2022 NFL Expansion Draft


Robbie Ackerly

The last time the NFL added a team via expansion was 2002, with the introduction of the Houston Texans. Recently, my fellow sports writer Brett Jassey created a hypothetical article where he added eight new NFL expansion teams (one for each division). This article got me thinking, what would an expansion draft look like if it were to take place today? What would this roster look like if one of these said expansion teams were added to the NFL? Today, we will find out. 


My favorite team from Brett’s article was the Oklahoma City Stampede, so for today’s roster they will be the team I am using. It doesn’t mean anything, but it makes things more fun as well as giving me the luxury to refer to a team name or city. 


Before we start however let’s lay out some ground rules. 

  • All second string (or lower) quarterbacks, outside linebackers, and safeties will be up for grabs. 
  • The rest of the positions (receivers, cornerbacks, running backs, and middle linebackers) can be drafted if they are listed as third string. 
  • Punters and Kickers are not included, just like in 2002.
  • Rookies cannot be selected, as this draft would take place before the NFL rookie draft. 
  • I will only be selecting 22 players, just enough for a starting lineup.
  • And Finally, taking a page out of the Los Angeles Rams book. Salary cap will be ignored, it makes everything complicated.

With the rules set, we can now begin the Oklahoma City Stampede Expansion Draft. 




Quarterback – Gardner Minshew II

When Gardner Minshew was given the keys to the Jacksonville Jaguars kingdom for two seasons, he looked like anything but a backup. In his two seasons as the Jaguars starter Minshew racked up over 5,500 yards and threw for 37 touchdowns. In fact, I thought the Jaguars would have rolled with Minshew as their guy for the future. Unfortunately for Gardner the Jaguars did land the first overall pick in the 2021 draft class, a class which contained the most hyped up prospect since Peyton Manning in quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Flushed out of Jacksonville, Minshew has wound up serving as the backup to Jalen Hurts in Philadelphia. Minshew is the perfect guy for an expansion team. With a fresh-start and a team that believes in him he could easily transform into a franchise quarterback. Also, that mullet and mustache will fit perfectly into Oklahoma City. 


Running Back – Darrell Henderson Jr. 

Yet another player with seemingly more to give, but given up on by the suits. Former Rams starting running back Henderson also fits well in an expansion team starting position. Now the third string back for the Jaguars following a surprise release, Hendy is in need of a new setting. A setting that would put trust in Darrell to carry the workload as a starting running back. When taking over the starting job last year for the Rams Henderson showed some flashes. A young and talented running back is perfect for the Oklahoma City Stampede.


Wide Receivers – Sammy Watkins, Kendrick Bourne, and “Dee” Eskridge

First, Sammy Watkins. Watkins was a bonafide stud on the Buffalo Bills. Sadly, what looked like a superstar career came crashing down following his rocky departure from Buffalo. Watkins, now a Packer, barely has an offensive role. I personally think he is being criminally underused and has a lot left to give. A relocation to a team ready to write its legacy could help Watkins rewrite his. 


Kendrick Bourne is another player who’s lost his role. This role wasn’t lost because Bourne lost his step, it was seemingly lost out of nowhere. After emerging in San Francisco the Patriots signed Bourne in the 2021 free agency frenzy with expectations quite high, Bourne thus far has been disappointing. Barley eclipsing 800 yards in his first year under Billy B, Kendrick Bourne and the Patriots is a relationship that just isn’t working out. The move out west to Oklahoma City would be great for Mr.Bourne. 


Lastly, “Dee” Eskridge. Formerly Dwayne, the name change hasn’t changed Eskridge’s lackluster NFL career up until this point. This pick is a little personal…Eskridge was a draft day crush of mine. Coming out of Western Michigan I really wanted my Green Bay Packers to draft Eskridge, considering how things have gone so far maybe we dodged a bullet. However we drafted Amari Rodgers that year so maybe we got shot anyway? I don’t know. I’ll stop ranting now and put it this way. Dwayne Eskridge is a young, fast, and very talented receiver. His Seattle tenure has not gone to plan, perhaps Oklahoma City will suit “Dee” better. 


Tight End – O.J Howard 

This pick feels a little illegal, as O.J. Howard is a very solid tight end. Howard definitely hasn’t lived up to his first round pick expectations but has not been a disaster by any means. In Houston he has been relegated to third on the depth chart. If O.J. can stay healthy, he is a very nice addition to the Stampedes of Oklahoma City 


LT- Walker Little 

Walker Little was a second round pick just last year. Little is a super talented tackle who has shown some promise. He was great at Stanford and could easily go from one team’s backup to another team’s left tackle of the future. 


LG- Ben Cleveland

Another young backup, former third round pick Ben Cleveland was great as a Georgia Bulldog. In a similar case as Little, Cleveland could easily develop into a solid left guard. 


C- Nick Gates 

Few demonstrate resilience like Giant’s backup center Nick Gates. Sidelined for over 400 days with a leg injury, Gates has worked his hardest to get back on the field. Gates was great prior to his injury and there is no doubt he still possesses that same gridiron grit of his past. 


RG- David Quessenbery 

David Quessenbery has been in the NFL for just under a decade. Quessenberry has primarily been a backup during his tenure in the league but has made impacts when he was given the chance to start. David Quessenbery is a solid veteran who could definitely help out this young Oklahoma City offensive line. 


RT- Alex Leatherwood

This might be the best pick of my expansion draft. Alex Leatherwood was a first round pick just last year. However, Leatherwood was cut after an absolutely abysmal rookie season. Frankly, I think the Oakland Raiders cutting Leatherwood was a major hiccup. Leatherwood was a force at Alabama, winning national championships and blocking awards while playing under Nick Saban. The drafting of Alex at 17 in the 2021 NFL draft was certainly a reach, but that definitely does not mean this kid can’t play ball. I think right now, Leatherwood could develop into a starter for the Chicago Bears, the team he is certainly serving as a backup for. Leatherwood was a blue-chip prospect, and with the right coaching and guidance Leatherwood could be a franchise player for the Oklahoma City Stampede. 


Now forgive me, I was a little misleading. Due to me not wanting this article to be another 3 pages I’m gonna pause this draft right here. But don’t you worry! The second part of this article will be released shortly. In said part two, I will put together the starting defense for the Oklahoma City Stampede. Until then, thank you all for reading and let me know in the comments if you think someone else was deserving of a spot on this expansion team.