News Around the North: 2022 NFL Draft Grades
The 2022 NFL Draft has officially run its course, and before we move on to seeing weekly “way-too-early” mock drafts all the way until next winter, we have to do one last thing: draft grades. Of course, these are just tentative grades based on what the prospects looked like in college. Maybe some of these guys turn into Hall of Famers; maybe some of them bust out of the league within a year or two. These aren’t final by any means as they will be 3-4 years down the road, but here’s how I see each team’s draft class a little over 48 hours after the final pick was made.
Chicago Bears: B-
This is a rather impressive draft from Ryan Poles if for no other reason than he turned five picks into 11 by the end of the weekend. I wasn’t a very big fan of their selection of Velus Jones in the third round because it feels like there were better receivers available. Khalil Shakir comes to mind as someone who could jump into the offense and carve out a more impactful role.
However, the rest of their selections made sense given what they need. Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker should jump into the secondary as starters, and it is very much needed after the departure of All-Pro CB Kyle Fuller. On top of that, they were able to take eight shots on prospects in the deepest pool of Day Three prospects that we’ve seen in a while. There’s a good chance that at least a couple of these players turn into contributors, but nothing is a true guarantee.
Detroit Lions: A
The Lions got off to a great start when Michigan EDGE Aidan Hutchinson fell to them at No. 2 overall. It’s hard to do better than potentially getting the best player in the class, at a position of need, who also happens to be a Wolverine. Then, they got one of the best wide receivers, Jameson Williams, when they traded up 20 spots with the Minnesota Vikings and didn’t have to give up a future first rounder.
In addition, they got one of the best safeties in all of college football in the third round when they selected Kerby Joseph out of Illinois. The Detroit Lions certainly aren’t going to be competing in 2022, but if they put together a couple more of these classes, there’s a chance that it happens soon.
Green Bay Packers: B
Of course, the biggest headline for Green Bay after the first round was that they still hadn’t selected a wide receiver. However, let’s not act like the players they got don’t fit needs. They needed help along the defensive front, particularly to replace Za’Darius Smith who hopped over to Minnesota this offseason. Both Quay Walker and Devonte Wyatt should be able to fulfill that need.
In addition, they didn’t take long to address wide receiver in the second round, trading with the Vikings to get Christian Watson at No. 34. However, they get knocked for trading both second round picks as well as passing on George Pickens. The selection of Romeo Doubs in the fourth is terrific value, though. Overall, this was a solid draft for Green Bay that addressed a number of needs.
Minnesota Vikings: B+
Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s first draft at the helm of the Minnesota Vikings organization quickly became scrutinized when he pulled off the aforementioned pair of intra-divisional trades. However, it’s very easy to view both of these trades as wins for the Vikings as they got both Lewis Cine and Andrew Booth Jr. as a result. It was plausible that both would go in the first round.
They will get a knock for not taking Kyle Hamilton as well as missing out on Boise State’s Shakir, but despite some overreactions, Adofo-Mensah should not be accused of constantly trading down, especially considering the move for Booth was solely a trade up. Minnesota’s secondary is much improved, and it doesn’t hurt that they got a terrific pass-blocking guard in Ed Ingram as well as a freakishly athletic linebacker in Brian Asomoah. Things could have gone a little better, but this should go down as a successful draft.