January 31, 2023

Day 2 of the 2022 NFL Draft didn’t see seismic trades to the level of what went down in the first round Thursday, but it did carry the baton nicely and kept us on our toes throughout the evening. The general theme of the second and third rounds was the surprising dip for a number of high-profile players who were expected to hear their names much earlier than they ultimately did. Naturally, they will be a primary focus as we begin dissecting these latest two rounds now that they are officially in the books. 

Below, you’ll see our five biggest surprises from Day 2 of the draft. Also, if you missed it, feel free to check out what we dubbed to be the most jaw-dropping moments on Round 1 as well.

And. Here. We. Go.  

Historic QB drought 

Kenny Pickett was the lone quarterback taken in the first round Thursday, and there was an assumption there could be a run of signal-callers pretty early on Day 2. After all, there were a handful of QB-needy teams at the top of the second round, including the Seattle Seahawks at No. 40 and No. 41 and the Atlanta Falcons at No. 43 overall. However, each of those teams decided against addressing the position at that point in the draft, lengthening what was shaping up to possibly be a record-breaking drought. 

The Falcons did eventually end up taking Desmond Ridder with the 74th pick to snap the QB skid, but this was the most picks between quarterbacks since the record was set in 1975 when 63 picks elapsed from the first selection to the second. 

Throughout the pre-draft process, you could routinely find Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean coming off the board at some point in the first round in various mock drafts. After all, he was the best linebacker of the best defense in college football last year and possesses an extremely high football IQ. However, he was one of the most high-profile players to fall to Day 2. And not only did Dean not hear his name called in the first round, but he went unclaimed throughout the second round as well before the Philadelphia Eagles decided to end his free fall by taking him with the 83rd pick in the third round. 

So, what happened? As Dean continued to fall, reports surfaced that he may need pec surgery following his rookie season. Those injury concerns on top of his smaller stature seemed to scare off a bulk of the league at higher points in the draft. 

Despite those rumors, Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said he expects Dean to participate in rookie minicamp and that Dean will not undergo surgery. If Dean does prove to be healthy, it’s a tremendous coup that Philadelphia was able to scoop him up so late in the draft.

Malik Willis was a part of that quarterback drought we talked about above but ended up hearing his name called Friday. While his fall is noteworthy in itself given his potential, it’s even more eyebrow-raising that it was the Tennessee Titans that ultimately decided to pull the trigger and pluck him off the board at No. 86 overall. Willis did provide good value at this stage of the draft, so it’d make sense for several teams to pick him, but this move could signal that the Titans may eventually move on from Ryan Tannehill. 

Tannehill seems to have plateaued after bursting onto the scene with the Titans in 2019. He threw 14 interceptions during the regular season last year, which was the second-most of his career. His 89.6 passer rating was also the worst of his three-year tenure with the team. 

Not only has Tannehill’s production slipped a bit, but he’s also going to be costly for Tennessee over the next few seasons. Next year, he carries a $38.6 million cap hit, which is the highest in the NFL. And since he has a $57.4 million dead cap charge, the Titans won’t be moving on from him this offseason. That said, they can clear roughly $20 million off the books next season, meaning that if Willis progresses nicely behind the scenes in 2022, they now have an in-house option if they want a changing of the guard. 

Packers trade up for a wide receiver

Despite entering the first round armed with two picks, the Green Bay Packers decided against taking a wide receiver at that point in the draft Thursday. If you’ve been paying attention over the years, this is nothing new for an organization that hasn’t taken a receiver in the first round since 2002. However, after trading Davante Adams earlier this offseason, most assumed that the streak would be snapped. 

While it may not have been Thursday, Green Bay traded up in the second round to take North Dakota State pass-catcher Christian Watson with the No. 34 overall pick. This is the first time Green Bay has taken a receiver in the top 34 picks since 2002.  

Draft pick presenter rambles, nudged to make Vikings pick

When we get outside of the first round, Roger Goodell steps aside and various team legends, current players, fans, and celebrities get a turn to announce some of the picks throughout the draft. For the Minnesota Vikings, former running back Ed Marinaro was selected to announce the No. 42 overall pick in the second round. Let’s just say that things took an unexpected turn. 

Instead of the standard quick one-liner by the presenter before they announce the pick, Marinaro began rambling at the podium. He spoke for so long without revealing the selection that a producer actually needed to walk to the podium to push him along. That has to be a first in NFL Draft history, right?  

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