2020 NFL Draft: Winners and Losers
With the 2020 NFL draft officially in the books, it’s time to decide who improved their team the most, and who left their fans with even more questions than before. Below I will state my biggest winners and losers from the latest draft.
Winner: Denver Broncos
Selections: Alabama WR Jerry Jeudy (No. 15 overall), Penn State WR KJ Hamler (No. 46), Iowa CB Michael Ojemudia (No. 77), LSU C Lloyd Cushenberry (No. 83), Arkansas DT McTelvin Agim (No. 95), Missouri TE Albert Okwuegbunam (No. 118), Wake Forest LB Justin Strnad (No. 178), Fresno State OG Netane Muti (No. 181), Florida WR Tyrie Cleveland (No. 252), North Dakota State LB Derrek Tuszka (No. 254)
Denver’s goal was clear going into the draft, get quarterback Drew Lock some help. Boy did they ever. Not only did they get the best receiver prospect according to many in Jerry Jeudy, but they also selected Penn State speedster KJ Hamler in the second round. Those two selections, paired with pro bowler Courtland Sutton, give the Broncos an extremely dangerous receiving core. Denver also selected Missouri tight end Albert Okwuegbunam to pair with last years first rounder Noah Fant. The Broncos also addressed possible replacements for center Connor McGovern and cornerback Chris Harris Jr. by selecting Lloyd Cushenberry and Michael Ojemudia. Denver filled holes on their roster, and leave a much improved football team.
Loser: Green Bay Packers
Selections: Utah State QB Jordan Love (No. 26 overall), Boston College RB AJ Dillon (No. 63), Cincinnati TE Josiah Deguara (No. 94), Minnesota LB Kamal Martin (No. 175), Michigan OG Jon Runyan (No. 192), Oregon C Jake Hanson (No. 208), Indiana OG Simon Stepaniak (No. 209), TCU DB Vernon Scott (No. 236), Miami DE Jonathan Garvin (No. 242)
Green Bay didn’t waste any time when it came to making head-scratching decisions in the draft. In the first round, the Packers traded up to selected quarterback Jordan Love. Love is viewed as a project quarterback, and the move seems odd for a team who was just in the NFC Championship. But the confusion didn’t stop there. In the second round Green bay selected running back AJ Dillion, despite having Aaron Jones who led the NFL in total touchdowns last season. The Packers also didn’t address their need at right tackle after losing Bryan Bulaga in free agency. But to top it all off, Green Bay didn’t select a single wide receiver in one of the deepest classes of all time. Good luck Aaron Rodgers.
Winner: Minnesota Vikings
Selections: LSU WR Justin Jefferson (No. 22 overall), TCU CB Jeff Gladney (No. 31 overall), Boise State OT Ezra Cleveland (No. 58), Mississippi State CB Cameron Dantzler (No. 89), South Carolina DE D.J. Wonnum (No. 117), Baylor DT James Lynch (No. 130), Oregon LB Troy Dye (No. 132), Temple CB Harrison Hand (No. 169), Miami WR K.J. Osborn (No. 176), Oregon State OT Blake Brandel (No. 203), Michigan S Josh Metellus (No. 205), Michigan State DE Kenny Willekes (No. 225), Iowa QB Nate Stanley (No. 244), Mississippi State S Brian Cole II (No. 249), Washburn OG Kyle Hinton (No. 253)
Last season, the Vikings were viewed as one of the most complete teams in football. After making cuts and trades during the offseason however, they had some holes to address. Minnesota did just that. They landed a replacement for Stefon Diggs by selecting receiver Justin Jefferson at 22, which could turn out to be a steal. Minnesota then drafted two cornerbacks in Jeff Gladney and Cameron Dantzler, who could be day one starters right away. The Vikings also improved their offensive line by selecting two tackles, most notably Boise State’s Ezra Cleveland. They also looked to bolster their pass rush after releasing Everson Griffen in the offseason, by selecting Baylor’s James Lynch who had 13.5 sacks last season. The Vikings found great value, and selected players who could have an impact right away. Minnesota may have had the best draft in the entire NFL.
Loser: Philadelphia Eagles
Selections: TCU WR Jalen Reagor (No. 21 overall), Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts (No. 53), Colorado LB Davion Taylor (No. 103), Clemson S K’Von Wallace (No. 127), Auburn OG Jack Driscoll (No. 145), Boise State WR John Hightower (No. 168), Temple LB Shaun Bradley (No. 196), Southern Miss WR Quez Watkins (No. 200), Auburn OT Prince Tega Wanogho (No. 210), Stanford DE Casey Toohill (No. 233)
Philadelphia had a major need at the receiver position heading into the draft. While they did address that by selecting a receiver in the first round, the confusion came with what receiver they selected. TCU’s Jalen Reagor was viewed by most as a reach. If the Eagles liked Reagor that much, they could’ve traded back, as many thought he’d be available in the second round. Speaking of the second round, the move to select a backup quarterback with the 53rd pick was also puzzling. There have been rumors that the Eagles want to use Jalen Hurts in a Taysom Hill type role. However, if you’re going to use a player as a gadget guy, it’s probably best to not take him in the second round (e.g Hill being undrafted). Philadelphia did address a need at linebacker by selecting Colorado’s Davion Taylor, and Temple’s Shaun Bradley. All things considered however, the Eagles made some questionable decisions during the draft.
Winner: Arizona Cardinals
Selections: Clemson LB Isaiah Simmons (No. 8 overall), Houston OT Josh Jones (No. 72), Utah DT Leki Fotu (No. 114), LSU DT Rashard Lawrence (No. 131), Cal LB Evan Weaver (No. 202), Arizona State RB Eno Benjamin (No. 222)
The Cardinals found themselves in a scenario where versatile linebacker Isaiah Simmons fell to them at 8. Simmons is a player who many believe can anchor a defense for years to come, so selecting him with the 8th pick provides some value. Arizona also found value by selecting tackle Josh Jones (who some viewed as a possible late first rounder) in the third round. The Cardinals also addressed a porous run defense by selecting defensive tackles Leki Fotu and Rashard Lawrence. Eno Benjamin could also be a solid number two back to Kenyan Drake. Oh yeah, and Arizona used their second round pick to acquire receiver Deandre Hopkins. Not a bad draft in my opinion.
Winner: Dallas Cowboys
Selections: Oklahoma WR CeeDee Lamb (No. 17 overall), Alabama CB Trevon Diggs (No. 51), Oklahoma DT Neville Gallimore (No. 82), Tulsa CB Reggie Robinson (No. 123), Wisconsin C Tyler Biadasz (No. 146), Utah DE Bradlee Anae (No. 179), James Madison QB Ben DiNucci (No. 231)
Dallas somehow had CeeDee Lamb miraculously fall in their laps. Some believed Lamb could be a top ten pick, so having him available at 17 is great value. After losing cornerback Byron Jones in free agency, the Cowboys decided to address the position in the draft. They selected Alabama’s Trevon Diggs, and Tulsa’s Reggie Robinson. Diggs was viewed as a possible first round selection, so drafting him in the second just gives Dallas more value. The Cowboys also bolstered their pass rush by taking Oklahoma DT Neville Gallimore, and Utah DE Bradlee Anae, who had 13 sacks last season. They also found a possible replace for Travis Frederick by selecting a fellow Wisconsin center, Tyler Biadasz. Dallas made solid selections with each of their picks, and come out a better football team than before.