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NFL Draft 2020: First Round Grades and Reactions

Roger Goodell

NFL 2020 Draft has already started. The first round round came and went. There were a lot of shockers throughout the first night and there are likely going to be more. Here is how I reacted once the picks happened and how I grade each selection.

Joe Burrow

Joe Burrow was the first overall pick in the NFL’s virtual Draft

1. Cincinatti Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

This was the worst kept secret in the draft, but that is because of how much of a not miss pick this was. Burrow is the type of quarterback the Bengals need. He can handle the pressure and will put he franchise on his back in big time situations. Burrow could thrive with all the weapon that there are in Cincinnati.

Grade: A

2. Washington Redskins: Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State

Barring an insane trade this was going to happen. But the Redskins got the best player in the entire draft. His upside is Gold Jacket. Young joins a defensive front that is LOADED with talent. Young is the fifth former first round pick on the Redskins defensive line. It might not be an understatement to say the Redskins have the best defensive line in football. This is going to be scary, good luck NFC!

Grade: A

3. Detroit Lions: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State

The Lions traded away Darius Slay and drafted another shutdown cornerback. Okudah is the best cornerback prospect since Jalen Ramsey. The Lions secondary of Okudah, Desmond Trufant, Daryl Roberts and Justin Coleman could be an underrated group next season. Okudah could be a perineal Pro Bowler and Future All-Pro. The Lions could have traded down and likely got Okudah, but they played it safe.

Grade: A-

4. New York Giants: Andrew Thomas, Tackle, Georgia

The New York Giants went with the most Pro ready tackle in the draft. Thomas might not have the highest ceiling, but he could step in and play right tackle at a high level for the Giants right away. In a year with a lot of uncertainty around prospects the Giants made a safe pick and filled a major need. Thomas could be a Pro Bowler on the left side when they eventually move on from Nate Solder.

Grade: B+

Tua Tagovailoa
Tua Tagovailoa showing off his threads after getting selected by the Miami Dolphins 5th overall. (Courtesy of Photo by NFL via Getty Images)

5. Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

What a smoke screen by the Miami Dolphins. After an “awkward” meeting at the combine and telling the media that they wanted Herbert instead because he was a safe pick the #TankforTua year worked and the Dolphins got their quarterback. Tua has been compared to Drew Brees and Mark Burnell. Injuries are going to be a major concern for him throughout his career. But after that he is a fantastic quarterback prospect.

Grade: A

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

The Chargers got their quarterback of the future. He might not have the upside of the other two quarterbacks, but he lands in a great situation. It’ll be interesting if the Chargers start Tyrod Taylor or Herbert this year. Herbert has the size and athleticism of a starting quarterback and is mobile as well. He could be the spark the Chargers need to return to the playoffs next year. The Chargers do still have a need at left tackle and could have addressed that here and gotten a quarterback day two or trade back into round one to get one, but they got their guy here.

Grade: A-

7. Carolina Panthers: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn

Derrick Brown is a monster who could have been a top 15 selection last year. He returned back to school and gets picked here at no. 7. The Panthers needed a defensive lineman especially after losing Gerald McCoy. Brown joins a defensive with stars like Kawaan Short, Shaq Thompson and Brian Burns. The Panthers might have wanted to trade down, but end up with the best defensive player on the board. This could be considered a safe pick, but it is also an extremely good one that fills a need.

Grade: A-

8. Arizona Cardinals: Isaiah Simmons, LB/S, Clemson

This pick shocked me, as many didn’t expect Arizona to take Isaiah Simmons. The Cardinals were another team that wanted to trade down, but they draft the most versatile player in the entire draft. Simmons can line up at safety, inside linebacker, outside linebacker and slot corner. Arizona has revamped their defense adding Simmons to a group of Patrick Peterson, Chandler Jones, Jordan Hicks, Budda Baker, Jordan Philips and DeVondre Campbell. Simmons will likely be listed as a safety, but play all over the field for Arizona.

Grade: A-

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

C.J. Henderson fills the Jaguars biggest need. After trading away AJ Bouye and Jalen Ramsey the Jaguars needed to add a cornerback early in the draft. Henderson becomes the number one corner in arguably the worst secondary in the league. Henderson has Pro Bowl upside, this might be a slight reach, but this is overall a good pick.

Grade: B+

10. Cleveland Browns: Jedrick Wills, Tackle, Alabama

The Browns got arguably the best tackle in the draft. Wills only gave us a single sack in college at Alabama. He might have played at the right side, but he protected Tagovailoa’s blindside. The Browns did not have to move up and got the best tackle in the draft. Wills and Conklin are the bookend tackles Baker Mayfield desperately needed last season.

Grade: A

11. New York Jets: Mekhi Becton, Tackle, Louisville 

Joe Douglas kept his promise to Jets fans he revamped their entire offensive line. The Jets added four starters to their offensive line. Becton joins George Fant, Conor McGovern, Greg Van Roten and Alex Lewis and will be in charge of protecting Sam Darnolds blindside and opening up running lanes for Le’Veon Bell. It was surprisingly to see Becton get taken over Tristan Wirfs who is more pro ready and arguably a better prospect. Becton will need some time to develop but his upside is ginormous.

Grade: B

Henry Ruggs
Former Alabama receiver had Henry Ruggs had two first in NFL Draft History. His the first player drafted to Las Vegas and the first player to get drafted in the first round in a bathrobe.

12. Las Vegas Raiders: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

Jon Gruden got his burner receiver, his own Tyreek Hill. After losing Antonio Brown the Raiders needed a fast receiver that could take the top off a defense and that is exactly what they got. Ruggs was built to play in Jon Gruden’s offense. He will be the Raiders number one receiver day one. Henry Ruggs will be exciting to watch in Las Vegas next year.

Grade: A

13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (via San Fransisco 49ers from Indianapolis Colts): Tristan Wirfs, Tackle, Iowa

It is surprising that the number one tackle was the last top-4 tackle selected. But the Buccaneers give up a fourth-round pick to to move up one spot and got a seventh-round pick back in order to get their starting right tackle. Wirfs is a nasty, athletic tackle who has the versatility to play right tackle or guard. He completes the Buccaneers offensive line and offense. Wirfs solidifies Tampa Bay as a contender next year. Fantastic pick for Jason Licht.

Grade: A

14. San Fransisco 49ers (via Tampa Bay Buccaneers): Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina

The San Fransisco 49er traded away Deforest Buckner for a mid first round pick and replace him with that pick. Kinlaw is a great player, but a bit of a luxury for the 49ers who need wide receiver and secondary help. With CeeDee Lamb and Jerry Jeudy on the board is was shocking to see the 49ers draft Kinlaw right here. But with the depth at wide receiver in this class it is understandable.

Grade: B

15. Denver Broncos: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

The Broncos were rumored to trade up to trade up to get Jerry Jeudy, but they stay here at 15 and get their guy. Jeudy was seen as the the number one receiver in the class by many, but is the third off the board. He is a great number two to Courtland Sutton. Drew Lock is going to have a plethora of weapons as his disposal next season. Watch out for the Broncos to potentially sneak into the playoffs next season after all their offseason additions.

Grade: A

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

At first this kind of sounds like a reach, but this is a reasonable slot for A.J. Terrell to get selected. Terrell fills the Falcons need at cornerback left by Desmond Trufant. The Falcons would have liked if Henderson was here and likely were trying to move up for him, but got the best cornerback on the board that fills a need.

Grade: B+

CeeDee Lamb
The Cowboys had “their 6th overall prospect” CeeDee Lamb drop to their pick at 17

17. Dallas Cowboys: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

The Cowboys get the best player available and get CeeDee Lamb. Lamb will likely take the underneath routes that Randall Cobb had last season. The Cowboys once again have three receivers who are capable of getting over 100 yards in a game. Lamb has number one receiver potential and will be a big reason why Dak Prescott and the Cowboys should get an extension done.

Grade: A

18. Miami Dolphins (via Pittsburgh Steelers): Austin Jackson, Tackle, USC

Austin Jackson might not be a part of the ‘top-4’ tackle group but is still a very good tackle. The Dolphins needed offensive line help and then after trading away Laremy Tunsil really needed offensive line help. Jackson will be Tua Tagovailoa’s blindside protecter day one. The Dolphins got a very good player who fills their biggest need after selecting a quarterback. My only problems are that they traded away Laremy Tunsil who right now is miles ahead of him and then traded away Minkah Fitzpatrick for a player who needs to be developed a little bit. Those issues will go away with time.

Grade: B+

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

The first shocking selection of the night goes to the team who got it last year, the Las Vegas Raiders. Last year they took Clelin Ferrell with the fourth overall pick. This year the Raiders took Damon Arnette at 19th overall. Arnette played mostly in the slot at Ohio State, but showed promise. Many thought he was a second or third round pick, so it is fair to say that this is a reach. I just don’t like selecting Ohio States third best cornerback at 19th overall. But this does feel a need for the Raiders.

Grade: C

20. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Los Angeles Rams): K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU

Jacksonville needed to rebuild their defense and that is exactly what they did in the first round. After filling a need at cornerback the Jaguars fill in the void at defensive end with K’Lavon Chaisson. Chaisson might be raw, but along with C.J. Henderson, Taven Bryan and Josh Allen could be the future staples of the Jaguars defense. This also means that the Jaguars will be trying to move Yannick Ngakoue some point soon.

Grade: A-

21. Philadelphia Eagles: Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU

This was shocking to say the least. Almost everybody pencilled in Justin Jefferson to be a Philadelphia Eagle. Reagor was rumored to have some first round buzz, but was considered a Day Two receiver. Reagor can take the top off a defense and fills a need. Reagor is not better than Justin Jefferson.

Grade: C+

22. Minnesota Vikings (via Buffalo Bills): Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU

The Minnesota Vikings had to hold their breath with the Eagles needing a receiver picking before them, but they get Justin Jefferson. The pick they traded away for Stefon Diggs, the Vikings got a more than capable replacement. Jefferson will likely be the teams number two receiver next season, but could develop into Kirk Cousins favorite target in time. Overall this trade looks like it worked out well for the Vikings.

Grade: A

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

The Chargers traded away their second and third round picks to get a player that completes their defense. The Chargers have playmakers at every level of their defense. He is a very good player that has Pro Bowl potential and has the character to be a captain early in his career.

Grade: A-

Cesar Ruiz
Newest addition to the New Orleans Saints interior offensive lineman Cesar Ruiz had one of the most memorable reactions to getting drafted out of this years class

24. New Orleans Saints: Cesar Ruiz, G/C, Michigan

Today it was reported that the Saints were looking at “cornerbacks, lineman, or running backs” for this selection. The team was also looking to trade up. Ruiz is a smart football player and also a very good one. After drafting Erik McCoy last year Ruiz will likely have to have to guard. This might not be an exciting pick but it is a very good one.

Grade: B+

25. San Fransisco 49ers (via Minnesota Vikings): Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State

The San Fransisco 49ers replaced DeForest Buckner with Javon Kinlaw and here they replaced Emmanuel Sanders with Brandon Aiyuk. Aiyuk is fast receiver who was gaining steam until his subpar combine. Then he was later said to have a core injury, but his doctor said the he is now 100 percent. Aiyuk might not be the number one receiver right away like his draft position suggests, but with George Kittle and Deebo Samuel on the team it seems hard to be. I think Aiyuk is the perfect receiver for Kyle Shanahan’s offense. I’m surprised that the 49ers actually traded up with this pick instead of trading back to gain another draft pick. They do not pick again until day three.

Grade: B+

Jordan Love
The Green Bay Packers traded up to select Jordan Love late in the first round.

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

It was surprising the Packers would actually start looking for Aaron Rodgers heir, but they did. Two fun facts Aaron Rodgers is the same age as Brett Favre was when the Packers drafted Rodgers to replace him and Aaron Rodgers was also the last offensive first round pick the Packers have made until tonight when they drafted his replacement. Love looked great in 2018 and was drafted in the first round because of the way he played that year. This year’s tape says Love needs to work on his interceptions, but if anyone can help him fix that its Aaron Rodgers. Matt LaFleur gets HIS quarterback.

Grade: A-

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

Making a pick like this doesn’t surprise me. Brooks was likely going to be a second round pick and wasn’t even considered the best linebacker available. Patrick Queen was the best listed available linebacker, but the Seahawks got their guy in Jordyn Brooks who has the potential show the world why this might not be a reach. Brooks joined a linebacker core with Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright.

Grade: B

28. Baltimore Ravens: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU

For the first time in the history of the franchise the Baltimore Ravens draft a player from LSU. Here they drafted a very good one in Patrick Queen, who was one of the best players on LSU’s National Championship defense last year. Queen joins an elite fraternity of Ravens inside linebackers selected in the first round with Ray Lewis and C.J. Mosley. Expectations will be high for Queen, but he is the type of player the Ravens need in the middle of their defense.

Grade: A

29. Tennessee Titans: Isaiah Wilson, Tackle, Georgia

A few weeks ago rumors came out about Isaiah Wilson going in the first round. This was a reach because Wilson didn’t seem like an impact player who can contribute a lot right away. But the fit is good for Wilson with the Titans. Wilson is a large right tackle to say the least and is a blue collar punch you in the mouth kind of player which is exactly how Mike Vrabel likes his players. Wilson will compete with Dennis Kelly for the teams starting right tackle job next year will likely be the teams starter by the beginning of his second season. Jack Conklin left in free agency and the Titans fill that need with their first round selection.

Grade: B+

30. Miami Dolphins (via Green Bay Packers): Noah Igbinohene, CB, Auburn

This was a shocker for two reasons. The lesser of the two was that Igbinohene was a second round player on most boards, but with how close the cornerback class is it isn’t surprising to see a player like Igbinohene end up at a first round pick because he is in that cluster of cornerbacks that could be selected between the mid first and second round. It is surprising the Dolphins selected him considering they have Byron Jones and Xavier Howard who they made the highest paid cornerbacks in the league. This feels like when the Broncos drafted Bradley Roby when they already had Chris Harris and Aquib Talib on their roster. Igbinohene will likely play in the slot, but look out for the Dolphins to try him at safety which is a need on their roster, if they do not address that position in the draft.

Grade: B

31. Minnesota Vikings (via San Fransisco 49ers): Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU

The Vikings needed to address cornerback early in the draft so picking a corner here should not have been a surprise for anyone. Jeff Gladney is arguably the third best cornerback in the draft, but the sixth off the board so it could be considered a steal at this point. But this was around the point where Gladney was going to likely get selected. Gladney is small for a Mike Zimmer cornerback, but plays very physical. He might have been a slot corner for most teams, but will likely play opposite Mike Hughes on the outside next season.

Grade: A-

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

In a year with a shortened offseason the Kansas City Chiefs got a player who can contribute right away and help them win now. Clyde Edwards-Helaire plays like  Chiefs running back. He is a good runner, but is better in the passing game as a receiving back. Edwards-Helaire looked like a lock for a second round pick and D’Andre Swift looked like he would be the first running back off the board, but the Chiefs thought Edwards-Helaire was a better fit.

Grade: A-

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