The divisional round of the NFL playoffs gave us some phenomenal games, with the Bengals, Rams, Chiefs and 49ers surviving and advancing to Championship Sunday. But what about the teams on the other side of those results?
In today's thought exercise, we consider how Buffalo's defeat should impact their offseason plans, why a letdown in Nashville leads to Ryan Tannehill standing on unsettled ground and more.
The 2022 NFL Draft order has been updated through the divisional round, and the final four unknowns were determined by the updated strength of schedule and win-loss records, via Tankathon.com.
For a more extensive draft discussion beyond the mock drafts, check out our weekly show on YouTube!
Round 1 - Pick 1
Kayvon Thibodeaux EDGE
Oregon • Soph • 6'5" / 258 lbs
Many are quick to assume Jacksonville will take one of the talented offensive linemen available, but there is still a case to be made for edge rusher. Thibodeaux has more athletic potential than Aidan Hutchinson, so the Jaguars take the Oregon product to pair with Josh Allen.
Round 1 - Pick 2
Aidan Hutchinson EDGE
Michigan • Soph • 6'7" / 268 lbs
Jacksonville's decision makes Detroit's relatively easy in my opinion. With Kayvon Thibodeaux off the board, the Lions snare Hutchinson from Ann Arbor. He is a hard-working, physical defensive lineman and the type of player who should endear himself to head coach Dan Campbell and that community from Day 1.
Round 1 - Pick 3
Evan Neal OL
Alabama • Soph • 6'7" / 350 lbs
Houston's offensive line was awful this season. Laremy Tunsil will have at least one more season with the organization and probably longer, but the opposite side has been a problem. The addition of Neal allows them to shuffle the deck and find their five best linemen.
Round 1 - Pick 4
LSU • Soph • 6'0" / 190 lbs
Stingley is losing ground as the draft's top cornerback, and Ahmad Gardner is gaining steam. Relative to what has been put on tape over the past two years, I can absolutely understand coming to that conclusion. Stingley could be a really special player if he returns to form, however. If you take Gardner, you're banking on the consistency he has shown. If you take Stingley, it is based on what he could become in the NFL.
Round 1 - Pick 5
Ikem Ekwonu OL
NC State • Soph • 6'4" / 320 lbs
After the 2020 season, Andrew Thomas would have been ranked fourth among that highly anticipated tackle class (Tristan Wirfs, Mekhi Becton, Jedrick Wills and Thomas). Based on the most recent season, Thomas has a case for No. 2 as Becton and Wills have dealt with injuries. Overall, the group has lived up to the hype. Ekwonu could be an All-Pro caliber offensive guard, but he will be given a shot to stick at tackle.
Round 1 - Pick 6
Mississippi State • Soph • 6'5" / 311 lbs
Looking back five years from now, it would not surprise me if Cross was the best lineman to come out of this class. He is just a sophomore and has shown steady improvement. He is reverse Ikem Ekwonu in the sense that Cross is already good in pass protection but still needs some work on run blocking.
From Chicago Bears
Round 1 - Pick 7
Notre Dame • Soph • 6'4" / 220 lbs
Jabrill Peppers is a free agent and the objective is to take good players. Safety is not a position traditionally picked high, but if New York lands a Pro Bowl-level talent or better, then no one is going to look back on this pick and consider it a bust. Do not overthink good football players. Hamilton is a good football player who can play downhill or drop into coverage.
Round 1 - Pick 8
George Karlaftis EDGE
Purdue • Soph • 6'4" / 263 lbs
Atlanta could go in a number of directions. It can be said with reasonable certainty that Matt Ryan will be back next season, so the Falcons are not desperate to take a quarterback. Why not run it back one more year at this point and go into next year looking for that quarterback in the draft? If Calvin Ridley is dealt this offseason, the team should be looking to acquire draft picks in 2023 and beyond for that very reason.
Round 1 - Pick 9
Matt Corral QB
Ole Miss • Soph • 6'2" / 205 lbs
If Denver does not acquire Aaron Rodgers this offseason, then it could be in the market for a quarterback in the draft. Corral is a quick decision-maker who can attack all three levels of the field.
From Seattle Seahawks
Round 1 - Pick 10
Drake London WR
USC • Soph • 6'4" / 213 lbs
After taking Derek Stingley Jr. with its first pick, New York selects London out of USC. He is a big-bodied wide receiver who is able to win downfield. Although both are coming off injuries, London would be a good compliment for the skillset of Elijah Moore. They also give Zach Wilson some big-time weapons.
Round 1 - Pick 11
Ohio State • Soph • 6'0" / 192 lbs
Washington could just rely on Curtis Samuel being healthy moving forward, but it could benefit from adding another wide receiver to draw some attention from Terry McLaurin. Ohio State's success rate has been hit or miss as it particularly applies to Washington, but it worked in the case of McLaurin. They could be a dynamic duo for a decade.
Round 1 - Pick 12
Cincinnati • Soph • 6'3" / 200 lbs
New general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has his work cut out for him managing a roster that has some expensive veterans and several needs. Locking down a man coverage cornerback would be a big flex for the first-time GM considering that has evaded the franchise since the former half of Xavier Rhodes' career. Gardner is consistent, competitive and confident.
Round 1 - Pick 13
Arkansas • Soph • 6'2" / 225 lbs
Although I value the talent of Garrett Wilson and Jameson Williams more, I actually think Burks would be a great fit for Cleveland's offense. He is a big slot receiver who can contribute in the run game and create after the catch.
Round 1 - Pick 14
Jordan Davis DL
Georgia • Soph • 6'6" / 336 lbs
Baltimore did a great job against the run this season, but it has some aging veterans along the interior defensive line, and the linebackers have left a lot to be desired. Davis would allow the Ravens to continue with a physical identity and give the team that talented nose tackle that it has had with Haloti Ngata, Michael Pierce, Brandon Williams and others.
From Miami Dolphins
Round 1 - Pick 15
Devin Lloyd LB
Utah • Soph • 6'3" / 235 lbs
A few years ago, I noted that if any team should take a running back in the first round, it was Kansas City, because they were coming off a Super Bowl and had few needs. The Chiefs did, in fact, use a first-round pick on Clyde Edwards-Helaire. One other form of luxury is owning three first-round picks, which applies to Philadelphia. Linebacker has not been a traditionally coveted position in the City of Brotherly Love, but Lloyd is a difference maker.
From Indianapolis Colts
Round 1 - Pick 16
Clemson • Soph • 6'0" / 194 lbs
Philadelphia goes defense with consecutive picks and adds Booth Jr. from Clemson. He was exposed to a heavy zone defense in college, so the transition to the Eagles should go smoothly. The presence of Darius Slay allows Booth to play downhill and make plays on the ball.
Round 1 - Pick 17
Chris Olave WR
Ohio State • Soph • 6'0" / 187 lbs
If Mike Williams leaves -- and I believe it is possible, although the team has a ton of cap room -- then the team will need to replace him. Olave is a reliable outlet who carries himself like a professional. Justin Herbert would have one of the most trustworthy tandems in the league. I could also see Los Angeles trying to upgrade its run defense with Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean or Georgia defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt.
Round 1 - Pick 18
Northern Iowa • Soph • 6'7" / 325 lbs
What does a team with $-71.6 million in salary cap space and no head coach do in the offseason? Probably rebuild. Terron Armstead is expected to test free agency, and that could leave New Orleans searching for a new starter. Penning could be that solution.
Round 1 - Pick 19
Kenyon Green OL
Texas A&M • Soph • 6'4" / 323 lbs
We now know that Brandon Brooks is retiring. Could Jason Kelce follow suit? Philadelphia has a center on its roster in the form of Landon Dickerson, so it needs an offensive guard. Green has shown that he can play at a high level when he is committed to one position.
Round 1 - Pick 20
Pittsburgh • Soph • 6'3" / 220 lbs
With Ben Roethlisberger officially retiring, the Steelers are in need of a quarterback. Pickett is a player accustomed to playing in Heinz Field and the elements that come with it. He is a talented passer who should allow for stability.
Round 1 - Pick 21
Alabama • Soph • 6'1" / 180 lbs
The injury Jameson Williams sustained during the national championship game was unfortunate, but in this case the Patriots benefit from it. I did not believe he would be available for New England at No. 21 overall had it not been for the injury. It would not be a surprise if he was the best wide receiver to come from this draft class, and yet he is the fifth off the board.
Round 1 - Pick 22
Washington • Soph • 5'11" / 193 lbs
It is a new day and age in Raiders football. Las Vegas will have a new head coach and general manager, and that will inform our thought process into its decision-making. We know the Raiders need help at cornerback. McDuffie is an aggressive player.
Round 1 - Pick 23
Iowa • Soph • 6'2" / 305 lbs
Rodney Hudson will be 33 years old prior to the 2022 season, so he has more football behind him than he does ahead. The addition of Linderbaum removes the uncertainty at that position for a decade.
Round 1 - Pick 24
Nakobe Dean LB
Georgia • Soph • 5'11" / 231 lbs
Micah Parsons is not a traditional linebacker. He is best served rushing the passer, so the team needs another linebacker to step in and blow up run lanes. Selfishly, I really want to see Parsons and Dean play together because both are uber-athletic and uber-active.
Round 1 - Pick 25
Tackling in the secondary was a huge issue for Buffalo in its loss to Kansas City. When you look at New England, it has invested in depth in the secondary, and I think that is the next step for the Bills defense. Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde are not getting any younger, so the team should have a ready-made option on the roster in the event either is hurt or leaves. In the meantime, you have a cornerback who can use his athleticism to confuse the opponents.
Round 1 - Pick 26
Malik Willis QB
Liberty • Soph • 6'1" / 219 lbs
Ryan Tannehill cost Tennessee its playoff game, and there have been some murmurings for change. Willis would allow the Titans to lean in to their identity as a run-heavy team while developing him as a more consistent and decisive passer.
Round 1 - Pick 27
Georgia • Soph • 6'3" / 304 lbs
Tampa Bay has a ton of prospective free agents, and no one knows what is going to happen with Rob Gronkowski and/or Tom Brady. The Buccaneers are the most volatile situation to predict this offseason because they could go in a number of directions. In this scenario, they take Wyatt to replace Ndamukong Suh and retain the interior defensive line as a strength of this team.
Round 1 - Pick 28
David Ojabo EDGE
Michigan • Soph • 6'4" / 265 lbs
Green Bay is another team with big offseason decisions to make. It is likely that one or both of Za'Darius and Preston Smith are handed their release forms this offseason. Ojabo is a raw, but physically gifted pass rusher who has as much bend around the edge as anyone in this class. One thing that I look for among edge rushers is forced fumbles in college. Josh Allen and Brian Burns did as well as anyone keying on the quarterback's arm coming around the corner, and that has obviously translated well to the next level. I see that same level of potential for Ojabo, but he has to improve as a run defender.
Round 1 - Pick 29
Kyler Gordon CB
Washington • Soph • 6'0" / 200 lbs
I was not impressed with Cincinnati hiring Lou Anarumo, and the acquisitions of Mike Hilton, Eli Apple and Chidobe Awuzie did not get me excited. I was wrong. Anarumo has done a good job with that entire defense pushing everyone to its potential. It is more sustainable if the Bengals add high-level talent. Gordon was a player I projected on Day 2 coming into the season, but now it looks like he will go even higher.
From San Francisco 49ers
Round 1 - Pick 30
Kentucky • Soph • 6'5" / 322 lbs
Miami has invested in its offensive line to its credit, but it has just not worked out. The Dolphins have not been targeting the right players apparently. Kinnard projects as a guard to me, but some believe he has what it takes to play on the edge. Regardless, the Dolphins need some turnover along that unit.
From Los Angeles Rams
Round 1 - Pick 31
Georgia • Soph • 6'5" / 272 lbs
Dan Campbell opened his introductory press conference with the well-traveled knee-cap-biting line, and that just described his style of play. How do hard-nosed coaches want to win? They win in the trenches. Detroit's offensive line is set, so the team turns its attention to the defensive line where it first selected Aidan Hutchinson and now Walker. It will not fix the entire defense, but you're able to start scratching some areas off the to-do list.
Round 1 - Pick 32
Drake Jackson EDGE
USC • Soph • 6'4" / 273 lbs
For Kansas City, it just comes down to adding a sustained pass rusher. Melvin Ingram was a short-term answer and not a long-term solution. Jackson can be the latter as the Chiefs move forward with Chris Jones along the interior defensive line.