Initial Reactions on Each 1st-Round 2020 NFL Draft Pick (for FF and NFL purposes)
A quick take (mostly fantasy, some NFL) on each pick last night and a summary of what I’m thinking (fantasy-wise) after first/second digesting of the events so far…
1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
OK, it’s official…he’s at the ‘bad place’. Will the Bengals’ dysfunctional organization drag Burrow down? Yep. I think so. ‘How low’ is the question.
We might have a touch more excitement had they organization brought in Joe Brady as O-C…they didn’t.
We might feel better about 2020 if they put Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Justin Jefferson with him…they didn’t.
We’ll see what Cincy does day two, but so far there is no real great news for Burrow here…he’s in a wasteland dying. I love him as a talent, but for fantasy…I’m more in the ‘pass now’, buy cheaper in October or 2021 mindset. He won’t bust, but the enthusiasm for him may wane quickly.
I want Burrow 2021 with Joe Brady as head coach, but will we ever get there? How much are you willing to be Cincinnati becomes ‘not stupid’ out of nowhere and makes a brilliant move? Look at what Cleveland is doing to Baker as an example of what bad Ohio-based football organizations do to players/the fans.
2. Washington Redskins: Chase Young, DE, Ohio State
My thought on Washington-DST as the best sleeper DST for 2020+ took another step forward. We all knew this was where the ‘Skins were headed, but it’s official…and the other sleeper DSTs I am watching – they didn’t get better in round one (Las Vegas, Tampa Bay chief among them).
3. Detroit Lions: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State
Is the Lions-DST better off with Darius Slay or Jeff Okudah? Easy answer…which means the Lions are not better today than they were a year ago.
4. New York Giants: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
This helps Saquon Barkley How could it not? Helps Daniel Jones a bit too, but Jones needs a talent transplant on top of an O-Line upgrade.
5. Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
Is Miami better in 2020 with Ryan Fitzpatrick or Tua? If your answer is ‘same’ or ‘no’…then that’s the answer for the impact for Preston Williams and Devante Parker.
6. Los Angeles Chargers: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
He’s not going to start in 2020…he has a coach not wanting him to start (a la Hue and Tyrod v. Baker in 2018). The Chargers have a stiff offense and a QB that needs grooming – this is not going to go well as long as Anthony Lynn is there. He doesn’t develop quarterbacks at all.
7. Carolina Panthers: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
The Panthers defense, their team is not really all that impacted here. Solid player at a position there are a bunch of solid players roaming around. He’s not better than Ed Oliver…and you forgot all about Ed Oliver hype from the 2019 draft. This pick will be forgotten in short order and hurt the Panthers in general as they didn’t get a real difference-maker with a crucial, valuable pick.
8. Arizona Cardinals: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
The day that should live in infamy for Cardinals fans – the day they did not take their choice of franchise offensive linemen talents to take a speedy outside linebacker whose best trait is ‘we don’t know what position he plays, but OH the possibilities’.
Kyler Murray IS the Cardinals franchise and protecting him was THEE most important thing Arizona could do…it should have been their only draft plan – take the best OLs in rounds 1-2-3. Fill defense in free agency or from round four on. High-end OL prospects are a premium…and Arizona got a fast 40-time guy with suspect actual defensive/tackling skills.
A huge missed opportunity for Arizona here…one that may haunt them for years and gets Kingsbury-Keim fired in two years. Not because Simmons is awful, but because that wasn’t the most important thing they needed…nor is it a wise spend of money with a top 10 pick.
Is a franchise OT or OLB (who is not an EDGE guy) getting a bigger free agent deal these days? Bad, bad, bad business.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars: C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
The first real impact pick since pick #2 or #4. An instant starter and potential instant game changing player…and Jeff Okudah is not that. Not instantly.
The Jags are so depleted and directionless that this is just one good move of several needed, but it stops some of the bleeding in Jacksonville. And it affects A.J. Brown, Will Fuller/Brandin Cooks, and T.Y. Hilton, perhaps…whether the rest of the Jags defense sucks or not.
10. Cleveland Browns: Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama
Another smart pick. Instant starter. ‘Protect the primary asset thinking’ that the Giants did (helping Barkley) and that Arizona didn’t do. Stock up for Baker here for sure, and Chubb-Hunt.
11. New York Jets: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
This is what the draft is for…Becton may be the best upside, most impactful at a critical position player in the draft outside of Joe Burrow. The Jets get it at #11. For the pick number, possibly the best pick of day one (outside of Burrow).
Sure, Becton could knucklehead his way to a flop – but he might also be ‘the best OT in the NFL’ 1-2-3 years from now. You won’t say that about 90%+ of the players taken round one…they’ll never even be in the conversation for best player at their position. If I’m picking 1st-round…I’m ‘going for it’ with my pick or I trade out like the Pats do.
This helps Darnold-Le’Veon, if they can be helped…
12. Las Vegas Raiders: Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama
The dreadful waste of draft capital that was the Raiders’ 2020 draft started here.
For fantasy, it’s fine. Not much in the way at WR for LVR right now, but if/when they add more WRs ahead…it will start to water things down. How do you feel about Mecole Hardman’s fantasy prospects today? Why do you think Ruggs is so much better/different without Patrick Mahomes?
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (from San Francisco 49ers, originally Indianapolis Colts): Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
Very smart move – protect the main asset (Brady) and then build from there. You get, arguably, the second-best prospect in this draft at #13…what a coo. Things just keep falling into the Bucs’ lap. This helps Brady and whomever the starting RB for TB will be (and it won’t be Ron Jones).
14. San Francisco 49ers (from Tampa Bay Buccaneers): Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
DeForest Buckner out, Javon Kinlaw in…the 49ers are not better for 2020 with this move. Long-term and salary cap wise it makes some sense, but not right now. No extra boost for the 49ers DST for 2020. It doesn’t hurt, but it isn’t magic either.
15. Denver Broncos: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
Possibly the worst pick of the 1st-round, but we got plenty of contenders for that label in the next few picks. This does not help or hurt Sutton. I feel bad for whatever sucker takes Jeudy highly in a Dynasty Rookie Draft. What a waste of a prime draft pick.
Drew Lock is not helped here.
16. Atlanta Falcons: A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson
I reserve the right to be wrong here. I need to take a deeper look because nothing I saw pre-Draft on tape or numbers grabbed my attention that he might be a 1st-round pick…and not a top #20 guy. He won’t start right away, and if he does…not going to help right away. The Falcons DST is not better for this pick in 2020.
17. Dallas Cowboys: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
The Cowboys lost a top corner. Have issues at linebacker for various reasons. Lost an edge rusher, have all sketchy characters (it seems) on the edge otherwise. They lost their center. There are critical needs for Dallas to try to stay relevant…and they add the thing they needed least of all positions – a wide receiver.
It kills Lamb’s fantasy value to some degree. It kills Michael Gallup a bit. It makes Dak Prescott launch higher – possibly he’s going to move to #3-4 among all FF QBs ahead of Deshaun Watson potentially. You might consider cashing out on that if the heat is boiling for him.
*Matt Berry blew his dog whistle on this after I wrote it this morning. So, sell your Dak hot into a bigger, better thing if you want.
18. Miami Dolphins (from Pittsburgh Steelers): Austin Jackson, OT, USC
We tanked for broken Tua and a decent offensive tackle, so far for Miami. Sounds great!
Miami gets batter because they had nowhere else to go but if Tua flames…Miami will have blown a golden opportunity this day. They entered the day with three prime picks and left with a pretentious, undersized/weak-armed, fragile QB, a solid offensive tackle, and later in the 1st-round a forgettable CB. Let’s get those season tickets selling like hot cakes!!
Tua 2020 or Fitz…no real effect on FF one way or the other, but I think I’d rather have Fitz working than Tua for my Preston Williams.
Healthy Tua over time can be fine/solid but he’s not going to shred the league like he did weaker SEC teams.
19. Las Vegas Raiders (from Chicago Bears): Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State
The most ridiculous pick in the 1st-round from the standpoint of where they could’ve traded back to and made this pick (Like the 3rd-round). The Las Vegas 2020 hype died this day…
An average corner with speed issues goes 50 +/- picks from where he was targeted. Nice job, Mayock! As a bonus, he’s not that good.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars (from Los Angeles Rams): K’Lavon Chaisson, OLB, LSU
Another brilliant pick for Jacksonville, in part because of a potential top 10 draft value with a #20 pick. Chaisson is good, maybe not great…BUT…he was the 2nd-best/only remaining real edge option left (which made him more valuable to take this year) and he’s a great locker room presence/guy to have representing the organization.
The Jags are rebuilding that defense. IDP Quincy Williams gets a boost/vote of confidence so far with no ILBs taken but a great CB and DE.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
I have no idea why the Eagles felt they needed to make this pick, right here, right now. They had a chance to push away from the Cowboys but they got a solid WR at #21, with 5+ other better WRs, easily, available 2nd/3rd-round. The Eagles are bad at drafting. Great free agency period though.
Reagor for fantasy here…OK, I guess. Was Nelson Agholor important to you for fantasy? Arcega-Whiteside excite you? Why do you think Philly got smart now?
22. Minnesota Vikings (from Buffalo Bills): Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Stefon Diggs out and very average/OK Justin Jefferson in. Makes no sense. With all the talented WRs out there, this is the one they choose? No real help for Kirk Cousins…lost Diggs, gets average rookie replacement. Great.
Jefferson for fantasy…’meh’ here. He may not even really play much until 2021.
23. Los Angeles Chargers (from New England Patriots): Kenneth Murray, ILB, Oklahoma
LOVE this move. The best ILB and best leader/locker room guy goes to shore up the LAC interior. This is a game-changing type pick. The defense improves day one off this. This is what the 1st-round of the draft is for!!!
24. New Orleans Saints: Cesar Ruiz, C, Michigan
The brilliance here is Ruiz goes to center making sure Erik McCoy can play guard. It’s the Saints (a) making a savvy operational move, and (b) protecting their main asset.
Again, Arizona was desperate for OL help to protect their only asset and picked an OL-B! Not one current Arizona lineman could start for the Saints…that’s the difference in why New Orleans will make another playoff run and Arizona will underperform and frustrate.
25. San Francisco 49ers (from Minnesota Vikings): Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
This does not help Deebo Samuel. The 49ers are so in love with themselves over Deebo that they tried to replicate it by adding Aiyuk. I got no issue with that. Not sure I would spend a #25 pick on it, especially with all the WR talent still sitting out there – but it’s fine. The 49ers’ (under Lynch/Shanny) have drafted Trent Taylor, Dante Pettis, Richie James, Deebo and Jalen Hurd. I’m not going to automatically assume they know what they are doing based on that track record…with Deebo taking handoffs as the main reason people are super-excited about the one that has hit.
The group of WRs the 49ers have grabbed the past few years – there is talent…but they either didn’t use it, use it right, or it got hurt, or it faltered mentally. So, we’ll see what happens here. I think Aiyuk is good, but it just adds to the group of fantasy confusion – Deebo, Aiyuk, Hurd…talent, and needing touches.
26. Green Bay Packers (from Miami Dolphins, originally Houston Texans): Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
The window is closing on the Aaron Rodgers era…his skills only have so long to uphold. The Packers are lacking ‘things’ to be ‘that team’ in the NFC, but they are kinda close…in range…needs one+ more talent/impact push for Rodgers’ final run. So, it makes sense that they draft a QB that will not be ready for years if ever. Where was the urgent need considering the cards Green Bay is having to play in this NFL poker game – they are a team with limited time with their ace QB?
They could have signed a veteran QB for 2020 as a backup. They could have drafted middle round QBs the past few years and groomed them, or this year…which would have freed them up to try and take an immediate impact player now with a 1st-round pick. Instead, they traded for a wasted time with DeShone Kizer a few years ago (and eventually folded on), and from that GM’s mind comes ‘draft Jordan Love’.
I get the gamble. I get the long-term vision (if you think Love is something) but is this what this team needed right this second, for 2020-2021…the last run with Rodgers?
Jordan Love is dead money for Dynasty, except in deeper leagues as a Rodgers’ handcuff, I guess.
27. Seattle Seahawks: Jordyn Brooks, LB, Texas Tech
Instant impact player on defense. Might not be a star or even starter in 2020, but Brooks has skills to use immediately on the defense and eventually can be a starter. It doesn’t make the Seahawks-DST radically better for 2020, but it’s a step in the right direction.
28. Baltimore Ravens: Patrick Queen, ILB, LSU
I’m not a Patrick Queen guy at all. I don’t view this move as helpful for the Ravens-DST or in their pursuit of dethroning KC in the AFC.
29. Tennessee Titans: Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia
Solid pick, but they could’ve done better in my book. Wilson is a big, non-agile tackle…but on the right side he might be OK. If you were dumping Jack Conklin for cost reasons, then replacing him via the draft…it makes sense operationally. This is just not who I would’ve picked as my Conklin replacement, but that’s nitpicky.
It really helps Derrick Henry is my first fantasy reaction. It screams to the commitment to Henry/the power run game.
30. Miami Dolphins (from Green Bay Packers): Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn
He’s so forgettable that I haven’t even bothered to try to learn the proper pronunciation of his name. Miami had three gold ticket picks in the 1st-round and they may not have any impact players on the three picks when we look back in 2022.
31. Minnesota Vikings (from San Francisco 49ers): Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
I’m not a big Gladney fan. As a middle of the draft body to use for depth and rotations, he’s fine enough – but with a 1st-round pick? This draft was thin on top corners. The Vikings needed to find two of them, and so far they have not landed a great replacement.
The Vikings had two nice draft picks to try to rebuild the team’s infrastructure…and they drafted two forgettable, ‘OK’ players in Gladney and Jefferson.
32. Kansas City Chiefs: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU
This pick makes total sense for what the Chiefs are trying to do. Andy Reid’s slower Brian Westbrooks. There were a few better RBs available, but for this offense it’s the right fit – and answers the question on how much real love there was for D’Andre Swift as the ‘top guy’.
For fantasy…CEH is the 1.01 Dynasty Rookie Draft rank until further notice/Friday night. Thinking of the first 10 picks of the 2nd-round of the NFL Draft, only Jonathan Taylor to the Lions or Miami comes to mind as better impact moves to compete with CEH as the 1.01.
If Taylor lands wrong, whatever that means, then if you don’t have the 1.01 pick (for CEH) then you should trade your 1.02-1.12 Dynasty Rookie Picks for real players immediately.
This is shaping up to be a year we get out of the first round, whereas last year we were dying to get in.