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Day 2 of the NFL draft was a wild one, but it’s officially done, and was filled with quite a few surprises.
There was tons of talent throughout Day 2 that multiple people had considered in the first round at one point. Teams hopped up and down the board to find their guy, on top of an unexpected quarterback freefall.
Along the way, some teams made the most of their selections, grabbing top prospects long after they should have been off the board, while other teams made picks that are perceived early on as mistakes.
Here are our picks for the biggest steals and reaches from night two of the 2022 NFL draft:
STEAL | EDGE David Ojabo, Baltimore Ravens | No. 45 overall
(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Before an devastating injury, Ojabo was well on his way to joining teammate Aidan Hutchinson as a top 10 pick, given his immense talent, production, and upside. Ojabo is projected to recover from his Achilles injury sometime in November, so it seems like a small price to pay to get a top-10 talent at one of the most important positions at this draft slot, for just having to wait a few months.
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
One of the highest upside EDGE prospects in this class, the 49ers must have been ecstatic to find Jackson sitting there with their first pick in this entire draft. Jackson clearly showed first-round talent in college, with excellent dip and athleticism, and there’s little doubt he has the ability to be productive at the next level. It will be up to the 49ers to get him to the ideal playing weight, but he could be a Pro Bowler early in his career.
STEAL | OT Abraham Lucas, Seattle Seahawks | No. 72 overall
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
It’s rare that teams are going to find a Day 1 starter tackle this late into the draft, but that is exactly what the Seahawks are getting in Abraham Lucas. He is an experienced and refined offensive tackle who could have easily gone at the top of the second round given his production. The Seahawks managed to nab both of their starting tackles for potentially the next decade, and they have to consider themselves fortunate that Lucas was here in the third round.
STEAL | QB Malik Willis, Tennessee Titans | No. 86 overall
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Willis has certainly been one of the more polarizing players in this draft, up until this point being tabbed as a first-round pick consistently throughout the process. Instead, he fell directly into the Titans’ lap in the third round. There was hesitancy given the way the quarterback market had shaped up with all the starting slots filled, as well as his inability to play in Year 1 because of the system he played in. Willis will need time to develop, but once he does get out there on the field, he has the physical tools to not only be the best quarterback, but possibly even the best player from this draft class down the road. That is the definition of a steal.
STEAL | WR Jalen Tolbert, Dallas Cowboys | No. 88 overall
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Given the wide receiver run early in the second round, it was surprising to a lot of people that Jalen Tolbert remained on the board late into the third. The Cowboys did not hesitate in taking him, as the ultra-talented receiver from South Alabama could immediately step in and compete for that third receiver role. He is big, fast, and athletic, and will certainly make yet another dangerous weapon for Dak Prescott to throw to, and could ultimately become one of the best receivers out of this class.
REACH | WR John Metchie III, Houston Texans | No. 44 overall
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
This move feels like there was a little desperation in it, given there was a bit of a wide receiver run before it happened. While Metchie is a solid player, he was not projected to be selected near the top of the second round. There were other receivers available with greater upside, who also are not dealing with recovery from a serious knee injury. Selecting the player with the lower overall ceiling and bypassing someone like Georgia’s George Pickens is questionable.
STEAL | LB Nakobe Dean, Philadelphia Eagles | No. 83 overall
(AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Most media outlets and watchers of the draft were in shock and confusion as to why Dean dropped out of the early 2nd round, let alone why he was there in the late 3rd round. It was revealed he was dealing with a pec injury that could impact his availability this season. Still, the Eagles hardly hesitated when he dropped to them at the 83rd pick, and they nabbed a linebacker who, when healthy, could be one of the best in the entire draft. He will develop and fit nicely in an speedy, tough Eagles defense that could always use a rangy and explosive linebacker like Dean.
REACH | CB Alontae Taylor, New Orleans Saints | No. 49 overall
Syndication: The Knoxville News-Sentinel
While Taylor fits the cornerback mold the Saints always look for given his height and length, it has to feel like they selected the measurables as opposed to the player, given most had him projected in the middle rounds. It’s head-scratching as well when similarly built corners with higher grades and talent were sitting there for a trade back, or that selections such as Mississippi State’s Martin Emerson Jr. went an entire round later. Taylor is not projected to start on the Saints defense right away, and will have to develop his skills a little more before he can be trusted as a starting corner.
STEAL | OT Bernhard Raimann, Indianapolis Colts | No. 77 overall
(AP Photo/Al Goldis)
It was shocking to see Raimann fall all the way into the third round, as many had him projected in the late-first round as a promising tackle with the chance to start right away. His age and inexperience certainly played into where he fell, as he’s already 24 years old and needs to refine his technique. However, given what we saw in college, he has the potential to come out and be a starting tackle at a Pro Bowl level for the next decade. It has to feel like a steal when the Colts walk away with a potential starting left tackle in the third round.