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With the 2020 NFL Draft being in the books, it’s time to look at each pick in the first round and see who did right by their team and fans. This year’s draft saw a lot of surprises, a lot of possible reaches and a lot of head scratchers. Who got it right, who got it wrong and who is in that weird gray area that’s called the middle? Let’s see who hit or missed!
1. Cincinnati Bengals; Joe Burrow, Quarterback – Hit
Even if Burrow is a bust, he was the right pick. Cincinnati needed a quarterback and this year just so happened to feature one as the consensus No. 1 pick. It’s similar to Cleveland Browns’ defensive end Myles Garrett in 2017, so while three years from now, he could look more like former Carolina Panthers quarterback Jimmy Clausen, it’s better to take the safe pick at a premium position than take the risk.
2. Washington Redskins; Chase Young, Defensive End – Hit
Young was the consensus top defensive player in the draft and as such, it was the right move to take him. Similar to the San Francisco 49ers taking defensive end Nick Bosa last year, Washington has put together an impressive defensive front seven with Young, Montez Sweat, Jonathan Allen, Da’Ron Payne, Thomas Davis and Ryan Kerrigan. With defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio who ran the ship for the Denver Broncos from 2012-2014, this could be a very dangerous group to deal with for years to come.
3. Detroit Lions; Jeff Okudah, Defensive Back – Miss
Detroit absolutely made the right pick, however it’s still a miss for one simple reason, the trade value. Given that multiple teams, including the Miami Dolphins, were looking to move up and possibly pay handsomely, it makes one wonder if Okudah would have been there at fifth overall? If not, there were plenty of players to fill other voids including linebacker Isaiah Simmons or cornerback C.J. Henderson.
4. New York Giants; Andrew Thomas, Offensive Tackle – Hit
While New York should have taken Isaiah Simmons to really bolster their linebacker room, Thomas was a better call. The last time New York had a solid left tackle, it was David Diehl. Since then, nobody has been able to provide good protection consistently. This was a much needed pick and could give quarterback Daniel Jones some help.
5. MIami Dolphins; Tua Tagovailoa, Quarterback – Hit
This tune could have easily been changed had the injury history been as bad as speculated. However, with everything checking out, Miami took the Alabama product. Tagovailoa should have a nice career in Miami as long as he stays healthy.
6. Los Angeles Chargers; Justin Herbert, Quarterback – Miss
There’s way too many unknowns here. Herbert had a fantastic junior year with many believing he’d come out. Instead, he took a shot to be first overall and it backfired by way of a rocky season. Inconsistencies can really comeback to hurt a quarterback like him.
At best he could be the Los Angeles Rams’ quarterback Jared Goff or Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen and at worst, he could be a career back up. It will come down to the coaching staff and with that, it’s very 50-50.
7. Carolina Panthers; Derrick Brown, Defensive Tackle – Hit
Carolina lost two major forces in linebacker Luke Kuechly and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. This front seven needed something to boost them and this definitely helps. Brown is seen as a possible generational player and as such, would be perfect in this role.
8. Arizona Cardinals; Isaiah Simmons, Linebacker – Hit
How did he fall this far? He had a great combine, an amazing college career, he’s a game changer and he still fell to the eigth pick. Arizona got a steal here and they know it.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars; C.J. Henderson, Cornerback – Miss
Henderson’s biggest weakness is his consistency and given that they traded away a top cornerback in Jalen Ramsey, this was a head scratcher. Jacksonville’s amount of inconsistent players will be their downfall and as such, this could end very badly. Henderson’s flaw is correctable but if the collective is inconsistent, there was a better use for this pick.
10. Cleveland Browns; Jedrick Wills, Offensive Tackle – Hit
He may have been a right tackle his whole career at Alabama, but given that Tua Tagovailoa is a left handed quarterback, it means he has an understanding of blocking the blindside. The transition could be tough but given he has a good enough technique to be argued as the best offensive tackle, it was a good move by Cleveland to take this risk.
11. New York Jets; Mekhi Becton, Offensive Tackle – Miss
New York saw a lot of sacks last year (53) and needed to address the offensive line badly. Offensive line coach Frank Pollard may now have his biggest challenge, a big man with no technique. Becton could be easily molded but with no technical prowess and only having size, this could end badly at this level.
12. Las Vegas Raiders; Henry Ruggs III, Wide Receivers – Miss
11 years ago, the then Oakland Raiders took a Maryland wide receiver named Darrius Heyward-Bey, mainly because of his speed. He was a bust. They just did the same thing with Ruggs III, and while his hands are better, with no receivers having been taken, why would you take this risk? Al Davis would be proud but just why when better receivers were there.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Tristan Wirfs, Offensive Tackle – Hit
Wirfs has the potential to be a great guard or a tackle. Given what Tampa has just gotten in quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski, they’ve just gotten their corner stone on the offensive line for years to come. Great move by the Bucs.
14. San Francisco 49ers; Javon Kinlaw, Defensive Tackle – Miss
They traded a defensive tackle who was a big part of that critically acclaimed front seven for a rookie with good potential? It’s too much of a lateral or even downgrading move. Given their need curb wide receiver or cornerback, it’s a head scratcher as to why Kinlaw was the pick.
15. Denver Broncos; Jerry Jeudy, Wide Receiver – Hit
Here’s the ghost that will haunt the Raiders. The more balanced alternative to Ruggs III and one of the two better options. Denver needed someone to complement fellow receiver Cortland Sutton and help develop quarterback Drew Lock.
16. Atlanta Falcons; A.J. Terrell, Cornerback, – Miss
Drafting for needs is always important, that will always reign true. However, when there’s better players on the board and there’s a class loaded with good day-two cornerbacks, reaching for one is never a good idea. Terrell has the tools to be a number one corner, the problem is he tends to be over aggressive and at times, inconsistent. Simply put, they should have waited until day two.
17. Dallas Cowboys; CeeDee Lamb, Wide Receiver – Hit
Here’s the other ghost that will haunt the Raiders. Another well-balanced wide receiver goes to a team with former Raiders’ star wide receiver Amari Cooper. Quarterback Dak Prescott must be drooling and Raiders quarterback Derek Carr must be thinking of relocation.
18. Miami Dolphins; Austin Jackson, Offensive Tackle – Hit
You have a possible injury-prone quarterback like Tua Tagovailoa, so what do you do with your next pick? Why you trade up and grab a tackle to protect him. Jackson may not be at the level of the tackles who went before him but he’s physical enough and a hard enough worker to get the job done.
19. Las Vegas Raiders; Damon Arnette, Cornerback – Fail
Normally we stick to hit or miss but the Raiders made us pull out the fail button. A clear second-round cornerback, possibly even third-round talent and he’s gone at nineteenth. When Trevon Diggs and all the top safeties are there, you’ve done messed up.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars; K’lavon Chaisson, Defensive End – Hit
Chaisson is a very boom or bust candidate, however part of that pressure will be alleviated with last years first-round pick Josh Allen. Chaisson has a lot to prove this year as there’s some questions about his game. Should he get it going, Jacksonville will have a very powerful front seven.
21. Philadelphia Eagles; Jalen Reagor, Wide Receiver – Miss
Philadelphia stayed put at 21, hoping either Ruggs III, Lamb or Jeudy would fall to them. Instead, they landed Reagor who isn’t bad but is a risk with with run block and with catching in traffic. Given that the NFC East has some good secondaries, maybe it would have been more beneficial to trade up for a wide receiver or take the next available guy.
22. Minnesota Vikings; Justin Jefferson, Wide Receiver – Hit
Two things come to mind; why did Philadelphia pass on this kid for Reagor and second, how did Minnesota get lucky enough to land Jefferson after trading wide receiver Stefon Diggs to Buffalo? Minnesota had two picks to use and the first one was definitely a good start.
23. Los Angeles Chargers; Kenneth Murray, Linebacker – Hit
Other than Simmons, Murray is perhaps the biggest threat at linebacker in this draft. His ability to lead a defense and to hit will make him a valuable piece for years to come. There’s no way he should have fallen this low, and there’s no way Los Angeles should have passed on him.
24. New Orleans Saints; Cesar Ruiz, Center – Miss
Even though Ruiz is a great player, New Orleans just grabbed a center last year in Erik McCoy, and while they could move him to guard, there were other needs. One of them was in their own state in LSU linebacker Patrick Queen. While beefing up the line helps, one has to question if this was the right move?
25. San Francisco 49ers; Brandon Aiyuk, Wide Receiver – Hit
Plain and simple, San Francisco needed another threat. After losing receiver Emmanuel Sanders to the New Orleans Saints, they needed somebody who can replace his production. Aiyuk has a the chance do that within the next few years. He and Deebo Samuel should work nicely together for quarterback Jimmy Garopollo.
26. Green Bay Packers; Jordan Love, Quarterback – Unclear
Here’s that awkward gray area that was alluded to in the opening. 15 years ago, Green Bay selected quarterback Aaron Rodgers to sit behind Hall of Famer Brett Favre. After years of holding the clipboard, Rodgers finally got his chance and had since been considered an elite quarterback. Now it’s his time to take on the role of Favre and it just doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen.
Given that Green Bay chose to keep Rodgers over former head coach Mike McCarthy a year ago, it seems they’re invested in him. Grabbing his successor may not have been the right move. We’ll know more in the next couple years but prepare for some disconnect.
27. Seattle Seahawks; Jordyn Brooks, Linebacker – Miss
Brooks was a bit of a reach by Seattle, yet time and time again, they always seem to find gold in picks like this. The problem is, they had a great linebacker core as it was. The bigger question here is why not work on the secondary? A few years back, they had the “Legion of Boom” and now none of them are there. They really need to beef up that secondary.
28. Baltimore Ravens; Patrick Queen, Linebacker – Hit
Let’s get this out of the way, he’s not Ray Lewis Jr. like what quarterback Lamar Jackson proclaimed. However, Queen should easily become a good sized name in Baltimore. If he can develop quickly at this stage, he can become the next great linebacker in the NFL.
29. Tennessee Titans; Isaiah Wilson, Offensive Tackle – Miss
Tennessee hopes that Wilson can replace right tackle Jack Conklin who signed with Cleveland in the offseason. There’s one problem, they reached on him. When you lose someone and roll the dice in the draft, it’s in hopes of drafting someone you pray can be an improvement to his predecessor. Not here, he’s projected to be top status quo.
30. Miami Dolphins; Noah Igbinoghene, Cornerback – Hit
On paper and barring injury, this defense is nearly ready to compete. With Igbinoghene as a nickel corner alongside Byron Jones and Xavien Howard on the outsides, this secondary is scary, the linebackers are nearly there, and line is almost there. Miami picked a good year to have a great draft.
31. Minnesota Vikings; Jeff Gladney, Cornerback – Hit
Minnesota needed cornerbacks after losing Trae Waynes and Xavier Rhodes in free agency. They grabbed a very underrated cornerback whose been similar to third-overall pick Jeff Okudah in pass defense. If he can see and play the field well, Gladney could be a steal for the Vikings.
32. Kansas City Chiefs; Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Running Back – Hit
Power runner, great speed and really just a running back you can rely on, that’s what Kansas City just got. They’ve had good running backs since releasing Kareem Hunt but they needed a true threat. Edwards-Helaire should be able to give them that, and if he does, the Chiefs will be a Super Bowl threat for years to come.