This article is part of our NFL Draft series.
In what has quickly turned into one of the most unpredictable NFL Drafts of all time, Day 2 certainly played its part in the growing story. Desmond Ridder and Malik Willis falling? The Packers finally getting their WR? Intriguing WR picks by teams in the AFC North? I have you covered on all the action that took place during a tumultuous Day 2 of the 2022 NFL Draft.
Desmond Ridder 74th overall, Atlanta Falcons
It was an incredible slide for the quarterbacks on Day 2 of the 2022 NFL Draft. Both Ridder and Malik Willis, who would be drafted a bit later, were projected by some to go in the first round, yet neither was taken until the waning minutes of Day 2.
Unlike last year which saw the uninspiring Kellen Mond, Kyle Trask and Davis Mills (he at least proved to be fine) go in Round 3, Ridder represents a far more tantalizing prospect who immediately slips into an enviable situation, blocked only by the veteran castoff Marcus Mariota for the starting role.
I'm not as scared off as some when it comes to Ridder's throwing motion, nor his perceived lack of throwing power. While I'm not sure the Cincinnati product is ripping off 70-yard passes on the run, it's also not something NFL offenses should do, at least efficient ones. Given the 22-year-old posted a 4.52 40-yard dash, he certainly has the athleticism to pressure defenses if a play is shut down. The Falcons likely will be one of the worst teams in the league next season, but as a result I could actually see Ridder playing a bunch, especially down the stretch. You could do a lot worse in superflex or deeper fantasy leagues, especially with a number of running backs and wide receivers losing some value given their respective landing spots.
Malik Willis 86th overall, Tennessee Titans
It doesn't take much of an imagination to see Willis combining with Derrick Henry to make one of the most fearsome rushing attacks in the league.
Obviously a lot has to go right for the third-round pick to surpass Ryan Tannehill, namely developing more from a processing perspective as well as working through some accuracy issues. But those same types of concerns were present with Josh Allen prior to joining the Bills and he's now turned into one of the most fearsome quarterbacks in the entire league.
Willis has all the intangibles to be a dangerous fantasy asset in the near future, particularly if the Titans opt to move on from Tannehill who signed a four-year $110 million contract extension back in 2020.
Matt Corral 94th overall, Carolina Panthers
The Panthers traded a third-round pick next season to jump up and grab Corral who represents yet another rookie quarterback falling into a somewhat interesting situation.
While reports earlier Friday suggested the Panthers were close to acquiring Baker Mayfield to solve (?) their quarterback woes, Carolina wisely resisted the urge to add yet another mundane passer to the room and instead targeted the two-year Mississippi starter who dazzled as a dual-threat quarterback
It's never good when you elicit comparisons to Johnny Manziel off the field and while the Panthers reportedly did their homework on Corral, it's still enough to have the 23-year-old as a distant third among the Day 2 QBs from a dynasty perspective. Given Sam Darnold's less-than-stellar tenure with the Panthers last season, it wouldn't be at all surprising to see Corral get the starting nod as a last-ditch attempt for Matt Rhule and the front office to save their jobs. It probably won't work, but that's at least enough to elicit some intrigue from me.
Breece Hall 36th overall, New York Jets
The Jets continued their excellent 2022 NFL Draft by trading up with the Giants to acquire Hall who many believe was the best running back available. The Iowa State product compiled nearly 1,500 yards in back-to-back seasons to go along with 47 total touchdowns as the main attack in the Cyclones' offense.
The soon-to-be 21-year-old seemed to flash the necessary pass-catching traits to be a three-down workhorse, but this landing spot likely means Hall will be the burgeoning workhorse with 2021 fourth-round pick, Michael Carter, operating as change-of-pace back and obvious third-down target. It's entirely possible that an improved Zach Wilson could raise the entire level of the Jets offense in a "rising tide lifts all boats" type of situation and thus make both Carter and Hall fantasy options this year, but if the 2021 top pick is unable to threaten defenses, Hall's value might be a bit more inconsistent even despite his obvious skillset.
Kenneth Walker 41st overall, Seattle Seahawks
With back-to-back second-round picks, the Seahawks opted not to draft a quarterback and instead doubled down on head coach Pete Carroll's deepest desires by selecting Walker, the bruising running back out of Michigan State.
An electric junior season which saw the 21-year-old tally 1,636 and 19 total touchdowns catapulted Walker up draft boards despite combining for just 1,158 rushing yards total the previous two seasons as a backup at Wake Forest. Walker actually ran a faster 40-yard dash (4.38) than Hall and certainly put together a highlight-reel full of hard-nosed carries, but it's unclear where he fits in a depth chart that also features nominal stalwart Chris Carson and 2021 late-season breakout, Rashaad Penny. This selection would seem to indicate Carson, who had surgery back in November on a neck injury that was possibly career-ending, is clearly not progressing like the Seahawks may have hoped, but it's still strange with 2018 first-round pick Penny still in the fold. The draft capital would seem to suggest Walker will be a prime focus for the team moving forward, but it's hard to imagine the offense really being successful enough to foster fantasy success from both Penny and Walker in 2022.
James Cook 63rd overall, Buffalo Bills
While Devin Singletary essentially operated as the team's de-facto pass catcher out of the backfield the past few seasons, he's been largely ineffective, particularly last year when he finished with a paltry 5.7 yards per reception across 40 catches. Neither Singletary nor Zack Moss emerged as true bell cows, but Cook was never used in that capacity at Georgia either, instead splitting time with fellow 2022 draftee Zamir White. While fantasy managers might point to the draft capital used to justify Cook as the likely starter on an offense that figures to be one of, if not, the best in the NFL, the more likely outcome will be all three – and possibly even veteran castoff Duke Johnson – splitting time until one inevitably develops a hot hand.
From a PPR perspective it's probably at least worth speculating on Cook if he does emerge as a do-it-all option, but recognize the odds are slimmer than one might first assume.
Rachaad White 91st overall, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Just two running backs were selected across all of Day 2 last year so while it's somewhat of an anomaly to see just three go through the first two rounds, 2022 at least has a bit more depth at the position from a fantasy perspective.
"A bit more depth" is probably more of a theoretical construct considering none of the backs set to be mentioned here really profile as clear starters at the moment. White certainly has the most upside considering he's a pass-catching specialist in a Tom Brady offense, but he's a significantly lesser version of Leonard Fournette who is wholly capable of operating as a three-down workhorse. The Buccaneers used Ronald Jones, now in Kansas City, in a lesser platoon with Fournette last season so there's clearly snaps available for White to carve out a decent role.
White is likely going to be most known this season as the "handcuff to Leonard Fournette" on just about every waiver wire podcast next season. Yes, I'm spoiling my own content four months ahead of schedule, sue me.
Tyrion Davis-Price 93rd overall, San Francisco 49ers
I just, I don't know what to say at this point. You'd think the most creative offensive playcaller in the NFL, particularly with vagabond running backs, would stop investing valuable draft capital in a system that he can manufacture 1,000-yard rushers out of nothing. Yet Davis-Price becomes somehow the third running back drafted by the 49ers in the past two years.
What's worse, I just don't think he's that good. Yes, he can be an explosive player and he did set the single-game rushing record at LSU last season, but he tends to run too tall for someone billed as a bigger back, and he doesn't have the vision to be a one-cut monster. Drafting a short-yardage specialist in the third round seems off even for Kyle Shanahan so I'm sure I'm missing something, but it's hardly an intriguing pick and that's before you factor in a crowded depth chart.
Brian Robinson 98th overall, Washington Commanders
The Commanders seem intent to move on from Antonio Gibson, but I don't think they're going to find solace in the Alabama back.
An absolute bruiser for a tailback, Robinson's 4.53 40-yard dash isn't eye-popping by any means, but it's a serviceable enough figure considering his running style like won't create many open-field opportunities. That's also a nice way of saying Robinson is a plodder, and while that can be useful in certain situations, particularly short-yardage ones, it's not ideal from a fantasy perspective. Just one running back who has run a 40-time slower than 4.53 has finished in the top five fantasy running backs in standard formats – James Conner last year.
David Montgomery and James Robinson in 2020, Mark Ingram in 2019 and Conner in 2018 all finished top 10 in the aforementioned category despite sub 4.5 40s, but all of them save for Ingram had significantly better pass-catching prowess than the newest Commander. I'm likely more bullish on Robinson than most of my RotoWire colleagues, but suffice to say the deck is stacked against the Alabama back being an impact player for multiple seasons to come.
Christian Watson 34th overall, Green Bay Packers
After a controversial first round devoid of any pass catchers, the Packers finally made the move to acquire a wide receiver, trading No. 53 and 59 to move all the way up and grab the North Dakota State product.
The positives are obvious just by taking a look at Watson. At 6-foot-4, 208 pounds, the redshirt senior is lanky with gazelle-like strides. A 4.36 40-yard dash at the Combine essentially cemented Watson as one of the top wide receivers of this class, but questions regarding his hands (16 drops throughout his collegiate career) and rawness as a route runner caused him to tumble further than some projected. If that description feels eerily close to the since-departed Marquez Valdes-Scantling, you wouldn't be the first to notice the similarities, but I think that's underselling the potential that Watson could have. The Packers have obviously been historically excellent with second-round wide receivers over the past decade, but the common theme has been a lack of immediate success early on in their respective careers. While Watson will likely fill a critical role in the Green Bay offense from a snap-count perspective, fantasy managers may want to temper expectations about the soon-to-be 23-year-old immediately assuming the vacated snaps left by MVS and Davante Adams.
Wan'Dale Robinson 43rd overall, New York Giants
This is certainly an awkward fit. Despite drafting Kadarius Toney in the first round last season, signing Kenny Golladay to a big-ticket contract in the 2021 offseason and renegotiating the contract of Sterling Shepard to keep the veteran around for at least this upcoming year, the Giants still opted to take the Kentucky product after trading up.
Robinson is an electric playmaker in the open field and can be a tough target over the middle despite his less-than-ideal height (5-foot-8) and weight (178 pounds). That skillset seems to be redundant to the aforementioned Toney, who reportedly was on the trade block before joining the team's voluntary workouts this past week. It's also possible Robinson's selection could mean injury-prone Darius Slayton is on the chopping block. Regardless, with such a wide swath of targets available and the less-than-ideal Daniel Jones still expected to operate under center in 2022, it's hard to envision a scenario in which the 21-year-old really breaks out in his rookie season.
John Metchie III 44th overall, Houston Texans
Metchie tore his ACL in December which means he'll likely not be available to start the 2022 season. That's important given last year's third-round pick, Nico Collins, could emerge as the team's No. 2 wideout after an up-and-down rookie campaign.
Alabama has turned into WRU as of late, but it's worth reiterating that Metchie's quality traits – smooth route runner, excellent work ethic – are a far cry from the explosive playmakers that have emerged as top pass catchers in recent years. That doesn't mean the 21-year-old will be a bust by any means, but expectations need to be tempered, especially within an offense helmed by Davis Mills.
Tyquan Thornton 50th overall, New England Patriots
The Patriots traded up with Chiefs to select Thornton, a player many projected could be a Day 3 selection. The Baylor product has an abundance of speed as evidenced by his 4.28 40-yard dash at the Combine, but he never recorded more than 900 receiving yards in a season despite starting each of the last three years.
At 6-foot-2, 181 pounds, Thornton is woefully thin to be a consistent target hog at the NFL level so it seems fair to suggest the Patriots view him as a deep-threat specialist akin to 2021 offseason addition, Nelson Agholor. While the 2015 first-round pick disappointed massively in that roll last year (37 receptions, 473 yards and three touchdowns across 15 games), the run-heavy New England offense hardly did him any favors and it's certainly possible the same fate could fall onto Thornton as well if he's thrust into a similar role.
George Pickens 52nd overall, Pittsburgh Steelers
The Patriots inadvertently kicked off a run at the skill positions as a wide receiver or tight end would get selected in four of the next five picks.
Unlike Thornton and Metchie III which landed in unimaginative situations, this is a tantalizing spot for Pickens, who despite unquestionable top-wideout upside, fell all the way until the end of the second round largely due to character and worth-ethic concerns. The Steelers have famously sculpted wide receivers with character issues in the past and while wide receiver doesn't immediately profile as a need with Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson around, the former has been notably grating on head coach Mike Tomlin while the latter is in line for a massive contract extension along with a number of his 2019 wide-receiver peers. Provided Pickens is able to work through whatever issues allegedly caused the aforementioned fall, the Georgia product easily has the talent to be one of the top wide receivers in this entire class even considering the historic draft capital spent on the first-round pass catchers.
Alec Pierce 53rd overall, Indianapolis Colts
Comparisons to Packers legend Jordy Nelson might be a tad aggressive, but Pierce's undeniable athleticism (4.41 40-yard dash, 4.28 20-yard shuttle) coupled with solid measurables (6-foot-3, 211 pounds) make this an intriguing pick.
Pierce is far more of a jump-ball specialist as opposed to a route runner, but he'll almost certainly compete for the No. 2 role opposite Michael Pittman and probably should have a starting spot guaranteed with the combination of Parris Campbell, Ashton Dulin and Dezmon Patmon competing for scrap snaps. The addition of Matt Ryan brings some major teeth to a Colts passing attack that was previously dormant under Carson Wentz meaning Pierce could have some surprising redraft value in Year 1 along with undeniable long-term fantasy potential.
Skyy Moore 54th overall, Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs quickly went about adding to their wide receiver corps after trading away Tyreek Hill, signing speedster Marquez Valdes-Scantling away from the Packers and then selecting similar speed threat Skyy Moore in the second round.
At 5-foot-10, 195 pounds, Moore is smaller than some of his contemporaries, but arguably profiles as a more reliable and consistent slot threat than some wide receivers drafted above him. You can certainly argue the current group of Chiefs pass catchers all are redundant in some facet or another, but it's also fair to say the Chiefs might be one of the few teams in the NFL that could and should prioritize "backup" wide receivers of specific utility given their utmost reliance on passing the football.
Velus Jones 71st overall, Chicago Bears
Speed is Jones' calling card, as the fifth-year wide receiver ran a 4.31 40-yard dash at the Combine. The Bears are hoping Jones can develop more traits than just that, however, given the draft capital invested into the 25-year-old.
When the best way to describe a player is "good bubble screen specialist", it's hard to get too excited about his fantasy prospects. Hey, at the very least he should be a first-round pick in your kick/punt-return only fantasy leagues!
Jalen Tolbert 88th overall, Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys lost both Amari Rodgers and Cedrick Wilson this offseason which seemed to set the stage for a rookie wideout to join Dallas at some point over the course of Day 1 or 2. The South Alabama wideout doesn't have insane measurables or any eye-popping traits, but he did display some tendencies as a deep-ball specialist especially later in his collegiate career. That's important context because Tolbert can essentially fill whatever void the Cowboys' offense might need on a given play, even if he might not excel at any one individual skillset.
David Bell 99th overall, Cleveland Browns
This is an awful lot of value for a player that was uniquely productive in all three seasons at Purdue. A less-than-stellar 4.65 40-yard dash rightfully saw the junior tumble down draft boards and especially at 6-foot-2, that speed could make things difficult to separate at the NFL level.
But on the other hand, the Browns offense should be vastly more productive with Deshaun Watson under center, and save for Amari Cooper, there's not an immediate target that profiles as a consistent chain mover (sorry Donovan Peoples-Jones stans). The Browns have a bevy of deep threats in DPJ, Jakeem Grant and 2021 third-round pick Anthony Schwartz, but none of them fill the role Bell has excelled at in college. He's obviously situated in a run-first offense, but no Jarvis Landry and no Austin Hooper means a wide chasm of targets is available in the middle of the field where Bell could thrive.
Danny Gray 105th overall, San Francisco 49ers
Gray ran the fourth-fastest 40-yard dash at the Combine (4.33) which will automatically turn some heads from a fantasy perspective, but he's at once an under-developed pass catcher and enters the league on the older side (23 as of March 1). At 6-foot, 186 pounds, the SMU product is certainly on the smaller side for NFL wide receivers, but it's not hard to envision his speed ultimately creating more valuable snaps than the likes of Jauan Jennings, Malik Turner or Ray-Ray McCloud.
Trey McBride 56th overall, Arizona Cardinals
It's a bit strange to see the Cardinals take McBride, but it's not at all surprising to see the Colorado State product as the first tight end off the board.
McBride really is more of a possession receiver as opposed to an athletic freak, but that's not to say he's a reincarnation of Jason Witten considering the senior posted a solid 4.56 40-yard dash at the Combine despite weighing 246 pounds. The Cardinals re-signed veteran Zach Ertz to a three-year, $30 million deal this offseason so don't expect McBride to be an immediate contributor right away, but over time the 22-year-old could become a capable target for years to come.
Jelani Woods 73rd overall, Indianapolis Colts
Some version of Dulcich or Woods was the biggest layup ever for the Colts, and Indy obliged by locking in the Virginia product in the third round.
Perhaps the biggest size/speed threat in the entire 2022 NFL Draft, Woods towers in at 6-foot-7, yet nearly ran the fastest 40-yard dash of any Combine tight end clocking in at 4.61. Woods is far from a polished target which is a bit concerning considering he'll be 24 by the start of the season, but those types of physical freaks almost always have some type of role in the NFL, even if it's just as a specialist of some sort. The Colts eventually made the similarly gifted Mo Alie-Cox a legitimate tight end at the next level, so it would hardly be a surprise to see Woods eventually develop into the next version of that – and that's probably just his floor.
Greg Dulcich 80th overall, Denver Broncos
Dulcich certainly appeared to be a faster player on tape, but a 4.69 40-yard dash seemed to let the air out of his fast-rising stock. Scouts tend to knock his blocking prowess which makes for an interesting combination with the do-it-all Albert Okwuegbunam, who immediately rose as the top tight end after the aforementioned Fant trade. Wilson famously loves to use his tight ends, but that might not mean as much in a Broncos offense that is blessed with a bevy of young pass catchers. Don't be surprised to hear Dulcich as a surprise standout in the preseason, particularly if the Broncos opt to keep Okwuegbunam as more of an in-line blocker in their offense.
Jeremy Ruckert 101st overall, New York Jets
Primarily used as a blocking specialist at Ohio State, Ruckert probably will be someone that outperforms his collegiate figures over time (he almost has to by default), but that doesn't mean you should waste a high dynasty pick on him.