Day 1 of the 2022 NFL Draft kicks off this Friday live from Sin City.
Las Vegas was penciled in to host the draft back in 2020 but a certain global pandemic saw the event go virtual for the first time in league history.
The draft is always one of the most exciting dates on the NFL calendar; with teams trading up for prospects, trading down for assets, reaching for players and finding late round gems. The 3 day spectacle that is the NFL Draft is never short of storylines.
The biggest of those storylines always starts with the first overall pick. For those not in the know, the draft order is determined by how you finished on the ladder in the previous season.
If you won the Super Bowl, you get pick number 32, if you won the wooden spoon you are given first choice of the incoming crop of talent and have the first chance at picking who you think will be the best player to turn your team around.
The first overall pick is always a very heavily scrutinised pick & teams don’t always get it right (do yourself a favour and Google JaMarcus Russell).
That being said there has been a plethora of generational talent come through the drafts in recent years and I decided to take a break from reading through scouting reports to rank the 1st Overall Picks from the last decade.
10. Jadeveon Clowney (2014)
Kicking us off at the number 10 spot is a player that had a heap of potential but has failed to meet the large expectations that the first pick comes with.
The Texans “earned” the first overall pick for the 2014 Draft when they finished the 2013 Season with a 2-14 record.
Defence as a whole needed to be an emphasis for the Texans, they finished tied for second for the least amount of sacks on the year and they needed another player on the defence line that would draw lineman off the defensive animal that is JJ Watt.
Clowney who declared for the draft after a three year college career with the South Carolina Gamecocks was projected as a top 3 prospect coming into the draft. Draft Guru Mel Kiper Jr called him “A rare talent, basically to the defensive end spot what Andrew Luck and RG3 were to the quarterback position” and that was enough for the Texans to take them first overall.
He hasn’t necessarily been a bad pick, Clowney has been selected for three pro bowls, his best year came in 2017 where he made 41 solo tackles and a career high 9.5 sacks.
However there was a certain Defensive End still sitting on the board in 2014 that goes by the name of Khalil Mack who ended up going 5th Overall to the then Oakland Raiders. Mack has since gone on to win NFL Defensive Player of The Year, 3 First Team All Pro Nods, was named in the 2010s All Decade Team and has been to 6 Pro Bowls.
Probably a bloke worthy of the 1st Overall Pick.
Clowney hasn’t had a season where he’s made double digit sacks which is kind of your main KPI when you’re a number 1 overall Defensive End. Clowney was traded to the Seahawks in 2018 he then went to the Titans where he ended up on IR after a knee injury and then signed with the Browns in 2021.
He’s hasn’t been terrible but he certainly hasn’t lived up to the hype of First Overall either.
9. Trevor Lawrence (2021)
I’m putting Trev this early on the list just because we haven’t seen enough yet. Urban Meyer’s Jaguars were an absolute dumpster fire of an organisation last year and I feel bad for Lawrence that he had to be associated with them.
Lawrence was the guaranteed first overall pick even before he had even finished high school. Regarded as one of the best high school prospects of all time, The Clemson Tigers went all out to make sure they locked down Trevor to their program.
In his three seasons as a Tiger “Sunshine” only lost two games in total.
The Jaguars secured one of their many first overall picks in recent memory thanks to just general incompetence from every single person in the organisation.
The Jags won their Week 1 matchup in 2020 and then went on to lose the next 15 finishing 1-15 on the year.
Lawrence was $1.00 odds to be drafted by the Jags and to the surprise of no one, he was taken first overall.
Sadly for Lawrence, the Jags Coach had no desire to be a mentor to the young QB let alone a coach.
Meyer got his marching orders at the end of the soap opera that was the Jaguars’ 2021 season and Jacksonville hired Super Bowl winning coach Doug Pederson. Fans will know Pederson as the HC who developed Carson Wentz who was on track to an MVP season before his ACL decided they had other plans.
Lawrence probably won’t be ranked this low ever again.
8. Jared Goff (2016)
The 2016 Draft started with a bang when the Tennessee Titans traded their 1st overall Pick, a fourth round and 6th round picks to the Rams in exchange for their 15th overall, two second round picks and a third as well as the Rams 1st and 3rd round picks in next years draft.
The Rams were all in on Jared Goff, the QB from the University of California. Things didn’t go well for the young QB straight off the bat, he started his rookie campaign 0-7 and was regarded league wide as a very expensive dud pick.
The Rams invested heavily in their QB Prospect, Coach Sean McVay began building a pretty impressive roster around Goff when he took over in 2017 and they became a regular feature in the post season.
It all came to a head in the 2018 Season when Goff lead the Rams to a Super Bowl matchup against the New England Patriots.
Unfortunately for Goff it was too tall of a mountain to climb, the Patriots beat the Rams 13-3 and then the Rams failed to make the playoffs in the following season.
The Rams decided they had seen enough from Goff and traded him to Detroit for Matthew Stafford and even more draft picks.
Goff had a very impressive tenure with the Rams. He finished with a 42-27 record as well as 18,171 passing yards & 107 touchdown passes.
It’s not going as well at the Lions but he certainly wasn’t a failure by any means for Los Angeles.
7. Jameis Winston (2015)
Jameis, Jameis, Jameis… one of the biggest kooks in NFL history. There may not be another Quarterback that is as hot and cold as the Florida State signal caller.
The Buccaneers went 2-14 in the 2014 season, their Quarterback room consisted of Mike Glennon and Josh McCown. To say they were desperate for a franchise QB would be a massive understatement.
There were only two genuine day one starter Quarterbacks in the 2015 Draft, Winston and Mariota both won Heisman Trophies in college and they went 1st and 2nd respectively.
Jameis’ first pass attempt ever ended up being a pick 6 (talk about foreshadowing).
He put it behind him however and set a plethora of rookies records for the Bucs. Most pass attempts, most completions, most pass yards and most passing touchdowns.
He became the third rookie Quarterback ever to throw for 4000 yards in a season and subsequently won Rookie of the Year. Famous Jameis also became the first rookie QB ever to be selected in the Pro Bowl.
2019 ended up being Jameis’ last year in Tampa before some bloke named Tom took over. Winston’s 2019 season will go down in history as one of the best worst seasons ever.
Jameis threw for a whopping 5,109 pass yards and 33 touchdowns which is an incredible season. A year like that would win a lot of QBs the MVP. However Jameis also threw an eye popping 30 interceptions.
Yes you read that right 30 INTS.
Jameis signed for the Saints in 2020 after NFL Legend Drew Brees decided to call it a day and Winston has been sharing the QB1 duties with Taysom Hill.
There continues to be flashes of brilliance followed by just utter trash from Winston and I can’t see things improving for the 2015 ROTY and Heisman winner as I imagine The Saints will draft a young Quarterback very soon.
Winston’s recently re-signed a two year contract extension but I can’t see him locking down a starting role.
Just like a bad microwave dinner, his hot spots are scorching and his cold spots can turn you off completely. I think middle of the pack is a perfect ranking for this truly bizarre footballer.
6. Eric Fisher (2013)
The only O-Lineman to go first overall in the last 10 years. The Central Michigan Bookend was considered the top prospect in the draft by many and KC snatched him up after going 2-14 the season before.
Fisher struggled in his rookie season. He was ranked as the 70th overall tackle in the league and many wrote him off as a bust.
Andy Reid and Chiefs GM John Dorsey saw something in him that most didn’t however and Fisher continued to develop at the left tackle spot year after year.
The Chiefs picked up Fisher’s 5th year option in 2016 and after Week 1 of the 2016 Season, Pro Football Focus had Fisher ranked as the number 1 tackle in the league.
Fisher scored his first Pro Bowl selection in 2018, he then won a Super Bowl with the Chiefs in 2019 and then made the Pro Bowl again in 2020.
The Chiefs released him after the 2020 season where the Colts picked him up on a one year deal and he is now a free agent again. Will another team take a chance on him like the Chiefs did? Only time will tell.
5. Baker Mayfield (2018)
The Browns had the pick of the litter once again in 2018 after they became only the second team in NFL history to go 0-16.
The QB Class in 2018 was STACKED according to analysts and for weeks it was a two horse race between USC’s Sam Darnold and UCLA’s Josh Rosen as to who was going to go first overall to The Browns.
Very late mail came through in the last week that The Browns liked 2017 Heisman Trophy winner and on Draft night, The Sooner was the first name off the board infront of Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen and 2019 MVP Lamar Jackson.
Baker had leadership, raw talent and swag by the boat load. He got his first game time in Week 3 when Tyrod Taylor went down hurt and took the Browns to their first win in what felt like an eternity.
Baker finished his rookie season with 3,725 Pass Yards and broke Peyton Manning & Russell Wilson’s rookie record for most passing touchdowns in a season.
Things looked to be on the up for Baker and the Browns. In Baker’s 3rd Season, The Browns finally got a taste of playoff football. They won their Wildcard game but went down to the Chiefs in the Divisional Playoff game.
Baker is now out of favour with the team that took him first overall. They have since traded for Deshaun Watson and the whole league is wondering where the former face of the franchise will end up. Will we see a trade on draft day?
4. Myles Garrett (2017)
Myles Garrett has quickly become one of, if not the scariest Defensive Ends in the League.
Five seasons in the league he has 63 sacks, 203 tackles and 11 forced fumbles but also in this draft class were absolute studs that go by the names Pat Mahomes and Deshaun Watson.
The Browns were coming off a 1-15 year and had just wasted a first round pick on Johnny Manziel.
Hue Jackson’s Browns needed a leader and a face of the Franchise, someone that would be their anchor for years to come.
They absolutely got that with Myles but they could’ve had Patrick Mahomes, the best Quarterback in the world and the very definition of a generational talent.
After drafting Garrett, The Browns went 0-16. I can’t imagine that a Patrick Mahomes’ lead Browns team would’ve gone 0-16 even with Corey Coleman and Sammy Coates as their top two Wide Receivers.
Garrett was not a bad pick, The Browns just could’ve done SO. MUCH. BETTER.
3. Kyler Murray (2019)
Since coming into the league in 2019, Kyler Murray has been an absolute stud. The Cardinals got their man, the second Heisman winning Oklahoma Sooner to be drafted first overall in as many years in 2019 after they finished the 2018 season with a record of 3-13.
During his time in college, Murray was just as good a baseball player as he was a Quarterback. There were a lot of questions about where his allegiance lied.
In 2018 the Oakland Athletics actually drafted Murray in the 9th Round of the MLB draft but Kyler opted for football instead and went on to win the Heisman in 2018.
Murray’s size was a very large talking point coming into the draft. He was considered too small to take his game to the pros. A lot of analysts thought he wouldn’t be tall enough to see over his O-Line and that his hands were too small to even hold the football properly.
Since joining the Cardinals, Murray has been a dual threat on the ground and through the air.
Kyler’s first season in the NFL saw him finish with 3,722 Passing Yards, 20 Passing TDs as well as 544 Rush Yards 4 Rushing Touchdowns on 93 Carries.
This was enough to to see him win Offensive Rookie of The Year, the first #1 Pick to do this since Cam Newton in 2011.
Murray’s 2nd and 3rd years as a starter has seen him earn two Pro Bowl appearances and the Cardinals made their first playoff appearance in 2021.
There has been a lot question marks about Kyler’s future at Arizona, he’s currently still on his rookie contract but has threatened to hold out or ask for a trade if he’s not paid the extra money he believes he’s earned.
The Cardinals picked up his 5th year contract option this morning so it looks like Kyler will be at the Cards’ for a little bit longer but they absolutely need to pay the man.
They hit a homerun with this pick and they need to pay him like the top QB he is.
2. Joe Burrow (2020)
Joe Brrr, Joe Shiesty, Joe Burreaux. Remember the names because Joey B is on a trajectory to become the face of the NFL.
Burrow became the first ever draft pick announced via Zoom when he got drafted to the Cincinnati Bengals in 2020.
The Bengals were coming off a 2-14 season and the LSU prospect was coming off the greatest ever season by a Quarterback in the history of College Football.
15-0 on the season 5,671 Passing Yards, 60 Touchdowns, 6 Interceptions, 368 Rush Yards and 5 Rushing TDs. Not to mention he lead LSU to a National Championship.
Burrow was that dude in college and he was ready to be that dude in the NFL too. He jumped out of the gates strong and was on track to have a hell of a rookie season.
In Week 7 Burrow became the first ever rookie in NFL history to finish a game with 400 Pass Yards, 3 Passing Touchdowns and a Rushing TD in a single game.
In Week 11, Joe was hit while throwing a pass and ended up with a torn ACL, MCL as well as damage to is PCL and meniscus. With a pretty hefty shopping list of knee damage, Joe’s rookie campaign was over.
The Bengals finished with the 4th Overall Pick in the next draft and a lot of fans begged the organisation to draft a top lineman prospect to keep the new face of the franchise on his feet.
The Bengals made a very bold move instead in 2021 and drafted Burrow’s college teammate and number 1 Wide Receiver Ja’Marr Chase with the 4th Overall pick. The Burrow to Chase connection was one of the greatest things to watch in the 2021 season.
Burrow threw for a whopping 4,611 Yards and 34 touchdowns in 2021 which saw him win Comeback Player of the Year after his brutal knee injury.
Joe’s efforts took the Bengals all the way to the Super Bowl in just two seasons, unfortunatley the rapid improvement of the Bengals wasn’t quite enough to win them a ring, losing a close one against the LA Rams.
The Bengals set a record for most sacks allowed in post season history (19) and Burrow has been sacked a monster 83 times in just two years.
The Bengals made the right choice with Joey B but if they can’t protect him he will definitely not be ranked this high in draft rankings ever again.
1. Andrew Luck (2012)
Andrew Luck, the biggest “What If” in recent memory.
Coming out of Stanford, Luck was an absolute unit. He was First Team All American in both years he was a starter and he turned the Stanford football program into a winning one.
Before Luck started at Stanford in 2010, the program had never won more than 10 games in a season – Luck lead them to a combined 23-3 in the next two seasons.
The Colts selected Andrew Luck first overall in the 2012. Drafted in front of Baylor prospect and the man that Luck was runner up to in the 2011 Heisman votes , Robert Griffin III.
Mel Kiper Jr called Luck “The Best QB Prospect since John Elway in 1983”
Luck turned the Colts around instantly, he lead them to an 11-5 record in his first season and set rookie records for most wins by a QB drafted first overall, most pass yards in a season by a rookie, most game winning drives from a rookie as well as almost every franchise rookie record that you could think of.
The Colts lost the wildcard game that year but it was clear that they had something special with their QB1.
Andrew Luck made 4 Pro Bowls during his time with the Colts but it ended up being a career that was sadly cut short.
To the shock of almost everyone, Andrew Luck announced his retirement from the NFL in 2019 at the age of 29. Luck missed the entire 2017 season after he required a serious shoulder reconstruction, combine that with an O-Line that struggled to keep him upright, Luck ultimately decided that the constant injuries and rehab wasn’t worth it.
“I’ve been stuck in this process. I haven’t been able to live the life I want to live. It’s taken the joy out of this game. The only way forward for me is to remove myself from football. This is not an easy decision. It’s the hardest decision of my life. But it is the right decision for me.“
Luck is considered by many in the US Sports Community as the greatest ever athlete to retire in their prime.
With the first pick in the 2022 NFL, The Jacksonville Jaguars select…
Where do the Jags go with this pick? There’s a new coach in town and he’s name isn’t Urban Meyer thank, god.
The Jaguars need talent everywhere that isn’t the QB position. Without a clear cut top prospect in this years draft, it looks like it’s going to be a best player available situation for the Jags.
For weeks Michigan Defensive End, Aidan Hutchinson has been the favourite to be selected 1st overall but in recent times all the mail coming in has said that the Jaguars are going to be picking Georgia DE Travon Walker. He’s currently the $1.30 favourite.
An argument can be made for an Offensive Tackle like Ikem Ekwonu or Charles Cross. Even trading back could be a huge shout in this draft considering there isn’t the star studded prospects that there have been in recent years.
All will be revealed tomorrow when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell walks on stage in Vegas, gets booed and announces that the Jags are officially on the clock.