It’s hard to keep up with the NFL Draft. Seven rounds over three days are tough. Luckily, we have a collection of every player drafted in the AAC here. From Sauce Gardner to blank here is every AAC pick and what to know about their landing spots.
Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner
Round 1, Pick 4-New York Jets
It was no surprise when Sauce Gardner was the first AAC player off the board. The only real surprise might have been that he wasn’t the first corner off the board. That honor went to LSU’s Derek Stingley. Gardner lands in
New York Northern New Jersey with the Jets. The hope is that the perennially dysfunctional Jets don’t ruin him and he can recreate the Revis Island days. Gardner should be great in the NFL, continuing to play press man coverage.
Offensive Line, Tulsa
Round 1, Pick 24-Dallas Cowboys
It was a bit of a surprise to see Tyler Smith of Tulsa go in the first round, but you won’t see me complaining about it. The Cowboys are going through some turnover on their offensive line. This should give Smith an opportunity to play right away. He just needs a little coaching to play with more control and get called for fewer penalties. It would help if Dallas lets him focus on tackle too.
Defensive End, Houston
Round 2, Pick 33-Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Logan Hall was the very first Day 2 pick of the 2022 NFL Draft. He’ll be joining a Super Bowl contender right away. Hall is a great edge rusher with good jump into the gap. Tampa Bay, now coached by the defensive-minded Todd Bowles, traded out of the first round and still got a player they thought had a first-round grade but was overshadowed by a defensive end heavy draft.
Wide Receiver, Cincinnati
Round 2, Pick 53-Indianapolis Colts
Alec Pierce was the second Bearcat off the board and is on his way to Indianapolis. A lot of people love his body control and physicality as a wide receiver, even if the speed isn’t always there. Now, he gets to play in a dome and forget about those Midwest winters.
Round 2, Pick 62-Kansas City Chiefs
Bryan Cook was taken in the second round by the Kansas City Chiefs. He’s going to be expected to contribute early to a secondary that has become a glaring weakness for the Chiefs. He should thrive under excellent coaching, but in a division of elite quarterback play, things won’t be easy.
Round 3, Pick 74-Atlanta Falcons
Every quarterback (besides Pitt’s Kenny Pickett) slid in the draft. In round three, Desmond Ridder became just the second quarterback taken. There are questions about Ridder’s downfield accuracy, but he’s a born leader and a great decision maker. Atlanta has some weapons at the skills positions and questions at quarterback. They might try and start Marcus Mariota, letting Ridder develop towards his ceiling. They might force him into playing sooner, though, if the coaching staff gets desperate.
Round 3, Pick 85-New England Patriots
Bill Belichick and the Patriots scooped up the undersized Marcus Jones in the third round and it’s a match made in heaven. New England has depth and age issues at corner. Belichick also loves a versatile player. Jones, who is always around the ball, can contribute right away on that defense. He can also help on special teams, where New England needs help in the return game and special teams in general.
Offensive Line, Memphis
Round 3, Pick 90-Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders went out and filled one of their biggest needs when they drafted Dylan Parham out of Memphis. He’s a good run blocking lineman who sometimes struggles in pass blocking. There is room for him to be developed and if the Raiders and Parham are able to do that he should be a solid contributor for them.
Defensive End, Cincinnati
Round 3, Pick 100-Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals lost their franchise’s best pass rusher in Chandler Jones. Myjai Sanders is part of the solution to replace his production. Sanders has good speed and length on the edge but tends to struggle against the run. Expect to see Sanders get snaps in passing situations.
Wide Receiver, SMU
Round 3, Pick 105-San Francisco 49ers
Danny Gray undoubtedly fell in the draft due to his slight frame and injury history. However, he was boosted by his blazing speed and big play ability. The 49ers are looking at turnover at the wide receiver position. If Gray can stay healthy, he’s going to a perfect offense and coach who will know how to design plays for his skill set.
Round 4, Pick 109-Seattle Seahawks
Given how productive Coby Bryant was at Cincinnati, it was a bit of a surprise that he fell to the fourth round. Of course, he was overshadowed by the rest of that elite secondary, though. Still, there is a good chance that Bryant becomes a productive NFL player for Seattle as they try to rebuild their roster.
Wide Receiver, Memphis
Round 4, Pick 138-Pittsburgh Steelers
Calvin Austin might be the steal of the draft by the Steelers (get it?). He’s a fast wide receiver who plays bigger than his listed size. An explosive option on the edge, the NFL will likely try and have him play special teams and the slot. He’ll be working with a rookie quarterback in Pickett, but that shouldn’t stop Austin from being productive.
Round 4, Pick 141-Baltimore Ravens
Damarion Williams is going to be overshadowed by what looks to be an excellent draft by the Baltimore Ravens. Williams deserves to be part of that discussion, though. He’s a high upside corner that the Ravens got on day 3, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him work his way onto the field at some point. He just needs some time to develop his craft and improve on the details.
Running Back, Cincinnati
Round 5, Pick 156-Cleveland Browns
The running back room in Cleveland is stacked with talent like Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. That’s actually a good thing for Jerome Ford, who is going to be given the opportunity to learn from veterans. With a diverse skillset, it’s easy to see Ford making the roster as a third running.
Round 6, Pick 182-New York Giants
The Giants scooped up Darrian Beavers of Cincinnati in the sixth round. At this point in the draft, every player is someone who teams hope is going to come in and compete, but it’s kind of a shot in the dark. For New York, the hope is Beavers can bring some of his production as a pass rusher to their defense and develop into a rotational player.
Tight End, SMU
Round 6, Pick 198-Philadelphia Eagles
Grant Calcaterra, whether it was at SMU or Oklahoma, was always an incredibly productive tight end in the passing game. There are just a couple of problems worth pointing out. First, Calcaterra needs to develop as a run blocker. Otherwise, you may as well move him to wide receiver. Second, the concussions he’s suffered nearly forced him to medically retire. One more, and it would be irresponsible to continue playing.
Defensive Tackle, Cincinnati
Round 6, Pick 216-Indianapolis Colts
The Colts dipped their toes back into the AAC and Cincinnati specifically to draft Curtis Brooks as a late round defensive tackle. Brooks was a key member the Cincinnati’s playoff run, though he was often overshadowed by the rest of the defensive talent. Still, Brooks will look to compete for a roster spot in Indianapolis.
Defensive Tackle, UCF
Round 6, Pick 220-San Francisco 49ers
The big defensive tackle from UCF, Kalia Davis landed with the 49ers as a sixth round pick. Davis has a ton of raw talent and is a monster on the interior defensive line. He slid in the draft, though, because he skipped the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns and tore his ACL in 2021. So, he hasn’t played a ton of football recently. Still, there is potential for him to be a jackpot pick.
Offensive Line, Tulsa
Round 7, Pick 230-Washington Commanders
Tulsa offensive lineman Chris Paul went to the Washington Commanders in the seventh round. Primarily an interior offensive lineman, Paul will need time to develop if he’s going to have a successful NFL career.