How does one grade how all 32 teams did in the NFL draft just after that NFL draft is finished? Although the returns from the 262 picks in 2022 won’t be known for a while, there’s still room for immediate evaluation.
There are three ways to figure out how to rank the teams in relation to each other post draft. First, consider what level of talent was acquired by a team over seven rounds. Second, think about whether a team was aware of whether it was a rebuilder or contender and drafted and traded accordingly. Third, it also is critical for a team to address as many short- or long-term roster needs as possible.
From Thursday through Saturday, based on both quality and quantity, The Sporting News hands out all the grades from top of the class to those who barely passed:
NFL Draft grades 2022: Ranking the best & worst classes
1. Baltimore Ravens
Draft picks: S Kyle Hamilton, C Tyler Linderbaum, EDGE David Ojabo, DT Travis Jones, OT Daniel Faalele, CB Jalyn Armour-Davis, TE Charlie Kolar, P Jordan Stout, TE Isaiah Likely, CB Damarion Williams, RB Tyler Badie
The Ravens had only first-round pick to start but ended up with three studs, with Hamitlon and Linderbaum set to have immediate starting impact and Ojabo set up to play off Odafe Oweh well. Jones and Faalele were ideal picks for both fronts. They also managed to add strong depth behind Mark Andrews and a replacement for fading Sam Koch. GM Eric DeCosta built up the volume well to address many positions and made a shrewd move in dealing wide receiver Marquise Brown. They even got some fresh injury contingency for J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards.
2. New York Jets
Draft picks: CB Sauce Gardner, WR Garrett Wilson, EDGE Jermaine Johnson, RB Breece Hall, TE Jeremy Ruckert, OT Max Mitchell, EDGE Micheal Clemons
The Jets could have destroyed this draft with GM Joe Douglas and coach Robert Saleh just based on the fact they somehow got three top-10 overall players in the first round, all three fitting big needs for alpha playmakers at corner, wideout and pass rusher. Ruckert was their worst pick based on their roster and he still is a strong talent. They were smart to add a developmental right tackle in Mitchell and get additional sack potential in Clemons. With Wilson further upgrading the passing game for Zach Wilson, Hall can have the same complementary explosive impact with Michael Carter.
3. Philadelphia Eagles
Draft picks: DT Jordan Davis, C/G Cam Jurgens, LB Nakobe Dean, LB Kyron Johnson, TE Grant Calcaterra
The Eagles get bonus points for Howie Roseman pulling off the trade for young A.J. Brown to help Jalen Hurts stretch the field and provide a big-play complement to sound all-around 2021 first-rounder DeVonta Smith. Philadelphia converted its first-round volume into immense immediate impact with the Georgia picks Davis and Dean to get much stronger up the middle defensively. Jurgens was a mild reach, but he can end up starting somewhere inside soon. Calcaterra is a good stash for help in 12 personnel with Dallas Goedert.
4. Kansas City Chiefs
Draft picks: CB Trent McDuffie, EDGE George Karlaftis, WR Skyy Moore, S Bryan Cook, LB Leo Chenal, CB Joshua Williams, OT/G Darian Kinnard, CB Jaylen Watson, RB Isiah Pacheco, CB Nazeen Johnson
The Chiefs were very methodical in addressing their needs and getting great value everywhere starting with their two first-rounders, McDuffie and Karlaftis to boost the pass defense. Moore was the perfect pick to help replace the big-play punch of Tyreek Hill for Patrick Mahomes. Cook and Chenal are strong situational players and watch out for Kinnard being a steal for right tackle. Brett Veach and Andy Reid had confidence they could make the necessary tweaks and delivered again.
5. Green Bay Packers
Draft picks: LB Quay Walker, DT/DE Devonte Wyatt, WR Christian Watson, G/OT Sean Rhyan, WR Romeo Doubs, C/G Zach Tom, EDGE Kingsley Enagbare, LB Tariq Carpenter, DT Jonathan Ford, OT Rasheed Walker, WR Samori Toure
Brian Gutekunst and the Packers reached a little to start with Walker, but he did fill a key defensive need and backing him up with fellow Georgia product Wyatt up front made it better. Then came the great trade up to get Watson, a potential outside replacement No. 1 for Davante Adams. Doubs added more big-play upside for Aaron Rodgers later. Rhyan and Tom satisfied another need for interior upgrades between David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins. Enagbare was a late steal as a complementary pass rusher.
6. Dallas Cowboys
Draft picks: G Tyler Smith, EDGE Sam Williams, WR Jalen Tolbert, TE Jake Ferguson, OT Matt Waletzko, LB Damone Clark, DT John Ridgeway, LB Devin Harper
The Cowboys went down the line well with Jerry Jones to get their most pressing needs, starting with interior run blocking in Smith and outside pass rushing in Williams. Tolbert is a good new third wideout in the making for Dak Precott post-Amari Cooper and Ferguson is a solid blocking complement to Dalton Schultz. Dallas recognized the need to reload fast and stayed the course with its board. Clark, a playmaking star at LSU, and Ridgeway, out of Jones’ alma mater Arkansas, can pan out as late-round front-seven steals from the SEC.
7. Pittsburgh Steelers
Draft picks: QB Kenny Pickett, WR George Pickens, DT/DE DeMarvin Leal, WR Calvin Austin III, TE/FB Connor Heyward, LB Mark Robinson, QB Chris Oladokun
GM Kevin Colbert had a clear mission in his last draft before stepping down: Make the Steelers’ offense complete and downright dangerous downfield in the passing game again in the wake of Ben Roethlisberger’s retirement. Pickett was convenient in-town first-rounder with his deep-ball accuracy and athleticism ideal for Matt Canada. Pickens’ outside speed and Austin’s inside quickness raise the big-play quotient beyond Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool, building on getting Najee Harris and Pat Freiermuth. In between, Leal was a disruptive defensive get for their three-man front. The only question is whether Pickett will be the right choice vs. Malik Willis and others in the long run.
8. Minnesota Vikings
Draft picks: S Lewis Cine, CB Andrew Booth Jr., G Ed Ingram, LB Brian Asamoah, CB Akayleb Evans, EDGE Esezi Otemewo, RB Ty Chandler, OT Vederian Lowe, WR Jaien Nailor, TE Nick Muse
The Vikings do get knocked a little for making multiple intradivision trades to help the Packers and Lions, but otherwise GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah had a good first draft to help his fellow rookie, coach Kevin O’Connell. Cine and Booth are great complementary players to their secondary and can learn well from Harrison Smith and Patrick Peterson. They threw it back to load up on welcome revamped defensive depth at every level. Ingram also has a good chance to start somewhere inside for the offense. Chandler, Nailor and Muse are good bottom-roster offensive skill adds.
9. Seattle Seahawks
Draft picks: OT Charles Cross, EDGE Boye Mafe, RB Kenneth Walker III, OT Abraham Lucas, CB Coby Bryant, CB Tariq Woolen, EDGE Tyreke Smith, WR Bo Melton, WR Dareke Young
Credit the Seahawks for knowing their identity well with Pete Carroll and John Schneider and drafting accordingly. Cross and Lucas can form bookend run-blocking rocks for Wallker, whose three-down workhorse potential can help clean up the durability issues with Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny.. Mafe and Smith are Carroll’s type of high-energy explosive pass rushers. The picks they made were sound; the one big question is whether they whiffed by not tapping into QB post-Russell Wilson and being OK rolling with Drew Lock without competition.
10. Tennessee Titans
Draft picks: WR Treylon Burks, CB Roger McCreary, OT Nicholas Petit-Frere, QB Malik Willis, RB Hassan Haskins, TE Chigoziem Okonkwo, WR Kyle Phillips, CB Theo Jackson, LB Chance Campbell
The Titans’ draft seemed headed in forced direction after trading A.J. Brown and hoping the falling Burks, with a similar skill set, can turn into the same kind of strong wide receiver. But then Jon Robinson and Mike Vrabel went back to the “draft coming to them” and landing values at positions of need. McCreary and Petit-Frere started that, but the stashing of Willis behind fading Ryan Tannehill stamped that. Haskins was the ideal power backup to better relieve Derrick Henry. Okonkwo has the potential to emerge as their new Jonnu Smith, too.
11. Houston Texans
Draft picks: CB Derek Stingley Jr., G Kenyon Green, CB/S Jalen Pitre, WR John Metchie III, LB Christian Harris, RB Dameon Pierce, DT Thomas Booker, TE Teagan Quitoriano, OT Austin Deculus
The Texans nailed their first five picks, even if the players in some cases (starting with Stingley and Green) may not have been the true best available at their positions. Interior blocking and more big-play receivers were addressed offense, as was front-seven cleanup on defense. The only question marks for Nick Caserio were not tapping into offensive tackle earlier and edge rusher at all.
12. Los Angeles Chargers
Draft picks: G/OT Zion Johnson, S JT Woods, RB Isaiah Spiller, DT Otito Ogbonnia, OT Jamaree Salyer, CB Ja’Sir Taylor, CB Deane Leonard, FB Zander Horvath
The Chargers mostly recognized they needed to pick to contend now with Justin Herbert, and getting Johnson to boost the interior offenisve line and Spiller to better complement Ausin Ekeler was huge. Ogbonnia filled a positional need and Salyer might end up solving right tackle, too. They didn’t need to do much to tweak in the draft after keeping Mike Williams and adding both J.C. Jackson and Khalil Mack in free agency.
13. Atlanta Falcons
Draft picks: WR Drake London, EDGE Arnold Ebiketie, LB Troy Andersen, QB Desmond Ridder, EDGE DeAngelo Malone, RB Tyler Allgeier, G Justin Shaffer, TE John FitzPatrick
There’s no doubt GM Terry Fontenot addressed all the team’s glaring needs, going down the line with wide receiver, pass rusher and an active tackling replacement for Foyesade Oluokun. The bonus was still getting a borderline first-round passing prospect to groom well behind Marcus Mariota, to whom Ridder has similar athletic and intangible traits. Allgeier was a much-needed power back, too. The drop from a “A” is tied to London being such a potential bust vs. the true top three wideouts in the class.
14. Indianapolis Colts
Draft picks: WR Alec Pierce, TE Jelani Woods, OT Bernhard Raimann, S Nick Cross, DT Eric Johnson, TE Andrew Ogletree, DT Curtis Brooks, CB/S Rodney Thomas
Chris Ballard and the Colts were effective in addressing needs without a first-rounder. Offensive-minded Frank Reich should enjoy having a complementary big-play wideout to Michael Pittman Jr. in Pierce and replenishing the tight end depth. Cross can also start right away next to newcomer Rodney McLeod. The key to this class is whether Raimann can emerge quickly as their starting left tackle to replace fellow Central Michigan product Eric Fisher.
15. Carolina Panthers
Draft picks: OT Ickey Ekwonu, QB Matt Corral, LB Brandon Smith, EDGE Amare Barno, G Cade Mays, CB Kalon Barnes
The Panthers did well to address their primary needs with GM Scott Fitterer, being able to land Ekwonu to shore up offensive tackle and also get a rookie QB with arm/athleticism upside to push Sam Darnold. Mays is a sneaky developmental player who can start in time. Now the team also doesn’t need to fore a trade for another veteran QB.
16. Denver Broncos
Draft picks: EDGE Nik Bonitto, TE Greg Dulcich, CB Damarri Mathis, DT Eyioma Uwazurike, S Delarrin Turner-Yell, WR Montrell Washington, C Luke Wattenberg, DT Matt Henningsen, CB Faion Hicks
The Broncos already made their splash in the offseason by using draft capital to acquire Russell Wilson. GM George Paton still made the most of entering in the second round, getting the ideal second-level complement to Bradley Chubb in Bonitto and a replacement for Noah Fant in the super-athletic Dulcich. Denver also added good defensive depth later.
17. Las Vegas Raiders
Draft picks: G Dylan Parham, RB Zamir White, DT/DE Neil Farrell, DT Matthew Butler, OT Thayer Munford Jr., RB Brittain Brown
The Raiders went to work late after giving up their first- and second-round picks for Davante Adams. They got the ideal run blocker inside in Parham and White can be more of Josh McDaniels’ type of running back. Throw in Farrell and they did right by their board for new GM Dave Ziegler.
18. New Orleans Saints
Draft picks: WR Chris Olave, OT Trevor Penning, CB Alontae Taylor, LB D’Marco Johnson, DT Jordan Jackson
Olave and Penning were great picks to help upgrade the downfield passing offense for Jameis Winston in the first post-Sean Payton season. Mickey Loomis also gave Payton’s defensive-minded successor Dennis Allen some good depth pieces. The “only” above-average grade reflects trading quantity for early quality and limited punch afterward.
19. Buffalo Bills
Draft picks: CB Kaiir Elam, RB James Cook, LB Terrel Bernard, WR Khalil Shakir, P Matt Araiza, CB Christian Benford, OT Luke Tenuta, LB Baylon Spector
Brandon Beane and the Bills filled their need for a big No. 2 cornerback pretty well with Elam, although Trent McDuffie or Andrew Booth Jr. would have been more ideal. After talking about taking a running back hire, Cook was a fine get as a complementary speed-quickness receiving type. Shakir and Araiza rounded things by catching falling stars for wide receiver depth and a major punting upgrade.
20. Detroit Lions
Draft picks: EDGE Aidan Hutchison, WR Jameson Williams, EDGE Josh Paschal, S Kerby Joseph, TE James Mitchell, LB Malcolm Rodriguez, EDGE James Houston, CB Chase Lucas
The Lions’ draft is stamped by landing Hutchinson, the best player, for the pass rush at No. 2 and then a wise trade up to grab Williams as key extra big playmaker for the passing game. The rest of the haul isn’t that bad, but there’s definitely a knock for not thinking about quarterback and taking corner depth only very late.
21. Cleveland Browns
Draft picks: CB Martin Emerson, EDGE Alex Wright, WR David Bell, DT Perrion Winfrey, K Cade York, RB Jerome Ford, WR Mike Woods, EDGE Isiah Thomas, C Dawson Deaton
The Browns used their early draft capital to get Deshaun Watson and didn’t get more by choosing not to deal Baker Mayfield during. Emerson and Wright were shaky initial depth picks, but Bell and Winfrey were incredible need values for Andrew Berry. They also copycatted the Bengals and solved their big kicker issue with York. It’s a true middle-class haul.
22. New York Giants
Draft picks: EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux, OT Evan Neal, WR Wan’Dale Robinson, G Joshua Ezeudu, CB Cordale Flott, TE Daniel Bellinger, S Dane Belton, LB Micah McFadden, DT DJ Davidson, G Marcus McKethan, LB Darrian Beavers
It would have been difficult for new GM Joe Schoen to botch such high first-rounders given the talent aligning for the offensive and defensive needs of Brian Daboll and Wink Martindale in new schemes. Although acing Thibodeaux and Neal carries good weight, Robinson, Ezeudu, Flott and Bellinger were reaches at other positional targets before ending with some decent values in Belton and Beavers.
23. Cincinnati Bengals
Draft picks: S Daxton Hill, CB Cam Taylor-Britt, DT/DE Zach Carter, G Cordell Volson, S Tycen Anderson, EDGE Jeffery Gunter
The Bengals smashed last year’s draft with Duke Tobin and they didn’t have any glaring pressing needs after some good offensive line moves in free agency. Although it was a bit curious to start with a good all-around safety in Hill given that’s a positional strength, they are thinking about future contract. Taylor-Britt can have more immediate secondary impact and Cincinnati went to work well on depth.
24. Chicago Bears
Draft picks: CB Kyler Gordon, S Jaquan Brisker, WR Velus Jones Jr., OT Braxton Jones, EDGE Dominique Robinson, G Zach Thomas, RB Trestan Ebner, C Doug Kramer, G Ja’Tyre Carter, CB Elijah Hicks
The first draft for GM Ryan Poles and defensive-minded Matt Eberflus was a mixed bag. Not surprisingly, defense was strong overall with Gordon, Brisker and Robinson providing good impact for the pass defense without a first-rounder. The Bears, however, struggled to get Justin Fields the right much-needed offensive skill position help as Jones was a major speed-based reach. On the brighter side, Jones has potential to start at right tackle.
25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Draft picks: DT/DE Logan Hall, G/OT Luke Goedeke, RB Rachaad White, TE Cade Otton, P Jake Camarda, CB Zyon McCollum, TE Ko Kieft, LB Andre Anthony
The Buccaneers did a pretty good job addressing needs, getting Hall, Goedeke and Otton to help replace Ndamukong Suh, retiring Ali Marpet and maybe Rob Gronkowski, too. McCollum was a good depth pick later. There was just limited room for draft impact for Jason Licht after trading out of the first round for a little extra volume.
26. Jacksonville Jaguars
Draft picks: DT/DE Travon Walker, LB Devin Lloyd, LB Chad Muma, C Luke Fortner, RB Snoop Conner, CB Gregory Junior
Trent Baalke and Doug Pederson are counting on the run-stuffing and explosive pass-rushing of Walker to prove them right in passing on Aidan Hutchinson. It also was strange for them to trade up to get Lloyd but also take Muma right after him. They also reached a bit desperate to replace retiring Brandon Linder on their offensive line. Their Day 3 picks ere a bit random, too. The Jaguars also failed in getting needed young wide receiver help for Trevor Lawrence in Year 2. The shrinking volume from 12 picks is also questionable.
27. Arizona Cardinals
Draft picks: TE Trey McBride, DE Cameron Thomas, EDGE Myjai Sanders, RB Keaontay Ingram, G Lecitus Smith, CB/S Christian Matthew, LB Jesse Luketa, G Marquis Hayes
The Cardinals and GM Steve Keim set a questionable tone for the draft by giving up a first-rounder for Marquise Brown to appease Kyler Murray. McBride was the best tight end on the board, but it wasn’t a need with Zach Ertz and Maxx Williams back in the mix. They did well working on their front seven needs with the upside of Thomas and Sanders, but should have looked more at linebacker before Luketa late. Ingram and the rest of the Day 3 picks were OK but not close to shrewd in terms of finding value. The Cardinals would have been better off tapping into a strong wideout class later than getting Brown.
28. Miami Dolphins
Draft picks: LB Channing Tindall, WR Erik Ezukanma, EDGE Cameron Goode, QB Skylar Thompson
The Dolphins were handcuffed into a quiet draft for GM Chris Grier and new coach Mike McDaniel given they gave up a total of five significant picks this year and the next for Tyreek Hill. Tindall did fill a need well to try to upgrade linebacker but there isn’t anything else to see here with a developmental pass rusher and passer late.
29. San Francisco 49ers
Draft picks: EDGE Drake Jackson, RB Ty Davis-Price, WR Danny Gray, G Spencer Burford, CB Samuel Womack, OT Nick Zakelj, DT Kalia Davis, CB Tariq Castro-Fields, QB Brock Purdy
The 49ers made a great first pick to fit their complementary pass-rushing needs away from Nick Bosa with Jackson in the second round. But this overall was rough for Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch without a first-rounder. Burford and Castro-Fields were good later picks to address needs, but reaching for Davis-Price and Gray was too offensively cute for Shanahan. As contenders who just made the NFC title game again, running back and wideout were not real concerns with Elijah Mitchell leading a run-first attack. At least San Francisco didn’t trade Deebo Samuel, but it also couldn’t trade Jimmy Garoppolo. Purdy was a fitting Mr. Irrelevant to add to the quarterback questions.
30. Los Angeles Rams
Draft picks: G Logan Bruss, CB Decobie Durant, RB Kyren Williams, S Quentin Lake, CB Darion Kendrick, DE Daniel Hardy, S Russ Yeast, OT A.J. Arcuri
The Rams went into the draft with the shrug emoji with no picks in the top 100. They got Bruss right away to fill an immediate need, but that was a reach with Cole Strange long gone. After that, Kendrick was by far their next best pick to fill a need as mid third-round talent. Then again, Sean McVay and Les Snead have proved they don’t need much from the draft for their team to remain a contender and take a shot at another Super Bowl with their veteran core.
31. Washington Commanders
Draft picks: WR Jahan Dotson, DT Phidarian Mathis, RB Brian Robinson, S Percy Butler, QB Sam Howell, TE Cole Turner, G Chris Paul, CB Christian Holmes
One word sums up the Commanders’ draft under Martin Mayhew, Ron Rivera and Scott Turner: “weird”. First instead of staying put for ideal wideout Chris Olave, they traded down and reached a little for Dotson’s big-play speed. They like Alabama players, but Mathis is a pure depth guy and Robinson was an unnecessary luxury power back pick behind Antonio Gibson. The rest of the late haul was meh, including a forced reach for the falling and limited Howell as a pseudo contingency for Carson Wentz.
32. New England Patriots
Draft picks: G Cole Strange, WR Tyquan Thornton, CB/S Marcus Jones, CB Jack Jones, RB Pierre Strong, QB Bailey Zappe, RB Kevin Harris, DT Sam Roberts, C Chasen Hines, OT Andrew Stueber
The Patriots started by reaching for Strange’s third-round value in the first round and being too speed-enamored with Thornton. That came at the cost of no desperately needed top corner early. Marcus Jones was more their type of their versatile defensive pick for Bill Belichick. There also was logical in taking Zappe to develop their next ideal backup QB. But taking two running backs is very odd, as well as taking more offensive linemen vs. addressing their massive need at linebacker at least once.