Best Value Picks in each round of the 2022 NFL Draft
Each year there are a number of prospects in the draft that make you wonder, “How did that guy fall so far?” The 2022 NFL Draft was no different. These draft day slides can be due to a plethora of reasons. For example an injury, off-field concerns, or possibly a player just doesn’t fit a certain team’s size and athleticism requirements. For what it’s worth the following players are prospects I believe fell too far in the draft and represent great value for their respective teams.
- S Kyle Hamilton Baltimore Ravens
- EDGE Jermaine Johnson New York Jets
- LB Devin Lloyd Jacksonville Jaguars
Kyle Hamilton was a Top 3 prospect overall on my board due to his versatility and intelligence. However, positional value and a solid albeit not earth-shattering 4.59 40-yard dash at the combine resulted in a bit of draft night slide. Jermaine Johnson’s extensive wait in the green room was a little more unusual. Johnson had a Top 10 profile due to his size, position, and production. Perhaps the sample size of his production gave NFL Front Offices some pause but the tape reveals a player that imposes his physical dominance and can be a difference-maker in the run game at minimum.
The Devin Lloyd slide took full effect when the Green Bay Packers opted for Quay Walker as the first off the ball linebacker in the class. Walker’s athleticism may have been a better fit for the Packers. But the Jaguars got a more instinctive and versatile LB that can diagnose consistently and find the ball quickly.
Best Value Picks on Day 2 of the 2022 NFL Draft
- CB Andrew Booth Minnesota Vikings
- WR Skyy Moore Kansas City Chiefs
- EDGE Nik Bonitto Denver Broncos
Andrew Booth was a first round talent in my estimation. The former Clemson cornerback showcased his physical mindset and ball skills each week and has the size and versatility to play in a man or zone scheme. The Vikings did well for themselves in the draft as they retooled their secondary with tough competitive players in Booth and Lewis Cine.
The Chiefs traded Tyreek Hill in the off-season and had a major need at the WR position. They chose to select two defensive players in the first round in Trent McDuffie and George Karlaftis that fit major needs while also selecting one of the steals of the class in wide receiver Skyy Moore in the 2nd round. Moore’s footwork and ability to change speeds effortlessly ala a Keenan Allen is evident on tape; Moore is a legitimate threat to lead the Chiefs wideouts in receptions as a rookie. Bonnito falling to the end of the 2nd round was a little shocking to me due to his positional value and his impressive film at Oklahoma. Size may play apart in the fall, but Bonitto’s bend around the edge and ability to hunt a QB is what every team is looking to add in this passing league.
- LB Nakobe Dean Philadelphia Eagles
- DT Travis Jones Baltimore Ravens
- DL Cameron Thomas Arizona Cardinals
The news about Nakobe Dean’s injury concerns started circulating once he fell further and further in the draft. His draft slide was egregious as his college production at Georgia cannot be discounted. Dean graded out as the second best linebacker in the class due to his explosion and anticipation as he makes his way to the ball carrier.
I had Travis Jones as a borderline round 1 prospect that would go no later than the second round. The Ravens were able to snatch Jones in the 3rd round and I have a strong feeling that he will be a run stuffing force for many years to come in the middle of Baltimore’s defense. Cameron Thomas is a tough defensive lineman that has the versatility to play in an even or odd man front. The Cardinals can utilize him as an edge or 5-technique as he uses his hands and quality technique to effectively to beat blockers in a multitude of ways.
Best Value Picks on Day 3 of the 2022 NFL Draft
- DT Perrion Winfrey Cleveland Browns
- WR Calvin Austin Pittsburgh Steelers
- RB Isaiah Spiller Los Angeles Chargers
Perrion Winfrey’s college tape at times leaves you scratching your head; and begs the question “Can he can succeed at the next level?” The Sooners utilized him as a two-gapping, space-eater. But during the Senior Bowl, when asked to one gap and penetrate up-field you saw the potential. Winfrey uses his strength through contact to shoot gaps and penetrate into the backfield.
With the NFL adopting more college-like spread principles, Calvin Austin can carve out a role as a twitchy route-runner that can take advantage in space. The Steelers 2nd round pick George Pickens should get the first opportunity to start out wide; however, Austin’s speed, elusiveness, and after the catch prowess should get him on the field in year 1. The fall of Isaiah Spiller made sense in terms of his athletic profile. On the the field he produced at a high level showcasing the ability to get tough yardage between the tackles and the versatility to be a weapon in the passing game.
- WR Khalil Shakir Buffalo Bills
- EDGE Dominique Robinson Chicago Bears
- QB Sam Howell Washington Commanders
I’m a big fan of Khalil Shakir and his ability to eat in the slot. Think of the ways in which Cooper Kupp wins in the league. Shakir may not possess a great deal of explosiveness, but he can win with his savvy and route-running in that explosive Bills offense. There are a lot of mouths to feed in Buffalo, but I believe in Shakir’s talent and work ethic.
Dominique Robinson was a raw wideout turned edge rusher with an intriguing upside. The more I watched his tape the more I started to see his potential. Robinson has some technique issues to fix, but with the right coaching staff they can unlock his get off from the snap, hand usage, and ability to finish. The 6-foot Howell gives you some Baker Mayfield vibes but with better arm talent. Once thought of as a 1st round talent, Howell struggled at the start of his 2021 campaign which adversely impacted his draft stock. Give him some time to adapt to the speed of the NFL and I believe he will eventually push Carson Wentz for the starting gig in Washington.
- DT Curtis Brooks Indianapolis Colts
- OL Jamaree Salyer Los Angeles Chargers
- CB Derion Kendrick Los Angeles Rams
The Cincinnati Bearcats had nine prospects selected in the 2022 NFL Draft. Six of those were defensive players with Curtis Brooks being the last Bearcat to be drafted. Brooks is an advanced hand technician with some underrated juice to push the pocket into the quarterback’s lap creating pressure from the interior. His size may be the reason for the 6th round fall. However, he plays bigger than his size in the run game and can carve out a rotational role along the Colts defensive line immediately.
Salyer is one of my favorite prospects in the entire draft. The drop into the 6th round was surprising. But should be a major value for the Chargers that needed help up front. I might be the only person that thinks Salyer can play tackle at the next level, but he’s versatile enough to play all 5 positions along the line and can be a starter eventually for the Chargers.
Kendrick has some character concerns and long speed issues. However, his patience in his back pedal, quick feet in and out breaks, and click and close ability can allow him to carve out a role as a nickel or boundary corner in a zone intensive scheme. The Georgia front got after the QB early and often and allowed Kendrick to thrive. Landing in Los Angeles with the Rams and their pass rushing attack works out nicely for Kendrick considering his skill-set.
- OG Ja’Tyre Carter Chicago Bears
- OT Rasheed Walker Green Bay Packers
- CB Jaylen Watson Kansas City Chiefs
The Bears appear to have an issue along the offensive line, which doesn’t bode well for QB Justin Fields. Ja’Tyre Carter offers some versatility with the strength and size to compete along the interior of the offensive line. It’ll be interesting to see how the Bears offensive line shakes out to start the regular season.
Staying within the NFC North, the Packers also land a physical lineman that offers versatility in Rasheed Walker who can develop into a future starter. Walker is ready made to handle himself in the run game. However, he needs to improve his pass sets especially against speed. The Chiefs continued to kill the draft from Day 1 to Day 3 with their 7th round pick Jaylen Watson. The Chiefs already improved their secondary early in the draft with Trent McDuffie and Bryan Cook. They continued to bolster their secondary with Watson. Watson is an intriguing selection as he possesses the size and strength to compete at the next level.