Thank you for returning to the second edition of the Sunday Special — where this week I analyzed the results of the 2020 NFL Draft. All 255 picks have been made, undrafted free agents have signed, and a day has passed to digest the winners, losers, and takeaways of this year’s event. Let’s get right into it.
The Miami Dolphins found their future. Nick Saban may still be coaching the Miami Dolphins had he more aggressively pursued Drew Brees during 2006 free agency. In 2020, he played a role in ensuring that Miami did not pass up a franchise-changing quarterback again. With the 5th overall pick of the draft, the Dolphins selected Tua Tagovailoa — the draft’s greatest question mark. Had the injuries not plagued him at Alabama, he likely would have been drafted ahead of Joe Burrow. And with three of their next four picks, Miami drafted two offensive linemen — USC’s Austin Jackson and Louisiana’s Robert Hunt — before Alabama defensive tackle Raekwon Davis. Miami nabbed their franchise guy and prioritized the line of scrimmage with three of their remaining top five picks. B-Flo and co. are poised for improvement in 2020.
Drew Lock is the greatest individual winner of the 2020 NFL Draft. If there was any doubt whether or not John Elway and Vic Fangio think Lock is a franchise quarterback, that evaporated this weekend. Denver snagged a true number one receiver in Jerry Jeudy at pick 15, Penn State-speedster KJ Hamler in round two, and Lock’s former college teammate — Albert Okwuegbunam — in round four. When you factor in the Melvin Gordon pickup, Drew Lock is now surrounded by playmakers to unleash the talent Elway sees in him.
The Tom-pa Bay Buccanneers continue to crush the offseason. Regardless of how you view last week’s Rob Gronkowski acquisition, you have to admit Tampa added a pair of beasts in Minnesota safety Antoine Winfield Jr. and Iowa tackle Tristan Wirfs. Winfield Jr. — son and namesake of former 1999 first-rounder and eventual three-time Pro Bowl cornerback Antoine Sr.– will bring much needed speed and intensity to a defense that ranked 30th against the pass last season. Tristan Wirfs can play either tackle position for Tampa and will use his elite athleticism to protect 42-year-old Tom Brady and bolster the league’s 24th-ranked rushing attack.
The Dallas Cowboys hit a home run with Ceedee Lamb. This pick was awesome for Dallas fans on multiple levels: (1) Ceedee is an outstanding talent that any team could benefit from. (2) Dallas will learn if it can succeed with Dak Prescott as their franchise quarterback, and (3) they stole Ceedee from the Eagles. In addition, Dallas added much needed depth at corner in Alabama’s Trevon Diggs (brother of Stefon) and Tulsa’s Reggie Robinson II, while Utah defensive end Bradlee Anae could be one of the steals of the draft. Anae was voted the Pac-12’s top defensive lineman by his opposition and likely fell in the draft due to a 4.93 40-time at the combine.
AFC West defensive coordinators must be having nightmares right now. What Denver and Las Vegas did in this draft shows how much respect this division has for the Kansas City Chiefs’ ability to put points on the board. Denver took four pass-catchers AND acquired Melvin Gordon this offseason. Vegas took Jerry Jeudy’s Alabama teammate Henry Ruggs III, Kentucky WR-turned-QB Lynn Bowden Jr., and South Carolina’s big-play WR Bryan Edwards. It’s also worth mentioning the Chargers selected their QB of the future in Justin Herbert and sideline-to-sideline linebacker Kenneth Murray out of Oklahoma. Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes have the entire division trying to play copycat. Can any of them come close?
Green Bay and New England fans are pissed for opposite reasons. The Packers shocked the world by selecting Utah State QB Jordan Love with the 26th pick of the draft. Fresh off an NFC Championship game exit you’d expect Green Bay to give Aaron Rodgers a first-round-caliber weapon, although they did draft a RB (Boston College’s AJ Dillon) and TE (Cincinnati’s Josiah Deguara) in the next two rounds. On the other end of the spectrum, many New England fans had hopes of drafting a Tom Brady replacement. That failed to happen, and both Green Bay and New England failed to draft a single receiver in the loaded class of 2020.
Other Noteworthy Stuff:
I love what the Chiefs did at 32. Last week on The All Talk Podcast, I touted Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s potential as Tom Brady’s new James White. Andy Reid took that to a completely different level and said Edwards-Helaire could be better than former Philly great Brian Westbrook. I expect CEH to have an immediate impact in Andy Reid and Eric Bieniemy’s offense, similar to how Kareem Hunt exploded onto the scene his first year in Kansas City. Patrick Mahomes’ new hand-picked running back will quickly become a fan favorite of the Arrowhead faithful.
Jalen Hurts is a Philadelphia Eagle! What does this mean for Carson Wentz? There are plenty of questions around Wentz’s durability and Hurts’ ability as a passer. What we do know is that Philly needs insurance behind Wentz and that Hurts is a special player with his legs. I expect Doug Pederson to utilize Hurts’ unique talents as a rookie like how John Harbaugh used a rookie Lamar Jackson in Baltimore. Will Hurts usurp Wentz in year two? He can already execute a proper Philly Special…
Daniel Jeremiah is a superstar. In the early rounds, Michael Irvin, Kurt Warner, and Booger McFarland offered their two-cents on the players they knew of, but as the draft carried on, Mel Kiper and Jeremiah were the two that kept things rolling. Demonstrating that depth of knowledge on command was wildly impressive, and I suspect it won’t be long before DJ parlays his scouting and media talents into a GM job — just like Mike Mayock.
Morbid family stories should be removed from player profiles. For one reason or another, the producers of the draft put extra emphasis on the tragic stories of players’ pasts. The moment a player hears his name called should be celebratory and savored by a player and his family. When you highlight that Tee Higgins’ mother had a 16-year drug addiction or that Jordan Love’s dad committed suicide while Love was young, that does not make it easy for them to celebrate. While I understand that adversity and suffering can be harnessed as powerful tools for motivation, I don’t think that players, players’ families, or us as the audience wants to hear sob story after sob story during these life-changing moments. Let’s get rid of that next year.
Kliff Kingsbury GETS IT. I’m no real estate expert, but I imagine Kliff’s $4.45M Paradise Valley bachelor pad will hold its value. His controversial exit as USC Offensive Coordinator was vindicated Thursday night after showing off his crib to the nation. Golf courses galore and sun 80 percent of the year? Keep doing you, Kliff.
Overall, the 2020 NFL Draft was a pleasant diversion from our quarantine-induced anxieties. We learned that booing Roger Goodell has lost its edge, coaches and front-office employees actually care about their families, and Kliff Kingsbury is exactly what he appears to be. Zero complaints, now let’s watch The Last Dance.
Brown Sugar by D’Angelo
I’m just going to stay on-brand with The Last Dance and tell you to check out this 1995 R&B classic. My ideal Saturday/Sunday morning consists of waking up, opening the blinds to let the natural sunlight through, sipping on my Royale (shoutout Brian Koppelman), and jamming to a record like this one. In my eyes, the perfect album is one you don’t want to skip through, one you can move to, one you can play in the foreground and background of your environment, and one that doesn’t age. This is one of those for me, and D’Angelo made it when he was 21! Maybe I should’ve included it in my Bill Clinton meme…
If you enjoyed this edition of the Sunday Special, consider subscribing to the ATM: At The Minute Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. And lastly, any and all feedback is appreciated. Have a great week.