2020 NFL Draft: Grades for the entire first round
More than half the teams in the NFL deserve either an A or a B in the first round of the 2020 draft -- and the Eagles aren't one of them. Jalen Reagor was far from the worst pick on Day 1 though, as one team managed to earn an F for their bizarre choice. Unfortunately, two of the three teams that earned an A+ happen to be NFC East rivals, so based on these way-too-early draft grades, you might say the first round was not favorable for the Birds overall.
(All photos courtesy of AP Images and USA Today Images)
1. Cincinnati Bengals: QB Joe Burrow, LSU
The Bengals haven't had a true franchise quarterback in a decade. Burrow is coming off the most prolific season for a passer in college football history, throwing for 5,671 yards and 60 touchdowns with a 76.3 completion percentage -- all NCAA records. This was a no-brainer, though we don't know what kind of bananas package they may have turned down from the Dolphins.
2. Washington: DE Chase Young, Ohio State
The best prospect in the draft falls to the team holding the second pick. There are reports Washington turned down a massive offer from the Falcons, and you can understand why. Young registered 27.0 sacks over the last two years, including 16.5 to lead the nation as a junior. Has the ability to become a perennial All-Pro and is as close to a certainty as there is in this class.
3. Detroit Lions: CB Jeff Okudah, Ohio State
It's a shame the Lions couldn't convince somebody to move up a few spots, even if only for a mid-round pick. Okudah would've been there. Nothing wrong with the choice -- a potential shutdown cornerback, his mediocre combine workout aside -- though one could argue defensive line is a bigger need, and Derrick Brown is a better prospect.
4. New York Giants: OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia
The first surprise of the draft, but only mildly. Of the top three offensive tackles in the class, Thomas projects as the most natural on the left, which happens to be the position the Giants needed to fill. There's a lot riding on both Daniel Jones under center and Saquon Barkley toting the rock, so while the defense has holes, building up the O-line makes sense.
5. Miami Dolphins: QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
The Dolphins needed a quarterback, and Tagovailoa was rated the best signal caller in his class until injuring his hip last season. There was some doubt as to whether this pick was going to happen due to health concerns. Ultimately, the organization felt it was worth the risk. Only time will tell. At least it didn't require trading up, or the Chargers didn't leapfrog them.
6. Los Angeles Chargers: QB Justin Herbert, Oregon
This is what happens when a team is desperate for a quarterback. Herbert is an excellent prospect. He has prototypical size, a big arm and functional mobility. Was he the sixth-best player in the draft? Debatable, but after Philip Rivers' departure, the Chargers didn't have the luxury of waiting around to see how long he would last.
7. Carolina Panthers: DT Derrick Brown, Auburn
After gutting a defense that finished 31st in scoring a season ago -- eight of 11 starters gone -- the Panthers had little choice but to rebuild the depleted unit. Starting in the trenches was the way to go, especially with a potential top-five talent in Brown still on the board. Some may point to his disappointing combine, but he's a 6-foot-5, 326 pound building block up front.
8. Arizona Cardinals: LB Isaiah Simmons, Clemson
Their need for an offensive tackle was overblown. Fixing a defense that ranked dead last in the NFL was a bigger priority here. Built like a linebacker, runs like a defensive back, Simmons is a versatile hybrid who can play just about any position and do pretty much everything, from covering receivers to rushing the passer. Very intrigued to see how Arizona utilizes him.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars: CB CJ Henderson, Florida
Based on his talent and physical traits, Henderson belongs in the top 10. He's the only cornerback in this draft that ran a sub-4.4 40 at 6-foot-1. Perhaps the biggest question was one of motivation in his final season in Florida, which for many teams wouldn't be a concern. With the Jaguars, who appear to be tanking and had culture issues, it could be a situation to monitor.
10. Cleveland Browns: OT Jedrick Wills Jr., Alabama
One of the most glaring holes in the NFL entering the draft was left tackle for the Browns, so to be able to sit back at 10 and land the second O-lineman off the board was a major coup. The gripe: Wills played the ride side in college. There's little reason to think he isn't up to the task, but it's a bit more of a projection.
11. New York Jets: OT Mekhi Becton, Louisville
There's no question the Jets could've used a stud receiver, but you can't blame them for going with the bookend left tackle -- especially when he's 6-foot-7, 364 pounds and runs th 40 like a tight end. Becton is a bit more of a project and comes with discipline concerns primarily regarding his weight. His physical traits are elite though, and fortifying the lines is the way to go.
12. Las Vegas Raiders: WR Henry Ruggs III, Alabama
It shouldn't be too surprising to find there were teams that had Ruggs rated as the best receiver in the draft. As the saying goes, you can't teach speed, and this kid runs a 4.27. While I love the pick on a personal level, the Raiders clearly went against conventional wisdom here by passing on Jerry Jeudy or CeeDee Lamb, both of whom were far more productive in college.
13. TRADE - Tampa Bay Buccaneers: OT Tristan Wirfs, Iowa
Wonder who the 49ers had on the other line that compelled the Bucs to trade up one spot. The cost wasn't too exorbitant, sending a fourth-round pick and getting a seventh back, especially considering Tampa Bay needed a right tackle to protect its biggest investment, Tom Brady. Wirfs is ready to step into that spot from Day 1, and was arguably a steal as the fourth lineman selected.
14. TRADE - San Francisco 49ers: DL Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina
Make no mistake, Kinlaw is a fantastic prospect, and a case could be made he should've gone even higher. The 49ers also did well to move back and pick up a fourth-round pick. But then you have to remember the 49ers are up here because in the first place because they deal DeForest Buckner to the Colts. Who would you rather have: Kinlaw, or Buckner and his salary?
15. Denver Broncos: WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama
There was talk of the Broncos trading into the top 10 to get Jeudy. Instead, they were able to stand pat and still land one of the top receivers in the draft. There's no question about need, either, as second-year quarterback Drew Lock had pretty much nobody to throw the ball to beyond Courtland Sutton. Gotta give the kid a chance to succeed.
16. Atlanta Falons: CB A.J. Terrell, Clemson
It's no secret the Falcons wanted to move up in the draft, apparently targeting either Chase Young or C.J. Henderson. When that didn't happen, they stayed put and went with Terrell. Initially, it seemed like they might've been able to move down and get their man, but looking at some of the corners who were taken after, that appears to not have been the case. Worked out OK.
17. Dallas Cowboys: WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma
After spending a first-round pick to trade for Amari Cooper, then another $20 million per year to retain him, did the Cowboys really need another wide receiver? No, but then again, if a team is committed to taking the best player available, and arguably the best receiver in the draft in Lamb falls to 17, can you blame them for pouncing? That's just a tremendous value.
18. Miami Dolphins: OT Austin Jackson, USC
There were rumors Miami was trying to climb back into the top 15, which might explain why the Bucs felt the need to move up a spot. After losing out on Wirfs, the Dolphins are forced to pull the trigger on Jackson perhaps a tad earlier than they would like. He's an athletic prospect though with the potential to play on the left, and he wouldn't be the last tackle taken in Round 1.
19. Las Vegas Raiders: CB Damon Arnette, Ohio State
It's almost never a good thing when the draft broadcast describes a team's selection as "fascinating." The craziest part to me about the Raiders selecting Arnette, a cornerback with a mid-round grade by most accounts, is how excited Mike Mayock was about it. That guy puts a lot more time into this than draftniks, but the disconnect here is stark.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars: K'Lavon Chaisson, LSU
Not only was this a smart pick by the Jaguars from the standpoint Chaisson has the ability to become a Pro Bowl pass rusher at the next level. He's also an intelligent, high-character person who can help the club rebuild its culture as well as its defense. The sack totals weren't high in college, but he'll put the work in until the numbers match the ability.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: WR Jalen Reagor, TCU
Once CeeDee Lamb went to the Cowboys at 17, there was no pick the Eagles could make that wouldn't have felt deeply unsatisfying. There's no question a receiver was a must, but between missing out on the big three after rumors of moving up, then choosing Reagor over Justin Jefferson, it wasn't a fantastic look. Hope the kid can play, otherwise this is one Philly will remember.
22. Minnesota Vikings: WR Justin Jefferson, LSU
While no team wants to trade a player like Stefon Diggs, being able to turn that first-round pick into a player who step right into his role goes a long way. There's no telling whether Jefferson will be as good, but his NCAA-record 111 catches for 1,540 yards and 18 touchdowns last season could be a perfect fit for the Vikings.
23. TRADE -- Los Angeles Chargers: LB Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma
Murray is a superb prospect, so it's not difficult to understand why the Chargers were anxious to move up to get him. His 4.5 speed and nose for the football -- 325 tackles, 36.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks in three collegiate seasons -- will serve him well at the next level. Sending a third-round pick to New England is a bitter pill to swallow though.
24. New Orleans Saints: C Cesar Ruiz, Michigan
Apparently the Saints think there's a weak link on the interior of their offensive line. That's the only way to explain the addition of Ruiz to a unit that appeared to be fairly settled. Maybe he was the best player available here, but the case could be made a wide receiver or linebacker could've made a greater impact here.
25. TRADE - San Francisco 49ers: WR Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State
Looks like the 49ers aren't going to have much of a draft. Not only did they send the fourth-round pick they acquired earlier to Minnesota, but a fifth went along with it. On the bright side, Aiyuk bolsters a receiving corps that needed help. He plays bigger than his 6-foot measurement thanks to his huge wind span.
26. TRADE - Green Bay Packers: QB Jordan Love, Utah State
A lot of parallels will be drawn to the time the Packers selected Aaron Rodgers while Brett Favre was on the roster. Two key differences though: Rodgers was a top prospect who slid and the Pack didn't have to trade up with Miami. Still think Love has the potential to be an excellent starter and stashing him is smart, but it's not an identical situation by any means.
27. Seattle Seahawks: LB Jordyn Brooks, Texas Tech
At this stage of the draft, pre-draft grades are far less reliable. While Brooks may not have been well-known before his name was called, he turned heads with 360 career tackles in four season, including 20 tackles for loss as a senior, as well as by running in the 4.5s at the combine. Patrick Queen is on the board though, and the Seahawks could use another edge rusher.
28. Baltimore Ravens: LB Patrick Queen, LSU
Many rankings had Queen graded as the top linebacker in the draft, so to find him here, and after Kenneth Murray, was a win for Ravens. Not only did they not use their multiple second-, third- or fourth-round picks to move up, but the defense finally has a replacement for C.J. Mosley in the middle a year after his departure.
29. Tennessee Titans: OT Isaiah Wilson, Georgia
The Titans might've liked to have traded out of this spot, but by staying, they bolster their offensive line with Wilson. Given how intent they are to ram Derrick Henry down opponents' throats, and how much better Ryan Tannehill is when protected, it makes sense, even if the tackles at this stage of the draft are no sure thing.
30. TRADE - Miami Dolphins: CB Noah Igbinoghene, Auburn
Curious pick from the standpoint the Dolphins already have a ton of money invested in cornerbacks Xavien Howard and Byron Jones. Sure, Igbinoghene figures to play the slot, which is not an unimportant position. Still seems like a luxury pick for a team that has no luxuries after winning five games a season ago. It helps at least they picked up an extra fourth from Green Bay.
31. TRADE -- Minnesota Vikings: CB Jeff Gladney, TCU
Looking at the run on cornerbacks so far, the Vikings were probably wise to add one here. Gladney wasn't making it back to Minnesota toward the end of Round 2, and the team was absolutely gutted in the secondary this offseason.
32. Kansas City Chiefs: RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, LSU
What, he only runs a 4.6? Surprised the Chiefs didn't find the fastest running back they could for their ridiculously speedy offense. 40 times aren't everything, obviously, and the Chiefs' one true need was a between-the-tackles back who can help ice games when Patrick Mahomes builds those big leads.