DE-FENSE! DE-FENSE! DE-FENSE! DE-FENSE! DE-FENSE!
That’s not just a chant fans would shout at an NFL game; it’s how the 2022 NFL Draft began.
Thursday’s first round began with a run of five-straight defensive players getting selected. It’s the first time since 1991 that the first five picks were all on the defensive side of the ball.
The Jacksonville Jaguars kicked things off by selecting Georgia defensive lineman Travon Walker with the No. 1 pick. The Detroit Lions followed that up by taking Michigan edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson at No. 2 and the Houston Texans kept the trend going at No. 3 by drafting LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr.
Two New York teams went with defense at Nos. 4 and 5. The Jets selected Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner before the Giants took Oregon edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux.
The Carolina Panthers were the first team to take an offensive player, going with NC State tackle Ickey Ekwonu at No. 6.
While five straight players on defense is crazy enough, the 1991 NFL Draft took things a step further. That year, each of the first six picks were defensive players. Here’s a look at how that draft began:
- Dallas Cowboys: DT Russell Maryland
- Cleveland Browns: DB Eric Turner
- Atlanta Falcons: DB Bruce Pickens
- Denver Broncos: LB Mike Croel
- Los Angeles Rams: DB Todd Lyght
- Phoenix Cardinals: DT Eric Swann
Those players combined for six Pro Bowl selections.
With all of the talent at the top of this year’s draft, the 2022 class has a chance to raise the bar even higher.