Every year, hundreds of college players from all over the country join the NFL Draft in the hope of being picked to play in the league.
The draft builds competitive balance and a sense of fair play in the league. For many other sporting leagues around the world, the richest teams add the best players, then dominant the competitions and get even more powerful. This makes it nearly impossible for smaller, newer, or poorer teams to do well.
The NFL draft guards against that by making sure that the worst teams get access to the best of the new crops of players.
The 2022 draft just wrapped up so let’s look at the top 5 rookies of last season.
#5 – Rashawn Slater, LT, Chargers
Rashawn is the son of former NBA player Reggie Slater – ability clearly runs in the family.
Slater had originally been predicted as one of the top five picks but ended up being taken thirteenth overall by the Chargers.
No one will have been more grateful for this than Justin Herbert, whose blindside he has been protecting all year. Slater was one of the best Left Tackles this season. He got the Pro Bowl nod.
#4 – Mac Jones, QB, Patriots
If you are a quarterback for the Patriots then you have big shoes to fill.
But that didn’t seem to phase Jones this season. He ended with 352 completions for 3,801 yards and 22 touchdowns.
Jones may have been picked 15th overall but he had a better season than all of the quarterbacks picked before him. Mac was invited to the Pro Bowl – making him only the fourth Patriot rookie ever to get the call.
Jones had a great season, yet the Patriots decided to snap up Bailey Zappe in the fourth round this year.
Zappe may be there simply as a developmental project.
You can find the best NFL betting odds on how the Patriots will perform next season here.
#3 – Creed Humphrey, OC, Chiefs
The Chiefs offensive line got overhauled last season, and the addition of Creed Humphrey was a stroke of genius.
He stepped into a dynamic offense and Humphrey was awarded with a call to the Pro Bowl.
Humphrey was picked in the second round, and plenty of teams that passed over him are now regretting it.
He is a 2-time Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year.
Humphrey started all 17 games this season, and will be cornerstone of the line for awhile.
#2 – Micah Parsons, LB, Cowboys
What a season Parsons had as the Defensive Rookie of the Year.
He managed to rack up 84 tackles, 12 sacks, and 30 quarterback hits. Only 3 other rookies have made more sacks in their first season (Julius Peppers, Reggie White, and Leslie O’Neal – good company to keep).
In the Cowboy’s only playoff game, he made 3 solo tackles and 6 assisted tackles but no sacks. The Cowboys realized they have a star on their hands.
Parsons actually played as a middle linebacker in college but he was moved position due to injuries in the squad.
#1 – Ja’Marr Chase, WR, Bengals
The entire Bengals team should be proud of themselves for how they played this year – but Ja’Marr Chase should be especially proud.
Chase racked up 81 catches for 1,455 yards and 13 touchdowns and was named Offensive Rookie of the Year.
He broke the rookie and Bengals franchise record for both single-season and single-game yards received.
Being picked 5th overall in the Draft by the Bengals reunited Chase with his college quarterback Joe Burrow. Together, these two took the Bengals to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1998.
Chase went on to break a few postseason records including most total receiving yards and youngest player to record multiple 100 yard games in the Playoff.
We can’t wait to see what he does next year.