NFL Teams That Already Wish They Could Have a 2022 Draft Do-Over
Throughout the 2022 NFL draft, all 32 franchises tried to maneuver their way into ideal positions and bolster their rosters. Every single move had great intentions.
But the vision of many choices won't become reality.
We aren't going to jump all over rookies for a few disappointing games. We eventually might realize that they aren't going to live up to their draft-day hype, but it's too early to say either way.
However, it's worth reviewing some decisions that teams already might regret, along with the short- and long-term impacts that are beginning to emerge.
Arizona Cardinals: Supercharged Offense but No Defense
During the first round of the draft, the Arizona Cardinals made a splash and traded the No. 23 overall pick to the Baltimore Ravens for wideout Marquise Brown. In the second round, the Cards landed Colorado State tight end Trey McBride.
What's not to like about adding more targets for franchise quarterback Kyler Murray? The opportunity cost, as we're learning.
Arizona ceded a modest 21.5 points per game last season, but opponents averaged 29.3 during the last six contests (including the playoffs). Through the first three weeks of the 2022 season, the Cardinals have allowed 29.0 points per game. The offensive line is a major weakness, too.
If the offense was scoring 30-plus points, the defensive issues wouldn't be as much of a problem. However, the Kyler Murray-led unit hasn't picked up the slack, and the problems cannot all be pinned on DeAndre Hopkins' six-game suspension.
Brown's addition is defensible, even though his route tree has been uninspiring so far. Given that Arizona had just re-signed tight end Zach Ertz to a three-year $31.7 million extension, McBride—who's averaged only three snaps per game—was a luxury pick for a roster that could hardly afford one.
The Cardinals could have gone with a number of different options in place of McBride. But in particular, offensive lineman Luke Goedeke and cornerback Martin Emerson—both of whom were selected within 15 picks of McBride—have become immediate contributors for their respective teams.
Green Bay Packers: Trade Up for Christian Watson Looking Rough
This is the exact type of situation where hindsight is an immense benefit.
In the moment, the Green Bay Packers had little idea how receivers might fly off the board following an opening round that featured six wideouts getting picked. So, the Packers traded up and took Christian Watson at No. 34 overall.
In that deal, they sent the No. 53 selection to the Minnesota Vikings, who later moved that pick to the Indianapolis Colts. Indianapolis took Alec Pierce at No. 53.
The early signs from Pierce have been promising. He hauled in three catches for 61 yards in the Colts' upset of the Kansas City Chiefs this past Sunday. Meanwhile, Watson has already fallen behind Green Bay's fourth-round pick, Romeo Doubs.
Had the Packers not jumped up the board for Watson, they could've kept the 59th overall pick and had a great opportunity to bolster their defensive depth with edge-rusher Drake Jackson or safety Bryan Cook. Both were selected within three spots of No. 59.
Houston Texans: Going All-In on Davis Mills Instead of Adding a Developmental QB
Amid an offseason full of changes, the Houston Texans had a busy draft. They traded slightly down in the first round and jumped up during both the second and third rounds.
However, they left the draft without taking a quarterback. Instead, they committed to developing Davis Mills with little serious competition.
Fifth-year player Kyle Allen has knowledge to share in his backup role, but he provides a comparable skill set. As currently constructed, there is nothing dynamic about Houston's quarterbacks room now or in the future.
Since most quarterbacks fell in the 2022 draft, the Texans had a terrific opportunity to snag Malik Willis in the third round. However, they picked Alabama linebacker Christian Harris instead.
Harris could develop into a nice player, but Willis would have given Houston's offense a different look as he progresses.
That likely would've required the Texans to carry a third quarterback on the 53-man roster, which isn't necessarily ideal. But if Mills doesn't pan out, the Texans will need to be incredibly lucky to find the kind of value that already presented itself once.
Minnesota Vikings: Not Getting Immediate Impact from Early-Round Picks
You couldn't question the Minnesota Vikings' level of activity on draft night. New general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah executed six trades, moving the Vikings all over the board.
The outcome of those moves resulted in Georgia safety Lewis Cine being Minnesota's first pick at No. 32 overall—a drop of 20 spots from its initial position on the board.
During the Week 3 victory over the Detroit Lions, Cine didn't play a single defensive snap despite Harrison Smith missing the game. If the Vikings already trusted their safety depth (Josh Metellus) enough to not play a first-rounder when a star was sidelined, shouldn't they have looked elsewhere?
In that case, Cine might have been a luxury pick. And a franchise like Minnesota, which typically flirts with a .500 record while bouncing in and out of short playoff trips, cannot afford to make those.
Minnesota instead could have targeted a much-needed edge-rusher or a more versatile defensive back such as Jalen Pitre.
New Orleans Saints: Olave Looks Great, But This Was Bad Asset Management
New Orleans Saints first-round wide receiver Chris Olave has quickly emerged as a standout rookie, and it's impossible to judge first-round offensive tackle Trevor Penning because of the foot injury that he suffered during the preseason.
The issue is the sequence that brought them to town.
The short version is that New Orleans picked 11th and 19th overall in 2022. The Saints moved the No. 18 pick along with two 2022 third-round picks, a fourth-rounder, a seventh-rounder, a 2023 first-round pick and a 2024 second-round pick to move up.
In theory, the Saints were simply speeding up the timeline of their opening-round selections. That decision is squarely in danger of being a poor course of action.
Jameis Winston has already tossed five interceptions and lost three fumbles. He's looking more like his error-prone past self than last season's pre-injury breakout quarterback. If that continues, New Orleans may lose 10-plus games and gift the Philadelphia Eagles a top-12 selection in the 2023 draft.
The Saints could've packaged some of those extra selections to move up for Olave at No. 11. That's perfectly reasonable.
However, New Orleans is possibly heading toward a considerable reload. And now, it'd be with depleted draft capital.