The 12 most pressing questions facing teams following the 2022 NFL draft

·8 min read

The 2022 NFL draft is in the books, and now coaching staffs will begin planning how to best integrate their new pieces into the puzzle.

Between free agency and the draft, many teams have filled key holes while answering some of their most pressing offseason questions.

But uncertainty still looms over a number of squads despite their draft efforts.

Here’s a look at some of the biggest post-draft questions facing teams and players as the offseason rolls on.

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Are the Seattle Seahawks really satisfied at quarterback?

Just about every team with shaky-to-bad quarterback situations took a passer at some point in the draft, even if some of those selections are viewed as developmental players who will not be asked to play right away. The Seahawks, however, were not one of those teams.

That means for now, Drew Lock and longtime backup Geno Smith remain the top options. It’s hard to view Lock, who owns an 8-13 record as a starter with 25 career touchdowns passes and 20 interceptions, as the answer as Seattle kicks off the post-Russell Wilson era. But Seattle didn’t spend a single draft pick on even a project quarterback. That raises the question: Are they content to approach 2022 as a rebuilding year and let Lock hold them over until next year’s draft? Or will they renew talks for a trade with the Cleveland Browns for Baker Mayfield?

Are the Tennessee Titans poised for regression?

Rather than pay the sure thing in dynamic wide receiver A.J. Brown, the Titans traded him to the Philadelphia Eagles and then drafted what they hope is a similarly prolific pass catcher in Arkansas’ Treylon Burks.

Without the reliable Brown, who for his career has averaged 62 receptions, 998 yards and eight touchdowns per season and last year helped compensate for the injury absence of running back Derrick Henry, Ryan Tannehill could see his effectiveness wane.

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Meanwhile, the divisional-rival Indianapolis Colts just further loaded up by getting new quarterback Matt Ryan a talented wideout (second-rounder Alec Pierce) and tight end (third-rounder Jelani Woods) with their first two picks of the draft. Keeping pace with Indy could become challenging unless Burks can make an instant impact.

Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers reacts after throwing an incomplete pass on third down during the first half against the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field on November 14, 2021 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers reacts after throwing an incomplete pass on third down during the first half against the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field on November 14, 2021 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Can a trio of rookie receivers help the Green Bay Packers right away?

Another team that shipped off their leading wide receiver, the Packers entered this draft in need of a replacement for Davante Adams. After using their two first-rounders on defensive players, then went on to select three wideouts.

North Dakota State's Christian Watson looks like a stud, and fourth-rounder Romeo Doubs and seventh-rounder Samori Toure each have something to offer. But the void left by Adams, who recorded three 1,300-plus yard seasons in the last four years, is massive, and Aaron Rodgers has little time to waste waiting for youngsters to develop. The reigning NFL MVP has no choice, however, but to make it work despite a lack of proven weapons. After giving Rodgers the massive contract extension that he wanted, the Packers essentially told him, “Figure it out.”

Who will Lamar Jackson throw to now?

The Baltimore Ravens’ trading of Marquise Brown to the Arizona Cardinals ranked among the stunners of the draft. But Brown wasn’t happy in Baltimore’s system, and the Ravens didn’t plan on paying him like a No. 1 receiver when his rookie deal expired, as he’s been far too inconsistent. But what does that leave Jackson to work with? Sammy Watkins and Miles Boykin both departed via free agency. Rashod Bateman, Devin Duvernay and James Proche II currently stand as the top the wide receivers, and the Ravens didn’t draft anyone at this position. Entering a year in which production will carry a lot of weight as Jackson negotiates toward a new contract, the pressure seemingly has ratcheted up another notch.

Can Kenny Pickett challenge Mitchell Trubisky?

The Pittsburgh Steelers signed Trubisky in free agency and then added Pickett in the first round. Originally, many believed Trubisky would serve as the bridge starter after Ben Roethlisberger's retirement. But after the selection of Pickett, things could change. Trubisky certainly has the experience edge. But he also has had his share of struggles in the NFL, so it’s not like he’s a stone-cold lock for QB1. The offseason in the Steel City should be quite interesting.

Can an infusion of youth keep the Kansas City Chiefs on top?

Kansas City addressed glaring weaknesses on defense by drafting cornerback Trent McDuffie and pass rusher George Karlaftis in the first round. Then the Chiefs added wide receiver Skyy Moore in the second round. After an aggressive offseason, the Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers seemingly have narrowed the gap. But perhaps the additions can combine to help lighten Patrick Mahomes' load while enabling the perennial AFC West leaders a step ahead of the pack.

Can Scott Turner fix Carson Wentz?

Doug Pederson couldn’t help Wentz return to top form in Philadelphia. Frank Reich brought him to Indianapolis in an experiment lasted just one season. The Washington Commanders traded for him, giving up a second-rounder and two third-rounders. After a draft focused on strengthening the roster around the quarterback, the Commanders now need Turner, the offensive coordinator to work on repairing Wentz’s confidence and decision-making. Washington did pick North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell in the fifth round, who was widely expected to be taken much earlier. So, if Wentz’s woes continue, Washington does have an intriguing backup to consider.

Can Daniel Jones solidify his future?

The New York Giants landed potential franchise cornerstones with the first-round selections of Kayvon Thibodeaux and Evan Neal. But the priority of the offseason is for new coach Brian Daboll to see Jones can ever live up to his billing as the sixth overall pick of the 2019 draft. The Giants declined to pick up the fifth-year option on Jones’ rookie contract, so this truly is a make-or-break year for the former Duke standout, who in three seasons owns a 12-25 record with 45 touchdown passes, 29 interceptions and 36 fumbles.

How long is Sam Darnold’s leash?

The Carolina Panthers passed on taking a quarterback with the No. 6 overall selection and have Darnold penciled in as their starting quarterback. But they did use a third-round pick on Ole Miss’ Matt Corral and abandoned their pursuit of Baker Mayfield. If Darnold (54 touchdowns and 52 interceptions in four seasons) can’t get things on track, the Panthers very well could turn to Corral, who has a quick release and competes hard.

Will reaches in the draft come back to haunt the New England Patriots?

For years, Bill Belichick drew praise for his creative approach to the draft because those moves always seemed to pay off as the Patriots found one diamond in the rough after another. But as of late, New England has struggled, particularly when it comes to drafting wide receivers. This week, Belichick had additional eye-brow-raising moves as he drafted Tennessee-Chattanooga guard Cole Strange in the first round while many teams had him rated in the late-second to early-third range. Then Belichick reached again when he took Baylor wide receiver Tyquan Thornton in the second round. A year after spending a first-round pick on Mac Jones, the Patriots used a fourth-round pick on Western Kentucky quarterback Bailey Zappe. The Patriots made the playoffs last season but got blown out by the Buffalo Bills. Now, after key losses in free agency, and impressive offseasons by each of their AFC East rivals, they can't afford to keep swinging and missing on draft picks.

Can the San Francisco 49ers smooth things over with Deebo Samuel?

San Francisco general manager John Lynch said he didn’t envision trading his disgruntled do-everything wide receiver, and the draft came and went with the 49ers having stood their ground. So, what now?

Will Samuel, who per multiple reports wants both a new contract and modification of his role, give up his trade demands? Or will he hold his ground? The 49ers are hoping that a patient approach will help heal the rift between player and franchise and that a compromise can be reached. Samuel’s presence is crucial for San Francisco, which is coming off of its second NFC championship game appearance in three years. The Niners are in the process of trying to figure out their quarterback situation between 2021 No. 3 overall pick Trey Lance and incumbent starter Jimmy Garoppolo, but regardless of what they do, Samuel would serve as a much-needed security blanket.

Can a new No. 1 receiver help Jalen Hurts make strides?

After a longstanding search for a game-changing wide receiver, the Eagles finally found their man after trading for A.J. Brown and then giving him a long-term contract. The Eagles were hoping that Hurts, the third-year quarterback, could continue to develop after last year’s 8-7 campaign in which he threw for 3,144 yards, 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions in his first year as a starter.

A weapon like Brown certainly should help. Additionally, the Eagles invested in their defense during the draft, which should help ease pressure on Hurts and the offense as well.

Follow USA TODAY Sports' Mike Jones on Twitter @ByMikeJones.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NFL draft 2022: 12 biggest questions facing teams with picks complete

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