The 2022 NFL Draft is in the books. From the first pick to Mr. Irrelevant, 262 players heard their names called. That’s not even counting the countless undrafted free agents who will have an opportunity to secure a roster spot.
Now that the NFL contingent has packed its bags and left Las Vegas, it’s time to assess how the draft will impact the upcoming NFL Betting season.
How Draft Will Shape the 2022 Season | NFL Betting
More Dynamic Wide Receivers Than Ever
It’s no secret the NFL has transitioned into more of a pass-friendly league in recent years. As a result, Sundays are chalked full of elite wide receivers like Davante Adams, Cooper Kupp, and Tyreek Hill. Even youngsters like Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson are already leaving their mark as WR1s despite limited professional tenures.
After the ‘22 draft, you can expect several more wideouts to become immediate stars.
Four wide receivers were selected within the first 12 picks, headlined by USC’s Drake London, who went eighth to the Atlanta Falcons. Ohio State stars Garrett Wilson (10th, New York Jets) and Chris Olave (11th, New Orleans Saints) went back-to-back before the Detroit Lions traded up 20 spots to land Alabama’s Jameson Williams 12th overall.
Penn State’s Jahan Dotson (16th, Washington Commanders) and Arkansas’ Treylon Burks (18th, Tennessee Titans) also went in Round 1, making it six wideouts within the top-18 picks.
This year’s loaded WR class should produce a few early standouts. And that’s not even getting to the Day 2 and 3 picks who can also develop into stars.
Pass Rush is Priority Number One on Defense
In a league where more and more elite quarterbacks are rising through the ranks, defenses are searching for ways to contain them. But as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Rams proved over the last two years, a great pass rush can significantly modify any offensive game plan.
It’s no surprise that edge rushers were in high demand in the first round. One year after picking QB Trevor Lawrence, the Jacksonville Jaguars used their second-straight No. 1 pick on Georgia EDGE Travon Walker, an athletic freak from the reigning college champs. Next, the Detroit Lions landed Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson to revamp their defensive line.
Then, the New York Giants used the No. 5 pick on Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux, hoping he’ll become the franchise’s next great pass rusher. The New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs also added potential Week 1 starters in Florida State’s Jermaine Johnson II (26th overall) and Purdue’s George Karlaftis (30th overall).
Teams like the Lions and Giants proved that even if you don’t have a great QB, the next-best thing is an elite pass rush that makes life difficult for opposing signal-callers.
Don’t Expect the Emergence of a Star Rookie QB
More often than not, quarterbacks dominate the start of a new draft. 2021 produced five first-round QBs, headlined by Lawrence and the Jets’ Zach Wilson. Joe Burrow took the Cincinnati Bengals to a Super Bowl less than two years after being the first pick in 2020, a draft that also produced Justin Herbert of the Los Angeles Chargers.
The modern NFL allows young quarterbacks to flourish from the get-go. However, it would be surprising to see any 2022 prospect emerge this fall.
Kenny Pickett was the only first-round QB, going 20th to the Pittsburgh Steelers following a standout year at Pitt. The next quarterback, Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder, went 54 spots later to the Atlanta Falcons. Twelve picks after that, Liberty’s Malik Willis was finally off the board after being selected by the Tennessee Titans.
While any of those three QBs could eventually become a high-caliber starter behind center, there’s a good chance none enter their rookie years first on the depth chart. Pickett and Ridder stand the best chance to supplant starters Mitchell Trubisky and Marcus Mariota, but it likely won’t happen from the jump.
If there is a quarterback who emerges in 2022, it’s more than likely going to be one with at least a year of NFL experience under their belt.