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Davison's 2022 NFL Re-Draft

We're just a few days out from the 2024 NFL Draft, so let's go back two years. The 2022 NFL Draft had its share of hits and misses, and like any draft, it has seen some players who either weren't drafted or were drafted very late turn out to be among the best players in the class. The draft was bookended by first overall pick Travon Walker and Mr. Irrelevant Brock Purdy, and their respective careers thus far go to show how the position a player is drafted in does not represent how their career will go.

Let's get into the re-draft, where we will pick each player based on their career history. 

For clarification, the draft order will be the order that was initially planned on the morning of the first day of the draft. Therefore, draft-day trades will not be factored into the draft order.

1. Jacksonville Jaguars

Real pick: Travon Walker

My pick: Aidan Hutchinson

Thus far in his career, Hutchinson has arguably been the best player in his draft, and he probably deserved to be the first pick in the draft, anyway. Hutchinson had a great college career at Michigan, and his presence on the defensive line has wholly changed Detroit’s defense. The Jaguars picked Walker to try to fill the hole opposite Josh Allen, but picking Hutchinson would have made him the defensive's premier edge rusher.

2. Detroit Lions

Real pick: Aidan Hutchinson

My pick: Sauce Gardner

Gardner won Defensive Rookie of the Year over the Lions’ real pick, Aidan Hutchinson, and he has been one of the top three cornerbacks in the league in his first two seasons. No secondary player has taken off so quickly to start their career since Ronnie Lott. Picking Gardner would have provided Detroit with the corner stability they have been looking for, and it would rectify the recent miss on Jeff Okudah.

3. Houston Texans

Real pick: Derek Stingley Jr.

My pick: Derek Stingley Jr.

The prudent pick might be Brock Purdy, as the Texans were looking for a quarterback before the 2022 season. Still, I can't make the Texans part with their original third-overall pick, Stingley, who has turned into a top-10 cornerback in the league in two seasons. Stingley was injured in both of his first two seasons, but when he was on the field, he showed he was worthy of being picked third overall. 

4. New York Jets

Real pick: Sauce Gardner

My pick: Breece Hall

In real life, the Jets picked Hall in the second round, but he goes at fourth overall in my re-draft. Hall played exceptionally well in his rookie season before he went down to a season-ending ACL and meniscus tear in his seventh game of the season. In 2023, he was six yards short of a 1,000-yard rushing season and came shy of 1,600 scrimmage yards. Hall is one of the few bright spots on an otherwise poor Jets offense, and the other bright spot in their offense will be coming up shortly.

5. New York Giants

Real pick: Kayvon Thibodeaux

My pick: Brock Purdy

Purdy's rise to NFL stardom has been documented several times over at this point, from his time at Iowa State to being picked last in the draft, and now, he led his team to a Super Bowl appearance and nearly won the game. Regardless, Purdy was passed on by every team several times over, and it is a decision that all but a few teams are kicking themselves over. In 2023, his first season as a full-time starter, Purdy made the Pro Bowl and led the 49ers to a 12-4 record in his 16 starts while leading the league in yards per attempt (9.6) and passer rating (113.0) and he set the 49ers record for passing yards in a single season with 4,280 in the process. The Giants are currently saddled with Daniel Jones’ contract, but had they picked Purdy instead, they would have been able to move on from Jones and would be in a much better position for the future than they are currently.

6. Carolina Panthers

Real pick: Ikem Ekwonu

My pick: Ikem Ekwonu

Ekwonu's pick was a solid one for the Panthers, as they got an offensive lineman who has started every game in his first two seasons for the franchise and has turned into one of the best offensive tackles in the league. The Panthers needed upgrades at almost every position in the 2022 Draft, and, given that there aren't any good quarterbacks available at this spot (that would be worth the sixth overall pick), the Panthers get to keep their franchise left tackle.

7. New York Giants

Real pick: Evan Neal

My pick: Garrett Wilson

Wilson and Breece Hall are the other of the Jets’ high-profile offensive players from the 2022 Draft. Wilson won the 2022 Offensive Rookie of the Year, and his acquisition would bolster a Giants’ receiving room that is currently void of talent. The Giants lack a true number-one receiver for Daniel Jones, and if they had picked Wilson, they would have a true number-one for the first time since Odell Beckham wore blue and white.

8. Atlanta Falcons

Real pick: Drake London

My pick: Kyle Hamilton

Hamilton was drafted at 14 by the Ravens, and he has already turned into arguably a top-10 safety in the NFL. In 2023, Hamilton was selected as a First-Team All-Pro and made his first Pro Bowl after having four interceptions, three sacks, 10 tackles for loss, and 63 tackles. Atlanta did well in free agency to pick up Jessie Bates in 2023, but if they could pair him with Hamilton, they would have the best safety duo in the league.

9. Seattle Seahawks

Real pick: Charles Cross

My pick: Tariq Woolen

In real life, Woolen was the Seahawks’ fifth-round pick in 2022, but in the re-draft, he goes at nine to the team that drafted him. In 2022, he made the Pro Bowl and tied for the league lead in interceptions with six. While he had a bit of a down year in 2023 with only two interceptions and 11 deflected passes, he is still a talented player and should be recognized as such.

10. New York Jets

Real pick: Garrett Wilson

My pick: Chris Olave

It says a lot that three of the Jets’ first four draft picks from 2022 went in the first seven picks here, including their 10th overall pick, Garrett Wilson. The Jets still need a receiver, so let's go for the best one available: Chris Olave. Olave had over 1,000 receiving yards in both of his first two seasons while being a good option from the slot and as a deep threat. Olave might not be Garrett Wilson, but he is still an excellent receiver.

11. Washington Commanders

Real pick: Chris Olave (by New Orleans)

My pick: Zion Johnson

Johnson was originally picked 17th overall by the Chargers, but he goes six picks higher to the Commanders here. Johnson has been a stalwart on the Chargers’ offensive line and has started 32 games in his first two seasons. Washington could use some help on the offensive line, and a guard like Johnson could have been the start.

12. Minnesota Vikings

Real pick: Jameson Williams (by Detroit)

My pick: Isiah Pacheco

Pacheco was originally a seventh-round pick in 2022 when the Chiefs drafted him. He quickly took over the starting role at running back. While he hasn't had a 1,000-yard season yet, he has had over 800 rushing yards in both of his first two seasons, and he has had a massive impact on the Chiefs’ runs to the Super Bowl in the last two years. Minnesota's biggest hole might be running back, so they go with Pacheco here.

13. Houston Texans

Real pick: Jordan Davis (by Philadelphia)

My pick: Tyler Linderbaum

Houston doesn't have many needs, but the one they do have is an offensive line. While they drafted Kenyon Green with their actual first-round pick, and he was solid, the team would have been better off drafting Linderbaum, who has turned into a top-five center in the league. Through two seasons, Linderbaum has started all 32 games he has played in, and he has only had nine total penalties while having a 97% blocking rate.

14. Baltimore Ravens

Real pick: Kyle Hamilton

My pick: George Pickens

As a Steelers fan, this hurts, but Hamilton and Linderbaum are gone, and their most significant need is wide receiver. In 2023, the Ravens picked up Zay Flowers, and he has been good, but they still need another excellent receiver. In 2023, Pickens took over as the Steelers’ best receiver with over 1,000 receiving yards, leading the league in yards per reception at 18.1. Baltimore already has an excellent deep threat and slot receiver in Flowers, but there is no such thing as too many good receivers.

15. Philadelphia Eagles

Real pick: Kenyon Green (by Houston)

My pick: DaRon Bland

The Eagles don't have many needs, so this pick is more of a best player available pick, and it has the added benefit of taking one of Dallas’ best defensive players away from them. Bland set the NFL record for pick-sixes in a season with five in 2023, and he led the league with nine total interceptions in the absence of Trevon Diggs. Bland has 14 interceptions in his first two seasons, and while he has a habit of giving up big plays every once in a while, he makes up for it by making game-changing plays, like his interceptions. The Eagles don't exactly need a cornerback, as Darius Slay and James Bradberry are arguably the best duo in the league, but both of them are getting older, so it would not be a bad idea to look forward to the future.

16. New Orleans Saints

Real pick: Jahan Dotson (by Washington)

My pick: Drake London

The Falcons drafted London eighth overall, and while he hasn't had the same production they expected, part of that is due to the scheme. Former head coach Arthur Smith did not use London or fellow first-round pick (in 2021) Kyle Pitts nearly as much as most coaches would have, and London's production has suffered because of it. However, London is still a talented receiver, and he has averaged almost 900 yards per season in his first two years despite a horrendous quarterback room.

17. Los Angeles Chargers

Real pick: Zion Johnson

My pick: Cam Taylor-Britt

Taylor-Britt is a good cornerback for the Bengals, and he was a second-round pick in 2022. He has been injured in both of his first two seasons, but when he has been on the field, he has been spectacular. In 11 games in 2023, he had four interceptions, 11 deflected passes, and two forced fumbles while simultaneously being a good coverage corner on the outside. If the Chargers had Taylor-Britt alongside Asante Samuel Jr., their cornerback situation would largely be solved.

18. Philadelphia Eagles

Real pick: Treylon Burks (by Tennessee)

My pick: Christian Watson

Once again, the Eagles don't have many needs, but in this situation, they don't have A.J. Brown, so they could use a second receiver alongside Devonta Smith, and Watson is the best receiver available. Watson missed about half of 2023 due to injury, but when he has been on the field the last two years, he has been an excellent receiver. While he wouldn't be able to replace A.J. Brown, almost no receiver in this class would be able to, so Watson would still be a decent pickup.

19. New Orleans Saints

Real pick: Trevor Penning

My pick: Trent McDuffie

The Saints have replaced Chris Olave with Drake London, and with their second pick of the first round, instead of reaching on a mediocre offensive tackle, they take someone who might be the best secondary player outside of Kyle Hamilton to come out of this draft. McDuffie still hasn't had an interception in his career so far. Still, it hasn't mattered because he has forced six fumbles, deflected 14 passes, and totaled four sacks and nine quarterback hits in his two seasons thus far while also being excellent in coverage. New Orleans has Marshon Lattimore, but they could use another cornerback to put alongside him. Who better than the best cornerback on the back-to-back Super Bowl Champions?

20. Pittsburgh Steelers

Real pick: Kenny Pickett

My pick: Quay Walker

Pickett's selection has turned out to be bad for the Steelers, but they could have filled a hole at the middle linebacker position that the team has had since Ryan Shazier had his career-ending injury. The Steelers signed Patrick Queen to a big deal this offseason, and Cole Holcomb has been a serviceable linebacker. Still, the addition of Walker to fill the biggest hole in what is otherwise a very good defense would put the team in an even better position than they already are.

21. New England Patriots

Real pick: Trent McDuffie (by Kansas City)

My pick: Kenneth Walker III

There aren't many positions where the Patriots couldn't use some help, so this pick goes back to the best player, Walker. Walker has been an excellent piece for Seattle's offense over the last two years, and in his rookie year, he rushed for over 1,000 yards while starting just 11 games and finished second in Offensive Rookie of the Year voting. In 2023, he took a slight step backward, finishing with just over 900 rushing yards, but he is still an excellent running back and one whose presence would immensely help New England.

22. Green Bay Packers

Real pick: Quay Walker

My pick: Terrel Bernard

In Bernard's rookie year, he was a backup linebacker for Buffalo behind Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano. Still, when Edmunds left in free agency before 2023, he was thrust into a starting role and responded beautifully. Bernard started all 17 games for the Bills, and he had three interceptions, three fumble recoveries, five deflected passes, 143 tackles, and ten tackles for loss. He was injured in the Bills’ Wild Card game against the Steelers, and after he was injured, the defense was not nearly as good and the poor nature of the defense is part of what led to the loss to the Chiefs in the Divisional Round. Bernard isn't quite as good as Quay Walker has been for the Packers, but the Packers would still be happy with Bernard in the middle of the defense.

23. Arizona Cardinals

Real pick: Kaiir Elam (by Buffalo)

My pick: Kyren Williams

Williams was initially selected in the fifth round by the Rams. After a rookie season where he rarely saw the field, he broke out in 2023 with over 1,300 scrimmage yards in just 12 games, and he averaged 95.3 rushing yards per game, which led the league while having 15 total touchdowns. Williams was rewarded with a Pro Bowl selection and a nomination to the Second-Team All-Pro. Arizona needs a running back, and if they had selected Williams, they would have shored up that need with an outstanding player.

24. Dallas Cowboys

Real pick: Tyler Smith

My pick: Kayvon Thibodeaux

Thibodeaux has been a solid edge rusher for the Giants so far in his career, and the Cowboys could use another edge rusher to pair with Micah Parsons. Demarcus Lawrence is still a phenomenal player, but he is getting up in age, and he likely won't play for much longer. If the Cowboys had been able to draft Thibodeaux, they would have pushed Lawrence inside, where he would still be solid, while allowing Thibodeaux to develop and become a good player.

25. Buffalo Bills

Real pick: Tyler Linderbaum (by Baltimore)

My pick: James Cook

The Bills don't need a lot, so it would be wrong to part them from their second-round pick, James Cook. Cook was a Pro Bowl selection in 2023, and he played in all 17 games for the Bills while starting 13 at running back. Cook had over 1,500 yards from scrimmage in 2023, and while he only had nine total touchdowns across his two seasons in the NFL, he is still an outstanding player, and he is not a player that the Bills regret drafting.

26. Tennessee Titans

Real pick: Jermaine Johnson II (by New York Jets)

My pick: Travon Walker

Walker rose up draft boards late in the draft process in 2022 and ended up going first overall to the Jaguars, and while he has been serviceable as an edge rusher, he hasn't lived up to the pick that he was selected at. In two seasons, Walker has 13.5 sacks, one interception, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery while playing in 32 out of 34 possible games. Tennessee has a lot of needs on its roster, and one of them is an edge rusher, so it takes the best player available at this spot.

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Real pick: Devin Lloyd (by Jacksonville)

My pick: Tyler Allgeier

Allgeier broke out as a rookie in 2022 with the Atlanta Falcons after being drafted in the fifth round, as he rushed for over 1,000 yards in 16 games with just seven starts. In 2023, despite Allgeier's good rookie year, the Falcons used their first-round pick on Bijan Robinson. Despite the prominence of Robinson in Atlanta's offense, Allgeier still managed to have almost 900 total yards despite starting just three games. Tampa Bay picked Rachaad White in the third round in 2022, and while White has been a solid player, he hasn't been anything close to the player Allgeier has proven to be thus far.

28. Green Bay Packers

Real pick: Devonte Wyatt

My pick: Daxton Hill

Green Bay's needs revolve around receivers and defense, and because there aren't any receivers good enough to draft at this spot, defense is the pick, and they go with Daxton Hill in the re-draft. Hill didn't play much in 2022 because the Bengals had Jessie Bates and Vonn Bell as their safeties, but after both players departed before 2023, Hill was thrust into a starting role and performed remarkably well. Hill started all 17 games for the Bengals in 2023, and he was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise disappointing season, with two interceptions, 11 deflected passes, and 110 total tackles. If Hill can continue to develop, he will be a solid safety for years to come, and Green Bay could have desperately used a safety of his caliber to put in their defense.

29. Kansas City Chiefs

Real pick: Cole Strange (by New England)

My pick: Jaylen Warren

Warren went undrafted in 2022 and wound up being picked up by the Steelers as a UDFA, and he has turned into a solid and underrated player on the Steelers’ offense. While serving as the backup to Najee Harris, Warren has been a good receiving back and has also provided value in the outside running game. Warren fills a similar role to Kansas City's seventh-round pick, Isiah Pacheco, and he is a very talented player in his own right.

30. Kansas City Chiefs

Real pick: George Karlaftis

My pick: George Karlaftis

The Chiefs have a back-to-back, so the order of the picks doesn't exactly matter; regardless, with their second-straight pick, Kansas City once again selects George Karlaftis. Karlaftis has started 33 out of 34 possible games for the Chiefs in his career so far, and he broke out in 2023 with 10.5 sacks in 16 games. He has been a valuable part of Kansas City's back-to-back Super Bowl victories in the first two years of his career, and his pick is not one that the Chiefs regret making.

31. Cincinnati Bengals

Real pick: Daxton Hill

My pick: Trey McBride

For years, the enormous hole in Cincinnati's offense has been the tight end, and we'll close that hole with the selection of Trey McBride, who was originally a second-round pick for the Arizona Cardinals. McBride broke out significantly in 2023, catching 81 passes for 825 yards and three touchdowns from a dysfunctional quarterback room consisting of Joshua Dobbs, Clayton Tune, and Kyler Murray. The Bengals already have two good receiving options in Tee Higgins and Ja'mar Chase, but with the addition of McBride, the Bengals could give Joe Burrow a perfect third option.

32. Detroit Lions

Real pick: Lewis Cine (by Minnesota)

My pick: Jordan Davis

Detroit needs a good player on their defensive line, and Jordan Davis certainly fits that bill. Davis hasn't exactly lived up to the hype of a 13th-overall pick, but he has still been a solid player for Philadelphia and would fill a hole in the middle of Detroit's line. He is still very raw and has a long way to go to live up to how high he was picked, but he has the talent to get there.

Main Image courtesy of Opta Analyst

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