An Unpredictable 2022 NFL Draft Is Now In The Books


Getty Images

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during the NFL draft at Radio City Music Hall in New York, NY on Saturday, April 28, 2007. (Photo by Richard Schultz/)

Josh Klopp, Editor

The 2022 NFL Draft began on April 28. This highly anticipated Thursday night kicked off the three day process where hundreds of college football players are selected to begin the next stage of their football journey. Contrary to the drafts of the past few years, the first picks in the draft were completely unpredictable.

Many people consider Aidan Hutchinson, an edge rusher from the University of Michigan, to be the most deserving of going first overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars. In a season in which he was named a Heisman Trophy finalist, Hutchinson collected 16.5 tackles for loss with 14 sacks. The  other contender for the first overall pick was University of Georgia defensive linemen Travon Walker. He totaled 8.5 tackles for loss with 6 sacks. It seems like an obvious choice when comparing their productivity, but this is not the only factor. Travon Walker is 6’ 6” and 272 pounds. This makes him a perfect specimen for the position and is ultimately the reason that he was chosen to be the #1 overall pick in the draft.

The Jaguars decision to leave Hutchinson on the board completely delighted fans of the Detroit Lions. The Lions were able to bring in a dominant pass rusher from their local college. These two studs were followed in the draft by three more defensive players. The first offensive player being Iken Ekwonu, an offensive tackle from North Carolina State University. Usually quarterbacks make up the earliest offensive picks in the draft, but this year fell very far from that norm.

The discussion involving quarterbacks in this draft surrounded two players. Malik Willis from Liberty University and Kenny Pickett from the University of Pittsburgh. Many experts regarded Willis as a better prospect due to his range of physical abilities. He is a dual-threat quarterback who is a talented thrower and runner. Even so, no one was sure where either would fall in this draft. The first answer came toward the end of the first round.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, similar to the Lions, decided to draft the star from their local university to be their hope for the future. The Steelers selected Kenny Pickett with the 20th overall pick. It wasn’t until the third round, the 86th overall pick, that Malik Willis was drafted by the Tennessee Titans. The Titans added some potential competition for their current quarterback, but this was not the biggest story of their draft.

There were several trades that occurred during the first round of the draft, but one stood out as the most influential. The Tennessee Titans decided that they did not want to renew the contract of their star wide receiver A.J. Brown. Instead, they traded him to the Philadelphia Eagles and acquired their first round draft pick. They used this pick, the 18th overall pick in the draft, to bring in a replacement for their departed pass catcher. The Titans selected Treylon Burks. Burks is a thickly built receiver from the University of Arkansas. The Eagles will gladly welcome and pay their new 24 year old star.

Even with a brand new front office, fans of the Minnesota Vikings were treated to a very similar first round as what they have grown accustomed to. Minnesota was slated to make the 12th selection in the first round. To the surprise of none and displeasure of many, the vikings traded away this pick. They traded this pick inside their own division to the Detroit Lions. The Lions used it to bring in a stud wide receiver from Alabama named Jameson Williams. In return, the Vikings received the 32nd and 34th overall picks in the draft. At 32, they selected Lewis Cine. Cine is a hard hitting safety that comes from the University of Georgia’s star-studded defense.

At 32, they selected Lewis Cine. Cine is a hard hitting safety that comes from the University of Georgia’s star-studded defense

At 34, they brought further dismay upon their fans. They traded this pick to their biggest rival. The Green Bay Packers. The Packers also used their pick to bring in a new receiver. When the Vikings finally picked again, they got a much needed cornerback. This pick was Andrew Booth Jr.. So although the Vikings refused to pick where they originally fell in the draft order, they acquired a nice crop of young players that will be of interest as the new season approaches.