First round picks, live instant grades, trades, updates

The 2022 NFL Draft begins on Thursday night with a first round that has little consensus or concrete connections at the top before it begins.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have the top pick and already have a quarterback, which is good considering this year’s quarterback crop. There’s a solid chance that the top 10 is devoid of quarterbacks for the first time since 2013.

From there, the top 10 is littered with traded picks. The New York Jets and New York Giants have two top 10 selections, and the Seattle Seahawks acquired one via the Russell Wilson trade after trading away one in the Jamal Adams.

Jacksonville has no clear-cut option at No. 1, but the top 10 is expected to be made up largely by offensive tackles, pass rushers and cornerbacks.

The Titans will have a few hours to ponder their selection at No. 26 overall, barring a trade up. Offensive line is among the deeper groups in this draft, and Tennessee has a couple holes to fill.

It should be a fascinating first round. Follow along with the selections and our grades below.

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2022 NFL Draft pick tracker

1st round

1. Jacksonville Jaguars | Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia

instant grade: C-minus

Analysis: Picking traits over the film and a more polished and talented player is a move poorly-run franchises make. Walker could end up playing a long time, but he has to have a Myles Garrett-type impact. While Walker has the physical tools and quickness to be a good NFL player, I don’t trust the Jaguars to help him fulfill his potential.

2. Detroit Lions | Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan

instant grade: A

Analysis: Hutchinson is the top edge player in the draft. His motor and pass-rushing technique is the best among the top defenders.

3. Houston Texans | Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU

instant grade: B-plus

Analysis: Stingley’s freshman film is the stuff of legend. We didn’t see the same level of play last season, but he has the traits to be one of the league’s best cornerbacks if he stays completely engaged.

4. New York Jets | Sauce Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

instant grade: A-plus

Analysis: My No. 1 overall player. Gardner can hound receivers and make plays on the ball. He’s not afraid to be physical, and he has the ideal frame for a top cornerback. The team that drafted Darrelle Revis 15 years ago gets the best corner prospect in quite a while.

5. New York Giants | Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon

instant grade: A-minus

Analysis: Thibodeaux has all the talent in the world for an edge rusher, but there has been concern about his “love of the game”. Believe what you want. Thibodeaux is a terror off the edge. He is active and so, so quick off the line of scrimage. Good value for edge rusher No. 3 off the board.

instant grade: A

Analysis: The Panthers could not have crafted a better top five for what they needed. Ekwonu will fit on the left side of the offensive line as a physical player who is a good enough athlete to play at tackle. Out of the top three tackles, Ekwonu was the top on my board.

7. New York Giants (from Chicago) | Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

instant grade: A-minus

Analysis: Neal is a mammoth lineman who played all around the offensive line at Alabama. If he can handle speed off the edge, he could be a really, really good offensive tackle in the NFL. On the other hand, he could be an All-Pro offensive guard if the Giants elect to play him inside and he plays with some nastiness.

instant grade: B

Analysis: London is not my top receiver, but he goes as the No. 1 wide receiver in a receiver-heavy first round. The Falcons needed a receiver; London, at 6-4, can go win the ball in the air. How much else he is able to do in terms of route running will determine how good he is as a pro.

9. Seattle Seahawks (from Denver) | Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State

instant grade: A

Analysis: The final of the top three tackles goes to Seattle at No. 9. The Seahawks finally get a franchise tackle. Cross’ footwork and pass-pro technique makes him a top 10 pick.

10. New York Jets (from Seattle) | Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

instant grade: A

Analysis: The top receiver in the draft. Wilson can play all across the formation and can win one-on-one against defensive backs. The Jets needed to continue to help Zach Wilson, and this qualifies.

11. New Orleans Saints (from Washington) | Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

instant grade: B

Analysis: The Saints trade up for Olave, who is the second consecutive Ohio State receiver to come off the board. Olave actually reminded me, usage wise, of Michael Thomas. Olave could live in the slot as he did at Ohio State and prosper with the right quarterback (who may not be on the Saints’ roster).

TRADE: The Saints traded the No. 16, No. 98 and 120 picks to the Washington Commanders for the No. 11 pick.

12. Detroit Lions (from Minnesota) | Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

instant grade: A

Analysis: Williams is coming off a knee injury suffered during the college football postseason, but his tape is as good as any player in this draft in 2021. Like former Alabama receiver Jaylen Waddle, Williams is so dynamic and quick with the ball in his hands. His deep route running is tops in the class; Amon-Ra St. Brown with Williams will be a treat once the Lions find their QB of the future.

TRADE: The Lions traded the No. 32, No. 34 and No. 66 picks to Minnesota for the No. 6 12 and No. 46 overall picks, according to NFL Network.

13. Philadelphia Eagles (from Cleveland via Houston) | Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia

instant grade: B-minus

Analysis: The Eagles trade up to grab Georgia’s disruptive defensive lineman. His athletic numbers are out of this world, and his first three steps were unblockable at times last year. He wasn’t a great pass rusher, though, and showed fatigue a little too easy at times.

TRADE: The Eagles traded the No. 15, No. 124, No. 162 and No. 166 picks to Houston for the No. 1 13 pick.

14. Baltimore Ravens | Kyle Hamilton, S/LB, Notre Dame

instant grade: B-minus

Analysis: Hamilton has very good instincts and plays the ball well; his tape shows that he doesn’t play 4.6 40 slow. Still, the straight line speed could be a problem if he is miscast as a one-high free safety.

15. Houston Texans (from Miami via Philadelphia) | Kenyon Green, OL, Texas A&M

instant grade: B-plus

Analysis: To some, it was close between Green and Boston College’s Zion Johnson as the draft’s top guard. To me, it was always Green. He played all across the A&M offensive line out of need instead of plan, and played well. He’s a solid athlete that could play tackle in a pinch, though his physicality and nastiness makes him an ideal guard.

16. Washington Commanders (from Indianapolis via Philadelphia and New Orleans) | Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State

instant grade: C

Analysis: Dotson is a good athlete who excelled in a not-so-great Penn State offense last season. This grade is just as much a reflection of how I think he fits with the Commanders; This offense, with Carson Wentz at quarterback, won’t help unlock Dotson as he improves his game.

17. Los Angeles Chargers | Zion Johnson, OL, Boston College

instant grade: B

Analysis: Johnson was the last of my first round lineman on the board. Johnson is a solid all-around guard who will stay inside as a pro.

18. Tennessee Titans (from New Orleans via Philadelphia) | Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

instant grade: Check out the Tennessean’s Titans grade here

TRADE: The Tennessee Titans traded WR AJ Brown to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for the No. 18 and No. 101 picks.

19. New Orleans Saints (from Philadelphia) | Trevor Penning, OL, Northern Iowa

instant grade: C-plus

Analysis: Penning’s stock grew during draft season despite a poor Senior Bowl. I’m not convinced he can be a quality tackle in the NFL.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers | Kenny Pickett, QB, Pitt

instant grade: C

Analysis: Pickett is not a first-round quarterback. He improved each year at Pitt, but he features none of the top-level qualities (arm strength, anticipation, processing) that makes up a top-level QB.

21. Kansas City Chiefs (from New England) | Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

instant grade: A-minus

Analysis: The Chiefs lost Charvarius Ward to free agency, and McDuffie can slide right in. Given his instincts, McDuffie is a dark horse Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate.

TRADE: The Chiefs traded the No. 29 pick, with other picks, to the New England Patriots for the No. 21 selection.

22. Green Bay Packers (from Las Vegas) | Quay Walker, LB, Georgia

instant grade: B-plus

Analysis: Walker is a helluva athlete who showed flashes of really promising play alongside Nakobe Dean at Georgia. He’ll need to trust his athleticism in space against tight ends and running backs, because he can get too handsy. But I like this for Green Bay.

23. Buffalo Bills (from Arizona via Baltimore) | Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

instant grade: B-minus

Analysis: Elam fell off a bit in 2021, but his early film and his physical tools make me think it was inconsistency that can be coached out of him. The Bills needed a cornerback opposite Tre’davious White.

TRADE: The Ravens traded wide receiver Hollywood Brown and the No. 100 pick to the Cardinals for the No. 23 pick, according to ESPN.

24. Dallas Cowboys | Tyler Smith, OL, Tulsa

instant grade: B

Analysis: Smith is a late-riser in the process, though there are questions as to where he plays most in the NFL.

25. Baltimore Ravens (from Buffalo) | Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa

instant grade: A

Analysis: Linderbaum isn’t a knockout prospect like some think, but he is a very good technician who is in a good spot with the Ravens. Good pick.

26. New York Jets (from Tennessee) | Jermaine Johnson, DE, Florida State

instant grade: A-plus

Analysis: Johnson was a top-10 player on my board. At worst, he’s a solid two-way defensive end who plays the run well and contributes 6-8 sacks a year. At best, he gets 12 sacks a la his 2021 season at Florida State. Not bad for a third first-rounder for the Jets, who are doing very well on Thursday night.

27. Jacksonville Jaguars (from Tampa Bay) | Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

instant grade: B-plus

Analysis: Lloyd is behind Georgia’s Nakobe Dean in my rankings, but he may have a higher ceiling. Lloyd is old school in that he is best downhill, but that’s not to say he can’t make plays in space. A trade up for a linebacker is an interesting positional discussion, but Lloyd should be fine.

28. Green Bay Packers | Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia

instant grade: B-plus

Analysis: Wyatt was the workhorse of the Georgia defensive line, getting the benefit of the attention given to Jordan Davis. His quick hands and footwork gives a chance to be a Pro Bowl level player.

29. New England Patriots (from San Francisco via Miami and Kansas City) | Cole Strange, OL, UT Chattanooga

instant grade: B

Analysis: I liked Strange more than most. As long as he can deal with the strength of interior defensive lineman in the NFL, he should excel as a technician. The game against Kentucky, against two fellow prospects, was good enough for me to put him inside my top 50.

30. Kansas City Chiefs | George Karlavtis, DE, Purdue

instant grade: A-minus

Analysis: Karlavtis has to work on finishing, but everything up to that screams top 15 player. Karlavtis has a host of pass-rushing moves he’s shown in three years at Purdue. He has to stay engaged against the run, or else he won’t play for Andy Reid.

31. Cincinnati Bengals | Dax Hill, DB, Michigan

instant grade: B-minus

Analysis: Hill will play all over the defensive backfield for the Bengals. The NFL is trending these multi-positional defensive backs, though I liked the next pick better. He will be caught out against the run, but that’s not why he was a first rounder anyway.

32. Minnesota Vikings (from LA Rams via Detroit) | Lewis Cine, DB, Georgia

instant grade: B

Analysis: Cine is a solid versatile player who can play around the line of scrimage. Cine will specialize mostly against running backs and tight ends to start his career.


This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: NFL Draft tracker: Live first round results, grades of picks so far

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