The 2020 NFL draft is underway. While some teams have found their new franchise quarterback in the draft — including Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert — others used their picks on elite playmakers on both sides of the ball. And how about all of those trades?
If you missed any of it — or just want to catch up on deeper analysis — read on for insights on every team from our crew of reporters.
There’s no way the Cardinals could’ve passed on Isaiah Simmons, who’s widely considered the best defensive player in this year’s draft. He’s often referred to as a positionless player, and with Arizona’s issues defending tight ends over the years, Simmons can be an instant fix. He can also rush the passer, drop back into coverage, play safety … basically, he can do everything. Analysis of every Cardinals pick from Josh Weinfuss.
The Falcons needed a starting-caliber cornerback after releasing Desmond Trufant, and A.J. Terrell has the size (6-foot-1, 195 pounds) and speed (4.42 seconds in the 40-yard dash) to be a longtime starter. Analysis of every Falcons pick from Vaughn McClure.
The Ravens filled their biggest need, but Patrick Queen doesn’t look or play like Ray Lewis or C.J. Mosley, the two other middle linebackers who’ve been selected by Baltimore in the first round. Queen is a safety-sized, multitalented defender. He can go sideline-to-sideline to stop the run, drop back in coverage to blanket tight ends and blitz from anywhere on the field. Analysis of every Ravens pick from Jamison Hensley.
With at least six players on the board who also fit a team need, the Bills selected a player many analysts believed had first-round value. After losing pass-rusher Shaq Lawson and signing veteran Mario Addison in free agency this offseason, Buffalo needed a foundational piece at defensive end, and A.J. Epenesa fits that mold. Analysis of every Bills pick from Marcel Louis-Jacques.
The Panthers went with Derrick Brown over Isaiah Simmons, in part because they have only two defensive tackles on the roster, and in part because they believed Simmons to be a better fit for an established team than one in a rebuild mode. Put Brown beside Pro Bowl lineman Kawann Short, and the Panthers now have one of the stoutest inside duos in the NFL. Analysis of every Panthers pick from David Newton.
The Bears had the NFL’s least productive tight ends group in 2019, and used their first pick of the draft on Notre Dame TE Cole Kmet. Expect him to have a significant role, alongside free agent signing Jimmy Graham. Analysis of every Bears pick from Jeff Dickerson.
In Joe Burrow, the Bengals selected a quarterback who is expected to be the face of the franchise and the starter immediately. Getting Burrow acclimated to the NFL will be challenging, given the restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic. However, the 23-year-old figures to be up for the challenge. Analysis of every Bengals pick from Ben Baby.
Although there was plenty of outside smoke about the Browns potentially trading for Washington veteran All-Pro Trent Williams to address their void at left tackle, they remained committed to drafting their left tackle of the future. In Jedrick Wills Jr., the Browns got exactly what they had hoped to land in this draft — a long-term blindside protector for Baker Mayfield. Analysis of every Browns pick from Jake Trotter.
Drafting CeeDee Lamb can be viewed as a Dak Prescott-friendly move. Lamb gives the Cowboys a big-play threat on the outside with the ability to move around the formation. Alongside the equally mobile Amari Cooper, Lamb will put pressure on defenses in how they want to match up against the Cowboys. Analysis of every Cowboys pick from Todd Archer.
Jerry Jeudy will play immediately — and a lot — for the Broncos. His ability to line up all over the formation made him the perfect intersection between the biggest need on the depth chart and the best player on the board when the Broncos’ turn arrived. Analysis of every Broncos pick from Jeff Legwold.
On a team that traded Darius Slay to Philadelphia last month and then signed Desmond Trufant in free agency, there was still a hole for a starting corner opposite Trufant. Now the Lions have a player who should transition into a No. 1 corner sooner rather than later in Jeff Okudah. Analysis of every Lions pick from Michael Rothstein.
Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers has always played with a chip on his shoulder, and this might be another reason to do so. But by taking Jordan Love in the first round, the Packers get the option of a fifth-year deal on his rookie contract. Analysis of every Packers pick from Rob Demovsky.
With their first pick of the draft, the Texans filled the need for an interior lineman, getting TCU DT Ross Blacklock. The Texans like Blacklock’s versatility and fit in new defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver’s defense. Analysis of every Texans pick from Sarah Barshop.
The Colts, who didn’t have a first-round pick, are giving Philip Rivers some help at receiver. Michael Pittman Jr. joins a receiving group that lacked depth because of injuries, and didn’t get enough production from the healthy players at the position last season. Analysis of every Colts pick from Mike Wells.
Defensive tackle and corner are the Jaguars’ two biggest needs this offseason, and some analysts saw C.J. Henderson as a better cover guy than Jeff Okudah, the third overall pick. Then, at pick No. 20, the Jags landed an elite pass-rusher, LSU’s K’Lavon Chaisson. Analysis of every Jaguars pick from Mike DiRocco.
Kansas City Chiefs
The rich just got richer. The Chiefs had some depth at running back, including Super Bowl LIV star Damien Williams, but neither Williams nor the team’s other backs are in the same playmaking class as Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Analysis of every Chiefs pick from Adam Teicher.
Las Vegas Raiders
With this pick, the receiver-needy Raiders had all of the consensus top-three wideouts at their disposal, and they had an Al Davis moment — they went with the fastest guy in the draft, Henry Ruggs III. And to help slow down all the elite receivers in the AFC West, they also snagged CB Damon Arnette at No. 19. Analysis of every Raiders pick from Paul Gutierrez.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers’ decision to select Justin Herbert sets the course of the franchise for the foreseeable future as they attempt to move on from veteran quarterback Philip Rivers, who departed in free agency after 16 seasons. Then, after trading up to No. 23, they landed three-down linebacker Kenneth Murray. Analysis of every Chargers pick from Lindsey Thiry.
Los Angeles Rams
After releasing Todd Gurley, it was expected that the Rams would select a running back on Day 2 of the draft, and they did just that with Cam Akers. Akers rounds out a running back room that also includes Darrell Henderson and Malcolm Brown, and the trio is anticipated to share the load next season. Analysis of every Rams pick from Lindsey Thiry.
The Dolphins were faced with the choice of taking a chance on Tua Tagovailoa and his injury/durability risks or “settling” for a lesser quarterback prospect in Justin Herbert. They chose Tagovailoa, the most efficient QB in college football history, who can rise to become the face of Miami’s rebuild and the franchise QB that this team desperately needs. At No. 18, they got their new QB some protection by drafting offensive tackle Austin Jackson. Analysis of every Dolphins pick from Cameron Wolfe.
The unpredictable nature of the draft played in to the Vikings’ favor in a big way. They were able to check the best-player-available box and draft for need with the same pick, getting WR Justin Jefferson at No. 22. Then, after an offseason exodus at cornerback, they landed Jeff Gladney at No. 31. Analysis of every Vikings pick from Courtney Cronin.
New England Patriots
At just shy of 6-foot-1 and 217 pounds, Kyle Dugger is a box safety and linebacker type in the mold of Patrick Chung, who fills a valuable role on the Patriots’ defense. With Chung closer to the end of his career, Dugger is a potential future replacement and should be an immediate contributor on special teams. Analysis of every Patriots pick from Mike Reiss.
New Orleans Saints
Drafting Michigan center Cesar Ruiz wasn’t a sexy pick, but don’t say we didn’t warn you. The interior offensive line was the only position Saints coach Sean Payton identified by name as a draft need. While a WR or front-seven defender might’ve been more exciting, the Saints have a strong record of investing in young offensive linemen. Analysis of every Saints pick from Mike Triplett.
New York Giants
The Giants needed a tackle, and Andrew Thomas was their top choice. He will come in at the start and compete at right and left tackle, and he is a perfect fit for what new coordinator Jason Garrett wants to do with the offense. Analysis of every Giants pick from Jordan Raanan.
New York Jets
The Jets could have opted for a wide receiver — they were tempted by CeeDee Lamb and Henry Ruggs III — but they made the right call by locking down Sam Darnold’s blind side with 6-foot-7, 364 pound Mekhi Becton. Analysis of every Jets pick from Rich Cimini.
The Eagles made a bold move by selecting Jalen Reagor at No. 21 with Justin Jefferson still on the board. Reagor is a burner, and that’s exactly what Philly was looking for after slogging its way through much of the 2019 season on offense. Analysis of every Eagles pick from Tim McManus.
Though he’s listed as a wide receiver, Chase Claypool has the body of a tight end at 6-4, 238 pounds. His addition gives quarterback Ben Roethlisberger a third receiving target of at least 6-4, joining tight ends Eric Ebron and Vance McDonald. Analysis of every Steelers pick from Brooke Pryor.
San Francisco 49ers
It probably should come as no surprise that the 49ers once again invested in the defensive line; this is the fifth time in six seasons they’ve used their first pick on the defensive front. In Javon Kinlaw, the Niners hope to have found their replacement for DeForest Buckner as the three-technique defensive tackle. Later in the first, the Niners moved up six slots to nab wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk. Analysis of every 49ers pick from Nick Wagoner.
Taking Jordyn Brooks at No. 27 was every bit the first-round Seahawks surprise, just as James Carpenter was in 2011, Bruce Irvin was in 2012 and Rashaad Penny was in 2018. Say what you will about the Seahawks drafting a player you didn’t expect them to, but you can’t fault them for adding a speedy playmaker to a defense that struggled across the board in 2019. Analysis of every Seahawks pick from Brady Henderson.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs were hoping one of the four top-tier offensive tackles would fall to them at No. 1, but decided to jump one spot to grab Tristan Wirfs; it’s a small price to pay when considering how paramount protection is for 42-year-old Tom Brady. In Wirfs, they have a plug-and-play, Day 1 starter. Analysis of every Buccaneers pick from Jenna Laine.
The Titans added a player who will help their rushing attack. Isaiah Wilson has already proved that he can excel as a run-blocker, having played in a zone-oriented scheme at Georgia, and he helps offset the loss of Jack Conklin in free agency. Analysis of every Titans pick from Turron Davenport.
The Redskins made a no-brainer choice by selecting Chase Young second overall. Coach Ron Rivera and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, between them, have coached Von Miller, Khalil Mack and Julius Peppers. They know what an elite edge rusher can do for a defense, and that’s what they’re expecting from Young. Analysis of every Redskins pick from John Keim.
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