May 6, 2022 | SPORTS | By Max Giles
The 2022 NFL draft was an interesting one. Normally the top 10 picks are filled with quarterbacks looking to make a name for themselves in the league. This year, though, was an extraordinarily unusual year for QBs. The first quarterback was not taken off the board until the No. 20 pick when the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Kenny Pickett out of the hometown school University of Pittsburgh, and he was the only QB selected in the first round.
With the No. 1 overall pick, the Jacksonville Jaguars selected Georgia defensive end Travon Walker. Out of one of the best University of Georgia defensive teams in history, Walker is a force to be reckoned with on the defensive edge. The second overall pick was another defensive end in Aidan Hutchinson, who went to the Detroit Lions and is a top Rookie of the Year pick among many NFL analysts.
At No. 3 overall, the Houston Texans selected Derek Stingley Jr. out of Louisiana State University. Stingley is a solid pick as he is considered to have been the “the best cornerback in college football” since 2019, despite the numerous injuries he dealt with during his collegiate career.
Another major story of the draft was the significance of the wide receiver position. ESPN’s Dan Granzino confidently stated that “WR is the new QB” in his big picture take away from the draft.
University of Southern California’s Drake London was the first wide receiver chosen at No. 8 overall by the Atlanta Falcons. London is projected to step in as the Falcons number one receiver and have a major impact in this upcoming season on a team that lost multiple receivers in the offseason.
With nine total wide receiver trades and six wide receivers selected in the first 20 picks, NFL teams set records for the most heavily drafted wide receiver class ever. One notable wide receiver trade the Philadelphia Eagles’ move for A.J. Brown, which baffled the NFL world, with Brown’s new four-year, $100 million contract setting the statement for just how valuable wide receivers have become in the league.
Because of the lack of quarterback talent in this year’s NFL draft, some teams seemed to be setting up for next year’s draft, which looks to have a much more promising QB class. The pinnacle of this was the Philadelphia Eagles, who traded for two 2023 first round picks, setting their current QB, Jalen Hurts, on the clock to prove he can be their long-term starting quarterback.
Continuing with the highlights, the New York Jets had an incredible draft. Mike Greenberg of ESPN is calling it “the best draft ever.” Despite being one of the worst teams in the NFL in recent years, the Jets’ future is looking pretty bright. They selected cornerback Ahmad Gardner, wide receiver Garret Wilson, and defensive end Jermaine Johnson II all within the first round. These three solid picks are shaping up for a promising future with the team.
Finally, another thing that cannot be ignored from the draft was the fact that the first five picks were all defensive players. The 2022 draft is only the second time this has happened in NFL history.
This draft was unusual, exciting, and fun to watch. It will be interesting to see how the 2022 class performs in the coming years.