2022 NFL Draft Notebook: One Christmas gift for each NFL team

Sep 18, 2021; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi Rebels quarterback Matt Corral (2) passes against Tulane Green Wave at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 18, 2021; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi Rebels quarterback Matt Corral (2) passes against Tulane Green Wave at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports /

This weekend we get to celebrate my favorite holiday of the season which is Christmas. I love this holiday for several reasons including getting to spend time with family, getting to eat great food and seeing the joy on peoples face when they receive the perfect gift. In the spirit of giving in this week’s article, I give each NFL team one gift they would love to have this Christmas including several gifts that involve 2022 NFL Draft picks.

Along with giving a Christmas gift to each NFL franchise this week’s NFL Draft Notebook also takes a look at the following:

  • Several players who saw there stock either rise or fall significantly this season
  • A player each AFC South team should take with their first pick in the 2022 NFL Draft
  • One of the top slot receivers in this year’s draft
  • And much more

Gifts For Every NFL Team

Arizona Cardinals
One of the reasons the Arizona Cardinals have gone from an 8-8 team last year to one contending for a Super Bowl this year has been the play of James Connor. Unfortunately for Arizona though, he is only on a one year deal so their Christmas present is a new long term deal for Conner.

Atlanta Falcons
An area the Falcons must upgrade at is pass rusher. The team currently doesn’t have a player with over five sacks on the season and its top pass rusher Dante Fowler Jr. might not be back. Due to this need the Falcons get a young pass rusher to build their defense around.

Baltimore Ravens
In order to be a team that wins by running the ball and playing great defense, the team needs to do better in coverage. The position that has been the weakest this year is safety which has given up way too many completions this season and also missed its share of tackles. Due to these issues, the one Christmas gift they get is a safety who can take control of their secondary.

Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills need to have an interior offensive line on their Christmas wish list. The team has struggled in both pass protection and in run blocking at this position this season. In the passing game they have allowed teams to pressure quarterback Josh Allen consistently up the middle. Teams have been able to get penetration vs. the Bills quickly which allows them to disrupt the run game.

Carolina Panthers
A team that desperately needs a quarterback is the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers tried to solve this issue last year by trading for Sam Darnold but that has not worked out. The Panthers also brought in Cam Newton this season but he is not the long term answer. A quarterback like Kenny Pickett or Matt Corral will likely be high on the Panthers Christmas wish list.

Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears get something they desperately need this Christmas which is a new head coach. The Bears need to find a coach who fits one of these categories this offseason: an innovative offensive coach who knows how to develop a young quarterback or a defensive-minded coach who will reestablish the Bears as a defensive first team who loves to pound the ball on offense.

Cincinnati Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals get some much-needed protection for quarterback Joe Burrow for their Christmas present. The Bengals specifically need to address their interior offensive line especially if they lose Quinton Spain in free agency.

Cleveland Browns
One of the biggest weaknesses on the Browns this season has been throwing the ball. This season they are 26th in the NFL in passing yards per game throwing for only 202 yards a game. Adding a big-play wide receiver to replace Odell Beckham Jr. would be the perfect gift for the Browns this Christmas.

Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys get a young pass-rushing linebacker to pair with rookie standout Micah Parsons. This is an item high on Dallas’s wish list since Parsons and Randy Gregory are the only two players on the Cowboys with over 3 sacks on the season. They would also like to add a linebacker since they cut Jaylon Smith and could lose Leighton Vander Esch in free agency.

Denver Broncos
The Broncos have had a need at the quarterback position ever since Peyton Manning retired after the 2015 season. Denver finally get their answer for this position this year with the Christmas present of a veteran, high-quality quarterback.

Detroit Lions
Another team that would like nothing more than a franchise quarterback for Christmas is the Detroit Lions. It is evident that Jared Goff is not the answer at quarterback and if the team is ever going to compete for a playoff spot they will need to find a new face of the franchise.

Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers get the gift of happiness this Christmas. Specifically, they finally get a happy Aaron Rodgers who is content to stay in Green Bay for years to come.

Houston Texans
The Houston Texans get three gifts in one this holiday season. The Texans receive three first-round picks in exchange for quarterback Deshaun Watson, including one in the 2023 NFL Draft. This allows the Texans to add several young players this year and then draft one of the top quarterbacks in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Indianapolis Colts
Indianapolis quarterback Carson Wentz gets a new toy for Christmas when the Colts add a playmaking wide receiver. Adding a wide receiver helps the Colts offense in two ways, with the first one being it gives Wentz a downfield target which he desperately needs. It also helps Indianapolis’s offense by stretching the opposing defense and opening up running lanes for Jonathan Taylor.

Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville gets a coach who won’t be a national embarrassment. The Jaguars desperately need this as the Urban Meyer experiment was a complete disaster. Some of the issues Meyer had included hiring a coach who was dismissed from his last job due to racial insensitivity, an embarrassing bar situation, and having a meeting where he called his coaches losers. These are just three of the reasons Jacksonville needs a coach who carries himself with some self-respect for Christmas.

Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs get a possession wide receiver who can take some of the pressure off of Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. This lack of a third option has hurt the Chiefs overall success in the passing game and has also had a negative impact on Patrick Mahomes.

Las Vegas Raiders
The Las Vegas Raiders receive some much-needed help along the offensive line. This area became a major need after the team got rid of Gabe Jackson, Trent Brown and Rodney Hudson last offseason. This year the line has given up 33 sacks and ranks 28th in yards per carry.

Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers get something they desperately need for Christmas with help along the defensive line. The only high-quality player on the line is Joey Bosa which is allowing teams to chip and double him consistently. Los Angeles also needs to help their run defense which ranks 29th in the NFL giving up 137 yards per game.

Los Angeles Rams
The Los Angeles Rams receive some much-needed youth among its offensive line. Earlier this season Andrew Whitworth became the first left tackle to start a game at 40, so some developmental offensive linemen are much needed.

Miami Dolphins
Miami is another team with offensive line high on their Christmas wish list. If the team wants quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to keep developing they are going to need to provide him with some protection. The gift of an offensive lineman should also help the Dolphins run game which ranks 28th in the NFL.

Minnesota Vikings
While the Viking offense has been solid this year one area they would be smart to upgrade is tight end. 2019 second-round pick Irv Smith Jr. has battled injuries this season and the Vikings could lose both Tyler Conklin and Chris Herndon in free agency.

New England Patriots
New England gets the gift of a new contract for cornerback J.C. Jackson. Jackson has been one of the best corners in the NFL the past two seasons having picked off 15 passes, including seven this year.

New Orleans Saints
The Saints get one of the best Christmas gifts you can get which is cash. In this case, the Saints get some spending money to use in free agency which is something they desperately need since they are projected to be more than 50 million dollars over the salary cap.

New York Giants
Another team that needs some help protecting its young quarterback is the New York Giants. This season the Giants have given up 29 sacks and have also seen their share of penalties. This could be an even bigger need if the team loses Will Hernandez and Billy Price in free agency.

New York Jets
The Jets get an assistant coach who can bring out the best in first-round pick Zach Wilson. To say this year has been a disappointment for Wilson is an understatement. In order for Wilson to live up to expectations, the Jets had for him when they took him with the first round in the 2021 NFL Draft he needs to work with a quarterback coach who can improve his mechanics and ability to read a defense.

Philadelphia Eagles
On top of the Philadelphia Eagles, Christmas wish list is an edge rusher. This is a need since the only proven edge pass rusher on the team is Josh Sweat. The team also could lose Derek Barnett in free agency and Brandon Graham will be 34 next year.

Pittsburgh Steelers
The biggest issue the Pittsburgh Steelers need to address is who will be the starting quarterback next season. It looks like Ben Roethlisberger is in the final days of his NFL career and the team lacks a potential replacement on their current roster. It would not be a surprise if the team added a veteran free agent this offseason to fill the immediate need and then draft a possible backup in the 2022 NFL Draft.

San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers get the gift of health for Christmas this year. The player the team desperately needs to stay healthy if they resign him this offseason is Jason Verrett. Verrett has missed most of this season with a torn ACL and also missed significant time the past couple of seasons due to various injuries.

Seattle Seahawks
Seattle gets a couple of first-round picks in exchange for Russell Wilson this Christmas. It is evident the Seahawks need to start the rebuilding process and what better way than to load up on draft picks, especially when they don’t have a first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Another team that needs to resign one of its key players this offseason is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The player Tampa Bay would love to resign this offseason is Carlton Davis who is one of the top young corners in the NFL.

Tennessee Titans
A key piece to the Titans defense this year is edge rusher Harold Landry, which is why the best present Tennessee can get is a new contract for him.

Washington Football Team
A Christmas gift Washington gets is one that is long overdue which is a new nickname. It is ridiculous Washington has gone by the name of the Washington Football Team for over a year and a half and it is time for that to change.

2022 NFL Draft Stock Up

Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
Perhaps no player raised his stock this year more than Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams. Going into the season Williams only had 15 career receptions for 266 yards and was a little used backup at Ohio State. However, last offseason he decided to transfer to Alabama which is likely the best choice of his life. Williams was able to become the Tide’s go-to receiver this year and came away with 68 receptions for 1,445 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also improved his NFL Draft stock from a preseason free agent grade to a likely high first-round pick.

Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
Going into the 2021 season there was talk that the ACC quarterback that might come out of nowhere to be a possible first-round pick was Boston College’s Phil Jurkovec. However, the ACC quarterback who actually made this jump was Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett. One of the main reasons we saw Pickett make such a big jump up the draft board was that he took better control of the ball. In 2020 and 2019 he accounted for 18 interceptions while only throwing 26 touchdowns however this season he threw just seven interceptions while accounting for 42 touchdowns. He also saw his completion percentage leap from 61% in 2020 to 67% this season. He should end up a first round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.


Kenneth Walker III, RB, Michigan State
Another player who saw his NFL Draft stock rise this year after deciding to transfer was running back Kenneth Walker. Walker spent his first two seasons at Wake Forest where he never rushed for over 600 yards in a season. This season Walker decided to play his final year of college ball at Michigan State where he led the NCAA in rushing yards with 1,636 and won the Walter Camp and Doak Walker awards.

Jermaine Johnson II, DE, Florida State
Florida State defensive end Jermaine Johnson is the third prospect who saw his stock rise dramatically after deciding to transfer. In Johnson’s case, he went from a backup linebacker at Georgia to leading the ACC in tackles for loss and sacks at Florida State. When looking at Johnson as an NFL prospect the first thing that stands out is his length coming in at 6-foot-5. He also displays good quickness off the edge which helped him account for 12 sacks this season.

2022 NFL Draft Stock Down

Jordan Strachan, OLB, South Carolina
Just like we saw some players greatly improve their NFL Draft stock by transferring we also saw several of these prospects who transferred see their stock nosedive. One player who fits in this category is South Carolina outside linebacker Jordan Strachan. In 2020 Strachan led the FBS with 10.5 at Georgia State. This strong season led to him transferring to South Carolina and being rated as the 59th best player in the 2022 NFL Draft by Pro Football Focus going into the season. However, this season has been a disappointment for Strachan who finished the year with only 20 tackles and 1.5 sacks.

Xavior Williams, CB, Iowa
Another player who saw his 2022 NFL Draft stock plummet after transferring is Iowa cornerback Xavior Williams. Williams was one of the best corners in the FCS being named first-team All-Missouri Valley Conference in both 2019 and 2018, along with being selected to the FCS Freshman All-American team in 2017. However, before the 2021 season Williams decided to transfer from Northern Iowa to Iowa where he barely saw the field. This decision moved Williams from a late-round prospect to a player who will be lucky to be signed as an undrafted free agent.

Ty Fryfogle, WR, Indiana
Last season, Indiana wide receiver TY Fryfogle had one of the best three-game stretches we have seen from a wide receiver in recent memory when he accounted for 25 receptions for 560 yards and six touchdowns. These three games helped Fryfogle be named the Big Ten receiver of the year and All-Big Ten. However, this season has been a down year for Fryfogle as he has not had a 100 receiving yard game this season and droped15.4% of passes thrown his way. He has also seen the percentage of contested catches go down to 33% this year which is the 11th worst percent in the FBS, after catching 47.8% of these passes last year.

Jaxson Kirkland, OT, Washington
While Jaxson Kirkland did not have a poor season this year and was named first-team All-Pac-12 for the second consecutive year, his draft grade has gone down. The main reason for this is how he matched up against the top pass rushers this season including Aidan Hutchinson. These matchups showed Kirkland may have limited potential at the next level and moved him from a preseason first-round grade to his current third-round grade.

2022 NFL Draft: Prospects For The AFC South

A look at one prospect each AFC South team might take with their top draft pick.

Houston Texans

In my latest Houston Texans mock draft, I have them taking Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson who could have a J.J. Watt type impact for the team. However, Hutchinson might be off the board by the team picks so the team could go with a player like Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux or Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal.

Indianapolis Colts

The Indianapolis Colts would be wise to add some playmakers to their passing game with their first pick which doesn’t come until the second round. One of the biggest issues the Colts have faced this year is getting the ball downfield and one player who could immediately be a deep threat is South Alabama’s Jalen Tolbert. This past season Tolbert averaged 18 yards per catch and he has the size, speed and athletic ability to be a deep threat in the NFL.

Jacksonville Jaguars
While the Jacksonville Jaguars may be tempted to go with one of the top defensive ends in the 2022 NFL Draft the player that makes the most sense for the team is Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal. With this pick Jacksonville gets a franchise left tackle who can replace Cam Robinson who will be a free agent this offseason.

Tennessee Titans
With Julio Jones battling injuries most of this year the team could look to add a receiver in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. One prospect the team might look at is Arkansas Treylon Burks. Burks is a playmaker with the ball in his hands and should help open more running lanes for Derrick Henry and the Titans running game.

Scouting Notes

— One of the top slot receivers in the 2022 NFL Draft is Kentucky’s Wan’Dale Robinson. What makes Robinson such a promising slot receiver at the next level is his combination of quickness, reliable hands and elusiveness. He does a terrific job of making defenders miss in the open field and also shows the quickness to easily get separation on his defender. This past season he showed off his terrific hands not dropping a single pass over 20 yards and earning the highest receiving grade of any SEC wide receiver by Pro Football Focus. Despite putting up an outstanding season a few things scouts would like to see him improve on include being a more crisp route runner and being able to consistently win in contested catches situations. Overall, Robinson is a player who carries a third-round grade and is someone who should be able to produce as a rookie if used correctly.

— A player a lot of people rate higher than I do is Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder. While a lot of analysts have him slotted to be a first round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, I see him more as a fourth-round prospect. The reason he receives such a low ranking comes down to two main issues which happen to be the two most important qualities a quarterback can have. The first one is his spotty accuracy. While at times he can hit a small target there are way too many times where he misses a wide-open receiver. The other concern I have with him is his decision-making skills. He tends to force one or two balls into tight coverage a game and also needs to do a better job of going through his progressions. With that being said Ridder is a good developmental quarterback as he displays the arm strength, athletic ability, and leadership ability to potentially develop into a starting quarterback in a couple of years.

— While Ridder is being overrated a possible sleeper in the 2022 NFL Draft is UNI defensive tackle Jared Brinkman. What stands out with Brinkman is his impressive production which has earned Missouri Valley Defensive Player of the Year in both 2021 and 2020. This season he accounted for 73 tackles, 15 tackles for loss and seven sacks and last season in just seven games he had nine tackles for loss which led the MVFC. While it is doubtful Brinkman will get drafted in the 2022 NFL Draft his ability to get off blocks and overall strength could allow him to make a team as an undrafted free agent.

— The big injury news from last week surrounded Carson Strong’s knee. There was speculation about the knee issues he had as a senior in high school affecting his draft stock. This injury included having eight nails placed in his knee to repair a crack in his lateral femoral condyle bone. The knee also became an issue in college when Strong had surgery to clean up some cartilage in it after the 2020 season. However, Senior Bowl Director Jim Nagy helped relieve some of these concerns when he Tweeted that he saw an NFL team doctor who told him there was zero cause for long-term concern after a clean MRI. While his medical checks at the combine will be the true test of how much of a concern his knee will be at the next level, the news from Nagy can only be looked at as good news.

—One player who made a wise choice to skip the 2022 NFL Draft and return to college next season is Michigan wide receiver Ronnie Bell. Entering the 2021 season Bell was considered an early day three prospect, but unfortunately suffered a season-ending ACL injury in the season opener. This injury dramatically impacted his draft stock as an NFL team would have legitimate health concerns with his knee coming off of this injury. If Bell can come back led Michigan in receiving again next year, like he did in 2019 and 2020 he easily could make himself a third or fourth-round prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Quote of the Week

“Cole Strange frigging kills people. He’s old school. No gloves. No s— on his arms. Got the old school cross-bar face mask. When I put on that Kentucky game, I was like holy s—! He’s getting a ton of love, as he should. He’s a really good player.”

—Senior Bowl Director Jim Nagy, per The Athletic, on Chattanooga offensive guard Cole Strange