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Forness’ 2022 NFC Draft Grades

Aidan Hutchinson

Aidan Hutchinson

Gary Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Cardinals

2 (53) Colorado State TE Trey McBride
3 (87) San Diego State DE Cameron Thomas
3 (100) Cincinnati EDGE Myjai Sanders
6 (201) USC RB Keaontay Ingram
6 (215) Virginia T Lecitus Smith
7 (244) Valdosta State DB Christian Matthew
7 (256) Penn State LB Jesse Luketa
7 (257) Oklahoma G Marquis Hayes

Overview: I’m not sure what exactly the Cardinals are doing here. They traded the 23rd overall pick for Marquise Brown and pick 100 just moments before AJ Brown was traded to Philadelphia for slightly more capital. Right after that questionable trade, General Manager Steve Keim doubled down with weapons by selecting McBride. With how the Cardinals have massively struggled to protect Kyler Murray, not taking an offensive lineman until pick 215 is questionable at best. It felt like Keim was doing anything he could to appease his disgruntled quarterback instead of trying to build a great team. The saving grace of this class is adding two talented pass rushers in round three.

Grade: C-

Atlanta Falcons

1 (8) USC WR Drake London
2 (38) Penn State EDGE Arnold Ebiketie
2 (58) Montana State LB Troy Andersen
3 (74) Cincinnati QB Desmond Ridder
3 (82) Western Kentucky EDGE Deangelo Malone
5 (151) BYU RB Tyler Allgeier
6 (190) Georgia G Justin Schaffer
6 (213) Georgia TE John FitzPatrick

Overview: After trading Matt Ryan to the Colts, the Falcons have put themselves completely on the rebuild path. Adding Drake London gives the Falcons two dynamic pass catchers with excellent size. They also fortified their defense with two high-upside pass rushers and a hyper-athletic linebacker. The real intrigue with this draft class is the addition of Ridder. Compared by our own Thor Nystrom to his new teammate Marcus Mariota, Ridder’s addition presents an opportunity to groom the quarterback of the future without having to use any premium draft capital. Pair that with adding a wide zone running back in Allgeier and this is a home run for the Falcons

Grade: A-

Carolina Panthers

1 (6) North Carolina State OT Ikem Ekwonu
3 (94) Ole Miss QB Matt Corral
4 (120) Penn State LB Brandon Smith
6 (189) Virginia Tech LB Amare Barno
6 (199) Tennessee G Cade Mays
7 (242) Baylor CB Kalon Barnes

Overview: The Panthers entered the draft without having any picks between six and 137. Considering how void of draft capital they were going into Thursday, they ended up with quite the haul. Ekwonu was rarely projected to be available at six and the Panthers jumped at the opportunity to take him. When the quarterback slide got to the third round, Scott Fitterer traded a future third-round pick to get a QB of the future. Corral offers an upside that the Panthers haven’t had at the position since they drafted Cam Newton. The rest of the draft was about prioritizing athletes on defense that have speed.

Grade: B+

Chicago Bears

2 (39) Washington CB Kyler Gordon
2 (48) Penn State S Jaquan Brisker
3 (71) Tennessee WR Velus Jones Jr
5 (168) Southern Utah OT Braxton Jones
5 (174) Miami (OH) EDGE Dominique Robinson

6 (186) San Diego State G Zach Thomas
6 (203) Baylor RB Trestan Ebner
6 (207) Illinois C Doug Kramer
7 (226) Southern G Ja’Tyre Carter
7 (254) Cal DB Elijah Hicks
7 (255) NC State P Trenton Gill

Overview: The Bears entered the draft with an exorbitant amount of dead cap, no first-round pick, and a myriad of holes, especially on offense. Instead of building around Justin Fields, new General Manager Ryan Poles decided to use their first two selections in the secondary and then used their third-round pick on a receiver that I thought was a fringe UDFA player. They got two very high-upside trench players in round five that I believe can be starters, but to not try and help your second-year quarterback is puzzling at best.

Grade: D

Dallas Cowboys

1 (24) Tulsa OT Tyler Smith
2 (56) Ole Miss EDGE Sam Williams
3 (88) South Alabama WR Jalen Tolbert
4 (129) Wisconsin TE Jake Ferguson
5 (155) North Dakota OT Matt Waletzko
5 (167) Fresno State CB DaRon Bland
5 (176) LSU LB Damone Clarke
5 (178) Arkansas DT John Ridgeway
6 (193) Oklahoma State LB Devin Harper

Overview: The Cowboys had a draft that is reminiscent of past drafts. We know that Jerry Jones loves to do a few things: draft offensive linemen early, draft players with a troubled past, and draft for need. He did that all within the first three selections. After losing Conor Williams and La’El Collins, the selections of Smith and Waletzko give them high-upside athletes to help fortify the offensive line. Williams has a rough past filled with off-the-field issues and was taken nearly a round higher than his value. Their third selection Tolbert compares directly to a player that they already have on the roster in Michael Gallup. The additions of Clark and Ridgeway are nice high-upside choices that could pay off down the line.

Grade: B

Detroit Lions

1 (2) Michigan EDGE Aidan Hutchinson
1 (12) Alabama WR Jameson Williams
2 (46) Kentucky EDGE Joshua Paschal
3 (97) Illinois S Kerby Joseph
5 (177) Virginia Tech TE James Mitchell
6 (188) Oklahoma State LB Malcom Rodriguez
6 (217) Jackson State EDGE James Houston
7 (237) Arizona State CB Chase Lucas

Overview: The Lions were rumored to want Aidan Hutchinson for quite some time and it didn’t feel plausible until a couple of weeks ago. He, along with Joshua Paschal, finish off a completely rebuilt defensive line that Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell set out to make happen before the 2021 NFL Draft. Adding Jameson William with a massive trade-up is a great move for the long-term future of the Lions, as he will give them a dynamic downfield threat that they haven’t had since Calvin Johnson. Due to the nature of their rebuild, Williams will be afforded the time to get truly healthy before being relied upon to contribute.

Grade: B+

Green Bay Packers

1 (22) Georgia LB Quay Walker
1 (28) Georgia DT Devonte Wyatt
2 (34) NDSU WR Christian Watson
3 (92) UCLA OL Sean Rhyan
4 (132) Nevada WR Romeo Doubs
4 (140) Wake Forest C Zach Tom
5 (179) South Carolina EDGE Kingsley Enagbare
7 (228) Georgia Tech LB Tariq Carpenter
7 (234) Miami DT Jonathan Ford
7 (249) Penn State OT Rasheed Walker
7 (258) Nebraska WR Samori Toure


After trading Davante Adams and cutting Za’Darius Smith, the Packers had defined holes that they needed to fill. They did just that with the selections of Wyatt and Watson who looks like a Packers receiver. The selection of Walker is an interesting one, as they just paid a very similar player in D’Vondre Campbell this offseason. Adding Romeo Doubs gives them two receivers that can play right away. They also added three offensive linemen with athletic upside and versatility. They have historically valued the offensive line and do arguably a better job than anyone in developing them. This draft added a lot of talent that filled needs, but the selection of Walker is a bit of a head-scratcher.

Grade: B

Los Angeles Rams

3 (104) Wisconsin G Logan Bruss
4 (142) South Carolina State CB Decobie Durant
5 (164) Notre Dame RB Kyren Williams
6 (211) UCLA S Quentin Lake
6 (212) Georgia CB Derion Kendrick
7 (235) Montana State DE Daniel Hardy
7 (253) Kansas State S Russ Yeast
7 (261) Michigan State OT A.J. Arcuri

Overview: The Rams do not have a lot of draft capital but it doesn’t really matter that they traded their first three selections because they won the Super Bowl. They focused on adding to their secondary and offensive line, using six of their eight picks on those positions. Williams was a day two pick going into the season but with his abysmal testing, he falls to round five. He will be a good third-down back to spell Cam Akers. The most intriguing selection is Kendrick who did test poorly but held up very well against top competition throughout his career. Great dart to throw at the end of round six but there is little upside with this class, something that isn’t a surprise with only one selection in the top 140.

Grade: D+

Minnesota Vikings

1 (32) Georgia S Lewis Cine
2 (42) Clemson CB Andrew Booth Jr
2 (59) LSU G Ed Ingram
3 (66) Oklahoma LB Brian Asamoah
4 (118) Missouri CB Akayleb Evans
5 (165) Minnesota DL Esezi Otomewo
5(169) North Carolina RB Ty Chandler
6 (184) Illinois OT Vederian Lowe
6 (191) Michigan State WR Jalen Nailor
7 (227) South Carolina TE Nick Muse

Overview: You wouldn’t have known that the Vikings had a regime change by watching the draft this weekend. Kwesi Adofo-Mensah made six trades through the three days and selected corners with two of his first five selections. The biggest difference: Adofo-Mensah got aggressive going back up for players. Both Cine and Booth Jr were excellent values to sure up a secondary that needed it and they got good players that would fill roles right away on the defense. The big talking point is with the selection of Ingram in round two. Being drafted 42 spots higher than his position on The Athletic’s consensus board is one thing, but taking one that was charged with two counts of sexual assault in 2018 is another. Pair that with not addressing edge rusher or wide receiver until pick 165 and there are a lot of questions to be answered with this class.

Grade: B

New Orleans Saints

1 (11) Ohio State WR Chris Olave
1 (19) Northern Iowa OT Trevor Penning
2 (49) Tennessee CB Alontae Taylor
5 (161) Appalachian State LB D’Marco Jackson
6 (194) Air Force DT Jordan Jackson

Overview: The Saints made a bold move to acquire a second first-round pick in this draft to maximize the roster that they have now. They had two major holes to fill and they got the top receiver in the class and a high-upside, nasty offensive tackle. Those two players will likely be day-one starters that give you high upside potential. After trading up to get Olave, the Saints had only three selections left. Taylor was a reach as a guy that I valued in the middle of the fourth round. Jackson is a decent player but the lack of depth prevents the class from earning a higher grade.

Grade: B

New York Giants

1 (5) Oregon EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux
1 (7) Alabama OT Evan Neal
2 (43) Kentucky WR Wan’Dale Robinson
3 (67) North Carolina G Joshua Ezeudu
3 (81) LSU CB Cordale Flott
4 (112) San Diego State TE Daniel Bellinger
4 (114) Iowa S Dane Belton
5 (146) Indiana LB Micah McFadden
5 (147) Arizona DT DJ Davidson
5 (173) North Carolina G Marcus McKethan
6 (182) Cincinnati LB Darrian Beavers

Overview: The board couldn’t have fallen better for the Giants. They get the high upside pass rusher that they have needed for a while and they had their choice of either Ekwonu or Neal at seven. Joe Schoen comes from Buffalo where they prioritize trench play and they improved there in a big way. They also added Ezeudu and Bellinger, who will both help pave the way for a now healthy Saquon Barkley. The Robinson selection is intriguing. The Giants now have too many receivers who play best in the slot. This likely means the end of either Kadarius Toney or Sterling Shepherd. Overall, a really good first draft for Schoen and new head coach Brian Daboll.

Grade: A-

Philadelphia Eagles

1 (13) Georgia DT Jordan Davis
2 (51) Nebraska C Cam Jurgens
3 (83) Georgia LB Nakobe Dean
6 (181) Kansas LB Kyron Johnson
6 (198) SMU TE Grant Calcaterra

Overview: After making numerous questionable picks over his tenure, Howie Roseman hit this draft out of the part. The slight trade-up for Davis fortifies a front that prioritizes a player like Davis more than most teams. You can’t talk about the Eagles draft class without discussing the acquisition of AJ Brown. Trading 18 and a third-round pick for the star receiver gives DeVonta Smith a running mate and Jalen Hurts a much-needed third weapon. Roseman then capitalized on a top-25 player Dean, who was only available due to injury. The selections of both Johnson and Calcaterra add to the depth and upside that add to a tremendous draft for the Eagles.

Grade: A+

San Francisco 49ers

2 (61) USC EDGE Drake Jackson
3 (93) LSU RB Tyrion Davis-Price
3 (105) SMU WR Danny Gray
4 (134) UTSA G Spencer Burford
5 (172) Toledo CB Samuel Womack
6 (187) Fordham OT Nick Zakelj
6 (220) UCF DT Kalia Davis
6 (221) Penn State CB Tariq Castro-Fields
7 (262) Iowa State QB Brock Purdy

Overview: The first of two drafts that have the 49ers without a first-round pick due to the Trey Lance trade, the 49ers have an interesting haul. Getting an underutilized, hyper-athletic edge rusher in Jackson but after that, it was mostly questionable. Gray will provide an element of speed that Kyle Shanahan will utilize but the two offensive linemen drafted aren’t very athletic. Even more confusing was the selection of Davis-Price. After spending a third on Trey Sermon and hitting on sixth-rounder Elijah Mitchell, taking Davis-Price feels like a luxury pick that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. It’s hard to not believe in Shanahan here, but Sermon was thought to be the next star back as well.

Grade: C-

Seattle Seahawks

1 (9) Mississippi State OT Charles Cross
2 (40) Minnesota EDGE Boye Mafe
2 (41) Michigan State RB Kenneth Walker III
3 (72) Washington State OT Abraham Lucas
4 (109) Cincinnati CB Coby Bryant
5 (153) UTSA CB Tariq Woolen
5 (158) Ohio State EDGE Tyreke Smith
7 (229) Rutgers WR Bo Melton
7 (233) Lenoir Rhyne WR Dareke Young

Overview: Seattle is in full-fledged rebuild mode and this haul is very reflective of it. The thought process behind the picks is fascinating at best. They drafted a lot of really good players at value but the fit is interesting. Both Cross and Lucas are excellent players that the Seahawks got at a value, but they both come from the Mike Leach Air Raid where they were technical mavens in pass protection. How will they fit in with the Seahawks wanting to make the running game a focus will be interesting, same with selecting Walker III. After paying Rashaad Penny, how they will use the backfield is questionable. On the defensive side, the selections of Mafe, Bryant, and Woolen all fit the scheme really well and will add both depth and upside. This is one of the best drafts in years for the Seahawks.

Grade: B+

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2 (33) Houston DT Logan Hall
2 (57) Central Michigan G Luke Goedeke

3 (91) Arizona RB Rachaad White
4 (106) Washington TE Cade Otton
4 (133) Georgia P Jake Camarda
5 (157) Sam Houston State CB Zyon McCollum
6 (218) Minnesota TE Ko Kieft
7 (248) LSU LB Andre Anthony

Overview: The Bucs are in a win-now window and the draft both prioritizes current and future needs. With the loss of Ndamukong Suh, adding Hall gives the Bucs a penetrating IDL that can flex out wide. Adding Goedeke, White, and Otton gives them much-needed depth and White likely gets heavy playing time early with his top-tier receiving ability. Taking a punter in round four is somewhat questionable but the upside of McCollum is astounding with a perfect 10 Relative Athletic Score.

Grade: B

Washington Commanders

1 (16) Penn State WR Jahan Dotson
2 (47) Phidarian Mathis
3 (98) Alabama RB Brian Robinson
4 (118) Louisiana S Percy Butler
5 (144) North Carolina QB Sam Howell
5 (149) Nevada TE Cole Turner
7 (230) Tulsa G Chris Paul
7 (240) Oklahoma State CB Christian Holmes

Overview: The Commanders had traded their third-round pick in the Carson Wentz trade and they found a way to recoup it while getting him a much-needed weapon. Even with acquiring picks 98 and 120 (later moved to Carolina), selecting Dotson felt like a reach. On day two, adding Mathis and Robinson gives the Commanders high-floor players that can contribute right away. The intriguing one is Howell. Once projected to be a top-10 selection, Howell goes off at the first pick of the fifth round. He goes to a situation that won’t put pressure on him to be the guy right away, as Wentz is in front of him and he needs a lot of growth.

Grade: B-