Grading all 32 First Round Picks

These are my 2022 first-round grades for all 32 picks. These grades are based on my opinion of the players, the fit, and the team's needs. They are also graded in a vacuum. What I mean by that is, if a team has two picks, or gets a player, later on, I will not factor that into an earlier picks grade. 

An example is Jermaine Johnson II to the Jets. I think they would have been better off taking him at 10 at the time of the Garrett Wilson selection, so my grade bakes that into it. If I were grading in hindsight, which I am trying not to do, I would bump that grade up a bit.

 1. Jacksonville Jaguars - Travon Walker - EDGE

Grade: B

While I do the EDGE was the right move with the re-signing of Cam Robinson, I just think they went with the wrong guy. Walker does have a ton of untapped potential, and if the Jags believe in their development team, then Walker will end up being a great pick.

 2. Detroit Lions - Aidan Hutchinson - EDGE

Grade: A

The Lions got to sit there at two and take the #1 player in the draft. Hutchinson has all of the tools to be a great NFL edge defender. The hometown aspect is cool, but the Lions get an A for sitting at two and taking the best player.

 3. Houston Texans - Derek Stingley Jr. - CB

Grade: B

The Texans needed help in a lot of areas. I could have seen a number of players going to them at this selection, and Stingley was definitely one of them. I had Sauce as my CB1, but Stingley was close. This might've been a tiny bit of a reach, but if they get 2019 Stingley, he will end up being the CB1.

 4. New York Jets - Sauce Gardner - CB

Grade: A

For the Jets here it was simple. EDGE, Tackle, or CB. With one corner already gone, and the Giants looming with two picks behind them, they didn't take the risk to lose their guy. This is an awesome pick, he was top 3 overall on my board, and the Jets have a much better corner room.

 5. New York Giants - Kayvon Thibodeaux - EDGE

Grade: A

The Giants had the pick of the litter at tackle here, with all of the top names falling. Clearly, the difference between Neal and Ekwonu was very marginal (and I agree), as they secure the top EDGE rusher on the board, a position they have desperately needed. 

 6. Carolina Panthers - Ikem Ekwonu - OT

Grade: A+

The board fell like an absolute dream for Carolina. All of the QBs were there. All of the OTs were there. And ya know what? They did the right thing by securing a left tackle. Matt Rhule and co. are definitely on the hot seat, but I don't think drafting Malik Willis or Kenny Pickett is a quick resolution. They add a key piece to their offense and now look to set up shop for whoever starts at QB.

 7. New York Giants - Evan Neal - OT

Grade: A+

The #2 player on my personal board, at a position of absolute need, who has played right tackle in college, is a massive win at 7. The Giants get the job done again with Neal here, who I had as OT1, and who is the best fit for them to pair with Andrew Thomas.

 8. Atlanta Falcons - Drake London - WR

Grade: B+

Drake London to the Falcons is a perfect fit and he was the top WR on my personal board. The reason I am knocking them a bit here is that I think they needed to prioritize defense. Receiver is deep enough that I could argue going defense here.

 9. Seattle Seahawks - Charles Cross - OT

Grade: B+

I'm not a huge Charles Cross guy. He was 20th on my board and OT4 for me. But Seattle is one of the landing spots I love him in. He gets to start at left tackle right away and there isn't a ton of pressure on him. Plus, he will need to learn how to run block. Don't love the player but the marriage of need and fit is really good here.

 10. New York Jets - Garrett Wilson - WR

Grade: C+

Here is where I could take some heat. I like the fit, don't get me wrong, but I am lower on Garrett Wilson than most. He is 25th on my board and WR5. I think securing a high-end defensive player like Jermaine Johnson II or Kyle Hamilton would have been a better decision, but the fit is solid.

 11. New Orleans Saints - Chris Olave - WR

Grade: B

Everyone is chilling and having a good time and then bang! Here come the Saints up to 11. And the Twitterverse starts spiraling about if it will be a QB. And then, to the surprise of many, it's Chris Olave. And I really like the fit. He complements Michael Thomas well and gives Jameis (yuck) a vertical threat. I don't love trading up for him, but he is a good pick and they didn't give too much. 

 12. Detroit Lions - Jameson Williams - WR

Grade: A-

Everyone is chilling and having a good time and then bang! Another trade-up. The Lions have to be coming up for Willis. And to their credit, they don't. They take their perceived BPA at a position of need. I love Jameson Williams as a player, and the Lions are the perfect team for him to take his time rehabbing that knee. They didn't give up much either, basically just a 3rd.

 13. Philadelphia Eagles - Jordan Davis - iDL

Grade: C

I really like Jordan Davis as a player, don't get me wrong, but trading up for a nose tackle was a head-scratcher. Speculation that they wanted Jameson Williams might be true, but the fact that they went with Davis was a bit puzzling. He is a freak athlete but played little snaps in college and lacks versatility. Good player, an odd pick, not a great value.

 14. Baltimore Ravens - Kyle Hamilton - S

Grade: A

I mean we do it every year. Every team drafts in front of Baltimore, the haul looks really solid before their pick, and then they just get a stud anyway. Kyle Hamilton, while not the perfect prospect some made him out to be, will be an awesome safety and fit very well into a Baltimore defense that needed secondary help.

 15. Houston Texans - Kenyon Green - iOL

Grade: C+

I don't want to be too harsh to the Texans here. They have so many needs, and OL was definitely one of them. Green at 15 is a bit rich for my blood. They could have gone with BPA at a number of premium positions like EDGE or OT. He will be a good starter for sure, but it wasn't a pick I think the Texans should make at 15.

 16. Washington Commanders - Jahan Dotson - WR

Grade: B

With McDuffie on the board, I was a bit surprised that they went in a different direction. But I love Dotson. He gets open in a hurry and has really reliable hands. I think this is a very good pick for Washington, and considering they added a couple mid-round picks, they made out fine.

 17. Los Angeles Chargers - Zion Johnson - iOL

Grade: A

I wrote this pick down in sharpie when he fell to 17. It makes too much sense. Protecting Herbert should be priority #1. Zion Johnson was my top iOL, he has positional flexibility, and now you can kick Matt Feiler out to RT and put the 5 best guys you have in front of your superstar QB. 

 18. Tennessee Titans - Treylon Burks - WR

Grade: C

If you wanted to immediately replace AJ Brown, Burks was the closest guy. With that being said, he doesn't have nearly the polish that Brown has. Burks needs manufactured touches to succeed, and the Titans can provide that, but he doesn't offer a ton else. I like the fit to replace Brown, but I am a lot lower on Burks than most.

 19. New Orleans Saints - Trevor Penning - OT

Grade: A+

As a Trevor Penning stan, I have to give this an A+. 8th on my board, OT3, and the Saints sat here at 19 and took him. He is a bit of a project for sure, but he has all of the tools, and the attitude, to be a great starting LT going forward. Saints get their Terron Armstead replacement at 19.

 20. Pittsburgh Steelers - Kenny Pickett - QB

Grade: C-

I get it. The Steelers have so many questions at QB and they want to win now. Take the high floor guy. Look, the story is cool and Kenny seems like he will have some success in the NFL, but I had Corral higher and thinks he fits the offense better (if you go QB). I wish they held off on QB here and addressed a need with more value on the board.

 21. Kansas City Chiefs - Trent McDuffie - CB

Grade: A+

The Chiefs finally buck the trend of long-arm corners and I couldn't be happier. McDuffie has the best raw skill of any DB in this class. If he had average length, he might've been CB1. But this dude can ball, and he can play inside, outside, and safety. He's a perfect fit for a team that needs corner and also lost Honey Badger.

 22. Green Bay Packers - Quay Walker - LB

Grade: F

I'm sorry, Packers fans. I don't hate going defense here, but with all of the talented players on the board on both sides of the ball, they took my LB6 and 72nd best player who I have a 3rd on. From my perspective, with everything available, this was a disaster of a pick. And I hope I'm wrong and Quay balls out, but this one I didn't get.

 23. Buffalo Bills - Kaiir Elam - CB

Grade: B

Andrew Booth must really have medical concerns. He would've been my pick, but I don't have that knowledge. In that case, they desperately needed a CB2 opposite Tre White, and they did a good job here. Maybe a touch high for Elam but he has the tools to be coached up.

 24. Dallas Cowboys - Tyler Smith - iOL

Grade: D-

I get the need at OL with Williams and Collins gone. But Smith is really raw and I don't see him starting at tackle right away. He could fill in at guard, but he is a really sloppy player that lacks technique and needs a ton of polish. They had much better options at other positions of need here.

 25. Baltimore Ravens - Tyler Linderbaum - iOL

Grade: A-

I love Tyler Linderbaum. Another example, like McDuffie, who is an elite player at their position but is very undersized. If the Ravens think they can play with a 296-pound center, then I trust that the fit here is really good. The best technical blocker with very good athleticism. 

 26. New York Jets - Jermaine Johnson II - EDGE

Grade: A+

The Jets got it done. They got out of round 1 with an elite corner, an elite edge, and a very good wide receiver for Zach Wilson. Not sure why JJ fell, but from what I watched, and how I graded him, he was a top 10 player on my board and will be a very good EDGE defender for the Jets.

 27. Jacksonville Jaguars - Devin Lloyd - LB

Grade: A

What an awesome move by Jacksonville. Lloyd is a baller. 14th on my board and LB1, they came up in front of New England to get the best linebacker in the draft and the top player on my board at the time. He has the versatility and athleticism to play different positions on different downs.

 28. Green Bay Packers - Devonte Wyatt - iDL

Grade: A

I'm grading the player on the field. That is all I have definitive information on. And Wyatt was an awesome player who is a great fit on that Green Bay d-line. He has all of the tools to be a game wrecker in an odd front and the Packers needed help in the front 7.

 29. New England Patriots - Cole Strange - iOL

Grade: F

Man, I hate giving Cole Strange this grade. He was a guy that I really liked who I thought was a great mid-round fit. But this is way too rich for me. They needed interior help on the OL, but Strange was a 3rd round value for me and my iOL8.

 30. Kansas City Chiefs - George Karlaftis - EDGE

Grade: A+

The Chiefs did it again. Karlaftis went from overhyped, being talked about as a top 7 pick, to underhyped, falling out of the first round for a lot of people. He is a really powerful and stout EDGE with a really high floor. He fits a need for KC and I think they knocked it out of the park here.

 31. Cincinnati Bengals - Daxton Hill - S

Grade: B+

The Bengals had two real options here. OL and DB. And with the late run on lineman, Daxton Hill fell right to them. He isn't the perfect fit for them, but he has positional versatility and can play nickel for them against 3 WR sets.

 32. Minnesota Vikings - Lewis Cine - S

Grade: B-

I didn't love the value they got for moving down 20 spots. They got a 3 and moved up 14 spots for an in-division trade. Especially with Hamilton and McDuffie on the board, I wasn't fond of the trade. But that's what they do, and they did end up with a very good player in Lewis Cine at a position of need.

Other Moves
For the teams that traded out of the 1st round for future assets or players, the Eagles did an awesome job of acquiring an elite veteran WR for a reasonable amount of draft capital. They give Jalen Hurts no excuses to be the guy this year.

The Cardinals getting Hollywood Brown was a solid move to fill a need but maybe a bit too rich giving up 23. With how receivers went, they didn't feel comfortable with who was there at 23.

Tampa Bay didn't love the value at 27 for OL and clearly weren't comfortable with Devonte Wyatt, so they move out a few spots and add some draft capital which was solid.

Tennessee did a good job of trying to add additional capital by moving out at 26 after getting their AJ Brown replacement with Burks at 18. They now have ammo to go add to that roster that won 12 games last year.