The 2022 NFL Draft was never going to greatly impact the outlook of teams heading into the season. While there was some movement from the post-first wave NFL Power Rankings, not much has changed from the draft alone. But a few teams improved their rosters with the draft, and that is worth mentioning.
NFL Post-Draft Power Rankings: Tier 5 | Rebuilding teams
Many of the teams at the bottom of the rankings improved their rosters. While the draft class wasn’t incredibly strong, many of the teams avoided perceived mistakes with their picks.
32) Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons could have easily over-drafted one of the quarterbacks in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, but they held off and took the value pick in Round 3 with Desmond Ridder. But that’s far from all they did.
Drake London was a necessity in Round 1. The receiving corps in Atlanta read like a Witness Protection Program before his selection. Arnold Ebiketie was an outstanding get in Round 2. They also drafted arguably the most athletic linebacker in NFL Draft history with Troy Andersen.
31) Houston Texans
The Texans must have had a plan to improve the worst defensive roster in the NFL. Derek Stingley Jr., Jalen Pitre, and Christian Harris should all be contributors to start the season. While Kenyon Green may have been slightly over-drafted with the 15th pick, he’s a strong player with positional flexibility. John Metchie III is good at everything but lacks the go-to trait of a WR1.
30) Chicago Bears
Chicago didn’t have much valuable capital. They still have needs all over the map after the draft, which drops them significantly in the NFL Power Rankings. Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker were great picks to help make the secondary in Chicago respectable. Velus Jones Jr. was a bit of a surprise pick. He’s one of the fasted players in the draft, but the sixth-year senior is an older prospect who is still raw as a receiver.
29) Detroit Lions
Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell continue their adventure in bolstering the defensive front. Aidan Hutchinson and Josh Pascal both provide prototypical size on the edge. They also both boast a good track record defending the run. Detroit traded way up in the first round to draft Jameson Williams, who fits their massive need for a potential future WR1. Kerby Joseph should slide in nicely alongside Tracy Walker at safety.
Despite their improvements, they remain low in the NFL Power Rankings.
28) New York Giants
Wan’Dale Robinson is a fun player after the catch that could somewhat replace 2021 first-round pick Kadarius Toney, but Round 2 felt rich. Josh Ezeudu could provide some flexibility on the OL, and LSU CB Cordale Flott has starter upside.
27) Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars went with massive upside in Travon Walker with the first pick in the NFL Draft. It was a risky move, but Walker’s game complements Josh Allen’s incredibly well.
Jacksonville may have drafted the two best linebackers in the class in Devin Lloyd and Chad Muma, but they’d already paid Foyesade Oluokun a ton of money in free agency. It felt a bit redundant, but we should hold judgment until we see the implementation. Luke Fortner will probably start at center, a position they desperately needed to fill.
26) New York Jets
While the Jets’ success will hinge on whether Zach Wilson can drastically improve from his poor rookie season, New York has certainly tried their best to improve the roster since Robert Saleh and Joe Douglas arrived. They needed a CB1 and potential WR1 and got both with their top-10 picks.
They supplemented that by trading back up into Round 1 to draft Jermaine Johnson II, who some had linked to the Jets with one of their two top-10 picks! Jeremy Ruckert was another solid addition at tight end.
So let’s talk about Breece Hall. Why on Earth would the Jets draft another RB a year after hitting on Michael Carter? Well, it feels clear that the Jets want to throw every asset possible into making life easier for Wilson. Now they have two studs in the backfield to remain fresh and split snaps, along with a stable of weapons at receiver. So while it may feel weird, we can spin the pick enough to make it make sense.
25) Carolina Panthers
The Panthers didn’t have much to go on in the 2022 NFL Draft, so their standing in the NFL Power Rankings was probably always going to remain static. Ikem Ekwonu was a pick of necessity that lined up with great physical talent. Replacing Cam Erving was and should have been priority No. 1 for the team. They moved back into Round 3 to grab Matt Corral, who can quietly sit and learn behind Sam Darnold for a season.
24) Washington Commanders
It doesn’t matter what iteration of Washington is around, they simply cannot see an Alabama defensive tackle around the value in which they’re picking and not draft them. Washington’s entire defensive interior now consists of Tide defensive tackles. After being wiped out on the Ohio State receivers, they traded back to pick 16 and drafted Jahan Dotson.
They needed the receiver help, but it was surprising to see them trade away from Kyle Hamilton, who would have fit like a glove in their Buffalo Nickel role.
23) Seattle Seahawks
Seattle did a few really awesome things during the 2022 NFL Draft, but like Washington, they have a type they keep crawling back to. That type happens to be every nerd’s nightmare — a highly-drafted running back. John Schneider pulled the trigger on Kenneth Walker III. He’s a great player, but they’re rolling into 2022 with Drew Lock.
Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas could be the two starters at tackle, which is an awesome and ironic development after trading Russell Wilson. Boye Mafe also fits the Seahawks mold as a pass rusher. He’s an older prospect with outstanding athleticism and a questionable college production profile.
Until we see an upgrade at QB, the Seahawks will remain in the last tier in the NFL Power Rankings.
Tier 4 | Not too far away
The two teams in Tier 4 are close to contending, but there are still a few limiting factors that keep them from ascending for now.
22) Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers went out and got their quarterback and then supplemented that by taking a shot on Georgia WR George Pickens. There are concerns about Pickens off the field, but Pittsburgh is known for dealing with large personalities at the position. DeMarvin Leal fits into Pittsburgh’s defensive front well as a tweener who will probably play over or be shaded inside the tackle at the NFL level.
Yet, they remain low on the NFL Power Rankings because their offensive line is still underwhelming.
21) Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings don’t have a single one of their original picks. Welcome to general managing, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, you sly dog! Lewis Cine could easily end up being the best safety from the 2022 class. Andrew Booth Jr. had no business falling to Round 2, but the Vikings reaped the reward. They also met a third significant need with guard Ed Ingram and rounded it off by hitting a fourth with Brian Asamoah.
Tier 3 | Tough to tell, but could be playoff contenders
“What can our quarterback do for us?” That’s what all three teams are asking themselves. The Patriots still feel like a flawed roster, but they always do. The Saints’ success will come down to Jameis Winston, as will the Dolphins’ with Tua Tagovailoa.
20) New England Patriots
We never understand what Bill Belichick is doing on draft day. We do know what he’ll do, but after 22 years, we still can’t follow the why. Cole Strange was over-drafted by a round or so, but his game fits the Patriots, and they created a massive need with the Shaq Mason trade (an example of Bill doing Bill things).
Tyquan Thornton feels like another unfortunate WR draft pick for the Patriots. That’s become another trend of theirs over the years. Marcus Jones, however, was a good pick that made sense for New England. He’ll fight for a starting spot on defense and provides value as a return man.
However, there are enough holes on the roster to take a wait-and-see approach to their NFL Power Ranking.
19) New Orleans Saints
The Saints remain one of the most aggressive teams in the league when it comes to roster building. They identified a receiver they wanted in Round 1 and made the move to go secure him. Then, in a stroke of what feels like pure luck, Trevor Penning fell to them. Their two most significant needs have been met. New Orleans could do some damage in a down NFC conference, but we need to see how Jameis Winston looks after returning from injury to know for sure.
18) Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins took Les Snead’s approach to the 2022 NFL Draft after years of having a surplus of picks to build their roster. After trading for Tyreek Hill, they had just one pick in the first two days of the draft. They used it well by drafting Channing Tindall, an athletic linebacker from the best college football defense in the past decade. Their success or failure will come down to Mike McDaniel and Tua Tagovailoa. It’s that simple.
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