Grading the NFL 2020 first round selections: Picks 1-16

Grading the NFL 2020 first round selections: Picks 1-16

by April 24, 2020 0 comments

Round 1, Pick 1: Cincinnati Bengals

QB Joe Burrow, LSU

Grade: A-

Joe Burrow has been the No. 1 selection in many eyes since the NFL season ended. Burrow will be able to come into Cincinnati as a day-one starter. He is very accurate with his throws, and during his senior year at LSU he was able to control his turnover rate. The biggest problem with Burrow is that he lacks the strong arm quality that many other quarterbacks in this draft and in the past have had that were drafted in the first round. 

Round 1, Pick 2: Washington Redskins

DE Chase Young, Ohio State

Grade: A+

Young is arguably the best prospect in this year’s draft. A monster edge rusher in the draft this year, his presence will be made known very quickly in the NFL. Young is fantastic getting to the quarterback, as he is physically strong, fast and coordinated. He showed at Ohio State that he is capable of shedding blocks quickly, and is able to chase down players consistently all over the field. 

Round 1, Pick 3: Detroit Lions 

DB Jeffrey Okudah, Ohio State

Grade: A-

Okudah is a physical cornerback. He plays physical on the line of coverage, and is able to stick with almost every receiver he has defended. Okudah showed during his time at Ohio State that he can break up passes and is a very disciplined defender. Okudah is also a great open field tackler, and is the most well rounded corner in this year’s draft. As he can play in both zone coverage and man coverage efficiently. 

Round 1, Pick 4: New York Giants

OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia

Grade: B

Thomas was projected as a top-20 prospect in this draft. The Giants needed offensive line help, but it seems that they reached for Thomas. It was rumored that the Giants wanted to trade down the draft, but no deal was done. Thomas is a great pass protector, but is raw, as he was a late bloomer to play football at a competitive level. 

Round 1, Pick 5: Miami Dolphins 

QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama

Grade: B+

Tagovailoa would have been the number one quarterback off the board. However, a severe hip injury suffered in November hurt his draft stock. What experts and fans have seen of him have been short video clips of Tagovailoa throwing the ball and running fluently like he did before the injury. Although he is injury-prone, and has dealt with half a dozen surgeries this far in his career, Tagovailoa is the most well-rounded quarterback in this year’s draft. He will be able to throw the ball with accuracy and strength both in the pocket and on the run. 

Round 1, Pick 6: Los Angeles Chargers

QB Justin Herbert, Oregon 

Grade: A+

The Chargers have said that Tyrod Taylor would start the 2020 season for the team. However, with the selection of Herbert, an accurate and protective thrower of the ball, he could overtake Taylor’s starting role halfway through the season. Herbert is good with play action plays and throwing on the run. The only downside that has been following Herbert is his leadership skills on and off the field. Herbert could have the best career of the three quarterbacks taken in the top six picks, as he is drafted to a team that is already playoff-experienced and talented.

Round 1, Pick 7: Carolina Panthers

DT Derrick Brown, Auburn 

Grade: B+

Derrick Brown is a versatile defensive tackle. He is able to play a variety of fronts and is  fast off the line. Brown can push the pocket up the middle, and can finish tackles with ease. A high-effort player, Brown could see himself as one of the best sack and tackle leaders on the defensive line at any point in his career. Brown is also a smart player, and tremendous leader on and off the field. 

Round 1, Pick 8: Arizona Cardinals

LB, Isaiah Simmons, Clemson 

Grade: B+

Isaiah Simmons is the most versatile defensive player in the draft. He can line up at five different positions on the defensive side of the ball. He is a solid coverage linebacker whether it be zone or man-to-man. Simmons is also an elite pass rusher, as he is able to force the quarterback out of the pocket and rush his throw. Although Simmons is a great talent, the Cardinals are in desperate need for offensive lineman, as both Tristan Wirfs and Jedrick Wills were still available. 

Round 1, Pick 9: Jacksonville Jaguars

DB C.J Henderson, Florida 

Grade: B

Henderson is the second-best corner in the draft. He is a great defender in man coverage, being able to cover all types of receivers. Jaguars needed help in the secondary, and Henderson can help fill in for the recently-departed A.J Bouye and Jalen Ramsey. Although Henderson is a great cover back, he has trouble finishing tackles. Although a defensive back like Henderson is a need for Jacksonville, there were other positions with better talent in return for pick nine such as Wirfs and Wills. 

Round 1, Pick 10: Cleveland Browns 

OT Jedrick Wills, Alabama

Grade: A

Jedrick Wills is arguably the best offensive tackle in this year’s draft class. He is able to play either side of the line, and is a tremendous pass protector. Although he does tend to get off balance from time to time, he shows great recovery and effort to extend his play for the better of the team. Cleveland has been in desperate need of a left tackle once Joe Thomas retired after the 2018 season. Wills is a day-one starter, and will be an immediate pass blocking upgrade for Baker Mayfield.

Round 1, Pick 11: New York Jets

OT Mehki Becton, Louisville

Grade: B+

Mehki Becton has tremendous speed and is very coordinated with his placement on the field. He has incredible footwork, and is a great athlete at 6-foot-7 and over 360 pounds is magnificent. He will be an immovable force for years to come in New York. The Jets have been trying to rebuild their offensive line to protect Sam Darnold and now have added a younger tackle that can pass protect and run protect for the Jets offense for years to come. 

Round 1, Pick 12: Las Vegas Raiders 

WR Henry Ruggs III, Alabama

Grade: B

Ruggs had 98 catches and 24 touchdowns for Alabama. He is a tremendous receiver who can move across the field in an instant. One of the faster receivers in this year’s draft, he is capable of running a variety routes but also turns on a dime. Ruggs is able to create space and is best off the catch rather than catching deep balls. Although Ruggs is a great talent, there are two other receivers that have a more well-rounded pedigree. 

 Round 1, Pick 13: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (via San Francisco)

OT Tristan Wirfs, Iowa

Grade: A-

With Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski in the fold for Tampa Bay, the team needed more protection to keep their new additions healthy. Wirfs has incredible balance as an offensive lineman, and is powerful. Tampa Bay already had a solid offensive line, and adding Wirfs will give the team a great front that can protect Brady. With Wirfs, Brady will have a better time feeling protected on either side of the line. 

Round 1, Pick 14: San Francisco 49ers (via Tampa Bay)

DT Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina

Grade: B+

Kinlaw will replace DeForest Buckner, who the 49ers had traded away to Indianapolis. Kinlaw is a huge prospect, standing at 6-foot-5 and 324 pounds. A dominant first step on the line allows his physical play to destroy an offensive line. Once he learns to become a bit more agile attacking the quarterback, he will be hard to stop. Kinlaw is also a good tackler, being able to chase down players that have stretched the field.

Round 1, Pick 15: Denver Broncos 

WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama

Grade: A+

The best route runner in the draft. Jeudy is an incredible receiver. He has speed, hands, and balance with body control. The only knock on Jeudy is that he is slow on release, but can counter the release with tremendous footwork and speed down the field. The Broncos were in need of another receiver next to Courtland Sutton. Jeudy can play either down field or act as a slot receiver for the Broncos for the next few seasons to come. 

Round 1, Pick 16: Atlanta Falcons

DB A.J Terrell, Clemson

Grade: B

A.J Terrell has had bright moments with Clemson. But with those bright moments also came some questionable ones. Terrell could be a day-one starter for the Falcons, but his inconsistency is a bit of a red flag for a mid-first-round pick. Terrell is capable of excelling in man and zone coverage, but is streaky. He has great hands, and can deflect passes easily. The Falcons received a B, because there are better talents on defense still available.

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