The opening round of the 2020 NFL Draft was a virtual party that took our collective minds off quarantine and social distancing for a few hours. The incoming rookies were the stars of the night, but their entrance into the league impacts many players already on NFL rosters. Here are some of the veterans who are likely to feel the effects on the class of 2020.
Dak Prescott, QB DAL
Dallas didn’t need another wide receiver after signing WR Amari Cooper to a long-term deal along with WR Michael Gallup still on a rookie deal. Strengthen a strength. Dallas may have landed the best receiver in the class in CeeDee Lamb, giving QB Dak Prescott another weapon. The trio of Cooper, Lamb and Gallup could quickly become the best receiving trio in the league. Now about that contract for Prescott.
Carson Wentz, QB PHI
Kirk Cousins, QB MIN
Derek Carr, QB LV
Drew Lock, QB DEN
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB SF
Prescott wasn’t the only quarterback who got a new weapon in Round One. A deep and top-heavy rookie wideout group can make a lot of signal-callers happy and each of these five now have a new target. Wentz and Carr were each lacking a true WR1 last season, which led to monster years for TEs Zach Ertz and Darren Waller. Both teams are still lacking the prototypical WR1 as they selected speedsters Henry Ruggs (Oakland) and Jalen Reagor (Philadelphia) respectively. Cousins, Lock and Garoppolo each already had a solid WR1 option, but their receiver corps improved in round one.
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Saquon Barkley, RB
The Giants were projected to select an offensive tackle with their first pick and they did just that with the fourth overall selection, grabbing OT Andrew Thomas. There was a lot of debate about which of the top-four tackles was the best option and that won’t be settled anytime soon. Thomas fills a huge need for the G-Men, which should open up running lanes for superstar RB Saquon Barkley and also help keep second-year QB Daniel Jones upright.
A.J. Green, WR CIN
Tyler Boyd, WR CIN
Joe Mixon, WR CIN
The selection of QB Joe Burrow by the Bengals has been the worst kept secret in the league. The addition of Burrow, who should claim the starting job right away, offers all key members of the offense a big boost. Burrow does not have some of the limitations of Dalton and will serve as a clear upgrade to Boyd, Mixon and Green, who should be set to return from his missed year in 2019.
Michael Gallup, WR DAL
The addition of Lamb in Dallas isn’t good news for everyone. It can actually be debated who will become the top passing game target between the rookie Lamb and superstar Cooper. That debate leaves Gallup on the outside looking in. After a breakout year which saw him finish as the WR22, Gallup will have a hard time repeating those numbers with Lamb in town.
Damien Williams, RB KC
The Chiefs shook up the fantasy football landscape with the final pick of the night, selecting former LSU RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire. The Chiefs got by last season with a collection of backs led by veteran Damien Williams, but with few needs on the roster, they could afford to focus on the backfield. HC Andy Reid already suggested Edwards-Helaire is a more talented version of his former RB Brian Westbrook. Williams will slowly fade away while CEH contends for an RB1 spot in fantasy leagues.
Aaron Rodgers, QB GB
The Packers shocked the football world 15 years ago by drafting Rodgers, despite already having QB Brett Favre on the roster. That resulted in an icy relationship between the duo and a three-year wait before Rodgers claimed the starting job. Here we go again! The Packers traded up to select Utah State’s Jordan Love, who has a huge arm but many questions about his game. Expect to wait a while until we see Love on the field and expect to hear complaints from Rodgers about the pick. With only WR Davante Adams as a legitimate pass-catching option, it is hard to blame him.
Andy Dalton, QB CIN
No one was surprised when the Bengals selected Burrow with the first overall pick, including the veteran Dalton. The surprise might be that Dalton is still on the roster as we enter day two of the draft. It was expected for a while that 2019 would be Dalton’s final year in Cincinnati, but the quarterback market has been flush with options, as evidenced by Cam Newton and Jameis Winston still looking for work. The Bengals could end up keeping Dalton or simply releasing him, but the starting jobs around the league are quickly drying up.