NFL Draft: 5 major talking points coming out after the 1st round

Whilst some teams may have felt like they found their answers, there are still a lot of questions and talking points to come out of the NFL Draft from last night.

The 2022 draft was certainly one of the more unique and interesting nights that the NFL has managed to put together, perhaps it was the fact the whole thing came from Las Vegas it made people think that they should put on a show.

We saw a grand total of nine trades within the first round, some of whom involved players changing team rather than just draft picks, then of course there was the appearance of Ice Cube to help kick things off. 

But once the razzle and dazzle was over, there was still the business end of things to take care of, as the fortunes of many teams around the league may very well have been drastically altered as a result of what went on in Sin City. 

And whilst it’s hard to try and trim down the whole four-hour process of the draft into something a little more bite-size, there were still a number of takeaways from the night that need to be dissected a little bit more.

5 – Battles in the trenches dominate the agenda

Based on the way the early stages of the draft went, with 6 of the top 10 selections being either offensive or defensive linemen, it’s pretty clear that there is a trend developing in the NFL.

Get the opposing quarterback and make sure you protect your own. 

That’s why you saw Travon Walker, a defensive end, shoot up so high in the latter stages of the process. With the number of young quarterbacks around the league that are set to dominate for the next decade or so, teams know that they need to bring in people to terrorise them for just as long. 

Which is why you could argue the New York Giants, who took Kayvon Thibodeaux and Evan Neal with their first two picks, won the draft with the way they handle their business.

4 – Wild wide receiver merry-go-round

The other position that saw a lot of attention during the first round was at wide receiver, with 6 going in the first round, all of them in the top 20 and three of them in a row with picks 10, 11 and 12. 

This was a class that was noted for its wide receiver talent, with still more to come, but perhaps the biggest news came about away from Las Vegas, with Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown being traded from the Baltimore Ravens to the Arizona Cardinals and A.J Brown moving from the Tennessee Titans to the Philadelphia Eagles

It could well be a case that these teams saw what was going on with the receivers and just didn’t like what they saw, wanting to bring in players that have proved themselves in the league rather than taking a chance on a rookie. 

What this means for the likes of Deebo Samuel and Odell Beckham Jr as veteran free agents on the market, we’ll have to wait and see, because it could well be that some teams would rather go with what they know works, so there might still be a market for them.

3 – All quiet on the quarterbacks

In contrast to linemen and wide receivers, the one position that didn’t get a lot of attention was at quarterback.

This despite there being a number of teams like the Carolina Panthers, Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints (even the New York Giants to an extent after news they aren’t going to re-sign Daniel Jones) who needed to bring someone in.

This draft was notorious for not having a lot of high-level quarterback talent, but then neither did 2019 and we still saw Kyler Murray and the aforementioned Daniel Jones go in the top 10. 

Perhaps teams have learned their lesson and have decided not to reach for a quarterback for the sake of it anymore, which then makes you wonder what was going through the Pittsburgh Steelers’ mind in taking Kenny Pickett.

Quarterback Kenny Pickett of Pittsburgh Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

2 – What is going to happen with Malik Willis?

With that lack of quarterback action, Malik Willis, who seemed to have the feel of ‘best of a bad bunch’ when it came to the quarterback class was left to sit and wait for a call that never came on the first night.

Now there is still the chance that a team comes in and takes him in the second round, with the Saints on the board and the Seahawks having two picks at their disposal, it’s possible that he could get picked up tonight. 

Liberty quarterback Malik Willis Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

But just like the wide receivers, perhaps teams are willing to take what they know works rather than taking a swing on those from college. Given that Baker Mayfield and Jimmy Garoppolo are still available as possible trade options, it might not even be the 2nd round that sees Willis find his new home.

1 – What must Aaron Rodgers be thinking right now?

Another 1st round has gone by, and once again the Green Bay Packers failed to invest in a weapon in the first round for Aaron Rodgers who, despite saying the right things to Pat McAfee during the draft last night, didn’t say it with the enthusiasm that made you think he was being totally serious:

To do this in any year with Rodgers is a pretty weird move, but to do so during the same offseason that he lost his main receiver in Davante Adams is something of a smack in the face to the reigning and defending 2-time MVP. 

And having had his beef with the Packers organisation in the past, you get the sense that this might be another move by the team that won’t necessarily sit well with him. 

With two days still to go, there’s still a chance that we could see a lot more talking points emerge as things constantly chop and change, but they’ll have to go some way to overtake what we saw from the opening night. 

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