The sport of football continues to become more and more popular and the NFL has continued to change and evolve. The fact that point spread now means more to some fans that stats is only one of the ways in which the game has changed.
Football used to be a contact sport in which big hits and playing defense were celebrated, but it has turned into an offensive sport now. New rules have been implemented over the last few seasons to encourage more offense, and the quarterback position is now played without fear of taking a big hit.
The 2022 NFL Draft could signal that changes are coming to the NFL, especially when looking at the First Round of that event. Teams appeared to have a major focus on the defensive side of the football, but there was one offensive position that had plenty of action.
Defense, Defense, Defense
The major focus of the NFL Draft is usually on the quarterback position and that was definitely the case in 2021. Teams were doing all they could to line up and get the best quarterback on the board, and there were some great options to choose from.
That wasn’t the case in 2022 though as there weren’t many stand-out quarterbacks available at all. Since teams weren’t able to get a franchise quarterback at the top of the draft, teams were looking to find a player that could harass opposing QBs.
The first five players taken in the 2022 NFL Draft were on the defensive side of the football, and some big names flew off the board. Even though the game has changed, five teams believe that they have found defensive players that can help them turn around their fortunes.
Here are the first five players who were taken in the 2022 NFL Draft, and these are names that you should get used to hearing if you are an NFL fan:
- Travon Walker- Jacksonville Jaguars
- Aidan Hutchinson- Detroit Lions
- Derek Stingley Jr.- Houston Texans
- Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner- New York Jets
- Kayvon Thibodeaux- New York Giants
Since the NFL has turned into such a pass-happy league, teams continue to look for the next great wide receiver. It was expected that the 2022 NFL Draft would see a number of talented wideouts come off the board early, and that was definitely the case in the First Round.
There were also plenty of trades made involving big-name wide receivers in the weeks leading up to the draft and during the first round of the event. This position was once taken for granted a bit, but it’s now more important than ever to have skilled wide receivers.
Drake London out of USC was the first wide receiver taken with the number eight pick, and that started the run at this position. Picks 10-12 were all wide receivers as Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave, and Jameson Williams all came off the board.
There were two more wide receivers taken in the next handful of picks, making it six wide receivers drafted in the first 18 picks. Each year seems to be a year for a certain position and it was clearly the year of the wide receiver.
1 QB, No RB
Even though having an explosive offense is important in the NFL today, teams tend to focus on building up an offensive and defensive line in the draft. There was only one quarterback taken in the First Round and no running backs were selected.
Kenny Pickett from the University of Pittsburgh was the lone quarterback taken as the Pittsburgh Steelers grabbed him with the 20th overall pick. Most of the bad teams in the NFL had already chosen a QB in the first round a year ago, and that kept them from looking in that direction in 2022.
The running back position will always be valuable in the “new” NFL, but it’s not a position that most teams are looking to spend money on. The shelf life for a running back is not long, and teams believe that they can find better replacements much cheaper.
The results of the 2022 NFL Draft weren’t surprising, but they also painted a clear picture of how the league is trending.
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