2022 NFL Draft First-Round winners and losers

Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The 2022 NFL Draft first round was an odd one. Trades, trades and more trades made Thursday night one of the most perplexing opening sessions. In the end, despite, or perhaps because of all the unexpected changes, there were many winners. Although rating the success of an NFL Draft takes a season or two of player and team performance, the college and NFL football worlds had both winners and losers in Las Vegas.

For Alabama football fans having Evan Neal and Jameson Williams, both selected in the Draft’s first 12 picks was satisfying. Neal was chosen at No. 7 by the New York Giants. Jameson Williams was the No. 12 pick to the Detroit Lions.

The stars of the college football world on Thursday night were the five Georgia Bulldogs’ defenders taken in the first round. Six other SEC programs also had players chosen in the first round. In addition to the five from Georgia and two from Alabama, LSU, Mississippi State, Arkansas, Florida and Texas A&M were represented with one player each.

The other 20 players drafted Thursday night were distributed disproportionately among other conferences. The Big Ten had seven players selected. The ACC and the Pac 12 had four each. The AAC had two players selected. Rounding out the 32 were one player from Notre Dame and two from FCS programs.

The big NFL team winners were the two New York teams. Both the Jets and the Giants made multiple game-changing additions. Along with gaining Evan Neal, the Giants got dynamic edge rusher, Kayvon Thibodeaux at No. 5. The Jets added Sauce Gardner from the Cincinnati Bearcats, Garret Wilson from Ohio State and Jermaine Johnson from FSU.

2022 NFL Draft Losers

  • The Big 12 had no players picked in the first round.
  • Except for Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett, who went to the Steelers at No. 20, no other QB was selected.
  • In a common move for Bill Belichick, the New England coach traded down from No. 21 to No. 29. The player the Pats added was FCS Chattanooga, offensive guard, Cole Strange. With Belichick’s history of Draft success, adding Strange might prove to be a big win – or maybe he seriously miscalculated this time.
  • Based on social media responses, fans of the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys were dismayed by their respective first-round additions.

A complete list of the players chosen in the 2022 First Round is linked here.

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The NFL Draft is always about more than elite college football players. Indicative of that is how formerly, lower-rated college recruits did in round one. Per Chris Hummer, eight former 3-Stars, one former 2-Star, and two unrated recruits became first-rounders.