Winners and losers from the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft

Winners and losers from the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft on Thursday night in Las Vegas.

WINNERS

Broncos fans: It wasn’t a particularly exciting night for the Denver faithful, but with Russell Wilson already in orange and blue, could they complain? They got to relax and watch the Seahawks take Mississippi State tackle Charles Cross with the No. 9 pick that GM George Paton traded away in the deal, then listen to analysts wonder if Cross can protect Drew Lock. The Broncos had fun with the pick by releasing a parody video of Russell Wilson taking a “draft call” from Paton at the time of Seattle’s selection.

Wideouts, offensive tackles: It was a good night to be a hogmolie, and a great night to be a pass-catcher. Three tackles and four wideouts went in the first 12 picks, starting with N.C. State tackle Ikem Ekwonu getting a homecoming to Carolina at No. 6 and USC wideout Drake London going to the Falcons at No. 8. Thursday also marked the first time six wideouts were chosen in the top 20 in the modern draft.

Austin Ekeler: Clad in an all-black suit with a gold chain and standing opposite Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez, Ekeler was a long way from Eaton, where he starred in high school. Ekeler, the under-recruited high school prospect-turned Chargers star, got to announce the first scheduled matchup on the 2022 calendar — Chargers-Chiefs in Week 2 on Thursday Night Football. Ekeler is also set to announce Los Angeles’ Round 3 pick on Friday.

Kenny Pickett, Steelers: The Steelers don’t care about small hand size! Pickett’s reaction — crying in those hands, mobbed by his family — said it all when the Steelers took the University of Pittsburgh quarterback at No. 20 overall. The draft board fell perfectly for the Steelers to take the first quarterback without having to move up, and now they have Ben Roethlisberger’s presumed heir. Pickett’s selection is the latest the first quarterback has been drafted since 1997.

LOSERS

Titans: Tennessee traded away Pro Bowl wideout A.J. Brown to the Eagles in exchange for No. 18th pick (as well as a fourth-rounder). With that pick, the Titans took Arkansas wideout Treylon Burks. While some critics project Burks has the talent to immediately replace Brown’s production, the loss of a proven vertical threat puts a dent in the Titans’ offense even if it will save them a big-money deal for Brown down the road.

Roger Goodell: Now in his 16th season as the commissioner of the NFL, the draft is an annual reminder of fans’ distaste for the leader of the shield. Goodell was booed lustily by fans attending in Las Vegas several times while he was at the microphone, as has become routine.

Aaron Rodgers: Considering Green Bay has missed out on several top wideouts over the past couple drafts — and considering the Packers lost All-Pro receiver Davante Adams in the offseason — Thursday wasn’t the best night for Rodgers. The quarterback didn’t get any firepower to replace Adams when the Packers took Georgia linebacker Quay Walker at No. 22 and Georgia defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt at No. 28.

Running backs: Tailbacks get a bad rap as worthwhile first-round picks, largely because of the short average career span at the position. That trend continued Thursday night as a running back wasn’t selected in the opening round for the first time since 2014.

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