X

ESPN's Mel Kiper Analyzes Biggest Steals, Reaches From Day 2 of 2022 NFL Draft

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVApril 30, 2022

Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. listed the Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans among the winners from Day 2 of the 2022 NFL draft on Friday.

Kiper pinpointed the Titans' selection of quarterback Malik Willis, who was projected as a potential top-10 pick before sliding to No. 86 overall, as one of the steals after a "stunning" drop out of the first two rounds.

The longtime ESPN draft guru named the Chicago Bears, New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks as teams that made questionable picks during Rounds 2 and 3.

Tennessee doesn't have an immediate need at quarterback with Ryan Tannehill entrenched as the starter for 2022, but at some point, the long-term upside of Willis and the positional value of quarterbacks became too much to pass up.

Willis is undersized (6' ½'', 219 pounds) but his dual-threat playmaking ability and overall arm talent represent an ideal fit for the modern game. He tallied 74 total touchdowns (47 passing and 27 rushing) in 23 games across two seasons at Liberty.

A year on the sideline to acclimate himself to the speed of NFL defenses and he could be ready to compete for the starting job. The Titans can save $27 million against the salary cap if Tannehill is traded or released after June 1 next year, per Spotrac.

"Good arm, athletic and moves around well," Titans general manager Jon Robinson told reporters about Willis. "He's got a really good skill set and throws a good ball. He's tough to tackle, but he's got a lot of work to do like all of the rookies do."

Other picks that caught Kiper's eye included the Falcons' choice of Penn State defensive end Arnold Ebiketie, the Ravens' selection of UConn defensive tackle Travis Jones, the Packers landing North Dakota State wide receiver Christian Watson and the Colts grabbing Central Michigan offensive tackle Bernhard Raimann.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Kiper was surprised the Seahawks used their back-to-back picks at Nos. 40 and 41 without grabbing a quarterback. Geno Smith, Drew Lock and Jacob Eason are the only signal-callers under contract for 2022.

If Seattle enters the year without an upgrade at the position, it'll be fair to wonder whether it's tanking with an eye toward one of the 2023 class' top QBs, Ohio State's C.J. Stroud or Alabama's Bryce Young.

Kiper also wasn't a fan of the Patriots taking Baylor wide receiver Tyquan Thornton at No. 50 or the Bears' decision to add Washington cornerback Kyler Gordon and Penn State safety Jaquan Brisker despite some glaring holes on offense.

This year's draft will wrap up Saturday with the final four rounds. The action resumes at 12 p.m. ET.

🚨 SPORTS NEWS ➡️ YOUR INBOX

The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.