Re-grading the 2022 NFL Draft Classes: NFC South

Re-grading the 2022 NFL Draft Classes: NFC South


Re-grading the 2022 NFL Draft Classes: NFC South


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New Orleans Saints

Grade: B-

Despite missing on their later selections, it seems like the Saints did hit on their first three picks. Second round pick Alontae Taylor played in every game and played well enough for there to be some hope heading into 2023. Trevor Penning was troubled by injuries for most of the 2022 season, but when he was on the field, he played relatively well. The team has high expectations for their future left tackle, and there is reason to be excited. The real home run comes with wide receiver Chris Olave with the 11th pick in the draft. Olave surpassed 1,000 yards as a rookie despite having Andy Dalton and Jameis Winston throwing him the ball. The former Ohio State product was a firm candidate for Offensive Rookie of the Year and has a chance to be an elite target in the NFL for a long time. Expectations are extremely high with Derek Carr coming into town.

Carolina Panthers

Grade: C+ 

When you hit on a potential franchise left tackle, how bad can your draft grade really be? Ikem Ekwonu was selected with the seventh pick in the draft and started from day one. As always, there were some growing pains, but he settled in nicely. The team didn’t have a second-round pick, but selected Matt Corral, quarterback from Ole Miss, in round three. There is a chance that Matt Corral never plays a snap of football in the NFL. Hindsight is always 20-20, but that is looking more and more like a bad pick. The Panthers did, though, have a strong day three. Brandon Smith, Amare Barno, and Cade Mays all have potential to stick on their roster for the foreseeable future as decent depth. At the end of the day, if you can hit on quality depth late in day-three, you take it as a success. 


Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Grade: B-

The Buccaneers had a solid draft. Cade Otton and Rachaad White will move into full-time starting roles in 2023 and the expectations are that they can be good pros for a long time. Ko Kieft, a sixth-round pick, is currently slated as TE2 in Tampa Bay right now as well. That is about as much you can ask from the 218th pick in the draft. They even found their franchise punter in Jake Camarda. The rookie from Georgia was a real weapon for the Buccaneers down the stretch. Where it becomes difficult to grade is pick 33 overall. The team selected Logan Hall, a defensive lineman from Houston. Hall was always viewed as a bit of a raw prospect. He was drafted to be depth and to grow into a starting role, but he was forced to play early on due to injuries. It wasn’t very good. The potential is still there, and he could turn into a quality pro, but he will need to learn from his rookie season and really grow as a player heading into year two. 


Atlanta Falcons

Grade: B+

Despite mediocre at best quarterback play, Drake London proved he belongs in the NFL with a great rookie season. Fifth-rounder Tyler Allgeier burst onto the scene, rushing for over 1,000 yards and almost five yards per carry. The Falcons expect these two, along with Kyle Pitts, to be core building blocks on their offense going forward. Second-round picks Troy Anderson and Arnold Ebiketie struggled at times, but they still have immense potential. Both will likely be able to build on up-and-down rookie seasons in larger roles in year-two. That alone makes this a moderately successful draft class. However, the Desmond Ridder question mark could raise this grade significantly. Nobody knows whether he will get a chance to enter 2023 as the starter, but he played well enough to get a shot. If Ridder starts and plays well in 2023, this grade will skyrocket to an A+. 

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