NFL Draft Winners and Losers
With the NFL draft being the only semblance of sports in well over a month, I have been glued to this draft more than in past years. With teams unable to meet face-to-face with prospects and almost every pro day being canceled, teams have had to do a lot of guesswork on potential players. However, like every draft, some teams made savvy picks and others had some head scratchers. I will mainly focus on the earlier rounds because those tend to shape the franchises.
I am a Vikings fan and this is the first time in years I can say I am proud of their draft top to bottom. I am absolutely thrilled that they ACTUALLY addressed their needs and still acquired picks in 2021. I will be leaving them off this list to avoid any sort of bias but those that are interested can ask me but make sure to pencil in some time because I can go on and on about their class.
With the Bears only having 2 picks in the top 160, you think they would address more pressing needs than Tight End. With the 43rd pick they took Cole Kmet out of Notre Dame. He has a lot of potential but they now have 10…. yes 10 tight ends on their active roster which means they will be cutting at least six of them before the season. They signed Jimmy Graham to a completely overpriced contract so getting a tight end with your very first pick makes almost zero sense. Their next pick was CB Jaylon Johnson which may have saved their draft. He is a very physical corner and Chicago fans will love him because he doesn’t fear contact. The Bears shot 50% on draft picks they needed to go 100% on because of the lack of draft capital.
As much as I hate to say it, Jerry put together a hell of a draft. Having someone like CeeDee Lamb fall all the way to 17 is something that happens once in a generation. They can thank the Las Vegas Raiders for doing what they do best and picking the fastest player on the board regardless of other skill traits when they took Henry Ruggs III as the first receiver. Putting Lamb in the slot with Cooper and Gallup makes the Cowboys offense that much more potent. TV networks better be careful because they could be in high-scoring games that take 4 hours every week. The cowboys were also able to get another player that fell farther than he should’ve in corner Trevon Diggs from Alabama. A solid pick that is lengthy and should be able to matchup with #1 receivers and provide Jerry with some sort of comfort in the secondary. Hopefully he turns out better than Mo Claiborne. Neville Gallimore was the third-round pick of the cowboys and he’s yet another player that flew under the radar. He is a run stuffing machine that eats blocks and will be able to free up Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch. The one drawback is he is not a great pass-rusher but when you have Damarcus Lawrence is an easy concession to make.
Let me tell you the Eagles were absolutely torched by writers and fans alike. People forget Howie Roseman has a ring, but this was not his best work. Their first-round pick was Jalen Reagor out of TCU. As a TCU alum myself I do think he’s a solid player and has a similar skillset to former Big 12 and new NFC East Rival CeeDee Lamb. However, he was not the best receiver on the board at the time with Justin Jefferson out of LSU going one pick later. This wasn’t the worst pick by far. The pick that places the Eagles right here is using their second-round pick on JALEN HURTS. I would’ve taken Jacob Eason before Hurts because I just don’t think he’s a good enough passer to make it in the NFL. The worst part is the Eagles just signed Carson Wentz to a 4 year $128 million deal that doesn’t even kick in until 2021. Unless the NFL adopts the XFL’s double pass rule, this pick will haunt Eagles fans for awhile. The Eagles Taking K’Von Wallace out of Clemson in the fourth round wasn’t a bad pick so at least they got something out of this fiasco.
San Francisco 49ers-
The rich get richer. A team that was a meltdown away from a Super Bowl championship will enter the 2020 season completely reloaded. They traded DeForest Buckner to Indianapolis for their first rounder and then traded down with Tampa to acquire a later pick. They were then able to snag Javon Kinlaw, a defensive tackle out of South Carolina. They pretty much replaced a good player with a possible superstar at a much cheaper price. The Niners also traded up later in the first to bet Brandon Aiyuk, a receiver out of Arizona State. Aiyuk is explosive on the perimeter and will give defenses headaches when paired with Deebo Samuel and George Kittle. To cap off a fantastic draft, they traded for pro-bowl tackle Trent Williams to solidify the offensive line and give Jimmy G more time to miss wide-open receivers down field and then to check down to his running backs.
Green Bay Packers-
Oh Baby, I love to see this. An absolute dumpster fire of a draft. Unless the Packers were concerned of someone else trading with Miami to get Jordan Love at pick 26, it did not make a lot of sense because the three picks before them were Seattle, Baltimore and Tennessee: all teams pretty committed to their current QBs. On top of that they have several other very pressing needs. It isn’t like this is a rebuilding team either that should develop a QB. Green Bay is coming of a NFC Title game appearance and their first pick is a guy who probably won’t see meaningful snaps at all in 2020. Ok fine Green Bay, you botched the first round but this is a really deep receiver class and you can pick up someone in the second round. Another miss by the Packers in reaching for a day 3 running back in A.J. Dillon out of Boston College. Not only was he unlikely to go in the next 60 or so picks, they have Aaron Jones at running back so they drafted a guy at best that will split snaps and not significantly help out their chances at a Super Bowl. As I’m writing this they have passed on 27 receivers through 5 rounds. #SKOL
A completely new regime in Cleveland made a lot of noise with their first draft. Picking up Jedrick Wills with the 10th pick is exactly what this offense needed. A massive offensive tackle out of Alabama will cover Baker Mayfield’s blindside and address one of the weakest positions in an offense loaded with talent. They traded back a few spots and acquired pick 160 with a trade with the Colts. Their second-round pick at 44 overall was Grant Delpit. The 2019 Thorpe award winner was given first round grades by a lot of experts. He is an absolute playmaker in the secondary and a ball-hawk and has flashes of his predecessor that wore #7 at LSU Tyrann Mathieu. The Brown’s third round pick was Jordan Elliott, A Defensive Tackle from Mizzou. He has all the intangibles you’re looking for in a run stuffing tackle checking in at 6’4’ 302 lbs. It didn’t’ always turn into production in college but with the right coaching this kid could be a gamechanger. Cleveland also received a comp pick used on LSU Linebacker Jacob Phillips. This guy always gives 100% and puts his body on the line every play. A little refinement and he could become a solid starter in Cleveland.
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