Re-Grading Every 2022 NFL Draft First Round Pick

Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Re-Grading Every 2022 NFL Draft First Round Pick

Football

Re-Grading Every 2022 NFL Draft First Round Pick

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Cooper Neill/Getty Images

The NFL Draft is an event that gets people excited every season. Fans love to get behind their team’s draft picks, especially their first round ones. The 2022 NFL Draft provided many gems, but also left some fans wondering why their team drafted who they did. Our team here at TWSN will be grading every single first round draft pick from the 2022 draft, evaluating how well each player has done so far.

1. Jacksonville Jaguars, Travon Walker, DE Georgia

Simply put, Travon Walker was a reach. He was a reach when they drafted him in April, and he is still a reach today. In his three years at Georgia, he only provided 9.5 sacks. That isn’t enough production to warrant a first overall pick. However, his athletic profile was off the charts and that has translated to the NFL. In his short time in Jacksonville, Walker has proven to be a similar player that he was at Georgia. The production hasn’t been there, but the athletic splash plays are. He could develop into a great NFL player, but as of right now, it doesn’t appear to be a great selection by the Jaguars, especially with players like Aidan Hutchinson showing up week in and week out. Grade: C

2. Detroit Lions, Aidan Hutchinson DE Michigan

Hutchinson has been a really good addition to the Detroit Lions defense. He has eight sacks on the season, and he’s also intercepted two passes. He’s been a bright spot on a Lions defense that has been getting better and better as the season progresses. He should be a great building block on the Detroit defense for years to come. Grade: A-

3. Houston Texans, Derek Stingley Jr., DB LSU

Coming out of LSU, Derek Stingley Jr. received a lot of praise as a top defensive back, and was trusted enough to be taken by a young Texans team at third overall who needed much more help than just a cornerback. And in all honesty, he’s lived up to the hype. While he hasn’t been outstanding, similar to Kaiir Elam, Stingley has been a solid corner for Houston. Of course, every rookie is going to make mistakes as they acclimate to the speed of the NFL. He knows how to make big plays in big situations, and in due time he’ll begin to shine as the player we all know he is. Grade: A-

4. New York Jets, Ahmad Gardner, CB Cincinnati

Gardner has turned into what the New York Jets were hoping he would be when they drafted him. A shutdown cornerback. He has gone on to have 44 solo tackles, two interceptions, has only allowed 26 receptions on 59 targets, and only a 48.8 passer rating allowed. He held receivers like Jaylen Waddle to 11 yards, Jerry Jeudy to four yards, Stefon Diggs to 24 yards, and Justin Jefferson to 10 yards. Gardner has provided a major boost to the defense for the Jets, and will continue for years to come. Grade:A+

5. New York Giants, Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE Oregon

It has been an up and down season for the fifth overall pick. He missed some time due to injury but has grown throughout the year. He has one of the higher upsides in the entire class and has shown that he likely can be a build piece on defense for New York. His ability to get off blockers and get into the back field is unreal and it should cause problems for opponents for years to come. He currently has two sacks and 16 overall tackles but will likely add onto those over the final few games of the regular season. He was and is still a slam dunk pick even if it doesn’t show for another year or so. Grade: A-

6. Carolina Panthers, Ickey Ekwonu, OL NC State

Ekwonu was viewed as the best tackle prospect in the 2022 draft, and it wasn’t a surprise either. He’s a fantastic player. Ekwonu quickly slid into the starting left tackle position for the Carolina Panthers. While his first game was a rough one allowing two sacks and five pressures along with a 17.9 PFF pass blocking grade, he quickly turned it around. Ekwonu has struggled on tape at times, which isn’t a surprise for a rookie that’s developing in the NFL. He’s also developed an incredible penalty problem, being flagged 11 times this season with four coming in one game alone. However, he’s only allowed four sacks and 19 pressures in 428 attempts and has graded out well as a run blocker as well. Ekwonu is only 22 years old and is coming along nicely in his development track. He’s struggled at times, but shutting down pass rushers like Nick Bosa, Leonard Floyd, Shaq Barrett, Trey Hendrickson, Odafe Oweh, and Baron Browning goes a long way. Grade: B

7. New York Giants, Evan Neal, OT Alabama

New York Giants rookie tackle Evan Neal is the definition of a raw prospect. His physical attributes allowed him to excel through college as a dominating presence, but this season we’ve seen him struggle translating his game to the professional level. As time has gone on, he’s continued to level up and refine his skill set by the week to be able to compete with the elite defensive linemen of the NFL. Keep in mind, Neal had to switch from left tackle to the opposite side as a first year player (not to mention in a shark tank division), which many professionals have said is very difficult. He’s shown flashes of potential, and although he hasn’t been extremely productive, I think New York got themselves the second half of a cornerstone tackle duo. Grade: C+

8. Atlanta Falcons, Drake London, WR USC

It has been tough to evaluate Drake London this season given the offense he is playing in. Marcus Mariota has not been good this season at quarterback, and the Atlanta Falcons have run the ball 418 times. People will look at the production and see 47 receptions for 533 yards and only four touchdowns and think he hasn’t had a good season, but all things considered, he has been a good pick for Atlanta. I am excited to see London with a good quarterback. On the flip side, the Falcons drafted London over Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave, and even Jameson Williams, so that is why he is graded so low. Grade: B-

9. Seattle Seahawks, Charles Cross, OT Miss St

When Seattle drafted Cross out of Mississippi State, they were looking for a future cornerstone at left tackle. In his rookie season, he has been solid. Tackle is a position where it usually takes a bit to settle in. Take Andrew Thomas for example, who started off as just alright in the NFL, but is now one of the top tackles in the league. Cross has helped their line and looks like he will be a solid player for a long while. Grade: B

10. New York Jets, Garrett Wilson, WR Ohio State

To put it in simple terms, Garrett Wilson has been fantastic to start off his career. Alongside Chris Olave and Christian Watson, Wilson has been a bona fide top three receiver from his draft class, providing whoever’s under center for the New York Jets with a reliable number one target. He’s excelled with Joe Flacco, he’s excelled with Zach Wilson, and has expectedly continued the trend with Mike White. He leads the Jets in catches (first among all rookies), receiving yards (second among all rookies), and touchdowns (tied for third among all rookies). He’s proven his worth as a top 10 pick. Grade: A

11. New Orleans Saints (via WAS), Chris Olave, WR Ohio State

The New Orleans Saints offense hasn’t been spectacular this year, but Chris Olave has been a consistent bright spot. Even with Andy Dalton as his quarterback, Olave has averaged 14.8 yards per reception, hauled in 60-of-94 targets for a total of 887 yards, and has even caught seven contested catches. He has shown the downfield ability as he leads the receiving room in air yards with 1,512. Olave will continue to develop into a staple on the Saints offense, and with better quarterback play, will rise into being a top-tier receiver in the NFL. Grade: A

12. Detroit Lions (via MIN), Jameson Williams, WR Alabama

After missing most of the season with injury, Williams returned in a big way. He has one catch on the year but it was for a touchdown. What a way to make an entrance! He has legit speed and is going to be a cornerstone for this Lions offense for years. His mere presence is going to help the other playmakers on this offense and for that, he earns a decent grade. He gets a C+ due to the limited time on the field but his upside is awesome. Grade: C+

13. Philadelphia Eagles (via HOU), Jordan Davis, DT Georgia

Davis has played nine games thus far, as he missed weeks nine-12 while on injured reserve with an ankle injury. He’s a massive athletic freak with tons of upside, and he’s already extremely impactful against the run. Davis has served as a key cog for the Philadelphia Eagles run defense, as he’s dominated in one-on-one situations. With that being said, Davis has yet to log over 29 defensive snaps in a game this year, and his impact as a pass-rusher has been extremely limited. That certainly holds his grade back a bit, but this is an elite run-stuffer in his rookie year with massive upside. I still believe Davis can and will be a star. Grade: A-

14. Baltimore Ravens, Kyle Hamilton, S Notre Dame

When the Ravens got Hamilton, it was thought that they were getting a major steal. While he is still a good player, he hasn’t fully lived up to the draft hype surrounding him just yet. The Ravens hope that he can reach his full potential at some point here soon. There is still time for that to occur and he is still very young in the league. He plays with physicality and speed, something that every safety needs to suceed. It’s still a good pick for Baltimore and he is a player that they could build around if he continues to grow. Grade: B+

15. Houston Texans (via PHI), Kenyon Green, G Texas A&M

This season has been a rough one for Kenyon Green, the Houston Texans had almost no idea where he was going to play, but he’s found a “home” at left guard where he’s been atrocious. Not that PFF grades are everything, but Green has recorded pass blocking grades of 4.7, 6.8, 3.6, and 30.9 along with a season grade of 25.7 in pass protection and 35.8 overall. He’s allowed five sacks, nine quarterback hits, and 38 pressures on just 430 attempts while also being flagged 11 times. His run blocking has been decent, but he’s only allowing 4.1 yards per carry when run behind, below what the Texans expected when drafting him 15th overall out of Texas A&M. Green is a raw prospect, and he’s only 21, so the future is still there, he’s going to need to either settle in at guard or flip back out to tackle. For now, he’s not playing anywhere near a first round selection and is a near liability to their line. Grade: D

16. Washington Commanders (via NO), Jahan Dotson, WR Penn State

Dotson may not be having the best campaign this year, but he’s flashed some serious potential. He’s only played in eight games due to injury, but when he has played, he has done pretty well. He has 233 yards and five touchdowns this year. If he can stay healthy, look for Dotson to make a big leap in 2023. Grade: B-

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