Recap of 2022 NFL Draft

We go to our Draft analyst Wonder for his brutally honest evaluation of how teams did. This being a Giants blog, let’s discuss the Gmen first. No matter what the Giants did in Day 2 and Day 3, Day 1 was so stupendous that that alone gave them a fantastic draft. Unfortunately, he did not like what they did in Day 2 and Day 3, so by not adding to the monstrous Day 1, they ended up with a terrific draft but it was not as good as it could have been.

Thibodeaux and Neal were so incredible. The Giants essentially got the best Tackle and arguably the best EDGE pass rusher (who is also going to be excellent in sealing the EDGE). Neal has the potential to be an All-Pro Tackle for year after year after year. Jacksonville needed to take Ekwonu to protect Lawrence. Detroit, in his opinion, should have taken Thibodeaux (or Walker if the Jaguars did the right thing). These things make it harder for the Giants to get both Neal and Thibodeaux. Do they take Neal and then what does Carolina do at 1.06- do they take Cross? Not clear. It creates risk Thibodeaux is not there at 1.07. We do not have to care. The point is that the Giants made out crazy good.

Wonder was disappointed in Day 2 and Day 3. We added italics to the previous post to add comments on Ezeudu and Flott. Summarized, he thought better players and better opportunities were there for them. R2 they got a good WR in Robinson, but was that helping a team with Toney? In Round 3 it was weaker, as Dean was still there and the injury is a pectoral. This is not an ACL. This is not a deal breaker. Ruckert (among others) was there too, but not taken. Ezeudu is ok but not much that gets him excited. Flott is given the kabash, called “jag” (aka just a guy). It may be anecdotal, and I hope I am wrong, but when Wonder calls a later round selection a jag, I cannot recall that player developing into a noteworthy contributor. Their Round 4-6 picks had enough bites of the apple but there was nothing from there to get overly excited about. “Beavers has good value as long as he’s not asked to cover downfield. Bellinger is ok. The rest are reaches/projects. Poor use of later rounds.”

Wonder is objective. He is not the final say on any player. He gets it wrong some of the time. “There are things I do not know that these teams are afforded… interviews and an assessment of desire are things I lack on many players. What does the player do with his time, on the field and off the field. Does he hit the weight room with zeal and abandon? How does he prepare as a professional? How does he respond to coaching? Do the coaches put him in a position to succeed? Much of my assessment is what I see on film. The rest is up to the player and the situation. But this is why I am looking for talent and potential (in later rounds) so that if the rest of the pieces come together, you have something.” It is worth pointing out that in the last few years, there really was only one later round Giants draft prospect that Wonder was really excited about on the day he was picked…

Given the Giants WR has nearly 2000 yds receiving and 13 TDs despite injuries, it is a big hit in Round 5. What does this mean? Merely that all else equal, we’d rather see a selection excite our Draft analyst than otherwise.

So who did well for the entire Draft, soup to nuts, Day 1, 2 and 3 together? The answer might shock you.

The NY Jets.

“As strange and unusual as it is for me to say this, my team, the lovable loser NY Jets, had the #1 Draft in the NFL this year,” admits Wonder. “Top to bottom they did great. They got the best CB (Gardner). They got one of the best WRs (preferred London, who was taken ahead of them, but Wilson will be excellent). They traded back into Round 1 at 1.26 to get Jermaine Johnson, which was sensational. I love his motor and I had him the 6th ranked player in the entire draft, ahead of Hutchinson. They got Breece Hall, the best RB in the draft. They got Ruckert, who I like at TE. This was a better fit for the Giants than the Jets because of what the Jets did in the offseason, but he is still a solid prospect who can easily develop into a solid pro. They got Mitchell at Tackle, who will back up Fant and Becton and who I believe can be a starter in time. And they got Clemons, who is raw but has all the physical potential to develop into a starting EDGE.” Essentially, there was not a single throwaway pick. Every player taken has an opportunity to be a starter down the road; some obviously will be starting sooner, but the entire class is impressive.

Who had the second best Draft? “The Eagles,” says Wonder. “Davis is a monster. They traded away the 1.18 for AJ Brown, who is a proven premier Wide Receiver. Plus he is 24 years old and has been re-signed. In Round 2, they took Jurgens at Center, who is a great fit for them because he can play Guard this year and then move over to Center when Kelce retires. And they won the Nakobe Dean lottery.” Pound for pound, that is a great draft.

Another team who did very very well is Baltimore. “… but in a different type of way,” explains Wonder. “Their draft is more developmental. So this is a great draft for the future, not for today.”

Wonder also liked the Indianapolis and KC drafts.

Who did the worst? “That would be New England,” explained Wonder. “I think Belichick has lost his mind. First off, even the Rams head coach laughed out loud about their Round 1 pick, whom McVay was looking at with the 104th pick. And it went downhill from there. Every player they took was a round too high, a reach for where they went, so they squandered value. Could the players they took be something? Of course. But it was a terrible cumulative effort.”

Summary: Great Draft for the Giants. Less than we wanted in Day 2-3, but Neal and Thibodeaux can be huge pieces to a resurgence, and players like Robinson and maybe Ezeudu and Beavers may be able to pitch in down the road. The Jets and Eagles did great.

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