NFL Teams Already Regretting Their 2022 NFL Draft Picks
It may be too early to truly judge the 2022 draft class, but that won't stop teams from having regrets about some of their choices.
Some teams are struggling right now because they made a poor decision when they were on the clock with a valuable selection, picking a player who hasn't panned out while letting a potential contributor slip by.
It's too early to call these underwhelming prospects busts, but they'll need to show improvement next year to avoid being labeled as such.
While there are no do-overs in the NFL draft, here are some teams that would almost certainly take one given a chance:
Arizona Cardinals: TE Trey McBride
After entering the season with hopes of building on their playoff appearance, the Arizona Cardinals have had a rough year. Injuries have played a major role in their disappointing 4-10 record, and the club has been further hamstrung by a lack of depth stemming from a wildly underwhelming rookie class.
One of Arizona's more disappointing first-year players is tight end Trey McBride, the team's top overall selection at No. 55 overall. The Cardinals traded their first-rounder for Marquise Brown, a wideout who has missed five games and hasn't had the impact the Cardinals were hoping for when they acquired him.
One of Arizona's top priorities this year was developing a playmaking tight end. It lacked talent at the position last year before dealing for a well-past-his-prime Zach Ertz to fill the gap.
While tight end is notoriously difficult to transition to in the NFL, McBride has shown he has a long way to go before he can be considered reliable.
The 23-year-old has played 45 percent of the team's offensive snaps in the 13 games he's been active for, but he's only recorded 16 receptions for 129 yards on 22 targets.
McBride has yet to find the end zone as a professional after scoring 10 touchdowns at Colorado State, plus he's dropped two passes.
Even with Ertz going down for the year and other injuries in the Arizona receiving corps, McBride hasn't found a way to contribute much.
His usage has seen a minor bump in recent weeks, but he's still amassed just 12 catches for 98 yards in the four games following Ertz's season-ending knee injury. His best performance was a four-catch, 55-yard outing—both career highs—against the Denver Broncos this past weekend.
It may be too early to call McBride a bust, but the Cardinals could have benefitted much more from making a different selection in the 2022 draft.
Chicago Bears: WR/KR Velus Jones Jr.
The Chicago Bears drafted Velus Jones Jr. in the third round to fill the club's void at kick returner while also contributing as a wideout.
Unfortunately, Jones has shown to be a non-factor on offense who can't even perform his limited special teams duties at an acceptable level, scoring a paltry 55.5 PFF grade for his rookie season thus far.
Jones had an abysmal start to his career, muffing two punts in his first three games. The team went as far as deactivating him after these critical mistakes, making him a healthy scratch in Weeks 9 and 10.
It seemed as if he was turning a corner upon his Week 11 return with a 55-yard kickoff return, but his ball security issues reared their head again this past weekend.
After the Bears cut the Philadelphia Eagles' lead to four points in the third quarter and forced a three-and-out on defense, Jones coughed up a critical fumble on an end-around that ultimately cost the team dearly in a 25-20 defeat.
With three games left on the season, Jones has tallied just four receptions for 27 yards and one score. He has more rushing yards (48 on seven totes) than he does receiving and has only gained 35 yards on five punt returns in addition to his 349 yards on 13 kick returns.
Fans in the Windy City understandably want to see Jones cut after his latest mistake, and judging by head coach Matt Eberflus' reaction during a post-game interview, it would hardly be a shock for that to happen.
Unless there's a drastic turnaround here—which isn't likely given Jones is already 25 years old—he will be remembered as Chicago's worst pick in the 2022 draft by a large margin.
Dallas Cowboys: WR Jalen Tolbert
One of the more hyped rookies of 2022, third-round pick Jalen Tolbert has failed to capitalize on his chance to shine for the Dallas Cowboys.
The injury-ravaged Cowboys receiving corps went into the campaign with little in the way of proven pass-catchers behind star wideout CeeDee Lamb. Despite having an opportunity to seize the No. 2 role with inconsistent veteran Noah Brown as the only real competition for the job, Tolbert failed to even get onto the field in the season-opener.
Head coach Mike McCarthy stated that missed training camp reps were the reason for Tolbert's benching and didn't even have the 23-year-old dress until Week 3. While he's remained healthy, Tolbert has made almost no impact for the club this year.
Through Week 15, Tolbert has seen action in eight games—starting one—and caught just two of his three targets for 12 yards. He's logged a paltry 89 offensive snaps and has contributed on a higher percentage of special teams plays (25 percent) than he has offensive ones (16 percent) when active.
While the 10-4 Cowboys are doing fine without much production from Tolbert, they could have addressed a suspect run defense—a unit that allowed the Jacksonville Jaguars to rack up 192 yards on 27 carries in a tough 40-34 defeat this past Sunday—with the No. 88 pick.
Houston Texans: OL Kenyon Green
Kenyon Green, the highest-drafted player on this list, is off to a miserable start to his NFL career.
Green came into the league as a bit of a tweener. The 6'4", 323-pounder played multiple positions along the Texas A&M line in college and performed well at all of them. After drafting him at No. 15 overall, the Houston Texans likely figured they could slot Green anywhere and have him find success the same way he did for the Aggies.
While Houston eventually gave Green the starting left guard job after utilizing him as a backup in the season-opener, he has largely disappointed in that role.
Green rates amongst the worst rookies in the entire league according to PFF's metrics, earning an atrocious 35.8 mark for his efforts across 688 offensive snaps. He's allowed four sacks and taken a whopping 11 penalties—tied for most in the league—on those plays.
There is still hope for Green, though. He's one of the youngest players in the NFL at just 21 years old, giving him plenty of upside and time to hone his extremely raw skillset.
Factor in that he plays for a Texans squad that had little chance of contending this season and will likely continue to rebuild in 2023, and the franchise can afford to be patient with the youthful lineman.
Expect Houston to try to bring Green along as the team grows in the coming years, even after he has stumbled out of the gates.
Jacksonville Jaguars: LB Devin Lloyd
The Jacksonville Jaguars made what seemed to be a safe pick by taking steady linebacker Devin Lloyd at No. 27 in this year's draft.
While Lloyd was relatively old for a first-round prospect and is now 24, he showed plenty of versatility at Utah by defending the run and rushing the passer.
Those skills have not translated to the NFL level. Lloyd has been exposed by many of the Jaguars' opponents this year, and it's going to be tough for him to develop into the three-down linebacker he was projected to become if he doesn't show some significant improvement.
Lloyd's most glaring weaknesses are his inability to consistently tackle—he's missed a concerning 10.9 percent of his tackles this year—and poor coverage abilities. He's allowed 52 of the 66 passes thrown his way to be completed for 553 yards and four touchdowns.
Jacksonville attempted to hide Lloyd's inadequacies by reducing his playing time. He logged nearly every defensive snap during the first half of the season but saw less than a 40 percent snap share in Weeks 12 and 13.
While the team began relying on Lloyd again as an every-down defender starting in Week 14, he hasn't exactly warranted the workload increase. In the last two games, Lloyd missed three tackles while allowing 10 completions on 12 targets to go for 111 yards. He also gave up a passing touchdown in each of those contests.
Lloyd's pass-rushing attempts haven't borne any fruit either, as his 35 blitzes have only resulted in three pressures, two knockdowns and one hurry. He's yet to record a sack in the NFL.
With a PFF grade of only 47.4, Lloyd looks like he is on his way to becoming one of the bigger busts in this year's class.
Minnesota Vikings: OL Ed Ingram
The Minnesota Vikings are one of the surprise successes of the 2022 season, but their rookie class doesn't deserve much credit for this fantastic campaign.
Ed Ingram is one of the few first-year players even regularly seeing the field for the club this year after several highly drafted rookies went down with major injuries.
While he was a four-year starter for LSU, the 23-year-old hasn't been able to translate his success for the Tigers into quality professional play.
The second-round pick has been a massive liability in pass protection, allowing nine sacks across his 967 offensive snaps, the most among all guards. PFF has graded Ingram out at a concerning 55.4, a mark that must improve if he's going to remain a first-string lineman.
At the start of December, Ingram had allowed a league-worst 44 pressures, with no other offensive lineman conceding more than 35.
Ingram's inability to protect his quarterback is a key reason why Minnesota allows the eighth-highest pressure rate in the league.
At this point, it's clear that Ingram is only taking regular snaps because the Vikings lack any other viable options at the left guard position. It's hard to imagine the team wouldn't take a mulligan on the pick if given a chance.