Wednesday, May 25, 2022

2022 NFL Draft: Ranking teams with two first-round picks by who is getting the most value in return

The 2022 NFL Draft is unprecedented in the sense that a quarter of the league does not have a first-round pick. Some of the wealth has already been re-distributed, as Philadelphia gave up a third first-round pick to New Orleans in exchange for future compensation. Here are the eight teams with two first-round picks ranked from best to worse positioned to make an impact in late April:

1. Giants (Nos. 5 & 7 overall)

The Giants are in a position to make two picks inside the top 10. There has been some buzz that they are looking to move back and acquire future compensation, but it takes two to tango. Fortunately, there is reason to believe some teams may have interest in moving up to No. 5 or No. 7 overall if one of those remaining edge rushers is still available or someone desperately wants to move up for a quarterback. It is thought that Carolina is the most likely team to take a quarterback at No. 6 overall.

In an ideal world, the Giants would keep one of those choices, move back in the first round and gain future draft capital to be more flexible in the event that they need a quarterback next year. If a suitor does not emerge, then their consolation prize is adding two blue-chip prospects at premier positions like edge rusher, offensive tackle and cornerback.

2. Jets (Nos. 4 & 10 overall)

The conversation surrounding the Jets is similar to that of the Giants. They could look to add picks in future classes if another team is interested in moving up. At the very least, they should get two difference makers. General manager Joe Douglas is likely to be fishing in the same waters as the Giants with interest in offensive tackle, edge rusher, cornerback and possibly wide receiver. 

3. Texans (Nos. 3 & 13 overall)

The Texans are a blank canvas on which general manager Nick Caserio is set to make his first strokes. They finally moved on from quarterback Deshaun Watson and are now armed with the draft capital to begin a rebuild. They would be a large beneficiary of teams taking quarterbacks in the top 10 because that pushes a perceived blue-chip talent down to No. 13 overall. It could become an exercise in value for Houston if it is left with safety Kyle Hamilton and nose tackle Jordan Davis to choose from at No. 13 overall. While both are fantastic players deserving of early consideration, how much would either position move the needle for this franchise in the near future?

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4. Lions (Nos. 2 & 32 overall)

Detroit is on opposite ends of the spectrum in the first round. Slated to make the night’s second choice, the Lions will wait until the end of the night before making another pick. Detroit should have its pick of essentially every player available in the draft at No. 2 overall, so it is rather difficult to screw that up. One lightly discussed factor is the value of that No. 32 overall selection. As Thursday night is coming to a close, teams could be looking at how the first-round has transpired with an eagerness to move up and take a player that they covet before bidding re-convenes Friday night. It could also be a destination for a team moving up to take a quarterback with the idea of having that fifth-year option. The Lions have a lot of leverage.

5. Eagles (Nos. 15 & 18 overall)

In a span of five selections, the Eagles and Saints are slated to pick four times. Philadelphia picks ahead of New Orleans both times, so it was obvious it was going to be ranked higher on this list. The Eagles are another team facing a possible dilemma of need versus value. Linebacker and wide receiver are not positions that have required a first-round pick in recent years. The team has a need at both positions. It could also look to address edge rusher, defensive tackle and cornerback. Those positions are more valuable when considering salary demands long-term. 

6. Saints (Nos. 16 & 19 overall)

New Orleans should probably be lower on this list when considering what it gave up to acquire that second first-round pick from Philadelphia. However, it all depends on how the 2022 season plays out. If the Saints wind up with pick No. 24 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft, then it is hardly a loss for the franchise. If the pick ends up in the top 10, then it becomes a massive loss for New Orleans. It should still be able to get some quality players at positions of need like offensive tackle and wide receiver.

7. Packers (Nos. 22 & 28 overall)

Green Bay does not have an early selection, but two picks in the 20s gives it some flexibility to move around if it so chooses. The Packers really need two wide receivers early, but it would be a surprise if they did not take at least one. It boils down to taking two quality players on rookie deals while the team attempts to counter balance a massive salary cap hit from quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

8. Chiefs (Nos. 29 & 30 overall)

Kansas City would be hard-pressed to do worse than these two choices in terms of draft capital, but it made the most sound decision parting with wide receiver Tyreek Hill now. There is no replacement for Hill in this draft class, but the Chiefs can add two difference makers at a position of need or possibly use both to trade up and get one of the elite wide receiver options. Like Green Bay, they have some flexibility without sacrificing future goals. 

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