Shaffer’s 2020 NFL Draft Thoughts
I know everybody has some insightful draft analysis on the 2020 NFL Draft this past weekend and various opinions on all of the players that were selected, however I’m not here to waste your time droning on about hundreds of draft picks. I have thoughts on a few team’s draft performances, along with some of the players that I’m excited to discuss, so without further ado, here are some quick thoughts on the 2020 NFL Draft.
Note: Every link on/for the drafted player’s name is a link for their highlights
All eyes on Damon Arnette
It isn’t the fact that Arnette is bad, because he’s not bad at all, he’s quite talented, and absolutely knows how to find the ball. There isn’t a cornerback coming out of Ohio State who is a bad cornerback. Just ask guys like Marshon Lattimore, Denzel Ward and Kendall Sheffield, we just didn’t see this pick coming as soon as it did, my mouth actually dropped when I saw it. Arnette is a talented corner, but most people had him going at least after the third round, while in reality it was guys like Grant Delpit, Jeff Gladney, Trevon Diggs and Kristian Fulton who slid down the draft boards. Maybe it was just the politics of the draft that led to him being projected so low, but all in all, I loved his college tape. The question is can he continue to make those plays happen against guys like Keenan Allen and Tyreek Hill over the years? I doubt it, but let’s see if he proves me wrong.
The Broncos offense will be explosive next season
I haven’t watched a ton on Drew Lock, but from what I hear he is definitely the guy that the Broncos want under center, and boy did they just surround him with some weapons!
Courtland Sutton is clearly already a threat for them, but they certainly just gave him serious help with Jerry Jeudy, who is arguably the best route runner I’ve seen as long as I’ve been alive. Jeudy is so technically sound, and just has the ability to break off any receiver, I’m beyond excited to see what he can do.
If that wasn’t enticing enough for you, the addition of K.J Hamler is purely electric, he’s as fast as they come and when you pair that with tight end Albert Okweugbunam (4.49 40 at the combine), you’ve set up Drew Lock with various weapons all across the field. The addition of Lloyd Cushenberry was also a fantastic one, he performed very well at the Senior Bowl, and was a stabilizing presence for the national champion LSU Tigers last season. Elway did a fantastic job this weekend, and he’s clearly jump started the offense and thrown the Broncos into the thick of the AFC West race
Jerry Jones flexes his muscles
If you’ve been keeping up with my writing for some time now, you know how I feel about the Cowboys, however after watching the draft, they certainly just earned some redemption in my eyes. Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb on the same field is going to be one of the scariest things we’ll see next season if Prescott knows how to get them the ball. Tyler Biadasz was a great pick in my opinion, I don’t know if he comes in and starts on the Cowboys offensive line, but as a Rimington Award winner, he will certainly put himself in a position to compete.
On the defensive side, the addition of Trevon Diggs was definitely a solid one, the Cowboys were in serious need of help on that side of the ball, Bradlee Anae also has a chance to make some noise but we’ll get to that later in this article.
The Cardinals just set up Kyler Murray to get his ass kicked again
After getting a detailed look at Murray through last season, I’ve concluded that he has the potential to be a very special quarterback, without a doubt in my mind. I’ve also come to the conclusion that Steve Keim doesn’t give a damn about his health. The Cardinals were the worst defense in the league last season, and while Isaiah Simmons is as versatile and as talented as they come, it’s going to take way more than just him to get the Cardinals defense fixed.
Meanwhile, Keim had the chance to protect his former No.1 overall pick with either Jedrick Wills Jr, Mehki Becton or Tristan Wirfs, arguably the best offensive lineman in any order behind Andrew Thomas. Instead, he got lucky with Josh Jones from Houston in the third round, don’t get me wrong Jones will be able to perform in the NFL, but not at the level of the other three guys I just mentioned. Murray was sacked over 48 times last season, and they had a chance to shore up the protection with an elite offensive tackle, instead they took a gamble on a lineman who is a solid player, but doesn’t inspire the type of confidence that Wills, Becton or Wirfs does, the Cardinals definitely messed it up here.
As I feared, the Bears messed it up again
As a personal Bears fan, I had to endure last year’s mess of a season after completely kicking ass in 2018, but I do my best to trust Ryan Pace and the front office to put us in better positions to win, and I ended up looking like an idiot for that. We’ve been making a mess of our tight ends room for quite some time, what other NFL team has 10 TIGHT ENDS in their room? That’s almost 1/5th of the active game day roster, which is incredibly ridiculous, if you can’t make it work with at least 3-4 tight ends in the room, the problem lies with the coaching and management.
We took Cole Kmet out of Notre Dame in the second round, a pick I disagree with, Kmet is a solid possession tight end, but he needs to develop as a blocker and just isn’t who we needed at that time in the draft. The Bears gave up 45 sacks last season, the O-Line could’ve been addressed earlier than the seventh round, or we could’ve gotten Allen Robinson some better help in the receiving corps, names like KJ Hamler, Chase Claypool and Van Jefferson were still on the board at the time. Maybe Kmet is a decent pick for value, but he wasn’t what we truly needed to address with the second-round pick, try again next year Pace.
The Giants finally shore up the islands
The Giants are usually hard to watch on both sides of the ball, save for Saquon Barkley and the defensive backs were particularly tough to watch. At face value, names like DeAndre Baker, Julian Love and Jabrill Peppers are encouraging to see, however they’re all still very young and inconsistent. Xavier Mckinney is the perfect answer to their problems, you know damn well any defensive back that’s coached by Nick Saban is going to know what the hell he’s doing, I’m in love with his versatility and he should immediately see the field next season. To follow it up, they went and grabbed Darnay Holmes a few rounds later, I love how aggressive he is in man coverage, along with the fact that he’s not afraid to lay a hit, you pair that with some special teams value and the Giants have themselves a solid playmaker. This was one of the first drafts I’ve seen where the Giants genuinely addressed their weaknesses, and didn’t hit the “I don’t know what to do, so let’s just draft Daniel Jones” button.
Eagles, what the hell are you doing?
I’m going to keep this one short and sweet because I think we can all agree on this one, but drafting Jalen Hurts, at least that early was the wrong move. Maybe Hurts will be used in special RPO/zone packages but you don’t use a second-round selection on him for that, he’s a solid quarterback but he’s not a starting quarterback by any means. I understand he had a great season in the Big 12, and I respect it, but frankly, I’m not high on Big 12 quarterbacks in the NFL at the moment, save for Patrick Mahomes.
Wentz just signed a new contract and will be the clear starter for the Eagles. I don’t think he’s elite but he’s certainly good enough to be a starting quarterback, if he goes down and they have to put their faith in Hurts, I’m concerned for the Eagles, and they will be dragged by their fanbase for years, if this pick doesn’t pan out.
Bradlee Anae once again has a lot to prove
Anae is one of the players who didn’t necessarily make insane waves coming directly out of the 2019 college season coming out of Utah, but he had a MONSTER Senior Bowl performance which caught everyone’s attention. Unfortunately, a terrible 4.93 40 at 257 pounds is probably what shot him down from a potential late third-round pick, but I was shocked when I still saw him on the board at the end of the fifth round. Physically there’s clearly much to be desired, but he has fantastic hands off of the edge and considerable strength, he’s not any every down guy and will definitely be fighting for a rotational role in the Cowboys D-line room. However, while he has to earn his way in the depth chart, after that Senior Bowl performance, he may be another late bloomer who manages to surprise us all.
Jordan Love and Jacob Eason are in great situations
I know a lot of people are questioning the selections of Eason and Love, but I personally think any quarterback who you throw in this scenario (even Jalen Hurts) would be in a good position learning from guys like Philip Rivers and Aaron Rodgers. I watched Love’s tape and I don’t think he’s going to be ready to be thrown on the field for at least the next two seasons, however he doesn’t have to be ready yet. Same with Eason, he looks the part and has a cannon for an arm, but he definitely needs some development, who better to receive it from than an experienced veteran like Rivers? In my mind, the trajectory of both of these quarterback’s careers will depend on how well they respond to the mentorship in front of them, both of the guys’ they’re learning from are proven ballers, and they have the potential to become very solid quarterbacks if they play their cards right.
Jedrick Wills takes away the excuses for Baker Mayfield
I’m a believer in the fact that Mayfield isn’t necessarily a bad quarterback, but more in the fact that he’s surrounded by incompetent leadership and a lack of execution. When you’re sacked over 40 times in a season, I can understand how consistency will waver in a quarterback’s performance. However, as soon as the Browns selected Wills, that narrative left my head, and now I can truly judge Mayfield for the quarterback he is. Wills is as good as they come, is dominating in the run and pass game, and is easily slated to be their starting left tackle for the next 10+ years, I stand by that statement. You take that with the fact that Mayfield has Odell Beckham Jr, Jarvis Landry and potentially Donovan Peoples-Jones if he develops in the way that I think he can, and Mayfield has a full-fledged offense that’s ready to compete every Sunday if he performs to the task.