A crazy first round of the 2022 NFL Draft is in the books.
Nine trades, half the Georgia defense selected and some eyebrow raising trades and selections. I'll write a fuller review later today.
If you haven't had a chance to draw breath and reflect on your team's selection, want a reminder of who went where or, if you live outside of the US in the UK or Europe, couldn't stay awake and missed it, here's my pick-by-pick recap of an eventful first round:
(* marks teams who traded into this position today)
1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Travon Walker - DE, Georgia
One of the less vaunted members of Georgia's incredible defense, but possibly with the most potential. Walker can fit in anywhere along the Jag's defensive line. Smart pick for a team with multiple needs.
2. Detroit Lions – Aidan Hutchinson – EDGE, Michigan
The Motor City will be cheering this pick. Hutchinson embodies the blue collar work ethic coach Dan Campbell is building in Detroit and will be a defensive leader straight away.
3. Houston Texans – Derek Stingley Jr. - CB, LSU
An odd pick at No.3. Stingley is immensely talented but injuries had stalled progress since a superb freshman season in 2019. If he reaches those heights, it's a slam dunk.
4. New York Jets – Sauce Gardner - CB, Cincinnati
In a division with Josh Allen, Miami's loaded receiving corps and the Patriots, New York adds the best cornerback in the Draft.
5. New York Giants – Kayvon Thibodeaux - EDGE, Oregon
If they get the best out of the prodigiously talented Oregon defensive end, the Giants have a pass-rushing star in Thibodeaux.
6. Carolina Panthers – Ikem Ekwonu - OT, North Carolina State
I had him at No.1 in my mock draft earlier this week. Ekwonu can develop into a dominant tackle for Carolina.
7. New York Giants (from Chicago Bears) – Evan Neal - OT, Alabama
Superb run-blocker who will open gaps for Saquon Barkley and ease the pressure on QB Daniel Jones.
8. Atlanta Falcons – Drake London - WR, USC
Pairing London with last year's first round pick Kyle Pitts gives Marcus Mariota two big, strong receiving options and a nightmare for teams to defend in their red zone.
9. Seattle Seahawks (from Denver Broncos) – Charles Cross - OT, Mississippi State
Quarterback was a possibility here, but Seattle protects Drew Lock with the third offensive tackle taken in the top nine.
10. New York Jets (from Seattle Seahawks) – Garrett Wilson - WR, Ohio State
Having taken the top corner, the Jets pick the best player on the other side of the ball. (QB Zach) Wilson to (Garrett) Wilson will be a much heard call from TV analysts next season.
11. *New Orleans Saints (from Washington Commanders) – Chris Olave – WR, Ohio State
The first of twelve trades in the Draft sees New Orleans jump up to snatch the speedy polished route runner Olave, prompting a run on receivers picked.
12. *Detroit Lions (from Minnesota Vikings) – Jameson Williams - WR, Alabama
Jumping up 20 picks, some thought this might be a move to take the first quarterback, but the Lions grab the superbly talented Williams, adding some receiving firepower for Jared Goff. Bold move for Detroit as the former Alabama star is recovering from a torn ACL but a year or two from now, could be seen as the best value pick in the Draft.
13. *Philadelphia Eagles (from Houston Texans via Cleveland Browns) – Jordan Davis - DT, Georgia
The Eagles trade up, not for a receiver here, but to land the enormous defensive tackle from Georgia who immediately upgrades Philly's run defense.
14. Baltimore Ravens – Kyle Hamilton - S, Notre Dame
If there's a typical Baltimore pick, this is it. Superb value for arguably the most talented player coming out of college football this year who can cover and hit. Hard.
15. * Houston Texans (from Philadelphia Eagles via Miami Dolphins) – Kenyon Green - G, Texas A&M
Houston needs lots of pieces and Green gives them a solid interior lineman who can set up the running game and protect Davis Mills in his second year as Texans quarterback.
16. *Washington Commanders (from New Orleans Saints via Indianapolis Colts and Philadelphia Eagles - Jahan Dotson – WR, Penn State
Washington trades down and still lands a talented receiver to play opposite Terry McLaurin. Great pick.
17. Los Angeles Chargers – Zion Johnson - G, Boston College
Versatile interior lineman who can protect Justin Herbert and create space in opposing lines for the run.
18. *Tennessee Titans (from Philadelphia Eagles via New Orleans Saints) – Treylon Burks - WR, Arkansas
Huge trade. AJ Brown goes to the Eagles for a cool 4 year, $100million contract while Tennessee secures his replacement, the big-bodied Burks, for a fraction of the salary cost on a rookie contract.
19. New Orleans Saints (from Philadelphia Eagles) – Trevor Penning – OT, Northern Iowa
No saint on the field. This new Saint is a nasty offensive tackle who will handle edge rushers and keep them away from Jameis Winston.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers – Kenny Pickett – QB, Pitt
You couldn't have written it better. The four-year starter for Pitt, who worked out in the same building as the Steelers at college, is picked by his local team to compete with Mitchell Trubisky and succeed Ben Roethlisberger.
21. *Kansas City Chiefs (from New England Patriots) – Trent McDuffie - CB, Washington
Another trade. The Chiefs move up eight picks to secure the multitalented corner McDuffie to defend passes from Russell Wilson, Justin Herbert and Derek Carr in the crazy AFC West.
22. Green Bay Packers (from Las Vegas Raiders) – Quay Walker - LB, Georgia
No receiving value here for the Packers at No.22 as six wideouts have already been taken, so they add to an impressive defense. Walker is a classic sideline-to-sideline linebacker from the best defense in college football and has huge potential to develop further as a pro.
23. *Buffalo Bills (from Arizona Cardinals) – Kaiir Elam - CB, Florida
The AFC East has some strong receiving talent, so Elam, who can play zone or man-to-man, is a useful addition here to bolster the Bills' secondary.
24. Dallas Cowboys – Tyler Smith - OT, Tulsa
With Jermaine Johnson and Devin Lloyd still available, I was surprised they didn't stop the respective slides of these two players. They do add a talented offensive tackle with a lot of upside.
25. * Baltimore Ravens (from Buffalo Bills) – Tyler Lindebaum – C, Iowa
Back come the Ravens into the first round, trading for the best center in college football, the versatile Tyler Lindebaum. The NFL network showed a clip of Lindebaum, a former wrestler, comfortably pinning former team-mate and monstrous Bucs offensive tackle, Tristan Wirfs. He'll be fun to watch.
26. *New York Jets (from Tennessee Titans) – Jermaine Johnson II - DE, Florida State
What a first round for the Jets. Having secured the best corner and receiver, New York trades back into the first round to secure Johnson, one of the best pass rushers in the Draft and a top-10 prospect. An absolute steal. Interviewed after his pick, the Florida State defensive end promised to "wreak havoc" next season. Don't bet against him.
27. *Jacksonville Jaguars (from Tampa Bay Buccaneers) – Devin Lloyd - LB, Utah
The other prominent faller in the first round. Lloyd, the athletic linebacker from Utah, stepped up as a leader following the tragic deaths of two college team-mates, prompted Jacksonville to move up and add a dominant presence to their improving defense, filling the void left by Myles Jack.
28. Green Bay Packers – Devonte Wyatt - DL, Georgia
Having naively predicted (and hoped) Green Bay would take two receivers in the first round, they take their second premium defender from the national champion University of Georgia. Devonte Wyatt is a suffocating defensive lineman who will make a formidable partner for Kenny Clark up front and vastly improve the Packers' run defense.
29. *New England Patriots (from Kansas City Chiefs via San Francisco 49ers and Miami Dolphins) – Cole Strange - G, Tennessee-Chattanooga
Pardon the pun, but this pick did appear to be strange. Pegged as a potential third rounder by many draft analysts, the Chattanooga interior lineman can play all across the offensive line. Bill Belichick is renowned for spotting a gem, and Strange could develop into a solid starter for the Pats.
30. Kansas City Chiefs – George Karlaftis - EDGE, Purdue
The second defensive pick for the Chiefs. Karlaftis only started playing football aged 13 but has developed rapidly into an aggressive pass rusher whose engine keeps running. Will be ready to contribute immediately.
31. Cincinnati Bengals – Daxton Hill - S, Michigan
Hill is an underrated defender in the secondary, with scope to slot in at corner or safety and the ability to add to the Bengals' pass rush. They could have used him in the Super Bowl.
32. *Minnesota Vikings (from Detroit Lions via Los Angeles Rams) – Lewis Cine - S, Georgia
There were whispers the Vikings might take advantage of the fifth-year option available to teams for first-round picks, and take a quarterback. New coach Kellen Mond may want a year to assess Kirk Cousins and potential successor Kellen Mond first, though. Cine, another star Georgia defender, can stop the run and cover the pass.