These 2022 NFL Draft Grades will be posted minutes after each pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Keep in mind that these NFL Draft Grades are based on team needs, player value, positional value, and any trade implications. Follow @walterfootball
2022 NFL Draft Grades - Round: Picks 1-16
| Picks 17-32
| NFL Draft Team Grades
2022 NFL Draft Grades for Picks 1-16:
2022 NFL Mock Draft | 2022 NFL Mock Draft
Jacksonville Jaguars: Travon Walker, DE, Jaguars - B+ Grade
Jaguar fans will ask, "Is there anything the Jags could've done to get an 'A' grade?" The answer is trading down, but that wasn't a possibility because teams weren't interested in moving up in this mediocre draft class. So, no. But I was thrilled to get a B+ when I was in school, so this grade is perfectly fine. I like that the Jaguars chose the upside in Walker over the safety in Aidan Hutchinson. Walker has a much lower floor, but you don't win Super Bowls by being safe. The Jaguars kicked off the 2022 NFL Draft Grades with a solid B+.
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Detroit Lions: Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan - B+ Grade
The Lions did not expect to land Aidan Hutchinson a couple of weeks ago. Hutchinson was chalked to go to the Jaguars back then, but things changed since then. Jacksonville selected Travon Walker, allowing Hutchinson to fall to Detroit. Hutchinson is not an elite pass-rushing prospect like Chase Young or the Bosa brothers, but he's just a notch below. He's the best player available for the Lions, so this is the right choice. It would've been better had Detroit been able to trade down, but that wasn't really a possibility.
Houston Texans: Derek Stingley, CB, LSU - B+ Grade
I'm surprised the Texans are drafting a cornerback this early because the Buccaneers and Bears never drafted cornerbacks early when Lovie Smith was coaching them. Cornerbacks never call for a premium draft pick in Smith's system. However, I can understand why the Texans wouldn't pass on Stingley. He's an amazing cornerback who looked like a generational player in his first season at LSU. He has been injured since, so there's some major risk here, but the upside is through the roof. Though I didn't have this pick in my mock draft, I certainly won't criticize it because I think it's a good selection.
New York Jets: Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati - B Grade
The Jets could have drafted a number of prospects at No. 4 who would have made sense for them. Ahmad Gardner is arguably the best defensive player who fills a need for the Jets. You hear that Gardner is the safest player in the draft, but so were Robert Gallery, Aaron Curry and Dee Milliner. I'm not saying Gardner will be a bust, or anything, but he's not a lock to be a great player. Still, the Jets made a solid pick here in a weak class.
New York Giants: Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon - B+ Grade
Kayvon Thibodeaux, in a 15-minute combine interview, mentioned his brand five times to one team. Some wondered if Thibodeaux loved football fame more than football itself, and it's a legitimate concern. However, Thibodeaux is arguably the most talented player in this class, and he fills a huge need at edge rusher. The Giants need a tackle more, but they're fans of two tackles and can get one at No. 7.
Carolina Panthers: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, N.C. State - A- Grade
The Panthers are getting some value with this pick, as many believed that Ickey Ekwonu could have been the third-overall pick. More importantly, Carolina is taking Ekwonu over a mediocre quarterback prospect, which is the correct decision. The Panthers are better off either trading for Baker Mayfield (assuming the Browns take on some of his salary) or waiting until 2023 to land a quarterback. Either way, this quarterback will have quality protection because of Ekwonu.
New York Giants: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama - B- Grade
It's no surprise that the Giants are addressing offensive line with one of their two selections in the top 10. They must give Daniel Jones better protection in what could be his final chance to prove himself. Evan Neal fills a huge need, but his downside can't be ignored. Neal is 350 pounds, so he could be a major health risk. Many huge offensive linemen have had issues staying healthy, from Mekhi Becton, to Marcus Cannon, to Trent Brown. This is not always the case, but there's a dubious history with monstrously sized blockers.
Atlanta Falcons: Drake London, WR, USC - B- Grade
It should come as no surprise that Drake London is the first receiver off the board. I believed it would be London or Garrett Wilson. The Lions had interest in London at No. 2 prior to the combine. So, I don't think this is a bad pick, as London projects to be like Mike Evans. However, I thought Jermaine Johnson was the better prospect, and there's more receiving depth on Day 2 than edge-rushing depth.
Seattle Seahawks: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State - A- Grade
I would've preferred Jermaine Johnson, but Charles Cross is an excellent pick as well. The Seahawks have needed to spend a premium pick on an offensive line for quite some time, and they've finally done so. It's funny that it finally happens when Russell Wilson is gone, but Seattle needs better blocking without Wilson's mobility.
New York Jets: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State - A- Grade
A team told me they were convinced Garrett Wilson would go in the top eight. This isn't incredible value, but it's certainly very good value. It could be argued that Wilson is the top receiver in this class, and the Jets needed to do everything in their power to make sure Zach Wilson has as much help as possible.
New Orleans Saints: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State - B+ Grade
The Saints surrendered third- and fourth-picks to move up, and it makes sense for them to do so. With two of the top four receivers flying off the board, New Orleans could not have waited until No. 16 to address the position. Olave fills a huge need and is one of the better players available, so I like this pick. I'm not a huge fan of the trade, but it had to be done.
Detroit Lions: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama - B Grade
The Lions traded up from No. 32 to 12 for a quarterb- no, wait, that's not right. These are the Lions we're talking about. They've moved up for a receiver. The Lions using mulitple resources on a receiver ... where have we seen that before? Look, I love Jameson Williams as a prospect, minus the torn ACL, but surrendering resources to a divisional opponent for a non-quarterback is irresponsible. That said, the Lions aren't giving up as much as initially expected, so I don't hate this move at all! I don't know what the Vikings are thinking here.
Philadelphia Eagles: Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia - A- Grade
The Vikings-Lions trade was shocking. The Eagles-Texans trade is not. This is the least-surprising move of the 2022 NFL Draft. It was rumored that the Ravens loved Jordan Davis, but the Eagles felt the same way about him. The Eagles envision the 350-pound athletic marvel to be a good replacement for Fletcher Cox, so he's not going to just play two downs. His weight is a concern, but the upside is as big as Davis.
Baltimore Ravens: Kyle Hamilton, S/LB, Notre Dame - C Grade
This is misleading value. Many will think the Ravens are getting a bargain, but many teams soured on Kyle Hamilton. Not only did he run a 4.7 at his pro day; he didn't really have a natural position, much like Isaiah Simmons from two years ago. Teams didn't know whether or not to put Hamilton at safety or linebacker. We'll have to see what the Ravens do with Hamilton, but he could easily be a bust.
Houston Texans: Kenyon Green, G, Texas A&M - D Grade
At least the Texans moved back. This is pretty bad though. Kenyon Green is a guard who should have gone in the 24-40 range, so this is a reach. I wonder if the Texans don't already regret not picking a tackle at three and then a cornerback like Trent McDuffie at No. 18. As usual, the Texans have no idea what they are doing.
Washington Redskins: Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State - C Grade
2022 NFL Draft Grades - Round: Picks 1-16 | Picks 17-32 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | NFL Draft Team Grades
Much like the Texans, the Redskins deserve some credit for picking up resources for trading down. Still, this is a bit of a reach. It's not as bad as the Texans' pick, but there was some speculation that Jahan Dotson could fall out of the first round. The Redskins should've just remained at No. 11 and picked the much better prospect. I like Dotson, but he's a bit short to be taken so early.
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