clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Live grades for each pick in Round 1 of the 2022 NFL Draft

We give our instant reaction and live grades for each pick in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft based on positional value and team needs.

Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal on the red carpet at the Fountains of Bellagio before the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the 2022 NFL Draft! The first round of the draft is always an exciting time for the players waiting for their names to be called and for fans hoping for a boost that could put their favorite team one step closer to a championship.

Below, we’ll be giving you the picks as they happen, along with a quick rundown and grade for how we think the team did with their selection.

Rapid reaction pick grades for Round 1

No. 1 Jacksonville Jaguars: Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia

Grade: B-

Walker is all about potential, as he has the build and intangibles to be a dominant pass rusher. He’ll need some time, but so will the Jaguars. Hopefully he’ll be hitting his stride along with all of the other young Jaguars.

No. 2 Detroit Lions: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan

Grade: A

Hutchinson was projected as the No. 1 until late in the process. The Lions are happy that he fell to them. Dan Campbell will use him well and get him going early in his career.

No. 3 Houston Texans: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU

Grade: B

Stingley will need to regain his 2019 form after playing just 10 games over the last two seasons, but his ability as a shutdown corner is undeniable. If he can stay on the field, he’s going to help Lovie Smith’s team against a tough group of AFC quarterbacks.

No. 4 New York Jets: Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

Grade: A

The Jets are looking for Darrelle Revis and Gardner has a lot of the intangibles to be just that player. Gardner is cocky and can back it up. He’ll have trouble at first in the NFL, but he should be able to push through the learning curve to be a top cornerback in the league.

No. 5 New York Giants: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon

Grade: A-

The Giants will be the third team to take an EDGE rusher through just five picks. Like Walker, Thibodeaux has all the intangibles to develop into one of the best in the business, but he still is raw. The Giants believe they can get him up to speed quickly and if so, he will be a force.

No. 6 Carolina Panthers: Ickey Ekwonu, OT, NC State

Grade: A

Many had Ekwonu going to the Jets or Giants, but he fell to the Panthers, which is good for them. There isn’t a quarterback in this draft worth the No. 6 spot and the next best thing is adding a stud to your offensive line.

No. 7 New York Giants: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

Grade: A

Neal was the No. 1 offensive lineman on many boards and the Giants are in need of some foundational players up front. Daniel Jones might be gone by next season, but Neal won’t.

No. 8 Atlanta Falcons: Drake London, WR, USC

Grade: B-

The first offensive skill player taken is wide receiver London. This is a bit of a surprise, as Garrett Wilson was the odds on favorite, but London is of course no slouch. He’s great in 50-50 situations and can Moss corners, but he still needs to diversify his route running, as he doesn’t have the extreme speed needed to beat corners with just his athleticism.

No. 9 Seattle Seahawks: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

Grade: A

The Seahawks, like the Panthers and Falcons, have passed on a quarterback. Instead, like the Panthers, they’ve decided to beef up their offensive line with a Top 3 lineman. It’s not exciting, but it is the right pick.

No. 10 New York Jets: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

Grade: A

The Jets have been linked to every wide receiver that has been available, but haven’t been able to bring one in until now. Zach Wilson needs help, and Wilson is going to be able to help out early on.

No. 11 New Orleans Saints (from Washington Commanders): Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

Grade: A

It’s hard to grade this one, as the Saints moved up to grab the other wide receiver at Ohio State. They need help on the offensive line, but they also need help at receiver. Olave could be the best receiver in this class.

No. 12 Detroit Lions (from Minnesota Vikings) Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

Grade: B+

The Lions traded up with the Vikings to grab Williams, who is injured at the moment, but the Lions also have Jared Goff at quarterback at the moment. Many believe Williams could be the best receiver in this class and apparently the Lions do as well.

No. 13 Philadelphia Eagles (from Houston Texans): Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia

Grade: A

The Eagles traded up a couple picks to grab Davis before the Ravens could grab him. The nose tackle is a mountain in the middle and should be able to anchor the position for a decade for the Eagles if all goes well.

No. 14 Baltimore Ravens: Kyle Hamilton, Safety, Notre Dame

Grade: A+

Hamilton lasted longer than many thought, but not due to any reason other than team needs. He is the best safety in the draft and a big need for the Ravens who are getting thin in the secondary.

No. 15 Houston Texans: Kenyon Green, G, Texas A&M

Grade: B+

Green is a road grader at guard and should be able to start from Day 1. You really can’t go wrong with starting offensive linemen when trying to rebuild.

No. 16 Washington Commanders: Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State

Grade: B

Washington has been linked to many wide receivers, so this isn’t a surprise, but taking Dotson over Treylon Burks is a little interesting.

No. 17 Los Angeles Chargers: Zion Johnson

Grade: A

Chargers are only going to get better and help up front is the way to keep the train moving.

No. 18 Tennessee Titans (from Eagles in AJ Brown trade) WR, Treylon Burks,

Grade: B

Is Burks going to be A.J. Brown? No, but he has that ability. The Titans wanted that rookie contract instead of paying for the veteran production of Brown. It’s probably the right move money-wise, but it’s gotta hurt Titans fans.

No. 19 New Orleans Saints: Trevor Penning

Grade: A

The Saints moved up to get a receiver in Olave and now they grab the fourth-best lineman in the draft to help protect the man throwing him the ball.

No. 20 Pittsburgh Steelers: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh

Grade: C

Is Kenny Pickett the successor to Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh? It’s impossible to know, but he doesn’t look like a lock by any means. He’ll compete with Mitch Trubisky for the starting job, but the defense and the run game will be front and center.

No. 21 Kansas City Chiefs (from New England Patriots) Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

Grade: B

This pick is good, but the question is if it’s worth the move up in the draft? They got their man, and facing a great set of quarterbacks in the AFC West is going to be a challenge that McDuffie will help with.

No. 22 Green Bay Packers: Quay Walker, LB, Georgia

Grade: B

Walker is a good pick at this point in the draft, but the Packers are in such need of wide receiver help that they’ll be questioned for any pick that doesn’t result in a pass catcher for Aaron Rodgers.

No. 23 Buffalo Bills (from Ravens): Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

Grade: A

The Bills are a solid team, so they didn’t have any huge holes to fill. Grabbing Elam here is a good pick, as he’ll be able to start early and has already proven himself against the best in the SEC. They also didn’t waste this pick on a running back!

No. 24 Dallas Cowboys: Tyler Smith, OT, Tulsa

Grade: B

The Cowboys needed help up front, but they were too far back in the draft to get an elite prospect. But that doesn’t mean that Smith isn’t a true talent. He’s a better pass blocker than run blocker at this point, and in this league, that’s where you want him to be instead of the other way around.

No. 25 Baltimore Ravens (from Bills): Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa

Grade: A

With Marquise Brown in Arizona, the Ravens are going to run and run the ball some more and they’ll need all the beef up front they can get. Where better to get your beef than from Iowa?

No. 26 New York Jets (from Titans): Jermaine Johnson, EDGE, Florida State

Grade: A

Johnson fell in the draft further than most expected. The Jets apparently even thought about taking him at No. 4 overall. That’s some value right there.

No. 27 Jacksonville Jaguars (from Buccaneers) Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

Grade: A

It’s usually not the best idea to trade up into the first round, but the Jaguars were in need of a playmaker at linebacker like Lloyd, especially this late in the first round. Their defense has been truly awful, but this draft could turn things around quickly.

No. 28 Green Bay Packers: Devonte Wyatt, EDGE, Georgia

Grade: B

The Packers must have really liked Georgia’s defense, because they’ve now taken two Georgia defenders in the first round. At this point they are trolling Aaron Rodgers.

No. 29 New England Patriots (from Chiefs): Cole Strange, G, Tennessee-Chantanooga

Grade: C

I won’t say it, but this was an odd pick. Strange has the ability to become a strong starter on the line, but there’s no doubt that Bill Belichick has his grubby mitts all over this one. The Patriots probably could have waited to grab him, but they got their man and Mac Jones is going to need to be protected to reach his upside.

No. 30 Kansas City Chiefs: George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue

Grade: B

The Chiefs need help stopping the run, but Karlaftis still needs to develop in that area. He is going to be a starter in this league and a good one, but he’s going to need some time and the Chiefs could use some help this year.

No. 31 Cincinnati Bengals: Dax Hill, S, Michigan

Grade: A

The Bengals need help on the offensive line, but the studs are off the board. They should be able to grab a player they want here later on in the draft. And Hill is a good pick here, as the Bengals are thin in the secondary.

No. 32 Minnesota Vikings (from Lions): Lewis Cine, S, Georgia

Grade: B

The Vikings needed help up front, but Cine was likely the best player on the board. Yes, there is a need there for Minnesota, but he’ll be hard pressed to make a big difference this season.