Day one of the 2022 NFL Draft wielded some interesting results and a lot of trades. There were multiple points when trades kept coming in and nobody knew what was going on. It was fun and made for an exciting night all around. Here are some takeaways from the first day of the NFL draft:
Packers don’t reach for a wide receiver
-I know a lot of Packers fans wanted the team to draft a first-round wide receiver but in all honesty, they were better off not taking one. All the top ones were off the board by the time they were on the clock, and they would have been reaching for one. It was a smart decision by the front office and Quay Walker could end up being a steal for them. Green Bay allowed the third most yards per rush last season and Walker can easily help that. He was dominant during his time at Georgia and gives the Packers a true weapon in the middle of their defense. As for their other pick, they took another player from the Georgia championship defense in Devonte Wyatt. He can get off the line quickly and creates havoc in the backfield. The Packers needed another player like this to help their defense out. Defense wins championships and the Packers just got a lot better on that side of the ball. They can always get a wide receiver later in the draft since this class is very deep.
New York wins the day
-Both the Jets and Giants had great first round drafts. The Giants got arguably two of the best players in the entire draft in Evan Neal and Kayvon Thibodeaux. Both players vastly help this Giants team improve and big blue should be feeling pretty good right now. Thibodeaux may have the highest upside of any prospect in this draft so for the team to get him at pick five is a steal if he lives up to his potential. As for the Jets, they got Ahmad Gardner, Garrett Wilson, and Jermaine Johnson in what may be looked at as the best haul of the night. They got their alpha cornerback in Gardner, a true weapon in Wilson, and somehow Johnson was still available towards the back end of the first round so the Jets quickly swooped back in to grab him. The Jets are building something special and don’t be surprised if they compete for a playoff spot this season.
Fly Eagles fly
-The Eagles moved up to take defensive tackle Jordan Davis and their rush defense gets a whole lot better. He is a massive human being who moves rather quickly for someone that size and now gets a chance to learn from longtime Eagle Fletcher Cox. His presence is going to be known quickly and he will likely make life tough for the entire NFC East. Yet, even after the stunning move for Davis, Philadelphia wasn’t done yet and made a trade for star wide receiver AJ Brown. Not many saw this coming, and the Eagles now have a legit number one receiver to pair with young phenom Devonta Smith. Brown then quickly agreed to a four-year extension with the Eagles and Philadelphia now looks like the favorite to win their division.
Chargers protect Justin Herbert
-Los Angeles was one of the teams that many believe would target a wide receiver in the first round and they had Treylon Burks sitting on the board for them when they were on the clock. He would have fit in well with the Chargers offense, but the team decided to invest in the protection of their franchise quarterback and that was the correct decision. Zion Johnson fills a big hole for the team at right guard and is one of the better pass protectors in this class. The Chargers interior line got much better with this pick and I feel like not many people are talking about it. This pick came in the middle of a lot of the trades so it may get overshadowed, but the Chargers hit a home run. Protecting Justin Herbert and giving him more time in the pocket should be priority one and clearly the front office believed that as well.
Lions may be a quarterback away
-Detroit may finally have a chance at contending soon as they grabbed Aidan Hutchison with the second overall pick and then traded up to snag Jameson Williams. Hutchison is viewed by many as the best overall player in the draft and he will fit right in with the culture that head coach Dan Campbell is building in the Motor City. He is explosive and gives the Lions a legit pass rusher that can get to the quarterback and disrupt the backfield. As for Williams, he is recovering from an injury but is a weapon when healthy and can be a Swiss army knife in their offense. The Lions now have him, DJ Chark, Amon-Ra St. Brown, and tight end T.J. Hockenson to work with as their main receiving core. Detroit is going to be exciting to watch and once they get their quarterback then the fun really begins.
Chiefs play it smart, double down on defense
-Anyone who watched Kansas City last year knows that their issue was on the defensive side of the ball. They decided to use their two first round picks on defense and got some real steals in the process. They first traded up and took cornerback Trent McDuffie who has great range and should be able to help out that secondary that struggled last season. He is versatile and a really smart defender, so the pick made all the sense in the world for Kansas City. They then took pass rusher George Karlaftis as he fell right into their lap at pick 30. Karlaftis is a true pass rusher and can create havoc for opposing team’s offensive lineman. He uses his hands extremely well and will really help the Chiefs defense in getting to the opposing quarterback.