The best and worst picks of the 2022 NFL draft

By: Beau Fighera, Columnist

Views expressed in opinion columns are the author’s own.

The 2022 NFL Draft concluded on Saturday, April 30 in Las Vegas, Nevada, after a three-day event in which the nation’s top college football players were selected by NFL teams. Here’s a recap of some of the most eye-catching picks.

 The Jacksonville Jaguars set it off, selecting Georgia defensive lineman Travon Walker with the first overall pick. The Bears, Giants, Packers and Ravens had the most overall selections with 11 each, and the Miami Dolphins had the least selections with four total picks. 

While picks cannot be fairly  judged until enough time has passed, fans and analysts often evaluate picks immediately, as their teams have their respective positional needs that must get addressed. At the same time, teams want to take the best players available, as they don’t want to be known as the team that let a hall of fame player slip, as seen so many times in the past. 

Thus, let’s look at the best and worst selections at the draft.

The worst picks

The worst selection goes to the New England Patriots, who took offensive lineman Cole Strange out of Chattanooga with the 29th pick. No disrespect to Strange, who should become a solid piece in the Patriots offensive line, but he wasn’t projected to be picked that high.

 It would’ve been best for the Patriots to trade back to acquire more picks, as Strange probably would’ve been available in the second round. Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay even joked during a press conference when Strange was selected, as he thought the Rams would be able to take him in the fourth round.

While Strange might become a dominant player, you still want to get the most value from your picks. Thus, trading back would’ve been in the Patriots’ best interest.

The worst draft as a team was the Los Angeles Rams, who had no picks in the top 100. Due to previous trades the Rams made to acquire superstars, they had to work with what they had in this draft, but there weren’t any standout value picks made by the defending Super Bowl champions this year.

 There are a few players, such as running back Kyren Williams and offensive lineman Logan Bruss, that I could see becoming very good players, but the draft isn’t the Rams’ cup of tea when it comes to building a roster nowadays. They’d prefer to use their Los Angeles prominence to attract stars, which worked out quite well for them last season.

The best picks

The best selection was the New York Giants taking Oregon pass rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux with the 5th overall pick. Thibodeaux is an incredibly athletic player, as he is impressively strong and fast. 

His dominance on the field attests to this, as he had seven sacks in ten games for the Oregon Ducks in 2021, despite being double-teamed on many plays. As athletic as he is, he has good instincts as a defensive player and has an intelligent, confident personality. 

The combination of these qualities is why I’m shocked he slipped to pick five. Thibodeaux was the frontrunner to go first overall, but “character concerns” made teams weary, which is how the Giants were able to snag him. 

Being in a franchise that housed Hall of Fame pass rushers Lawrence Taylor and Michael Strahan, he has big shoes to fill. He has the talent to become a true superstar and a menace to opposing offensive lines.

The best draft as a team was the Ravens, who made the most of their 11 picks. Getting a high-caliber prospect in safety Kyle Hamilton with the 14th pick, as well as getting center Tyler Linderbaum and pass rusher David Njabo was a great haul for the Ravens, who are looking to bounce back from their disappointing 8-9 campaign in 2021. 

The Ravens addressed positional needs and took high potential players that gives them the best shot of having the best collection of players from this class when it’s all said and done.

The 2022 NFL Draft is definitely an exciting class, filled with explosive prospects with skyscraping potential. It’s going to be very interesting to see who pans out and who doesn’t, but based on the athleticism and accomplishments of these players in college, this looks like it will be a class to remember. 

That being said, these rising stars must produce on the field professionally to make becoming a star a reality. We’ll see who really won 15 years from now.

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