Monday, July 4, 2022

2022 NFL Draft order: List of picks, needs, grades for Steelers, Browns, Bengals and Ravens

It’s finally time for the 2022 NFL Draft, and you’ll want to truly keep an eye on the AFC North as the three-day event unfolds in Las Vegas. 

One of the toughest divisions in football in 2021, the AFC North is expected to be just as tough in 2022. Each team in the division made headlines during free agency. The Browns gave up a king’s ransom to acquire former Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. Pittsburgh also acquired a former Pro Bowl quarterback in Mitchell Trubisky. Baltimore signed two of the top free agents at their respective divisions in safety Marcus Williams and Morgan Moses. The reigning AFC champions Cincinnati Bengals signed three proven offensive linemen who will be tasked with protecting star quarterback Joe Burrow

It’s safe to say each AFC North team made themselves better during free agency. With that said, what transpires during the 2022 NFL Draft is what may truly be the difference between which team wins the North and which team finds themselves in the cellar. 

It has already been an exciting draft; make sure follow along with every pick on our draft tracker.

Let’s dive into each AFC North team’s top needs, draft picks, and selection grades.

Baltimore Ravens 

Top needs (unranked): LB, EDGE, DT, CB, WR, OG

The Ravens made two splash signings in free agency but were unable to address several of their big needs during the initial wave. Let’s start with the positives; the Ravens now boast one of the NFL‘s most formidable secondaries with the signing of Williams, a talented safety who at 25 should just be entering his prime. Moses’ presence should help improve an offensive line that allowed way too many sacks (57 to be exact) last season. 

Now, let’s look at the negatives. Za’Darius Smith, who initially came to terms with the Ravens, left Baltimore at the alter and instead signed a multi-year deal with the Vikings. Baltimore will likely turn to the draft to bolster its pass rush after missing out on Smith. The Ravens will also use the draft to rebuild their defensive line after letting Brandon Williams and Calais Campbell test the market. (Campbell ended up returning to Baltimore.)

Baltimore may have found their replacement for Bradley Bozeman with the first-round pick of Tyler Linderbaum. The Ravens do need to address receiver after trading Marquise Brown to Arizona on Thursday night. 

2022 draft picks:

1 (14)

Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame


1 (25)  Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa 


2 (45)


3 (76)


3 (100)


4 (110)


4 (119)


4 (128)


4 (130)  TBD

4 (139)


4 (141)


6 (196) TBD

Cincinnati Bengals 

Top needs (unranked): CB, C, DT, LB, TE, OG

Better protection for Burrow was the biggest difference between the Bengals winning and losing Super Bowl LVI. Had Burrow (who was sacked 70 times last season) had an extra second on the Bengals’ final offensive play of the Super Bowl, he would have likely hit Ja’Marr Chase downfield for the game-winning score. Instead, Burrow was forced into an ill-fated incomplete pass after getting pressured by Aaron Donald

Determined to correct the issue, the Bengals’ brass attacked its biggest deficiency in free agency with the additions of La’el Collins, Alex Cappa and Ted Karras. Cincinnati also gave Burrow a new weapon in Hayden Hurst, who is looking to emerge as a big-time tight end after having to share the workload with Mark Andrews in Baltimore and Kyle Pitts in Atlanta. On defense, the Bengals locked up defensive tackle B.J. Hill, who played an integral role during Cincinnati’s run through the AFC playoffs. 

Cornerback and offensive tackle are the two main positions the Bengals still needed to address heading into the draft. Eli Apple, who was re-signed during free agency, will probably have to hold off a highly touted rookie if he is going to stay in the starting lineup. Cincinnati chose to address safety with their first pick in the draft. 

2022 draft picks: 

1 (31)

Daxton Hill, S, Michigan


2 (63)


3 (95)


4 (136)


5 (174)


6 (209)


7 (226)


7 (252) TBD

Pittsburgh Steelers 

Top needs (unranked): OT, QB, CB, DT, DE, WR 

Heading into the draft, the expectation was that the Steelers would select a quarterback with one of their first two picks. Pittsburgh did just that when they selected Kenny Pickett with the 20th overall pick. Pickett will now compete with Mason Rudolph and Mitchell Trubisky to be the Steelers’ starting quarterback coming out of training camp. 

Defensive line and receiver are two other positions the Steelers need to address during the draft. Pittsburgh’s defensive line, besieged with injuries, finished last in the NFL in rushing yards allowed in 2021. The Steelers’ receiving corps needs at least one more playmaker to complement Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool

Cornerback, safety, linebacker and EDGE rusher are other positions that could use more depth. Cornerback Cameron Sutton is entering the final year of his contract, while strong safety Terrell Edmunds recently signed a one-year deal after spending over a month on the open market. The Steelers could also use an extra pass rusher behind starting outside linebackers T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith. Pittsburgh is banking on inside linebacker Devin Bush bouncing back from a disappointing 2021 campaign. But if he doesn’t, the Steelers need to have a backup plan in place.

2022 draft picks:

1 (20)

Kenny Pickett, QB, Pitt


2 (52)


3 (84)


4 (138)


6 (208)


7 (225)


7 (241)  TBD

Cleveland Browns 

Top needs (unranked): DT, WR, EDGE, LB, TE, WR

Cleveland gave up its next three first-round picks (among other things) to acquire Watson. The Browns may get another pick in this year’s draft if they are able to deal Baker Mayfield, whose time in Cleveland has all but come to an end. 

Signing Amari Cooper was key, but the Browns need more receivers to complement the former Cowboys Pro Bowler. Cleveland is also in the market for a tight end after parting with Austin Hooper earlier this offseason. The Browns also need to find a new pass rusher after letting Jadeveon Clowney test the open market (he remains unsigned as of this writing). 

The Browns defense includes one of the NFL’s premier pass rushers in Myles Garrett and one of the league’s top corners in Denzel Ward, who recently inked a lucrative, long-term deal with the club. But the defense needs more reinforcements in the trenches and at linebacker. Look for the Browns to invest in both of those areas during the draft.

2022 draft picks:

2 (44)


3 (78)


3 (99)


4 (118) TBD

6 (202)


7 (223)


7 (246)


2022 NFL Draft hats now available

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