NFL Draft winners and losers
We won’t know for months or even years which teams were the winners and the losers from the 2022 NFL Draft, but NFL fans aren’t going to wait that long to pass judgment, and neither should we!
Fans weighing up which NY sportsbook bonuses to claim ahead of the 2022 season are also analyzing what the draft means for their picks in the Super Bowl, conference and division futures markets, and across the league, coaches are weighing up opposing rosters. So, who were the winners and the losers from the draft? Here are some early thoughts.
Jets – winners
These are two words you don’t often see in close proximity, but there is no doubt that the Jets had an excellent draft. On day one, the Jets made a big statement, taking cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, wide receiver Garrett Wilson and defensive end Jermaine Johnson II.
Gardner, a shutdown specialist who did not allow a touchdown while at the University of Cincinnati, has the height, speed, skill and confidence to make opposition wideouts’ lives tough. In addition to Gardner, the Jets acquired Johnson, a superior pass rusher, in a three-pick deal with the Tennessee Titans. Above all, they got Wilson, probably the best wide receiver available this year. A deft route runner with good hands and separation speed, he looks a special talent.
Cardinals – losers
The Cardinals traded the No. 23 pick to the Ravens in order to take Kyler Murray’s former college teammate Marquise “Hollywood” Brown at 100, in what appeared to be an attempt to satisfy their disgruntled star quarterback. Despite setting career highs in receiving yards and catches in his 2021 season, Brown isn’t considered a star among his receiver peers, so in order to keep Murray happy, the Cardinals may have cost themselves an opportunity here.
The Cardinals also selected tight-end Trey McBride with the 55th overall pick. McBride, the first tight end chosen, is strong and sure-handed, but he lacks the athleticism to break tackles and elude defenders, so the verdict is still out on that pick. That said, the addition of Cameron Thomas and Myjai Sanders could help add some depth to the Arizona defense
Eagles – winners
Following a season in which they sneaked into the playoffs only to be thrashed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first round, the Eagles seemed to go into this year’s draft with more focus and determination than any other team in the league. For a start, they surprised everyone on day one when they acquired A.J. Brown from the Tennessee Titans in exchange for picks 18 and 101.
Brown, who will line up beside young receiver DeVonta Smith, could give the Eagles two of the NFC’s most dangerous downfield threats. They also picked up crucial defensive reinforcements in the form of defensive tackle Jordan Davis and linebacker Nakobe Dean, both of whom were members of Georgia’s national championship-winning team.
Davis is a huge (6ft 6in, 340lb) run-stopper who can also handle the ball on offense as a running back. Dean, the Butkus Award winner for best linebacker in college football, has an uncanny ability to understand opposing offensive plans and serve as the defense’s quarterback. The Eagles also picked up center Cam Jurgens, who has huge potential and could develop into an outstanding lineman.
Patriots – losers
Admittedly, the New England Patriots have a history of discovering jewels in the draft, so it may be unfair and possibly unwise to put them down as definite losers at this stage, but there is no arguing that their first-round pick of offensive lineman Cole Strange was perplexing.
Multiple draft analysts anticipated that Strange, a lineman from the small University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, who did not allow a sack during his collegiate career, would be picked in the third round. Even though Bill Belichick is known for going against the trend and being proved correct years later, this was an unusual choice, given that there were probably better options at every position.
The Patriots went on to select wide receiver Tyquan Thornton, who was also expected to be a third round draft pick, at No. 50, although admittedly, Thornton’s draft value rose dramatically following an exceptional showing at the NFL Combine. Both players have the potential to add to Belichick’s record of discovering brilliance in unlikely places, or they might be blunders on par with the Patriots’ selection of N’Keal Harry over Deebo Samuel and A.J. Brown in the 2019 draft. At this stage, they look questionable.