No one can truly know how these picks will turn out until years from now when we’ve seen how their NFL careers have turned out, but for now, I will be giving a grade for each day 1 selection that took place yesterday, in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
1. Cincinnati Bengals-QB Joe Burrow
This was the most predictable pick heading into the 2020 NFL Draft and for good reason, it is a slam dunk pick. Joe Burrow has the potential to be a star in this league and for the Bengals, who were moving on from Andy Dalton, there could not have been a better selection made by this team.
2. Washington Redskins-DE Chase Young
Just like to Joe Burrow to the Bengals, this was the next most predicted pick in this draft. Young is the Best defensive player in this draft, and one of the best pass-rushers to come out of college in the past twenty years. Young grew up right outside of Washington D.C. and it is a great story seeing him end up playing for the Redskins.
3. Detroit Lions-CB Jeffrey Okudah
This was the player the Lions wanted all along, my only question is where was the trade up for a quarterback? We had been hearing for months that #3 overall was the trade spot where a team would move up to get the quarterback they want. That didn’t happen. I’m giving this an A- only because the Lions probably could have convinced a team that they needed to trade up to #3 to get their quarterback, and they could have added draft picks while still getting Jeff Okudah.
4. New York Giants-LT Andrew Thomas
I love this pick. Andrew Thomas is my favorite offensive tackle in this draft class and the Giants will be adding someone who will do a great job protecting Daniel Jones from edge rushers for years to come.
5. Miami Dolphins-QB Tua Tagovailoa
The Dolphins did an amazing job of convincing teams they wanted Justin Herbert the last few months, even though they have been #TankingforTua for over a year now. The Dolphins didn’t have to trade up to #3 overall to get their guy and that was huge. If Tua can stay healthy he could be the next great quarterback to lead the Dolphins to a Super Bowl victory.
6. Los Angeles Chargers-QB Justin Herbert
As an Oregon Ducks fan, I am very happy to see that Herbert was able to stay on the west coast and land with the Chargers. I didn’t want to see him go to Miami and get sacked 50 times as a rookie starter. Instead, here in L.A. he can sit behind Tyrod Taylor and learn the offense. Herbert is a quarterback who still has some question marks, but he has a ton of potential. The Chargers could have also gotten a left tackle at this spot, or simply traded back a few spots and then taken Herbert and that is why I can’t quite give this selection an A.
7. Carolina Panthers-DT Derrick Brown
Derrick Brown had been getting mocked to the Panthers since early January and it was no surprise when they took him 7th overall. I wonder how much the Panthers considered taking Isaiah Simmons at this spot, but they inevitably took Brown and it was a great pick. Brown is a terrific defensive lineman and will help the Panthers stuff the run for years to come.
8. Arizona Cardinals-Hybrid Defender Isaiah Simmons
I was a bit shocked when this pick happened to be honest. Not because I didn’t think Isaiah Simmons wasn’t worthy of a top 10 selection, I did, but because I thought the Cardinals had multiple other positions of need that should have been addressed instead. Javon Kinlaw would have been a great selection here, someone who would be a massive upgrade to their current situation on the defensive line. The Cardinals also could have found their long term solution at RT with this pick. This pick is not getting a great grade, and it has nothing to do with Isaiah Simmons, and everything to do with what they needed most on their roster.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars-CB C.J. Henderson
This pick didn’t surprise me, the Jaguars needed a replacement corner after trading away both Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye in the past six months, but I do think this was a bit of a reach. The Jaguars could have traded back with someone and still gotten C.J. Henderson. Maybe the Jaguars were worried that if they did trade back the Falcons would trade ahead of them, so it’s understandable, but I still think it was a tad bit of a reach.
10. Cleveland Browns-OT Jedrick Wills Jr.
The Browns added the pass protected they needed to get in this draft. Whether Wills plays LT or plays RT and Conklin slides back to LT (where he played in college) this was a great selection by the Browns. Reducing the number of times Baker Mayfield gets pressured and sacked was the Browns #1 priority this offseason and they did just that with the 10th overall pick.
11. New York Jets-LT Mekhi Becton
The Jets were able to do exactly what they needed to do in this draft, which was to get someone who can protect Sam Darnold, and also open up running lanes for Le’Veon Bell. They did just that when they drafted Mekhi Becton.
12. Oakland Raiders-WR Henry Ruggs
The Raiders love players with championship pedigree, which means Alabama and Clemson, football players. They got one in Henry Ruggs and they got a speed demon at the same time. The Raiders had a slot wide receiver in Hunter Renfrow, and a big-bodied receiver in Tyrell Williams, now they get the deep threat they were lacking.
13. Tompa Brady Buccaneers-RT Tristan Wirfs
The Buccaneers needed to get a starting right tackle with this selection, and they did just that. They traded up one spot, giving up their 4th round pick to ensure they drafted Wirfs, and whether they needed to do that I’m not sure, but it was worth it to ensure they got him. Wirfs will help keep the pocket clean for Brady while also paving running lanes so the Bucs have to be pretty happy about this selection.
14. San Francisco 49ers-DT Javon Kinlaw
The 49ers traded away their All-Pro defensive tackle Deforest Buckner so that they could draft his replacement at a much cheaper financial cost. I understand why they made this pick, but I can’t agree with their decision when CeeDee Lamb was available on the Big Board and wide receiver was their biggest need at that point in the draft.
15. Denver Broncos-WR Jerry Jeudy
The Broncos got Jerry Jeudy, who is a great receiver, but they could have had CeeDee Lamb, who IS the best receiver in this draft class. Because of that I just simply cannot give this pick an A grade. It was still a great pick, but they could have had CeeDee.
16. Atlanta Falcons-CB A.J. Terrell
I did not understand this pick, A.J. Terrell was the 5th best cornerback on my big board and I don’t talent matches the value until pick 30 or later. The Falcons could have had Kristian Fulton Jr. or Trevon Diggs, but instead took Terrell. It wasn’t the worst pick of the first round, but it definitely wasn’t the best pick of the round.
17. Dallas Cowboys-WR CeeDee Lamb
When CeeDee was still available at #16 overall I was praying that the Packers would somehow trade up from #30 overall and take him. He is a top 10 player in this draft class and the Dallas Cowboys got an absolute steal in this draft. Corner and defensive line were the bigger needs for the Cowboys, but you just can’t pass up on a talent like CeeDee Lamb when he falls to you at #17 overall.
18. Miami Dolphins-LT Austin Jackson
This was one of the more surprising picks I saw yesterday. Austin Jackson isn’t a first-round talent, let’s just make that clear. He would have made sense at #39 overall, but to reach up so far and take him #18 overall, it’s just not a good use of the #18th overall pick, when there were so many other options they could have went.
19. Las Vegas Raiders-CB Damon Arnette
This was the shock of the draft. there is always one third-round talent who somehow gets taken in the first-round and this year it was Damon Arnette. I do not understand this selection one bit. If the Raiders did not like the talent available at #19 overall then trade back and acquire extra draft picks and then take Arnette if they truly value him this high, but to simply take him at #19 overall, well it’s befuddling.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars-DE K’Lavon Chaisson
The Jaguars are going to be trading Yannick Ngakoue in the near future, and getting Chaisson to replace him was a great move by the Jaguars. This was right around where I expected Chaisson to go in the draft and he will form a formidable edge rush with Josh Allen for the next for years in Jacksonville.
21. Philadelphia Eagles-WR Jalen Reagor
This pick was confusing, to say the least. There were a lot of people talking about Reagor as a first-round pick this year, and I don’t know why. I believe his value starts in the middle of the second round, and by taking him here the Eagles waste the value of the 21st overall selection. They could have taken Justin Jefferson, Kenneth Murray, or Patrick Queen, instead they take a receiver they could have traded back 20 spots and then taken.
22. Minnesota Vikings-WR Justin Jefferson
The Minnesota Vikings capitalize on the Philadelphia Eagles stupidity and as a Packers fan, this was my worst nightmare come true. I wanted the Packers to trade up and take Justin Jefferson, but instead, he goes to the rivaled Minnesota Vikings. This is a fantastic selection for the Vikings, and sadly I’m going to have to watch him torch the Packers for years to come just like I had to when Randy Moss played for the Vikings.
23. Los Angeles Chargers-LB Kenneth Murray
When I saw that the Chargers were trading back up into the first-round I thought I was to get left tackle Joshua Jones, someone who could help protect Justin Herbert. Instead, they got my favorite linebacker in this draft class Kenneth Murray. Murray is a tremendous leader on and off the field and will serve as a great captain for that defense for years to come. It was a pleasant surprise to see during the 2020 NFL Draft.
24. New Orleans Saints-C/G Cesar Ruiz
This pick shocked me a bit, I figured it was between two players, Jordan Love or Patrick Queen. The Saints though instead get a solid interior offensive lineman who will create running lanes for Alvin Kamara and help keep Drew Brees from getting pressured each week.
25. San Francisco 49ers-WR Brandon Aiyuk
This pick shocked me for a multitude of reasons. The 49ers trading up from #31 overall and gave up picks #117 and #176 to take a wide receiver in the deepest wide receiver draft class we have ever seen. Brandon Aiyuk was a second-round pick in my opinion. A player the 49ers could have gotten even if they traded back from #31 overall. Because the 49ers have so few remaining draft picks, and that they traded up for a wide receiver, I simply cannot give this pick a decent grade.
26. Green Bay Packers-QB Jordan Love
I am a Packers fan, and I’m going to be honest when I saw that we traded up for a quarterback I was pretty pissed. I thought we were trading up for Patrick Queen, if we had I would have given this an A+ grade if we had traded up to get wide receiver Tee Higgins or Denzel Mims I still would have been very happy with this pick, but instead, we traded up for a Quarterback. It wasn’t a Quarterback like Aaron Rodgers, who everyone thought was a top player in the draft, it was for a quarterback who threw 17 interceptions last season while facing mountain west level of competition. The only reason this pick isn’t getting an F is that I’m holding out hope he somehow is the heir apparent to Aaron Rodgers and win the Packers a Super Bowl in the next 20 years. Instead of taking a player who could help the Packers win right away, they took a quarterback who will most likely backup Aaron Rodgers for the next four years, and then we will trade him for a day 3 pick. I really hope I’m wrong, I hope he becomes a stud and I grow to Love him, but as of right now I just don’t see that happening.
27. Seattle Seahawks-LB Jordyn Brooks
This was another shocking pick in the first round. I had an end of round two, early-round three grade on Jordyn Brooks. Linebacker was also not nearly as big a need as a defensive end. Yetur Gross Matos or AJ Epenesa should have been the pick here. This is a Seattle type pick though so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.
28. Baltimore Ravens-LB Patrick Queen
This was the first LSU player ever selected by the Baltimore Ravens and it was a damn good one. Ozzie Newsome went to Alabama so he would never draft an LSU player to the Ravens, but he’s retired now and Eric DeCosta makes a great decision. This is who the Packers should have been trading up for, and since they didn’t take him the Ravens get a steal.
29. Tennessee Titans-RT Isaiah Wilson
The Titans had the freedom to take whatever position they valued the most in the draft and they got Isaiah Wilson. They could have gone defensive tackle or cornerback but instead get a right tackle to replace Jack Conklin. Wilson goes a little bit higher than where his value lies but it’s still a good pick by the Titans.
30. Miami Dolphins-CB Noah Igbinoghene
Noah Igbinoghene is a great player, he’s a first-round talent, but when the Dolphins are already paying Xavien Howard and Byron Jones top dollar money this pick just doesn’t make much sense. I love Igbinoghene, this grade has nothing to do with him as a player, but the Dolphins should have been looking for a safety, linebacker, right tackle or running back in this spot.
31. Minnesota Vikings-CB Jeff Gladney
The Vikings needed a cornerback and get one here in Jeff Gladney. Gladney was my 7th best corner in this draft, so Gladney wasn’t the top corner I would have taken but at least they fill a need.
32. Kansas City Chiefs-RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire
The Chiefs went running back with their first-round pick and to be honest it was a bit surprising. The Chiefs had a need at running back, but I thought they could find one in the middle rounds of this draft. I expected the Chiefs would go cornerback or linebacker with this pick, and when Kristian Fulton Jr, Trevon Diggs, and Zach Baun were all on the board this pick just didn’t make much sense to me. Edwards is a great addition to the Chiefs offense, but that just wasn’t the need they should have addressed in the first round.
This concludes my grades on the 32 picks in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. In the coming days I will be releasing my grades on Day 2 picks in the 2020 NFL draft, and then eventually ranking each team’s draft from first to worst once the 2020 NFL draft is over.