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Looking at the NFL Draft’s biggest winners and losers from the first round

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In one of the weirdest and most unique NFL drafts in history, the first round went off without any noticeable glitches. 

But like any draft, there were always a handful of winners and losers after the first round. Here are a few teams that won the first round, and a few that didn’t.

Winners

Miami Dolphins. Picks: QB Tua Tagovailoa (5th), T Austin Jackson (18th), CB Noah Igbinoghene (30th)

The biggest reason the Dolphins find their way onto this list is because they resisted the temptation of picking Justin Herbert at fifth overall instead of Tagovailoa. 

While Herbert might turn out to be a fine quarterback in the NFL, and Tagovailoa could bust due to injury concerns, it was still the right pick to make. Instead of taking a chance on the skillset of Herbert panning out, the Dolphins took a chance on one of the most productive college quarterbacks of all time being healthy, hip injury be damned. That’s the right bet to make.

They added a two-year starter in Jackson to protect their new quarterback with the 18th overall pick and added a cornerback to patch the defense at the end of the first round.

If Tagovailoa hits, Dolphins fans will remember that choice, and this first round, for a long time.  

Arizona Cardinals. Pick: LB/S Isaiah Simmons (8th)

In one of the night’s more surprising slides, Simmons was still on the board at eighth overall and found his way into the waiting arms of the Cardinals. While they had perhaps a more pressing need on the offensive line, and could've went any number of ways there, they made the smart play by picking Simmons. 

 

Simmons is what coaches call a “position-less player,” one that can fly around to any spot on the field and impact the game. It looks like Arizona’s defense got a major boost on Thursday night. 

Dallas Cowboys. Pick: WR Ceedee Lamb (17th)

While the Cowboys already had Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, their offense got even more explosive with the addition of Lamb. 

Off of back-to-back 1,000 yard receiving seasons at Oklahoma, Lamb will join a Cowboys team now loaded with firepower on the offensive side of the ball. Lamb, in a loaded draft class, could turn out to be the best of the bunch at receiver — if his volume of targets isn't an issue.

Defenses in the NFC East should be concerned, as the Cowboys clearly have the division’s best offense now.

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Baltimore Ravens. Pick: LB Patrick Queen (28th)

One of the draft’s better value picks came at 28th overall when the Ravens found their newest inside linebacker in Queen. 

At LSU, Queen posted 85 tackles in 2019 — his only as a starter — and was generally regarded as one of, if not the best linebacker in the class behind Simmons. The pick gave the Ravens a standout player at their biggest position of need to boot.

Losers

Las Vegas Raiders. Picks: WR Henry Ruggs III (12th), CB Damon Arnette (19th)

Headed into the night, the Raiders picking an Alabama wide receiver seemed like a safe bet. The problem is they might not have picked the best one. 

Ruggs caught 40 passes in 2019, and 46 in 2018, but was out-produced by two receivers on the team, including Jerry Jeudy, who went four picks later to the Broncos. The Raiders were smitten with his 4.27 40-yard dash speed, but he’ll have to prove he can be a true No. 1 in Vegas — something he wasn't at Alabama.

Then, they picked Arnette out of Ohio State. While Arnette is a talented cornerback who is a good addition to the Raiders’ secondary, they likely could’ve picked him later in the first round. 

In terms of who they picked, and when, the Raiders were the biggest losers in round one. 

Green Bay Packers. Pick: QB Jordan Love (26th)

Time is a flat circle. 

15 years ago to the day the Packers selected quarterback Aaron Rodgers with the 24th pick in the draft to replace Brett Favre, they chose Rodgers' replacement. At the time of the 2005 draft, Favre was 35-years-old. On Thursday, the Packers used the 26th pick to pick Love while Rodgers, 36, is still on the roster and under contract through 2022. 

 

In the most surprising pick of the night, the Packers chose the future quarterback of the franchise instead of picking a skill player for Rodgers to work with. That could turn out to have major short-term consequences.

Could this pick turn out to be the gold standard like the Rodgers draft and turn fools into the NFL landscape? Absolutely. But for now, there’s not much upside to it.

New York Giants. Pick: Andrew Thomas (4th)

The Giants picking a productive tackle at fourth overall wasn’t a surprise. Who it was, however, turned out to be. 

While Thomas was a productive tackle at Georgia, the Giants could’ve taken any of the four top tackles on the board — and likely have traded out since Thomas was their guy. 

Only time will tell if the Giants chose the wrong tackle in the 2020 NFL Draft. 

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