The biggest winners and losers of the 2022 NFL Draft

After three days full of surprise picks, shocking developments and a truckload of trades, the 2022 NFL Draft is finally over.

Much like free agency, the draft can give each fan base the chance to look forward to better results for the upcoming season, thanks to the addition of new talent for their favorite team. That said, not all teams take full advantage of their opportunities, leaving fans and analysts scratching their heads.

However, other teams end up surprising everyone for the best reasons, nailing their draft class with a stellar combination of maximizing player value and meeting their greatest needs with rookie talent.

Who falls into each of these categories this year?

Here are our picks for the biggest winners and losers of the 2022 NFL Draft:

WINNER | Baltimore Ravens

Kirby Lee – USA TODAY Sports

Death, taxes, pizza rolls burning the roof of your mouth, and the Baltimore Ravens absolutely crushing the draft. General manager Eric DeCosta continues to prove he’s worthy of the torch passed to him by the legendary Ozzie Newsome, recharging his roster with tons of talent and value on both sides of the ball.

Stealing Kyle Hamilton to No. 14 overall got off to a good start, and turning Marquise Brown into Tyler Linderbaum was smooth. David Ojabo lands in the perfect spot to patiently return to his top 15, and Travis Jones was a steal that fills a huge need. Daniel Faalele could also be the next Orlando Brown.

When you’ve already made seven picks and you’re still in the fourth round, you’re allowed to take a bettor, I guess.

WINNER | New York Jets

Syndication: the file

You’d like to think it would be hard to lose when you have a pair of top-10 picks and two other top second-round picks, but the Jets haven’t been too trustworthy over the years. General manager Joe Douglas appears to be reversing that trend, continuing last year’s promising class with an even better run this time around.

“Sauce” Gardner and Garrett Wilson were a fantastic 1-2 punch in the top 10, but getting Jermaine Johnson II back with a first-round trade at No. 26 was one of the biggest steals of the whole game. repechage. Breece Hall gives them a three-way comeback against Michael Carter, and Jeremy Ruckert gives Zach Wilson a well-balanced tight end that can have an immediate impact.

WINNER | Kansas City Chiefs

Kirby Lee – USA TODAY Sports

Another team that has done a fantastic job of filling needs with value, the Chiefs filled their biggest defensive needs with their pair of first-round picks, landing two of the most polished and forward-ready prospects. pros in the entire draft to Trent McDuffie and George. Karlaftis. Replacing Tyreek Hill is impossible, but Skyy Moore has been a fantastic step in that direction.

Bryan Cook and Leo Chenal make the defense more athletic and physical, while Darian Kinnard and Jaylen Watson were both huge boons in the closing rounds. Add in a few upside-down sleepers like Isaih Pacheco and Joshua Williams, and you’ve got grand slam class for a Super Bowl contender.

LOSER | Justin Fields

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

After a frustrating rookie year in which he received little help from his supporting cast (coaches and players), Fields was likely hoping that new direction and an offense reloading offseason with more talent would give him a chance to succeed in 2022. After a fairly quiet period of free agency, the Bears didn’t do much more in the draft to make that happen.

After spending their two second-round picks on defensive backs (really good, of course), the Bears finally took a wide receiver in the third round. But Velus Jones Jr. is too close to what Chicago already has in Darnell Mooney, turns 25 this month and most expected him to be a Day 3 pick. Fifth-round offensive tackle Braxton Jones has promise, but the rest of their attacking picks were uninspiring.

WINNER | QB Thieves

Kirby Lee – USA TODAY Sports

If you thought the Steelers landing Kenny Pickett at No. 20 was a bargain (and it was), the rest of this year’s quarterback class took things to a whole different level. Malik Willis (Titans), Desmond Ridder (Falcons) and Matt Corral (Panthers) all lasted until round three, while Sam Howell (Commanders) fell until round five. These three teams got ridiculous value at the most important position in the game, which just doesn’t happen in the draft.

Add to that the fact that these five quarterbacks landed in ideal situations for many different reasons, and you have a recipe for turning a quarterback class with more questions than answers into a class that could produce quality starters at all levels, and even a few superstars.

WINNER | Pittsburgh Steelers

Trevor Ruszkowski – USA TODAY Sports

Speaking of Pickett and the Steelers, it was just the start of a stellar swan song for longtime general manager Kevin Colbert. It’s rare that a team can sit as late as No. 20 overall and still land a franchise quarterback who can start right away, but that’s exactly what the Steelers did with Pickett. . He’s an immediate upgrade over Mitchell Tribusky, and obviously a better long-term solution.

Colbert has a knack for finding the perfect fit at wide receiver on Day 2, and George Pickens’ second-round landing might be the best example yet. DeMarvin Leal in the third round was another fantastic match of need and value, and Calvin Austin III brings much-needed elite speed to the passing game. Reuniting Connor and Cam Heyward, the third set of brothers on this list, was the icing on the cake of a fantastic weekend.

WINNER | matt ryan

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star

Many wondered if the Colts would pass a first pick on eventual successor Matt Ryan, especially as top quarterbacks tumbled down the board, a development that could be a huge win for a team without a first-round pick. Instead, Indy has spent its best picks making sure Ryan has everything he needs to succeed in the short term, and they’ve nailed them all.

Alec Pierce and Jelani Woods are both athletic playmakers with tons of potential, while Bernhard Raimann could be their Week 1 starter at left tackle as a third-round pick. The Colts have filled the greatest needs around Ryan with players who could make an immediate and significant impact, passing up the chance to take his replacement instead.

LOSER | New England Patriots

Brian Fluharty – USA TODAY Sports

Easily the most confusing draft class in the entire league, the Patriots made the uh, weirdest pick of the first round. Cole Strange was most considered a Midday 2 selection, but the Pats liked him enough to take him to No. 29 overall. Likewise, second-rounder Tyquan Thornton is more track star than football player at the moment, and was scheduled to compete on Day 3.

Despite an already crowded depth chart at the position, New England spent two picks on running backs. They spent a fourth round on another quarterback and, despite nine total selections, failed to meet their point and off-ball linebacker needs with any of them.

WINNER | Seattle Seahawks

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Maybe the Seahawks finally realized how much Russell Wilson saved them from bad drafts for years because they picked a really good time to knock one out of the park. In addition to passing on Malik Willis in the second round in favor of another running back (and Kenneth Walker II is really good), the Hawks crushed just about every pick, getting great value and responding to their biggest. needs outside of the quarterback.

They now have two top-notch starting tackles in Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas, stole the passer they needed in the second round Boye Mafe, got back-to-back Day 3 offers at cornerback with Coby Bryant and Tariq Woolen , followed by two more value picks in Bo Melton and Tyreke Smith. This could easily become their best class since 2012, when they landed Wilson and Bobby Wagner.

WINNER | Tom Brady

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The Bucs entered this draft with few glaring needs, but they did a fantastic job of filling them and giving the GOAT everything he needs to make one more Super Bowl run. They landed a wicked mauler who could win left guard in Luke Goedeke, a well-rounded tight prospect in Cade Otton, an explosive pass-catching specialist in running back in Rachaad White, and even the perfect “I’m just there to destroy people in the running game” tight end to Ko Kieft.

Add extra defensive help in Logan Hall and fifth-round steal Zyon McCollum, and an elite punter in Jake Camarda, and the Bucs have surrounded Brady with the additions needed to make the most of what could be the last. season of his legendary career.

WINNER | Teams that had to wait a bit

(AP Photo/Doug Benc)

Eight teams entered this year’s draft without first-round picks, while others had to wait even longer to make their first selections. However, most of these clubs ended up making the most of what they had, meeting their greatest needs and getting great value in the middle and later rounds.

Channing Tindall (Dolphins), Perrion Winfrey (Browns), Matthew Butler (Raiders), Derion Kendrick (Rams), Drake Jackson (49ers), Nik Bonitto (Broncos) Cameron Thomas (Cardinals) and Dominique Robinson (Bears) were among the des picks that gave teams high value in positions in need, helping those teams mitigate the lack of a first-round pick.

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