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2022 NFL Draft: Every Team’s Best-Value Selection

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    John Amis/Associated Press

    The 2022 NFL draft saw teams make all types of selections.

    Some organizations drafted for need, taking the prospect who best fit their scheme and filled a hole even if the player wasn’t at the top of their board at the time.

    Others made their picks based on value, grabbing the highest-rated player on their board regardless of whether their position was an area of concern.

    This piece will focus on the latter, highlighting the biggest steal from each team.

    The Bleacher Report Scouting Department’s final big board was used as a general guideline for determining value, with each slide showing the difference between the player’s big board ranking and draft slot. 

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    B/R Rank: No. 81

    The Cardinals had a solid if unspectacular draft for a team that lacked a first-round pick. They did well not to reach and selected most of their prospects around the time many experts believed they would come off the board.

    One pick stands out as being an extreme value, however, and that is the selection of Virginia Tech offensive lineman Lecitus Smith.

    Smith graded out as a top-10 interior offensive line prospect this year, with the B/R Scouting Department citing his experience—he started 36 games at left guard for the Hokies—stout build and excellent pass-blocking capabilities.

    Despite this, Smith didn’t come off the board until near the end of the sixth round. It was a rather surprising fall, but he has had issues with consistency as a run-blocker and isn’t an ideal size for an NFL guard.

    Still, the Cardinals should be thrilled that they landed a player with a chance to make an immediate impact along an offensive line that could use the help. He may not be a first-year starter, but he should make the roster and has a great chance to earn a rotational role early with the upside for more.

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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    B/R Rank: No. 17

    The Atlanta Falcons may have gotten one of the best steals of the 2022 draft after they landed the B/R Scouting Department’s No. 1 quarterback and a top-20 prospect overall in the third round.

    Desmond Ridder spent the last four seasons as a starter for Cincinnati and is coming off a fantastic senior season. He racked up 3,334 passing yards and 30 touchdowns while adding another 355 yards and six scores on the ground.

    Ridder doesn’t have a great frame for a pro quarterback—tipping the scales at just 211 pounds despite measuring up at over 6’3″—but he makes up for that with his competitiveness, elite athleticism, arm strength, movement and football IQ.

    Despite his on-field success—he made history by leading the Bearcats to the College Football Playoff, making them the first Group of Five program to reach it—and superb traits, there were some doubts about his ability to translate his game to the pros.

    Ridder ended up being the second signal-caller taken, but there was a massive gap between him and Kenny Pickett, the No. 20 overall pick. The quarterback wasn’t pleased about his fall, saying it “shouldn’t have taken this long” to receive a call.

    The Cincinnati star may have dropped because he tends to miss some easy throws and can get into trouble trying to make something happen when nothing’s there. He has notably improved when it comes to standing in the pocket and finding the open man, however, and has played in an advanced offense that should help him from the jump.

    Expect Ridder to push veteran Marcus Mariota for the starting job this offseason, creating a real quarterback competition to fill the void left by the Matt Ryan trade.

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    B/R Rank: No. 40

    The Ravens did well by capitalizing on value presented throughout the duration of the draft, starting at No. 14 overall when they selected Kyle Hamilton, a potential top-five pick and the B/R Scouting Department’s No. 7 overall prospect.

    Tyler Linderbaum, their other first-rounder, was selected at No. 25 despite his status as the top interior offensive lineman in the class and coming in at No. 12 overall on the big board.

    But none of Baltimore’s picks represents a bigger potential return on investment than David Ojabo. The club picked up the Michigan edge-rusher midway through the second round, a fantastic spot to draft a player who seemingly had real potential to go in the top half of the first.

    Like top overall pick Travon Walker, Ojabo only has one year of starting experience under his belt but is brimming with upside.

    Ojabo possesses uncanny athleticism packed into a long-armed, 6’4″, 250-pound frame. He’s explosive and flexible, getting around his blockers with ease to disrupt in the backfield. He’s still extremely raw and inexperienced but has flashed the talent to be an excellent edge defender in the pros.

    He projects to be mostly a speed-rusher, lacking the power to knock back his blocker. The 21-year-old will also need time to improve his awareness and run defense to become a more complete player.

    The biggest reason for Ojabo’s fall was a torn Achilles suffered at the Wolverines’ pro day. That injury caused his draft stock to take a significant hit, but if he can bounce back to full strength, the Ravens will have landed a top-tier prospect for a bargain price.

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    Steve Conner/Associated Press

    B/R Rank: No. 43

    Some talented wide receivers were bound to get overlooked in a draft that was loaded with elite options at the position.

    Khalil Shakir was one of the high-end wideouts who slipped, but it was rather shocking just how far he fell. The Boise State product would not come off the board until the fifth round as the 21st WR drafted.

    Given his status as the B/R Scouting Department’s No. 10 overall wideout—and best slot receiver option in the class—it was a truly stunning drop for the 22-year-old.

    The Bills were wise to stop Shakir’s slide there, locking up a prospect with the potential to be a big-time contributor for the club from the get-go.

    Shakir displayed immense toughness and played through several significant injuries during his tenure with the Broncos.

    Despite the fall, Shakir is clearly happy he landed in Buffalo. He described getting to play for Josh Allen’s squad a “match made in heaven,” as the Bills needed more weapons for their Pro Bowl quarterback.

    The speedy Shakir could assume a similar role to the one Deebo Samuel plays within the 49ers’ offense, getting the ball on screens, sweeps and gadget plays.

    If Shakir comes anywhere close to living up to the Samuel comps, he’ll be one of the steals of the 2022 draft.

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    John Amis/Associated Press

    B/R Rank: No. 121

    The Panthers offensive line got a big boost during the draft.

    While much of the focus has been on the team’s marquee selection of Ikem Ekwonu at No. 6 overall, Carolina also found another potential contributor on Day 3 in Cade Mays.

    The Tennessee product is a strong and physical offensive lineman who is surprisingly athletic for a 6’4″, 311-pounder. He plays with an edge that has allowed him to succeed against some tough SEC competition during his four years as a starter in Knoxville.

    Mays started 10 games at right tackle last year, but also spent time at right guard, left guard and left tackle over 35 career starts for the Volunteers. He projects to mostly play guard but could be used in a pinch elsewhere.

    The B/R Scouting Department gave Mays a fourth-round grade and believes he can be a high-level backup at several positions early on.

    The Panthers deserve accolades for adding a quality depth option with the versatility to play multiple spots along their offensive line for a meager sixth-round pick.

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    Barry Reeger/Associated Press

    B/R Rank: No. 31

    Chicago’s secondary desperately needed an injection of talent after it allowed 31 touchdowns—tied for the third-most in the league—while securing only eight interceptions, a mark tied for the fourth-fewest, last season.

    The Bears were able to accomplish that goal by grabbing Jaquan Brisker during the 2022 NFL draft. They ended up with the second-best safety in the class—behind only a generational prospect in Kyle Hamilton—with a mid-second-round pick.

    While Brisker may not have the same upside and massive size as Hamilton, the B/R Scouting Department believes his coverage skills—notably in zone—were unparalleled among this safety class. The Penn State product allowed just one touchdown in 962 coverage snaps across his collegiate career, per Pro Football Focus.

    The 23-year-old can cover wideouts with ease thanks to his elite athleticism, strong awareness and instincts, great ball-tracking ability and quick closing burst.

    Brisker was projected as a Day 1 pick due to these traits, but ended up falling into Day 2, a spot where the Bears capitalized. They can now pencil him in as a starter for the foreseeable future, an immense value for a reasonably low cost.

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    Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

    B/R Rank: No. 144

    The Bengals don’t trade up in the draft often, but they didn’t want to let a chance at securing a great deal pass them by.

    Cincinnati executed its third-largest leap up the board last week, moving up eight spots to get Tycen Anderson, a defensive back out of Toledo.

    Anderson has intriguing potential due to the sheer athleticism he boasts while standing nearly 6’2″ and weighing 209 pounds. He’s quite nimble for a larger defensive back and has a motor that doesn’t quit.

    The biggest issue with the Toledo product is that he is still raw despite starting for the past three years. His techniques are inconsistent and he can fail to track the ball well, especially on deep throws.

    The Bengals will now try to mold Anderson’s unteachable athleticism into something resembling a quality NFL defender.

    Whether that’s as a cornerback or safety remains to be seen, but he has plenty of potential to get excited about and is a strong value for a mid-fifth-round selection.

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    Aaron Doster/Associated Press

    B/R Rank: No. 67

    Although running back is far from a position of need in Cleveland, the Browns wisely didn’t pass on an opportunity to bolster their backfield with a quality prospect in the fifth round.

    They secured Jerome Ford two rounds later than where his B/R draft grade suggested he would land.

    Ford transferred to Cincinnati from Alabama in 2020 and made a huge impact with the Bearcats. He finished his tenure at the program with over 1,800 rushing yards and 27 touchdowns on 288 totes. While he wasn’t used heavily as a pass-catcher, he still caught 21 passes for 220 yards and a score this past season.

    That’s quality value drafting for a club that should feature one of the league’s best rushing attacks in 2022.

    Ford is joining a rushing platoon that already includes stars in Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb, plus an interesting third option in D’Ernest Johnson, who impressed in limited action last year.

    The situation may be a bit muddy for now, but the Ford pick could render Hunt—already set to hit free agency next spring—expendable.

    If Ford pans out like his high-end backup, potential starter rating suggests, it would allow Cleveland to trade Hunt for a player who fills a more pressing need or pick up some future draft capital.

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    Matthew Hinton/Associated Press

    B/R Rank: No. 96

    The Cowboys boast one of the NFL’s top linebacking units, and it is only going to improve with the addition of Damone Clark.

    The LSU product has the size and speed to play any of the three linebacker spots within the Dallas defense. He’s an aggressive defender who goes hard on every down regardless of his assignment.

    That style of play—coupled with Clark’s mediocre instincts—can lead to mistakes, especially when he’s tasked with dropping into coverage or needs to make a clean open-field tackle.

    Clark should find a role as a big-hitting run-stopper early in his career with the chance to develop into a more refined linebacker if he can improve his consistency.

    Fortunately, the Cowboys have the depth to bring him along slowly and can put him in situations to maximize his talent, making this a great pickup at the tail end of the fifth round.

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    B/R Rank: No. 57

    The Broncos had one of the league’s more interesting up-and-coming tight ends in Noah Fant on their roster last year. He ended up being part of the package that pried Russell Wilson away from the Seahawks.

    While Denver still employs Albert Okwuegbunam, another intriguing young TE option, it capitalized on the chance to draft one of the top prospects at the position late into Day 2.

    The team’s pick of Greg Dulcich midway through the third round could pay dividends. The UCLA product was the No. 2 overall TE and top receiving tight end on the B/R Scouting Department’s big board this year.

    The 6’4″, 243-pounder can create mismatches with nice size to complement his athleticism and speed. He wasn’t asked to run many complicated routes for the Bruins but did show a propensity to slip his defenders and find holes in the defense.

    Dulcich won’t be ready for every-down usage until he improves his blocking techniques and gets a bit stronger, but he’s been willing to give his all on blocks when required.

    Expect him to work as Denver’s No. 2 tight end in 2022. He could even end up being its best option at the position in quite some time if he rounds out his game and becomes a more complete weapon.

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    Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

    B/R Rank: No. 117

    After finishing last season with a bottom-five defense, the Lions made it a priority to address their many holes on that side of the ball during the draft.

    Early picks like Aidan Hutchinson and Josh Pascal are drawing most of the hype in wake of the team’s six defensive selections, but Detroit’s sixth-round snag of Malcolm Rodriguez could end up being just as impactful.

    The Oklahoma State product was the B/R Scouting Department’s biggest sleeper at the linebacker position. He’s a quality athlete who ran a 4.52 40-yard dash and posted a vertical leap of nearly 40 inches.

    The 5’11”, 232-pound linebacker converted from safety during his tenure with the Cowboys and made plays all over the field for the program. He makes smart reads and has a nose for the football, assets that allow him to overcome his limited lateral quickness but can make him a liability in the open field.

    Rodriguez will compete with veterans like Alex Anzalone and Derrick Barnes for playing time this year. He may not become a starter right away but should work his way into a rotational and special teams role quickly thanks to his experience as a four-year starter at Oklahoma State.

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    Julio Cortez/Associated Press

    B/R Rank: No. 79

    The Packers made some puzzling picks during the 2022 NFL draft, reaching for several prospects like Quay Walker who had grades that suggested they would come off the board much later than they were taken.

    Despite some questionable choices, Green Bay still ended up getting some massive value in the final round. That’s when the Packers landed Rasheed Walker, a player the B/R Scouting Department had given a third-round grade and ranked as its eighth-best tackle.

    Walker showed elite ability during his time at Penn State. At a stout 6’5″, 313 pounds and loaded with power and athleticism, the Nittany Lions product has the physical tools to be a premier offensive lineman in the NFL.

    But he’s been far too inconsistent with his technique and protection, concerns that ultimately led to his massive fall in the draft.

    The 32-game left tackle starter will need plenty of coaching and must add polish to become a factor in Titletown, but it’s not unreasonable to project him as a backup early in his career with the upside to be a starter.

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    B/R Rank: No. 32

    The Texans took some flak for several of their draft-day decisions, including selecting Kenyon Green—a prospect that the B/R Scouting Department had ranked No. 42 overall—midway through Round 1.

    While Houston failed to make many picks that could be described as steals, it did make a third-round selection that represented a fantastic value.

    That is where the Texans secured Christian Harris, the Alabama linebacker whom the B/R Scouting Department ranked No. 3 at his position and many analysts believed would be a first-round pick.

    Harris is an incredible athlete with true sideline-to-sideline speed—he ran a 4.44 40-yard dash at the combine—who blends high-level coverage skills and pass-rushing ability together in one package.

    If the Crimson Tide product can improve his ability to tackle in space, he’ll wind up being one of the most complete linebackers in this class.

    Regardless, the 21-year-old will be a major piece for Houston’s rebuilding defense and should carve out a sizable role from the jump. He’ll only get better with experience and should see plenty of reps early on, making Harris a true bargain for the Texans.

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    Al Goldis/Associated Press

    B/R Rank: No. 28

    The Colts have been desperately trying to unearth a viable replacement for longtime left tackle Anthony Castonzo following his retirement at the end of the 2020 campaign. Despite lacking a first-round pick this year, Indianapolis may still have found an anchor who can protect the quarterback’s blind side for the foreseeable future.

    The team picked up Bernhard Raimann at No. 77 overall, a shocking place for the Central Michigan product to land.

    Give the Central Michigan product’s status as the top remaining tackle after Day 1, it would have been considered a steal to get him early in the second round. Landing him in the third round was an incredible bargain.

    Raimann is a hulking 6’6″, 303-pound tackle who spent the last two years pulverizing opponents in the Chippewas’ zone-based blocking scheme. Although the Austrian native is relatively new to the game, he’s shown some serious skill and has a surprisingly polished skill set.

    The offensive tackle likely slipped due to his age—he’ll turn 25 early in the upcoming season—and inexperience (18 career starts at left tackle). Still, falling all the way into the third round is head-scratching given Raimann’s athleticism and talents.

    Raimann is now with a team that could utilize his talents right away. He’ll get a real shot at earning the starting left tackle job over Matt Pryor, linking up with guard Quenton Nelson to create a formidable tandem on the left side of Indy’s line for years to come.

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    Steve Conner/Associated Press

    B/R Rank: No. 30

    The Jaguars used a late first-round pick to make Devin Lloyd the first linebacker off the board in the 2022 draft. Despite this, they circled back to the position at the top of the third and scooped up Chad Muma.

    Although this selection could be considered redundant due to the similarities between the two prospects, it’s one that Jacksonville’s brass felt it had to make due to the pure value of it.

    After the draft concluded, general manager Trent Baalke defended his organization’s decision to select Muma following the Lloyd pick:

    “He was highly rated on our board for one. He fits the culture we’re trying to build. I don’t think we can ever have enough good linebackers. He’s a green dot guy. He can run the defense. He’s a really good special teams player as well. There’s just a lot to like.”

    Muma was given a first-round grade by the B/R Scouting Department, who had him as their No. 2 linebacker prospect and the top coverage option in the class. The Wyoming product is tall, powerful and fast, assets that help him rarely miss tackles and allow him cover his assignments well.

    He has all the makings of an impact rookie starter and could be in the discussion as one of the league’s best at the position within a few years.

    The Jags clearly have big plans for both Lloyd and Muma. Expect the pairing to immediately elevate this defense and quickly form one of the NFL’s top linebacking corps.

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    John Locher/Associated Press

    B/R Rank: No. 8

    The Chiefs have done a smart job of maximizing their draft capital during their run to four consecutive AFC Championship Games. The team hasn’t been picking early due to its on-field success but still has managed to unearth quality players who outperform the expectations of their draft positions.

    Kansas City seems to have landed another player who fits that description. The team nabbed George Karlaftis at No. 30 overall, securing a prospect who could have been gone within the first few picks based on his talent.

    Karlaftis was a somewhat polarizing prospect during the leadup to the draft. While he was mocked all over the board, many experts, including the B/R Scouting Department, gave him a top-10 grade.

    The Chiefs should be elated that the Purdue product slipped all the way to the end of Day 1, a fall that allowed them to swiftly address their pass-rushing issues at a bargain price.

    Karlaftis stands at a sturdy 6’4″, 275 pounds. He’s an explosive power rusher who can wreak havoc on opposing linemen, bull-rushing through double-teams with ease and disrupting consistently in the backfield.

    The Chiefs haven’t recorded more than 32 sacks since the 2019 season, but they should see a big bump in 2022 with the addition of Karlaftis.  

    The 21-year-old has all the makings of a future star and should see those talents blossom with plenty of opportunity as a key part of Kansas City’s defensive plans going forward.

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    Justin Casterline/Getty Images

    B/R Rank: No. 125

    Safe picks may not be the most exciting, but it’s hard to fault the Raiders for taking a sure thing toward the end of the fifth round this year.

    That’s where Las Vegas grabbed Tennessee’s Matthew Butler, a solid but unspectacular defensive tackle who should work in as a rotational defensive line piece for years to come.

    Butler measures up at nearly 6’4″ and 297 pounds and possesses plenty of power. He packs a strong punch, has great leverage and works hard to beat his man on every down.

    He won’t find himself on any highlight reels with his lack of explosion and mediocre pass-rushing skills, but he’s able to do the little things well and is a gritty player who can soak snaps without hurting the team.

    Butler may never end up assuming a starting role, but he’ll consistently land a roster spot and see action on a weekly basis. Expect the Raiders to get a nice return on this pick at a spot where players are usually far from guaranteed to even make a roster.

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    Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

    B/R Rank: No. 69

    The Chargers have been working diligently to craft an offensive line that can both protect franchise quarterback Justin Herbert and open lanes for their running back platoon.

    They furthered that goal significantly in the 2022 draft with the first-round selection of Zion Johnson, but they also should see a surprisingly noticeable boost to the offensive line from a late-sixth-round pick.

    That’s where Los Angeles picked up Jamaree Salyer, the sturdy and fundamentally sound Georgie left tackle who could move inside at the pro level.

    Salyer represents another potential starter—and a high-end backup at worst—for the Bolts at the bargain price of a Day 3 pick. He played in 39 games during his four seasons with the Bulldogs, starting 21 with 18 coming at left tackle.

    His 6’4″, 330-pound size isn’t ideal for an NFL tackle and is more suited for guard, but his skills, athleticism and experience could allow him to fill in on the end in a pinch.

    The 21-year-old displayed top-tier pass-protection skills during his tenure in Athens. He does need to work on his run-blocking abilities to become an even more versatile lineman, but Salyer shouldn’t be a liability if thrust into action early in his career.

    It’s likely he works as a depth option out of the gate, but Salyer is an underrated prospect with far more value than his draft selection suggests. He could overcome his size limitations, play his way into a starting role and outperform expectations with ease.

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    Justin Casterline/Getty Images

    B/R Rank: No. 103

    The Rams haven’t had much draft capital to work with in recent years, but general manager Les Snead has done a great job maximizing the value of his mid-to-late-round picks.

    Los Angeles’ front office may have struck gold again with the selection of Kyren Williams, the Notre Dame running back who slipped after poor predraft testing results.

    Williams posted back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons in 2020 and ’21. He racked up 27 touchdowns in that span and added an additional 672 yards and four scores on 77 catches.

    While his 40-yard dash was concerning—he ran an unsightly 4.65—Williams looks much faster on tape. He’s a patient runner who can pack a punch when he makes contact despite standing just a shade over 5’9″ and weighing 194 pounds.

    The 21-year-old adds a lot of value with his sticky hands, a knack for running crisp routes and proven pass-protection abilities. That will help him get onto the field early in his career and work as a third-down back for the Rams.

    Williams makes for an ideal backfield option alongside Cam Akers. They provide Los Angeles a pair of well-rounded players to lean on as it prepares to defend its Super Bowl title.

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    Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images

    B/R Rank: No. 115

    The Dolphins didn’t make much noise in the 2022 NFL draft, holding just four picks across the seven rounds. The club didn’t squeeze a lot of value out of these selections either, as not one of their prospects was selected earlier than their ranking on the B/R Scouting Department’s big board.

    The team did fill a hole at inside linebacker with its first selection that came late in Round 3. That is where Miami grabbed Georgia linebacker Channing Tindall, a player who may elevate a weak linebacking corps that didn’t see any major free-agency additions.

    Miami needed to bolster the roster with a promising prospect, and Tindall was one of the better choices available. He’s a fast-twitch linebacker with more athleticism than any incumbent players at the position and adds an extra dimension to the defense with his quickness alone.

    Tindall must work on his instincts and reads, but he has unteachable speed and looked like one of the best athletes on a historically talented Bulldogs defense last season.

    If this interior linebacker can improve his fundamentals, Miami should get a decent return on its investment.

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    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    B/R Rank: No. 24

    The Vikings filled a huge need and landed a steal when they nabbed Andrew Booth Jr. on Day 2 of the draft.

    The 6’0″, 194-pound cornerback has the size and strength to smother opposing wideouts while possessing the athleticism required to lock his man down.

    While he’s not the fastest prospect on tape and didn’t run during the combine or pro day because of injuries, he was still regarded as the fifth-best corner in an absolutely loaded class.

    The B/R Scouting Department graded him as a Year 1 starter with the potential to get selected on Day 1, but nine second-round picks were made before the Clemson product heard his name called.

    With Patrick Peterson fading into the twilight of his career and Cameron Dantzler having an up-and-down sophomore season last year, the Vikings desperately needed to address this position after failing to land a marquee free agent.

    Booth more than adequately fills the void and should slot in as a starter early in his career.

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    Michael Hickey/Getty Images

    B/R Rank: No. 87

    The Patriots have found plenty of success despite head coach Bill Belichick’s propensity to make some unconventional calls during the draft. That was no different in 2022 when New England picked Cole Strange—the No. 98 player on the B/R Scouting Department’s big board—in the first round.

    Not all of the club’s picks were reaches. The team made a solid choice in the third round by taking Marcus Jones, a cornerback who fills a pressing need for the Pats.

    Jones has everything a team could want from a cornerback besides size. He stands just 5’8″ and 174 pounds, and his diminutive stature can prevent him from guarding bigger wideouts.

    Despite this, he’s considered the top slot cornerback in a deep draft class and makes up for his lack of size through sheer athleticism, quickness, speed and fundamentally sound technique.

    Jones brings more to the table through his special teams work as well. He had nine return touchdowns to his name at Troy and Houston, returning kicks for more than 2,000 yards and punts for over 800 yards in four years.

    While this experienced corner will be limited, Belichick is the perfect coach to maximize his potential and put him in a situation to succeed. Jones may not be considered the steal of the draft, but this is a great value due to fit.

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    Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

    B/R Rank: No. 10 Overall

    Like the Dolphins, the Saints only had a handful of picks this year, and none ended up representing a massive value for the club.

    The best selection from New Orleans’ five picks was Chris Olave, the standout wide receiver from Ohio State. Olave was the third WR off the board in a stacked class, getting selected just behind USC’s Drake London (No. 8) and Buckeyes teammate Garrett Wilson (No. 10).

    This was far from a reach, as the B/R Scouting Department had Olave rated as the year’s second-best wideout and a top-10 prospect.

    It’s debatable how much of a need this selection fills, however, as the cap-strapped Saints still have some major holes to fill elsewhere after a ho-hum free agency signing period.

    Regardless, Olave should make life easier for Jameis Winston in 2022 and whoever ends up starting under center in the future for this rebuilding organization.

    He’s a top-tier route-runner who is arguably the most pro-ready of the rookie wideouts. He’s not the biggest (6’0″, 187 pounds) or fastest (4.39 40-yard dash), but he still has the size and speed to complement his overall athleticism.

    Expect Olave to emerge as a potential Pro Bowler early in his career and stick around for a long time.

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    B/R Rank: No. 2

    The Giants put themselves in a position to have a franchise-altering first round and executed to perfection.

    The team landed the top two prospects on the B/R Scouting Department’s big board, getting Kayvon Thibodeaux at No. 5 overall and Evan Neal at No. 7 overall.

    Both moves represented immense value, given they each were in the discussion for the No. 1 overall pick. Neal gets a slight edge as the most valuable of the two selections due to the higher chance he sticks around for a long time as an anchor along a Big Blue offensive line that sorely needs all the help it can get.

    Neal was dominant during his time at Alabama, going head-to-head with some of the top pass-rushers in the nation and winning most of his battles. He locked down top overall pick Travon Walker in their matchups and allowed a total of four sacks over the past two years.

    He’s almost certain to start in Year 1, manning the same right tackle spot that the Crimson Tide deployed him at as a junior in 2020. With Andrew Thomas on the left, the G-Men have an enviable set of bookends to build the offensive trenches around.

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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    B/R Rank: No. 51

    The Jets haven’t had much to get excited about when it comes to tight ends in recent years, but that should change thanks to the addition of Jeremy Ruckert.

    The Ohio State product was the top-rated tight end on the B/R Scouting Department’s board and had an early Day 2 grade but slid to the end of the third round before Gang Green stopped his fall.

    The 6’5″, 250-pounder is a good athlete with good hands and blocking abilities. He’s arguably the most well-rounded TE in this class and could become a big part of the Jets’ plans early in his career.

    While tight end us a notoriously tough position for college prospects to master as a pro, Ruckert has a unique advantage of being familiar with the system he’ll be asked to run in New York. 

    According to SI.com’s Connor Orr, Ruckert spent his time in Columbus doing many of the same things “down to some of the minute, arc-motion-style blocking” that the 49ers ask of their tight ends.

    Considering Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur spent four seasons developing that scheme as a passing game coordinator in San Francisco, Ruckert should have a leg up when it comes to learning the offense and provide a spark in Year 1.

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    Chris Carlson/Associated Press

    B/R Rank: No. 21

    The Eagles may have secured the top value pick in the draft with their pickup of Nakobe Dean in the third round.

    Dean was arguably the top off-ball linebacke this year but slipped to No. 83 overall due to concerns about his injury history and smaller stature.

    The linebacker decided to put off shoulder surgery and had some pectoral and knee issues show up during the pre-draft process, hurting his draft stock significantly.

    If he can stay healthy, Dean should be an absolute force in the NFL.

    With an 8.2 grade, Dean rated as the B/R Scouting Department’s top overall linebacker and ranked as the best blitzing and run-stopping linebacker in the class.

    He’s a bonafide playmaker with true sideline-to-sideline speed and the quickness and vision to find the ball in congested space. That ability to easily navigate messy areas allows him to make stops in the backfield and get after the quarterback.

    Philadelphia fans should be ecstatic about this high-value addition to the roster. Dean showed he was a world-class linebacker at Georgia and should continue along that trajectory during his time in the City of Brotherly Love.

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    Brett Duke/Associated Press

    B/R Rank: No. 34

    The Steelers draft was defined by their selection of Kenny Pickett in the first round. The team landed a potential franchise quarterback—the only signal-caller taken in the first two rounds—and set itself up for success in the post-Ben Roethlisberger era.

    A move that went slightly under the radar following the Pickett selection was the team’s acquisition of wideout George Pickens.

    Pittsburgh added the B/R Scouting Department’s No. 7-ranked wideout and the top remaining receiver after Day 1 towards the end of the second round, a great spot to land a player of Pickens’ caliber and pedigree.

    The Georgia star is a long 6’3″, 195-pound wideout who plays stronger than he appears. He has a massive catch radius and great hands to reel in anything thrown his way.

    Pickens can create separation with shiftiness and an improving ability to run routes. He’s a nightmare to bring down in the open field due to his elusiveness and should rack up plenty of YAC in the NFL.

    Though Pickens’ torn ACL last March cost the Bulldogs product a chance at coming off the board on Day 1, he should emerge as one of Pickett’s favorite targets early in his career and quickly become a fixture in the Pittsburgh offense.

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    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    B/R Rank: No. 185

    The 49ers have plenty of gifted players on their roster, and they added another one into the mix late in the 2022 draft. The team secured one of the most athletic defensive tackles in the class when it selected Kalia Davis in the sixth round.

    Davis uses his speed and quickness to his advantage, finding gaps and shooting through them rapidly to catch offensive linemen off guard and cause chaos in the backfield.

    He likely would have come off the board far earlier had he not suffered a season-ending ACL tear early in the 2021 campaign following an opt-out in 2020.

    With such little tape, franchises were understandably leery about using a mid-draft pick on the UCF product, but it’s still a bit of a surprise he didn’t come off the board until late on Day 3.

    San Francisco isn’t likely to regret this pick, as they scored one of the class’ more unique defensive talents who can come in as a change-of-pace rotational option on passing downs early in his career while bringing the rest of his game along.

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    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    B/R Rank: No. 63

    The Seahawks have become renowned for getting the most out of their defensive backs in the Pete Carroll era. While the “Legion of Boom” days are long gone, the team should still boast an improved secondary with the third-round addition of cornerback Coby Bryant.

    The Cincinnati star plied his talents opposite Sauce Gardner, forming one of the most devastating cornerback duos in college football. While Bryant isn’t as well-regarded of a prospect as his former teammate, he’s still a big corner (6’1″, 193 pounds) who moves well for his size and fights hard to lock his man down.

    Bryant doesn’t add much when it comes to run defense and needs to improve his tackling skills, but that shouldn’t stop him from getting on the field for the Seahawks.

    The 23-year-old has the skills to start immediately, excelling both off the line of scrimmage and in press coverage. Bryant will be in the mix for an outside corner role right out of the gate and adds a quality depth option at worst if he doesn’t win the job as a rookie.

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    Justin Casterline/Getty Images

    B/R Rank: No. 65

    The Buccaneers are one of the most complete teams in football, but they were notably missing a high-end third-down back.

    That issue was remedied with the third-round selection of Rachaad White, the best pass-catching back in the 2022 draft class.

    Although Leonard Fournette improved as a receiver last year—reeling in 69 receptions for 454 yards and two scores—the team didn’t have an ideal pass-catching option on the roster. The aging Giovani Bernard attempted to fill that role, but he caught just 23 passes, 123 yards and three touchdowns in 2021 and was a relative non-factor.

    White should carve out a huge role in Year 1 after landing in such an ideal situation. The Arizona State product is reminiscent of slightly less-talented and less-athletic Alvin Kamara, who can work as a wideout coming out of the backfield. 

    The 6’0″, 214-pound back caught 43 passes for 456 yards and a score last year while also rushing for 1,000 yards and 15 touchdowns on 182 totes.

    If White earns Tom Brady’s trust, the pairing should put up some big numbers.

    Brady has a long history of getting major mileage out of his pass-catching backs, using guys like Kevin Faulk, Shane Vereen and James White heavily during his tenure with the Patriots. White looks to be the next in an impressive line of pass-catching backs to get a boost working with the future Hall of Famer.

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    Justin Casterline/Getty Images

    B/R Rank: No. 48 overall

    The Titans didn’t have a huge need at quarterback thanks to the steady play of Ryan Tannehill, but the team couldn’t pass up the unique chance to secure the future of the position during the third round of the 2022 draft.

    It’s not often that one of the top quarterback prospects is still available late in Day 2, but Malik Willis suffered a major fall after some analysts predicted he could go as early as No. 2 to the Detroit Lions.

    The Liberty product is rife with upside and has a legitimate chance to be the next small-school quarterback to find success in the NFL. In a down year for the position, Willis stood out with a sky-high ceiling.

    He’s a fantastic athlete who moves quickly and can make things happen on both designed runs and broken plays. He’s got a powerful arm to push the ball downfield and plays with a competitive energy that drives his team.

    His mechanics still need some work, and his pocket presence and poise must improve, but there’s plenty to like about Willis, especially at the cost of a third-round pick. He’s in a situation where he can avoid getting thrust right into the fire, as Tannehill should remain the starter barring injury.

    Expectations for the Auburn transfer should now be much more reasonable, something that could help him succeed when he’s ready to take over as the Titans starting quarterback in a few years.

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    B/R Rank: No. 90

    The Commanders have been trying to find a franchise quarterback for years. They traded for Carson Wentz after their veteran options dried up but may have found some hope for the future thanks to their Day 3 selection of Sam Howell.

    Once a favorite to be the top overall pick in the 2022 draft following two sterling seasons to start his career at UNC, Howell nose-dived down big boards during a trying 2021 campaign.

    The 21-year-old only completed 62.5 percent of his passes for 3,056 yards and 24 touchdowns against nine interceptions while taking 48 sacks last year. It was a noticeable dip in production after he exploded for 68 passing scores and only threw 14 interceptions during his first two years as the Tar Heels’ starter.

    Granted, the lack of talent surrounding Howell hurt his draft stock. The signal-caller looked amazing with top-tier running back support from current NFL backs Javonte Williams and Michael Carter and had better receiving options in the form of Dazz Newsome and Dyami Brown early during his tenure in Chapel Hill.

    Still, Howell has the raw skill set to fight for the starting job in Washington. He’s the fifth-best quarterback in the class according to the B/R Scouting Department, which cited his build, running ability, arm strength and accuracy as reasons why he rated inside their top-100 overall.

    Given the Commanders only had to use the No. 144 pick to get a player who could eventually take over as their long-term starter, the risk versus reward represents a fantastic value.

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