The second day of the 2022 NFL Draft wasn't nearly as entertaining as Round 1, but you had to sense that was coming. It would have been hard for anything to top all that wheeling and dealing -- nine trades in all -- from Thursday, when there was no shortage of NFL decision-makers willing to embrace the Vegas setting and take ample risks.
Friday was far different. It was more about practicality, finding value and determining sensible ways to filling holes. The most noteworthy aspect of the day was that Kenny Pickett, the Pittsburgh Steelers' first-round pick, remained the only quarterback selected until after the third round began. This was just one of those rare years where signal-callers didn't dominant the spotlight. That doesn't mean there weren't some interesting storylines that came out of Day 2.
So here is the second installment of the draft edition of The First Read. We gave you the winners and losers from Round 1 on Thursday. Here's who fell into those categories after Rounds 2 and 3 on Friday ...
1) David Ojabo: The standout edge rusher from Michigan had the worst story to come out of a pro day in recent memory: a torn Achilles tendon sustained during a pass-coverage drill. Ojabo went from being a probable top-15 pick to wondering when his name would be called in this draft. The elation finally came when the Baltimore Ravens selected him 45th overall. The move works on many levels. For one, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh was one of the first people in the league to express confidence in the notion that Ojabo's future remained bright after the injury. Ojabo's old high school friend, Odafe Oweh, already is a promising pass rusher whom the Ravens selected in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Harbaugh's new defensive coordinator -- Mike Macdonald -- also held the same job while working for Harbaugh's brother, Jim, at Michigan last year. Macdonald was the man who untapped Ojabo's vast potential. He'll be the same guy committed to the idea of turning Ojabo into a star at the next level, as well.
2) Pete Carroll and John Schneider: The Seahawks' head coach and general manager had a great Day 1, when they selected Mississippi State offensive tackle Charles Cross ninth overall. That momentum clearly carried over into Day 2. Seattle used its first second-round pick (No. 40) to land talented edge rusher Boye Mafe, who dominated at the Reese's Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine. The Seahawks' second second-round pick (No. 41) was Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III, one of the most dominant ball-carriers in college football last season. Bolstering the defensive front, finding another productive back and landing top-tier help for the same offensive line former quarterback Russell Wilson complained about just over a year ago? Sounds like the Seahawks are moving in a better direction.
3) Matt Corral: The Carolina Panthers had to address their quarterback situation at some point this weekend, and Corral became their best option in the third round, when they traded up to select him 94th overall. He's walking into a locker room where the Panthers aren't sold on current starter Sam Darnold, and head coach Matt Rhule needs to do everything possible to keep his job after two straight five-win seasons. Corral needs time to develop -- of that, there is no question. But if Darnold struggles like he did last season, there's a chance the rookie could push himself into the starting lineup. The Panthers have to be open to any and all possibilities at this stage.
4) Nick Caserio: The Texans' GM is doing everything possible to give this team hope for the future. After grabbing cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. and guard Kenyon Green in the first round, Caserio found plenty of value on Day 2. Jalen Pitre (No. 37) is a versatile safety who can make plays over the field. Wide receiver John Metchie III (taken at No. 44 after a trade up with Cleveland) is a savvy route-runner who probably would've been a first-round pick if he hadn't suffered a torn ACL in the SEC Championship Game. Metchie's teammate at Alabama, linebacker Christian Harris, was one of the best value picks of the third round (acquired at No. 75 via another trade up, with Denver). The Texans still have plenty of ground to cover in their rebuilding efforts. However, Caserio has made plenty of impressive moves over the last two days.
1) Baker Mayfield: The Cleveland Browns' former starting quarterback now knows there's one less team in the league that can be expected to trade for him. There had long been speculation that Carolina might be a potential player for Mayfield, who is in need of a new home after the acquisition of Deshaun Watson, but the Panthers hadn't pushed that narrative -- and their decision to draft Corral in the third round appears to confirm they won't be going after the 2018 first overall pick. The other team that has been considered a possible suitor is Seattle, which notably hasn't selected a quarterback in this draft yet. However, the Seahawks have openly expressed their optimism regarding fourth-year pro Drew Lock, who came to them from Denver in the Russell Wilson trade, and they're drafting like a team that isn't panicking about its situation yet. We'll see how it plays out, but know this much: Carolina definitely feels like a no-go for Mayfield today.
2) Mecole Hardman: Everybody knew the Chiefs were going to draft a wide receiver after trading Tyreek Hill to Miami in March, and they got their man in the second round: Western Michigan wide receiver Skyy Moore (No. 54). He's fast, dynamic and sure-handed, which means he's likely going to have Hardman's job in a couple of years. For the record, Hardman is a good player. The problem is that he has yet to develop into a great player for a team that drafted him in the second round in 2019. He's now entering the final year of his rookie deal and is fully aware that this is his time to shine. He'll probably even play his best football knowing what's on the line. Even so, the odds that he'll stick in Kansas City beyond 2022 seem long, especially because Moore has the potential to do a lot more in this offense.
3) Nakobe Dean: It's tough to think Dean landed on this list two days in a row. A talented linebacker expected by many to go in the first round waited until the third round to hear his name called by the Philadelphia Eagles. (NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that teams' concerns over a pectoral injury came into play, and while Eagles GM Howie Roseman did tell reporters that Dean has a pec injury, Roseman said it doesn't require surgery and won't keep Dean from attending the team's rookie minicamp.) That's a painful experience, especially for somebody who was posted up in the green room in Las Vegas on Thursday night. Now, here's the upside: Dean is going to a team that desperately needs help in the middle of the defense. He's a legitimate difference-maker who plays with the kind of passion that people in that town savor. Even though he lost a lot of potential money with the drop to No. 83, the safe bet is that he becomes a fan favorite in a hurry.
4) Malik Willis: The Liberty quarterback appears here a second consecutive time for the same reason as Dean -- he didn't get drafted until the third round after entering the weekend surrounded by substantial first-round buzz. It obviously says plenty that so many teams in need of a quarterback couldn't buy into Willis earlier than the 86th overall pick, when the Titans swung a trade up with the Raiders to nab him. This also doesn't mean that Willis isn't going to become a good player in the NFL. He now gets to play in Tennessee, behind a veteran star in Ryan Tannehill and on a team that knows how to maximize the skill sets of its quarterbacks. Tannehill resurrected his career in 2019 because the Titans understood how to utilize him in their physical, run-first offense. They'll have a plan for developing Willis, as well, and he'll be better for it once his opportunity finally arrives.