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The Most Impactful 2022 NFL Rookies According To The Draft Day 365 Podcast Team

Each year we discuss the most impactful NFL rookies based on film watched and impactful data that translates to the field. This year, we voted on the top player at every offensive and defensive position.

The Most Impactful Offensive Players By Position

QB Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers

Analysis: came out of left field in 2022, replacing an injured Jimmy G, and the 49er's offense did not skip a beat. Among QB's with at least 100 dropbacks in 2022, Purdy ranks 7th in the NFL in completion percentage while also leading the NFL in passer rate. In 7 games, his TD/INT ratio is 13/4.

RB Kenneth Walker III, Seattle Seahawks

Analysis: I graded KW3 as the top back in the 2022 NFL Draft class, and he did not disappoint when he took over the Seahawks backfield. Walker led all rookie RB's in 2022 with 1148 rush yards and 10 rush TD's. He ranked 2nd to Tyler Allgeier in rush yards after contact. Walker also led all rookie RB's in explosive runs (10+ Yds). He finished with the 3rd highest PFF grade among rookie RB's in 2022 (Tyler Allgeier, Dameon Pierce).

WR Garett Wilson, New York Jets

Analysis: Our top graded rookie WR's during the 2022 NFL Draft evaluation process was Jameson Williams, followed by Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson.

Garrett Wilson led all rookies in targets of 20+ yards, followed by Drake London, Chris Olave, and George Pickens. George Pickens would lead all rookie WR's in total yds, catches, and TD's on catches of 20+ air yards in 2022.

Garrett Wilson led all rookie WR's in yards after the catch. He also led all rookie WR's in receiving yds with 1103, while Jahan Dotson and Christian Watson would rack up the most TD's with seven a piece. Wilson finished 2022 with the highest PFF receiving grade among rookies.

TE Greg Dulcich, Denver Broncos

Analysis: Greg Dulcich was our top-graded TE prospect before the 2022 NFL Draft. Dulcich finished the 2022 season compiling 473 receiving yards to lead all rookie TE's. He would score 2 TD's. Dulcich finished the year with the highest PFF receiving grade among rookie TE's with at least 50 targets.

OT Charles Cross, Seattle Seahawks

Analysis: The favorite among the podcast team is OT Charles Cross. Cross ranked 6th overall on our 2022 Big Board behind Ikem Ekwonu and Evan Neal. Cross played 1150 snaps as a rookie LT in 2022. He graded 8th in overall PFF grade and 7th in pass pro (min 500 snaps). He allowed seven sacks, the 2nd most pressure allowed among rookies, but his growth throughout the season, combined with his elite athletic profile at the position, is why our team believes he has a chance to be the best OT long-term from the 2022 NFL Draft class.

OT Jamaree Salyer led all OL in pass blocking grade.

Tyler Linderbaum was our top-graded IOL in the 2022 draft class. He was an Instant Impact rookie who immediately impacted an offense built for his skill set. Linderbaum led all rookie OL in PFF run block grade (min 500 snaps). Linderbaum gave up the 4th least total pressure allowed in 2022 among all rookie OL (min 500 snaps).

Tyler Smith also received a vote from the podcast team. Smith finished the season with the 4th best PFF run block grade and the 8th-best pass block grade among rookies (min 500 snaps).

The Most Impactful Defensive Players By Position

Edge Aidan Hutchinson, Detroit Lions (Consensus #1)

Analysis: We rated Aidan Hutchinson as our top prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft. Aidan rewarded our evaluation efforts by recording 11 sacks and 53 pressures to lead all rookie edge rushers in 2022.

LB Malcolm Rodriguez, Detroit Lions (Consensus #1)

Analysis: The Podcast's favorite LB is Malcolm Rodriguez, a combine darling flashing his athleticism (4.5 forty, 39In Vert). He proved that his explosiveness at the 2022 NFL Combine translates to the field where he was elite as a rookie running sideline to sideline. Among rookies with at least 200 snaps, PFF graded Rodrigo as the 6th best rookie LB in run defense. He was the 5th best in pass coverage (min 200 snaps). Rodriquez might not have been the most impressive overall, but he flashed signs of brilliance on the field in 2022 and played a massive role in Detroit's close flirtation with the playoffs.

CB Sauce Gardner (Consensus #1)

Analysis: The 2022 NFL Draft provided elite CB's that will be playing for years to come. The most impressive of the class was Sauce Gardner. The long-armed DB who didn't allow a TD in coverage while in college finally gave up a score in the NFL, but only one as a rookie. We graded the lengthy CB as the 2nd best CB in the class behind Derek Stingley JR. Both were awarded a top 10 overall status in the class and classified as instant impact players. His 90.2 PFF grade not only led all rookie CB's, it led all NFL CB's in 2022. Sauce tied for the league lead in PBU's while picking off two passes.

S Kyle Hamilton, Baltimore Ravens

Analysis: Our top-graded safety in the 2022 NFL Draft class proved he is just that in year one. Hamilton plays closer to the line of scrimmage, and his role is multi-faceted due to his freakish size and speed. In 2022, Hamilton posted PFF's highest man coverage grade. According to PFF, he finished the season with the league's 7th-best run defense grade and the best run defense grade among rookies.


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