NFL News & Analysis

Ranking the top draft classes from the 2022 NFL season

Cleveland, Ohio, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Garrett Wilson (17) celebrates after catching a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

• A Jets class for the ages: After selecting three players in the first round, the Jets were faced with high expectations for their 2022 rookie class. And what a group it was.

• Seahawks hit on numerous future starters: From their rookie offensive tackle pairing to a gem in cornerback Tariq Woolen, Seattle hit a home run with its 2022 class.

Estimated Reading Time: 5 mins

With PFF grades, snap counts, and short-to-long-term outlook taken into account, here are eight 2022 NFL Draft hauls that had the best early return during the regular season.


1. New York Jets 

Round (Pick) Player 2022 PFF Grade (Snaps)
1 (4) Sauce Gardner 88.5 (1,114)
1 (10) Garrett Wilson 82.7 (882)
1 (26) Jermaine Johnson II 71.7 (312)
2 (36) Breece Hall 69.8 (233)
3 (101) Jeremy Ruckert 56.1 (48)
4 (111) Max Mitchell 55.1 (341)
4 (117) Micheal Clemons 78.7 (311)

With a handful of nice draft hauls to choose from, the Jets stand alone at the top. They might have the Defensive Rookie of the Year in Sauce Gardner and the Offensive Rookie of the Year in Garrett Wilson. That’s not even mentioning Breece Hall, who was on a potential Rookie of the Year run before getting hurt. Gardner’s 90.2 coverage grade wasn’t just the top grade among rookie cornerbacks, but the top coverage grade among all cornerbacks in the NFL. No class brought in a bigger return than New York's.

2. Seattle Seahawks

Round (Pick) Player 2022 PFF Grade (Snaps)
1 (9) Charles Cross 63.7 (1,088)
2 (40) Boye Mafe 65.7 (423)
2 (41) Kenneth Walker III 76.7 (574)
3 (72) Abraham Lucas 68.5 (975)
4 (109) Coby Bryant 58.9 (757)
5 (153) Tariq Woolen 71.6 (1,135)
5 (158) Tyreke Smith 0
7 (229) Bo Melton 0
7 (233) Dareke Young 58.9 (109)

The Seahawks are another team that put their rebuild in a slingshot thanks to this rookie class. They found two quality starters at offensive tackle in Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas. Both earned top-10 grades among rookie offensive linemen this season, and they allowed just 16 combined sacks. 

Seattle also has an Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate in Kenneth Walker III, who had the most rushing yards (1,050) and most explosive plays (29) of any rookie back. Finally, they found two starters in the secondary with Tariq Woolen and Coby Bryant, and Woolen led all rookies in interceptions (6).

3. Detroit Lions

Round (Pick) Player 2022 PFF Grade (Snaps)
1 (2) Aidan Hutchinson 80.7 (953)
1 (12) Jameson Williams 63.4 (78)
2 (46) Josh Paschal 55.1 (293)
3 (97) Kerby Joseph 64.0 (875)
5 (117) James Mitchell 66.9 (183)
6 (188) Malcolm Rodriguez 63.9 (611)
6 (217) James Houston IV 80.2 (140)
7 (237) Chase Lucas 35.5 (6)

The Lions’ defense needed some big-time playmakers, and they certainly found a few in the 2022 class. Hutchinson led all rookies in sacks (9.5) and pressures (53), while James Houston IV led all rookies in pass-rush win percentage (25.0%). Throw in Kerby Joseph’s three interceptions and Malcolm Rodriguez’s 28 solo stops, and you’ve got one of the most impactful rookie classes from 2022.

4. Kansas City Chiefs

Round (Pick) Player 2022 PFF Grade (Snaps)
1 (21) Trent McDuffie 73.6 (683)
1 (30) George Karlaftis 52.0 (729)
2 (54) Skyy Moore 70.9 (313)
2 (62) Bryan Cook 64.3 (341)
3 (103) Leo Chenal 66.0 (262)
4 (135) Joshua Williams 60.6 (437)
5 (145) Darian Kinnard 0
7 (243) Jaylen Watson 57.0 (604)
7 (251) Isiah Pacheco 74.6 (351)
7 (259) Nazeeh Johnson 0

As if the Kansas City Chiefs needed more talent on their team, their 2022 rookie class was one of the best out of the gate, setting them up well for the future.

First-round pick Trent McDuffie missed some time due to injury but finished tied for the fourth-highest coverage grade among rookie cornerbacks (76.0). While George Karlaftis’ impact was more quantity than quality this year, he still finished second in total pressures among rookies, with 47. On offense, Isiah Pacheco looks like a steal as a seventh-round starting running back.

5. Dallas Cowboys

Round (Pick) Player 2022 PFF Grade (Snaps)
1 (24) Tyler Smith 71.4 (1,144)
2 (56) Sam Williams 70.9 (274)
3 (88) Jalen Tolbert 48.7 (89)
4 (129) Jake Ferguson 65.7 (430)
5 (155) Matt Waletzko 60.0 (1)
5 (167) DaRon Bland 73.4 (597)
5 (176) Damone Clark 65.5 (398)
5 (178) John Ridgeway 0
6 (193) Devin Harper 0

The Cowboys’ class was a bit up and down, but the ups paint a picture of a bright future. For starters, Tyler Smith was the fourth-highest-graded rookie offensive lineman in a year that was supposed to just be a learning season for him. They also got a steal in nickel cornerback DaRon Bland in the fifth round. Bland was the third-highest-graded rookie cornerback in coverage (76.8) and also had five interceptions. Tolbert didn’t have the best rookie season, but that’s not a nail in the coffin by any means. He could still break out in 2023, which would only boost the success of this group.

6. Baltimore Ravens

Round (Pick) Player 2022 PFF Grade (Snaps)
1 (14) Kyle Hamilton 82.3 (547)
1 (25) Tyler Linderbaum 74.7 (1,092)
2 (45) David Ojabo 81.5 (21)
3 (76) Travis Jones 62.5 (322)
4 (110) Daniel Faalele 50.2 (169)
4 (119) Jalyn Armour-Davis 28.2 (50)
4 (128) Charlie Kolar 74.8 (36)
4 (130) Jordan Stout 59.6 (57)
4 (139) Isaiah Likely 66.4 (412)
4 (141) Damarion Williams 43.9 (225)
6 (196) Tyler Badie 0

The Ravens undeniably hit on their two first-round selections. Tyler Linderbaum was the second-highest-graded rookie offensive lineman this season (74.7) among those who played more than 200 snaps. They also got notable contributions from fourth-round tight end Isaiah Likely, who had a 20.9% wide receiver usage when on the field.

On defense, Kyle Hamilton didn’t grade below 76.8 in any facet of play. He earned a 76.8 coverage grade, an 84.8 run-defense grade and an 87.5 pass-rush grade. David Ojabo missed most of the season, but in his two games of action, he recorded a sack and a 17.6% pass-rush win rate on 21 total snaps.

7. Tennessee Titans

Round (Pick) Player 2022 PFF Grade (Snaps)
1 (18) Treylon Burks 74.1 (393)
2 (35) Roger McCreary 62.6 (1,164)
3 (69) Nicholas Petit-Frere 52.3 (937)
3 (86) Malik Willis 51.9 (211)
4 (131) Hassan Haskin 59.2 (154)
4 (143) Chigoziem Okonkwo 75.4 (378)
5 (163) Kyle Phillips 63.7 (64)
6 (204) Theo Jackson 0
6 (219) Chance Campbell 0

Despite not getting much from their swing at quarterback this year, the Titans found some nice roles for their first-year players. Roger McCreary played the most snaps of any player on defense, and tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo ranked second, behind only Derrick Henry, for overall offense grade on the team. His 84.6 receiving grade was the best on the squad. Burks missed some games this season, but when on the field he was targeted on 20.9% of his snaps for a 73.9 receiving grade.

8. Atlanta Falcons

Round (Pick) Player 2022 PFF Grade (Snaps)
1 (8) Drake London 83.2 (819)
2 (38) Arnold Ebiketie 64.5 (516)
2 (58) Troy Andersen 40.2 (481)
3 (74) Desmond Ridder 55.9 (271)
3 (82) Deangelo Malone 57.5 (216)
5 (151) Tyler Allgeier 86.7 (497)
6 (190) Justin Schaffer 0
6 (213) John FitzPatrick 0

A handful of teams could have claimed the No. 8 spot. Although the Falcons’ defensive draft picks weren’t very impactful, their offensive players made up for it. Tyler Allgeier rushed for more than 1,000 yards (one of two rookies to do so) and racked up the most yards after contact (752). His 53 first downs also ranked second among rookies. Drake London finished with the second-highest rookie receiving grade (85.3) and caught 92.6% of his catchable targets.

The cherry on top was Desmond Ridder, whose 55.9 overall grade wasn’t the best, but he showed consistent improvement with a 68.6% adjusted completion percentage and two big-time throws against the Buccaneers in their regular season finale. He gives Atlanta a legit option at quarterback going into next season.

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