2022 NFL Draft Day 2 winners and losers: Eagles, Titans make good bets; Baker Mayfield loses a suitor

Day 2 of the 2022 NFL Draft came and went Friday, but not without some unexpected storylines, including big names like Malik Willis and Nakobe Dean lasting all the way until the third round, Baker Mayfield trade talks heating up and then cooling off, and the Packers addressing a particular position very early in the evening. As the third and final day of the draft draws near, here’s a rundown of the biggest winners and losers from the second day of action (check out our tracker of every pick along with grades and analysis here).

Yes, they may have stripped Lamar Jackson of a weapon by granting Marquise Brown’s trade request Thursday, but they followed up a promising Day One haul (Kyle Hamilton, Tyler Linderbaum) by adding two more potential starters on “D” in pass rusher David Ojabo and defensive tackle Travis Jones. Baltimore’s gonna be rough and tough once again.

He was always gonna be a bridge at QB post-Matt Ryan, and Desmond Ridder’s arrival as a third-round pick doesn’t necessarily rob him of the QB1 job immediately. But the general consensus is Ridder, a lauded leader, will be ready to play sooner rather than later. Mariota is what he is — probably a high-end backup. The rookie’s upside will inevitably demand snaps.

On the same night both their former and current QBs were losers (more on the latter in a second), Tennessee made a smart gamble at No. 86 overall, halting Malik Willis’ slide to add the Liberty signal-caller as a potential Ryan Tannehill successor. While Tannehill is polished and serviceable, he’s also pricey and has probably peaked. Willis, meanwhile, gets a chance to sit and learn on a playoff-caliber team, then use his electric legs and arm to give Mike Vrabel’s run-heavy offense more juice.

Loser: Ryan Tannehill

Oh sure, he’s locked into the starting QB gig for now. He might even have a nice rebound year, with Robert Woods and Treylon Burks and Austin Hooper downfield and Derrick Henry healthier. But he’s not getting any younger (or cheaper), so the Titans have plenty of reasons to hope Willis develops enough to take over full-time in 2023, at the latest.

The receiver is going from NDSU to Lambeau, where he’ll catch passes from Aaron Rodgers as the Packers’ highest-drafted wideout since A-Rod took over under center. Playing in Green Bay doesn’t guarantee he’ll be a star, but it sure doesn’t hurt.

Loser: Baker Mayfield

After passing on a QB with the No. 6 pick, the Panthers finally appeared to be coming around to the idea of ‚Äč‚Äčtrading for Mayfield on Friday, offering a sunny change of scenery for the disgruntled Browns QB. Then they dealt a future third to move up for Ole Miss’ Matt Corral, effectively ending their hunt for Sam Darnold competition. Maybe Carolina will double dip, but that seems unlikely. Now, Mayfield is left to pray one of the remaining QB-needy teams (the Seahawks? Texans?) comes calling.

The Bills offense was already loaded. Now it’ll also feature James Cook, the younger brother of Vikings star Dalvin Cook. He may not be nearly as lethal as a ball-carrier, but he brings a lot in the passing game, which bodes quite well for Buffalo.

Running backs quickly become forgotten names these days, and Carson — just 27, with a pair of 1,000-yard seasons on his resume — seems like a near-lock to be finished in Seattle after the Seahawks used a second-rounder on Kenneth Walker III.

Winner: Pennsylvania teams

A day after adding a new QB in Kenny Pickett, the Steelers added maybe the gem of the second round in Georgia wideout George Pickens, who could be their next best homegrown play-maker out wide. Elsewhere, the Eagles benefited from the curious injury-related slide of Pickens’ fellow Bulldogs star, Nakobe Dean, securing a new face of their linebacker corps. Jalen Hurts is a bonus winner there, with Philly not only acquiring AJ Brown on Thursday but passing on Willis and Corral on Friday despite multiple chances to add QB competition; Hurts is now set up for a legitimate chance to hold down the job into and beyond 2022.

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