NFL Draft season began in January for a lot of us sickos, but I promise it’s okay if you’ve largely ignored the draft up to this point. Hell, it makes you a much more healthy and well rounded individual than I am, as someone who was watching film on obscure late-round receivers before Valentine’s Day.
Let’s get you caught up on the big things you need to know if you’re only now getting ready to watch on Thursday night. The names to watch, the teams to keep an eye on, and why nobody is really excited about the class of 2022.
2022 NFL Draft: Who will be the No. 1 pick?
Great question! We have no idea! The Jaguars are once again holding the first pick in the draft, and unlike last year when it was obvious to everyone they were taking Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence, this year is a total mystery.
The consensus is that one of two pass rushers, Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson or Georgia’s Travon Walker will hear their name called first — but even then it’s impossible to predict. Hutchinson will be a strong, reliable starting player for a long time, but he’s nearing his ceiling. Walker is a total wild card, but has the physical tools to become one of the great pass rushers ever. Jacksonville will need to decide on reliability vs. upside, but the only this certain is that nobody is trading up for that No. 1 overall pick. Why? Because ...
NFL Draft quarterbacks: There’s no QBs in this class worth betting the farm on
This is a really weird year because of the lack of top-tier quarterbacks. It’s widely accepted that Malik Willis out of Liberty and Pitt’s Kenny Pickett are the only locks to be taken in the Top 20, and it would take a mammoth draft day surprise to see anyone jump up into the Top 10 to take either player.
Much like the discussion of pass rushers, 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 mobility in the pocket are tailor made for the modern NFL. If he can learn to read NFL defenses and have more time in a pro system the sky is the limit.
After those two we have guys like Desmond Riddler from Cincinnati, Sam Howell out of UNC and Ole Miss’ Matt Corral. Everyone has an opinion on who’s best from the second tier, and nobody can agree.
This draft is deep, but extremely unsexy
There’s no marquee quarterback. No wide receiver set to become a guaranteed star. No running back poised to redefine the game. The 2022 class is about the trenches, and it’s been a long time since we’ve seen this many quality offensive and defensive linemen enter at the same time.
It wouldn’t be a surprise if we saw half the first round play on either side of the line, which is amazing for the NFL where’s there’s been a lack of incoming trench talent for some time, but it also means we won’t have quite as much sparkle on Thursday night.
The trades will come, but nobody knows from where
There really seems to be two opposing opinions on this first round: Some (like me) think it’s incredibly deep, while lacking a lot of top-end talent. Others believe there are 10-15 marquee players, then a wide gap to the rest.
If teams see this draft as being top-heavy as well, we could see some wild trades nobody expected. It’s conceivable we could see playoff teams jumping up 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 Giants both have two Top 10 picks due to various trades. These teams could be looking to gain future assets, or get more depth, which could allow for teams to make big moves up.
Right now it all feels very static, but we always see some surprising moves on draft night that nobody saw coming.
NFL Draft 2022: How to watch on TV, stream, and more
The 2022 NFL Draft is broken into three sections. Day 1 will strictly be the first round, Day 2 will contain rounds 2 and 3, and the final section will be all day on Saturday, with rounds 4-7 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’s radio networks and Westwood One
DraftKings Sportsbook offers odds on the first round, positional props, over/under on specific players, and more!