How The 2022 NFL Draft Shook Up the NFL Landscape

Charlie Spungin, Copy Editor

Following five months of the exciting NFL season comes the long offseason, but draft day is always a delight for fans. They get a glimpse into the future of the league, as teams look to add the best young prospects available. 

This year’s draft was quite unique in its own right, as the major storyline heading in was the quarterback talent — or lack thereof. This year’s quarterback class is seen as the worst in recent memory, and NFL front offices seemingly thought the same, as only one quarterback went in the first round with the second not going until the third. 

With that said, there are always teams that have drafts that stand out above the rest, and vise versa; there are teams that simply make bad picks and reach in the eyes of the NFL community. Here are the biggest winners and losers from the 2022 NFL Draft.

Winner: Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens were probably the biggest winner from this draft. With their first pick at pick 14, they selected safety Kyle Hamilton, who some saw as a top 5 prospect in the draft. They then followed that up with center Tyler Linderbaum at pick 25, the top center in the draft. Then, however, they likely followed it up with their best value pick in the draft: edge David Ojabo at pick 45, who was a star at Michigan until a knee injury lowered his draft stock. From this point on, the Ravens continued to take steal after steal, as they certainly walked away adding some real talent to propel them back to the AFC playoff picture.

Loser: New England Patriots

It’s tough to question legendary coach Bill Belichick, but he made it pretty easy to do this year. The majority of this criticism comes with the team’s first-round pick; at pick 29, they took guard Cole Strange. Most viewed Strange as a third or fourth-round pick, but the Patriots taking him at 29 certainly raised some eyebrows. Their second-round pick, wide receiver Tyquan Thornton also could be seen as a reach, though he does address a position of need. Overall, they didn’t have any home run picks that made anyone go “wow, that was a great steal”. For a team who will be looking to really build around Mac Jones offensively, they certainly reached on some draft picks while attempting to do this.

Winner: New York Jets

The Patriots division rival, the Jets, came out on of this draft on the opposite spectrum as them. The Jets had three first round picks, and they hit on all of them. At pick four, they selected cornerback Sauce Gardner. At pick 10, they selected wide receiver Garrett Wilson, and at pick 26, they selected edge Jermaine Johnson II. These were all amazing selections, and they continued this in the second round; at pick 36, they selected the top running back in this draft, Breece Hall. For a team that hasn’t made the playoff since 2010, the Jets are certainly going to be turning it around with this draft class.

Loser: Jacksonville Jaguars

This could be widely disputed, but the Travon Walker hype made little sense. Walker, an edge, jumped from a late first-round pick to the first-round pick during the pre-draft process, something that usually doesn’t happen. A freak athlete admittingly, Walker lacked production overall at Georgia, so this certainly could be a questioned pick. At pick 27, the Jaguars selected linebacker Devin Lloyd. First-round linebackers, too, can be questionable. Overall, to me, this Jaguars draft class was quite underwhelming, especially for a team that held the top pick in the draft and is simply one year removed from selecting Trevor Lawrence, who was viewed as a generational prospect.

Winner: Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles ended the regular season with an impressive 6-2 record to propel them to the playoffs. Here they are a few months later walking out of the draft extremely happy. At pick 13, they selected interior defensive lineman Jordan Davis, an absolute athletic freak despite his size. He will be learning from Fletcher Cox, one of the top players at the same position for the last decade. Then, they used pick 18 to trade for wide receiver AJ Brown from the Tennessee Titans, who is one of the top wide receivers in the league and forms a formidable wide receiver duo with DeVonta Smith. In the third round, they had arguably the biggest steal of the draft with linebacker Nakobe Dean, who some viewed as a first-round prospect. The Eagles will look to make the playoffs again this year after loading up on some serious top-end talent.

Loser: Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals didn’t make any terrible picks per se, but they still walked away from the draft as losers. They traded what was a similar draft pick (pick 25) for Marquise Brown that the Eagles used to trade for AJ Brown, and Brown is a much better player. Additionally, they didn’t have any picks that stood out. Tight end Trey McBride was their first selection at pick 55, but the Cardinals failed to address their biggest need this draft: cornerback. For a team who fell apart at the end of the regular season with a 1-4 record in their last five games and a Wild Card loss after starting the season 7-0, their draft didn’t do much to propel them to contenders.

Winner: Kansas City Chiefs

Hitting on drafts will be important for the Chiefs, who are set to be perennial contenders with quarterback Patrick Mahomes at the helm. With their two first round picks at pick 21 and pick 30, they selected cornerback Trent McDuffie and edge George Karlaftis, addressing two big position of needs for them. Then, in the second round at pick 54, they selected wide receiver Skyy Moore, addressing yet another position of need. In the third round, they — like the Eagles — got a hugesteal of a linebacker with Leo Chanel, who some saw as a first round prospect. The Chiefs, who unfortunately missed the Super Bowl this year, could certainly see themselves back as champions next year.