The 2022 NFL Combine begins today, which means it is officially draft season! All 32 NFL organizations will gather around Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis — to watch 300+ college prospects showcase their abilities. The hope for every organization, is finding premier talent that ultimately will help build out their roster and make an impact on the field.
With the 2022 NFL Draft approaching in the next few months, we took a look back at every NFL franchise’s previous four drafts (2018-2021), and then evaluated & ranked their overall performance.
For this evaluation, we chose the previous four drafts – because every NFL rookie contract, (regardless of the round they were selected), has a maximum duration of four seasons with the possibility of a team option for a fifth season. So players who were drafted in 2018, would now become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, if they did not receive a fifth-year option.
This evaluation provides a four-year outlook of how every team performed and ranks them compared to every other NFL organization. Some things to take in consideration, was that it is easier to grade/evaluate picks from the 2018 & 2019 draft class rather than 20/21’, since those players have had more time on the field to prove themselves. It ultimately could be unfair to label a rookie as a ‘disappointment’ already in only just one season, but it was factored in a little bit.
Here are some of the important criteria that factored into the ranking system:
Quality of talent: Identifying talented players from each team who were drafted between 2018-2021.
Value of where the player was taken: While a team might have landed a few talented players in the first round, it is even more impressive when they are able to find an All-Pro or Pro Bowl level talent outside of the first round. The rankings reward teams who were able to find value in ‘hidden gems’ in the mid-late rounds.
Efficiency: This is the criteria that sets a lot of teams apart.. Some teams have had a lot more draft picks over the years than others, which would be an obvious advantage, but it’s the efficiency of those picks that is imperative. For example, a team might have only had one 1 first round pick in the last 4 years, but was able to hit on the majority of their other picks in other rounds, would score compared to a team that has missed on several first round picks.
For each team, we listed their Top & Worst Value Picks, Players who are now on a different team; then provided an analysis of their pros & cons and overall summary.
The Bottom 8:
To begin the rankings, here are the 8 lowest-ranked teams in terms of overall drafting performance over the past four years.
Every team on this list at some point has made a very crucial mistake that has affected their overall roster. The narrative on pretty much all teams has been ‘missed opportunities’, as the majority of them have had plenty of draft capital, but failed to capitalize on it.. Some of these teams might have made a few solid picks over the years, but their mistakes outweigh the positives.
25. Arizona Cardinals
Top Value Picks: QB Kyler Murray (1st), CB Byron Murphy (2nd), WRs Rondale Moore & Christian Kirk (2nd), RB Chase Edmonds (4th)
Worst Value Picks: QB Josh Rosen (1st), WR Andy Isabella (2nd), WR Hakeem Butler (4th), DL Leki Fotu (4th), CB Chris Campbell (6th)
Plays for Another Team: C Mason Cole (3rd – traded to Vikings), CB Tay Gowan (6th – traded along with a 5th-round pick to Eagles for TE Zach Ertz)
Pros: Their best pick was making up for their mistake on Rosen by selecting Kyler Murray the following year in 2019 at No. 1 overall. They’ve added several skill players including RB Chase Edmonds in the 4th & have had success in the second with WRs Christian Kirk & Rondale Moore and aa very-talented CB in Byron Murphy.
Cons: Their biggest mistake was easily the decision to draft Rosen at No. 10 overall in 2018 – when Lamar Jackson went 32nd overall. The following year they selected Andy Isabella in the 2nd round. Isabella demonstrated elite speed coming out of UMass, but choosing him over D.K. Metcalf, Diontae Johnson & Terry McLaurin will be a decision that will haunt them for years.
Some recent draft picks have been disappointments so far and haven’t seen a lot of playing time.. In the 2020 class for example, this season, according to PFF, former 8th-overall pick Isaiah Simmons was ranked 55th out of 87 LBs on PFF, Josh Jones (3rd round) ranked 78th out of 82 OT, and Leki Foku (4th round) ranked 117th out of 119 IDL. Their most recent 1st-round pick was another LB Zaven Collins, who was a backup in his first year.
Overall: GM Steve Keim just received a five-year contract extension, but Arizona ironically has recently been one of the worst teams at drafting the past four seasons. Their past few draft classes have been highlighted by offensive playmakers like QB Kyler Murray, RB Chase Edmonds & WRs Christian Kirk & Rondale Moore; but they have failed to capitalize on the majority of their mid-late round picks. They have not drafted many impactful defensive players or offensive linemen, and have had to rely upon free agency to fill those voids. They would have a lot more depth in key areas if they were able to hit on a higher % of their selections.
26. Miami Dolphins
Top Value Picks:: LB Jerome Baker (3rd), S Jevon Holland (2nd), WR Jaylen Waddle, DT Christian Wilkins (1st), LB Andrew Van Ginkel (5th), K Jason Sanders, RB Myles Gaskin (7th), TE Mike Gesicki, DT Raekwon Davis (2nd), TE Durham Smythe (4th)
Worst Value Picks: S Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB Noah Igbinoghene, OL Austin Jackson (1st), RB Kalen Ballage (4th), DE Curtis Weaver (5th)
Plays for Another Team: S Minkah Fitzpatrick (1st – traded to Steelers), RB Kalen Ballage (4th – Steelers), DE Curtis Weaver (5th – Browns), OT Isaiah Prince (6th – Bengals), CB Cornell Armstrong (6th – Texans)
Pros: The Dolphins have failed to capitalize on so many opportunities, despite having 5 first-round picks in just the past 2 drafts.. While there is a lot to criticize, there are at least some bright spots – including former 1st-round DT Christian Wilkins (2nd in the NFL in Run Stop Win Rate for a DT) and the additions of two highly-productive rookies: WR Jaylen Waddle (8th in the NFL in receptions) & S Jevon Holland. They’ve also found a few gems in the mid-rounds including LB Jerome Baker (3rd-round – received a contract extension) & an underrated edge-rusher Andrew Van Ginkel (5th-round).
Cons: There is so much to criticize here.. Beginning in 2018, where they selected safety Minkah Fitzpatrick with the 11th overall pick.. They traded Fitzpatrick to Pittsburgh, where he immediately earned back-to-back All-Pro selections. Looking back on the trade, it’s even worse..
Dolphins traded: 2x All-Pro S Minkah Fitzpatrick, 2020 4th round pick (G Kevin Dotson – Steelers starting left guard) and 2021 7th round pick (S Tre Norwood — who played as a rookie) to Steelers.
Steelers traded: 2020 1st round pick (18th overall, Austin Jackson – benched and moved to guard), 2020 5th round pick (DE Jason Strowbridge – backup for Dolphins) and 2021 6th round pick (which was subsequently traded)..
In 2020, they had three first round picks.. The first pick, they passed on Justin Herbert to draft Tua Tagovailoa.. Next pick, passed on Justin Jefferson to draft Austin Jackson.. Last pick, select Noah Igbinoghene over Jonathan Taylor, Tee Higgins and Michael Pittman Jr.
Overall: There have been so many crucial mistakes that the Dolphins have made in the draft over the past few years.. These mistakes can haunt them for years, making them one of the lowest teams on the list. On the bright side, they do have some young players to build around and have made enough value picks, which prevents them from being the lowest on the list.
27. New York Jets
Top Value Picks: WR Elijah Moore (2nd), CB Bryce Hall (5th), Foley Fatukasi (6th), G Alijah Vera-Tucker, DT Quinnen Williams, OT Mehki Becton (1st), RB Michael Carter (4th)
Worst Value Picks: QB Sam Darnold (3rd Overall), QB James Morgan (4th), WR Denzel Mims (2nd), EDGE Jachai Polite (3rd), OL Cameron Clark (4th), TE Chris Herndon (4th)
Plays for Another Team: TE Chris Herndon (4th – Vikings), CB Blessaun Austin (6th – Seahawks), RB Trenton Cannon (6th – 49ers), CB Parry Nickerson (6th – Vikings)
Pros: The Jets have infamously not been too successful over the years at draft, but there is reason for optimism under GM Joe Douglas – who is entering his 3rd season as their GM. While Douglas did struggle in his first draft in 2020, his last draft seems to be a very good one – as long as Zach Wilson pans out. The selections of G Alijah Vera-Tucker, WR Elijah Moore & RB Michael Carter all appear to be great ones, as they all had fantastic rookie seasons.
Cons: Looking back over the past four years, there have been so many missed opportunities.. In the four-year span, they’ve selected two QBs in the Top 3.. The first was Darnold, who was selected over Josh Allen. While this happened before Douglas became GM, there were some other notable disappointing picks in his first draft: WR Denzel Mims (2nd, 2020), who only has 31 RECs in 2 seasons & QB James Morgan (4th, 2020) who was released from the team.
Overall: There has been a lot of improvement in the draft under Joe Douglas, but his legacy will be judged by QB Zach Wilson’s performance. It’s still way too early to determine whether or not the Wilson pick was the right one, but for Douglas’s sake, he better hope so, as there were multiple players that made the Pro Bowl as rookies, such as Chase, Pitts, Parsons, Slater and Jones. The Jets could begin to start turning the franchise around if they continue having drafts like the last one.
28. New York Giants
Top Value Picks: S Xavier McKinney, OLB Azeez Ojulari (2nd), OT Andrew Thomas, DT Dexter Lawrence (1st), OLB Lorenzo Carter (3rd), G Shane Lemieux (5th), CB Darnay Holmes (4th)
Worst Value Picks: CB Deandre Baker (1st), QB Kyle Lauletta (4th), G Will Hernandez (2nd), EDGE Oshane Ximines, DT B.J. Hill (3rd), RB Saquon Barkley (2nd Overall) & QB Daniel Jones (6th Overall)
Plays for Another Team: CB Deandre Baker (1st – Chiefs), DT B.J. Hill (3rd – Bengals), QB Kyle Lauletta, LB Ryan Connelly (5th – Vikings)
Pros: There are only a very few positive things to say about the past four drafts under former GM Dave Gettleman, but here they are.. They’ve missed on a few of their recent first round picks, but seemed to have hit on DT Dexter Lawrence and OT Andrew Thomas. Lawrence has been a consistent force up-front, but the real positive from this year was the improvement of Andrew Thomas, who finished 10th amongst OT in Run Block Win Rate (78%). The other two bright spots came from two defensive players, who were both 2nd round picks, S Xavier McKinney & OLB Azeez Ojulari.
Cons: There have been so many missed opportunities.. Starting in 2018, in the first round they drafted RB Saquon Barkley over QB Josh Allen & G Quenton Nelson.. Barkley has ran for a total of (2,937 YDS-19 Rush TDS in 44 Games), then in the 2nd-round they took G Will Hernandez; passing on the next three picks which were RB Nick Chubb (4,816 YDS-36 Rush TDS in 58 Games) & Colts starting LB Darius Leonard & RT Braden Smith. Next pick, they took DL B.J. Hill (who plays on the Bengals), the pick before All-Pro ILB Fred Warner & the 4th round took QB Kyle Lauletta who is a free agent.
Overall: The Gettleman era is over.. Now former Bills GM Joe Schoen takes over as general manager. There have been so many missed opportunities over the years, but now there is a new opportunity to re-write the script, especially with holding two Top 10 picks.
29. Las Vegas Raiders
Top Value Picks: Maxx Crosby (4th), Hunter Renfrow (5th), CB Nate Hobbs (5th), OT Kolton Miller (1st), CB Trayvon Mullen, S Trevon Moehrig (2nd), TE Foster Moreau (4th)
Worst Value Picks: CB Damon Arnette, WR Henry Ruggs, EDGE Clelin Ferrell (1st), LB Tanner Muse (3rd), DT P.J. Hall (2nd), WR Lynn Bowden (3rd), P Johnny Townsend (5th), CB Nick Nelson (4th), Arden Key (3rd)
Plays for Another Team: WR Lynn Bowden (traded to Dolphins), DE Arden Key (49ers)
Pros: The Raiders have infamously made some atrocious mistakes in the draft under their previous GM Mike Mayock. While there is a lot to criticize, they did have a few positives. The first one is they hit the jackpot, finding a hidden gem in the 4th round with Pro Bowl DE Maxx Crosby. Crosby has been a dominant force on their defensive line, he had the 3rd-highest Run Stop Win Rate amongst DE/OLB, and 10th-highest Pass Rush Win Rate. Another valuable pick was landing Pro Bowl slot WR Hunter Renfrow in the 5th round, who had a spectacular breakout 2021 season.
Cons: The Raiders have missed on so many opportunities over the year.. This is a list of players from recent drafts that were drafted within the next 3 picks after their selection: S Derwin James, CB Jaire Alexander, OLB Josh Allen, ILB Devin White, EDGE Montez Sweat, OT Trisan Wirfs, WR Justin Jefferson..
In just the last four years, they’ve had two former first-round picks of theirs arrested (Ruggs & Arnette), reached for Clelin Ferrell at No. 4 overall (who is a backup), drafted a punter (that’s not on their team in the 5th round).. Four of their first 5 picks in the 2020 draft are already no longer members of their organization..
Overall: The Raiders have made so many head-scratching draft day decisions under former GM Mike Mayock. They’ve had so many high-round picks the last several years, especially due to the Khalil Mack trade, but were unable to capitalize on them.. If they were able to hit on some of these picks, they could have been one of the more complete rosters in the league.
30. Houston Texans
Top Value Picks: S Justin Reid, DE Jonathan Greenard, QB David Mills, WR Nico Collins (3rd), DE Charles Omenihu (5th), DT Roy Lopez (6th)
Worst Value Picks: OL Tytus Howard (1st), OL Martinas Rankin (3rd), DT Ross Blacklock (2nd), TE Kahale Warring, Keke Coutee (4th), Isaiah Coulter (5th)
Plays for Another Team: DE Charles Omenihu (5th – 49ers)
Pros: Despite only having one 1st round pick in the last 4 years, Houston managed to find several gems in the 3rd round – S Justin Reid, DE Jonathan Greenard, QB David Mills, WR Nico Collins. New GM Nick Caserio did a nice job in his first draft last year, where he was able to land Mills & Collins in the 3rd, as well as DT Roy Lopez in the 6th. Mills did very well taking over as the starting QB as a rookie, despite being the 6th QB taken in the draft, he finished 2nd in passing touchdowns and 3rd in passing yards.
Cons: The Texans have only selected one 1st-round pick in the last 4 years – OL Tytus Howard at 23rd overall. The pick did not turn out to be so great, as there were a lot of talented players available such as Montez Sweat, Deebo Samuel, Marquise Brown, Byron Murphy, Elgton Jenkins, Dalton Risner, etc. In 2020, their first player selected was DT Ross Blacklock in the second round, the next pick after him was Jonathan Taylor, who led the NFL in rushing for their division-rival Colts.
Overall: The past four years the Texans have been limited with draft picks and been dealing with a roster overhaul since the firing of former head coach & interim GM Bill O’Brien. There is plenty of reason to have optimism after seeing the results of Caserio’s first draft.
31. Seattle Seahawks
Top Value Picks: WR D.K. Metcalf (2nd), P Michael Dickson (5th), CB Tre Brown, TE Will Dissly (4th)
Worst Value Picks: DE L.J. Collier (1st), WR Gary Jennings (4th), DE Rasheem Green (3rd), Shaquem Griffin (5th)
Play for Another Team: CB Tre Flowers (5th – Bengals), EDGE Jacob Martin (6th – Texans)
Pros: It might be surprising to see the Seahawks listed as the 2nd-worst drafting team, but when you look into it they have not had a lot of recent success in the draft.. Their biggest value pick was easily D.K Metcalf – who was a massive steal. Former 2018 1st-round pick RB Rashaad Penny was viewed as a major disappointment, but he finally broke out at the end of last season, but the selection of him was still overvalued.
Cons: The Seahawks were typically known for building incredible draft classes over the years, finding incredible players outside of the first round.. Between 2010-2012, they drafted QB Russell Wilson, ILB Bobby Wagner, CB Richard Sherman, S Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, OLB K.J. Wright and WR Golden Tate (none of them were a first round pick).. Ever since those drafts, the Seahawks have not been anywhere close to replicating those drafts.. Since 2018, their only real significant valuable draft pick has been former 2019 2nd-round WR DK Metcalf.
Overall: Throughout the past decade, Seattle has been viewed as one of the most consistent winning teams in the league, but the past several years they have not had much success in the draft. The Seahawks past few drafts have not been a complete disaster, but they’ve missed on a lot of their picks and it’s beginning to show on the field, as they are limited in depth. They traded for safety Jamal Adams last offseason, which they had to give up two-straight years of having a first round pick, which might really come back to bite them..
32. Jacksonville Jaguars
Top Value Picks: OLB Josh Allen (1st), QB Gardner Minshew (6th), WR DJ Chark (2nd), G Ben Bartch (4th), CB Tyson Campbell (2nd)
Worst Value Picks: CB CJ Henderson, DT Taven Bryan, RB Travis Etienne, OLB K’Lavon Chaisson (1st), TE Josh Oliver (3rd), RB Ryquell Armstead (5th),
Plays for Another Team: CB CJ Henderson (1st – traded to Panthers), S Ronnie Harrson (3rd) LB Quincy Williams (3rd – Jets), TE Josh Oliver (3rd – traded to Ravens), WR Collin Johnson (5th – Giants), QB Gardner Minshew (6th – traded to Eagles), TE Tyler Davis (6th– Packers)
Pros: There really is not much positive to say about the Jaguars past four drafts.. Josh Allen was a great pick, but it also wasn’t that bold of a pick as he basically just fell into their laps. Their most valuable pick was Gardner Minshew, who was a steal in the 2019 6th round, but he was already traded away..
Cons: It seems like the Jaguars have more drafted players that currently play on other teams, than actually play for the Jaguars. Their past four drafts have been an absolute mess, and that is not even including the one prior in 2017, where they drafted Leonard Fournette over Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson..
In 2020, they had 2 first round picks and selected CB C.J. Henderson (9th overall) and OLB K’Lavon Chaisson (20th overall).. Henderson, has already been traded away to the Panthers and Chaisson was ranked the 104th out of 107 edge-rushers on PFF in 2021. Instead of Henderson, they could have drafted an offensive tackle such as Tristan Wirfs, Jedrick Wills & Mehki Becton or WR CeeDee Lamb and CB A.J. Terrell. Instead of Chaisson, they could have drafted WR Justin Jefferson. In 2018, they took DL Taven Bryan, with players like Lamar Jackson and Darius Leonard on the board.
Overall: There are so many reasons that attribute to the Jaguars being one of the worst teams at drafting, and the results show, with now having the top overall pick for the second-straight season. The biggest priority now should be doing everything in their power to help Trevor Lawrence succeed. It is definitely concerning that they had a really poor draft last year, and they still have the same GM in-charge.
Stay tuned for the next release of the rankings: No. 17-24