In Bucky Brooks
FOX Sports NFL Analyst
Although Les Snead dismisses the importance of draft picks in Los Angeles sheep‘ victory parade, the overwhelming majority of NFL team builders prefer to use a draft and development model to build a winning team.
While the philosophy requires evaluators to consistently select top-tier players in the draft, particularly in the first round, there are many team builders who relish their chances of converting lesser-known picks into a roster filled with star talent. Optimistic executives see the NFL Draft as a lottery, with each selection representing a golden ticket that could change the franchise’s destiny.
NFL Draft: Joel Klatt’s Top 10 Prospects
FOX Sports’ Joel Klatt reveals his top 10 players of the 2022 NFL Draft, including Michigan star Aidan Hutchinson and Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton.
With that in mind, seasoned executives will try to accumulate as many lottery tickets as possible. In recent years, we’ve seen more teams acquire multiple picks in the first round to increase their chances of getting a five-star player or a few stars at the top of the board.
The Buffalo Bills achieved a rare feat in 2018 when they selected a pair of future first-round Pro Bowlers: QB Josh Allen (7th overall, 2020 Pro Bowler) and LB Tremaine Edmunds (16th overall, 2019 and 2020 Pro Bowler).
This season, eight NFL-record teams currently have two first-round picks. (The previous record was six.) If things go according to plan, your extra lottery tickets will turn into players who are key pieces of a championship puzzle.
Given some time to research the 2022 draft class and the eight franchises with multiple picks in the opening round next Thursday, I thought it was the perfect time to create perfect pairs for each team.
First Round Picks: No. 2 and No. 32
Needs: QB, EDGE, CB
Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
If the Lions are being built in the image of Dan Campbell, the players Detroit selects over draft weekend must play with fanatical effort and exhibit the toughness that reflects a blue-collar city. Hutchinson has a high-revving engine that overwhelms opponents poorly equipped to handle his effort, energy, and pass-rusher skills.
Corral is an ultra-talented gunslinger with exceptional arm talent and a quick release. He’s a franchise quarterback with enough athleticism, stamina and playability to improve the Lions’ QB1 spot.
Joel Klatt’s Top Five Quarterbacks in the Draft
Joel Klatt shares his top five quarterbacks in the 2022 NFL Draft, headlined by Pittsburgh QB Kenny Pickett, Liberty QB Malik Willis and Ole Miss QB Matt Corral.
First-round picks: #3 and #13
Needs: EDGE, CB, OL
Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
Lovie Smith’s promotion to head coach could lead the Texans to prioritize securing defense in the 2022 draft. The need to improve cornerback play makes Gardner an obvious selection after Smith watched quarterbacks ignite their overmatched secondary a season ago. .
Thibodeaux would add a disruptive pass rusher to a lineup that lacks a legitimate threat around the edges. Without sticky coverage or a persistent passing run, the Texans will never close the gap to divisional rivals in the AFC South.
Joel Klatt’s Top 10 Edge Rushers in the Draft
Joel Klatt details his list of top rushers in the draft, including Kayvon Thibodeaux, Logan Hall and Jermaine Johnson.
New York jets
First-round picks: #4 and #10
Needs: WR, OT, EDGE
Ikem Ekwonu, OT, State of North Carolina
Drake London, WR, USC
With Zach Wilson entering his second season, it’s time for general manager Joe Douglas to update the pieces around his QB franchise. Ekwonu doesn’t just add strength to a frontline that wants to lean on Michael Carter & Co. to pass the stone between tackles, but it also gives the unit a menacing presence on the edge with nasty finishing skills.
The 6-foot-5, 210-pound London is an oversized pass catcher with bounce ability and catch radius to expand Wilson’s strike zone, particularly in the red zone. As a jumbo slot receiver with soft hands, the USC highlight is the perfect addition to a receiving body that features Elijah Moore and Corey Davis on the outside.
New York giants
First Round Picks: No. 5 and No. 7
Needs: OT, EDGE, TE
Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
Jermaine Johnson, EDGE, State of Florida
The Giants have always been at their best when they control the trenches on either side of the ball. Neal is a massive (6ft-7, 350) edge blocker with a solid game built with technique, awareness and knowledge. He blocks opponents with his heavy hand punches and displays enough lower body strength to anchor against power rushers.
Geoff Schwartz’s Best Offensive Lineman in the Draft
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Johnson is an A-plus pass-rusher with excellent first-step agility and close combat skills. Additionally, he plays with a non-stop engine that routinely results in the production of garbage bags when he outsmarts opponents to the limit.
If the Giants can upgrade their trench warriors with blue-collar types, Brian Daboll and Joe Schoen will quickly change things in the Big Apple.
First-round picks: #15 and #18
Needs: DL, WR, DB
Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
General Manager Howie Roseman is one of the best in the business at accumulating and multiplying working capital. But if he sticks to those picks, he could immediately update the roster with some superstars in the class of 2022. The 6-foot-1 100-pound Burks is the big pass catcher the franchise has been lacking since Alshon Jeffery was in his prime. The Arkansas standout excels at winning 50-50 balls, and its length will expand the front zone for QB Jalen Hurts.
McDuffie is a versatile cover corner with excellent instincts, ball skills and versatility. He is a scheme-friendly defender with a game that can thrive on man or zone coverage.
saints of new orleans
First-round picks: #16 and #19
Needs: OT, WR, DL
Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
Without Sean Payton on the sidelines, the Saints need to update their people to make up for some of the creativity that went out the door. Penning must fill the void created by Terron Armstead’s departure as a nasty edge-blocker with a bully mentality. While it might take him some time to get used to the NFL after dominating the small-school competition, the Northern Iowa product impressed evaluators with his work against the big ones in the Senior Bowl.
Joel Klatt’s Top 10 Receivers in the Draft
Joel Klatt details his top wide receiver prospects in a loaded 2022 NFL Draft. The group is highlighted by Ohio State Buckeyes dynamic duo Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson.
Olave is a big play waiting to happen as a sprinter with cunning routes and smooth hands. He ended his career as Ohio State’s all-time touchdown leader and could continue to find ink as a designated big-play specialist for the Saints.
Green Bay Packers
First-round picks: #22 and #28
Needs: WR, OT, DGE
Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
Tyler Smith, OT, Tulsa
It would take a special player to persuade GM Brian Gutekunst to accept a first-round wide receiver after watching the franchise consistently develop lower-star picks. Williams is a worthwhile gamble as an electric ace with speed to burn and a knack for getting past defenders on vertical lanes. Despite a knee injury that could delay his NFL debut until mid-season, the Alabama product shows the kind of great potential that could add dimension to a Packers offense that needs a spark without Davante Adams.
Smith is not a finished product, but his size, length and athleticism could make him a 10-year holder in the position. He flashes his hands and feet fast as he shuts down pass rushers on the edges.
Given Aaron Rodgers’ renewed commitment to the franchise after a few years of drama, the Packers need to keep number 12 happy by any means necessary.
Kansas City Chiefs
First-round picks: #29 and #30
Needs: WR, EDGE, CB
Daxton Hill, S, Michigan
Logan Hall, EDGE, Houston
Tyreek Hill’s departure will lead some observers to view the wideout as the Chiefs’ top priority, but Andy Reid has routinely squeezed production from unnamed catchers thanks to five-star quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and, in the Eagles’ days, Donovan McNabb. . That’s why the Chiefs can turn their attention to a defense that needs more speed, athleticism and disruptive players.
Hill is a Swiss Army knife in the defensive backfield, with a versatile game that lets you play slot or deep middle based on need. The Chiefs can leverage their positional flexibility to build a competitive sub-package that matches the AFC West’s high-powered attacks.
Hall is a trench warrior with a knack for creating disturbances at the point of attack. He can win with finesse or power, and he can outrun opponents on the line of scrimmage to produce enough splash plays to help the Chiefs get off the field in key situations.
Bucky Brooks is an NFL Analyst for FOX Sports and regularly appears on “Speak For Yourself”. He also details the game for the NFL Network and is a co-host of the “Moving the Sticks” podcast.
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