After a wild weekend, the 2022 NFL Draft has come and gone, and there was certainly no shortage of action in the NFC East. Let’s take a look at each team’s draft class and note how they fared.
- Traded picks 15, 124, 162 and 166 to the Texans for pick 13.
- Traded picks 18 and 101 to the Titans for AJ Brown.
- Traded Pick 154 to Jaguars for Picks 188 and 198.
- Traded picks 188 and 237 to the Lions for pick 181.
- Round 1, Pick 13: Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
- Round 2, Pick 51: Cam Jurgens, C, Nebraska
- Round 3, Pick 83: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
- Round 6, Pick 181: Kyron Johnson, LB, Kansas
- Round 6, Pick 198: Grant Calcaterra, TE, SMU
Good: AJ Brown’s trade was fantastic. Brown fits right into this offense as a physical, breaking YAC machine who is friends with Jalen Hurts and is still just 24 years old. They paid him a reasonable price and gave him a 4-year, $100 million market value contract extension. Simply put, Brown is going to make life easier for the Eagles, diverting attention away from DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert and giving Hurts a player who can make tough, contested catches on the outside. In my opinion, it was one of the best shots of Howie Roseman’s tenure.
Additionally, the Eagles took calculated risks on Nakobe Dean and Grant Calcaterra. Dean was arguably one of the top 20 talents in this draft class who went down due to concerns over his shoulder which he refused to have surgery on. Roseman says his medicals have been checked, and if he’s truly capable of going all-out this season, it has a chance of possibly being the biggest steal of the draft because Dean is a smart and energetic athletic linebacker. who comes in deep makes plays in both the passing game and the running game. Calcaterra is an interesting prospect, as he retired ahead of the 2020 season and considered becoming a firefighter, but ultimately decided to try football again. He leaves a lot to be desired as a blocker, but is a talented receiver with good size and speed (6’4″, 241 lbs, 4.62 40 yards dash). He’s probably already the second-best passer in position. tight end on the Eagles, and could prove to be great value in the sixth round if he can carve out a consistent role in the two tight end sets.
The worst : I know I’m in the minority here, but I don’t like the choice of Jordan Davis, and I certainly didn’t like the price they paid for him. Three midterm picks in a deep draft class to move up two spots outside the top 10 is a bit unwise, and while Davis is certainly a unique and talented player, there are very few short-term needs at the post and he’s a huge work in progress as a pass-rusher. Is he almost guaranteed to contribute at least as a space eater who can free up defensive ends in the passing game and linebackers in the running game? Probably, but that trait alone doesn’t justify pick thirteen plus the cost to acquire it, in my opinion. I’d love to be wrong, and I certainly don’t think it’s a disastrous choice, but for now, I would have preferred Kyle Hamilton or Jermaine Johnson, had it not been for the trade.
Cam Jurgens falls into a similar boat. He’s a good prospect, but falls short of a short-term need with Jason Kelce still anchoring the offensive line. I know the Eagles prioritize the trenches, and Jurgens is considered a poor man’s Kelce, but there were better prospects on the board. Overall, though, the Eagles traded in the first round, traded for AJ Brown, and they still made a second-round pick, a third-round pick, and have two firsts in 2023. That’s impressive.
- Round 1, Pick 24: Tyler Smith, OT, Tulsa
- Round 2, Pick 56: Sam Williams, DE, Ole Miss
- Round 3, Pick 88: Jalen Tolbert, WR, South Alabama
- Round 4, Pick 129: Jake Ferguson, TE, Wisconsin
- Round 5, Pick 155: Matt Waletzko, OT, North Dakota
- Round 5, Pick 167: DaRon Bland, CB, Fresno State
- Round 5, Pick 176: Damone Clark, LB, LSU
- Round 5, Pick 178: John Ridgeway, DT, Arkansas
- Round 6, Pick 193: Devin Harper, LB, Oklahoma State
Good: Jalen Tolbert was of great value in the third round. The Cowboys needed a receiver after losing Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson, and Tolbert is a productive wide player who ensures the Cowboys still have a fine receiving line. I also liked tight end Jake Ferguson as insurance for Dalton Schultz in the fourth round, and the lottery ticket Damone Clark – a talented linebacker who is out for his rookie season due to surgery – towards the end of round 5.
The worst : The Cowboys definitely needed to bolster the offensive line pipeline, but Tyler Smith is a draft from a smaller program that was a penalty machine last year (16 of them, 12 for holding). He’s a good high-cap athlete, but he’s probably not an immediate contributor to a team that’s short-capped and needs to win now. Sam Williams is a talented pass-rusher, but struggles with the run and was arrested for sexual assault in 2020. The Cowboys have never been afraid to bet on talent with a sketchy character, but it’s not like s had done wonders for them in the past. Overall, they filled some needs, but left a bit to be desired in terms of other players available, in my opinion.
NEW YORK GIANTS
- Traded pick 36 to the Jets for picks 38 and 146.
- Traded Pick 38 to the Falcons for Picks 43 and 114.
- Round 1, pick 5: Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon
- Round 1, Pick 7: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
- Round 2, Pick 43: Wan’Dale Robinson, WR, Kentucky
- Round 3, Pick 67: Joshua Ezeudu, G, UNC
- Round 3, pick 81: Cordale Flott, CB, LSU
- Round 4, Pick 112: Daniel Bellinger, TE, San Diego State
- Round 4, Pick 114: Dane Belton, S, Iowa
- Round 5, Pick 146: Micah McFadden, LB, Indiana
- Round 5, Pick 147: DJ Davidson, DT, Arizona State
- Round 5, Pick 173: Marcus McKethan, G, UNC
- Round 6, Pick 182: Darrian Beavers, LB, Cincinnati
Good: The first round: After nearly half a decade of incompetence from Dave Gettleman, the Giants had to make it through the first round of this draft because they had two top-7 picks with a pretty barren roster of talent. They did just that, in my opinion, landing arguably the best passing thrower and arguably the best offensive linemen in this class in Kayvon Thibodeaux and Evan Neal, respectively. In fact, it wasn’t just the players they recruited that were awesome, but the strategy behind it was as well. The two best tackles in the class – Ickey Ekwonu and Neal – were both available at Pick 5. The Giants knew one of them was guaranteed to be available at Pick 7, so they waited to take one and instead chose Thibodeaux, an absolutely explosive defensive end who I honestly think has a Khalil Mack-like advantage. Leaving the first round with these two players was a job well done by new general manager Joe Schoen.
The worst : Almost everything else. I’m okay with the second-round trade drops, but the picks that followed were weird. Wan’Dale Robinson is a small but quick and nimble receiver, somewhat in the mold of Kadarius Toney. He’s a fun player, but I think there were several better options at the position available. Most of their other selections were also about taking players much earlier than expected. From rounds 3 to 7, the only player they took that I had heard of before the draft was Daniel Bellinger. I don’t claim to be a copywriting expert, but the copywriting experts themselves were also a bit surprised by many of these picks. It feels like they probably wrote for a suitable scheme rather than the best available, which is how you get Jalen Reagor instead of Justin Jefferson. Early rounds are more important, so their rating doesn’t suffer too much, but Schoen is going to have to prove he’s smarter than the draft buffs, or it’s going to be a bad look for him early in his tenure.
- Traded pick 11 to Saints, for picks 16, 98, and 120.
- Traded picks 120 and 189 to the Panthers for picks 144 and 149.
- Round 1, Pick 16: Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
- Round 2, Pick 47: Phidarian Mathis, DT, Alabama
- Round 3, Pick 98: Brian Robinson Jr., RB, Alabama
- Round 4, Pick 113: Percy Butler, S, Louisiana
- Round 5, Pick 144: Sam Howell, QB, UNC
- Round 5, Pick 149: Cole Turner, TE, Nevada
- Round 7, Pick 230: Chris Paul, G, Tulsa
- Round 7, Pick 240: Christian Holmes, BC, Oklahoma State
Good: I thought Washington’s mid-late rounds were very good. Brian Robinson Jr. is a powerful running back who will be a great complement to Antonio Gibson and pass specialist JD McKissic. Sam Howell in Round 5 is fantastic value. Once considered a favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick, Howell doesn’t have the most spectacular arm, but he’s a productive, smart quarterback with some mobility, and teams haven’t exactly been able to bet on Carson Wentz in recent years. Cole Turner also made sense as tight end depth after losing Ricky Seals-Jones, and Chris Paul weighs in at 323 pounds and ran a 4.89 40-yard dash – an intriguing draft in Round 7. I also thought they got good value on their trade down from 16 to 11.
The worst : While Commanders could certainly use another receiver, Jahan Dotson was an interesting choice, in my opinion. He has phenomenal hands and is a threat in the field, but comes with a small frame without the speed of the elite burner (4.43 40) to overcome it. I liked Treylon Burks better as a prospect, personally, and they also dropped Chris Olave and Jameson Williams when they traded. Washington was supposed to be so in love with Dotson that they didn’t even feel the need to bring him in for a visit. We’ll see how it goes. I also thought Phidarian Mathis was a bit redundant with what Washington already has along the defensive line, even though it looks like Da’Ron Payne might be on the way out.
Photo: Joe Vitale/UGA Wire