The 2022 NFL Draft is in the books. All 262 selections have been made, and teams are off to the races signing undrafted free agents. Just as we did on Day 1 and Day 2, we're here to break down the winners and losers of Day Three, yet another wild one in the NFL.
Winner: Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore got terrific value on Days 1 and 2, snapping up Kyle Hamilton at No. 14 overall, Tyler Linderbaum at No. 25, David Ojabo at No. 45, and Travis Jones at 76. The Ravens continued crushing it on Saturday as they landed monster-sized tackle Daniel Faalele at No. 110, cornerback Jalyn Armour-Davis at No. 119, tight ends Charlie Kolar and Isaiah Likely at Nos. 128 and 139, and running back Tyler Badie at No. 196. The Ravens continue to know exactly what kind of team they are, and continue to crush the draft by being willing to move up or (especially) down the board, accumulating extra picks via the compensatory formula, and selecting players who were highly productive and dependable in college.
Winner: Sam Howell
Howell did not receive a big investment in terms of draft capital, as he was not selected until the fifth round. What he did get was a nice landing spot. After being selected by Washington, Howell has a cleaner path to a potential starting job than some of the other quarterbacks selected ahead of him. The last two teams to employ Carson Wentz have each decided they no longer wanted to do so, after all. Plus, landing with the Commanders reunites Howell with wide receiver Dyami Brown, one of the most explosive perimeter playmakers from the North Carolina roster that helped Howell become a potential top prospect in the first place.
Loser: Bills fans
The Bills selected San Diego State punter Matt Araiza, also known as "Punt God," with the No. 180 overall pick in the draft. While employing a player known as "Punt God" seems cool, it might tempt Bills coach Sean McDermott to eschew some of the aggressive decision-making that has made the Bills such a dangerous (and fun to watch) team over the past couple years, in favor of punting the ball more often. That's not good! Let Josh Allen and Co. win the game themselves instead of worrying about things like field position.
Loser: New England Patriots
New England had a weird day. Spare me the lecture about how Bill Belichick has earned the benefit of the doubt. While Arizona State cornerback Jack Jones made for a nice find in the fourth round, the Patriots also spent a fourth-rounder on quarterback Bailey Zappe, after they drafted Mac Jones last year. Using a fourth-rounder on a developmental backup is a bit strange when you already have a young starter. They also doubled up on running back selections on Day 3 despite already employing Damien Harris, Rhamondre Stevenson, James White, and J.J. Taylor. And after using their first-round pick on guard Cole Strange in the wake of the Shaq Mason trade, they added not one but two more guards in the sixth and seventh rounds. It's just a very odd use of resources in the draft.
Winner: Cowboys DC Dan Quinn
The Cowboys' defense had one of the most remarkable one-season turnarounds in recent memory, with Quinn and Micah Parsons helping turn around a unit that had been one of the worst in the league in recent years, and Dallas eventually finished the season with the most efficient defense in the league by both DVOA and EPA per play. Dallas could have rested on its laurels and banked on internal improvement, especially after Quinn turned down head-coaching offers to remain the defensive coordinator, but instead Jerry and Stephen Jones, along with Will McClay, gave Quinn even more flexible pieces to move around the chess board. After nabbing edge rusher Sam Williams on Day 2, the Cowboys added cornerback DaRon Bland, linebackers Damone Clark and Devin Harper, and interior lineman John Ridgeway on Day 3. Bland has exactly the kind of size and length Quinn prioritizes on the outside and made a ton of plays on the ball. Clark could have been a Day 1 or 2 pick if not for the back surgery that will likely cause him to miss his rookie year, while Harper tested as one of the most athletic linebackers in the class at his pro day. Ridgeway won't bring much in the pass-rush department but he is enormous and eats up blockers, which will help free Parsons and Co. to rush the passer.
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Winner: Chargers QB Justin Herbert
Los Angeles did its quarterback a couple of solids in Day 3. First, the Chargers added Texas A&M running back Isaiah Spiller, who is a 6-foot-1 and 215-pound, early-down grinder. The ability to hand the ball off to Spiller won't be the best use of him, though. Instead, it'll be how his presence allows the Chargers to manage the reps of Austin Ekeler, whom they can save to do what he does best: provide and outlet for Herbert on throws out of the backfield and find his way into the end zone in low-red zone situations. The Chargers also used a sixth-round pick on versatile offensive lineman Jamaree Salyer, who played every position on the line at Georgia. Along with first-round pick Zion Johnson, he helps give the Chargers much more depth and flexibility up front.
Loser: Justyn Ross
It wasn't all that long ago that Ross looked like a potential -- if not sure-fire -- first-round draft pick. He exploded onto the scene as Trevor Lawrence's top target in 2018, catching 46 passes for 1,000 yards and nine scores as a true freshman. He followed that up by snagging 66 balls for 865 yards and another eight touchdowns as a sophomore. However, a congenital spine fusion injury that required surgery caused Ross to miss the entire 2020 season, and when he returned in 2021, he did so with more muted contributions: 46 catches for 514 yards and two scores. Ross said at the NFL Scouting Combine that he's been medically cleared to participate, but apparently the league was quite a bit scared off by the neck/spin injury and the foot surgery he had in 2021, as Ross ended up going undrafted.
Loser: Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
Baker Mayfield is still stuck with team he does not want to be on, and that does not want him on the team. The Browns did not find a landing spot during the draft for the former No. 1 overall pick, and the sticking point is reportedly that opposing teams want Cleveland to pick up a hefty portion of the money owed to Mayfield on his contract. But the QB-needy teams mostly addressed the situation in the draft, whether with the Steelers picking Kenny Pickett, the Panthers picking Matt Corral, the Titans picking Malik Willis, or the Commanders picking the aforementioned Howell.
The only two teams realistically in the quarterback market with the Seahawks, who are apparently uninterested in Mayfield and (for some reason) confident in Drew Lock, and the Colts, who already passed on Mayfield in favor of trading for Matt Ryan. Things could get awkward in Cleveland unless the Browns are willing to eat a bunch of Baker's contract and/or accept pennies on the dollar in a trade.
Winner: Family Fun Time
With the No. 208 overall pick, the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Michigan State H-back Connor Heyward. Heyward has a brother named Cameron, who plays for ... the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Guess I got a roommate @ConnorHeyward1— Cam Heyward (@CamHeyward) April 30, 2022
The selection makes the Heywards the fourth pair of brothers on the Steelers roster, along with T.J. Watt and Derek Watt, Tremaine Edmunds and Trey Edmunds, and Carlos Davis and Khalil Davis.
Winner: Georgia Bulldogs
Georgia already won the national championship in January, but the Bulldogs won the draft championship on Saturday, as cornerback Derion Kendrick (No. 212 to the Rams) and tight end John FitzPatrick (No. 213 to the Falcons) became the 14th and 15th Georgia players selected in this year's draft, helping the team set a new, modern-day NFL record.
Georgia has now set the record for most draft picks in the seven-round format (15).— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) April 30, 2022
Ohio State and LSU both had 14.
Along with Kendrick and Fitzpatrick, Georgia saw edge rusher Travon Walker (No. 1 to the Jaguars), interior defensive lineman Jordan Davis (No. 13 to the Eagles), linebacker Quay Walker (No. 22 to the Packers), interior defensive lineman Devonte Wyatt (No. 28 to the Packers), safety Lewis Cine (No. 32 to the Vikings), wide receiver George Pickens (No. 52 to the Steelers), running back James Cook (No. 63 to the Bills), linebacker Nakobe Dean (No. 83 to the Eagles), linebacker Channing Tindall (No. 102 to the Dolphins), running back Zamir White (No. 122 to the Raiders), punter Jake Camarda (No. 133 to the Buccaneers), guard Justin Shaffer (No. 190 to the Falcons), and guard Jamaree Salyer (No. 195 to the Chargers) all come off the board this weekend. That's one heck of a draft haul.
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