The 2022 NFL draft resumed with 73 more players coming off the board over the course of the second and third rounds Friday night in Las Vegas.
An eventful first round featured plenty of surprises, including a wave of trades involving both picks and established players. The wheeling and dealing in Las Vegas continued on Day 2 amid the depth of talent that exists in this draft, not to mention an almost entirely untapped pool of quarterbacks after Pitt’s Kenny Pickett was the lone one selected in Round 1. But more followed Friday. Read our instant analysis for all of Day 2’s selections:
FIRST-ROUND WINNERS, LOSERS:Jets, Giants flourish as Steelers stumble
10 MOST INTRIGUING DRAFT MOVES:Steelers on an island with Kenny Pickett pick
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A versatile lineman who could play base end for the Bucs yet give them a valuable interior rush presence on passing downs. The 6-6, 283-pounder had six sacks and 13 tackles for losses in 2021. Even if free agent Ndamukong Suh returns to Tampa, he’s now 35.
34. Green Bay Packers (from Detroit Lions via Minnesota Vikings) – WR Christian Watson, North Dakota State
The Pack leap up to this point by trading both of their second-rounders (Nos. 53 and 59) to the division rival Vikes. The Packers are renowned for striking gold with Round 2 wideouts, and Watson joins the ranks of recently departed Davante Adams, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Greg Jennings in that club. Watson won’t replace Adams – who would? – but a 6-5, 208-pound target with 4.36 speed would be a dangerous option for QB Aaron Rodgers.
The All-SEC corner flushes out a secondary that welcomed CBs Caleb Farley and Elijah Molden in last year’s draft. You’ll also recall that the Titans couldn’t slow down Bengals QB Joe Burrow in the playoffs even with the benefit of nine sacks. The 5-111, 190-pound McCreary have five INTs over the past two seasons but isn’t necessarily a remarkable athlete for the position.
Gang Green continues what could be a watershed draft by coming up two spots courtesy of a deal with the crosstown Giants. They add another piece to help second-year QB Zach Wilson, teaming Hall with 2021 fourth-round Michael Carter, who rushed for 639 yards as a rookie. Hall (6-1, 220) could become the lead option given his 4.39 speed could bust many games open. He had 3,526 yards from scrimmage and 46 TDs during his last two seasons with the Cyclones.
A versatile DB comfortable covering in the slot or roaming the box, he could more than offset the loss of Justin Reid in free agency for a defense that ranked 31st overall in 2021.
38. Atlanta Falcons (from Carolina Panthers via Jets and Giants) – OLB/DE Arnold Ebiketie, Penn State
After transferring from Temple last season, he burst onto the scene in Happy Valley by posting 9½ sacks and 18 TFLs. He’s not the stoutest guy (6-2, 250), but his specialty – hunting quarterbacks – immediately improves a team that finished last (by far) in 2021 with 18 total sacks.
They make their inaugural pick of this draft by taking a solid corner, one who can play outside or in the slot and augments the league’s third-ranked pass defense. Gordon, the latest in a long line of excellent UW DBs, probably moves into a starting role on the outside while recent veteran signing Tavon Young stays in the slot.
He had seven sacks in 2021, and his quick first step was partially quantified by the 6-4, 261-pounder’s 4.53 40 clocking at the combine. He should be a good fit on the edge for a Seattle defense converting to a 3-4 front. Carlos Dunlap, the Seahawks’ top pass rusher in 2021, is a free agent.
Pretty obvious Seattle wants to get back to pounding the ball on the ground, even if they do it by committee instead of with a Marshawn Lynch-type. Walker (5-9, 211) joins a trio that includes Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny but could quickly establish himself as the lead dog given his 4.38 speed. In his lone seasons with the Spartans, the Wake Forest transfer rushed for 1,636 yards and 18 TDs.
The Vikes, who took Georgia S Lewis Cine at the end of Round 1, continue refitting their secondary with a talented corner who gets to learn the ropes from veteran Patrick Peterson.
His 104 catches for 1,334 yards in 2021 were single-season Wildcats records. Just 5-8 and 178 pounds, he does have 4.4 speed but will have to crack a receiving rotation that (presently) includes Sterling Shepard, 2021 first-rounder Kadarius Toney and big-money acquisition Kenny Golladay.
Houston deals up for Metchie, who, like former Tide teammate Jameson Williams, is on the comeback from a torn ACL. Metchie, who had 96 grabs for 1,142 yards and eight scores last season, will likely operate out of the slot once he’s ready to play and handle the underneath routes while Brandin Cooks works deep.
Despite the Achilles tear he suffered at his pro day, his upside is too much to pass up. Ojabo follows Mike Macdonald, the Wolverines defensive coordinator in 2021, back to Baltimore, where he’ll play for Jim Harbaugh’s brother, John. And a redshirt year would likely benefit Ojabo anyway given he made one tackle as a sophomore in 2020. A native of Nigeria who grew up in Scotland, Ojabo (6-4, 250 pounds) exploded for 11 sacks last season and will eventually bring needed juice to Baltimore’s pass rush.
A three-time team captain who can move up and down a line that needs more bodies despite Thursday’s acquisition of Aidan Hutchinson. Detroit’s 30 sacks were the third-fewest in the NFL in 2021. A cancer survivor, Paschal should be another culture changer for a Detroit organization that appears pointed in the right direction.
A team captain for the Tide who can two-gap and shut down run lanes. The 6-4, 310-pounder also showed he could get to quarterbacks in 2021, erupting for nine sacks. He joins former ‘Bama stars Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne on the Commanders D-line.
He feels like a Chicago player, a DB who can bring the wood. But Brisker can do more than that, another safety who’s able to play deep, at the line of scrimmage or in the slot. He should start Day 1 at strong safety but thrives in coverage, posting 14 career pass break-ups. This selection was obtained courtesy of the Khalil Mack trade earlier this year.
The Saints fortify their pass defense, and Taylor could vie for a starting job opposite Marshon Lattimore. He only surrendered one TD pass over the past two seasons for the Vols and broke up six passes last year. Taylor posted a 4.36 40 at the scouting combine this year.
The 4.28 speed of the 6-2, 181-pounder pretty much says it all. Thornton averaged 15.7 yards over the course of his 143 receptions with the Bears. He should loosen up defenses for a passing game that’s otherwise overloaded with No. 2 receivers. Good chance Thornton’s arrival means the end of the road for former first-rounder N’Keal Harry.
A highly athletic 6-3, 303-pound pivot who probably apprentices for a year behind Jason Kelce before taking over in the middle.
He suffered an ACL tear in spring practice a year ago but made it back in time to participate in the Bulldogs’ 2021 championship drive, averaging 21.4 yards on five catches. A 6-3, 195-pounder with sub-4.5 speed offers plenty of intrigue and has even been mentioned favorably in the same breath as former Dawgs legend A.J. Green. Pickett-to-Pickens could be fun.
GM Chris Ballard gives new QB Matt Ryan a nice alternative to WR Michael Pittman Jr. Pierce provides tremendous size (6-3, 211 pounds), speed (4.4-second 40-yard dash) and intelligence – he studied mechanical engineering – a combination that should earn him immediate snaps if not Indy’s WR2 post.
54. Chiefs (from Patriots) – WR Skyy Moore, Western Michigan
He’s a quick, shifty type who can operate out wide or from the slot and broke an FBS-high 26 tackles last season. Moore also produces at a prodigious level (95 catches for 1,292 yards and 10 TDs in 2021) and will have to do so as a pro given he’ll be asked to help offset the loss of Tyreek Hill this season.
The 2021 All-American and Mackey Award winner as college football’s top tight end is an exceptional possession receiver (91 catches for 1,125 yards last season) who’s also the increasingly rare dual threat able to serve as an effective blocker. Another gift for QB Kyler Murray, McBride will get to learn the ropes from vet Zach Ertz.
Major production in the SEC last year with 12½ sacks and 15 TFLs. The 6-4, 261-pounder with 4.46 speed should get the opportunity to backfill the post vacated by DE Randy Gregory for a Dallas D-line that badly needed reinforcements.
Tampa Bay struggled in last season’s playoff loss to the Rams due to the falloff following the ankle injury to All-Pro RT Tristan Wirfs. Goedeke will have to bide his time but may eventually supplant Donovan Smith on the left side. In the meantime, top-rate swing tackle.
Really good athlete (6-4, 243 pounds, 4.4 speed), he could take the starting gig left behind by departed Foyesade Oluokun, who led the NFL in tackles in 2021.
A fixture at left guard for the Tigers, pass protection is his bread and butter. QB Kirk Cousins approves.
He’s 5-11 and 196 pounds with 4.38 speed and might challenge Eli Apple for snaps at corner for the AFC champs. Taylor-Britt had 11 PBUs in 2021. Bengals continue loading up their secondary after selecting Michigan’s Dax Hill on Thursday.
The Niners join the draft party and take the Trojans pass rusher. San Francisco values a deep group up front, but the 6-3 Jackson needs to figure out what his ideal playing weight is – 255? 275? – before he’s able to serve as a nice change of pace opposite Nick Bosa.
Kansas City continues to load up defensively, and the Bearcats star might inherit the unenviable task of replacing free agent Tyrann Mathieu. Like the Honey Badger, Cook lines up everywhere, but is especially good in coverage, breaking up nine passes in 2021.
The brother of Dalvin Cook, the former Bulldogs back is an exceptional receiver who should also take some of the rushing load off QB Josh Allen. Cook (5-11, 200) has 4.4 speed and put it to use to the tune of 7.2 yards per touch last season.
Not fair to ask Bonitto to replace Von Miller. But the former Sooner is a plus athlete (6-3, 248, 4.5 speed) who was extremely productive, posting 16 sacks and 26½ TFLs since 2020. He and Bradley Chubb could wreak plenty of havoc off the edge against the likes of Justin Herbert, Derek Carr and Patrick Mahomes.
Jacksonville starts getting blocking help for QB Trevor Lawrence, and Fortner should take over for retired Brandon Linder.
Undersized but moves well and could cover some ground alongside Eric Kendricks.
New York continues stacking the line in front of embattled QB Daniel Jones after taking OT Evan Neal on Thursday.
Tough guy who might have to make his mark on special teams before cracking the corner rotation.
He could come in and compete for the right tackle job that’s been an issue since Jack Conklin left.
Jacksonville overhauls its linebacking corps after picking Devin Lloyd in Round 1. Muma had 115 tackles last year and is especially good against the run.
Caught 62 passes last year but might make his mark as a return man first for Chicago. Still, a guy with 4.31 speed is a guy QB Justin Fields will want on the field with the offense.
Looks like Seattle has a new pair of bookend tackles after picking Charles Cross on Thursday. Lucas will be on the right side.
He’s 6-7, 259 pounds and has 4.6 speed. Woods had 44 grabs for 598 yards last season but will also block. Could take over for retired Jack Doyle
He’s a renowned leader, winner and worker – plus a very good athlete to boot. He’ll need to work on his accuracy, but plenty going for Ridder, including an opportunity to play fairly soon depending on how things work out in Atlanta with stopgap QB Marcus Mariota.
Athletic but smaller (6-1, 226) off-ball ‘backer who should step right into a starting job given the caliber of Houston’s defense. Posted 5½ sacks and 11½ TFLs for Tide in 2021.
Coming off his career with the Huskies, when he posted 8½ sacks and 19 TFLs in three seasons, Jones was a standout at the Senior Bowl before the 6-4, 325-pounder tested well at the combine – highlighted by a 4.9-second 40. He’ll inject some youth into a D-line still anchored by Calais Campbell.
A 6-5, 271-pounder who had six sacks (but 43 hurries, per PFF) in 2021, he gives Cleveland a hedge with DE Jadeveon Clowney yet to re-sign.
Another Baylor blazer (4.36 speed), look for him to sub in on passing downs given he’s also a pretty good ball hawk (8 INTs over the past two seasons).
Former walk-on, he’s got decent speed for a 6-4, 243-pounder and positional flex – able to line up wide, inside or even at fullback.
Expect him to compete for the nickel job / slot job straight away for New York. He only allowed 23 completions in 2021.
Another candidate to bolster Atlanta’s putrid pass rusher, Malone has 25 sacks and 48½ TFLs over the past three seasons.
Apparently, a pectoral injury contributed to the slide for the 5-11, 229-pound Butkus Award winner. Dean is a smart, instinctive, first-rate leader whose tape should trump perceived physical limitations. Also a good blitzer, he had six sacks for the national champs in 2021. Dean reunites with DT Jordan Davis in Philadelphia.
His 6-4, 283-pound frame fits Pittsburgh’s profile for a defensive end. The All-American had 8½ sacks and 12½ TFLs last season.
He plays some corner … and some receiver … and some special teams. Optimal Patriot, though the starting job left behind by J.C. Jackson means Jones should probably focus on his day job first. A thief himself, Jones pilfered five passes last season.
Thursday’s trade of WR A.J. Brown suggested this could be a franchise in transition. That could also occur at quarterback in light of Ryan Tannehill’s inability to elevate this team in the postseason crucible. Enter Willis, who will remind Nashville fans of former Titans league MVP Steve McNair. With a year of seasoning behind Tannehill, Willis, an Auburn transfer whose 74 combined TDs (pass/rush) were the most in the Football Bowl Subdivision over the past two seasons, should be ready to rock in 2023.
Arizona needs to replace Chandler Jones’ production, and Thomas (6-4, 267) offered up plenty in 2021 with 10½ sacks and 20½ TFLs.
He averaged 17.6 yards per catch over four college seasons and could compete for a significant role early in 2022 as WR Michael Gallup works his way back from ACL surgery.
On the light side at 6-1 and 224 pounds, he’ll probably get his initial opportunities on sub packages and special teams. He’ll do far more damage chasing quarterbacks than trying to cover tight ends.
Lots of glitz on the Las Vegas offense following the acquisition of WR Davante Adams. But the Silver and Black really needed to enhance the protection in front of QB Derek Carr, who was sacked 40 times in 2021, second most of his career.
He averaged 6.3 yards per carry in two years with the Sun Devils and could pick up the touches left behind by Ronald Jones II.
A left tackle for the Bruins, the 6-5, 321-pounder either winds up at right tackle or guard for the Pack depending on where Pro Bowl Elgton Jenkins lands.
At 6 feet, 211 pounds with 4.48 speed, he was a 1,000-yard rusher for the Tigers in 2021 and could slot in for RB2 duties for the Niners behind Elijah Mitchell with Raheem Mostert gone.
Carolina comes up for the 6-2, 212-pound Rebels star. Corral has sizable arm strength and athleticism and might be the kind of guy you want to invest in for a year – or at least part of a season – before unleashing him. That seems like the scenario here with Sam Darnold entering the final year of his rookie contract. Lots of weapons here at Corral’s disposal if he can get onto the field. His arrival likely rules Charlotte out as a future home for Baker Mayfield.
At 6-4, 282 pounds, he could be an interior rusher on passing downs between Cincinnati DEs Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard.
Big guy (6-0, 212 pounds), big-time speed (4.3-second 40-yard dash time), big hitter. Could compete for a starting job as a rookie.
Safety jobs up for grabs in Motown. Joseph picked off five passes for the Illini in 2021.
He ran for 1,343 yards and 14 TDs last year but also mixed in 35 catches. A load at 6-2, 225 pounds (with 4.53 speed), he could cut into Antonio Gibson’s touch tally in 2022.
Big target who’s got a shot to be Cleveland’s No. 2 receiver coming off a 93-catch season. Very soft hands on this All-American, who might remind some of Anquan Boldin.
More edge help for Arizona, Sanders will probably need to add bulk to his rail-thin 6-5, 228-pound build.
A 6-5, 250-pounder who will probably be more a factor as a blocker than a receiver. He caught 54 passes in four season for the Buckeyes, though a dozen of those produced TDs.
The seventh Dawgs defender selected, his speed could get him onto the field on passing downs pretty quickly.
An all-Big Ten performer who can get to the quarterback and running backs with aplomb. He had eight sacks and 18½ TFLs in 2021.
Could plug in as a starter after Austin Corbett defected to Carolina in free agency.
x-105. 49ers – WR Danny Gray, SMU
At 6 feet, 186 pounds, he’s no Deebo Samuel clone. But Gray’s 4.3 speed could obviously add a new dimension to the Niners offense.
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis.