2020 NFL Draft Recap: The Distraction We Needed

Another NFL Draft has come and gone, a welcome distraction for the world watching something sports-related as we celebrate young men who finally are realizing their dreams of playing in the NFL.  It was a fun, innovative experience that showcased the reality of the world we live in, while at the same time creating the experience we’ve come to know and love throughout the NFL Draft.  First and foremost whether you like him or not, you have to show some love to Roger Goodell for putting on a great show and making the most of the situation.  I dare say, he looked more human in this setting as a fan of the moment, instead of a commissioner.

Now that we’ve had time to digest what’s happened from the NFL Draft, we can remove all emotional reactions and make a more fair evaluation of what happened during the Draft.  In this recap we’re going to go over Prospects Who Fell, giving reasons to why players who were ranked fairly high on the board fell in the draft.  We’ll also break down my Top 5 players fits from the draft, along with our Top 3 Drafts and Worst 3 Drafts.  We’ll end with a Top 5 players on the board for the 2021 NFL Draft.

The Prospects Who Fell

EDGE Bradlee Anae (5th Round- Dallas Cowboys)

Anae was a standout at the Senior Bowl with the ability to wreak havoc in the backfield, regardless of the level of talent.  At Utah, Anae did a lot of the same, his biggest knock was his athleticism and he didn’t perform at the Combine.  Anae is more technique and pure ability than fitting the perfect athletic profile.  If teams could’ve brought Anae in, he was at least a 2nd/3rd Round talent on my board, by his ability to get into the backfield.  Dallas needs rotational pass rushers, Anae doesn’t have to be the guy, but opposite DeMarcus Lawrence, he can make an impact on this D-Line.

WR Donovan Peoples-Jones (6th Round- Cleveland Browns)

Let’s ignore the fact he went to Michigan.  For 2 years, he was in a Run Heavy offense then the Wolverines transitioned into a more spread offense under a first-year Offensive Coordinator with a mediocre quarterback.  DPJ’s talents are in his pure playmaking ability that when he had the ball in his hands, he was a threat to score whenever.  He tested out of this world at the combine and it leaves you to wonder what can he be in the NFL.  There’s no doubt if teams could’ve run drills with him in a workout and a Pro Day, on the pure upside, DPJ was at least a second-round talent.  DPJ gets the opportunity to learn from Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham and be a returner in Cleveland, couldn’t have landed in a better spot.

WR KJ Hill (7th Round- LA Chargers)

KJ Hill wasn’t the flashiest WR out of Ohio State, but it’s arguable he was the most reliable option, becoming the All-Time Receptions leader for the program. At the Senior Bowl, he dominated the competition, showcasing his route running ability and good hands, leaving a lot of people thinking he’d be a Day 2 pick as a Slot WR who can start immediately.  The holdup like so many receivers is he isn’t a burner, running a 4.6 40 at the NFL Combine.  The bottom line is with a talent like Hill, you can’t put a price on a reliable receiver. I think a strong 40 at his Pro Day could’ve easily put Hill in the fourth round.  I had a third-round grade on Hill.  He finds himself in a good situation where he can fit into the slot role in Los Angeles working with rookie QB Justin Herbert.

QB Jake Fromm (6th Round- Buffalo Bills)

Fromm was a potential #1 pick option going into the 2019 season, but a down year at Georgia hurt his stock.  The problem with Fromm though was his lack of arm strength, although it can’t be questioned that he was an effective Game Manager. Fromm doesn’t project to be a franchise quarterback, but he projects to be a solid spot starter quarterback, at least a fourth-round pick.  I have no idea what Buffalo’s plans are as he doesn’t fit into their offense at all.  Add to that his arm strength doesn’t translate in the cold weather conditions that Buffalo has, I feel he’s doomed to fail in Buffalo.

QB Jacob Eason (4th Round- Indianapolis Colts)

Eason might have the most upside out of all the quarterbacks.  He has one of the strongest arms and has produced at both Georgia and Washington.  The question has been his decision making and some accuracy issues.  For Eason, he lands in Indianapolis behind Phillip Rivers and Jacoby Brissett.  This allows him to learn from a savvy veteran in Rivers to fine-tune his ability as a decision-maker.  For the Colts, the ability to be patient with Eason could pay off with the Colts having their potential quarterback of the future on their roster now.

S Kenny Robinson (5th Round- Carolina Panthers)

Robinson had one of the more interesting stories, giving up playing at West Virginia and taking a chance by playing in the XFL to help his mother who was diagnosed with cancer.  It paid off big time by being a standout defender for the St. Louis BattleHawks.  This on top of his strong two seasons at West Virginia, Robinson was a third-round talent at least.  His problem was he didn’t get to go to the Combine because of playing in the XFL, so everything is based on the projection.  He goes to a rebuilding Carolina, where it wouldn’t shock me if he starts for the Panthers.

TE Thaddeus Moss (UDFA- Washington Redskins)

The son of the legendary Randy Moss had a solid career at LSU, especially in the National Title game pulling in two touchdowns.  So what the heck happened?  Well first off he should’ve gone back to LSU, he had very limited tape on him and another year with a more prominent role after his National Title game could’ve sent his stock soaring.  But at the end of the day, Moss is undersized and fits more as an H-Back than a TE.  Moss has the pass-catching ability and willingness to block, but what killed his stock was his broken foot described at the Combine.  He’s going to have an uphill battle at Washington, but they’ve had success with undersized TEs in the past, maybe Moss can find some of his father’s magic in the NFL for himself.

Top 5 Player Fits

RB Jonathan Taylor (2nd Round, Indianapolis Colts)

I freaked out when I saw the pick, Jonathan Taylor, my personal #1 RB on the board, going behind one of the best offensive lines in football?  Taylor is the perfect guy to carry the ball 20 times a game for the Colts and is more explosive than Marlon Mack, he’ll be the starter by mid-season and emerge as a top running back in the NFL, especially if he can cut his fumbles down.

LB Patrick Queen (1st Round, Baltimore Ravens)

Is there a better defensive fit in this draft?  His athletic ability, his nose to be all over the field and shutting down offenses, he’s going to be an immediate starter for the Ravens and probably the early odds on favorite for Defensive Rookie of the Year.  He’s going to be a beast in the Ravens defense for years to come.

WR Jerry Jeudy (1st Round, Denver Broncos)

The Broncos needed the perfect opposite to Courtland Sutton and can you find a better player to run opposite?  Courtland Sutton can do it all, but he’s the big physical WR primarily and now you throw on the other side the smooth, quick route running of Jerry Jeudy.  Add to that Noah Fant running vertically, Broncos have an exciting receiving core now.

RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn (3rd Round, Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

The Bucs needed a running back who can run the ball effectively but can catch the ball out of the backfield to take pressure off of Tom Brady.  Vaughn was an effective runner at Illinois and Vanderbilt throughout college and has some receiving ability.  He won’t be the flashiest back, but Tom Brady doesn’t need that.  With an improved line, I can see why some are eyeing Vaughn as a Rookie of the Year darkhorse.

OT Ezra Cleveland (2nd Round, Minnesota Vikings)

Talk about your perfect fits, Cleveland fits on a Zone Blocking scheme team, which gave him 3 prime options in San Francisco, Cleveland, and Minnesota.  He may have had first-round hopes, but playing and learning under Gary Kubiak’s system will suit him well and if he plays immediately, he’ll run in an offense that plays to his strengths make an immediate impact.

Top 3 Drafts

Dallas Cowboys (Needs: CB, C, DL)

1st- WR CeeDee Lamb Oklahoma

2nd- CB Trevon Diggs Alabama

3rd- DT Neville Gallimore Oklahoma

4th- CB Reggie Robinson II Tulsa

5th- C Tyler Biadasz Wisconsin

5th- DE Bradlee Anae Utah

7th- QB Ben DiNucci James Madison

I LOVE what the Cowboys are building here.  They were patient and let the board come to them, their reward?  Pairing Ceedee Lamb with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, giving Dak Prescott all the weapons he needs.  Trevon Diggs has first-round talent and fills a need in the secondary after losing Byron Jones in free agency, doubling down on Reggie Robinson was a good get as well.  Gallimore is an explosive interior defender who can start right away.  Add Biadasz who should replace Travis Frederick and Anae to the pass rush rotation, the Cowboys got four to five potential starters in this draft who can make immediate impacts.

Baltimore Ravens (Needs: ILB, OG, WR)

1st- LB Patrick Queen LSU

2nd- RB JK Dobbins OSU

3rd- DT Justin Madibuike Texas A&M

3rd- WR Devin Duvernay Texas

3rd- LB Malik Harrison Ohio State

3rd- OT Tyre Phillips Mississippi St.

4th- OG Ben Bredeson Michigan

5th- DT Broderick Washington Jr. Texas Tech

6th- WR James Proche SMU

7th- S Geno Stone Iowa

I hate Art Modell…I really do.  It seems the Ravens have drafted better in the post-Ozzie era.  They start with Patrick Queen who is a perfect fit in what the Ravens want in their linebackers.  Then you get JK Dobbins in the late second-round?  The option game with Lamar Jackson will be deadly.  Harrison, Madibuike, Duvernay, and Harrison are great additions that add depth at positions they need depth in.  Geno Stone is a fourth-round talent, James Proche will be a solid receiver, but the big steal was Ben Bredeson who played extremely well at Michigan and could easily fill the void left by the retiring Marshall Yanda.  Add Tyre Phillips and Broderick Washington to add more depth?  I hate Art Modell.

Cleveland Browns (Needs: OT, S, LB)

1st- OT Jedrick Wills Jr. Alabama

2nd- S Grant Delpit LSU

3rd- DT Jordan Elliot Missouri

3rd- LB Jacob Phillips LSU

4th- TE Harrison Bryant Florida Atlantic

5th- C Nick Harris Washington

6th- WR Donovan Peoples Jones Michigan

I’m just calling this draft, “The Return of the Nerds”. Andrew Berry as a first time general manager did an outstanding job filling in needs on the team and getting talent in all rounds.  Jedrick Wills was a great value for the Browns and already has support from the front office and Browns legend Joe Thomas willing to help Wills.  Grant Delpit is an athletic playmaker who can do it all as a safety, he was a top ten talent coming into the year, but his injury hampered him.  Jordan Elliot was a great value in Round 3 and Jacob Phillips was productive at LSU and can fly all over the field.  The Browns killed it in Day 3, getting Harrison Bryant my second ranked tight end, Nick Harris a perfect zone blocking center who will replace JC Tretter eventually and Donovan Peoples Jones, giving the Browns a high upside receiver to develop.

Worst 3 Drafts

New England Patriots (Needs: QB, WR, LB)

2nd- S Kyle Duggar Lenoir-Rhyne

2nd- OLB Josh Uche Michigan

3rd- OLB Anfernee Jennings Alabama

3rd- TE Devin Asiasi UCLA

3rd- TE Dalton Keene Virginia Tech

5th- K Justin Rohrwasser Marshall

6th- OG Michael Onwenu Michigan

6th- OT Justin Herron Wake Forest

6th- LB Cassh Maluia LB Wyoming

7th- C Dustin Woodward Memphis

Who am I to question Bill Belichick, but I’m going to.  The Patriots have major needs at quarterback and wide receiver and refused to address them.  This literally has nothing to do with the picks, I’m confused what Belichick is doing.  He never drafts a WR because he can’t evaluate receivers.  I’ll give him the pass on QBs because there wasn’t a QB worth taking.  Even at tight end, I question their picks.  Harrison Bryant seemed like a perfect Gronk replacement and they passed twice.  A kicker in the fifth round?  I feel like Belichick is tanking in 2020 for Trevor Lawrence and this whole draft is just depth for a team around Lawrence or whoever the quarterback is in 2021.  That’s a risky move, but if it pays off, I’ll be looking foolish.

Chicago Bears (Needs: WR, OT, DB)

2nd- TE Cole Kmet Notre Dame

2nd- CB Jaylon Johnson Utah

5th- OLB Trevis Gipson Tulsa

5th- CB Kindle Vildor Georgia Southern

5th- WR Darnell Mooney Tulane

7th- OT Arlington Hambright Colorado

7th- OT Lachavious Simmons Tennessee State

Ryan Pace is in a crucial year as general manager and let’s be real with the failure of Mitch Trubisky, he has to make every pick count.  With only two picks in the first two days, there’s no room for error.  So what does Ryan Pace do?  He takes yet another tight end in Cole Kmet after paying Jimmy Graham.  The Bears needed a tackle and a wide receiver more and were staring at Ezra Cleveland and Josh Jones to fortify the line.  Jaylon Johnson was a solid pick in the second-round a probable starter, but the fact Pace pasted on two first-round talents at offensive tackle and picked a lesser need might have sealed his fate.  Cole Kmet may be a talented player, but the talent on the board screamed to fill the problems on the offensive line.  He’ll need one of his seventh-round picks to salvage this class, which is unlikely.  The Bears are on track to be looking for a new general manager in 2021.

Green Bay Packers (Needs: WR, TE, OL)

1st- QB Jordan Love Utah State

2nd- RB AJ Dillon Boston College

3rd- TE Josiah Deguara Cincinnati

5th- LB Kamal Martin Minnesota

6th- OG Jon Runyan Michigan

6th- C Jake Hanson Oregon

6th- OT Simon Stepaniak Indiana

7th- S Vernon Scott TCU

7th- DE Jonathan Garvin Miami

So…when is Aaron Rodgers demanding his trade?  I have no idea what the Packers are doing.  Look it’s smart to prepare for the future and Jordan Love needs time to sit and learn, but you really think Aaron Rodgers is gonna mentor his replacement?  Good luck with that.  The Packers need wide receivers and were looking at Michael Pittman, Tee Higgins, and Laviska Shenault at 26.  If they were a fan of Brandon Aiyuk, why not move up to get him?  Then in the second round to pick AJ Dillon, are they preparing for life after Aaron Jones too?  I feel like the top of this draft will create problems in the locker room with players fighting for their jobs when they shouldn’t be losing them while creating contract negotiation problems.  Aaron Rodgers might be one of the best quarterbacks this generation, but we’ll look back at his career asking a lot of, “What Ifs”.

Top 5 Players for 2021

OT Penei Sewell, Oregon

Without question the top player on the board, he dominated all defenders at the line and if he continues his dominance upfront he’s going to be the #1 pick in 2021 depending on a team’s need.

QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson

The pre-ordained top pick and as he should be. He’s been the guy at Clemson and his passing ability to go with his leadership makes him the clear favorite as the top quarterback in the draft.

WR Ja’Marr Chase, LSU

The explosive Chase dominated college football last year.  He has the size, route running, and athleticism to be a starting wide receiver in the NFL.  It’ll be interesting to see how he plays with a totally new offense in 2020.

CB Patrick Surtain Jr., Alabama

The son of the former Pro Bowler of the same name, Surtain has been a lockdown corner since he arrived at Alabama.  He just looks to be just yet another product of the Nick Saban pipeline.

EDGE Gregory Rosseau, Miami

Rosseau entered the starting lineup last year for the Hurricanes and he himself was a Hurricane, wreaking havoc in opposing backfields and racking up 15.5 sacks.  He’s a freak of nature that you have to wonder what is he gonna do next to beat 2019?

Recap

So that does it for another year of the NFL Draft, players have realized their dreams and now the real work begins for them.  It will be a challenging time with no mini-camps and the uncertainty of when training camps will open up.  For fans, this was a great weekend to forget the world we’re living in right now and enjoy sports in some form.  I want to take a moment to thank everyone who joined my live stream during the first-round, I also want to thank everyone here at The DawgLand for allowing me to share with you my mock drafts this year and recapping this year’s NFL Draft.  Hopefully, we’ll be back doing this next year as Cleveland finally gets their chance to host the NFL Draft.  As for now, stay safe everyone and we’ll see you guys hopefully soon at First Energy Stadium cheering on our Browns once again, this time hopefully to a playoff season.

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