Winners and Losers from the 2020 NFL Draft

NFL+Commissioner+Roger+Goodell+hosted+this+year%27s+draft+from+his+basement+as+a+result+of+the+COVID-19+pandemic.

Photo courtesy of https://www.upi.com.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell hosted this year's draft from his basement as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2020 NFL Draft – the only live event of the four major sports over the past six weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic – provided a tasty morsel to sports fans everywhere who were starved for some form of entertainment. Therefore, it was not surprising that an average of 8.4 million people tuned in over the three days of the NFL’s annual event, which was record-breaking viewership: 35% higher than 2019. 

This was despite the fact that the event, held from April 23-25, was hosted by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell from his basement and ESPN analysts who were also broadcasting remotely.  In addition, the teams’ coaches and general managers also joined the draft via video from their homes. Of course, the goal for each team is to improve through the draft with the ultimate goal being to hoist the Lombardi Trophy at Super Bowl LV in Tampa Bay, so let’s get to the winners and losers. First, we’ll start with those franchises that we feel had the best overall drafts. 

Photo courtesy of https://www.cincinnati.com.
Number-one overall pick and former LSU QB Joe Burrow talks to the Cincinnati Bengals’ brass with his mother and father beside him during the draft.

Cincinnati Bengals

 First off, they landed their franchise quarterback in Joe Burrow, which was an expectation many experts and fans assumed was going to happen. In college at LSU last season, Burrow won the Heisman Trophy, given to the game’s best player, and led the Tigers to the NCAA title and a perfect season (15-0). Burrow has already been studying the Bengals and will be ready to start next season. Another great pick by the Bengals was a wide receiver, Tee Higgins. Higgins attended Clemson and was picked #33 in the draft. This pick gives Burrow another weapon, and Higgins will be able to learn from one of the best: Pro Bowl veteran receiver AJ Green.

Minnesota Vikings

In the first round, the Vikings selected wide receiver Justin Jefferson out of LSU at pick #22. This comes as the replacement for Stefon Diggs who was earlier traded to the Bills. Jefferson had a great season at LSU last year as he hauled in 18 touchdowns and racked up over 1,500 yards. Another good pick by the Vikings was cornerback Jeff Gladney who came as a replacement for Xavier Rhodes. Gladney attended TCU and was picked 31st in the draft. He will definitely be a staple on the Vikings defense having great awareness and physicality.

Arizona Cardinals

At number eight they selected linebacker/safety, Isiah Simmons, out of Clemson. Many experts believed the Cardinals could not go wrong picking Simmons because of his athleticism and how he was such a staple of  Clemson’s impressive defense which won titles in 2016 and 2018. Another great pick of the Cardinals was an offensive tackle, Josh Jones, out of Houston at number 72. This was a great pick for two reasons: first, he was projected to even maybe go in the first round, and the Cardinals got him in the third, and two, he will be great on the edge protecting their franchise quarterback Kyler Murray. 

These teams definitely came out on top at the end of this year’s draft. Of course, on the flip side, some teams did not do so well. 

Green Bay Packers

In the first round, the Packers picked up Jordan Love, another quarterback out of Utah State with the 26th pick. Many thought that the Packers would pick a wide receiver in the I first-round, but that did not happen. To get Jordan Love, Green Bay had to trade their fourth-round pick to secure him, which sacrificed another potential star.

Chicago Bears

The Bears had a second-round pick this year that they received from the Las Vegas Raiders as a result of the Kahlil Mack trade back in 2019. They used this second-round pick to take Cole Kmet, a tight end from Notre Dame. This now gives the Bears not just one or two tight ends, but 11 on their active roster. 

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles selected Jalen Hurts in the second round, the QB who led Oklahoma to a Big 10 title last year. However, Hurts will most likely be the backup quarterback unless current Eagles’  starter Carson Wentz gets injured or the Eagles decide to trade him. Either way, the drafting of Hurts makes it seem as if the oft-injured Wentz isn’t part of the Eagles’ long-term plan at QB. Wentz isn’t a free-agent until 2025, so he may be trade bait in the future.

And, although the Eagles won the Super Bowl three years ago, it has all been downhill since then. With not-so-great wide receivers and the picking of a backup quarterback in the second round despite having a healthy starting QB on a big contract, this all just points to the Eagles struggling for survival in the NFC East. Of course, the Chiefs we criticized for taking Patrick Mahomes three years ago, so could the Eagles and Jalen Hurts be a similar situation?

While we feel these were some of the draft’s biggest winners and losers, we won’t be able to tell for sure until the NFL resumes in August. Battling it out on the gridiron will be the real test for these teams, and the real treat for fans who are, for the time being, stuck watching South Korean baseball on ESPN.