The NFL draft season started in January for a lot of us nutcases, but I promise it’s okay if you’ve largely ignored the draft up to this point. Heck, it makes you a much healthier and more well-rounded individual than I am as someone who watched movies on obscure late-round receivers before Valentine’s Day.
Let us update you on the big things you need to know if you’re only now getting ready to watch Thursday night. The names to watch, the teams to watch, and why no one’s really looking forward to the Class of 2022.
2022 NFL Draft: Who will be No. 1?
Great question! We have no idea! The Jaguars once again hold the first pick in the draft, and unlike last year when it was clear they were taking Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence, this year is a complete mystery.
The consensus is that one of two pass rushers, Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson or Georgia’s Travon Walker, will hear their name first — but even then, it’s impossible to predict. Hutchinson will be a strong and reliable starter for a long time to come, but he’s nearing his limit. Walker is a total wildcard but has the physical tools to become one of the greatest pass rushers of all time. Jacksonville has to choose between reliability and upside potential, but the only thing that’s certain is that nobody’s trading for this No. 1 overall pick. Why? Because …
NFL Draft Quarterbacks: There are no QBs in this class to bet on
This is a really strange year because of the lack of top-flight quarterbacks. It’s widely accepted that Liberty’s Malik Willis and Pitt’s Kenny Pickett are the only locks worth making the top 20, and it would take a big surprise on draft day for someone to jump into the top 10 see to get one of the two players.
Similar to the pass rusher discussion, we can really apply the same logic to these two QBs. Pickett is a decently athletic quarterback who could easily be a starter, but it seems doubtful he’ll ever be a top franchise QB. Willis is very raw, but between his deep ball accuracy and pocket mobility, they’re made for the modern NFL. If he can learn to read NFL defenses and have more time in a pro system, there’s no limit.
After those two we have guys like Desmond Riddler from Cincinnati, Sam Howell from UNC and Matt Corral from Ole Miss. Everyone has an opinion on who is the best second row, and no one can agree.
This sip is deep, but extremely unsexy
There is no marquee quarterback. Not a wide receiver guaranteed to become a star. Not a running back ready to redefine the game. The Class of 2022 is all about the trenches, and it’s been a long time since so many top-flight offensive and defensive linemen entered at the same time.
It wouldn’t be a surprise if we saw half of the first round play on both sides of the line, which is amazing for the NFL, which has been short on incoming trench talent for some time, but it also means we won’t have any just as much shine on Thursday evening.
The trades will come, but nobody knows from where
There really seem to be two opposing opinions on this first round: some (like me) think it’s incredibly deep while lacking in much top-end talent. Others believe that there are 10-15 marquee players, then a big gap to the rest.
If teams also view this draft as top-heavy, we might see some wild trades that no one expected. It’s conceivable that playoff teams will jump higher than anyone predicted to get a player they have a first-round grade on. This is compounded by the fact that the Jets and the Giants both have two top 10 picks due to various trades. These teams could be looking to gain future assets or gain more depth, which could allow teams to make big strides up.
It all feels very static right now, but we always see some surprise moves on draft night that nobody saw coming.
NFL Draft 2022: How to Watch, Stream and More
The 2022 NFL Draft is divided into three sections. Day 1 is the first round only, Day 2 contains rounds 2 and 3, and the final leg takes place all Saturday, with rounds 4-7 being decided.
- Day 1: Thursday, April 28 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC, ESPN, NFL Network and ESPN Deportes
- Day 2: Friday, April 29 at 7 p.m. ET on ABC, ESPN, NFL Network and ESPN Deportes
- Day 3: Saturday, April 30 at 12 p.m. ET on ABC, ESPN, NFL Network and ESPN Deportes
ABC Team: Rece Davis, Todd McShay and Desmond Howard
ESPN Team: Mike Greenberg, Mel Kiper, Louis Riddick and Booger McFarland
NFL Network Team: Rich Eisen, Daniel Jeremiah, Charles Davis, David Shaw, Kurt Warner, Joel Klatt and Ian Rapoport
Streaming the draft will be available on the NFL app, as well as the ABC app and Watch ESPN.
The entire draft will be available on SiriusXM NFL Radio, as well as ESPN and Westwood One radio stations
DraftKings Sportsbook features first round odds, positional props, over/under on specific players, and more!