Friday, May 27, 2022

Ranking every team’s 2022 NFL Draft class: Panthers, Cardinals, Eagles crush it; Bucs, Bills raise questions

Ranking every team's 2022 NFL Draft class: Panthers, Cardinals, Eagles crush it; Bucs, Bills raise questions

Keep reading to see how your team did, everything from our favorite picks to best values to most surprising selections

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USATSI

The 2022 NFL Draft is over, all 262 selections have been made, and all that’s left to do is brace for the knee-jerk reactions from media folk, ourselves included. We liked what most of teams did over the weekend because, in reality, this is nothing more than an exercise in checking boxes — Did Team X fill those needs it was unable to fill in free agency?

If the answer is yes, then Team X typically got a favorable grade. Variations in those grades might occur when the player Team X selected wasn’t as popular among the mock-draftniks as NFL evaluators. Again, this is what happens when you try to rate a draft that’s a few days old when a few years is what’s needed. So instead of the traditional post-draft grades we’re all used to, we’re doing something a little different here. 

We’re comparing where we had each draft pick graded with where they were actually selected.

So, for example, if a team took a safety in the middle of the third round but we had him going in the middle of the second round, that team got second-round value in Round 3. Likewise, if a team takes a safety in Round 3 who we had graded as a fourth-rounder, then they’ve overdrafted that player. Again, this is one person’s draft board vs. an entire organization of evaluators. Put another way: this list isn’t identifying the “best” or “worst” draft classes, but instead showing how the actual draft stacked up against our draft board. It’s more instructive than definitive and hopefully that’s how you’ll take it.

*Note that we also list the entire draft class for each team with the actual round and pick listed first, followed by the player’s name, position and school, and then, in parenthesis, where we had them graded on our final big board. So, for example, Rachaad White’s entry reads like this: “R3.27. Rachaad White, RB, Arizona State (5.02).” White was actually drafted in Round 3, 27th overall, but we had him graded as an early fifth-rounder (5.02). And finally, you may see “(FA)” following a player’s name, position and school, and that means we graded the player as an undrafted free agent.

OK, let’s get to it.

32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Favorite pick: We had Logan Hall with an early Round 2 grade, and he was the first pick on Day 2. He has the strength to fight through double-teams in the run game, and surprising quickness for someone his size. A year ago, his former Houston teammate Payton Turner went in the first round to New Orleans, and we think Hall has a chance to be a better NFL player. 

Best value: We liked CB Zyon McCollum early in the fourth round, and the Bucs got him midway through the fifth. He’s a long, fast corner who played primarily outside at Sam Houston State and racked up 15 interceptions in five college seasons. He feels like a Todd Bowles corner — long, physical and with ball skills.

Most surprising pick: The Bucs don’t have a great track record when it comes to drafting specialists (relatively) early, but we get it. The Bengals took Evan McPherson with the fifth pick in the fifth round a year ago and he was arguably the team’s most valuable player during the postseason.. But Jake Camarda is a punter, and he was selected with tight end Isaiah Likely, who is undersized but is a pretty good blocker, still on the board.

31. Buffalo Bills

Favorite pick: Kaiir Elam is the cornerback you build in the lab. Long, physical throughout the route, moves well laterally, consistently disruptive at the catch point and, my goodness is he fast. The biggest knock is that he needs to be more consistent in run support, but he certainly has the tools to be a complete player on a team with very few needs.

Best value: Punter Matt Araiza. We had heard that he probably wouldn’t be the first specialist drafted and that LSU kicker Cade York had a chance to be that player (and he was). We also heard that Araiza wasn’t the No. 1 punter on some teams’ boards. That also turned out to be true; Jake Camarda went some two rounds before Araiza. That said, we had him as a middle-of-the-fourth-rounder, and again, he’s landing on a team that was a legit Super Bowl contender even before he arrived. 

Most surprising pick: James Cook. We love his game but weren’t as high on him as other draft-media folks or, apparently, the Bills, who took him at the bottom of the second round. We love the idea of a running back, even this high, but aren’t Cook and Devin Singletary similar players? Especially with Dameon Pierce and Isaiah Spiller available.

30. Cincinnati Bengals

Favorite pick: Again, we’re going chalk here. Just like the Bucs and Bills above, the Bengals nailed their first selection. The biggest need heading into the draft was in the secondary, and Hill checks several boxes. He’s listed as a safety but can play outside, deep centerfield and even if the box if you need him to.

Best value: Jeffrey Gunter is raw, but man, his athleticism flashes at times on tape. We liked him late in the fourth as a developmental pass rusher with traits NFL teams love. At 6-foot-4, 258 pounds, he ran a 4.7 40 and had a 35.5 vertical. He also has 33-inch arms.

Most surprising pick: We understand the Cam Taylor-Britt selection — Eli Apple is on a one-year deal — but we didn’t value him as a late third-rounder. Yeah, he blazed a 4.38 40 at the combine, but we thought he was a little stiff in his transition at times. We liked Akayleb Evans and Martin Emerson better, but again, we’re one person, and clearly the Bengals felt differently.

29. New York Giants

Favorite pick: On the field, Thibodeaux was one of the most disruptive defensive players in this class. The other stuff — his brand and whatnot — didn’t factor into our grade mostly because we could never get a clear answer, even from the teams we spoke to, about what the exact concerns were. This is about the range where we thought he should go off the board, and the Giants didn’t overthink this one.

Best value: We liked DJ Davidson as a mid-fourth-rounder, and the Giants selected him at the top of Round 5. He’s a prototypical nose tackle who uses his hands well and is stout at the point of attack. He’s built low to the ground, has surprising athleticism for his size, and can collapse the pocket.

Most surprising pick: Wan’Dale Robinson. We get why the Giants drafted him — he’s electric and perhaps offers some insurance for whatever the future holds for Kadarius Toney — but he’s also 5-foot-8, 178 pounds with 28-inch arms. Typically, skill-position players with those measurables are early Day 3 players, maybe late Day 2 at best. That said, there’s no denying Robinson’s impact, and he can do it as a receiver, a runner or in the return game.

28. Denver Broncos

Favorite pick: We had Eyioma Uwazurike with a top-half-of-the-fourth grade and that’s where he went. But he flashed Day 2 ability. He can line up anywhere along the defensive line and be a problem. He’s long, quick and strong, and his bull rush was consistently a problem for interior offensive linemen. And even when he can’t get off a block, he remains incredibly active and plays with a high motor on every snap. And if he can play with more consistency — sometimes he’d go stretches during a game without making much of an impact — he can be a really good NFL player.

Best value: Delarrin Turner-Yell comes downhill with purpose in run support, looking for something to hit. He also can flip his hips in coverage in the deep secondary and flashed sideline-to-sideline range. And while he’s not at his best in man coverage in the slot, he’s always around the ball. In 2021, Turner-Yell had three interceptions, 2.5 tackles for loss and four passes defended.

Most surprising pick: Damarri Mathis ran a 4.39 40 at the combine and had a 43.5-inch vertical at his pro day — and that sent folks scurrying to watch more of his tape. But for us, we saw the same player, one who is at his best against deep routes where he stays in phase and uses the sideline for leverage. Mathis needs to get functionally stronger, especially against NFL wide receivers, and sometimes he can play a little stiff. We liked him later on Day 3 but understand why the Broncos liked him two rounds better than we did.

27. Los Angeles Chargers

Favorite pick: Jamaree Salyer played left tackle at Georgia, but he’ll kick inside in LA. And the best way we can describe him is solid. Not spectacular, solid. He doesn’t excel at any one thing but does a lot of things really well, and rarely makes mental mistakes. Zion Johnson is a Day 1 starter, but Salyer will be a contributor with gameday flexibility.

Best value: Isaiah Spiller fell to the middle of the fourth round, and we liked him almost two full rounds better. He runs hard, has the short-area quickness to make defenders miss in small areas, and he’s an asset in the pass game. He’s not a 4.4 burner, but he’s fast enough in the open field and LA feels like a great fit for his talents.

Most surprising pick: JT Woods. Another Baylor burner — surprise, surprise — who had five interceptions last season. And to be fair, that speed showed up on tape, especially in coverage against vertical routes. That said, he looked a little stiff at times in coverage, and while he wasn’t afraid to come downhill in run support, he’ll need to put on weight and get stronger at the next level.

26. New England Patriots

Favorite pick: Marcus Jones. He can do everything, and if he was 5-foot-11 instead of 5-foot-8 he would’ve been a first-round pick. He’s a dog in coverage (five interceptions, 13 pass breakups and 16 forced incompletions in ’21), he’s a dog in the return game (nine career touchdowns on kickoff returns), and he’s a dog as a receiver (10 receptions for 109 yards in ’21).

Best value: Chasen Hines played right guard at LSU last season, but he also can play center. He’s also relatively new to the position; he came to Baton Rouge as a defensive lineman and moved to offense ahead of the 2018 season. He’s a mauler in the run game. In fact, in our notes we wrote, “Dude will punch you in the mouth when pulling in the run game — he’s a tone-setter.” Feels like a Patriot.

Most surprising pick: Tyquan Thornton ran a sub-4.3 40. We didn’t think he played that fast, and he’s coming from a Baylor offense where the route tree is limited. He also has a slight frame and small hands, and while that’s not necessarily a death knell, we preferred George Pickens or Skyy Moore on the board here.

25. Pittsburgh Steelers

Favorite pick: Maturity concerns and an ACL injury in March 2021 are why George Pickens fell out of the first round, but he has first-round talent for days. The Steelers have a history of getting the most out of players who may arrive in Pittsburgh with off-field issues, and there’s no reason to think it won’t be the case with Pickens, who helps restock a wide receiver room that lost JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Washington.

Best value: Calvin Austin III is a shade under 5-foot-8 and weighs just 170 pounds, but he is a dynamo. He played primarily outside at Memphis but has the versatility (and 4.32 speed) to line up anywhere. He’s humble too, but also plays with an edge because he’s been doubted his whole life because of his size. He’s another player who, if he was three inches taller, would’ve been a first-round pick.

Most surprising pick: Mark Robinson. We had him as an undrafted free agent, but the Steelers took him at the end of the sixth round. There’s a good explanation too. Robinson moved from running back to linebacker last season, and it was his 4.69 speed and 33.5-inch vertical that got new linebackers coach Brian Flores’ attention. Robinson will likely begin his Steelers career on special teams.

24. Chicago Bears

Favorite pick: Jaquan Brisker was in that group of safeties just after Kyle Hamilton who have a chance to be special NFL players. He fluid in space, looks natural covering wide receivers and has the athleticism to come downhill to cover or break-up shallow crossing routes — basically providing cornerback-like coverage traits from the safety position. And the 4.49 40 and 34.5-inch vertical he ran at the combine show up on tape too.

Best value: Zachary Thomas played both tackle positions at San Diego State, is surprisingly athletic in space, and is solid in pass protection. He’ll need to get stronger and tighten up his footwork, but he’ll add depth to a unit that needs it.

Most surprising pick: Velus Jones Jr. had a solid season for the Vols, and his twitchiness and long speed were clear to anyone who watched him. But he’ll be 25 years old in May, and while he run away from people with the ball in his hands, he didn’t consistently separate with that 4.31 speed. He’s also an asset in the return game and, look, the Bears desperately need wide receivers, so we get it. We would’ve preferred Jalen Tolbert or Danny Gray in this spot, but Jones does fill a huge void.

23. Los Angeles Rams

Favorite pick: Decobie Durant is fun, man. He’s springy, twitchy and whatever other scouting term that conveys what it is he does. He’s a shade under 5-foot-10 and just 180 pounds but plays the position like he’s 6-foot, 200 pounds. Basically, he has the movement skills of a smaller player with the ball skills of someone much bigger. He had three sacks, two tackles for loss and 15 pass breakups last season. And at times against Clemson, he looked like the best player on the field.

Best value: Kyren Williams feels like a bargain here. Like Derion Kendrick, Williams didn’t test as well as he may have liked during the pre-draft process, but he played much faster than he was timed. In addition to running hard, he’s an asset as a receiver and perhaps most importantly, he’s the best pass-blocking back in this class.

Most surprising pick: There were no glaring discrepancies between our grades and where the Rams drafted their players, so we’ll take this opportunity to say we really liked Derion Kendrick coming into the 2021 season. And he was solid at times for Georgia after transferring from Clemson, but he never found his way into the same conversation as, say, Tyson Campbell or Eric Stokes, who went early in last year’s draft. Then he ran a 4.78 at his pro day, and what once felt like a lock for Day 2 ended up as a bottom-of-Round 6 situation.

22. Indianapolis Colts

Favorite pick: Nick Cross is 6-foot, 212 pounds and ran a 4.34 at the combine. And he plays that fast too! He’s a young player — he won’t turn 21 until September — and he’s incredibly instinctive. As he continues to learn the position — and he lined up just about everywhere for the Terps — he may end up feeling like a steal here.

Best value: Bernhard Raimann will be 25 in September, and he’s only played 20 games at left tackle. We get the concerns, but we loved his athleticism, and more than that, his potential to grow into a really good player. He’s a converted tight end who hasn’t been playing football that long. But he moves like a tight end, and he just needs to get stronger and continue to refine his technique.

Most surprising pick: Andrew Ogletree. We’ll be honest, he wasn’t on our radar, but Chad Henry, the Colts Midwest area scout, explained to the media that when you see Ogletree he looks like Calvin Johnson. “Not saying he’s Calvin Johnson, but body type, he looks like him.” He then transfers to Youngstown State and moves to tight end. “You really didn’t get to see him play 100% conventional tight end until he got to Hula Bowl,” Henry said. “So that really helped him being there. He did some really neat things there. We did a workout with him. Watched the pro day. … He’s a great kid. Another super culture fit. We were really excited to get him. I think he has tremendous upside.”

21. Washington Commanders

Favorite pick: We really liked Chris Paul more than NFL teams and other draft media folks. In college he played right tackle opposite Tyler Smith, the left tackle who was drafted in the first round by the Cowboys. Paul’s NFL future will be inside, and before he played right tackle for Tulsa, he also started at both right and left guard. He’s more athletic than he may look, he moves well in space, and he sustains blocks in the run game. He can get too upright at times and overset against speed rushers, but that’ll be less of a concern at guard.

Best value: Sam Howell was our QB2. We know at least one team that wished he had returned to school, but the more we watched Howell the more we appreciated what he was able to accomplish with so little around him. He has an NFL arm, can win with his legs and is incredibly tough, but he played in a simplified UNC offense, needs to do a better job of getting through his reads, and his footwork will need some tightening. That said, Washington got second-round value late in Round 5.

Most surprising pick: Brian Robinson Jr. is a fantastic teammate and locker room presence, but he’s more of a straight-line runner than dynamic running back. But that’s apparently what the Commanders were looking for, even with Dameon PierceZamir WhiteIsaiah Spiller and Tyler Allgeier still on the board.

20. Cleveland Browns

Favorite pick: Cade York. We heard he had a chance to possibly sneak into the bottom of the third round. He lasted until the middle of the fourth, and ends up as the first specialist selected. He fills a huge need for the Browns, and if this pick is anything like what Evan McPherson did for the Bengals a year ago, it’s a home run.

Best value: We liked Jerome Ford a full round before he was actually drafted. The Alabama transfer average 6.3 yards per carry for the Bearcats, and he’s also an asset in the passing game. There are rumors that Kareem Hunt could be traded, but even if he stays, Ford will be a contributor next season.

Most surprising pick: Alex Wright is a developmental player with tons of potential. We liked him a lot, but because he was so raw we pegged him as an early Day 3 target. In 13 games last season for UAB, he had seven sacks, 7.5 tackles for loss, three passes defended and two forced fumbles. He doesn’t have an array of pass-rush moves (at least not yet), and he’ll need to get stronger, but he also flashes the potential to be a disruptive situational-pass rusher.

19. Minnesota Vikings

Favorite pick: Andrew Booth Jr. is a first-round talent who lasted 10 picks into Round 2 primarily because he wasn’t able to run during the pre-draft process because of a quad injury and hernia surgery. He made just 15 college starts, but the ability was easy to spot, both in coverage and in run support.

Best value: We liked Jalen Nailor early in Round 4 because of his athleticism and downfield playmaking ability. He only ran a 4.5 at the combine but played faster than that. He’ll need to get stronger, but he can consistently eat up cushions as a long strider and stack defensive backs on vertical routes.

Most surprising pick: Ed Ingram was our OG8, and we liked him as a mid-fourth-rounder. The Vikings got him at the bottom of Round 2 to fill needs along the interior offensive line, and we get why they did it. Ingram is an earth-mover in the run game who excels at combo blocks, but isn’t going to be a player you use in space.

18. Houston Texans

Favorite pick: John Metchie III would’ve gone much higher had he not torn his ACL in the SEC title game, and while he doesn’t have the explosiveness of former teammate Jameson Williams, he’s a precise route runner with great hands and YAC ability. He flashed consistently at Alabama while playing alongside some of the best wideouts in college football.

Best value: There was some pre-draft buzz that Christian Harris could find his way into the first round, so it was a shock when he was still available early in Round 3. Harris ran a 4.44 40 at the combine with a 34.5-inch vertical and an 11-foot broad jump, and that athleticism showed up on tape too. He’s explosive coming downhill, either in run support or pressuring the quarterback, and has the fluidity to cover wide receivers in the middle of the field.

Most surprising pick: Thomas Booker left us wanting more at Stanford. He does a good job of occupying blockers, and he can push the pocket, but he can go stretches without making an impact.

17. San Francisco 49ers

Favorite pick: Danny Gray is only 5-foot-11 and around 190, but he can absolutely fly. And despite his size, he was one of the best receivers in college football last season at contested catches. He’s as likely to take it to the house on a quick slant as a go route.

Best value: We love love love Kalia Davis. He’s as twitched-up a defensive tackle as you’ll see in this class, consistently shooting gaps and getting into the backfield. The big issue is health; he tore his ACL last November and only appeared in five games the last two seasons.

Most surprising pick: We had Tyrion Davis-Price as a late-Day 3/undrafted free agent target. He’s a boom-or-bust back; he averaged seven yards per carry against Kentucky last season, but on seven other occasions he averaged less than four yards per carry. In our notes we wrote, “If the hole is there he’ll hit it with purpose, but he’s not going to create a lot on his own if nothing there,” and “rips off long runs through gaping holes, or sealed edges, where his straight-line speed is an asset because there isn’t a lot of wiggle to his game.” And in that light, this pick makes a lot of sense in Kyle Shanahan’s run offense, though we were partial to Dameon Pierce, Isaiah Spiller, Tyler Allgeier and Kyren Williams.

16. Tennessee Titans

Favorite pick: In the lead up to the draft, we compared Treylon Burks to: Anquan BoldinJuJu Smith-SchusterDeebo Samuel and AJ Brown. He didn’t time as well as Brown at the combine, but he’s a similar-type talent — and substantially cheaper. You can line him up just about anywhere, even in the backfield, and the Titans were able to add him and get additional picks in return.

Best value: We graded Malik Willis as a second-round pick who we thought would end up in Round 1 because of his upside. The NFL took it a step further because Willis lasted until the 22nd pick of the third round. But here’s the thing: Now the pressure that accompanies going in the top 10 is off. He can learn at his own pace, on a playoff team, and play when he’s actually ready instead of when the coach may think he’s about to get fired.

Most surprising pick: Chigoziem Okonkwo is an athletic tight end who can line up inline, as an H-back or in the slot. He ran a 4.52 40 at the combine with a 35.5-inch vertical. He has big-play potential because of speed, open-field athleticism and tackle-breaking ability, but he’s also a tweener in terms of where he’ll play. That said, he could be part of the committee to replace Brown, and in that case the pick makes a lot of sense.

15. Miami Dolphins

Favorite pick: Channing Tindall. On a defense full of athletic marvels, Tindall might be the best athlete of the group, though he’s still raw as a football player. That said, he’ll run through a wall to make a play, and he’ll do it as someone who ran a 4.47 with a 42-inch vertical.

Best value: Skylar Thompson set or tied career bests in completion percentage (69.5), touchdowns (12) and interceptions (four) in 2021. He won’t threaten Tua Tagovailoa for the starting job (or least he shouldn’t), but he’ll have a chance to win the backup job.

Most surprising pick: When you have just four picks there aren’t a lot of surprises. We liked Erik Ezukanma in Round 5 but have no issue with him going in the fourth. He adds depth to a suddenly deep position, and he’s a good blocker and tough runner with the ball in his hands.

14. Dallas Cowboys

Favorite pick: We liked Jake Ferguson more than most other draft-media folks — he was actually our TE4 — as he’s an asset as a run blocker, has good hands (just one drop last season), and is surprisingly elusive in the open field (forced 12 missed tackles in ’21). He’s not a deep threat but won’t need to be, either; he does most of his damage within 20 yards of the line of scrimmage.

Best value: John Ridgeway transferred from Illinois State and didn’t miss a beat against SEC competition. Despite his 6-foot-5 frame, he plays with a low base, is a space-eater and incredibly strong, and eats up double teams, allowing his teammates to make plays. We liked him as a mid-fourth-rounder, and the Cowboys were able to get him a full round later.

Most surprising pick: Sam Williams went nearly a full round before we expected, but that has everything to do with off-field concerns. On the field, he’s a first-round talent, and we understand why the Cowboys drafted him late in the second round. He’s explosive, strong, and plays with a non-stop motor.

13. New Orleans Saints

Favorite pick: Jordan Jackson had an elite pass-rush grade from PFF, and that showed up at times on tape. He’s capable of collapsing the pocket, is consistently active with his hands when rushing the passer, and can fight through double teams to get into the backfield. He’ll struggle at times to get off blocks vs. the run, and he’ll need to expand his pass-rush arsenal, but his best football could be in front of him.

Best value: Jackson was also the best value for the Saints, but we’ll go with D’Marco Jackson, who went a full round later than we expected. Like many linebackers in this class, he’s an athletic marvel with sideline-to-sideline speed who is always around the ball. He’ll just need to get stronger to take on blocks instead of occasionally getting washed out of plays.

Most surprising pick: The Saints had glaring and obvious needs at wideout, and Chris Olave is a natural fit. We just don’t know if trading up for him was worth the price, especially when he was drafted ahead of Jameson Williams (though Williams won’t be ready until perhaps November). That said, if Olave turns out to be the next Michael Thomas then this pick is a home run. (This is where we point out that a lot of really good wideouts go in the second round — Thomas, Davante AdamsDeebo SamuelAJ BrownDK Metcalf, so perhaps it’s something of an overreaction to get too worked up about Olave going this high.)

12. Atlanta Falcons

Favorite pick: This feels like best-case scenario for Desmond Ridder, who we had going in the middle of Round 3. No pressure to start right away, similar skillset to that of Marcus Mariota, and now with legit weapons in Kyle Pitts, Drake London, and even Tyler Allgeier.

Best value: Justin Shaffer was the best value on paper, but we’re going with Allgeier here. He can do everything well and don’t be fooled by his 4.6 40 time. He plays much faster than that and in many ways reminds us of James Conner.

Most surprising pick: We preferred DeAngelo Malone later in Round 4, but we aren’t going to argue that the Falcons had a big need at the position, even after taking Arnold Ebiketie in the second round. Malone will need to add weight — he was 239 at his pro day — but his physical tools are worth the risk here.

11. Baltimore Ravens

Favorite pick: David Ojabo is a lot like Odafe Oweh, and it makes sense the two have known each other for some time. He’s raw, a fantastic athlete, and he’s just getting started as a football player. He’s a legit first-round talent who fell to the middle of Round 2 because of a Pro Day injury, but he has a chance to be special when he’s healthy.

Best value: We’ve been Daniel Faalele fans since the summer, and we liked him more than draft media and the league, primarily because he moves so well for someone who weighs 380 pounds, but also because like Ojabo, he’s new to football.

Most surprising pick: No surprise that it’s Damarion Williams and Jalyn Armour-Davis, both cornerbacks. A year ago, the Ravens used a third-round pick on Brandon Stephens (we thought he’d be available late on Day 3), and over the weekend Baltimore took Armour-Davis and Williams more than two rounds higher than we expected. The lesson: the team has a different idea of what fits their system in the secondary than we do. Stephens had a solid rookie campaign, and history suggests the same for Armour-Davis and Williams.

10. Jacksonville Jaguars

Favorite pick: Devin Lloyd is a chess piece in the middle of Jacksonville’s defense. He’s better coming downhill than in coverage, but that doesn’t mean he’s a liability against the pass. He’s a special player on what should be a much-improved defense.

Best value: Luke Fortner was our OC2 behind Tyler Linderbaum and ahead of Cam Jurgens, and he solidifies the middle of the offensive line. The only way this gets better is if the Jags had taken Ickey Ekwonu No. 1 overall to give Trevor Lawrence even more help up front.

Most surprising pick: Chad Muma. Not because we don’t love him — we thought he’d go in the middle of Round 2 — but because the team took Devin Lloyd in the first round. But GM Trent Baalke said after the draft that “I don’t think we can ever have enough good linebackers,” adding, “He’s a green dot guy. He can run the defense. He’s a really good special teams player as well. There’s just a lot to like.” Fair enough.

9. New York Jets

Favorite pick: Garrett Wilson reminds us of Odell Beckham Jr. in terms of his athleticism and playmaking ability, and Wilson compared his game to Diontae Johnson. Either way, it’s a win for second-year quarterback Zach Wilson.

Best value: The Jets’ selections matched up well with where we had them going, but of all the picks, Max Mitchell offers the best value. Passing on the offensive line on Days 1 and 2 allowed New York to stock up on four players who are likely Day 1 starters and tight end Jeremy Ruckert, who should contribute early too. Consistency was Mitchell’s calling card in college, and while he’ll need to get stronger, he’s a solid selection early on Day 3.

Most surprising pick: Ruckert, but not because he was overdrafted; we thought he’d go late on Day 2 and that’s exactly what happened. It’s just that the Jets have CJ Uzomah and Tyler Conklin on the roster.

8. Las Vegas Raiders

Favorite pick: This wasn’t a particularly sexy draft for the Raiders, but maybe that’s a good thing after some suspect decisions under the previous regime. Dylan Parham is a rock in the middle of the offensive line, and he more than held his own against Logan Hall, who was the 33rd overall pick over the weekend. Parham plays with good balance, moves well in space, and consistently locks up defensive linemen.

Best value: Thayer Munford was, unfortunately, on the receiving end of that Aidan Hutchinson reverse pancake in the Ohio State-Michigan game, but that one play doesn’t define his career. He moved from tackle to guard and played well for the Buckeyes last season. We liked him more than two rounds before he was selected.

Most surprising pick: Matthew Butler fills a need along the interior defensive line and flashed NFL potential at times last season, but he also spent too much time on the ground, which is something he’ll need to work on in Las Vegas.

7. Green Bay Packers

Favorite pick: Christian Watson ran in the high 4.3s at the combine and that speed shows up on tape. He did play at the FCS level, but you wouldn’t have known it watching him at the Senior Bowl. And for as bad as the Packers are at taking a wideout in Round 1, they’ve been really good at finding them in Round 2; it’s a group that includes Davante AdamsRandall CobbGreg Jennings, Jordy Nelson and now Watson.

Best value: When he’s locked in, Rasheed Walker has first-round talents. Go watch the Penn State-Michigan game. He had a rough first series but after that locked down both Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo. If the Packers can tap into that, this could be the best pick in this class.

Most surprising pick: We had Tariq Carpenter as an undrafted free agent, so it’s not much of a stretch that he went late in Round 6, especially since he fills a need in the secondary. It also points out that there wasn’t much discrepancy between where we thought these players would go and when the Packers selected them.

6. Kansas City Chiefs

Favorite pick: Man, we love us some Bryan Cook. A Howard transfer, Cook moved from cornerback to safety at Cincinnati, and he might be one of the smartest players in this class. He can also lay the wood coming downhill in run support and play coverage on the back end. The Chiefs did sign Justin Reid, but Juan Thornhill is in the final year of his rookie deal.

Best value: We thought Darian Kinnard had a chance to go on Day 2, but the Chiefs got him early in the fifth round. He played tackle at Kentucky but will kick inside in the NFL. He plays with a nasty streak and can be a dominant run blocker.

Most surprising pick: George Karlaftis was a polarizing prospect in the sense that some people thought he was a top-15 talent while others liked him more in Round 2. We fell in the latter group, though it’s hard to argue with the fit in Kansas City, or with where they got him at No. 30. He’s a good football player who hasn’t been playing the game very long.

5. Detroit Lions

Favorite pick: Kerby Joseph didn’t run during the pre-draft process, and while not necessarily a red flag, it gets teams’ attention. That said, Joseph had a really good 2021 season for Illinois and was regularly all over the field from the deep safety position. He was just as likely to come downhill in run support as break up a pass in deep centerfield.

Best value: Malcolm Rodriguez was our LB7, even ahead of Channing Tindall and Brian Asamoah, in part because of his 4.52 40 time and 39.5-inch vertical and also for his playmaking abilities in the middle of the Cowboys’ defense. He was a converted safety — and plays with that fluidity — who was a four-year starter in college with 3,000-plus defensive snaps, 500-plus special teams snaps and 300-plus career tackles while committing just three penalties.

Most surprising pick: We thought Josh Paschal might last until Round 3, but we get why he went more than a round sooner. He’s an athletic marvel — both powerful and twitchy — and feels like a Dan Campbell-type player.

4. Seattle Seahawks

Favorite pick: Boye Mafe will turn 24 years old during the season, but he’s still pretty raw. The traits are all there, and for someone who played primarily in a two-point stance at Minnesota, once he gets the nuances of the position he can be a game wrecker off the edge.

Best value: Like Mafe, what Tariq Woolen lacks in experience he makes up for with athleticism. He’s long (even by Seahawks standards for CBs), fluid and fast. He’s also a converted wide receiver still learning the position.

Most surprising pick: Ken Walker is one of our favorite players in this whole class, but do the Seahawks really need another running back, especially early in Round 2? That’s our only concern because Walker should be an immediate impact player.

3. Philadelphia Eagles

Favorite pick: Kyron Johnson played off the edge at Kansas, but his future could be at linebacker, or less specifically, as a Swiss Army Knife who lines up just about everywhere. He was a late add to the Senior Bowl roster and immediately stood out. “He is an explosive pass rusher, he gets off the ball exceptionally well, he’s got edge speed,” said Eagles Vice President of Player Personnel Andy Weidl. … “He plays with energy. He’s been an outstanding special teams player, 17 career special teams tackles. … A lot of positives with him and at the Senior Bowl, he took on some of the top tackles and put them on their back with his pass-rush ability, so you see that. It was just a great opportunity to get a guy who can add to the rush game.”

Best value: Nakobe Dean, duh. He was our LB2 just behind Devin Lloyd, but injury concerns saw him drop to the middle of Round 3. Here’s to hoping he can stay healthy and replicate in Philly what we all marveled at during his Georgia career.

Most surprising pick: We had Cam Jurgens as a fourth-rounder, but others were higher on him than we were, and we get why the Eagles took him in Round 2. Because if they hadn’t, another team might have. During the draft process Jurgens was considered a consolation prize for the team that didn’t want to pay a first-round premium for Tyler Linderbaum — they’re similar physically — and Philly has a need at the position if Jason Kelce is playing his final season.

2. Arizona Cardinals

Favorite pick: Trey McBride was our TE1, and even though the team has Zach Ertz and Maxx Williams, McBride has a chance to be a Day 1 impact player, especially with DeAndre Hopkins facing a six-game suspension to start the year.

Best value: The team found value with Lecitus Smith and Jesse Luketa, but we love that it was able to get Myjai Sanders late on Day 2. He needs to get stronger, but he’s long and disruptive and if he can be more consistent as a pass rusher, he’ll be a huge get here.

Most surprising pick: We had Keontay Ingram as a target as an undrafted free agent, but we certainly understand why the Cardinals targeted him in the middle of Round 6, especially with 18 running backs already off the board.

1. Carolina Panthers

Favorite pick: Matt Corral had some off-field issues that played a part in him lasting until the end of Round 3. But he has a chance to play next season, especially since the Panthers were able to address the offensive line with the No. 6 overall pick.

Best value: Yes, we had Ickey Ekwonu going just about where the Panthers selected him, but he fills such an enormous need along their offensive line that he’s still a value here. And as we mentioned above, it allows the team to get some idea of what their quarterbacks actually look like when not running for their lives.

Most surprising pick: Brandon Smith checks every single height-weight-speed box when it comes to finding an NFL linebacker. He’s 6-foot-3, 250 pounds, ran a 4.52 40 with a 37.5-inch vertical — it’s all there. But Smith never put it all together on the field. You’d see flashes, but it would leave you wanting more. That said, there’s nothing wrong with taking a mid-fourth-rounder flyer on him, even if we thought he was more of a mid-fifth-rounder.

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