The 2020 NFL Draft

The NFL just wrapped up a successful draft weekend. It was the first time EVER that the draft was held virtually, being displayed across various TV Networks. The commissioner (Roger Goodell) worked tirelessly to announce most picks from the comfort of his own basement (and yes, people still managed to find him and boo him).

This draft showcased what might have been the deepest group of wide-receivers ever. The first round was flooded with them, and we saw a run on offensive tackles early. There were many pleasant surprises (Andrew Thomas being the first tackle off of the board, Green Bay finding Rodgers’ replacement, Cee Dee Lamb falling), and a couple of disappointments (Green Bay, Philly, and Chicago).

We saw some winners. The Panthers were able to start their rebuild as they started to rebuild their once-great defense and for the first time ever, came away with all defensive picks. The Bengals found their franchise quarterback Joe Burrow, the Dolphins found theirs (Hopefully!) in Tua. The cardinals found a pleasant surprise in Isaiah Simmons who will anchor their defense, being able to move around and play different positions, while being a pest in the division whether it is marking George Kittle or spying Russell Wilson. The Raiders were able to add speed by landing the fastest player in the draft, Henry Ruggs III; and added to the offense later on in the draft, certainly setting Derek Carr up for success. The Cowboys added to their lethal offense by drafting Cee Dee Lamb who many saw as the top receiver in the draft. The Buccaneers made sure to get Tom Brady some protection in drafting arguably the best OL in the draft, Tristan Wirfs.

And then…there were the losers. Green Bay who needed help on defense decided to trade up and draft undeveloped quarterback Jordan Love. With Rodgers hoping to play until he is 40, Green Bay certainly should have waited until round two or for next year’s draft to draft a replacement. The Eagles who needed a viable deep-field threat were able to get speedster Jalen Reagor, but the move left the fan base in turmoil. With Reagor is a bit of raw talent, it was the perfect time to be aggressive and trade up for Lamb. The Bears failed to address receiver issues and continued to add to the momentous list of Tight Ends on their roster.

Some other notes:

  • San Francisco was able to land the top two players on their draft board in the first round, filling the holes left by the departures of Deforest Buckner and Emmanuel Sanders. With LT Joe Staley retiring, they were able to get All-Pro Tackle Trent Williams for what looked to be a steal.

  • The Dolphins left with a haul and all of a sudden should look to quietly make their way into the playoffs.

  • Justin Herbert to the Chargers was predictable, but will he work out? The time in LA is now, as they have many stars facing expiring FA contracts.

Below is my pick by pick analysis of the first round:

Round One

  1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB (LSU)

  • Burrow was the obvious pick at one, his tape is borderline flawless. With plenty of receiver help in Cincinnati, Burrow should be a stud for a long time.

2. Washington Redskins: Chase Young, DE (Ohio State)

  • The Ohio State seems to be pumping out superstars, Young will be a wrecking ball immediately. His speed and power make him a generational talent. He will be a nuisance in the AFC and help to anchor the Redskins D-Line.

3. Detroit Lions: Jeffrey Okudah, CB (Ohio State)

  • Okudah was the best corner in the draft and on most people’s board. While he may not be the most athletic, he is the best player when we are strictly talking football. He will be a nice replacement for Darius Slay on a team in Detriot that is barely holding it together. They probably could have traded down and still landed Okudah but nonetheless, great pick.

4. New York Giants: Andrew Thomas, T (Georgia)

  • This was the first surprise of the draft. Many saw Thomas as the 4th ranked OT of the big 4. He stills has some issues with his usage of hands, but should be a major upgrade for a line that did not do a great job of protecting Daniel Jones.

5. Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB (Alabama)

  • It’s Tua Time in South Beach! Tua might have easily been the first pick in the draft if it wasn’t for his season-ending injuries. He failed a physical a couple of weeks ago and is trying to return from an injury that derails many players’ careers. The big question is if he will return healthy, but also, will he see the field in year 1? If he returns healthy, Miami has truly found a gem and its franchise QB.

6. Los Angeles Chargers: Justin Herbert, QB (Oregon)

  • This was an obvious pick and a good, not great pick. Herbert is a robust QB and a warrior. All of the physical traits are there, the worry is will he be able to play at an NFL level. There was a drop off in production and his ability to assess situations and deliver some throws is still a problem. Herbert should be a nice upgrade of Tyrod Taylor and immediately step into a good Chargers offense that needs to win now.

7. Carolina Panthers: Derrick Brown, DT (Auburn)

  • The Panthers are starting a rebuild under a new coach, Matt Rhule, who has successfully built up many programs (Baylor and Temple most notably). Brown is a physical beast who gives O-Lines problems. He won’t be the high sack guy but will break down lines and be a good run stopper. While they could have taken Isaiah Simmons, it makes sense to take a for sure position players than a hybrid LB/S.

8. Arizona Cardinals: Isaiah Simmons, LB (Clemson)

  • Simmons is one of the rare players who just roam on defense, he really has no position. I was surprised that he fell to 8, but it is a steal for Arizona. He can be used in so many different ways and can lock up some of the best in the division.

9. Jacksonville Jaguars: C.J. Henderson, CB (Florida)

  • While this might have been early, it was a necessary pick. They needed a CB and immediately filled this void. While it was early, I believe that after him there is a drop off in production from CBs.

10. Cleveland Browns: Jedrick Wills, T (Alabama)

· Cleveland was a team who shocked many, and not in a good way. They have a loaded roster, but could not put it together. Wills should be a nice piece on an O-Line that struggled has struggled ever since future Hall of Famer Joe Thomas retired. My only question is if he can make the successful change to LT after marking Tua’s blind side on the right at Alabama.

11. New York Jets: Mekhi Becton, T (Louisville)

· Becton blew scouts away by his performance at the combine. Running a 5.11 40 at his size is unheard of. While the Jets needed a WR, they were smart to take and OT and wait for a WR. Should Becton adjust to the NFL nicely, he will be a keystone to the Jets’ line.

12. Las Vegas Raiders: Henry Ruggs, WR (Alabama)

  • While many believed the Raiders would take Lamb at 12, they opted for speed and took Ruggs. Ruggs took 25% of his catches to the house last year and will look to keep up his production. The Raiders now have their own version of divisions rival Tyreek Hill. With his combination of speed and toughness, Ruggs will be a nightmare to defenses across the league.

13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (from Indianapolis via San Francisco): Tristan Wirfs, T (Iowa)

  • The Buccaneers were scared that the last remaining top tier would go to SF as Joe Staley was in talks about retiring, so they traded up one pick to secure an athletic and well-coached OT. Wirfs is a nice addition to an offense that will depend a lot on the passing game.

14. San Francisco 49ers (from Tampa Bay): Javon Kinlaw, DT (South Carolina)

  • This pick was a heart breaker for many as fans drooled over Lamb and Jeudy. Once they fell many believed Lamb was the selection. However, SF opted to play it safe and go after Kinlaw who is a physical specimen. At 6’5” 300+ pounds, he is explosive and powerful. He was a nightmare to teams in the SEC and found his way through many double teams. He helped his stock at the Senior Bowl where he was unguardable. Kinlaw will be a nice addition to SF’s D-Line rotation and should be a decent replacement to All-Pro Deforest Buckner.

15. Denver Broncos: Jerry Jeudy, WR (Alabama)

  • The Broncos added to their offense by drafting the best route runner the draft has seen in a while. Jeudy is a one-on-one nightmare and has run after the catch ability. My concern is his physicality, but that can develop over time. He will be a nice WR to pair with emerging star Courtland Sutton.

16. Atlanta Falcons: A.J. Terrell, CB (Clemson)

  • The first of a few bad picks in my opinion. Terrell is a solid player but has many issues with his game. He had an okay season but was ripped apart in the National Championship. In other games (most notably UNC) his poor fluidity and failure to press at the top of routes really showed up. Surely he can develop but was not work the risk at the 16th pick.

17. Dallas Cowboys: CeeDee Lamb, WR (Oklahoma)

  • The best value pick and a shocker that he fell this far, the Cowboys found a steal. They opted to go with the best available, rather than to trade back or address a serious need. The pick is good, but Lamb does not bring that deep field threat that the Cowboys need. With an offense that is already good, it would have been nice to draft a DE or trade back and collect picks. Lamb is a relentless player after the catch and can get valuable yards.

18. Miami Dolphins (from Pittsburgh): Austin Jackson, T (USC)

  • The Dolphins really needed to add to one of the league’s worst lines. I would have liked to see the Dolphins wait until the end of the first round to take a tackle given the talent available. Jackson is a young, solid tackle, but due to a bone marrow transplant, he had a weak 2019 season. If Jackson can fully get his power back, this will be a great addition to the line and a nice piece to protect Tua.

19. Las Vegas Raiders (from Chicago): Damon Arnette, CB (Ohio State)

  • Arnette was valued as a low second-round pick by many, but he is a solid player. In college, he used his physicality to make up for his lack of speed. He is not afraid to get in your face, but his speed will be a problem in a division where offenses rely on speed and big receivers.

20. Jacksonville Jaguars (from LAR): K’Lavon Chaisson, DE (LSU)

  • Chaisson is a speedy pass rusher who is an athletic freak. This was a good pick for a team that is having issues with a defensive line that used to be the scariest in the league. Should his skills translate to the NFL, he will be a solid player and hopefully transform Jacksonville back into Sacksonville.

21. Philadelphia Eagles: Jalen Reagor, WR (TCU)

  • This was a surprising pick given the fact that Justin Jefferson was still on the board. Reagor is a speedy player who has problems with drops. He is not the best route runner, but given the fact that the Eagles do not have a deep threat, Reagor is of some value.

22. Minnesota (from Buffalo): Justin Jefferson, WR (LSU)

  • After Stefon Diggs left, it was clear the Vikings needed a receiver. Jefferson thrived with Burrow at LSU and should do well as he lines up across from Adam Thielen. Jefferson is deceptively fast and is a great route runner with a decent catch radius. Good pick for a team that is trying to pick up from where they left off last year.

23. Los Angeles Chargers (from New England): Kenneth Murray, LB (Oklahoma)

  • The Chargers traded up for a stud. Kenneth Murray is a great player who impressed teams with his combine interview. He is great against the run and should be an important piece for this defense.

24. New Orleans Saints: Cesar Ruiz, C (Michigan)

  • This was a little bit of a surprising pick considering they drafted a Center last year, but it looks like Ruiz will play at guard and replace Larry Warford. Ruiz is an athletic player who is great in the run game. He will be a valuable player wherever he lines up.

25. San Francisco 49ers (from Minnesota): Brandon Aiyuk, WR (Arizona State)

  • Eye-yuke. Brandon Aiyuk was an interesting pick. I think people knew that once SF traded up they would get a WR, I don’t think they expected Aiyuk. It came as a surprise, but people felt better once they learned it was SF’s top receiver on their board. Aiyuk has downfield speed who can line up anywhere. He also had the most YAC (Yards After the Catch), something SF has been trying to have in their receivers. He is a less physical Deebo Samuel, but there are big shoes for him to fill after the departure of Sanders.

26. Green Bay Packers (from Houston via Miami): Jordan Love, QB (Utah State)

  • Of all the pick in Round 1, this might have been the worst if you think short term. Although Rodgers is not the same QB he was a couple of years ago, he still has some stuff left in the tank. With so many other needs, they go for the backup QB. Love has the tools but still needs to develop. He has potential, but there were other holes Green Bay needed to fill.

27. Seattle Seahawks: Jordyn Brooks, LB (Texas Tech)

  • This pick was a little surprising given the fact that he was viewed as a second-rounder. Brooks will find himself with the games’ best linebacker, Bobby Wagner. At times Brooks seems a little lost in coverage but he is good against the run. This pick will add to a Seahawks D that was iffy last year.

28. Baltimore Ravens: Patrick Queen, LB (LSU)

  • This was by far one of my favorite picks. Queen is a fast linebacker who plays sideline to sideline. He was my top linebacker and I was a little surprised to see him take a tumble. He fits a stout Ravens defense who looks to return to championship caliber.

29. Tennessee Titans: Isaiah Wilson, T (Georgia)

  • One of the more surprising picks, the Titans elect to go with a tackle. They find their success by winning in the trenches. Wilson, I thought, still has developing to do, but is a much-needed replacement for Jack Conklin. Coming from one of the best lines in college, he still lacks fluidity and has the tendency to overset or lean back too much. With some work, he has the potential to be a stud on this Titans O-Line.

30. Miami Dolphins (from Green Bay): Noah Igbinoghene, CB (Auburn)

  • Yes, I also have no clue how to say his name, but it was an interesting pick. Igbinoghene is an athlete, son of two Nigerian national track athletes. He has straight-line speed and recoverability, but as a converted WR, he has room to go. He can get handsy and still is a bit raw.

31. Minnesota Vikings (from San Francisco): Jeff Gladney, CB (TCU)

  • Gladney was one of my favorite picks of the night. The Vikings were desperate for a CB after losing a lot of their secondary. Gladney is a physical player who will get in your face. Like Igbinoghene, he is an athlete, but is a tad bit raw, probably more developed though.

32. Kansas City Chiefs: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB (LSU)

  • With the last pick of the night, the first Running Back was taken. Edwards-Helaire stands at just 5’7” but is a physical and swift RB who can catch out of the backfield. This pick was not the most delightful for the fans, but Mahomes got the protection that he asked for. Not many holes to fill for the returning champs, but a solid pick.

With the hopes that the 2020 season happens, we look forward to seeing the many surprises that come with the NFL Season.