18 Sep 2020

Home of the NFL Offseason

Erik Hindenburg’s Round 1 Recap/Grades

Deep into the 2020 Draft, it’s time to start evaluating the decisions made by the 32 NFL Franchises. I’ll give my thoughts and initial grades here for all 32 First Round selections! Draft grades are ultimately meaningless until at least 3 years after the fact, but they are a ton of fun and great to look back on and learn from hits and misses.

  1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB LSUJoe Burrow just had one of the best college seasons we have ever seen. His accuracy is among the best I have evaluated, and his poise and leadership bode well for his future. The Bengals couldn’t mess this up, as the need at the position and the caliber of prospect Burrow is makes this a fantastic fit. Joe Burrow was my QB1 and #6 overall player. Grade-A
  2. Washington Redskins: Chase Young, EDGE OSU- The Redskins had a dilemma in my eyes. EDGE wasn’t the biggest need on this roster, LT was. They decided that Chase Young’s talent was too good to pass up, and I can’t blame them. Young is the best pass rusher to come out in at least 5 seasons and he instantly becomes the team’s most talented defender. Young was my #1 overall player in the 2020 Draft. Grade- A-
  3. Detroit Lions: Jeff Okudah, CB OSU- The Lions had a hole in the secondary and Matt Patricia plays more man coverage than anyone else in the league. Schematically and value wise, this was the perfect pick. Jalen Ramsey is the only recent corner prospect who had a higher grade coming out in recent seasons. Okudah was my #1 Corner and #3 overall player. Grade-A+
  4. New York Giants: Andrew Thomas, OT UGA- Andrew Thomas is a home run selection and a perfect fit for what Dave Gettleman wants up front. This staff believes in building teams from the inside out and I promise both Daniel Jones and Saquan Barkley are thrilled. Thomas was my #1 OT and #2 overall player. Grade- A+
  5. Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB Alabama- Miami did an excellent job playing close to the vest, as even I had bought into the smoke they may prefer Justin Herbert at this slot. They made the right call. Tua isn’t without questions and concerns, particularly health, but he has the potential to be a franchise altering prospect if the stars align. Tagovailoa was my #2 QB and #10 overall player. Grade- B+
  6. Los Angeles Chargers: Justin Herbert, QB Oregon- The Chargers had several options here, OT, Defense, QB of the future. They chose Herbert. I don’t like this pick at this juncture, as Herbert has an uphill climb to be an upper tier starter in the league. Would have loved to see Isaiah Simmons in this defense. Grade- C
  7. Carolina Panthers: Derrick Brown, DT Auburn- The Panthers have to be thrilled that 3 Quarterbacks came off the board, pushing elite prospects out of the top 5. I am as high on Brown as anyone, as I think he can push for double digit sacks as a ferocious interior presence. Grade- A+
  8. Arizona Cardinals: Isaiah Simmons, LB/S Clemson- I’m impressed that the Cardinals resisted the urge to draft a skill position player here and instead focus on team building. My only concern is Simmons adjusting to a true position and being comfortable in a new scheme. The team announced him as a LB, I do prefer him as a Safety. Simmons was #1 Safety and would have been my #1 Linebacker has well and my #7 overall player. Grade- B+
  9. Jacksonville Jaguars: CJ Henderson, CB Florida- The Jaguars entered the draft with a plethora of draft capitol, but they were never trading up for a QB. They chose Henderson, an uber athletic and talented cover man. I see the upside with Henderson, but I don’t love a football player who legitimately dislikes contact. More risk here to me than most believe. Henderson was my #7 overall corner and was not in my final top 50 overall players. Grade-D
  10. Cleveland Browns: Jedrick Wills, OT Alabama- It was a foregone conclusion that the Browns would likely address the tackle position with this selection, and they are likely thrilled with the outcome. Wills is as clean and polished as they come, with very few weaknesses to his game. There is some projection here as he will be asked to switch from RT to LT, which is much more difficult than most observers realize. Wills was my #2 OT and #8 overall player. Grade- A
  11. New York Jets: Mekhi Becton, OT Louisville- The Jets need help in a lot of areas right now, but they cannot move forward with Sam Darnold seeing ghosts in the pocket. Becton has some of the most fun tape of any offensive lineman I have evaluated, as he is a truly nasty finisher in the run game. His pass protection is still a work in progress, but there is no reason not to expect big and quick improvement with NFL coaching. Mekhi Becton was my #3 OT and #11 overall player. Grade- B+
  12. Las Vegas Raiders: Henry Ruggs III, WR Alabama- It’s no secret the Raiders are looking to improve the talent level at the offensive skill positions, and some things never change. The Raiders are synonymous with speed players. Ruggs joins a long line of blazing fast players to be selected early by the Silver and Black, but this time they chose one who is a good football player too. Ruggs has strong hands and good route running ability, and is so much more than just speed. Ruggs was my #2 WR and #14 overall player. Grade- A-
  13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tristan Wirfs, OT Iowa- The Bucs gave up a pick to move up and secure the last of the tackles in an effort to make Tom Brady’s life easier. Wirfs is a bonafide freak athletically. I love Wirfs’ potential, but he is much more raw than the first 3 tackles selected. Wirfs was my #4 OT and #19 overall player. Grade- B-
  14. San Francisco 49ers: Javon Kinlaw, DT South Carolina- 49ers entered the draft in a rare position to truly draft BAP, as even having this pick was somewhat of a luxury. True to form, they added another monster defensive lineman in Kinlaw. No one had a better senior bowl week than Kinlaw did. Health issues aside, he brings a ton of tools to mold as an interior defender and in most drafts, is a surefire top 10 pick. Javon Kinlaw was my #2 DT and #12 overall player. Grade- A
  15. Denver Broncos: Jerry Jeudy, WR Alabama- One of the worst kept secrets in the draft was that Denver coveted Henry Ruggs and the speed he could have brought to that offense, and improving the position beyond Sutton was a must. Missing out on Ruggs is a blessing in disguise as Jeudy is phenomenal value here. The best route runner in the draft will have an immediate impact on this team, and in my eyes he is now their most talented wideout. Jeudy was my #1 WR and #5 overall player. Grade- A+
  16. Atlanta Falcons: AJ Terrell, CB Clemson- The Falcons apparently tried to leapfrog Jacksonville to select CJ Henderson, and settled here for Terrell. Dan Quinn is trying to retool what has been a disappointing unit and adding a playmaker in the secondary is a big part of that. Terrell is a good prospect, but this was a reach in my eyes. Better corners were still available, as well as pass rushers. Terrell was my #5 Corner and #26 overall player. Grade- C
  17. Dallas Cowboys: CeeDee Lamb, WR Oklahoma- I don’t know of a single Cowboy fan who wasn’t nervous about this selection. Lamb being available was a bit of a surprise, and he brings a ton to that Offense. Cooper, Lamb, Gallup and Zeke is a good offensive core. Lamb was my #3 WR and #17 overall player. Grade- A
  18. Miami Dolphins: Austin Jackson, OT USC- After making Tua Tagovailoa the face of the franchise, improving the offensive line became priority number one. While smart to address the trenches over a flashy skill position player, the selection was a bit of a head scratcher. Jackson boasts elite size and potential, but watching him play I never saw a top 20 pick or day one starter. Jackson was my #9 OT and finished outside of my top 50 overall players. Grade- C-
  19. Las Vegas Raiders: Damon Arnette, CB OSU- I like Arnette, and its clear the Raiders value high football character guys. That said, this is an incredibly deep corner class and there is loads of talent left on the board, including better players at the position, that could have improved the team more. I think Arnette will be a solid Pro, but I have a hard time believing he goes round 1 anywhere else. Damon Arnette was my #8 Corner and #48 overall player. Grade- C+
  20. Jacksonville Jaguars: K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE LSU- The Jaguars are in an ugly stalemate with Yannick Ngakoue, and jettisoned team leader Calais Campbell to the Ravens in a salary dump. It’s quite possible that drafting Chaisson upgrades the EDGE position across from Josh Allen. Sacksonville isn’t dead just yet! Chaisson was my #2 EDGE and #9 overall player. Grade-A+
  21. Philadelphia Eagles: Jalen Reagor, WR TCU- It was always going to be secondary or receiver for the Eagles here. Reagor brings as much speed as any player left on the board and brings much needed versatility and a talent infusion to the position group. Jalen Reagor was my #6 WR and #30 overall player. Grade- B-
  22. Minnesota Vikings: Justin Jefferson, WR LSU- The Vikings chose to fill the void left by Stefan Diggs early, selecting the supremely talented and productive slot out of LSU. Kirk Cousins is going to be very fond of Jefferson’s route running and big play ability. Justin Jefferson was my #5 WR and #25 overall player. Grade- B
  23. Los Angeles Chargers: Kenneth Murray, LB Oklahoma- This defense is going to be insane next season. Even still, trading up here is a reach for Murray. He has all the tools to be successful but there are questions regarding his ability in pass coverage. Murray was my #1 LB and #32 overall player. Grade- C+
  24. New Orleans Saints: Cesar Ruiz, IOL Michigan- I was very curious to see how much the Saints would weigh the future of the roster against the hope that the championship window hasn’t shut yet. Ruiz is the IOL prospect with the least amount of questions this class. He is an excellent athlete who excels in space and climbing to the second level. This is an excellent team building selection by a team who typically drafts well. Ruiz was my #2 IOL and #24 overall player. Grade- A-
  25. San Francisco 49ers: Brandon Aiyuk, WR ASU- Kyle Shanahan has a type and Aiyuk fits it to a tee. While notably low on Aiyuk, I am excited to see what he can do in that offense. Tough to criticize any direction they take, but I do question if Aiyuk was worth losing draft capitol for, especially when it was already slim to begin with. Brandon Aiyuk was not in my top 10 Wr’s or top 50 players overall. Grade- D+
  26. Green Bay Packers: Jordan Love, QB Utah State- I took an incredible amount of heat suggesting the Packers were prime candidates to take a QB round 1. I like the position, I like the aggressiveness to trade up and secure their guy, I strongly disagree with the player. Love may have incredible tools and arm talent, but mentally the game moved 99mph playing at Utah State. He’s careless with the football, struggles to place the football on low velocity throws, and his accuracy suffers dramatically if forced off of his first read. Sitting behind Aaron Rodgers is as good of a landing spot as he could have hoped for, so good for him. Not great for the Packers. Jordan Love was my #7 QB and did not finish inside my top 50 overall players. Grade- F
  27. Seattle Seahawks: Jordyn Brooks, LB Texas Tech- What are doing here, guys? With tons of talent on the draft board, the Seahawks continue their trend of making colossal reaches in the first once they have zeroed in on their guy. Brooks is a fine player, on day 3 as developmental depth. Jordyn Brooks did not finish in my top 10 linebackers or in my top 50 (or 100) overall players. Grade- F
  28. Baltimore Ravens: Patrick Queen, LB LSU- The Ravens have a type, and Queen fits it to a T. Fast, athletic, playmaker. The Ravens are setting their team up to be very good, for a very long time. Queen is a bit of a reach here, but not bad with two linebackers off the board already. Patrick Queen was my #3 LB and #43 overall player. Grade- B
  29. Tennessee Titans: Isaiah Wilson, OT UGA- The Titans needed to fill the RT position vacated by Conklin. The offense they run is different than that of any other team in the league, making this less of a reach due to scheme fit and team need. Wilson is a big and physical run mauler who will excel from day one on that offense. He needs coaching up in pass protection in a big way. Isaiah Wilson was my #7 OT and did not finish in my top 50 overall players. Grade- B-
  30. Miami Dolphins: Noah Igbinoghene, CB Auburn- I struggle with the Dolphins electing to take a corner when Xavier Howard and Byron Jones are on big contracts in that secondary already. Igbinoghene is a talented player who is still learning the nuances of the position. I’d like this pick more if it was a BAP pick, but for me it really was not. Head scratcher here. Noah Igbinoghene was my #10 Corner and did not finish in my top 50 overall players. Grade- C-
  31. Minnesota Vikings: Jeff Gladney, CB TCU- The Vikings top 3 corners left this offseason, so adding one of the top guys was a must. I love Gladney’s fit in Zimmer’s defense and expected this pick earlier in the round, so getting him here is fantastic for this team. Gladney right away becomes the guy in that secondary with Harrison Smith. Jeff Gladney was my #3 Corner and #18 overall player. Grade- A+
  32. Kansas City Chiefs: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB LSU- Winning the Super Bowl gives you free reign in the Draft, up to and including drafting a running back in the first round. CEH will mesh fantastic with the passing game in KC, and there’s not a beter fit for that offense. However, they left a ton of defensive talent on the board that could have helped much more than this selection. Grade- C

Final Thoughts:

The first round began as predictable, and then, true to form, got weird. I loved what some teams were able to do, unless of course it was your favorite team. These grades are really just for fun and how I see this class right now. As I stated in the introduction, we wont really know until a few years from now.

Favorite Picks: Andrew Thomas #4-Giants, CeeDee Lamb #17-Cowboys, K’Lavon Chaisson #20-Jaguars, Cesar Ruiz #24-Saints, Jeff Gladney #31-Vikings

Least Favorite Picks: Justin Herbert #6-Chargers, Austin Jackson #18-Dolphins, Jordan Love #26-Packers, Jordyn Brooks #27-Seahawks, Clyde Edwards-Helaire #32-Chiefs

Well Folks, this is how I viewed the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Hope you are enjoying Draft Weekend and I honestly hope your team got your guy! Keep following here on nfldraftrite.com for the best coverage of the NFL Offseason, as well as my twitter handle @HindenburgScout! I appreciate all of you!

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