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NFL Draft Grades

2020 NFL Draft Grades: AFC

by Hayden Winks
Updated On: April 26, 2020, 12:32 pm ET

DraftValue

The NFL Draft is mostly just a game of randomness, but there are ways to increase the odds in your favor -- trade down early, draft positions that matter early, draft for need when close to a Super Bowl, and draft best player available within reason when rebuilding. My draft grades will reflect these principles and heavily weigh what a team did in the first 150 picks because that’s where most production comes from (see chart). For that same reason, you won’t see grades for the picks after No. 150. Just assume they are an F and won’t contribute meaningful snaps. Let’s dive in:

 

 

AFC East

 

Bills (B-)

Pick

Player

Grade

Player Rank

54

EDGE A.J. Epenesa

B+

38

86

RB Zack Moss

C+

95

128

WR Gabriel Davis

B+

98

167

QB Jake Fromm

-

90

188

K Tyler Bass

-

100+

207

WR Isaiah Hodgins

-

100+

239

CB Dane Jackson

-

100+

 

Epenesa had some Day 1 love but rightfully slipped into the second round after showcasing 18th percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism at the NFL Combine (5.04 forty). His raw strength and craftiness should make him an effective run defender, but it’s hard to see him being as productive as pass rusher in the NFL as he was at Iowa. He profiles as a 5-9 sack producer who can play on the edge or kick inside depending on the personnel. Epenesa was good value at No. 54 but not an exciting pick… Moss fills a need as the “bruiser” alongside Devin Singletary but there were other “bruisers” to be found later in the draft. Plus, the Utah alum has some issues of his own, including a 4.65 forty time and a lengthy injury history with his knees. I envision him soaking up 4-10 meaningless carries per game as Singletary’s sidekick this season… Davis checks some  sleeper receiver boxes -- he declared early (21 years old), was productive at UCF (72-1,241-12), and is fast enough (4.54 forty). He will compete for No. 4 receivers duties behind Stefon Diggs, John Brown, and Cole Beasley as a vertical threat on the outside… The rest of the draft was decent as well. The Bills found a backup quarterback, another productive receiver, and a potential special teamer. Definitely have questions about the kicker though. He only made 20-of-28 kicks last year as a redshirt senior. 

 

Dolphins (B+)

Pick

Player

Grade

Player Rank

5

QB Tua Tagovailoa

A

2

18

OT Austin Jackson

B-

29

30

CB Noah Igbinoghene

B+

51

39

OT Robert Hunt

C

87

56

DT Raekwon Davis

D

100+

70

S Brandon Jones

C+

100+

111

OG Solomon Kindley

B

100+

154

EDGE Jason Strowbridge

-

100+

164

EDGE Curtis Weaver

-

92

185

LS Blake Ferguson

-

100+

246

WR Malcolm Perry

-

100+

 

Trade Received

Trade Sent

Grade

No. 30 and 136

No. 26

A

No. 111

No. 136 and 141

B

No. 164

No. 173 and 227

B

No. 251

2021 6th

B

 

The Dolphins moved up and down the board with very reasonable draft day trades, which made up for some iffy mid-round picks, but all eyes are at the top of the class… Tagovailoa fell into their laps with the Chargers sold on Justin Herbert at No. 6, and the Heisman runner-up is a worthwhile risk given the current state of the Miami organization. If healthy, Tagovailoa can be a Pro Bowl quarterback capable of picking apart defenses with above-average accuracy and mobility. Dr. David Chao believes Tagovailoa can play on his hip injury in 2020 and shouldn’t face arthritic problems until way later into his career… Jackson will need to develop -- he’s only 20 years old and was inconsistent at USC -- but he has 89th percentile athleticism and the size of NFL left tackles. He can iron out the wrinkles of his game while the Dolphins are rebuilding and has the upside to be a perennial Pro Bowler by the time they are contending for the playoffs… A similar story can be told about Igbinoghene, who has only played corner for a few seasons but has all the speed in the world. His 6.9 yards per target in coverage from last season is quite good for an inexperienced player defending SEC receivers. He’ll play in the slot to start his career… Once again, the Dolphins are betting on upside with Hunt. He was injured last season but showed NFL skills, athleticism, and size at Louisiana. They probably hope he can play right tackle. He may have to kick inside and play guard. That’s totally fine. Miami needed to invest assets into the offensive line with Tagovailoa headlining the class… Davis was an unproductive pass rusher at Alabama and had some off-field question marks, a combination that prevented me from ranking him inside my top-100. It was a big gamble to draft him at No. 56, but he should at least be playable against the run… Jones will compete for starting duties with the Dolphins hurting at safety, but he profiled as a low-end starter and special teamer to me despite being a highly productive tackler at Texas. His overaggressive style needs to be tamed, at least in pass coverage… Kindley was inconsistent at Georgia because of injuries but has the raw strength to compete for starting reps if healthy.

 

Jets (A-)

Pick

Player

Grade

Player Rank

11

OT Mekhi Becton

B+

10

59

WR Denzel Mims

A-

27

68

S Ashtyn Davis

B

67

79

EDGE Jabari Zuniga

C+

100+

120

RB Lamical Perine

C-

100+

125

QB James Morgan

D

100+

129

OG Cameron Clarke

C

100+

158

CB Bryce Hall

-

100+

191

P Braden Mann

-

100+

 

Trade Received

Trade Sent

Grade

No. 59 and 101

No. 48

A

No. 125, 129, and 2021 6th

No. 101

A

 

Sam Darnold needed help, and the Jets handled that with quality prospects in the first two rounds with Becton and Mims. Both are elite athletes with high ceilings, although neither are there yet. Becton needs to work on not overextending, and Mims needs to get comfortable running a full route line after only running straight-line routes at Baylor. The Jets have time to work on those things, as they aren’t competing for a Super Bowl in 2020… The rest of the draft was alright. Davis profiles as a starting safety. Zuniga is coming off an ankle injury and shaky college production but has the athleticism of a Day 2 project at edge rusher. Perine is a forgettable backup to Le’Veon Bell. Morgan looks like a pro quarterback but was straight up bad at Florida International. And Clarke is a backup type, which means he might start for the Jets. 

 

Patriots (C)

Pick

Player

Grade

Player Rank

37

S Kyle Dugger

D

84

60

EDGE Josh Uche

A

39

87

EDGE Anfernee Jennings

C+

100+

91

TE Devin Asiasi

B

100+

101

TE Dalton Keene

C

100+

159

K Justin Rohrwasser

-

100+

182

OG Michael Onwenu

-

100+

195

OG Justin Herron

-

100+

204

LB Cassh Maluia

-

100+

230

OC Dustin Woodard

-

100+

 

Trade Received

Trade Sent

Grade

No. 37 and 71

No. 23

A

No. 60 and 129

No. 71 and 98

B

No. 91 and 159

No. 100, 139, and 172

B

No. 101

No. 125, 129, and 2021 6th

B

No. 182

No. 212 and 213

B

 

New England had a ton of draft picks coming into the draft and predictably moved all over the board (5 trades), but the guys Bill Belichick selected have very questionable profiles. Dugger is a 99th percentile Adjusted SPARQ athlete, but his college production, especially for a D-11 prospect, was bad and he’s already 24 years old. That doesn’t scream No. 37 pick to me… Uche was a great second round pick, however. He’s a plus-level athlete and was highly effective as a stand-up edge rusher on his limited snaps at Michigan. Belichick should unlock him… Jennings doesn’t have the athleticism of most Day 2 edge rushers, but he was mildly productive at Alabama and profiles as a rotational end in the NFL… Asiasi and Keene are both tight ends, but Asiasi will play the traditional tight end position while Keene plays the forgettable H-back role. Asiasi has pedigree as a highly recruited athlete and flashed ability at UCLA (15.0 YPC). He is the tight end sleeper of the class based on talent and landing spot… Not sure why a right-wing tattooed kicker was selected at No. 159.

 

AFC North

 

Bengals (A)

Pick

Player

Grade

Player Rank

1

QB Joe Burrow

A

1

33

WR Tee Higgins

B+

28

65

LB Logan Wilson

B-

100+

107

LB Akeem Davis-Gaither

A-

66

147

EDGE Khalid Kareem

B

100+

180

OG Hakeem Adeniji

-

100+

215

LB Markus Bailey

-

100+

 

Burrow is a good prospect if you haven’t heard, and he’s walking into an underrated supporting cast littered with skill-position talent and an offensive-minded head coach. He’s the 2020 Offensive Rookie of the Year favorite… Higgins’ athletic profile is concerning (31-inch vert, 4.54 speed), but he was highly productive (13 TDs) and efficient (13.4 YPT) at Clemson and is only 21 years old, the latter are more predictive of NFL success for wide receivers. His value as a rookie will depend on A.J. Green’s status and John Ross’ hamstring, but he may be going overlooked in dynasty leagues. I think he can be a nice second option in the NFL… Wilson was insanely productive (94+ tackles four times) at Wyoming, was PFF’s No. 2 linebacker against the run, and is a 64th percentile Adjusted SPARQ athlete. He should have been in my top-100 rankings to be honest. He’ll be a starter for most of his rookie contract… Davis-Gaither can be an asset as a blitzing linebacker and willing tackler against the run, as evidenced by his 101 tackles last season. He can play meaningful snaps for a rebuilding linebacker group… 

 

 

Browns (A)

Pick

Player

Grade

Player Rank

10

OT Jedrick Wills

A-

7

44

S Grant Delpit

A-

24

88

DT Jordan Elliott

B+

59

97

LB Jacob Phillips

C+

100+

115

TE Harrison Bryant

B-

100

160

IOL Nick Harris

A-

62

187

WR Donovan Peoples-Jones

-

100+

 

Trade Received

Trade Sent

Grade

No. 44 and 160

No. 41

A

No. 88 and 2021 3rd

No. 74 and 244

A

 

Two quality trades were the cherry on top of a spectacular 2020 NFL Draft for the Browns. They plugged in the lone glaring hole on offense with Wills, who will transition to left tackle after playing high school and college on the right side. He’s athletic enough to make that work. Wills was my OT1 in this stacked class. Baker Mayfield has no excuses to not take a big step forward in 2020. I’ll be buying in fantasy… Delpit is a post-hype sleeper who just needs to get healthy (ankle) to become the first-round talent he showed two seasons ago at LSU… Elliott is an ascending interior pass rusher with 65th percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism who happened to slide into the third round. He can be a rotational defensive tackle immediately and has starting-level upside if he gets stronger… Phillips was a tackling machine at LSU (113 tackles) but his 35th percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism limits his upside. He’s not very agile and could be exposed in coverage… Bryant was highly productive in college -- notice a trend? -- but has t-rex arms and 4.73 speed. It’s hard to see where he fits in with Austin Hooper and David Njoku on the roster, although he was good value at No. 115… Harris was a very underrated pick. He’s only 21 years old, yet started four seasons at Washington. His 83rd percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism gives him plenty of upside. I bet he starts eventually.

 

Steelers (B-)

Pick

Player

Grade

Player Rank

49

WR Chase Claypool

B+

38

102

EDGE Alex Highsmith

C+

100+

124

RB Anthony McFarland Jr.

C+

100+

135

OG Kevin Dotson

B

100+

198

S Antoine Brooks

-

100+

232

DT Carlos Davis

-

100+

 

Pittsburgh didn’t have many picks to work with, but they addressed their biggest needs outside of backup quarterback. Claypool was productive at Notre Dame (66-1,037-13) and blew up the Combine with 4.42 speed and a 40.5-inch vertical while weighing 238 pounds. He’s not the most polished route runner, but he’s a physical player who is ascending. His upside is far higher than James Washington and Diontae Johnson. Claypool is a dynasty target with JuJu Smith-Schuster’s contract up in the air… Highsmith was highly productive at Charlotte (14 sacks) but is a boom-bust prospect given his undersized build (6’3/248) and age (23 years old)... Anthony McFarland has the most juice of any Steelers running back (4.44 speed), but he hasn’t been able to handle a full workload and may be destined for 5-10 touches per game in the NFL. He’ll push Jaylen Samuels and potentially James Conner on the depth chart as a rookie… Dotson was PFF’s No. 1 interior offensive lineman last season but is already 24 years old and looked like a somewhat limited athlete on tape. 

 

 

Ravens (B)

Pick

Player

Grade

Player Rank

28

LB Patrick Queen

A-

17

55

RB J.K. Dobbins

C+

53

71

DT Justin Madubuike

B+

58

92

WR Devin Duvernay

B+

76

98

LB Malik Harrison

B+

65

106

OG Tyre Phillips

B-

100+

143

OG Ben Bredeson

B

100+

170

DT Broderick Washington

-

100+

201

WR James Proche

-

100+

219

S Geno Stone

-

100+

 

Trade Received

Trade Sent

Grade

No. 71 and 98

No. 60 and 129

B

No. 201 and 209

No. 225 and 2021 5th

B

 

I struggled grading the Ravens’ draft because they drafted a lot of my favorite players, but almost all of their picks were run-oriented. Queen at the top of the draft was their best pick. He’s only 20 years old, has 81st percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism, made 82 tackles, and only allowed 5.5 yards per target in coverage. That’s what a first-round linebacker prospect looks like, and they grabbed in at the end of the round. Queen starts immediately… Dobbins is a great running back prospect (2,003 yards as a junior at Ohio State), but I don’t think anyone watched the Ravens and thought they were a running back away from a Super Bowl. Mark Ingram, Justice Hill, and Gus Edwards were good enough to look at other positions in the second round… Madubuike was good value and fills a need on the interior defensive line. His 84th percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism gives him quality-starter upside. He should make starts as a rookie… Duvernay was a sleeper of mine after compiling 1,082 yards last year at Texas and showcasing 93rd percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism at the Combine (4.39 forty). He’s more explosive and a lot more physical than most slot receivers, but he’s a little tight. Duvernay will compete with Willie Snead for starting slot duties. He could make starts as a rookie… Harrison has 72nd percentile Adjusted SPARQ speed and had above-average production (75 tackles) at Ohio State. He’s a low-end starter or quality depth option at linebacker… Phillips and Bredeson are o-line backups. Please protect Lamar Jackson, fellas.