NFL Draft

2022 NFL Draft Winners & Losers After Round 1

Max Staley
2022 NFL Draft winners & losers after Round 1 of the 2022 NFL Draft.
2022 NFL Draft winners & losers after Round 1 of the 2022 NFL Draft. / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

This year's NFL Draft didn't receive the hype that the previous two classes did. But it delivered one of the most action-packed first rounds we've seen in quite some time. A.J. Brown and Marquise Brown both got moved –– a potential Deebo Samuel deal still looms over Day 2 –– and it felt like there was a trade every other pick in Round 1.

With that much movement, there are obviously some winners and losers coming out of Round 1. Here are the three biggest winners (and the three biggest losers) after Day 1. For our full pick-by-pick grades for all 32 first-round selections, click here.

NFL Draft Winners 2022

3. Baltimore Ravens

General manager Eric DeCosta knocked Round 1 out of the park. He stood pat and landed Notre Dame's Kyle Hamilton, a top-five talent and the No. 1 safety in the class, at No. 14. The Ravens have only had four picks in the top half of Round 1 over the last two decades; they've landed a First-Team All-Pro every time. Hamilton should continue that trend. DeCosta then shipped Marquise Brown and No. 100 to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for No. 23. After a trading No. 23 to Buffalo, Baltimore eventually used No. 25 on center Tyler Linerbaum – the best center prospect in recent memory. The Ravens avoided having to shell out long-term money to a shaky WR and landed two potential All-Pros in the process. That's as good as it gets.

2. New York Giants

The New York Giants are the only team in the "winners" category that didn't make a major trade tonight; they didn't have to because the board couldn't have been set up better for first-year GM Joe Schoen. New York might've landed the draft's best EDGE and offensive tackle in a class brimming with talent at both positions, getting Kayvon Thibodeaux at No. 5 and Evan Neal at No. 7. Loading up with two blue-chip talents in the trenches is a hell of a way to kick off a rebuild.

1. New York Jets

But Joe Douglas gets crowned king for tonight. He landed a future lockdown cornerback in Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner at No. 4, snagged the classes' most complete wide receiver at No. 10 in Garrett Wilson and capped it off by trading up for Florida State's Jermaine Johnson, who many believed Douglas would take at No. 4. Douglas also still gets to work with No. 38 tomorrow and is locked and loaded with three more picks in the top 120. NYJ added three legitimate top-10 talents tonight – no one else is beating that.

NFL Draft Losers 2022

3. Arizona Cardinals

There were no shortage of head-scratching picks made tonight. But the Arizona Cardinals might've made the single-worst transaction of the evening. Arizona shipped out No. 23 and in exchange for Marquise "Hollywood" Brown and No. 100. Though he's been great at creating separation, Brown has some of the least reliable hands in the league, dropping at least 6 passes in back-to-back seasons. Arizona passed on studs at positions of need like CB Kaiir Elam, C Tyler Linerbaum, and EDGE Jermaine Johnson for the opportunity to pay Marquise Brown. Considering the contracts WRs have been getting lately, that's unlikely to be a good deal.

2. New England Patriots

The New England Patriots received our lone F of the night. No hate to Cole Strange, but this pick makes absolutely no sense. New England has holes all over the defense and still needs to give Mac Jones a legit No. 1 WR. Instead of addressing those needs, Bill Belichick went with Cole Strange – a small-school guard widely regarded as a second- or third-round pick. While New England did have a hole at guard, that hole was only there because the Pats traded an elite OG in Shaq Mason to the Buccaneers earlier this offseason. Trading an elite, 28-year-old player with two years left on his deal is a baffling move for a team that spent a record-breaking amount of money in free agency last year. The Patriots can't seem to decide if they're in win-now mode or in a rebuild; for the first time in the Bill Belichick era, New England appears to be a completely directionless franchise.

1. Green Bay Packers

The Green Bay Packers entered tonight with Sammy Watkins and Allen Lazard as their top-two WRs. They had two first-round picks to address that obvious need. They exited tonight with Watkins & Lazard as their top-two WRs, forgoing the position in favor of a defensive tackle and a linebacker. Quay Walker and Devonte Wyatt are excellent prospects, but neither plays a premium position. And, more importantly, neither is a pass-catcher. This is a very on-brand first round for GM Brian Gutekunst, who has now seemingly frustrated Packers fans (and his QB) for a third straight draft.

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