenomenal values in the draft, but the value here was perfect. Moore is somewhat undersized but has the long arms and speed to make up for his shortcomings. He has a chance to make a huge rookie impact with Patrick Mahomes throwing him the ball, and Andy Reid will find ways to get Moore the ball.

 

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Las Vegas Raiders: Zamir White, RB (Round 4)

Las Vegas Raiders: Zamir White, RB (Round 4)

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The new Raiders regime should look at the Jon Gruden era of draft picks as a sunk cost, and thus look for a long-term replacement for Josh Jacobs. White has the potential to be that, after a productive college career against top SEC competition at Georgia. Listed third on the depth chart entering training camp, White could be the starter this year if he impressed Josh McDaniels.

 

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Los Angeles Chargers: JT Woods, S (Round 3)

Los Angeles Chargers: JT Woods, S (Round 3)

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The reality is that while Derwin James is one of the top players on the Chargers’ defense, he’s not the most durable. Woods was a takeaway machine over the last two seasons at Baylor and could be an excellent fill-in if something happens to James again.

 

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Los Angeles Rams: Derion Kendrick, CB (Round 6)

Los Angeles Rams: Derion Kendrick, CB (Round 6)

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The Rams didn’t have much draft capital left after their bevy of trades on the road to a Super Bowl. Kendrick does give them much-needed depth in the secondary, with top-level experience at both Clemson and Georgia. He’s tasted winning in college and has a chance to do the same as a depth piece and special teamer for the Rams.

 

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Miami Dolphins: Channing Tindall, LB (Round 3)

Miami Dolphins: Channing Tindall, LB (Round 3)

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Miami didn’t pick until the third round but filled a need with Tindall. He was one of the anchors of a historic defense at Georgia last season, recording 5.5 sacks and 67 tackles, and has a chance to start immediately.

 

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Minnesota Vikings: Jalen Nailor, WR (Round 6)

Minnesota Vikings: Jalen Nailor, WR (Round 6)

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The reality is that while Adam Thielen is still productive, he’s on the downside of his career. The Vikings need other receivers to pick up the slack to rebound on offense, and Nailor has the upside to be a contributor. The Michigan State alum had over 18 yards per catch in consecutive seasons while also contributing on special teams.

 

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New England Patriots: Bailey Zappe, QB (Round 4)

New England Patriots: Bailey Zappe, QB (Round 4)

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The clever Bill Belichick knows the immense value of playable quarterbacks. Zappe was historically productive in college at Western Kentucky last season with nearly 6,000 yards passing, but he doesn’t have the athleticism of today’s prototypical quarterback. There’s a fair chance the Pats have found this year’s Gardner Minshew, however, as a pocket passer who could have a nice NFL career and be a trade chip.

 

23 of 32

New Orleans Saints: Chris Olave, WR (Round 1)

New Orleans Saints: Chris Olave, WR (Round 1)

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No receiver in this year’s class was more NFL ready than Olave, and the Saints needed all the offensive help they could get. Olave’s route-running ability should be a perfect fit for the Saints’ offense, and he’s also been a hog in the Red Zone.

 

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New York Giants: Evan Neal, OT (Round 1)

New York Giants: Evan Neal, OT (Round 1)

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The Giants seem to address the offensive line in the draft over and over with the same mediocre results but might have finally gotten it right with Neal. The mauling tackle is set to step in on the right side of the offensive line immediately, giving Daniel Jones a chance to develop with the new coaching staff.

 

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New York Jets: Breece Hall, RB (Round 2)

New York Jets: Breece Hall, RB (Round 2)

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With the value of running backs dropping, there are usually some great values to be had after the first round. Hall has elite physical ability nearly in line with Jonathan Taylor and goes to a Jets team in desperate need as they try to take the pressure off of Zach Wilson. He should be an immediate workhorse and contributor in all facets of the offense.

 

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Philadelphia Eagles: Nakobe Dean, LB (Round 3)

Philadelphia Eagles: Nakobe Dean, LB (Round 3)

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Dean was projected by many to be a first-round pick but might have fallen due to injury questions. If healthy, he looks like a tremendous value for the Eagles, who have been on the hunt for linebacker help seemingly for years.

 

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Pittsburgh Steelers: Calvin Austin III, WR (Round 4)

Pittsburgh Steelers: Calvin Austin III, WR (Round 4)

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Austin is very undersized at 5-foot-9 but makes up for it with elite speed that has helped him exceed 16 yards per catch in his college career. Memphis benefited by putting the ball in his hands whenever possible, and the Steelers are set to continue employing a YAC offense that will work to Austin’s strengths. He could step up as a very valuable piece with JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Washington out of the way.

 

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San Francisco 49ers: Drake Jackson, LB (Round 2)

San Francisco 49ers: Drake Jackson, LB (Round 2)

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Elite pass rush has been what has made the 49ers’ defense so dominant in recent seasons, and the team needed to continue reloading. Jackson rebounded from a mediocre sophomore season to record five sacks last year and should be a nice contributor in the front-seven rotation.

 

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Seattle Seahawks: Coby Bryant, CB (Round 4)

Seattle Seahawks: Coby Bryant, CB (Round 4)

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Pete Carroll has done a great job developing defensive backs during his time in Seattle and found nice value with Bryant. He was highly productive at Cincinnati over four seasons. That experience should help him contribute promptly as a rookie.

 

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Logan Hall, DL (Round 2)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Logan Hall, DL (Round 2)

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The Bucs have needed to revamp an aged defensive line, and Hall could be a good rookie contributor. He had a breakout 2021 season at Houston with six sacks and has the versatility to play at multiple spots along the defensive line.

 

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Tennessee Titans: Malik Willis, QB (Round 3)

Tennessee Titans: Malik Willis, QB (Round 3)

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The first-round projections were wrong for Willis, likely due to his inaccuracy as a passer, but he enters a great situation with the Titans. We can trust that the crafty Titans coaching staff will have a package of plays for Willis in short-yardage and Red Zone, and he could potentially develop as Ryan Tannehill’s long-term replacement in the meantime. It’s hard to find this level of quarterback upside this late.

 

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Washington Commanders: Jahan Dotson, WR (Round 1)

Washington Commanders: Jahan Dotson, WR (Round 1)

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It’s been clear over the last two seasons that Washington needed a complementary receiver for Terry McLaurin, and the addition of Curtis Samuel last year was a big disappointment. Dotson has a chance to give Carson Wentz the additional weapon he needs, showing elite ability at Penn State last year with 91 catches in only 12 games.



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