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2022 NFL Draft Burning Questions

by Gary Zamarripa | @garyzamFF | Featured Writer
Feb 17, 2022
Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers’ future in Green Bay is one of the biggest questions heading into draft season.

As the luster of another fantastic Super Bowl starts to fade, it’s a bit of downtime on the NFL calendar.  This time of year is ripe with debates about who is the top young QB in the league or who you think your favorite team selects in the upcoming NFL Draft. The draft doesn’t start until April 28th, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start the discussion now. It’s the offseason and that’s what NFL fans do during this time of the year. Let’s kick off the 2022 offseason with some NFL draft burning questions.

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What happens to Deshaun Watson?

This was a burning question last offseason when it was discovered Watson was unhappy with the Texans about how the hiring of the new GM and head coach was handled. He felt disrespected that he wasn’t part of the process and had to find out on social media rather than from a team official. Watson said he had played his last snap as a Texan and officially requested a trade.

A couple of months later, the trade situation took a dramatic turn. In mid-March, 22 civil lawsuits were filed against Watson alleging sexual assault and misconduct. The NFL launched an internal investigation and Watson spent the entire 2021 season as a gameday inactive. The burning question here becomes where he will play next season and who will trade for him.

This could have a big impact on the upcoming draft. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, trade packages for Watson during the season consisted of three first-round picks and two third-round picks. Will quarterback-needy teams break the bank for Watson with the specter of the lawsuits still pending? Will a team also be willing to endure the PR backlash? The fact that those questions are being asked is a testament to the caliber of player Watson is.

Does Aaron Rodgers stay in Green Bay?

This was another burning question last offseason that still hasn’t been resolved. During the 2020 NFL draft, the Packers traded up in the first round to select Jordan Love (QB – GB). This, of course, wasn’t communicated to Rodgers and the fires of disrespect began to burn. He went on to have a fantastic 2020 season, putting up almost 4,300 yards and 48 TDs to go along with a 121.5 passer rating and his third MVP honor.

Going into last season, Rodgers trade rumors ran rampant. The team stood by their statement that they were unwilling to trade Rodgers and that he was their QB going forward. With very little leverage, he played the 2021 season and won his fourth league MVP with over 4,100 yards and 37 TDs.

The rumor mill is rife with new trade rumors going into 2022. He is rumored to be linked to the Titans, Broncos, Colts, and Panthers. To be clear, Green Bay isn’t going to just let him walk out of town. According to Adam Schefter, the Packers are willing to go “all-in” to keep Rodgers as their QB next season.

The Denver Broncos are an intriguing landing spot after the hiring of former Green Bay offensive coordinator, Nathaniel Hackett. Rodgers and Hackett reportedly have a good relationship and that could tip the scales in favor of the Broncos acquiring his services. Denver has the cap space and the draft capital (including the ninth pick in the first round) to make this happen.

Will the Cincinnati Bengals address the offensive line early in this draft?

This one seems like a no-brainer after franchise quarterback Joe Burrow (QB – CIN) was sacked 70 times in the regular and postseason, including a recording-tying seven times in the Super Bowl. In the past two drafts, the Bengals used their top picks on Burrow and offensive rookie of the year, Ja’Marr Chase (WR – CIN).

There was debate that they should have selected offensive tackle Penei Sewell (OT – DET) with the fifth overall pick in the 2021 draft. They chose to forgo drafting an offensive lineman and added more firepower to an already talented WR room. The Chase pick paid off and he ended up with over 1,400 yards and 13 TDs in his rookie year.

Now the focus becomes the offensive line. Some OT candidates that could be available at their pick are Trevor Penning out of Northern Iowa, or Nick Petit-Frere from Ohio State. Both players will help fill in a massive hole on that offensive line, as protecting your franchise quarterback is mission number one.

How many QBs will be taken in the first round?

There are a lot of teams looking to replace or upgrade their starting QB next season. Ideally, drafting your franchise QB is the goal of all teams, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. Unlike some drafts, 2022 doesn’t have a “can’t miss” QB prospect. Kenny Pickett out of Pittsburgh looks like a nice player, but he’s not considered to be a number one overall selection.

Most teams will temper their expectations with this class and if more than one QB gets drafted it will happen in the late first round. This draft class is why so many teams in need of a quarterback are willing to give up tons of draft capital to land a proven player like Deshaun Watson, Aaron Rodgers, or Russell Wilson (QB – SEA).

What do the Tampa Bay Buccaneers do without Tom Brady?

The Bucs won the Super Bowl in 2021 and won the NFC South and gave the eventual champion Rams a run for their money in 2022. They have a roster full of great players on both sides of the ball. Then Brady retires and everything changes. Now, they have a hole in the most important position on the field. Not to mention, they have 23 unrestricted free agent players this offseason. These players include Chris Godwin (WR – TB), Carlton Davis (CB – TB), Leonard Fournette (RB – TB), Ryan Jensen (OL – TB), and Ronald Jones II (RB – TB).

With Brady at the helm, the Bucs would retain as many free agents as possible and make another Super Bowl run. However, he’s not. Do you go all-in with your pending free agents if you are starting Kyle Trask (QB – TB), a second-round pick from last year? Will they pursue one of the disgruntled QBs and surrender massive draft capital? It will be interesting to see what direction the team takes in free agency and in the draft.

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Gary Zamarripa is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Gary, check out his archive and follow him on Twitter @garyzamFF.

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