NFL Draft Round 1 Pick Rankings 2023 | Best & Worst First-Round NFL Draft Picks

Posted: Apr 29, 2022Last updated: Apr 29, 2022

The first round of the 2022 NFL Draft has come and gone and it certainly was a wild one. We had several blockbuster trades, a few major reaches and some great values.

But who had the best and worst pick in Round 1? Here are our rankings of the best picks from Day 1 of the NFL Draft.

NFL Draft Round 1 Pick Rankings: Best To Worst

1. Los Angeles Chargers: Zion Johnson, OG, Boston College (Pick 17)

I love this fit for both the Chargers and Zion Johnson. After selecting Rashawn Slater last year, the Chargers go back to the offensive line and take the best guard prospect in the class. He can play either guard or center and boasts incredible athleticism.

He should be a Day 1 starter for the Chargers and will immediately help protect Justin Herbert.

Just two years ago, the Chargers had one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. But after the Slater and Johnson picks, this is quickly becoming one of the best and most athletic units in the league.

This is an A+ selection by the Chargers, who should take another step forward in 2022.

Chargers Futures Bet: OVER 10 Wins

2. Baltimore Ravens: Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa (Pick 25)

Linderbaum was the top center in the class and fell due to his lack of size. But he is a mauling run blocker who can get to the second level with ease. He is a perfect fit in Baltimore’s run-heavy offense and should be a 10-year starter for the Ravens.

3. Detroit Lions: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan (Pick 2)

It almost feels too good to be true. The best player in the draft fell to the Lions at No. 2 and they got to keep him in state. Hutchinson is an incredible fit with Detroit and is the type of leader the defense has been lacking over the last several years. Well done, Detroit.

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4. New York Giants: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama (Pick 7)

The Giants couldn’t have played the first round any better. They had to address their needs at defensive end and offensive tackle and did just that.

New York selected Kayvon Thibodeaux first at No. 5 with the hope that Neal would fall to them at No. 7. And that’s exactly what happened. Both players should be Day 1 starters and it wouldn’t be a shock if they both made the Pro Bowl by their third NFL season.

Neal can play guard in 2022 if needed before eventually kicking out to tackle. Thibodeaux is a perfect fit in Wink Martindale’s defense and has Khalil Mack potential. The Giants aren’t quite a playoff contender with these moves, but they are getting closer. This was an outstanding draft haul by new GM Joe Schoen.

5. New York Giants: Player Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon (Pick 5)

See above.

6. New York Jets: Jermaine Johnson II, EDGE, Florida State (Pick 26)

Just a few days before the NFL Draft, the rumor was that the Jets were considering taking Johnson at pick No. 4 or No. 10. They decided to go in a different direction with those picks and still grabbed Johnson late in the first round after trading back in.

While he’s not as dynamic of a pass rusher as Kayvon Thibodeaux or Aidan Hutchinson, Johnson has elite size, length, and athleticism. He projects as a really good run defender early in his career who could eventually become a double-digit sack player. Getting him late in the first round is an insane value for the Jets.

7. Cincinnati Bengals: Daxton Hill, S, Michigan (Pick 31)

It’s hard to find quality players at the end of Round 1, but the Bengals certainly did with Daxton Hill. Hill was incredibly productive at Michigan and has the position versatility to play safety or slot corner.

He’s also a fantastic athlete and should immediately find a starting role on Cincinnati’s defense. While I’m sure many people wanted the Bengals to keep investing in their offensive line, it’s tough to criticize them here with a player like Hill.

8. New York Jets: Ahmad “Sauce" Gardner, CB, Cincinnati (Pick 4)

The Jets had a major need at cornerback and Gardner was the best defensive back in the class. He has incredible size, length, and production coming out of the AAC. Plus, he is the type of leader the Jets have been lacking on their defense. This pick was a home run for New York.

9. Carolina Panthers: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, North Carolina State (Pick 6)

The Panthers didn’t panic and draft a quarterback, which is a relief. Instead, they selected arguably the best offensive lineman in the class who should be a Day 1 starter in Carolina.

10. Seattle Seahawks: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State (Pick 9)

Like Carolina, Seattle didn’t panic in Round 1 and select a quarterback. The Seahawks stayed true to their board and took a great offensive line prospect in Charles Cross. He’s got amazing feet and just doesn’t lose in pass protection. You could easily rank this one much higher as it’s a perfect blend of need and fit for Seattle.

11. New Orleans Saints: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State (Pick 11)

I don’t love how much the Saints paid to get this pick, but I understand why they did it. They had the slowest offense in the NFL last season and Olave can fix that.

He’s a perfect fit with Michael Thomas as he can stretch the field with his speed. Plus, he is one of the best route-runners in the class. He should put up monster numbers right away in New Orleans.

Saints Futures Bet: OVER 7.5 Wins

12. New York Jets: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State (Pick 10)

I love the fit of Garrett Wilson teaming up with Elijah Moore. Both players are extremely quick and are dynamic with the ball in their hands. We’ll see how they both mesh with Zach Wilson, but the Jets getting Wilson at No. 10 is a good value pick.

13. Baltimore Ravens: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame (Pick 14)

I wasn’t as high as most on Hamilton as a prospect, as I thought his success would be very dependent on his landing spot, but he couldn’t have landed with a better team than the Ravens. Baltimore already has one of the best free safeties in the NFL in Marcus Williams and that will allow Hamilton to play closer to the line of scrimmage. Don’t be surprised if he plays a linebacker role for Baltimore next year and racks up close to 100 tackles.

14. Houston Texans: Derek Stingley, CB, LSU (Pick 3)

I know there are some concerns about Stingley’s fit in Lovie Smith‘s defense, but this is a long-term play for Houston. Stingley is one of the better cornerback prospects to enter the NFL in the last decade and he is certainly worthy of the No. 3 selection. If he can play like he did in 2019, Stingley could be the best player from this draft class by a mile.

15. New Orleans Saints: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa (Pick 19)

The Saints had a major need at left tackle after Terron Armstead left in free agency, but they did not panic as they let the board fall to them. Penning is an outstanding value at No. 19 and should immediately give Jameis Winston a blindside protector.

16. Tennessee Titans: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas (Pick 18)

Burks was one of the most difficult players in the draft to figure out as he needed to go to a team that would know how to use him. He was often compared to A.J. Brown during the draft process and he’ll now be replacing him. I don’t love the idea of trading away Brown, but Burks will be productive in Tennessee’s offense right away.

17. Philadelphia Eagles: Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia (Pick 13)

The Eagles made a slight trade up for Davis and I get it. He’s just too rare of a player to pass on. I do have some concerns about his fit in the defense, but he should be a dominant run defender right away. And with how much depth Philadelphia has on the defensive line, this could work out well for the Eagles.

18. Detroit Lions: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama (Pick 12)

When the Lions traded up from No. 32 to No. 12, I thought it was for a quarterback. Instead, it was for the fastest receiver in the class.

While the Lions don’t have a quarterback on the roster (yet) who can take advantage of Williams’ deep speed, this is a long-term play by Detroit. He’ll be completely healthy by the end of the 2022 season and should be ready to be their No. 1 receiver in 2023.

Jameson Williams, WR, Detroit Lions

The Lions gave up a lot to trade back into the first round and select Jameson Williams, but the Alabama product could turn out to be the best WR in this year’s class. (Image: USA TODAY Sports)

19. Buffalo Bills: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida (Pick 23)

Cornerback was a major need spot for the Bills going into the draft and they got a really good player in Kaiir Elam. He’s got good length, which will pair well with Tre’Davious White in the future.

This pick might have been a slight reach since the Bills had to trade up to get him, but he fills a need and has several years of quality production in the SEC. You can’t complain too much about this one.

20. Jacksonville Jaguars: Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia (Pick 1)

I didn’t hate the Walker pick as much as most at No. 1, but it was still a reach. It’s a major projection and the Jaguars are banking on upside. I hope they are right, but we will see. Aidan Hutchinson seemed like the much safer option at No. 1.

21. Houston Texans: Kenyon Green, OG, Texas A&M (Pick 15)

There were rumblings leading up to the draft that the Texans were going to select Green at No. 13. I truly believed that was going to be the case until they traded down a few spots, picked up more draft capital, and then selected him at No. 15.

Green is a plug-and-play starter who can play four different positions across the offensive line. Taking a guard in the top 15 usually isn’t smart, but this certainly isn’t a bad pick by Houston. Green should be a solid starter right away.

22. Minnesota Vikings: Lewis Cine, SS, Georgia (Pick 32)

The trade from No. 12 down to No. 32 wasn’t a good one for Minnesota, but I do like the player they picked in Round 1. Lewis Cine is an incredible athlete who doesn’t miss many tackles. He’s not amazing in coverage, but that’s not where he’ll be used most often. Cine and Harrison Smith should be quite the safety pairing in Minnesota.

23. Kansas City Chiefs: George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue (Pick 30)

Karlaftis was viewed as a top-10 pick early in the process but that was never the case. He was always more of a second-round talent, who ended up getting picked late in the first round. He’s a good player that should help Kansas City’s run defense right away, but I have questions about what kind of pass rusher he could be in the NFL.

24. Kansas City Chiefs: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington (Pick 21)

The Chiefs traded up to select McDuffie, which seemed unnecessary. But he does fit their defense and should be a Day 1 starter. He just doesn’t have a super high ceiling and I think he could have fallen to the Chiefs at No. 29. This feels like a slight reach for Kansas City.

25. Pittsburgh Steelers: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh (Pick 20)

Pickett is a fine quarterback, but I don’t love his fit with the Steelers. He has a very average arm and his pocket awareness isn’t great. He’ll likely turn into a fine starter for the Steelers, but they probably could have traded down much further in the draft and still landed him.

Steelers Futures Bet: UNDER 7.5 Wins

26. Jacksonville Jaguars: Devin Lloyd, LB, Washington (Pick 27)

If you are a rebuilding team, you should be drafting players who can provide incredible value at the most important position. Linebacker doesn’t fit that criteria in today’s NFL and Lloyd is a strange pick here. I’m not sure why Jacksonville felt the need to trade up for a 24-year old linebacker with some medical issues, but here we are.

27. Washington Commanders: Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State (Pick 16)

I didn’t love Dotson as much as most people and thought he should have been an early second-round pick. Taking him at No. 16 ahead of Treylon Burks doesn’t make a lot of sense. He is pretty small and Washington needed more size at receiver to pair with Terry McLaurin. Dotson is a fine player, but this felt about 16-30 spots too early.

28. Green Bay Packers: Quay Walker, LB, Georgia (Pick 22)

It’s not hard to see why the Packers loved Walker as there are only so many guys his size that run the 40 in the low 4.5s. Still, he is an off-the-ball linebacker who needs a lot of work. He played behind the best defensive line in the country and wasn’t even the best linebacker on his team. I have no doubts Walker will be a good player in the NFL, but this seems a bit rich.

29. Green Bay Packers: Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia (Pick 28)

Once again, the Packers ignored their need at wide receiver to prioritize defense. While I don’t hate that strategy in itself, I don’t understand the Wyatt selection here. He’s an older prospect who has some serious character concerns. Plus, he wasn’t very productive on Georgia’s defense last season. There is a chance he becomes a good player, but it feels pretty risky.

30. Dallas Cowboys: Tyler Smith, OG, Tulsa (Pick 24)

Sigh. The Cowboys got wiped out as two interior offensive linemen were taken off the board in the top 20 and all of their other targets (Jordan Davis, Chris Olave, Trevor Penning) went much higher than they anticipated. So they reached for an offensive lineman who had 12 holding penalties last year. Not great.

31. Atlanta Falcons: Drake London, WR, USC (Pick 8)

I didn’t mind the Falcons drafting a wide receiver at No. 8, but I thought they should have gone with someone with more speed. Atlanta already has a big-bodied weapon in Kyle Pitts and really lacked speed on the outside last season. It’s not a terrible pick, but it’s one that seems like a bit of a reach for a player with some major red flags, including his long speed.

32. New England Patriots: Cole Strange, OG, Chattanooga (Pick 29)

This one is shocking. Strange isn’t a bad player, but most teams across the NFL viewed him as a third or fourth-round pick. Picking him at No. 29 just doesn’t make a lot of sense as there were far better players still on the board for New England.


Marcus Mosher

Marcus Mosher is an NFL analyst at The Game Day, residing in Erie, PA. He covers the NFL from a betting and fantasy perspective, producing written and video content. Marcus currently hosts multiple football-related podcasts and is a managing editor at USA Today’s Sports Media Group covering the Las Vegas Raiders. He has previously worked at The Athletic and Bleacher Report.

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