The run up to the 2022 NFL Draft was wild so it figures that the First Round was one of the most action-packed nights we’ve seen. There were a total of nine trades, we saw two established receivers dealt to new teams, six receivers drafted in the First Round and only one quarterback. It was a huge night for defense—Georgia in particular saw five players go in the First Round—while offensive skill players will likely be a bigger factor later.
As we prepare for the Second and Third Rounds tonight, let’s take a minute to see all the fantasy relevant action from the First Round.
A.J. Brown dealt to the Eagles
About: It was widely known that Brown, a Second Round Pick in the 2019 Draft heading into a contract year, was seeking a new, long-term deal. In somewhat of a surprise, the Titans dealt him to the Eagles for two picks, including the No. 18 selection. For the Eagles, who moved up to Pick No. 13 but still missed out on Jameson Williams, it gives them a superb receiver opposite DeVonta Smith and tight end Dallas Goedert for third-year quarterback Jalen Hurts. The Eagles rewarded Brown with a massive four-year, $100 million contract. Brown has caught 185 passes for 2,995 yards and 24 touchdowns in three seasons. He is viewed by many, including myself, as a Top 10 Dynasty receiver. It’s likely that his addition to the Eagles lineup will lower the ceiling for Smith and Goedert in Philadelphia unless the passing volume greatly increases. The Eagles have surrounded Hurts with a great supporting cast as he moves into a make-or-break third season and second full season as the Eagles’ starter.
Marquise “Hollywood” Brown dealt to the Cardinals
About: Another Brown, Hollywood, was also dealt during the first round. The Cardinals spent their First Round Pick, No. 23 overall, among other picks to acquire Hollywood from the Ravens. The Cardinals still have veteran DeAndre Hopkins on the roster in addition to the recently re-signed A.J. Green and second-year receiver Rondale Moore. Hollywood gives Kyler Murray a big weapon on the outside. Hollywood, a First Round Pick in 2019, caught a career-high 91 passes for 1,008 yards and six touchdowns. Hollywood and Hopkins could form a strong one-two punch for the Cardinals, with both likely WR2s. It’s a big grab for the Cardinals but leaves a curious hole for the Ravens, who spent two First Round picks on Safety Kyle Hamilton and Center Tyler Linderbaum. With Hollywood gone, the Ravens top receiver is second-year man Rashod Bateman, with a receiving group that includes Devin Duvernay, Tylan Wallace and James Proche, among others. It’s a boost for Bateman and tight end Mark Andrews, but the Ravens figure to add more to the group.
First Round WRs:
Drake London, No. 8 to the Atlanta Falcons
About: Heading into the first night of the draft, few teams needed receiver help more than the Falcons. The team got it, taking the first offensive skill position player of the night in London. In three years at USC London had 160 receptions for 2,153 yards and 15 touchdowns, including 88 receptions for 1,084 yards and seven touchdowns in 2021. London was one of the top receivers heading into the draft and easily becomes the best receiver available for the Falcons. He should be a top pick in rookie drafts.
Garrett Wilson, No. 10 to the New York Jets
About: Garrett Wilson was the second receiver off the board, going with the Jets second Top 10 pick. He joins a receiver group that includes Elijah Moore, Corey Davis and Braxton Berrios, giving second-year quarterback Zach Wilson a great group of targets. Garrett caught 143 passes for 2,213 yards and 23 touchdowns in three seasons for Ohio State. He caught 70 passes for 1,058 yards in 2021. He provides a great one-two punch with Moore, who had a strong rookie season. Garrett should be a top pick in rookie drafts and could have WR2 potential in 2022. While this selection is good for Garrett and should boost the stock of Zach, it’s likely a blow to Davis. Davis signed a big free agent deal last summer but didn’t have a robust season. He is now at best a third option for the Jets’ passing game, dropping into the WR4/5 range.
Chris Olave, No. 11 to the New Orleans Saints
About: The Saints moved up from No. 16 to 11 to snag Olave, giving them another offensive weapon opposite Michael Thomas for Jameis Winston. Olave caught 175 passes for 2,702 yards and 35 touchdowns in four seasons at Ohio State. Given the dearth of competition, Olave could easily become a starter for the Saints and Winston in the new-look offense. We’ve seen Winston support two high producing receivers in Tampa Bay, giving Olave some potential upside. His landing spot assures he’s a First-Round pick in rookie drafts.
Jameson Williams, No. 12 to the Detroit Lions
About: The Lions also moved up, snagging Williams as the third straight receiver off the board in the First Round. Williams transferred from Ohio State and had a fantastic 2021 at Alabama, catching 79 passes for 1,572 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also tore his ACL in January, meaning he might not be ready Week 1. Still, it’s a big grab for the Lions, as Williams should pair well with last year’s pick Amon-Ra St. Brown and tight end T.J. Hockenson to give the team a strong receiving corps. Williams should be a top pick in Rookie Drafts, though his 2022 finish is a big cloudy. Jared Goff has led an offense that’s supported multiple receivers in the past, so St. Brown should be OK, as will Hockenson. The biggest question is free agent D.J. Chark, who signed a one-year deal and has a murky role in the offense once Williams is healthy and available.
Jahan Dotson, No. 16 to the Washington Commanders
About: Dotson was the fifth receiver off the board, giving the Commanders another weapon opposite Terry McLaurin. The Commanders have struggled to find consistent production opposite McLaurin the past two seasons. Dotson caught 91 passes for 1,182 yards and six touchdowns in 2021 and figures to be a strong part of the attack with new quarterback Carson Wentz. It’s a decent landing spot and good draft capital, but Dotson is still my sixth choice among the six First Round receiver picks. He should be a fringe Round One selection in Rookie Drafts. His addition also likely further diminishes the fantasy value of Curtis Samuel, who signed a big free agent deal with Washington last off-season but hardly played due to injury in 2021.
Treylon Burks, No. 18 to the Tennessee Titans
About: The Titans broke fans hearts by dealing A.J. Brown but quickly used the pick acquired to snag a new target in Burks. The receiver from Arkansas caught 66 passes for 1,104 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2021. He’s a big target that should offer some production to replace Brown. He pairs nicely with Robert Woods, acquired earlier this off-season from the Los Angeles Rams. Burks will likely become the WR1 for the Titans, but that might not come in 2022. It’s also traditionally been a low-volume pass offense, so he will need to be efficient with his targets. Still, it’s a good landing spot that keeps Burks among the First-Round receivers in Rookie Drafts, likely no worse than fourth in rookie receiver rankings.
Kenny Pickett, No. 20 to the Pittsburgh Steelers
About: No position offered less certainty heading into night one of the draft than quarterback. How many would be taken? The answer ended up being one, as the Steelers used their First-Round pick to snag the local guy in Pickett. Pickett played five years at Pittsburgh, throwing for 12,303 yards and 81 touchdowns. But he really exploded in 2021, throwing for 4,319 yards and 42 touchdowns. The Steelers saw Ben Roethlisberger retire this off-season but signed former First Round pick Mitch Trubisky, who figured to be the Week 1 starter. Pickett could well end up the top quarterback off the board in Superflex drafts and it will be worth watching training camp and the season to see who ends up on the field for the Steelers.
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.