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Arizona Cardinals

2 (55). Colorado State TE Trey McBride

3 (87). San Diego State EDGE Cam Thomas

3 (100). Cincinnati EDGE Myjai Sanders

6 (201). USC RB Keaontay Ingram

6 (215). Virginia Tech OG Lecitus Smith

7 (244). Valdosta State CB Christian Matthew

7 (256). Penn State LB Jesse Luketa

7 (257). Oklahoma OG Marquis Hayes

 

Notes: Sending their first-round pick (No. 23) to Baltimore for Marquise Brown and the Ravens’ third-rounder, the Cardinals extended an olive branch to their disgruntled quarterback by reuniting Kyler Murray with his college battery mate. I do think Arizona overpaid, and they may soon have to overpay Brown contractually with only two years left on his rookie deal. As a MF’in Mackey Award winner, my thoughts on McBride almost go without saying. He can block, caught ninety balls last season, and blazed a 4.56 forty. McBride should pass declining Zach Ertz by 2023. GM Steve Keim followed with consecutive EDGE picks; Thomas’ motor never stops, while Sanders profiles as a special teamer and situational pass-rush help. Included in Arizona’s grade is 2021’s trade acquisition of catch-and-fall possession TE Ertz. My favorite late-round stab was Hayes, who excels in pass protection with nearly 35-inch arms.

Grade: C+

 

 

Atlanta Falcons

1 (8). USC WR Drake London

2 (38). Penn State EDGE Arnold Ebiketie

2 (58). Montana State LB Troy Andersen

3 (74). Cincinnati QB Desmond Ridder

3 (82). Western Kentucky EDGE DeAngelo Malone

5 (151). BYU RB Tyler Allgeier

6 (190). Georgia OG Justin Shaffer

6 (213). Georgia TE John FitzPatrick

 

Notes: A big slot receiver in the Michael Thomas/Allen Robinson mold, London’s skill set is somewhat redundant with Kyle Pitts’. But the Falcons seem intent on building a basketball-style passing game specializing in catch radius and in-air ball winning that could offset some accuracy issues at quarterback. (Ridder’s biggest scouting-report knock is inconsistent ball placement.) London is already the betting favorite to win Offensive Rookie of the Year. Often connected to first-round EDGE defenders, the Falcons instead took Day 2 shots on speed rusher Ebiketie and athletic small-school sleeper Malone. Andersen plays a low-value position. Ridder’s most popular pre-draft comparison was to Marcus Mariota, with whom he’ll compete in Atlanta. A big back with pass-catching acumen, Allgeier landed in a fantasy-favorable spot. The Falcons had a fine draft haul here, but obviously still have a long way to go.

Grade: C+

 

 

Carolina Panthers

1 (6). NC State OL Ikem Ekwonu

3 (94). Ole Miss QB Matt Corral

4 (120). Penn State LB Brandon Smith

6 (189). Virginia Tech EDGE Amare Barno

6 (199). Tennessee OG Cade Mays

7 (242). Baylor CB Kalon Barnes

 

Notes: The Panthers began this draft severely shorthanded in pick capital following last year’s trades for QB Sam Darnold, CB C.J. Henderson, and DE Darryl Johnson. Desperate to move out of No. 6, Matt Rhule’s team failed to find a partner and settled for Ekwonu, who many teams viewed as best suited to play guard. (For the Panthers, he’ll start at left tackle.) To move up for Corral near the end of Round 3, Carolina sent the Patriots this year’s No. 137 pick and next year’s third-rounder. With only shell-shocked Sam Darnold ahead of him, I think Corral has a real chance to make several starts as a rookie. Despite high-end traits and five-star Rivals ratings, Smith was regarded as an underachiever throughout his Penn State tenure. Freaky athletic as a pass rusher with 4.36 speed, Barno was a steal in Round 6. Considering their distinct lack of assets, I’d say the Panthers did a serviceable job with this class.

Grade: C+

 

 

Chicago Bears

2 (39). Washington CB Kyler Gordon

2 (48). Penn State S Jaquan Brisker

3 (71). Tennessee WR Velus Jones

5 (168). Southern Utah OL Braxton Jones

5 (174). Miami (OH) EDGE Dominique Robinson

6 (186). San Diego State OT Zachary Thomas

6 (203). Baylor RB Trestan Ebner

6 (207). Illinois C Doug Kramer

7 (226). Southern G/T Ja’Tyre Carter

7 (254). California S Elijah Hicks

7 (255). NC State P Trenton Gill

 

Notes: Absent from Thursday’s first round following 2021’s trade up for Justin Fields, Ryan Poles began his first draft as Bears GM by drafting Gordon, who shined as both a boundary and slot corner at the University of Washington, which has consistently produced NFL-caliber cover men in recent years. Gordon and physical safety Brisker were fine Round 2 values, yet Chicago’s early-draft offensive line ignorance hurts its grade. Pathetically, the Bears turned Khalil Mack into just Brisker and a 2023 sixth-round pick. Already 25 years old, Jones projects more as special teams than receiver help. Poles did exhibit self-awareness of his bottom-five roster by turning pick Nos. 148 and 150 into Nos. 166, 168, 203, and 207, generating more dart throws. Yet the Bears’ failure to give Year 2 quarterback Fields more tangible help was one of the offseason’s biggest disappointments. It seems like the new regime is setting up Fields to fail. At very least, they’re going to end up burning two years of Fields’ rookie deal.

Grade: D+

 

 

Dallas Cowboys

1 (24). Tulsa OT Tyler Smith

2 (56). Ole Miss EDGE Sam Williams

3 (88). South Alabama WR Jalen Tolbert

4 (129). Wisconsin TE Jake Ferguson

5 (155). North Dakota OT Matt Waletzko

5 (167). Fresno State CB DaRon Bland

5 (176). LSU LB Damone Clark

5 (178). Arkansas DT John Ridgeway

6 (193). Oklahoma State LB Devin Harper

 

Notes: Before the draft, the Cowboys dealt off Amari Cooper for pick Nos. 155 and 193 in a move that looks poor in hindsight and works against their grade. Thursday night’s selection of boom-busty OT prospect Smith was necessary considering La’El Collins’ loss and Tyron Smith’s durability woes. Yet Smith’s penalty proneness is a major concern as he joins the league’s most-often-flagged 2021 offensive line. Williams profiles as a situational yet potentially dynamic outside rusher. Tolbert and Ferguson project as passing-game role players. Overall, this just wasn’t a thrilling haul for a team that needed one.

Grade: C-

 

 

Detroit Lions

1 (2). Michigan EDGE Aidan Hutchinson

1 (12). Alabama WR Jameson Williams

2 (46). Kentucky EDGE Josh Paschal

3 (97). Illinois S Kerby Joseph

5 (177). Virginia Tech TE James Mitchell

6 (188). Oklahoma State LB Malcolm Rodriguez

6 (217). Jackson State LB James Houston

7 (237). Arizona State CB Chase Lucas

 

Notes: The Lions took almost no time to turn in the card for Hutchinson at No. 2 overall, then aggressively traded up for game-breaking vertical stretcher Williams at No. 12. Speed burner Williams is going to be a big-play machine beneath Detroit’s Ford Field dome. The cost of moving up for Williams was more than reasonable, while landing inside-outside disruptor Paschal at No. 46 positions the Lions for a 2022 pass-rush leap. A long, explosive ballhawk, Joseph is an ascending backend playmaker. Post-draft analytical analyses showed the Lions cobbling together one of this draft’s most athletic rookie classes. I think it’s safe to say second-year GM Brad Holmes knows what he’s doing.

Grade: A-

 

 

Green Bay Packers

1 (22). Georgia LB Quay Walker

1 (28). Georgia DL Devonte Wyatt

2 (34). North Dakota State WR Christian Watson

3 (92). UCLA OL Sean Rhyan

4 (132). Nevada WR Romeo Doubs

4 (140). Wake Forest G/C Zach Tom

5 (179). South Carolina EDGE Kingsley Enagbare

7 (228). Georgia Tech LB Tariq Carpenter

7 (234). Miami (FL) DT Jonathan Ford

7 (249). Penn State OT Rasheed Walker

7 (258). Nebraska WR Samori Toure

 

Notes: After doubling down on products of Georgia’s all-time defense in Round 1, the Packers aggressively dealt up for Marquez Valdes-Scantling clone Watson near the top of Round 2, in exchange sending the division-rival Vikings pick Nos. 53 and 59. As a firm believer that Day 2 represented the strength of this draft, I despised that move by the Packers. The Rhyan and Tom picks addressed an unsung need along Green Bay’s offensive front, which lost Lucas Patrick, Billy Turner, and Dennis Kelly this offseason and lacks certainty regarding LT David Bakhtiari’s (knee) return. Keep in mind the Packers surrendered star WR Davante Adams to upgrade their draft capital and risk entering the 2022 season with Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, and FCS rookie Watson occupying their primary three-receiver set. I did like Green Bay’s fourth-round stab on Doubs, who was hyper productive at Nevada.

Grade: C-

 

 

Los Angeles Rams

3 (104). Wisconsin T/G Logan Bruss

4 (142). South Carolina State CB Decobie Durant

5 (164). Notre Dame RB Kyren Williams

6 (211). UCLA S Quentin Lake

6 (212). Georgia CB Derion Kendrick

7 (235). Montana State LB Daniel Hardy

7 (253). Kansas State S Russ Yeast

7 (261). Michigan State OT A.J. Arcuri

 

Notes: Last year’s Super Bowl-winning acquisitions of Matthew Stafford and Von Miller factor into Los Angeles’ 2022 grade; all told, those moves cost the Rams this year’s first-, second-, and third-round picks. The Rams also sacrificed their sixth-rounder for Sony Michel. A tackle at Wisconsin, Bruss was announced as a guard at the podium, while Durant is a slightly built if speedy cornerback prospect with ball skills. Limited athletically but an absolute gamer who’ll at very least shine on special teams, Williams profiles similarly to fellow ex-Golden Domer Theo Riddick.

Grade: B-

 

 

Minnesota Vikings

1 (32). Georgia S Lewis Cine

2 (42). Clemson CB Andrew Booth

2 (59). LSU OG Ed Ingram

3 (66). Oklahoma LB Brian Asamoah

4 (118). Missouri CB Akayleb Evans

5 (165). Minnesota EDGE Esezi Otomewo

5 (169). North Carolina RB Ty Chandler

6 (184). Illinois OT Vederian Lowe

6 (191). Michigan State WR Jalen Nailor

7 (227). South Carolina TE Nick Muse

 

Notes: Analytically minded rookie GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah kicked off his first Vikings draft by acquiring pick Nos. 34 and 66 from the Lions in exchange for Nos. 12 and 46, then landing middle-field enforcer Cine to close out Thursday night. Near the start of Friday evening, Adofo-Mensah accepted an offer of pick Nos. 53 and 59 for No. 34 in a deal with the Packers. Based on the makeup of this draft as a whole — strongest on Day 2 — I thought that was a steal for Minnesota. Booth, Ingram, and Asamoah were all solid values, while the Evans pick reinforced Adofo-Mensah’s commitment to rebuilding a pass defense that fell off a cliff late in ex-coach Mike Zimmer’s tenure. I was disappointed that the Vikings did little to upgrade their passing offense in this draft.

Grade: B-

 

 

New Orleans Saints

1 (11). Ohio State WR Chris Olave

1 (19). Northern Iowa OT Trevor Penning

2 (49). Tennessee CB Alontae Taylor

5 (161). Appalachian State LB D’Marco Jackson

6 (194). Air Force DL Jordan Jackson

 

Notes: The Saints traded their third-round pick to the Texans for CB Bradley Roby last year and forfeited their sixth-rounder due to repeated Covid violations. Yet Mickey Loomis’ team stayed aggressive on Day 1, sending pick Nos. 16, 98, and 120 to Washington to move up to No. 11. New Orleans was desperate for receiver help, and Olave is the top route runner in this class. Penning is a nasty, road-grading Day 1 starter at left tackle, replacing Terron Armstead. Taylor is a converted wideout who will at very least contribute on special teams. After losing stud FS Marcus Williams to Baltimore in free agency, the Saints failed to address the position in the draft and are exploring signing Tyrann Mathieu. I disagree with New Orleans’ consistent trade-up philosophy, even as it has largely worked for them. The bottom half of the Saints’ roster remains a huge concern that can be badly exposed if their top players get hurt.

Grade: C-

 

 

New York Giants

1 (5). Oregon EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux

1 (7). Alabama OT Evan Neal

2 (43). Kentucky WR Wan’Dale Robinson

3 (67). North Carolina OG Joshua Ezeudu

3 (81). LSU CB Cordale Flott

4 (112). San Diego State TE Daniel Bellinger

4 (114). Iowa S Dane Belton

5 (146). Indiana LB Micah McFadden

5 (147). Arizona State DT D.J. Davidson

5 (173). North Carolina OG Marcus McKethan

6 (182). Cincinnati LB Darrian Beavers

 

Notes: In recovery mode from the disastrous Dave Gettleman era, the Giants kicked off their draft with this year’s most naturally talented pass rusher at No. 5. Acquired in last year’s draft-day trade with the Bears, No. 7 was spent on Neal, a gargantuan SEC product and ideal bookend for ascending LT Andrew Thomas. I was unimpressed with New York’s selection of Robinson, a pint-sized gadget guy who will ostensibly replace Kadarius Toney in the slot. Ezeudu was a powerful and necessary addition to an O-Line that needed more than one pick’s worth of help. Slightly built but tough, Flott profiles best to slot corner. Bellinger is physical, big, and athletic — traits that translate well for tight ends — and the Giants’ tight end room was all but barren before this. My analysis of this draft is all over the place, but I love the top end and believe the G-Men have a real shot to turn the corner under Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll.

Grade: B-

 

 

Philadelphia Eagles

1 (13). Georgia DT Jordan Davis

2 (51). Nebraska C Cam Jurgens

3 (83). Georgia LB Nakobe Dean

6 (181). Kansas EDGE Kyron Johnson

6 (198). SMU TE Grant Calcaterra

 

Notes: I’m old enough to remember Eagles fans/media trying to run GM Howie Roseman out of town in the years following Philly’s Super Bowl 52 win. Good thing they didn’t! Roseman crushed this, beginning the process by acquiring an additional 2023 first-round pick in a relatively low-cost pre-draft deal with the Saints, then turning Nos. 18 and 101 into 24-year-old alpha WR A.J. Brown. Also prioritizing the trenches, Roseman leapfrogged the Ravens to secure hyper-athletic space-eater Davis at No. 13, landed Jason Kelce heir apparent Jurgens in Round 2, and stopped ubiquitous LB Dean’s stunning slide a round later. I even liked the Eagles’ sixth-round selection of seam-busting TE Calcaterra, who caught 38 balls at SMU in 2021 and blazed 4.62 in Indy. No team improved more than Philly on draft weekend.

Grade: A-

 

 

San Francisco 49ers

2 (61). USC EDGE Drake Jackson

3 (93). LSU RB Tyrion Davis-Price

3 (105). SMU WR Danny Gray

4 (134). UT-San Antonio OT Spencer Burford

5 (172). Toledo CB Sam Womack

6 (187). Fordham OT Nick Zakelj

6 (220). Central Florida DT Kalia Davis

6 (221). Penn State CB Tariq Castro-Fields

7 (262). Iowa State QB Brock Purdy

 

Notes: Entering this year’s draft without first- and fourth-round picks following 2021’s trade up for Trey Lance, the shorthanded 49ers were fortunate to land pro-ready outside rusher Jackson at the end of Round 2. The Niners vehemently believe in a deep defensive-line rotation, and Jackson keeps their up-front group in the category of terrifying. Hard-charging Davis-Price seemed like an attempt at a makeup pick for last year’s Trey Sermon miss and was drafted multiple rounds earlier than expected. I suspect Kyle Shanahan sees 4.33 burner Gray as a big-play perimeter role player ala past pupils Travis Benjamin, Aldrick Robinson, and Marquise Goodwin. Built up (6’1″/197) with 4.38 jets, Castro-Fields went multiple rounds later than expected. He has starting-caliber perimeter cornerback traits. Ultimately, the direction of Lance’s career will dictate the impact of San Francisco’s 2021-2022 drafts. I think Lance will succeed.

Grade: C+

 

 

Seattle Seahawks

1 (9). Mississippi State OT Charles Cross

2 (40). Minnesota EDGE Boye Mafe

2 (41). Michigan State RB Kenneth Walker

3 (72). Washington State OT Abe Lucas

4 (109). Cincinnati CB Coby Bryant

5 (153). UT-San Antonio CB Tariq Woolen

5 (158). Ohio State EDGE Tyreke Smith

7 (229). Rutgers WR Bo Melton

7 (233). Lenoir-Rhyne WR Dareke Young

 

Notes: Unable to broker a deal with free agent Duane Brown before the draft, Seattle had to be happy to stop Cross’ slide at No. 9. The draft’s premier pass protector, Cross will start at left tackle on Day 1. The Mafe pick made all kinds of sense at No. 40, but adding two-down grinder Walker to share time with Rashaad Penny and others shined a lowlight on Pete Carroll’s stale philosophies. I’m not even a big Malik Willis believer, yet passing on him for a two-down running back when your probable starting quarterback is either Geno Smith or Drew Lock was egregious. Prototypically sized and athletic, Lucas was wholly worth a third-round stab, and 2021 Thorpe Award winner Bryant profiles as a potential starting slot corner. Keep in mind Seattle had to cough up Russell Wilson to have so much draft capital — downgrading colossally under center — and wound up forfeiting the No. 10 overall pick to the Jets in the disastrous Jamal Adams trade. 6-foot-4, 210 with 4.2 wheels and converted from wideout, Woolen is a classic Seahawks cornerback pick. But, yes, I’m penalizing the Seahawks for trading away Wilson and not ensuring Russ finished his career in Seattle. They’re also arguably the NFL’s most prehistoric franchise.

Grade: D

 

 

Tampa Bay Bucs

2 (33). Houston DL Logan Hall

2 (57). Central Michigan OT Luke Goedeke

3 (91). Arizona State RB Rachaad White

4 (106). Washington TE Cade Otton

4 (133). Georgia P Jake Camarda

5 (157). Sam Houston State CB Zyon McCollum

6 (218). Minnesota TE Ko Kieft

7 (248). LSU EDGE Andre Anthony

 

Notes: In a strangely generous move, the Patriots sent stud OG Shaq Mason to the Bucs before the draft; Mason’s low-cost acquisition enhances Tampa’s grade. The Bucs began their actual 2022 draft by trading down, sending pick No. 27 to Jacksonville in exchange for Nos. 33, 106, and 180. Offering EDGE and three-technique flexibility, Hall was a steal atop Round 2, while college tackle Goedeke profiles as an NFL guard with 32 ¼-inch arms. That was a needy spot for Tampa Bay. Especially after they re-signed Leonard Fournette and Giovani Bernard, the Bucs’ third-round running back pick seemed forced. Drafted with the first pick in the fourth round, Otton should make Cameron Brate expendable sooner rather than later. This was a nuts-and-bolts haul for the Super Bowl-contending Bucs.

Grade: B-

 

 

Washington Commanders

1 (16). Penn State WR Jahan Dotson

2 (47). Alabama DT Phidarian Mathis

3 (98). Alabama RB Brian Robinson

4 (113). Louisiana S Percy Butler

5 (144). North Carolina QB Sam Howell

5 (149). Nevada TE Cole Turner

7 (230). Tulsa OG Chris Paul

7 (240). Oklahoma State CB Christian Holmes

 

Notes: The draft capital Washington surrendered to acquire Carson Wentz is factored into its grade. I loved the picks Ron Rivera’s club acquired to drop just five first-round slots in Thursday’s deal with the Saints — the Commanders secured Nos. 98 and 120 overall — but wasn’t thrilled by their selection of smallish slot-receiver type Dotson at No. 16. They followed up with a limited interior down lineman in Mathis in Round 2 and a committee running back in Round 3. Small-school safety Butler best projects as a special teams gunner. I did give the Commanders points for making arguably the draft’s highest-upside risk-reward selection, landing Howell in Round 5. Wentz should be no one’s idea of a long-term quarterback solution, while Howell does possess starter-level traits.

Grade: C+