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2020 NFL Draft

2020 NFL Draft Round 1 Draft Grades

2020 NFL Draft
2020 NFL Draft Round 1 Draft Grades (USA Today)

2020 NFL Draft Round 1 Draft Grades

The first round of the 2020 NFL Draft is in the books. Months of speculation and mock drafts have come to an end. Let’s grade the first 32 picks of this year’s draft.

1. Joe Burrow QB (LSU) – Cincinnati Bengals

Burrow had an extraordinary season in 2019. He also had ideal circumstances around him at LSU during that season. His previous two years were, at best, average in less than ideal circumstances. He will be entering far from ideal conditions with the Bengals. The team has much more work to do before they are ready to draft a franchise QB. This may have been the right pick, but not at the right time.

Grade: B-

2. Chase Young DE (Ohio St.) – Washington Redskins

Young is a generational talent. Remember Jadeveon Clowney in 2014? He was supposed to be a generational talent as well. Houston’s defense was decent for a bit, but the team never made it far in the playoffs. This is not a bad pick, but with Tua Tagovailoa still on the board, it was not correct one.

Grade: B

3. Jeff Okudah CB (Ohio St.) – Detroit Lions

Okudah is the best defensive back in this draft. However, the result of this selection is zero net change for Detroit. At best, Okudah serves as a one-for-one replacement for Darius Slay. Just as was the case for Washington, passing on Tua’s talent for a safe pick knocks the grade for this pick down.

Grade: B-

4. Andrew Thomas OT (Georgia) – New York Giants

Excellent pick. Daniel Jones needs protection and Saquon Barkley needs blocking. Thomas will make an impact from day 1. The Giants could have gone defense, but this was partly addressed through free agency. Andrew Thomas will be an anchor for the offensive line throughout the next decade.

Grade: A+

5. Tua Tagovailoa QB (Alabama) – Miami Dolphins

This will get an A+ because Tua is the best QB, outside of Patrick Mahomes, to come out of college in a long time. The grade, however, would drop if the team makes the rookie play right away. There are still too many holes on the team to risk getting Tua injured. After one year of growth behind Ryan Fitzpatrick, this guy could change the Dolphins’ fate dramatically.

Grade: A+

6. Justin Herbert QB (Oregon) – Los Angeles Chargers

This gets a better grade than Burrow at 1 because of the situation in Los Angeles. Justin Herbert is not a finished product, but he has everything necessary to succeed on a team with the right tools. The Chargers have the skill position talent to support a rookie QB. The offensive line is a concern, but Herbert’s mobility can help with this issue. The Chargers have their man, they now need to worry about taking care of him.

Grade: A-

7. Derrick Brown DT (Auburn) – Carolina Panthers

Quality big men who can anchor a defensive line are scarce. Derrick Brown fits that mold physically and has the maturity to provide leadership immediately. Given that the Panthers lost their defensive captain to retirement, Brown is a smart pick on multiple levels.

Grade: A+

8. Isaiah Simmons LB (Clemson) – Arizona Cardinals

This team could not have gone wrong picking anyone on the defensive side of the ball. The fact that Simmons fell to them, however, made this an easy decision. He can play all over the field and the Cardinals’ defensive effort last season demonstrated that they need help all over the field. Great pick.

Grade: A+

9. C.J. Henderson CB (Florida) – Jacksonville Jaguars

Just like Arizona, the Jaguars needed help all over their defense. Henderson is nowhere near a replacement for Jalen Ramsey, but this is a good start to the rebuild. If they can improve their pass rush, this pick will look much better.

Grade: A –

10. Jedrick Wills Jr. OT (Alabama) – Cleveland Browns

Baker Mayfield needed a lot of help along the offensive line. Jack Conklin arrived through free agency. Now Wills helps to stabilize the opposite side of the line. If managed appropriately, this Cleveland offense has the potential to be scary. Good pick.

Grade: A

11. Mekhi Becton OT (Louisville) – New York Jets

This is a good pick for multiple reasons. Becton is a large human being who is very athletic (5.1 40-time). He can help protect Sam Darnold and open room for Le’Veon Bell. This is not a flashy pick, but it was the correct one for the Jets at this spot.

Grade: A

12. Henry Ruggs III (Alabama) – Las Vegas Raiders

Unless there was chatter around Ruggs amongst GMs, this could be considered a reach. But, it is not a bad pick. Ruggs provides explosive speed that could help on multiple levels. From taking the top off a defense, to exploding off catch-and-run, to providing more space for Jacobs to run, Ruggs brings in lots of options for Gruden and Carr.

Grade: B

13. Tristan Wirfs OT (Iowa) – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (from San Francisco)

The run on top offensive linemen was nearing its end by this spot. Tampa Bay made a smart move to secure more protection for their new QB. Wirfs is not the best tackle in this draft, but he will provide an immediate impact on this team.

Grade: A-

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

By this point in the draft, it is possible that teams are much too confident in the depth of receivers available. Jeudy and Lamb have fallen and the 49ers, who have a need at receiver, opted for Kinlaw. He is an outstanding replacement for DeForest Buckner. The only concern is whether Kinlaw would have the same effect that Lamb or Jeudy could have in a super bowl rematch with the Chiefs.

Grade: B

15. Jerry Jeudy WR (Alabama) – Denver Broncos

There was talk about trading up for a receiver earlier in the week. The fact that Jeudy fell to this team at pick 15 is a reward for their patience. Jeudy is the best route-runner in the draft. No one is happier than Drew Lock. With Sutton and Jeudy on opposite ends of the field, this offense could be ready to take the next step.

16. A.J. Terrell CB (Clemson) – Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta’s pass defense has been weak for the past two years. However, given that K’lavon Chaisson was available at this spot, selecting a CB that will need time to develop this high in the draft was a mistake. Terrell could become a great defensive back, but he will bust very quickly without the help of a good pass rush.

Grade: C

17. CeeDee Lamb WR (Oklahoma) – Dallas Cowboys

Jerry Jones went with the best available player on the board at this spot. The problem is that there are too many holes on defense to justify taking a receiver in the first round. It makes little sense to pay Amari Cooper a ridiculous amount after giving up a first-round pick last year for him and then use their first-round pick this year on another Z receiver

Grade: C+

18. Austin Jackson OT (USC) – Miami Dolphins

Offensive line is a need for this team, but Jackson is a reach at this spot. If the intent is to use him as a LT, the Dolphins better be ready to sit Tua for a year. The athleticism and footwork is there, but he is only 20 years old and needs to get stronger to keep up with pro pass rushers.

Grade: C+

19. Damon Arnette CB (Ohio St.) – Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders needed a corner and the top ones were gone by pick 19. Arnette could likely have been there in the second round. The problem is that the Raiders do not have a second-round pick. If they were fixed on a defensive back regardless of talent available, then this was a decent pick. Whether he will be a day 1 starter, which is what Las Vegas needs, is very much up in the air.

Grade: B-

20. K’Lavon Chaisson LB (LSU) – Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars are giving building a team defense-first another shot. Chaisson is a stud who can play all over the field. He will help bolster the pass rush, which will make the Henderson pick even better.

Grade: A

21. Jalen Reagor WR (TCU) – Philadelphia Eagles

The speedster has Eagle written all over him. The only problem is that Philadelphia still has no possession receiver to take the load off Zach Ertz. This is not a bad selection, but Justin Jefferson was still on the board and would have been a more consistent option for Philadelphia right away.

Grade: B-

22. Justin Jefferson WR (LSU) – Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings needed a replacement for Stefon Diggs. They got him. Justin Jefferson fell to them and has every attribute needed to provide Kirk Cousins and Adam Thielen with relief. He did not do it at LSU, but the Vikings will need either Jefferson or Thielen to leave the slot role. That is the only factor that drops the grade a bit for this pick.

Grade: B+

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

Murray can get to any point on the field faster than most linebackers. This is a great fit for the Chargers and they essentially ended up only paying a third-round pick to upgrade their second-rounder to a first-rounder. Not bad at all.

Grade: A

24. Cesar Ruiz C (Michigan) – New Orleans Saints

The Saints have talent all over the place on both sides of the ball. Strengthening the offensive line with their future center is an excellent move. Ruiz is the best center in this draft and can play guard as well.

Grade: A+

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

This is a scary pick for the rest of the NFL. Aiyuk is an excellent route-runner and has a giant catch radius. The 49ers played this draft beautifully. They loved Aiyuk the entire time and knew they could go defense with their earlier first-round pick. When time came to trade up ahead of teams that could take Aiyuk, John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan did not blink. Well done, San Francisco.

Grade: A

26. Jordan Love QB (Utah State) – Green Bay Packers (from the Dolphins)

15 years later, Aaron Rodgers has traded roles with Brett Favre. If Love is the future in Green Bay, it will be interesting to see how Rodgers handles this transition. The Packers needed a receiver to compete now. If they were willing to trade up, why not do so for a receiver? It is odd that an NFC Conference Championship team is looking to the future instead of finding weapons for Rodgers.

Grade: C+

27. Jordyn Brooks LB (Texas Tech) – Seattle Seahawks

Patrick Queen could have been a better option here. However, the Seahawks need speed and Brooks will definitely bring that. He is a tackling machine and should help rebuild the once feared legion of boom.

Grade: B

28. Patrick Queen LB (LSU) – Baltimore Ravens

It is surprising that Queen fell to the Ravens. He could not have fallen to a better spot. The Ravens have lost some key linebackers over the past two years. Patrick Queen will serve to become a strong presence and leader in the middle of that defense.

Grade: A

29. Isaiah Wilson OT (Georgia) – Tennessee Titans

The Titans needed to replace Conklin. Wilson is exclusively a RT, but he will quickly develop into a dependable pass blocker and, more importantly for Derrick Henry, a great run blocker.

Grade: B+

30. Noah Igbinoghene CB (Auburn) – Miami Dolphins

Defenses can build front-to-back or vice-versa. The Dolphins are looking to strengthen the secondary first. With so much help needed along the defensive line and with the linebacker corps, this pick gets a lower grade. However, if this pick hits, Xavien Howard, Byron Jones, and Igbinoghene could create a no-fly zone pretty quickly.

Grade: B-

31. Jeff Gladney CB (TCU) – Minnesota Vikings

The run on defensive backs continues. Gladney is definitely a zone coverage man. With the proper coaching, he could develop into a starter for this team. He should benefit from Minnesota’s great pass rush. Gladney is a CB who could end up working out because of the system he is entering.

Grade: B

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

This guy can do everything that the Chiefs’ offenses asks of RBs. He has the speed and pass-catching ability to do anything Andy Reid requests. He can change direction on a dime and can play all three downs. Solid fit for the Super Bowl Champs and a heck of a way to wrap up the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Grade: A


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