NFL Draft 2020: Five biggest first-round surprises from virtual event


The first round of the 2020 NFL Draft has come and gone, and as the dust settles, we can better digest the craziness that just transpired.

The Cincinnati Bengals led things off by selecting reigning Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow with the No. 1 overall pick. Washington then followed that up with the selection of former Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young at No. 2. Neither of those picks came as a surprise, and for all intents and purposes, they could have been written in stone months ago.

But then things got interesting.

While many teams filled glaring needs with obvious picks, there was no shortage of selections that caused one to raise an eyebrow. Here are the five biggest surprises -- in chronological order -- from the first night of the draft.

New York Giants stick and pick at No. 4

The consensus entering the draft was that there were four tackles in a tier unto themselves, and the order they would go in likely would be determined by personal preference. The fact that Andrew Thomas was the first of that group to be selected isn't necessarily a huge surprise, although he arguably offers the lowest upside.

Instead, the surprise is that the Giants selected him when they did. 

It is hard to believe they couldn't have found a way to trade back and pick up additional selections. Even if they had missed out on Thomas in that event, they still would have been able to get one of the other premier tackles, all of whom might turn out to be better. Once again, New York general manager David Gettleman didn't come close to maximizing the value of a very high pick. Perhaps it's not a huge surprise after all.


CeeDee lands in Dallas

We had a pretty good idea of who the first three receivers to be selected would be, we just didn't know the order. It wasn't necessarily all that shocking to see CeeDee Lamb taken after former Alabama receivers Henry Ruggs and Jerry Jeudy, but what was surprising was where he landed.

Lamb is a tremendous receiver prospect, and it's easy to see why the Cowboys would be tantalized by him. However, they just gave Amari Cooper a huge contract, and Dak Prescott is headed for a gigantic payday soon. Lamb is expected to come in and be Dallas' No. 3 receiver, but that seems like quite a luxury pick and certainly not the best allocation of resources. Offense is not the problem in Dallas.

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Raiders reach for Arnette at 19

After Jeff Okudah and C.J. Henderson, there was no consensus as to who was the third-best cornerback prospect in the draft. If that turns out to be Damon Arnette, then this pick will look plenty fine moving forward. But it seems like a reach for now, and certainly came as a surprise.

Arnette was widely regarded as a Day 2 prospect, and one has to wonder if the Raiders could have traded back and still found a way to get him. He played on one of the most dominant defenses in college football, and it remains to be seen if he was a reason why or a product of that system. Cornerback was a major area of need for Las Vegas, so the "who" wasn't so much of a surprise as compared to the "when."

49ers trade up, not back

The 49ers entered the draft with the 13th and 31st overall picks, and there was no shortage of rumors that they were looking to trade back from one or both selections. Those rumors initially proved to be true when San Francisco traded back one spot from 13 and snagged South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw at 14. In the latter stages of the first round, however, the 49ers flipped those rumors on their head.

It wasn't surprising whatsoever to see San Francisco select a receiver in the first round, as the team had been linked to several receiving prospects in the lead-up to the draft. Brandon Aiyuk seems to be a perfect fit for coach Kyle Shanahan's offense and a natural replacement for Emmanuel Sanders. To get him, though, the 49ers had to pay a hefty price, sending the 31st, 117th and 176th overall picks to the Minnesota Vikings to move up to 25. For a team without any picks in the second through fourth rounds, that was a surprising use of draft capital.


[RELATED: 49ers draft grade: Aiyuk worth price that had to be paid]

Green Bay Packers fall in Love, trade up to get him

You hear that, Aaron Rodgers? Those are the footsteps of your eventual replacement, and perhaps that time isn't as far off as we thought.

The Packers clearly were quite high on Jordan Love, as they gave up a fourth-round pick to move up from 30 to 26 in a trade with the Miami Dolphins. While the expectation is that Love will sit behind Rodgers for at least his rookie season, the selection made huge waves in that it didn't exactly signal a ton of long-term faith in Rodgers. Not to mention, Love is the first offensive skill player the Packers have drafted in the first round since ... you guessed it. Rodgers.

He will turn 37 in December, so Green Bay can't pretend like he'll be around forever. But Rodgers is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time and appears to still have some left in the tank. Love has an abundance of arm talent, but this might get awkward.