• Ethan Copeland

NFL Draft: 5 Winners; 5 Losers

The NFL draft concluded on Saturday, April 25th. The draft was arguably the best thing the NFL has done in the past few years, working both smoothly and effectively for the current circumstances. The draft was the closest thing to live sports that fans have had in the past month or so. Well done by Roger Goodell (NFL commissioner), team owners, GMs, and coaches to make it happen and provide some source of entertainment at a brutal time. Hopefully the season will be played this coming fall. Here are my top 5 winners, and top 5 losers of the 2020 NFL draft:

Winners:

1. Dallas Cowboys: Ceedee Lamb (WR Oklahoma, 1st round), Trevon Diggs (CB, Alabama, 2nd round), Neville Gallimore (DT, Oklahoma, 3rd round), Reggie Robinson II (CB, Tulsa, 4th round), Tyler Biadasz (C, Wisconsin, 5th round), Bradlee Anae (DE, Utah, 5th round), and Ben DiNucci (QB, James Madison University, 7th round).

Dallas drafting Ceedee Lamb not only adds additional depth to their already talented receiving core, but it also takes Lamb away from a divisional rival, the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles were desperate for a receiver, and after 16 picks and Lamb on the board, the Birds assumed Lamb would fall into their lap. I also love the Cowboys 2nd round pick with CB Trevon Diggs out of Alabama. Diggs is a very athletic, versatile player who can instantly come into Dallas and make an impact. He needs to follow and learn from Cowboy’s current veteran backs, Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis, who have one year remaining on their contracts. Diggs needs to improve on size to make his tackling skills more NFL ready, however, he has a lot of promise. The last pick I really like is Tyler Biadasz, the center from Wisconsin. Biadasz will not be a starter for the Cowboys, however, he could potentially add more depth to the position after the retiring of Travis Frederick. He was a three-year starter at Wisconsin, with a lot of grit and a strong sense of the game. Could he be a gem? Only time will tell.

2. Baltimore Ravens: Patrick Queen (LB, LSU, 1st round), J.K. Dobbins (RB, Ohio State, 2nd round), Justin Madubuike (DT, Texas A&M, 3rd round), Devin Duvernay (WR, Texas, 3rd round), Malik Harrison (LB, Ohio State, 3rd round), Tyre Phillips (OT, Mississippi State, 3rd round) Ben Bredeson (OG, Michigan, 4th round), Broderick Washington (DT, Texas Tech, 5th round), James Proche (WR, SMU, 6th round), and Geno Stone (S, Iowa, 7th round)

Baltimore filled one of their biggest needs with former LSU LB, Pat Queen. Queen is a very athletic, lengthy, explosive outside linebacker who started 16 games for the defending national champs. The most appealing trait about Queen will be his ability to add a second wave of pass rushers. Baltimore’s D-line is already very impressive, and having Queen fill in this gap could make it even better. Queen was not necessarily the Ravens’ first linebacker option, however, he will fill the gap, develop, and deliver for them just like he did in the championship game for the Tigers. The second pick that opened eyes for the Ravens draft performance was J.K. Dobbins. Dobbins not only set the Ohio State rushing record last season with 2,003 yards but ranked third nationally in rushing scores. Dobbins is quick, has great decision-making skills, and has a toughness to him that will carry over well in the NFL. The Ravens added depth to a position that desperately needed it. Baltimore’s veteran pro bowl back, Mark Ingram, had a very successful season last year. However, he later struggled against the Titans after hurting his ankle. Having both Ingram and Dobbins in the backfield will reduce Ingram’s reps, but increase his efficiency in the backfield. Also, Dobbins and the former MVP, Lamar Jackson, are a deadly duo in the backfield and will make defenses pay (especially those who can’t defend the rush). The last pick that was very promising for the Ravens was the 3rd rounder receiver, Devin Duvernay. Duvernay is a very fast slot receiver who can make big plays out of very little. This will be beneficial for the Ravens because it will take a load off of Jackson and adds another deep threat on top of Marquise Brown.

3. Cleveland Browns: Jedrick Wills (OT, Alabama, 1st round), Grant Deplit (S, LSU, 2nd round), Jordan Elliot (DT, Missouri, 3rd round), Jacob Phillips (LB, LSU, 3rd round), Harrison Bryant (TE, Florida Atlantic, 4th round), Nick Harris (C, Cal. Berkeley, 5th round), Donovan Peoples-Jones (WR, Michigan, 6th round)

For starters, Cleveland desperately needed a tackle out of this draft. Wills is a young (2o years old), strong, right tackle who had an outstanding season last year for the Tide. Wills is a long term pass protector who will do a lot of wonders for Mayfield, Chubb, and Hunt. Even though he is a right tackle, Cleveland wants to shift him to left tackle where they believe he will be even better. Wills can make the transition with the right coaching and training in the offseason. Don’t forget, the Browns also signed Jack Conklin (RT) from Tennessee; their O-line is gonna be good. Secondly, Grant Deplit was a phenomenal pick for Cleveland. Deplit played for the LSU Tigers last season and was projected to go in the first round after an impressive 2018 season. Even though his 2019 season was a step downward, he has the potential and talent to make plays. More importantly, he filled in another gap for Cleveland at safety. Moving onto Cleveland’s fourth-round pick: Harrison Bryant out of Florida Atlantic. Bryant has great size standing at 6'5, 242 pounds, and also has a set of hands as a bonus. With the right schemes, the Browns could use both him, David Njoku, and their recent offseason signee Austin Hooper to run a multiple tight end offense and tear up defenses, especially ones with linebackers who struggle to guard big strong tight ends). Lastly, I just want to shout out Donovan Peoples-Jones. DPJ was a highly ranked prospect heading into college and did not quite live up to the hype at Michigan. However, DPJ has great size, speed, and route running abilities; If he improves on his hands and builds good chemistry with Mayfield, the Browns could have got themself a gem in the 6th round!

4. New York Giants Andrew Thomas (OT, Georgia, 1st round), Xavier McKinney (S, Alabama, 2nd round) Matt Peart (OT, Connecticut, 3rd round), Darnay Holmes (CB, UCLA 4th round), Shane Lemieux (G, Oregon, 5th round), Cam Brown (LB, Penn State, 6th round), and the following in the seventh round: Carter Coughlin (LB Minnesota), TJ Brunson (ILB, South Carolina), Chris Williamson (CB, Minnesota), Tate Crowder (LB, Georgia)d

The Giants were split between Isaiah Simmons (LB, Clemson) and Andrew Thomas (OT, Georgia) for the fourth pick in the 2020 NFL draft. The Giants decided to go with the safer bet here and went with a sensational offensive linemen. Thomas stands at 6'5 weighing 320 pounds. He contains immense power and can be an anchor due to his size and athleticism combo. I like this pick for New York, as they desperately need to improve their offensive line and have already selected players in past years who will develop even more with proper pass protection (Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley). The Giant’s second pick is also very impressive with safety Xavier McKinney (pictured above) out of Alabama. McKinney was a first-round talent who fell after a poor display in the 40-yard dash. McKinney will start alongside Jabrill Peppers next season, which will add more defensive depth to a team that desperately needs it. I also love the Giants 3rd round pick, Matt Peart out of Uconn. Peart has a lot of raw talent, with great length and a lot of potential to stack up that offensive line in New York. Lastly, I wanted to shout out the Giant’s 5th round pick, linebacker Cam Brown from Penn State. Brown went to the same high school as me (Bullis, Potomac MD), and made an instant impact for the Nittany Lions. Brown needs to continue to improve on footwork, tackling, and shredding blocks in the offseason. I would love to see him succeed at the next level and am rooting for Cam.

5. Washington Redskins: Chase Young (DE, Ohio State, 1st round), Antonio Gibson (WR, Memphis, 3rd round), Saahdiq Charles (OT, LSU, 4th round), Antonio Gandy-Golden (WR, Liberty, 4th round), Keith Ismael (C, San Diego State, 5th round), Khaleke Hudson (LB, Michigan, 5th round), Kamren Curl (S, Arkansas, 7th round), James Smith-Williams (DE, NC State, 7th round)

To be frank, I am a little bias on this one because I am a huge Redskins fan. However, any team that drafts Chase Young deserves to be on my winner list. Young is a freak of nature who could potentially change the Skins defense. He was rated the best player in the NFL draft, over Joe Burrow (1st overall pick), and shows incredible promise (many football analysts have said it exceeds both the Bosa brothers, who have had quite the start to their NFL careers). I am very ecstatic about Young and what he could do to the Skins defensive line. The second pick that I loved was Antonio Gibson out of Memphis. Gibson is a do it all player, who not only returns punts but is a very impressive running back and receiver. He has great hands, quick feet, and oddly surprising size to back him up at the next level. He reminds me of a Jamison Crowder for the Skins, a quick guy who could make plays when needed. For Gibson to be the best player he can be, the Skins must find his most productive position in their offense, and train him to become the best he can be at that position. In addition to Gibson and Young, I loved the Skins’ fourth-round pick, the offensive tackle, Saahdiq Charles out of LSU. Charles fell into the draft due to some player development traits at LSU, however, he maintains the size and agility to play at the next level. More importantly, Charles adds another level of depth to the Skins offensive line, a group of guys who struggle to stay healthy in the years past. Lastly, although it doesn’t involve them selecting a player, the Redskins finally traded away Trent Williams to the 49ers. Although Williams is a great player and has done a lot for the Skins organization, the skins cleared up a lot of cap space by trading him, and could use them to add more depth at the defensive back or sign a big-time player in the 2021 offseason! Riverboat Ron is making moves and the rebuild of Washington has officially started!

Losers

1. New England Patriots:

Although I like the Patriot’s second-round pick, safety Kyle Dugger out of Lenior-Rhyne, I find it hard to believe that the Patriots did not draft a quarterback after the departure of Tom Brady to the Bucs. The Patriots’ current QB situation is Brian Hoyer and Jarret Stidham, and unless they have plans to address this situation in the future (whether that is attempting to sign Andy Dalton or Cam Newton), their QB situation remains dire. The Patriots could potentially tank a season or make an attempt to trade up for Trevor Lawrence in 2021, which would be amazing. Either way, they did not address the QB situation in any way shape or form, and there was some QB talent available when they traded their first-round pick and even in the second round. Secondly, the Patriots did not get a wide receiver, and they need some new threats. They drafted a kicker in the 5th round, which raised a lot of questions for Pats fans. Jake Fromm (QB, Georgia) could have been seen as a target for New England, similar to Brady by not getting much hype in the draft but having great talent. Overall, the Pats could have done a lot better in the 2020 NFL draft, they did stock up on their offensive line with some late draft picks and drafted a solid tight end (Devin Asiasi) in the third round, however, they missed out on offensive talent that could have been the start of something new for the Pats. Bill Belichick knows what he is doing, and for every franchise that ended up in the “loser” category for a draft recap, I’d have the most faith in the Patriots game plan. 2. Green Bay Packers The Green Bay Packers copied their same move when Brett Farve was 35 years old by drafting Aaron Rodgers. The only difference was, Farve had hinted at retirement whereas 36-year-old Rodgers plans on playing for at least four more seasons. The Packers drafted Jordan Love (QB, Utah State) with the 26th pick in the NFL draft. Love has an absolute cannon of an arm and is more mobile than people think, he has great size and athleticism and will be a pro-bowl QB in the NFL at some point. The problem with the pick is the negative effects it has on the locker room. Aaron Rodgers has done so much for the Packers franchise, and instead of getting him a receiver, or strong offensive tackle, they drafted his replacement. This is going to hurt Rodgers and the development of Love. If Rodgers can be professional and help Love develop and get better, then the draft pick could work out. However, I really cannot see Rodgers being professional and supportive of Love anytime soon, he is going to feel possessive and fearful of his team and the starting job. Shallow move by the Packers organization; They won 13 games last season, and with the proper additions to their offense or defense, they could have become Super Bowl contenders. The Packers 2nd round pick was A.J Dillion (RB, Boston College). Again, the Packers are picking a backup for their current roster situation with Aaron Jones. Jones had quite the season last year, and if he continues in that direction, he is going to need more money than the Packers will be willing to give, therefore they are starting to set up the future by drafting a big, strong back; Reminds me of Eddie Lacy (Former Packers RB). The Packers also added a tight end in the 3rd round, (Josh Deguara, Cincinnati) who will help Rodgers or Love in years to come. Not a fan of Green bays draft. 3. Pittsburg Steelers The Steelers did not have a first-round pick this year, therefore, their second-round pick was Chase Claypool (WR, Notre Dame). Claypool is a 6'4 238-pound receiver who can also play pretty well at tight end. I do not mind this pick, however, I think that it would have made more sense to draft an RB such as J.K Dobbins (Ohio State) or Cam Akers (FSU) who were available on the board. Also, the Steelers already have depth at the tight end position with recent signee Eric Ebron and Vance Mcdonald. Adding an RB to the depth chart would give the steelers backfield a different variety of schemes, especially with Dobbins; And more importantly, give James Connor more opportunities to stay healthy and increase running efficiency. The Steelers ended up drafting an RB in the fourth round: Anthony McFarland Jr. out of Maryland. McFarland is a smaller back, and will never be featured in the offense. He could do some good things for the Steelers but nothing compared to what Dobbins or Akers would’ve done. I do not mind the Steelers 3rd round pick, Alex Highsmith (DE, Charlotte). Highsmith is a very solid edge rusher who could develop nicely under current Steeler players like Bud Dupree and T.J Watt. I just do not understand their second-round pick at all. 4. Philadelphia Eagles As stated earlier, the Birds were hoping for Ceedee Lamb (WR, Oklahoma) but the Dallas Cowboys drafted him at pick 17. This left the Eagles with a decision to make; Justin Jefferson or Jalen Reagor. They chose Jalen Reagor because of his speed and deep threat ability. I do not mind this pick so much, however, what I do not understand is why the Eagles did not trade up to draft Lamb. The Eagles were super desperate for a receiver heading into the draft, and not only does not drafting Lamb after he fell hurt but having a divisional rival pick him up is the icing on the cake. I like Reagor a lot, however, I do not like him as much as I like Lamb at the next level. The Birds second pick left a lot of people in confusion. They drafted QB Jalen Hurts from Oklahoma. Hurts is a talented, hard-working, and mobile QB who will positively contribute to the Eagles. The problem for me is where will Hurts contribute. The Eagles have Wentz, who is coming off a few bad injuries but is still one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL. I thought the Eagles should have drafted a solid linebacker or offensive lineman in the second round to create depth and improve on weak spots however they felt different. The Eagles have said they are going to incorporate him into the game plan, similar to Taysom Hill, however, I am still confused with the logic behind this pick. Maybe the Eagles wanted to have insurance in case Wentz got hurt yet again. Not a fan of this pick or the Eagles draft class. 5. Chicago Bears I do not mind Chicago's first second-round pick, Cole Kmet (TE, Notre Dame). He has great size, hands, and seems to be ready to play at the next level. Also, the Bears desperately needed to add some tight end threats to the regime after a weak production from that group last season. My only problem with this pick is that they already signed veteran tight end Jimmy Graham from the packers for 9 million dollars over two years. I guess they wanted additional depth at the position however after they drafted Kmet they released Burton. Burton did not have the best season for them but in my opinion, he is still a positive asset and deserves to have a spot on the roster. I felt that they could have used that pick and drafted Grant Deplit (S, LSU) to work with pro-bowler Eddie Jackson. This would’ve given Chicago a better defensive back unit, and more importantly an opportunity at an extremely gifted safety who would’ve learned a lot from Jackson. The Bears then selected CB Jaylon Johnson (Utah) with their additional second-round pick. I like this pick a lot, I think that Johnson will work well with Kyle Fuller and could potentially help the Bears out in the long run. The only thing that concerns me is his ability to stay healthy at the next level. The Bear's next pick came in round 5, with defensive end Trevis Gibson (Tulsa). I felt that the Bears needed more picks earlier (3rd and 4th round) in the 2020 draft and should have tried to get more. Overall, pretty subpar performance for the Bears.


The NFL Draft was an exciting time for all! I hope you enjoy my analysis of it and I appreciate you reading this!


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