2022 NFL Draft: Each Team's Perfect Pick
Matching prospects to team needs to uncover each franchise's perfect pick in the 2022 NFL Draft
“Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match…”
Yes, that song is stuck in your head now too. When I sat down to do the research for this piece, that was running on a loop through my mind after playing matchmaker for all 32 NFL teams and their first pick in the 2022 NFL draft.
A perfect pick matchup isn't always based on what fans may see as the right pick for their team, but instead is based on a marriage of need and value. For this piece I used the most recently updated ESPN NFL Nation reporters’ team needs list. In the event that no defined need was listed, I went to my list of team needs to fill in the blanks.
The below is a look at a prospect who fits the need, scheme and value in the round for each team. So while the Kansas City Chiefs would love Kayvon Thibodeaux, for example, he won’t be there in the late 20s when the team comes on the clock. An element of realism was required here.
So, with that said, let’s play matchmaker with the 2022 NFL draft class.
Buffalo Bills — Team Needs: IOL, DL — Projected Pick: No. 27 overall
Perfect Pick: DT DeMarvin Leal, Texas A&M
Leal, a one-time top 10 prospect, could slip some in the first round due to the ‘tweener label being applied to him by scouts. The Buffalo Bills would quickly scoop him up and place him in a 3-technique position to pair with 2021 draftees Greg Rousseau and Boogie Basham. With Ed Oliver in tow, this becomes a very young and very promising defensive line in a hurry.
Miami Dolphins — Team Needs: OL, LB — Projected Pick: No. 26 overall
Perfect Pick: OT Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa
The Dolphins spent a ton of draft capital in the past three years to solve an offensive line problem created when the front office traded away Laremy Tunsil. Spoiler Alert: It’s still a problem. Trevor Penning is a plug-and-play left tackle with Day 1 readiness; unlike the projects drafted in the past to fill this role.
New England Patriots — Team Needs: CB, Defense — Pick: No. 21 overall
Perfect Pick: LB Devin Lloyd, Utah
Addressing the cornerback position could be tempting, but if there is a run on them in the early and middle portions of Round 1 the Patriots could be on the outside looking in at the group. Watching the Buffalo Bills run all over New England in the playoffs, a fast linebacker with real range is a huge need. Devin Lloyd is that to a T and has elite size at 6’3” and 235 pounds.