2020 NFL Draft: 5 biggest first round surprises and takeaways
The first round of the 2020 NFL Draft has come and gone, and as the dust settles, one can get a better digest what went down.
The Cincinnati Bengals kicked off the night by taking 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. Shocking? No. Not at all.
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 from round one of the NFL Draft:
There weren’t any technical issues… that we know of
There was so much concern about the virtual Draft being a bit of a cluster. But, to the surprise of many, we didn’t really notice it. Mike Garofolo of the NFL Network said the league was considering using “timeouts” during the Draft in the case of technology issues, but ruled it out.
Instead, an honor system was in place should a major technological issue have taken place. Things seemed to go off relatively smoothly, though.
There were fewer player interviews than in year’s past, but that makes sense. Maybe that was by design, or maybe everything went wrong behind the scenes and the Draft panel filled time. But hey, Roger Goodell still got boo’d, so that was a win for everyone.
Silent Mode, DND
Despite all of the smokescreens about dark horses potentially jumping into the top-5 to take one of the top-ranked QBs, teams stood pat until the San Francisco 49ers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers flipped first-round draft picks at No. 13 and No. 14. It’s possible that the virtual Draft played something into it.
Once the 49ers and Bucs executed their trade, the gates opened up with the New England Patriots trading out of the first round.
The 49ers traded up from No. 31 to No. 25 and the Miami Dolphins traded down, sending the No. 26 overall pick (which they originally acquired from the Houston Texans in the Laremy Tunsil trade) to the Green Bay Packers.
There weren’t many shocks out there, all in all.
Green Bay Packers fall in Love
The Green Bay Packers didn’t need a quarterback. And they didn’t need to trade up to get one. But, that’s exactly what they did. 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.
Love was widely talked about as a growing infatuation, but remained on the board until the end of the first round. 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 player the Packers have drafted in the first round since… Aaron Rodgers.
Rodgers will turn 37 in December, so the clock on the future Hall of Famer is ticking, despite clearly having something left in the tank. The Packers were a potential trade suitor with the Seahawks at No. 27, but found a better deal with the Dolphins.
Patriots stay true to form despite, even though they maybe shouldn’t have
The New England Patriots traded out of the first round in the first draft following the departure of Tom Brady.
New England traded the 23rd overall pick to the Los Angeles Chargers for the 37th and 71st picks in the draft. Then, the Chargers used the 23rd pick to select Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray.
Sure, New England's trading out falls in line with what they’ve done previously, but they do have a glaring need at the most important position. Sure, they give up a late round pick to accumulate more draft assets. Since 2000, the Patriots have traded their first-round pick five times (2000, 2009, 2013, 2017, 2020). The Patriots currently have veteran QB Brian Hoyer and second-year QB Jarrett Stidham on the roster and perhaps the drop-off from 23 to 37 to get a developing QB is not that great, but who knows.
Top-3 quarterbacks still on the board:
Jake Fromm, Georgia
Jacob Eason, Washington
Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma
Brooks, Beets, Battlestar Gallactica
The Seahawks surprised everybody by not trading out of the first round. Beyond that, John Schneider and Pete Carroll threw a curveball and selected Texas Tech linebacker Jordyn Brooks with the No. 27 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Brooks has plenty of speed as he ran a 4.54-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine. He was a four-year All-Conference player for the Red Raiders. In 2019, he posted 108 tackles, 20 tackles for loss and three sacks.
Brooks had a second-round grade according to most draft analysts and wasn’t on TDN’s consensus board Top-100. Jordyn Brooks was making pasta at his home in the Dallas area when his phone rang. A family member alerted him of the call. As Brooks returned to the living room and answered the phone, he was surprised to hear that it was the Seahawks on the other end of the call.
“He’s our kind of guy,” Seattle’s GM said over the Zoom call Thursday night. “He can fly. He’s 233 pounds and ran a 4.46. He’s just a great kid. He had a great formal interview at the combine. He’s just a real passionate kid. Football is the deal for this guy."