The 2022 NFL Draft is finally upon us. Even though the NFL regular season doesn’t start for more than four months, optimism flows throughout fans around the league, as they feel with the right mixture of picks, their team could be playing out in Glendale at the Super Bowl in February. Except you, Jacksonville. Even though you rid yourself of Urban Meyer’s boomer brain, you still likely won’t be sniffing the playoffs for a while.
Where is this year’s draft....and the 2023 draft....and the 2024 draft
This year’s NFL Draft will be held in Las Vegas for the first time. Originally the 2020 NFL Draft was slated to be in Sin City, but COVID-19 changed those plans. Instead the 2020 NFL Draft was held virtually, which gave us some hilarious moments, like when there was a cut to Bill Belichick’s home and we saw no sign of Belichick, and instead it looked as if his dog was making the picks for the Patriots. Then again, let’s not put that evil on the dog, since that very good boy probably would have made better draft picks that what the Patriots actually made in 2020.
From 1965-2014, the NFL Draft was held in New York City before the league finally came to its senses and decided to take the show on the road. Last year’s draft was held in Cleveland, while next year’s edition will be held in Kansas City. If Buckeye fans want to catch the draft but don’t want to go out to Kansas City next year, they’ll have a much shorter trip in 2024, since Detroit will be the host. Even though it might be tough to stomach cross over into That State Up North, 2024 could possibly see Buckeyes like TreVeyon Henderson or Marvin Harrison Jr. come off the board in the first round.
How to watch this year’s draft
There are a number of options on how to watch this year’s NFL Draft. Gone are the days when the only real option we had was Chris Berman making a bunch of strange sounds and workshop nicknames for the rookies. These days you have the option of watch the draft on ESPN, ABC, or NFL Network.
The safest option is probably to watch the draft on NFL Network. Despite being a Michigan Man, Rich Eisen is a pretty good listen as host of the broadcast. It certainly is an infinitely better option than ESPN, who continues to give America more Mike Greenberg even though we are begging them to stop subjecting us to that windbag. If you have to choose between ABC or ESPN for draft coverage, the safer option is ABC, since aside from Desmond Howard, the rest of the broadcast crew that is headed by Rece Davis and Suzy Kolber are strong professionals.
How the first two picks should shake out
Unlike many years when there are a few players that separate themselves from the rest of the players eligible to be drafted, this year’s draft is pretty wide open. What will likely be remembered most about this year’s draft is the absence of a true franchise quarterback, as well as the offensive and defensive line dominating the picks early on.
For the second year in a row, the Jacksonville Jaguars hold the first pick in the NFL Draft. The Jags didn’t have to make as tough of a decision last year, since Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence was the obvious top pick in the draft. This year with Doug Pederson in his first year as head coach in Jacksonville, the decision isn’t so simple. Although, it looks like Georgia defensive lineman Travon Walker is likely to be who the Jaguars are targeting.
The second pick of this year’s draft is held by the Detroit Lions. If Jacksonville goes with Walker, the Lions should run their pick up to Roger Goodell and select defensive end Aidan Hutchinson. The Lions should be able to sell plenty of Hutchinson jerseys since the standout was not only born in Michigan, he went on to play his college football at the University of Michigan.
An impressive streak
Since 2016, Ohio State has produced 16 first round draft picks, although last year was the only year during that span in which the Buckeyes didn’t have multiple first round picks. Justin Fields was the lone Ohio State first rounder, going to Chicago after the Bears traded up to the 11th pick in the draft to select the quarterback.
Who is going first, Olave or Wilson?
This year we are pretty much certain that we’ll see two Buckeyes selected in the first round. What we don’t know is whether Chris Olave or Garrett Wilson will be the first Ohio State wide receiver selected. A couple months ago Wilson was the favorite to come off the board first, but Olave has impressed in the time since the season has ended, and we could possibly see Olave join Terry McLaurin in Washington.
If Olave is taken with the 11th pick, keep an eye on Wilson going to New Orleans with the 16th pick. Much like Olave, Wilson would also be teaming up with a former Ohio State wide receiver. Michael Thomas is a member of the New Orleans Saints even though it’s easy to forget that’s where Thomas is these days since he played in just seven games in 2020 and didn’t see the field in 2021 due to injury.
When either Olave or Wilson is drafted in the first round, it will snap a streak of 12 Ohio State wide receivers that were drafted, but not taken in the first round. The last time Ohio State produced first round wide receivers was back in 2007 when the Miami Dolphins took Ted Ginn Jr. with the ninth pick, and the Indianapolis Colts took Anthony Gonzalez with the final pick in the first round.
What other Buckeyes should be selected before the draft wraps up on Saturday?
During the three-day draft, we’ll likely see around seven Buckeyes drafted. After Olave and Wilson are drafted during the first round, the next likely Ohio State players to come off the board will be tight end Jeremy Ruckert and offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere on Friday night. By the time the draft wraps up on Saturday, defensive linemen Tyreke Smith and Haskell Garrett, as well as offensive lineman Thayer Munford look like they’ll hear their name called at some point.
What the NFL teams in Ohio will be doing on Thursday night
For fans of the two Ohio teams in the NFL, Thursday night likely won’t be much fun. The Browns decided to use their first round picks over the next few years to acquire quarterback Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans. On the other end of I-71, Cincinnati won’t pick until the 31st pick, since the Bengals made it all the way to the Super Bowl. Since Cincinnati addressed their offensive line issues in free agency, the Bengals could opt to trade out of the first round and acquire some more future draft capital.
No matter what your plans for the draft over the next three days are, the smartest move to keep track of all that is going on with Ohio State players in this year’s draft is to keep it locked here at Land-Grant Holy Land. Enjoy this year’s draft as we celebrate the Ohio State players that are drafted and keep getting closer to the start of the 2022 season.