The first round of the 2020 NFL Draft is in the books. And with the dust settled, it's time to take a look at how each of the NFC teams fared in this year's first round.
The NFC is chock full of strong teams that have only gotten stronger. Two of last year's playoff teams, the Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco 49ers, had the most buying power in Round 1, as they each had two first-round selections. They combined to make three trades overall and added to their already strong rosters.
Though there are a lot of powerful teams, there are some shifting power dynamics as Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a squad that should be on the rise in 2020. And they did a lot to help themselves improve by making one of the best picks of the first round.
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Here are first-round pick grades for every NFC team.
Picks made: CB A.J. Terrell (No. 16 overall)
Analysis: Over Trevon Diggs and Kristian Fulton? And with K'Lavon Chaisson on the board? Atlanta needed cornerback help, so they won't get a failing grade, but Terrell was a fringe first-round prospect who got selected in the top half of the round. This was definitely a reach.
Picks made: LB/S Isaiah Simmons (No. 8 overall)
Analysis: Simmons is a versatile weapon who can play linebacker, safety, edge rusher, and maybe even some slot corner. That's what he did at Clemson at least. The Cardinals are getting a gamer and he should find a home in Vance Joseph's defense.
Picks made: DT Derrick Brown (No. 7 overall pick)
Analysis: Brown was the second-best player left on our big board behind Isaiah Simmons. Both options made sense for the team. I would argue that Simmons would've been a better fit, but Brown will be a disruptive threat on the interior at the next level. He's a safe pick and should find success early in his career.
Picks made: None
Analysis: The Bears didn't have any Round 1 picks as a result of the Khalil Mack trade. The Raiders selected cornerback Damon Arnette with the pick that would've belonged to the Bears.
Picks made: WR CeeDee Lamb (No. 17 overall)
Analysis: This is a great value for the Cowboys. Lamb was our top-ranked receiver and could've been selected in the back-end of the top 10. But he fell all the way to 17 and the Cowboys scooped him up. Imagining Lamb, Amari Cooper, and Michael Gallup playing together is scary.
Picks made: CB Jeff Okudah (No. 3 overall)
Analysis: This grade is less about the player and more about the fact that the Lions didn't end up trading down to get him. They were rumored to be in trade talks to move down and may have been able to swap picks with the Dolphins and still get Okudah. But Okudah is the best corner in this draft and fills a big need, so that's a positive. Consider this pick an "A" for the player and a "D" for the value.
Green Bay Packers
Picks made: QB Jordan Love (No. 26 overall)
Analysis: Jordan Love has a lot of upside and if he sits, he could be a great starter at the NFL level. The Packers are a good landing spot, but they really needed to get Aaron Rodgers some receiver help to be competitive this year. Long-term, this grade is good. Short-term, this may cost the Packers a chance to compete for a title with Rodgers.
Los Angeles Rams
Picks made: None
Analysis: The Rams didn't have a Round 1 pick as a result of the Jalen Ramsey trade. The Jacksonville Jaguars selected edge rusher K'Lavon Chaisson with the 20th selection that previously belonged to L.A.
Picks made: WR Justin Jefferson (No. 22 overall), CB Jeff Gladney (No. 31 overall)
Analysis: The Vikings nabbed a steal with Justin Jefferson at the 22nd pick. He should seamlessly replace Stefon Diggs and give Kirk Cousins a new weapon. Gladney, meanwhile, was a solid get as well and they moved down to get him. Mike Zimmer is good at coaching up corners, so Gladney should find a starting role in the Vikings secondary either outside or in the slot.
New Orleans Saints
Picks made: C/G Cesar Ruiz (No. 24 overall)
Analysis: Ruiz will likely challenge left guard Andrus Peat for a starting job and it's possible that he could play center with last year's second-round pick Erik McCoy kicking over to left guard. There were better players available for the Saints to target, but it's hard to argue with adding blocking to protect Drew Brees.
New York Giants
Picks made: OT Andrew Thomas (No. 4 overall)
Analysis: Thomas was the third-rated offensive tackle in our tackle rankings. He has the highest floor of any tackle prospect, but taking him over more athletic prospects like Tristan Wirfs and Mekhi Becton is iffy. Still, he should be a success for the Giants. But if the other guys reach their full potential, this will feel a bit like a missed opportunity.
Picks made: WR Jalen Reagor (No. 21 overall)
Analysis: It looks like the Eagles are trying to make up for failing to draft speedster Marquise "Hollywood" Brown last year. Reagor is fast and fills a need, but Justin Jefferson, our No. 4 overall receiver, was still available. Reagor was ranked as our No. 9 receiver and a second-round value. This is a reach and the only thing preventing this from being a worse grade is that receiver was the Eagles' biggest need.
San Francisco 49ers
Picks made: DT Javon Kinlaw (No. 14 overall), WR Brandon Aiyuk (No. 25 overall)
Analysis: The 49ers used the pick they got in exchange for DeForest Buckner, traded down to add a fourth-round pick, and got a great replacement who could've been a top-10 pick in Kinlaw. Then, they packaged that pick to move up six spots at the end of the first round to grab Aiyuk, a big playmaker who will pair well with Deebo Samuel. They probably didn't need to move up for Aiyuk, but we won't penalize them too much for moving up.
Picks made: LB Jordyn Brooks, Texas Tech (No. 27 overall)
Analysis: Seattle didn't trade their first-round pick for the first time in forever. Ironically, they probably should've traded down if they wanted to get him at the proper value. Brooks was a late riser who had 360 tackles at Texas Tech and is a highly productive and athletic linebacker. But he was only the 98th player on our big board and the Seahawks don't really need a linebacker. So, while this could pan out, the value isn't great.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Picks made: OT Tristan Wirfs (No. 13 overall)
Analysis: This grade is an easy "A". Wirfs was a popular pick at No. 4 in mock drafts, our No. 1 overall tackle, and our own Phil Perry had him mocked in the top 10. The Bucs moved up just one spot to secure the last of the "Big 4" tackles to play on the right side of Tom Brady's line. That's a massive win and should just about polish off a terrific-looking offense.
Picks made: EDGE Chase Young (No. 2 overall)
Analysis: The Redskins got the best player in this draft class with the second overall pick. That sounds like a win. Young had 16.5 sacks in his final year at Ohio State and should strengthen an already great Washington front seven.
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