2022 NFL Draft first-round winners and losers: Giants and Jets add major talent, tough day for Malik Willis and QBs

The first round of the 2022 NFL Draft was more dramatic than most probably anticipated. After the first 10 picks, things really started to get crazy. We had three consecutive trades at #11, 12 and 13, we saw Marquise Brown Treaty of the Baltimore Ravens to Arizona Cardinals and then, A.J. Brown was exchanged from Tennessee Titans to Philadelphia Eagles!

Wide receivers have been one of the main titles in the NFL this offseason, and that trend has continued in the draft. A total of six were selected and two were traded. The evening was full of surprises, and also full of winners and losers. Below, we’ll break down four of each.

Winner: NY Teams

the New York Giants and New York Jets are not considered two of the best teams in the NFL, and both have made questionable draft decisions in the past. But that was not the case Thursday night. In his first draft as Giants general manager, Joe Schoen landed Oregon’s pass-rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux at No. 5 overall, then Alabama offensive lineman Evan Neal with overall pick No. 7.

Thibodeaux was considered the first overall pick in mock drafts during the college football season. Although that narrative changed as we got closer to the draft, he was still considered one of the best players in the class. Placing him at No. 5 overall is good value, all things considered, and the Giants scored on value again at No. 7, taking who might be the safest player in the draft in Neal. He is a day 1 starter with great versatility. CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco gave both Giants’ picks an “A” grade (check out our tracker with notes for each choice here).

As for the Jets, they were probably the No. 1 winner of the first round. They tagged cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner at No. 4 overall, then wide receiver Ohio State Garrett Wilson at No. 10. Both were considered by many to be the best players at their respective positions, and both will be immediate impact guys.

The Jets weren’t done there, however, as they came back in the first round to select Florida State passing setter Jermaine Johnson. This was a player the draft pundits had in the top 10, and some in the top five. As he continued his mysterious fall on the drawing boards, the Jets couldn’t help but sneak in at the end to pick him up. What a booty for these two New York teams.

Jackson lost his No. 1 wide receiver Thursday night to Hollywood Brown, who was traded to the Cardinals. This depth chart looks very thin to the receiver, because Rashod Bateman and Devin Duvernay are probably the two best guys now. Baltimore drafted Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton and central Iowa Tyler Linderbaum in the first round, but Jackson was clearly still shaken.

Remember, he’s due for an extension. Will he play football elsewhere in the near future?

Winner: Arizona Cardinals

I’ve seen several of my colleagues call the Cardinals “losers” for giving up a first-round pick for Brown, but I disagree. I think he’s a playmaker who will be better in the Arizona system. In addition, he maintains relations with Kyler Murray.

Brown leaves a quarterback who needs to be extended and teams up with another. The Cardinals bought themselves some time by picking Murray’s fifth-year option this week, then reuniting him with his best Oklahoma-era spreader that helped him win the Heisman.

In 2018, Brown caught 75 passes for 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns for the Sooners, turning that big season into a first-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft. Now the two players are united in a fun offense created by Kliff Kingsbury. They should improve each other, and that might help Murray want to stay in Arizona.

Loser: Tennessee Titans

Arkansas wide receiver Treylon Burk was a draft for many Titans fans this year, and the front office came out and got it. However, that victory was overshadowed by the fact that Tennessee dealt star receiver and fan favorite AJ Brown to the Eagles.

The catcher position was a need for the Titans, and with the addition of Burks and the trade of Brown, it’s still a need. You can argue that Brown isn’t worth the money of the top four WRs, but that’s where the bargain is. Plus, was Brown only worth a first- and third-round pick?

The Titans then had a chance to try and end the night on a high by making a 26th overall pick. But instead, they sent that pick and a third-round pick to the Jets for a second-round pick, a third-round pick, and a fifth-round pick. Mike Vrabel said Thursday night that Tennessee “went to extreme lengths” to keep Brown in Nashville. We don’t know what “extreme” was, but it came down to money. It also doesn’t look good as Brown told Titans fans on the way out that none of this was. his fault.

The Titans are not official “losers” of the 2022 NFL Draft, as there are many more choices to be made. But, they are definitely one of the NFL fan bases that will wake up sad Friday morning.

Winner: Eagles and AJ Brown

The Titans lost a key offensive weapon and the Eagles gained one. Right after being traded, Philly gave Brown a four-year, $100 million deal, with $57 million guaranteed, by ESPN. That $25 million AAV makes Brown the fourth-highest-paid receiver in the NFL. This makes Brown a winner, as he got the money he was looking for.

The Eagles were a team meant to be in the mix for a first-round receiver, but their entire depth chart is full of young guys at that position. It makes sense to throw a bag at an established hitter who can help Jalen hurts. This move makes them immediately better, and they also drafted Jordan Davis at No. 13 overall, who is as massive as he is talented. Him and Cox Fletcher in the middle of the defensive line should make it very difficult for opponents to run the ball.

Loser: Quarterbacks

Most people expected three quarterbacks to be selected in the first round. No. We have one. And the only signaller came in 20th overall, while the Pittsburgh Steelers decided to keep Kenny Pickett in the city. What is even more surprising than only one quarterback drafted in the first round is that it was not Malik Willis! He was considered by many to be the best quarterback in the class, and certainly the prospect with the most upside. He launched a few tweets after the conclusion of the first round.

A sneaky first-round winner was the Lions. They landed a local hero in Aidan Hutchinson at No. 2 overall, something that was considered relatively far-fetched just a few months ago, then traded in the first round to grab the Alabama wide receiver jameson williams at No. 12 overall. It’s surprising that Williams was the fourth wide receiver taken. As he tore his ACL in the national championship loss to Georgia, Williams caught 79 passes for 1,572 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2021. He was a first-team All-SEC point guard and led the SEC in receiving yards. These are two of the legitimate top 10 choices.

For the 20th consecutive year, the Green Bay Packers did not draft a wide receiver in the first round. It was all the more shocking since Green Bay had two first-round picks!

To the Packers’ credit, six wide receivers were drafted with the first 18 picks, so the front office probably should have reached for a guy they didn’t have a first-round rating on. That’s what Rodgers said on the “Pat McAfee Show”:

“Well, I got a little glimpse, I talked with him all night… so I know they really liked Wyatt at first and were wondering if he was going to be there, at one or the other. other pick, I believe, and when the linebacker was there in the 20s and all six of those receivers, I believe it was six that they had first-round ratings on, were gone, I think he was pretty obvious they wanted to make sure of those two points in their mind… I’m sure the Packer nation will be wondering why we didn’t take a receiver or trade or whatever, but at this stadium, you just have to have some confidence in the organization.”

Rodgers seems fine with the way the first round went, and maybe he’s really okay with that. Still, you know he wanted one of those first-round receivers. Davante Adams not here anymore. Green Bay must address the position in the second round.

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