FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, April 18th, 2022
PETER KING SURVEYS 12 NFL DECISION MAKERS ON UPCOMING 2022 NFL DRAFT IN “FMIA” COLUMN THIS WEEK
“There’s not a generational talent in this draft, and there’s certainly not one at quarterback. You get in trouble reaching for a quarterback.” – A general manager on this year’s quarterback class
“It’s strange, with the league so slanted to the wide receiver and quarterback, to think it’s possible none get picked high. I could see it, though.” – A general manager on possibility no QBs, RBs or WRs are selected in the top 10
“This draft, in terms of high-quality players, kind of drops off the cliff after about 10 picks. But the depth of make-it players who will contribute is very good.” – A coach on Draft depth
STAMFORD, Conn. – April 18, 2022 – Peter King speaks with 12 NFL decision makers, including general managers, coaches and personnel executives, to discuss prospects and how the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft may shake out in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. King also discusses the Colts’ offseason following the signing of Stephon Gilmore, Kyler Murray’s contract situation in Arizona, and more.
For more NFL coverage, Peacock offers daily programming on the NBC Sports channel for free, including Pro Football Talk at 7 a.m. ET every weekday, Chris Simms Unbuttoned, The Peter King Podcast, The Rich Eisen Show, Brother from Another, and The Dan Patrick Show. To learn more about the NBC Sports on Peacock channel and how to sign up, click here.
The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:
2022 NFL DRAFT
King: “It’s a different year in the draft. It’s too early to say who’s going where, and too early to know who’s trading with whom, because most teams are in the final days of stacking their boards and placing values on players. But there are two things in the NFL’s 87th draft that stand out, from conversations with 12 GMs/coaches/personnel people on Friday and Saturday: 1) This could be the first draft since the NFL began the ‘Annual College Player Selection Meeting’ in 1936 that has no one who touches the ball getting picked in the top 10 … 2) It’s going to be a bad year for mock drafts.”
King: “I asked my 12 draft-authority panelists: Less than two weeks before the draft, what do you feel good about? What will be true come draft weekend? I said I would use their thoughts but not their names…Lots of interesting tributaries to this draft, as told to me by those in the draft rooms over the weekend.”
General Manager 1 to King on the No. 1 overall pick: “Tough call for Jacksonville, because [Michigan’s] Aidan Hutchinson’s such a safe pick. I look at [Jags GM] Trent Baalke’s history going back to San Francisco. That year he picked Aldon Smith , look who he passed on – J.J. Watt, Cam Jordan. Bigger guys, sturdier guys. Trent picked the guy with tools and traits, Smith. That’s why I think he’ll take [Georgia’s] Travon Walker. Great kid, and he’s got all the traits except consistent production.”
GM 2 on Walker: “I wouldn’t draft Walker thinking you’re getting Von Miller. He’s not a classic edge. He’s more an all-around guy who plays the run well too. He’s a great example of this draft – not a no-doubt prospect, but intriguing.’”
GM 3 on Walker: “I like Walker, but I’m not a big fan of guys who rise after the season the way he has. In December, he wasn’t even on the radar for the first round.”
GM 4 on the Panthers’ pick at No. 6: “[Panthers GM] Scott Fitterer is well-respected, and I feel bad for him. I’d hate to need a quarterback this year, with an owner all over you to find one, and have to draft one with this group. No one feels great about any of these guys. [Pitt’s Kenny] Pickett is probably the best one, and he’s a maybe.”
GM 5 on this year’s quarterback class: “There’s not a generational talent in this draft, and there’s certainly not one at quarterback. You get in trouble reaching for a quarterback. Somebody’s gonna reach for one because of need, maybe more than one, and then you put more pressure on the guy you pick because your fans expect a first-round quarterback to play.”
GM 6 on teams in the quarterback market: “I could actually see a scenario where if Carolina is focused on one guy at quarterback, they might have to move up a spot or two to make sure they get their guy. I say that because you look at the teams in the middle of the round. New Orleans might want to move up, and with two ones now [at 16 and 19], they’ve got the ammo to move up. Pittsburgh [at 20] has had all their people at all these quarterback workouts…I’ll be really surprised if they don’t take one, and if they’re fixed on one guy, they won’t be shy about moving up to get one.”
GM 6 on how Covid impacted this year’s draft: “When so many college players had shortened seasons, or no seasons [in 2020], a lot of them chose to stay and play a regular year last year. That’s why the draft’s deeper this year. Not just at the top, but all the way through.”
GM 8 on the depth of this year’s draft: “One of our analytics guys was talking about how Covid made this draft richer. Look at all the picks Baltimore has in the third and fourth rounds. [The Ravens have seven in the third and fourth combined.] Those picks are absolute gold. They are going to have a great draft. Five years from now, that will be the story to look back on.”
Coach 1: “This draft, in terms of high-quality players, kind of drops off the cliff after about 10 picks. But the depth of make-it players who will contribute is very good.”
GM 7 on this year’s cornerback prospects: “I’m happy we don’t have a big corner need in this draft. I like Sauce Gardner, but I worry about his tackling and his physicality. [Derek] Stingley is probably going in the top 10, and he hasn’t played well since 2019. How are you not worried about that? There’s not a great, clean corner in this draft, and after the top two, I’ve got questions on them all.”
GM 10 on Oregon edge Kavon Thibodeaux: “He is a me guy, but we don’t have a problem with him. His selfishness is overrated. Character-wise, he doesn’t have a lot of negatives – he wants to be a great player and I think he has all the tools to be a good NFL pass-rusher.”
Club executive 1 on potential trades: “Teams have gotten really aggressive with trades. I’m starting to hear teams offering to package picks and players to move up – not just picks. So instead of trying to trade up five spots in the first round, maybe this year you’ll see a team offering a one, a three and a player they’re down on a little.”
GM 6 on how the top 10 picks may shake out: “I could see seven tackles and edge players going in the top 10…Then the two corners. It’s strange, with the league so slanted to the wide receiver and quarterback, to think it’s possible none get picked high. I could see it, though – every one of the quarterbacks has question marks, and there are so many good receivers that teams think they can wait to take one.”
NEWS & NOTES
King on the Colts’ offseason: “At times in the first three months of 2022, the Indianapolis Colts looked like they were headed to the bottom of the AFC instead of rebounding to make another playoff run this fall. But when they signed 2019 Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore to a two-year deal Friday, Indianapolis actually continued a very strange, but good post-season heading into the draft.”
King on the Colts: “The Colts replaced Wentz with a better player and leader (and with a chip on his shoulder), Matt Ryan. They buttressed a mediocre pass rush with the acquisition of the well-traveled Yannick Ngakoue. And Gilmore not only gives the Colts a far better option than the young Isaiah Rodgers at one corner against a schedule with Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert, Russell Wilson, Dak Prescott and Derek Carr, but he provides the kind of veteran counsel a young secondary can learn from.”
King on Cardinals QB Kyler Murray: “I think Erik Burkhardt, the agent for Kyler Murray, is right to press the Cardinals to get some sort of new contract done before the draft…Burkhardt’s asking the Cardinals to declare their intentions on Murray sooner rather than later, which, given the discord between the two sides, is not an unreasonable request.”
King on how he expects Murray’s situation to be resolved: “Cool heads will prevail by the end of July. No matter how the Cardinals feel about Burkhardt taking this fight public, they know they have to keep Murray, because the task of finding another quarterback in this day and age (ask Carolina) is far more difficult than keeping your current one content in this crazy quarterback market.”
King on Derek Carr’s new contract: “I think the best example of a quarterback contract not overwhelming his team’s cap is what Derek Carr did in Las Vegas. He’s contractually obligated to the team now for the next four seasons…Carr’s percentage of the cap over the next two seasons: 9.3 percent and 15.6 percent. Smart for him, and smart for the team, to not have the quarterback eating up more than that.”
King on Baker Mayfield: “I think I don’t blame Baker Mayfield for being angry with the Browns. I would be too, after playing hurt for most of 2021. But I don’t know what good it does to keep talking about it. The more he talks about it, the more a team interested in him thinks, ‘Is this guy going to be divisive if it doesn’t work out with us?’”
King on the USFL’s opening weekend: “I hope the league works. As Jason Garrett said on the telecast Saturday night, leagues like this are the land of opportunity for players. Would Kurt Warner and Sam Mills be in the Hall of Fame if not for the World League and the first USFL? Would Adam Vinatieri be knocking on the door of the Hall without his time in the World League? All doubtful…I’m rooting for it. Jobs for players is a good thing.”
The following are additional highlights of NBC Sports’ NFL coverage:
- PFT Live with NBC Sports’ Mike Florio and Mike Golic (Mondays) and Florio and Chris Simms (Tuesday-Thursday) streams on Peacock from 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. ET on weekdays & is available on-demand. The Dan Patrick Show streams at 9 a.m. ET, The Rich Eisen Show at Noon ET, Brother From Another at 3 p.m. ET, PFT PM at 5 p.m. ET. At 6 p.m. ET, Chris Simms Unbuttoned streams Tuesday-Friday.
- ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest news and updates.
- NBC Sports EDGE’s A Good Football Show continues the NFL discussion and Bet The Edge Podcast provides daily betting insights.
A new “Football Morning in America” posts every Monday morning exclusively on NBCSports.com through the NFL season. It was announced in May 2019 that King signed an exclusive agreement with NBC Sports Group that included writing a weekly Monday morning NFL column for NBCSports.com; making regular appearances on PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.