As expected, the Cleveland Browns did not make a move to get into the first round to get a player. That does not mean, however, that the NFL Draft’s first round was not exciting. It did not take long for things to get a little crazy.
The first 10 players called went to the teams with those picks to start the night. Then the night went crazy. During the next eight picks three teams traded up and the Titans acquired pick #18, trading AJ Brown to the Eagles. The Ravens then traded Marquis “Hollywood” Brown to the Cardinals for pick #23. In all my years of watching the draft, I have not seen 8 players acquired (through draft or trade) at the same position over the course of 16 picks, Drake London being the first at #8 and Hollywood Brown being acquired for pick #23.
Day One of the NFL Draft was very heavy with offensive line picks. Five tackles and four interior linemen went in the first round. The top three tackles (Ekwonu, Neal, and Cross) went in the top-10, as projected. It was the drafting of Kenyon Green (Texans) and Zion Johnson (Commanders) at #15 and #17 then Cole Strange at #29 that was eye-raising. Green and Johnson were projected go later in the first (mid-twenties) and Cole Strange, on some boards, was a projected third-round pick.
2022 NFL Draft: 1st Round Winners
New York Jets – In a passing league, a premium value is placed on guys that catch the ball, make sure guys don’t catch the ball, and guys that rush the passer. The Jets got all three in Sauce Gardner (#4), Garrett Wilson (#10), and then traded back up to #26 for Jermaine Johnson II. On some big boards all three were top-ten players.
New York Giants – When it would have been so easy to try to make a splashy play, the Giants kept things simple. While it is far from exciting, Kayvon Thibodeaux and Evan Neal are solid trench players that will make a huge difference for a team that just needs good players.
Detroit Lions – The Lions have been, well, the Lions for a long time. It seems like several lifetimes ago that they had blue-chip talents like Calvin Johnson, Matt Stafford, Barry Sanders, and Chris Spielman.
The team has been devoid of talented players but on Thursday Night they got two of the best talents in the draft, in Aidan Hutchinson and Jameson Williams. They had to move all the way from #32 to #12 to get Williams, but when healthy, Williams may be the most talented receiver in this draft and could rival Justin Jefferson for best receiver in the NFC North.
Philadelphia Eagles – I was going to call the Eagles a winner just for making sure the Ravens didn’t get Jordan Davis, who they traded up and picked at #13, just before Baltimore. Then they traded for AJ Brown, who now paired with Devonte Smith, can make a profound impact in the developing Philadelphia passing game.
2022 NFL Draft: 1st Round Head Scratchers
Green Bay Packers – The Packers entered the draft with their two biggest needs being at wide receiver and edge rusher. So naturally they picked an off-the-ball linebacker (Quay Walker), who was not ranked by anyone that I saw as top-2 or top-3 linebacker in this draft, and Devonte Wyatt, a good defensive tackle, but who didn’t have a breakout season until he was 24. Aaron Rodgers can’t be happy.
Tennessee Titans – I just don’t understand trading AJ Brown. He is 24 years old. He produced as a wide receiver in a run-first offense. You pay those guys. Mike Vrabel was visibly angry after the trade was made and justifiably so. Now you bring in Treylon Burks, who will now have the unfair expectation to replicate what Brown was doing. They then traded back from pick #26 to #35, the third pick in the second round.
Baltimore Ravens – The players that the Ravens picked are good players. Kyle Hamilton will, from day one, be a pain for the Browns. The Tyler Linderbaum pick is interesting because he is smaller and doesn’t fit the size or scheme fit that the Ravens usually go with. Linderbaum is a very good center, but will have to develop in the scheme. The biggest head scratcher, though, was trading Hollywood Brown. It leaves the Ravens with Rashod Bateman as their top receiver. Lamar Jackson was less than thrilled and made that known on Twitter last night.
2022 NFL Draft: AFC North 1st Round Notes
I talked about the Ravens in the last section so we can move on to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals. The Steelers chose QB Kenny “Small Hands” Pickett at pick #20 and the Bengals chose DB Daxton Hill at pick #31. Pickett was the only QB taken in the first round.
Who is Still Available for the Browns:
The run on wide receivers made it seem like there may be none left at #44. Surprisingly, after Treylon Burks went at #18 to the Titans, no more receivers were drafted. The number of offensive linemen, defensive backs, and linebackers helped push some of the next tier of defensive tackles and edge defenders into the second round. Fellow contributing writer at The Dawgs Table Matt Wilson (on Twitter @CoachWilson66) and I came up with our top-5 targets for the Browns in the second round. While we didn’t agree on an order, these are the names we came up with.
Enjoy the second and third rounds of the draft tonight! You can read our staff 7 round mock draft here: The Dawgs Table 7 Round Mock Draft