After one of the most incredible offseason periods in recent history, there is an added importance to the 2022 NFL Draft. This is where those in the Front Office earn their money, and many of them have their work cut out.
Here’s our guide to Round One, including recent signings, team needs, and potential fits.
— NFL Draft (@NFLDraft) March 16, 2022
Here’s the full Draft Order
#1 Jacksonville Jaguars (3-14)
Signed: Evan Engram (TE); Christian Kirk (WR); Zay Jones (WR); Brandon Scherff (OG)
Needs: OT, DE, LB
The Jacksonville Jaguars were active this offseason. Not only hiring Doug Pederson to replace Urban Meyer as Head Coach, but signing veteran pass catchers and an offensive guard to help out second year QB Trevor Lawrence. The moves show a commitment to building around their franchise quarterback, but some may question the money spent on relatively low production offensive weapons.
Potential Fits: The move to get Scherff this offseason signals the Jaguars may use this pick for one of the top defensive players. EDGE Aidan Hutchinson from Michigan was a dominant work horse for the Wolverines and could be an immediate impact player.
#2 Detroit Lions (3-13-1)
Signed: DJ Chark (WR); Mike Hughes (CB)
Needs: DE, QB, LB
The Lions stayed relatively quiet so far this offseason, but have two first round draft picks. That should be enough to address a weak roster. HC Dan Campbell has his team playing well after one year and hopes to continue to build a competitive roster. This draft class may be the determining factor to Campbell and Co’s success.
Potential Fits: Not too many analysts are high on any of the quarterbacks coming out of college this year, especially with the second overall pick. Campbell is a tough nosed coach who looks for the same in his players. If Hutchinson is on the board the Lions take him no doubt. Otherwise they’ll be happy to go with Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE from Oregon.
#3 Houston Texans (4-13)
Signed: Kyle Allen (QB); Jeff Driskel (QB); Maliek Collins (DT)
Needs: WR, LB, S
The Texans promoted Lovie Smith to Head Coach and officially moved on from Deshaun Watson (QB) by trading him to Cleveland. Reports have stated the team is committed to QB Davis Mills, who showed promise his rookie year, and will build around him. The signing of two other quarterbacks may dispute that, but either way it’s hard to believe the Texans will pick a QB at three.
Potential Fits: Safety Kyle Hamilton from Notre Dame was an early Heisman candidate as a defensive player in 2021. Though injuries ended his season early, he is still an amazing talent that could shore up a Houston defense. HC Smith took the Bears to the Super Bowl behind the league’s best defense so look for him and the Front Office to try to replicate that success.
#4 New York Jets (4-13)
Signed: OG Laken Tomlinson, TE CJ Uzomah
Needs: CB, OT, WR
The Jets didn’t make too many splashy moves this offseason, but have certainly been trying to build around second year QB Zach Wilson. Look up some of the screenshots from last year on Wilson’s pass protection… spoiler, he didn’t have much. There are a few needs for the Jets this draft, thankfully they have multiple picks in the first round.
Potential Fits: If some of the EDGE rushers are still available at four, the Jets would be smart to make a move to get them. HC Robert Saleh has a defensive background and has success with a fierce defensive line. Otherwise, it is probably too high to draft a wide receiver so picking OT Evan Neal from Alabama makes a lot of sense here.
#5 New York Giants (4-13)
Signed: Mark Glowinski (OG), Ricky Seals-Jones (TE)
Needs: OL, EDGE, LB
HC Brian Daboll departs Buffalo and begins his first year with the New York Giants. As a former offensive coordinator, Daboll has his hands full developing QB Daniel Jones and maximizing RB Saquon Barkley.
Potential Fits: It will be interesting to see here what the new Giants regime prioritize. As their first draft, fans will learn what the Giants believe their biggest needs are and where they need to focus. With some top pass rushers off the board, the smart pick here will be bolstering the offensive line and grabbing OT Ikem Ekwonu from North Carolina State.
#6 Carolina Panthers (5-12)
Signed: Xavier Woods (S); Rashard Higgins (WR); Johnny Hekker (P)
Needs: OL, CB, QB
QB Sam Darnold struggled in his first year as the Panthers quarterback, and Carolina’s front office has a big decision to make. While this may not be the deepest quarterback class in recent years, passing on a quarterback now could keep the Panthers in rebuild longer than fans are willing to accept.
Potential Fits: The Panthers don’t draft again in the first round and may feel pressure from the teams behind them that need a quarterback. Like the Giants, fans will learn what the team’s priorities and belief in the roster is with this draft pick. There’s a few smart options, but drafting QB Malik Willis from Liberty makes sense here. Even if he has to sit a year to develop.
#7 New York Giants (4-13, from Chicago Bears)
Potential Fits: Going with an offensive lineman with the first pick signals the team is committed (at least for another year) to building around Jones and Barkley. It is a deep wide receiver class and if they love someone at number seven it wouldn’t be the biggest shock. However, CB Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner from Cincinnati was lockdown in college and won’t last much longer if not drafted soon.
#8 Atlanta Falcons (7-10)
Signed: Casey Heyward (CB)
Needs: WR, RB, LB
The Falcons officially moved on from QB Matt Ryan (traded to Colts) and started the rebuild. They picked up QB Marcus Mariota from Las Vegas who hasn’t lived up to early expectations. But Mariota is more than serviceable when healthy and supported.
Potential Fits: While Atlanta doesn’t have a long term solution at quarterback, one of the best ways to make quarterbacks look good is to have great weapons around him. TE Kyle Pitts, their first round pick last year, showed flashes of brilliance and without WR Calvin Ridley this year the Falcons can pick up WR Garrett Wilson from Ohio State to aid the offense.
#9 Seattle Seahawks (7-10, from Denver Broncos)
Signed: Drew Lock (QB), Noah Fant (TE)
Needs: OL, CB, QB
Seattle wouldn’t have had a pick in the first round this year had they not traded QB Russell Wilson to Denver. Now the Seahawks seem to be in a rebuild and have a lot of needs to address. This draft is absolutely crucial for them.
Potential Fits: It will be interesting to see where the Seahawks go with this pick. If their favorite QB is on the board, Seattle could address replacing Wilson immediately. However, Head Coach Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider built their success from a formidable defense. LSU’s CB Derek Stingley Jr. can be an absolute lockdown cornerback and fill an important need early.
#10 New York Jets (4-13, from Seattle Seahawks)
The Jets addressed their offensive line worries with their first pick, so getting more playmakers on either side of the ball is key here. DL Travon Walker from Georgia has been flying up the draft boards recently and some would feel lucky to snag him at number ten overall.
#11 Washington Commanders (7-10)
Signed: Cam Sims (WR), Carson Wentz (QB)
Needs: CB, LB, OL
Now completely rebranded, the Washington Commanders head into 2022 after failing to repeat winning the NFC East last year. The franchise made a big move to acquire Carson Wentz from Indianapolis and will have hopes that he can be the long-term solution at QB.
Potential Fits: Washington lost their Pro-Bowl offensive guard Brandon Scherff in the off-season and should address their offensive line. Wentz has some outside receiving weapons, but has historically struggled without protection. OL Tyler Linderbaum from Iowa is the top interior lineman in the draft. He can immediately fit in to protect Wentz and liven up the Commanders’ offense.
#12 Minnesota Vikings (8-9)
Signed: Za’Darius Smith (EDGE), Jordan Hicks (LB)
Needs: CB, LB, OL
The Vikings were a disappointing and frustrating team to watch this year, as they fell just below .500 for the season. Franchise QB Kirk Cousins is back for another ride at the helm. When all healthy, the combination of Cousins, RB Dalvin Cook and WRs Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen make a dynamic and potent offense. Stifling teams on defense and protecting their offense will be the major priorities this draft.
Potential Fits: Minnesota could very well trade out of this spot for the right offer. There are a lot of talented wide receivers available still and some quarterbacks that needy teams could get anxious about. If no trade, the Vikings address an aging defense with LB Devin Lloyd from Utah. Lloyd’s speed and versatility make him an immediate fit in Minnesota.
#13 Houston Texans (4-13, from Cleveland Browns)
Since the Texans have theoretically addressed the defense with their earlier first round pick, it’s time to build around QB Mills. There are still plenty of wide receivers to choose from so it depends who the front office prefers. WR Drake London from USC is coming off a broken leg early last fall, but is healthy now and arguably the top receiver in the draft. All quarterbacks need a dependable receiver and London is the perfect fit.
#14 Baltimore Ravens (8-9)
Signed: Marcus Williams (S), Morgan Moses (OT)
Needs: LB, EDGE, DT
The Baltimore Ravens had the most players on the injury reserve of any team last year, and still managed an impressive season. Former MVP QB Lamar Jackson missed a few games yet the Ravens still had an outside chance at a playoff spot all the way until the end. Building a stronger, deeper roster will be key for Baltimore.
Potential Fits: The Ravens’ identity is firmly set on tough defense. Whether they draft a defensive lineman or linebacker will really depend on who they see as the best available. Georgia LB Nakobe Dean was unstoppable in Georgia’s championship run last year and will be a great fit for the Ravens.
#15 Philadelphia Eagles (9-8, from Miami Dolphins)
Signed: Haason Reddick (EDGE)
Needs: LB, CB, DT
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts was the center of some offseason talks as Russell Wilson and Matt Ryan were mentioned in trade rumors. The Eagles ended up sticking with Hurts, whether by choice or default, and will need to build around him. Perhaps surprisingly, the Eagles made the playoffs last year and remain in a good position to kick-on even further.
Potential Fits: The Eagles originally had the 16th pick as well but traded it back with the Saints. There could possibly be some more movement here, but with so many additional picks already, taking the best player available makes sense. CB Andrew Booth Jr. from Clemson fits a need and projects as an immediate starter.
#16 New Orleans Saints (9-8, from Philadelphia Eagles)
Signed: Marcus Maye (Safety)
Needs: OT, WR, CB
The New Orleans Saints were off to a hot start last year before QB Jameis Winston was injured for the season. Head Coach Sean Payton retired and the Saints are suddenly in a new era. With a few needs to fill, and an interesting off-season move to trade up to pick 16, there may be a broader strategy at play here.
Potential Fits: With extra picks it is possible the Saints move around here and try to target a quarterback. It’s tough to say now whether New Orleans is firm on Jameis Winston long-term. However, if they stay at 16 and build around Winston, WR Jameson Williams from Alabama immediately helps the team and may be the best athlete in the draft.
#17 Los Angeles Chargers (9-8)
Signed: JC Jackson (CB), Khalil Mack (EDGE)
Needs: OT, LB, TE
The Chargers made splashy moves this off-season; a requirement to stay competitive in a wild AFC West. Trading for Khalil Mack and picking up JC Jackson filled big needs on the defense for a team that lost several close match-ups last season.
Potential Fits: Los Angeles nailed their pick last year with rookie of the year candidate Rashawn Slater at tackle. Addressing needs on offense makes the most sense here. While a wide receiver is needed, the way this draft has shaped up means that Charles Cross, offensive lineman from Mississippi State, will still be on the board and the Chargers would be smart to continue to protect their franchise quarterback Justin Herbert. He not only fills a need, but is the best player left on most draft boards.
#18 Philadelphia Eagles (9-8, from New Orleans Saints)
The Eagles may be tempted to grab a WR to pair with DeVonta Smith and help QB Jalen Hurts. However, the Eagles won a Super Bowl not too long ago with a strong defensive front. Look for the Eagles to address an aging defense and pick up DL Jordan Davis from Georgia
#19 New Orleans Saints (9-8, from Philadelphia Eagles)
As the Saints address their wide receiver needs earlier in the draft, giving Jameis Winston (or whomever ends up as their starting QB) more protection benefits the whole offense. OL Bernhard Raimann from Central Michigan is an immediate starter and fills a need.
#20 Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7-1)
Signed: Myles Jack (LB), Mitchell Trubisky (QB)
Needs: OL, CB, QB
The Steelers officially lost their Hall of Fame quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to retirement this season and Mike Tomlin and staff look to rebuild. The Steelers are never in a complete rebuild mode and will want to be competitive immediately. Trubisky is a serviceable quarterback who can win games. Whether the Steelers see him as a long-term solution remains to be seen.
Potential Fits: It isn’t listed as a top need, but the Steelers could pick up a wide receiver here at 20. They lost JuJu Smith-Schuster to Kansas City and every quarterback loves more weapons. With Treylon Burks from Arkansas still on the board look for Pittsburgh to grab the best player available and help Trubisky.
#21 New England Patriots (10-7)
Signed: Terrance Mitchell (CB), Mack Wilson (LB)
Needs: CB, WR, LB, S
The New England Patriots found immediate success with Mac Jones at quarterback replacing Tom Brady. How he does in year two may depend on how well the Patriots use their picks to construct some armor around him.
Potential Fits: Head Coach Bill Belichick has not had great success drafting wide receivers early in the draft, and with the top-4 off the board he may be unwilling to reach for any others. Belichick has always been defense-first and EDGE Jermaine Johnson II from Florida State is still on the board to replace OLB Chase Winovich, who left in free agency.
#22 Green Bay Packers (13-4, from Las Vegas Raiders)
Signed: Pat O’Donnell (P)
Needs: WR, OT, TE
Despite an MVP-winning season from Rodgers, a round one bye and home advantage in the playoffs, it was heartbreak again for the Packers. In the offseason, they traded All-Pro receiver Davante Adams to the Raiders and picked up Las Vegas’ first round pick in the process.
Potential Fits: Despite four wide receivers already off the board in this scenario, it is hard to imagine the Packers don’t go for a receiver here (though picking a QB in the first round two years ago was equally shocking). WR Chris Olave from Ohio State was one of the most productive receivers at a top college. He may never completely replace Adams, but what good is having Aaron Rodgers if he has no-one to throw to?
#23 Arizona Cardinals (11-6)
Needs: CB, OL, WR
Despite a 7-0 start to the season, the Cardinals faltered in the back stretch and find themselves in a precarious off-season position. They lost players on both sides of the ball and their QB Kyler Murray is now holding out. As we’ve already seen across the league, a lot can change this off-season, but either way the Cardinals are in need of immediate starters.
Potential Fits: The Cardinals are hard to predict as they have a few things to figure out. Though looking at needs on the roster and who is available, CB Trent McDuffie from Washington adds solid production to the Arizona defense.
#24 Dallas Cowboys (12-5)
Needs: DT, EDGE, OL
The Dallas Cowboys won the NFC East, but eventually lost to the San Francisco 49ers in their first playoff game. Once again the Cowboys fell short of expectations. This offseason they haven’t done enough to keep players on both sides of the ball and will need a sharp draft to fill gaps and remain atop the NFC East.
Potential Fits: The Cowboys have been drafting the best player available on their draft boards, regardless of fit, over the past several drafts. If that trend continues, this draft may get two birds with one stone. EDGE George Karlaftis from Purdue has risen this draft season and will step in to replace EDGE Randy Gregory, who signed with Denver.
#25 Buffalo Bills (11-6)
Signed: Von Miller (EDGE), OJ Howard (TE), David Quessenberry (OT)
Needs: CB, OL, LB
The AFC is the most competitive conference in the NFL and may be the most competitive we’ve seen in recent years. The Bills have their star quarterback and have been knocking at a Super Bowl appearance for the past few years. Bold off-season moves have helped, but the Bills still have major needs to address this draft to get them over the hump.
Potential Fits: Part of the threat of AFC powerhouses the Bills are trying to compete with are dynamic wide receivers. The Bills have had recent success through a tough defense so drafting CB Roger McCreary from Auburn immediately fills a need on the team and makes them a better contender in the AFC.
#26 Tennessee Titans (12-5)
Signed: Trenton Cannon (RB), AJ Moore (S)
Needs: LB, OL
Tennessee made the playoffs as the number 1 overall seed but lost to eventual AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals in their first game. The Titans have lost some key starters on both sides of the ball and need to address those holes to take advantage of their championship window.
Potential Fits: With their starting right tackle off to Buffalo, the Titans can fill that spot with an offensive lineman at number 26. Kenyon Green from Texas A&M can play on both sides of the offensive line and keep a strength of Tennessee to support their dominating run game.
#27 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13-4)
Signed: Shaq Mason (OG), Logan Ryan (CB)
Needs: OL, DT, TE
Tampa Bay escaped a quarterback wobble by having legend Tom Brady come out of retirement for at least one more season. As long as he is on the field, the Buccaneers have a chance at winning the Super Bowl and were certainly close last year.
Potential Fits: Only two years ago when the Buccaneers won the Super Bowl against the Kansas City Chiefs, they did so with a fierce front seven on defense that attacked Patrick Mahomes. Continuing that trend, look for Tampa Bay to add to their defensive line with Boye Mafe, defensive lineman from Minnesota.
#28 Green Bay Packers (13-4)
Potential Fits: If the Packers grab a wide receiver to replace Adams with their 22nd overall pick, this decision will likely be whoever they see as the best player left on the board. Daxton Hill, a safety from Michigan, is a top 20 prospect in many scouts’ minds and can come in to help a defense that needs to make big plays to get back to the Super Bowl.
#29 Kansas City Chiefs (12-5, from Miami Dolphins)
Signed: Justin Reid (S), JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR)
Needs: EDGE, WR, DT
The Chiefs aren’t fading away anytime soon as long as Patrick Mahomes is their quarterback. This 29th overall pick is part of the deal they received from Miami in exchange for superstar WR Tyreek Hill. Crucially, and perhaps intentionally, it puts Kansas City in the unique position to draft back-to-back late in the first round.
Potential Fits: With back-to-back picks, it is possible the Chiefs move out of one of these positions if their top pick isn’t available. However, defensive lineman Devonta Wyatt from Georgia is still on the board and helps shore up a defense that needs to keep up in an extremely competitive AFC West.
#30 Kansas City Chiefs (12-5)
Potential Fits: The Chiefs could go with back-to-back Georgia picks late in the first round. After taking a defensive lineman at 29, Kansas City adds depth at receiver with Georgia star George Pickens, who could have been rated much higher without injury concerns in college.
#31 Cincinnati Bengals (10-7)
Signed: Hayden Hurst (TE), Ted Karras (OL), Alex Cappa (G),
Needs: CB, OL, DT
Joe Burrow and the Bengals shocked most of the world by reaching the Super Bowl in just his second year behind center. The Bengals led an explosive offense and kept pace with the eventual Super Bowl Champion Rams. They addressed many of their needs in free agency, but still need to find immediate starters in the draft to help get them regroup and compete in the AFC again this year.
Potential Fits: The Bengals signed an offensive tackle and guard in free agency, but drafting OL Zion Johnson from Boston College adds further depth and increases competition on the offensive line. Johnson can play tackle or guard and as Bengals fans now know, if Joe Burrow is healthy and protected Cincinnati has a shot at the title.
#32 Detroit Lions (3-13-1, from LA Rams)
Potential Fits: Detroit fans aren’t used to seeing them draft number 32 overall (the spot normally reserved for Super Bowl champion) but due to their trade with the Rams, they bookend the first round. After grabbing an edge rusher with number 2, the Lions can either continue to build out a deep roster, or address their long-term plan at quarterback. With only one quarterback off the board so far, the Lions choose to wait and pick Lewis Cline, safety from Georgia to come in a play tough football for Dan Campbell.