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ESPN: 2022 Draft Top 10 Projections

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ESPN: 2022 Draft Top 10 Projections
Aaron Schatz
21 May 2021, 11:12am

Zach Wilson

Our new article on ESPN+ gives a sneak peak at projections from Football Outsiders Almanac 2021, with a look at our forecast for the top 10 picks in the 2022 NFL draft. We have the Jets at No. 1, the Texans at No. 2, and a surprising team at No. 9.

While I don’t have insider,…

While I don’t have insider, and I’m not going to get it  to read this article, I find it hard to believe FO would project the Jets to have the first pick. They could be the worst team in the league and pick 5th, like 2016. Their divisional opponents should all be good, but the AFC East plays the AFC South and the NFC South; so they play two other contenders for the first pick (Jacksonville, Houston), 2 teams that picked in the top ten that should improve (Carolina, Atlanta), two actual Super Bowl contenders (Indianapolis, Tampa Bay) and two pretenders (Tennesee, New Orleans). They also have an extra home game (Philly), and a London game that is supposedly a home game for the Falcons. The real AFC East destroying that schedule should preclude the Jets winning any tiebreaker, and that schedule is a lot easier than last years. I can understand the expectation that the team will be bad because they have no proven cornerbacks, and will be starting a rookie at QB, but going by the talent on the team and the new improved coaching I will be very surprised if they beat out Jacksonville for first pick.

As I understand it this is…

As I understand it this is based on the DAVE projections, so no, I wouldn’t exactly call it a fluff piece, even though it’s certainly not as detailed as the book will be.

In any case, it’s not behind a paywall, you can read the article by following the link.

Hard to believe

That someone other than the Texans will be #1. If it were someone else I’d guess the Lions (playmakers are atrocious). Although Wilson was overrated as a prospect additions like Corey Davis and Elijah Moore are nice and should stave them from the bottom along with returning guys like Quinnen and Mekhi.

But I don’t have insider to read why.

FWIW, Texans are at #2, and…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

FWIW, Texans are at #2, and Lions are at #7 (primarily because entire NFCN is projected to have the hardest schedules).  They don’t think the difference between Goff and Stafford is as large as the general perception.

So I got to read the article…

So I got to read the article at work. The analysis makes sense, but there is some stuff that seems like it will be off. Assuming the Jets offense will be a disaster because it has been the last three years while being coached by Adam Gase and a guy Todd Bowles coaxed out of retirement doesn’t seem like the best assumption. I understand that offense doesn’t change as much as defense, but I think better coaching is going to help a lot, even if Zach Wilson isn’t the savior. The Shanahan system the Jets are now using has not trotted out many offenses as terrible as the last three years of NY Jets’ ineptitude. I have a lot more doubt about the Jets defense than offense right now.
Not sure I would have thrown the Bears in there, but it makes sense (young quarterback, brutal schedule). However that schedule becomes a lot easier if Green Bay loses/trades Rodgers. We’ll see.
The Chargers being in the list also surprised me. Normally a team that loses a lot of close games wins a lot more the next year. This is the one selection I doubt should be on the list, but then again, when have the Chargers proved anyone right for thinking highly of them?
So Jacksonville is last on the list. The argument for being tenth and not 2nd or 1st is : college coaches sometimes have success early on before failing, and an easy schedule due to a weaker division. I don’t agree with either one. Urban Meyer isn’t just a successful college coach jumping to the NFL, he’s a college coach with no experience in the NFL, either as a player or coach. The only coaches to try this since 2000 are Kliff Kingsbury and Chip Kelly. I believe Steve Spurrier and Jimmy Johnson tried it in the past. The jury is out on Kingsbury, but he hasn’t had a winning season yet; Spurrier was an immediate disaster, while Kelly tanked after doing well the first two years. Kelly actually had a new system; Meyer doesn’t. Johnson went 1-15 and then became the dynasty maker we all know today. I believe the Jaguars’ talent base is closer to the 1989 Cowboys than those Eagle teams.
As far as the schedule, yes the AFC South is going to be weaker this year. The Texans will be bad, the Colts may not have a quarterback (but if they do, the Jaguars won’t win either of those games), and the Titans lost talent over the offseason. So who else do the Jaguars play? The AFC East (consisting of the three teams making the Jets’ schedule look brutal) and the NFC West, with its three playoff teams from last year as well as the pesky Cardinals. The Jaguars also play a ‘home’ game in London against the Dolphins, so they really only have 8 home games instead of 9. They also play at the Jets and at the Patriots in December, a tough ask for a warm weather team. I have a feeling the Jaguars will be a lot closer to the first pick than the Bears and Chargers.

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