The first day of the 2020 NFL Draft is over, and there was definitely an element of surprise that came with Thursday night’s events. Some teams made moves that could make them a lot better in 2020 than they were in 2019. Others swung and missed when presented a chance to make upgrades. We break down the winners and losers Round 1 here.
The Bengals nabbed Joe Burrow with the first pick of day one, and now they’ve added another weapon to help him out. Cincinnati selected Tee Higgins with the first pick of the second round to give Burrow a big target who excels at catching contested passes. Pairing him with A.J. Green and Tyler Bod gives Burrow a strong receiving corps to work with.
The Colts traded the No. 13 pick for star defensive lineman DeForest Buckner, but built some offensive depth in the second round. The brought in a big receiver in Michael Pittman Jr., as well as Jonathan Taylor at running back. Philip Rivers gets a big target to pair with speedsters like T.Y. Hilton and Parris Campbell. Then there’s another reliable option behind Marlon Mack, who racked up 247 carries in 2019.
The Giants had one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL last season and ended up landing the top safety in the draft. Not a single safety was drafted in the first round, but New York is bringing in a versatile player in Xavier McKinney who can play all over the field. Jabrill Peppers can play the other safety spot and James Bradberry was brought in at cornerback in free agency. The Giants are looking to make a big leap on the defensive end.
Jacksonville added some key pieces to its defense with two first-round picks, but it’s also making sure its offense can improve in 2020. The Jaguars acquired a Swiss army knife with Colorado’s Laviska Shenault. He’s a physical runner, has tremendous ability to eat up yardage after the catch. He can also be a return man and take handoffs out of the backfield. He looked like he might end up being a first-round pick ahead of the draft and has had some injury issues, but few players can offer his diverse skill set.
The Buccaneers are killing this draft. Tampa Bay selected Antoine Winfield Jr. in the second round to shore up its secondary. Although he’s small, his ability to read quarterbacks and track the location of passes is exceptional. A player like him could be great tool against Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints in the NFC South.
Aaron Rodgers didn’t get any wide receiver help in the first round, but he did get a shiny, new running back in A.J. Dillion, who doesn’t have natural hands and can’t be an purpose running back like Aaron Jones. Rodgers could have a tough time with less talent out wide in 2020 than he had in 20219.
What are the Bears thinking? They’re stockpiling tight ends and selected the first one off the board when they know he’ll have little to no impact as a rookie. Jimmy Graham is making $8 million a year on a two-year deal. This move made no sense for Chicago when it has other needs.
Jake Fromm and Jacob Eason
Both quarterbacks were projected to be drafted around the third round, but neither were selected on day two. Fromm lacks the ideal physical tools to lead a team while Eason has plenty of size and a rocker launcher for an arm. Not being off the board after day two doesn’t isn’t a death sentence. But both probably thought they wouldn’t be day three selections.
The Eagles drafted Jalen Hurts with a second round pick. There was chatter about Taysom Hill-type packages, but Hurts is a supremely better quarterback than Hill. The question now is what kind of competition we’ll see this fall and beyond. It will be one of the more fascinating training camp competitions when the league returns.