With the 2022 NFL Draft now over, we can accurately re-assess the depth charts of teams around the NFL. In this series, we’ll be taking a look at players who either gained or lost value based on what their team did during the draft.
Next up, the NFC South.
- Round 1 (Pick 8): Drake London, WR USC
- Round 2 (Pick 38): Arnold Ebiketie, EDGE Penn State
- Round 2 (Pick 58): Troy Andersen, LB Montana State
- Round 3 (Pick 74): Desmond Ridder, QB Cincinnati
- Round 3 (Pick 82): DeAngelo Malone, LB Western Kentucky
- Round 5 (Pick 151): Tyler Allgeier, RB BYU
- Round 6 (Pick 190): Justin Shaffer, G Georgia
- Round 6 (Pick 213): John FitzPatrick, TE Georgia
Winner – Cordarrelle Patterson, RB
Patterson was a cinderella story last season, finally producing on the talent that has long teased dynasty GMs. He was already a winner of the off-season, having re-signed with the Falcons on a two-year $10.5m deal. However, when the team didn’t spend day one or two draft capital on a running back, it cleared him to repeat as a fantasy star and all-around offensive weapon for Atlanta. Patterson will never be a 300-touch workhorse, but if he can continue to see a mix of targets lined up outside alongside carries all over the field, he can easily outproduce his current cost.
Loser – Mike Davis, RB
It’s hard to be a bigger loser than Davis following the draft. The Falcons didn’t pay up for a workhorse running back, but they did add a potential complement to Patterson in Tyler Allgeier out of BYU in the fifth round. Allgeier’s acquisition in the draft potentially spelled the end for Davis, who could have been cut and saved the Falcons $2.5m in cap space. Less than 48 hours after the draft’s conclusion, Davis was duly released. He could potentially catch on somewhere else in training camp, but it’s hard to imagine him being anything more than a third or fourth option at best.
- Round 1 (Pick 6): Ikem Ekwonu, OT NC State
- Round 3 (Pick 94): Matt Corral, QB Ole Miss
- Round 4 (Pick 120): Brandon Smith LB, Penn State
- Round 6 (Pick 189): Amare Barno EDGE, Virginia Tech
- Round 6 (Pick 199): Cade Mays, G Tenneseee
- Round 7 (Pick 242): Kalon Barnes, CB Baylor
Winner – Terrace Marshall, WR
I’ve never been an enormous Marshall fan. However, one of the darlings of the post-draft process, he could be the sneaky winner of Carolina this year. They didn’t add any pass-catching competition for him. Furthermore, they added a potential new starting quarterback in Matt Corral in the third round.
On the surface, that may not seem enough for Marshall to be a big winner. However, when you combine that with the fact Robby Anderson is likely in his final year on his current contract (Panthers save $12m in cutting Anderson after the season), there is some hope Marshall could step into the number two role in Carolina sooner rather than later.
Loser – Sam Darnold, QB
Depending on how you look, Darnold could be portrayed as a winner of the draft as the Panthers didn’t trade for Baker Mayfield or acquire a first-round quarterback. However, despite being limited in draft capital, the Panthers traded up and grabbed Matt Corral in the third to compete with Darnold. This highlighted the distinct lack of faith the Panthers’ brain trust has in Darnold. I wouldn’t be shocked if Corral was given a chance to start by the middle of the season as Matt Rhule desperately tries to cling onto what little job tenure he has remaining.
New Orleans Saints
- Round 1 (Pick 11): Chris Olave, WR Ohio State
- Round 1 (Pick 19): Trevor Penning, OT Northern Iowa
- Round 2 (Pick 49): Alontae Taylor, CB Tennessee
- Round 5 (Pick 161): D’Marco Jackson, LB Appalachian State
- Round 6 (Pick 194): Jordan Jackson, DT Air Force
Winner – Jameis Winston, QB
When the Saints completed the pre-draft trade with the Eagles, I was convinced they were doing so to give them the draft capital to trade up for a rookie quarterback. However, they traded up intending to fill their two glaring holes on offense: left tackle and wide receiver. A team only does that if they believe they’re a contender and believe in their quarterback. After signing bridge quarterback money in the off-season, I wasn’t convinced the saints for Winston as the long-term answer. However, these moves, combined with the lack of a 2023 first-round pick, mean Winston is likely the starter for the Saints for at least the next two seasons.
Loser – Deonte Harty, WR
Advanced stats fans were intrigued by Harty (formerly Harris) heading into 2022. He had flashed in a reduced role after posting a top-five season in yards per route. Could he produce a consistent fantasy option if given a significant role? After trading up twice to grad Chris Olave with the 11th pick, the Saints dashed those hopes. Harty is now likely relegated to his reduced role and is unlikely to be fantasy-relevant. He is the type of player who could have the occasional boom week and tempt you to consider starting him. However, sitting behind target hogs in Michael Thomas and Chris Olave, the volume left for Harty will be difficult to bank on.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Round 2 (Pick 33): Logan Hall, DL Houston
- Round 2 (Pick 57): Luke Goedeke, G Central Michigan
- Round 3 (Pick 91): Rachaad White, RB Arizona State
- Round 4 (Pick 106): Cade Otton, TE Washington
- Round 4 (Pick 133): Jake Camarda, P Georgia
- Round 5 (Pick 157): Zyon McCollum, CB Sam Houston State
- Round 6 (Pick 218 from Rams): Ko Kieft TE, Minnesota
- Round 7 (Pick 248): Andre Anthony, EDGE LSU
Winner – Cameron Brate, TE
I believe that NFL teams show you their thinking by how they act throughout the draft. The Buccaneers spending a fourth-round pick on a tight end spells concerns that Rob Gronkowski is unlikely to return in 2023. If that is the case, Brate may finally be unleashed into a full-time role. He is a player who has flashed significantly when given a chance and could step into a role as a red-zone weapon and, therefore, be a regular fantasy contributor. There is a chance Gronkowski returns and Brate is nothing more than a situational player again. However, given he is likely free in most leagues, he could be worth a speculative add.
Loser – Leonard Fournette, RB
Fournette surprised a lot of people with an elite 2021 campaign. Finishing the season as a top-12 back, he offered the potential for elite production at a reduced price for dynasty GMs. The problem is that a large amount of Fournette’s value came as being the only reliable receiving back on Tampa Bay in 2021. They felt this was an issue and acquired a proven receiving weapon out the backfield in the draft’s third round. Rachaad White is the best satellite back and profiles as the next potential James White for Tom Brady. Even if White carves into a small number of Forunette’s receiving targets, it is a massive hit to his overall value.