A look at teams who did best and worst in this year’s NFL Draft, plus some NFL futures bets to make based on the results.
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Incredibly, we’re only about two months away from the start of NFL training camps!
With last month’s NFL Draft and rookie signings now in the rearview mirror, the countdown to the 2022 season is on.
So, who improved themselves the most in last month’s NFL Draft in Nashville? Who missed an opportunity? And what do next season’s division races look like? Let’s take our first look at a post-draft NFL landscape.
Three Teams Who Had the Best 2022 Drafts
Following the NFL Draft picks, three teams have stood out positively:
- Baltimore Ravens
- New York Jets
- Philadelphia Eagles
Here’s our take on exactly why they succeeded last month.
The Ravens are a team we’ve become accustomed to seeing atop these lists. Mainly, it’s because they focus on taking the best available player regardless of position. Some examples from this year:
Projected by some as a top-five pick, Hamilton continued to fall early because of teams drafting for need. That was fine with Baltimore, because when pick 14 came around, they jumped on the Notre Dame safety with unreal size (6-foot-4, 220 lbs.) and a 4.59 40-yard dash time.
At pick 25, the Ravens scooped up the best interior offensive lineman in the Draft. Iowa center, Tyler Linderbaum, will help pave the way for QB Lamar Jackson and the powerful Baltimore running game.
Even later picks saw the Ravens grab talent over need, with Michigan defensive end David Ojabo. Thought to be a first-round pick, an Achilles injury dropped him all the way to the middle of round two. They also picked enormous (6-foot-8, 384 lbs.) Minnesota tackle Daniel Faalele in round four.
The Ravens have quite an impressive haul of young talent – again!
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New York Jets
This one may be a bit more of a surprise to NFL fans. When we think of the Jets and the Draft, we think of the days when their dejected fans would attend in New York City… and spend most years booing as the team made misguided picks.
But not under GM Joe Douglas. New York’s AFC squad scooped up the consensus best cornerback available (Cincinnati’s Ahmad Gardner) and best wide receiver (Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson).
The Big Difference for the Jets
The big difference, however, came when New York traded back into the first round to grab Florida State linebacker Jermaine Johnson at pick 26. Johnson will be an ideal NFL pass rusher with prototypical size and was thought by some to be a top-10 pick.
They weren’t done, adding highly productive Iowa State running back Breece Hall in round two and underutilized Ohio State tight end Jeremy Ruckert in round three.
Could this be the year the Jets make some noise in the AFC East?
They certainly drafted well, grabbing two stars off the national championship defense from the University of Georgia (defensive tackle Jordan Davis in round one, LB Nakobe Dean in round three).
But this honor is largely for a draft day trade where the Eagles sent a first-round and third-round pick to Tennessee for Pro Bowl wide receiver AJ Brown.
Paired with DeVonta Smith, Brown gives the Eagles an enviable 1-2 punch on the outside. And, in combination with the two national champions from Georgia, gives the team top honors for an NFC squad in the 2022 Draft.
Three Teams Who Struggled in the 2022 NFL Draft
So, now that we’ve looked at the teams who benefitted most, let’s take a look at three who failed to add value. These franchises are:
- New England Patriots
- Minnesota Vikings
- Los Angeles Rams
Now, let’s delve deeper into their NFL Draft choices.
New England Patriots
It takes some guts to make this pick because we all know Bill Belichick’s sterling reputation. But when another team’s coach is caught on video laughing at your first-round pick (because he’d hoped to draft the player in round four), you might not be maximizing your picks.
Cole Strange, taken 29th overall, may turn out to be a perfectly good NFL player. But the consensus seems to be that the Patriots could have waited – for quite a while – before making this selection.
Two rounds. Two trades, with two division rivals… and in the end, Detroit and Green Bay walked away with new weapons at wide receiver.
The Purple People Eaters did get potential contributors in Georgia’s Lewis Cine and Clemson cornerback Andrew Booth. But to give away a top-12 pick to a division rival like Detroit and watch them select a franchise wide receiver who you’ll need to cover twice a year? Minnesota’s strategy made little sense.
Los Angeles Rams
There’s only so much you can do when you trade all of your high picks. Given their Super Bowl 56 title back in February, certainly the Rams wouldn’t do anything differently. But when you’re not picking until the 104th selection, it’s awfully hard to improve your team for the coming season.
Preseason Odds for the 2022 NFL Season
Sportsbooks are already placing odds on each potential outcome for the 2022 NFL Season. Here, we look at the odds to win each division (odds at DraftKings Sportsbook):
|DIVISION||TEAM AND CURRENT ODDS|
|AFC East||Buffalo Bills -225 Miami Dolphins +450 New England Patriots +550 New York Jets +2200|
|AFC North||Cleveland Browns +185 Cincinnati Bengals +200 Baltimore Ravens +210 Pittsburgh Steelers +1100|
|AFC South||Indianapolis Colts -125 Tennessee Titans +175 Jacksonville Jaguars +700 Houston Texans +3000|
|AFC West||Kansas City Chiefs +175 Los Angeles Chargers +225 Denver Broncos +250 Las Vegas Raiders +650|
|NFC East||Dallas Cowboys +115 Philadelphia Eagles +210 Washington Commanders +450 New York Giants +700|
|NFC North||Green Bay Packers -175 Minnesota Vikings +275 Chicago Bears +1000 Detroit Lions +1000|
|NFC South||Tampa Bay Buccaneers -300 New Orleans Saints +350 Carolina Panthers +1200 Atlanta Falcons +2200|
|NFC West||Los Angeles Rams +120 San Francisco 49ers +175 Arizona Cardinals +400 Seattle Seahawks +1600|
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Three Underdog Bets to Make Now for the 2022 NFL Season
Looking for an underdog bet to make for the upcoming NFL season? Here are our three best underdog bets.
Pittsburgh Steelers (+1100 to win AFC North)
This price seems too good to pass up. The retirement of Ben Roethlisberger is much of the reason for the low level of faith in the black and gold. But this is arguably the NFL’s most consistent franchise.
The Steelers have former No. 2 overall pick Mitchell Trubisky on a one-year “prove it” contract. Plus, they return an array of offensive weapons and an ornery defense led by TJ Watt.
And look at their competition: Division favorite Cleveland has the uncertainty of the DeShaun Watson situation at quarterback. NFL fans are familiar with the struggles of teams coming off a Super Bowl loss as the Cincinnati Bengals will be. Finally, that leaves the Ravens, who might be the BEST pick to win this division, honestly.
But at 11:1 odds? Take a shot with Mike Tomlin and the Steelers.
Detroit Lions (+1000 to win NFC North)
Yes, they are the Detroit Lions, and betting on their success rarely ends well. But look at the impressive array of talent they’re accumulating on offense, and they’re doing it while fronted by one of the better offensive lines in the game.
And their division? The Bears should be one of the worst teams in the league. We’ve covered the Vikings’ directionless approach to the draft. The Packers? Yes, they’re big favorites, but Davante Adams is gone, and Aaron Rodgers is another year older and reportedly growing frustrated with the organization’s lack of attention to the receiver position.
The biggest question with the Lions is QB Jared Goff… but fans seem to forget he has taken a team to the Super Bowl before. That’s probably a bridge too far for Detroit, but they could find themselves in the mix in an increasingly mediocre division.
Philadelphia Eagles (+210 to win NFC East; +1400 to win NFC; +2800 to win Super Bowl)
It’s becoming a trendy pick, and it’s possible we’ve already missed the boat (they were as high as +4000 to win Super Bowl 57 before their dynamite draft).
Let’s start with their division, where the Birds are seriously undervalued at +210. It’s hard to look at this roster and say they’re not at least equal to the Cowboys, who are only +115.
Once you get to the playoffs, last season proved anything can happen. So, let’s look at what Philadelphia can make happen.
A Real Strong Roster
they’ve got the 1-2 punch of Devonta Smith and AJ Brown on the outside. A healthy Miles Sanders gets to run behind an experienced offensive line, while Dallas Goedert is rounding into one of the best tight ends in football.
Defensively? They can rotate defensive linemen with anyone, Hassan Reddick offers versatility at linebacker alongside draft pick Nakobe Dean, and the signing of James Bradberry shores up the No. 2 cornerback position across from Darius Slay.
On the other hand, the Eagles have a bounty of draft picks for 2023 so Jalen Hurts knows if Philly doesn’t take a step forward, he could be looking for a new job this time next year. There’s a long way to go until the season, and the odds will continue to move. But for now, these three opportunities are too good to pass up!