Grading Every 1st Round NFL Draft Pick (2020)

By: Bryce Wadsworth

It’s been a couple weeks since the draft itself at this point, but I really wanted to take the time to think about each selection. Amidst all the COVID-19 madness, I wasn’t able to put together my final prospect list/mock draft- so the least I can do is give my best assessment for each pick made on my favorite night of the year.

CIN: Joe Burrow, QB LSU

Obviously, we all knew that Burrow was going to go first overall a long time ago- I mean the kid had a Bengals hat in his hand like 10 minutes before they actually announced the pick for crying out loud.

Burrow is extremely talented and definitely plays with a chip on his shoulder. He flashes excellent pocket presence, good decision making, and is fairly mobile. Clearly, the Bengals needed to find a replacement for the aging Andy Dalton- and they have. Burrow will fit in greatly with Zac Taylor’s offense and should start immediately.

I will say, Burrow does has a bit of an attitude issue and is extremely/overly confident. Personally, I don’t like the way he holds himself and as a “pretend GM” I wouldn’t allow the type of behavior he has put out from the face of my franchise. He also lacks arm-strength- which could turn into an issue in the NFL. Some smell a one hit wonder from Burrow- I may have to agree, but we will see.

Grade: B+

WAS: Chase Young, DE Ohio State

Another no-brainer pick here. Chase Young adds even more power and speed off the edge to a team that has invested multiple picks into the defensive front over the past few years. With new HC Ron Rivera in town, expect him to turn this young core on defense into an elite group. I love what the Redskins have been building (aside from Dwayne Haskins, the QB who apparently can’t even read an NFL playbook) and this pick just solidifies how I feel even more.

Grade: A+

DET: Jeff Okudah, CB Ohio State

Okudah was by far the best CB prospect in this draft class. He has the size, speed, and length to be extremely productive in the NFL. He has great ball instincts, and is a fairly decent tackler as a corner.

I loved Okudah as a prospect and this is a great fit for Matt Patricia and the Lions, but I would have loved this pick even more if they were able to keep Darius Slay on board. Slay and Okudah would put this defense into position to really compete for the NFC North title. The Lions were a few close games away from having a pretty solid record- and now this pick just feels like a filler after losing Slay.

Grade: B

NYG: Andrew Thomas, OT Georgia

I was a bit confused with this pick. It is not a secret that the Giants want to build up their offensive line after taking Daniel Jones at QB last year and Saquon Barkley the year before- but I’m not sure if Thomas was the best pick (value wise) at this spot.

To me, if you are going to take an offensive lineman this early- it needs to THE guy. Andrew Thomas is a solid player and has lots of tape on record as a 3 year starter. He surely has a high ceiling, but there is question as to whether he can reach his full potential.

Grade: B-

MIA: Tua Tagovailoa, QB Alabama

When healthy, Tua is the best QB in this draft class hands down. He has excellent arm strength, pin-point accuracy, and above average mobility/pocket awareness. The only knock on him is the injury history. If he were to go to a team with a solid O-Line, then things would look a bit better for him… but that didn’t happen.

The Dolphins are amidst a giant roster overhaul and have very few pieces to work around- especially on offense. If they are smart, Tua will sit for a season to get to full health and learn behind a veteran QB- while also allowing time to build a better offensive front to protect him.

This pick is a gamble for Miami at no. 5 overall, but it has massive upside if they play their hand correctly.

Grade: B+

LAC: Justin Herbert, QB Oregon

Herbert is a very interesting prospect. He has prospective NFL size and arm-strength and has a very solid junior season at Oregon. However, he bet on himself to come back for his senior season and did not live up to standard- otherwise he could have been a higher pick in this draft.

Herbert to the Chargers makes a ton of sense- as they lost franchise QB Philip Rivers to the Colts this off-season. However, I see the Chargers giving Tyrod Taylor a shot before they force Herbert into a starting position, which is probably the best option for now.

Grade: B+

CAR: Derrick Brown, DT Auburn

I love Derrick Brown. The dude is an absolute GAME CHANGER on the defensive line. He provides excellent power, size, and mobility for a big man and should be a big time run stopper at the next level. He reminds me a lot of Fletcher Cox.

This pick (and the ones later down the line as well) proves that new HC Matt Rhule is building a defensive oriented unit- and Derrick Brown is a great building block to start with.

Grade: A+

ARI: Isaiah Simmons, LB Clemson

The Cardinals went the “best player available route” with Simmons at this pick. Simmons is a freak on defense and could play Inside or Out at LB. He is a good pass rusher, run stopper, and pass coverage guy. put him anywhere on the field and he could probably do a really good job. Versatile, physical, with high football IQ and instincts.

The Cardinals, however, desperately need offensive line help to protect franchise QB Kyler Murray. With quite a few talented prospects on the board at OT, the pick seems a bit wasted. Yes, they get better on defense- but Kyler ends up having to run for his life on almost any given play.

Grade: C+

JAX: C.J Henderson, CB Florida

Given that the Jaguars have literally nobody left at corner after moving on from both A.J Bouye and Jalen Ramsey- this pick makes a whole lot of sense. Henderson has extremely long arms and provides excellent instincts and acceleration to any secondary. Expect him to make an instant impact for the Jags.

Grade: A

CLE: Jedrick Willis, OT Alabama

Cleveland is doing everything they can to justify their controversial (especially to me) pick of Baker Mayfield first overall. They gave him Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry and Nick Chubb, but still not good enough. Now, the Browns turn to the offensive line to try and help Baker out. They signed OT Jack Conklin before the draft and then take Jedrick Willis early on in the first round.
Willis played RT in college, but has showed excellent ability to pass block- making a switch to LT seem inevitable considering Conklin plays RT. Willis has a great size and ability and has the potential to be a serviceable LT for a long time in the NFL.

Grade: A

NYJ: Mekhi Becton, OT Louisville

Becton is one of the freakiest OT prospects I have EVER seen. You won’t ever see a faster 360 lb man. The Jets get a gigantic, insanely gifted athlete to serve as franchise QB Sam Darnold’s personal bodyguard. Go watch Becton’s tape if you like watching people get man-handled on the football field. Great pick for the Jets.

Grade: A+

LVR: Henry Ruggs III, WR Alabama

This pick is such a Gruden pick. Ruggs has next level speed and is an elite RAC receiver. Gruden is going to put this guy EVERYWHERE on the field offensively and will game plan to get this guy lots of opportunities. Although not the best WR available in my opinion, Gruden got his guy and is probably celebrating with some Coronas before this virtual off-season fiasco.

TB: Tristan Wirfs, OT Iowa

The Bucs traded up and added a solid all-around OT to help out this new look team (TB might as well stand for Tom Brady rather than Tampa Bay at this point).

Wirfs has smooth feet for an O-Lineman and is a pretty decent run blocker as well. He doesn’t have explosive drive block ability and is only a decent pass protector- but he has high upside. I like this pick and I’m sure Brady does to.

Grade: B

SF: Javon Kinlaw, DT South Carolina

The Niners got a good deal trading back a slot with Tampa- as they ended up receiving an additional 4th round selection for later in the draft. They also got their cheaper version of DeForrest Buckner (who they traded to Indianapolis for the 13th overall pick). Kinlaw is a solid DT who is great at a lot of things. He is athletic, can block shed with ease at times, is a play making interior pass rusher, and can make big plays when defending the run. Great replacement for Buckner and will contribute instantly for the reigning NFC champs.

DEN: Jerry Jeudy, WR Alabama

This pick may have been the best so far by John Elway in a long time. Jerry Jeudy is a superb route runner and can make just about anyone miss when he has the ball in his hands in the open field. He is an explosive playmaker who is an excellent fit to this loaded Denver offense.

Denver now has Melvin Gordon, Phillip Lindsay, Noah Fant, Courtland Sutton, and Jeudy with (young star in the making) Drew Locke at QB. Watch out.

Grade: A+

ATL: A.J Terrell, CB Clemson

The Falcons were in desperate need of CB help, and Terrell should get the job done. He is a great press coverage/man to man defender with excellent speed and ball skills. He does need to improve his tackling however if he wants to really succeed at the next level.

Grade: B

DAL: CeeDee Lamb, WR Oklahoma

CeeDee Lamb is extremely explosive. Pair him Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, plus Zeke Elliot out the backfield… this offense is extremely scary now.

They could have spent this pick on the defensive side of the ball, or at O-Line considering they lost their star center due to an emergency retirement- but this pick is still good for the team and their value at 17th overall.


Grade: A-

MIA: Austin Jackson, OT USC

This was a good next move by Miami after taking Tua earlier. As I mentioned, this offensive line needs a TON of work before I would even want to see the new QB on the field- but Jackson is a solid fit to start building a formidable front.

Jackson is a star pass protecting OT who will likely stand out as the new starting LT for the Dolphins for a long time.

Grade: A

LVR: Damon Arnette, CB Ohio State

I thought Arnette was a very undervalued prospect coming into this draft. Arnette is an extremely physical corner with unique athletic ability at the position. He has a tendency to get a little grabby down the field- but that’s nothing good coaching can fix.

Arnette is a typical Raiders type of corner- who I think will be a solid starter in the NFL. Physical, athletic, with high IQ.

Grade: B+

JAX: K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE LSU

Jacksonville has fallen off the radar after their AFC championship run not so long ago and has since dumped almost the entire defense from that team. After taking a solid CB1 earlier in the draft, the Jags look to fill a spot left in the defensive line after the impending trade/release of pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue.

Chaisson is a physical edge setter who is also an exceptional pass rusher. Chaisson plus Josh Allen is a scary duo on the defensive line. Look for this tandem to wreck havoc on most opposing offenses.

Grade: A

PHI: Jalen Reagor, WR TCU

Hey Eagles fans, remember Nelson Agholor? You just drafted him again. Reagor is a speedy receiver with decent size and footwork, but has issues catching the ball. Philly was in desperate need of a WR, but when Denzel Mimms, Justin Jefferson, and Brandon Aiyuk are still on the board- this pick makes no sense to me.

Grade: D+

MIN: Justin Jefferson, WR LSU

The is a great pick for Minnesota. After dealing off the disgruntled Stefon Diggs, the Vikings find an immediate replacement.

Jefferson has great size, speed, and ball skills- and is extremely versatile on the field. He can play slot, outside- you name it. Jefferson and Thielen is a scary duo to have at wide out.

Grade: A+

LAC: Kenneth Murray, LB Oklahoma

Murray is an extremely fast, sideline to sideline defender with elite run read instincts. The Chargers now have playmakers at all levels of their defense and are looking to be extremely tough to score on this season.

Although they gave up 2 picks to come up and grab Murray, I think it was needed and necessary.

Grade: B+

NO: Cesar Ruiz, OL/C Michigan

This move seemed premeditated- as shortly after this selection, the Saints released pro bowl guard Larry Warford.

Ruiz is a strong run blocker with good size and strength. New Orleans can plug him anywhere in the interior line and would get great results.

Grade: A

SF: Brandon Aiyuk, WR Arizona State

Aiyuk is a explosive receiver with great RAC ability and fancy footwork to make defenders miss in the open field.

After letting Emmanuel Sanders walk, it made sense for the Niners to grab a receiver at some point in the draft, but they did give up 3 early picks in order to move up here- making this a big gamble.

Grade: B

GB: Jordan Love, QB Utah State

This pick was the most shocking of the entire first round. Love is a talented guy with unique ball skills, arm strength and mobility at QB- but they already have Aaron Rogers who lead them to the NFC championship game last season.

This pick was very unnecessary- as the team still sits with no formidable offensive weapons outside of Davante Adams and Aaron Jones. A receiver was a giant need at this pick, but the Packers decided otherwise.

Grade: D

SEA: Jordyn Brooks, LB Texas Tech

Brooks is the exact type of guy the Seahawks like in the LB. Fast, intelligent, and hard hitting. He is a Legion of Boom type of hitter as a matter of fact- punishing ball carriers nearly every time he makes a hit. He also excels at making plays behind the line of scrimmage- which will be a big help on defense going forward.

My only knock at this pick is that Brooks likely would have slid down into the 2nd round- meaning Seattle could have traded back and gotten more value. So I had to lower the grade some to reflect that.

Grade: C+

BAL: Patrick Queen, LB LSU

The Ravens took the money and filled out their defensive line, and now have added an elite LB to make their defense even scarier.

Queen has a high motor, never giving up on any play. He has sideline to sideline speed, plus great recognition. He should be a stud in the NFL, not to mention a great scheme fit for the Ravens.

Grade: A+

TEN: Isaiah Wilson, OT Georgia

The Titans lost Jack Conklin in free agency, so this pick was way too easy for them to make.

Similar to Conklin, Isaiah Wilson excelled as a physical run blocker and will be a solid piece on the offensive line. Not much else to it- the Titans effectively replaced Conklin with a cheaper version.

Grade: A-

MIA: Noah Igbinoghene, CB Auburn

After drafting their new franchise QB and some offensive line help, Miami wanted to look to build their defense a bit as well. However, drafting a corner after spending a lump sum on FA Byron Jones and already having Xavien Howard- using a 1st rounder on another corner was a bit strange to me.

Grade: C

MIN: Jeff Gladney, CB TCU

Gladney was one of my favorite DBs in this class. He is extremely physical- unafraid to come in to make a hit or to take on blockers one on one. He relies his physicality to take guys off their routes/timing- but I do have questions as to whether or not that will translate at the NFL level.

Nevertheless, the Vikings fill a big need at CB and get a unique prospect to do so.

Grade: B

KC: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB LSU

One of Kansas City’s few weaknesses on offense was the lack of talent/depth at RB. Damien Williams proved to be solid, but the addition of Edwards-Helaire is huge.

The LSU product is a well balanced runner with good feet, vision, and ball carrying. However, the real reason he fits so well for KC is his ability as a pass-catcher. Andy Reid is most definetly get creative with this guy and find multiple ways to feed him the rock in open field to make plays. Hill, Kelce, Williams, Watkins, and now Edwards-Helaire (not to mention SB MVP Pat Mahomes at QB) is a very scary combo of weapons.

Grade: A+

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s