At First Glance: A First Round Recap of the Virtual 2020 NFL Draft
Recapping the first round of an unprecedented virtual NFL Draft.
By Ricardo Johnson
Updated: April 24, 2020 • 2:25 PM ET
Joe Burrow was the first-overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Hosted by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell from his basement on Thursday night, the first round of the three-day, 2020 virtual NFL Draft has concluded. Due to circumstances caused by the current COVID-19 pandemic, the draft, which was originally scheduled to take place in Las Vegas, was forced to a virtual platform where coaches and general managers selected players from their homes and offices. Meanwhile, draft prospects waited at home with their families for that nerve wrecking call. Following Harry Connick Jr.’s performance of the national anthem from his home studio and a welcoming speech by Goodell, the Cincinnati Bengals were on the clock with the first overall pick for the fourth time in franchise history.
1. Cincinnati Bengals - Joe Burrow - QB/LSU
As expected by many, the Bengals drafted the 2019 Heisman Trophy winner with the No. 1 overall pick. With only one year left on Andy Dalton’s contract, it’s only a matter of time before Burrow takes the reins of a franchise that hasn't won a playoff game in 30 years. The last time the Bengals had the first-overall pick was in 2003 when they drafted former Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer. After an amazing senior season at LSU, during which Burrow threw for more than 5,000 yards with 60 touchdown passes, the damage he could do with a healthy A.J. Green is unfathomable.
2. Washington Redskins - Chase Young - DE/Ohio State
With a defense ranked 27th overall last year, the Redskins used the second-overall pick to help address that issue. Joining former Ohio State teammate Dwayne Haskins, Young gets to bring the same intensity to the other side of the ball in the nation’s capital. On top of his 2019 performance, which resulted in 46 total tackles and 16.5 sacks, Young’s physicality, mobility and size (6-foot-5, 264 pounds) made him a top five draft favorite.
3. Detroit Lions - Jeffrey Okudah - DB/Ohio State
After trading away star cornerback Darius Slay to the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this offseason, the Lions added veterans Jamie Collins Sr. and Desmond Trufant to improve their defense — and have now added Jeffrey Okudah. Following former teammate Chase Young in the draft, Okudah enters the NFL off an Ohio State defense that ranked in the top 3 in the nation in 2019. Okudah’s junior year was his most impressive, as he finished with career-highs in total tackles (34) and interceptions (3). While Lions quarterback Matt Stafford could still use help on the offensive line, it will be interesting to see if the Lions continue to focus on the defense side of the ball during the remainder of the draft.
4. NY Giants - Andrew Thomas - OT/Georgia
With one of the best running backs in the league in Saquon Barkley already on the roster, the Giants helped him immensely by adding a strong talent like Thomas to the offensive line. At 6-foot-5 and 315 pounds, Thomas is a versatile player with experience at both left and right tackle. He should be an instant starter and provide much relief for sophomore quarterback Daniel Jones, who was sacked 38 times last year.
5. Miami Dolphins - Tua Tagovailoa - QB/Alabama
The Dolphins used the first of their 14 draft picks to land their quarterback of the future...again. While 2012 was the last time the Dolphins drafted a quarterback in the first round (insert Ryan Tannehill), they haven’t really had any luck at that position since Dan Marino. And while past injuries were marked as red flags, Tagovailoa’s overall productivity in three years at Alabama cannot be overlooked. If the Dolphins can plug key pieces around Tagovailoa as their centerpiece during this rebuilding stage, and considering that the Brady era in New England is over, Dolphins fans may finally have real hope, now more than ever.
6. Los Angeles Chargers - Justin Herbert - QB/Oregon
In what will be a battle for the starting position with Tyrod Taylor, Justin Herbert was added to the fight to become Philip Rivers’ successor. The third quarterback selected in the first six picks, Herbert entered the draft standing 6-feet-6-inches (tallest of the top three prospects) with less hype surrounding him compared to Tagovailoa and Burrow. In his four years at Oregon, Herbert finished with a touchdown/interception ratio of 95:23, while throwing for a total of 10,541 yards. Do not be surprised if Taylor starts Week 1, only to be benched by Week 4 for Herbert.
7. Carolina Panthers - Derrick Brown - IDL/Auburn
The last time the Panthers drafted a player from Auburn in the first round was 2011 when they drafted Cam Newton with the first-overall pick. The last time the Panthers drafted a player with a top ten pick was Christian McCaffrey at No. 8 overall in 2017; and the Panthers seem to have hit gold again with this year’s first-round pick, as Brown was one of the top defensive players in this year’s draft. Alongside Tahir Whitehead, Brown should help in pressuring opposing quarterbacks, something the Panthers already did well last year.
8. Arizona Cardinals - Isaiah Simmons - LB/Clemson
With a defense ranked dead last in the league last year, the Cardinals made a splash on that side of the ball early. Not only did the Cardinals draft one of the top linebacker prospects, they drafted arguably the most versatile. In his time at Clemson, Simmons experienced playing time at safety, cornerback, and both inside and outside linebacker. When asked about drafting Simmons, Cardinals’ general manager Steve Keim said via Sports Illustrated, “He's sort of a Swiss Army knife and does it all, and we call that kind of a player an eraser in this league.”
Hopefully, Simmons can help erase the memory of last season moving forward.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars - CJ Henderson - DB/Florida
A team that had a top defense not so long ago fell a long way last season. After trading Jalen Ramsey in October and A.J. Bouye in March, the Jaguars’ lackluster defense was missing an essential piece. Henderson racked up six interceptions in his first two seasons at Florida before a minor setback (zero interceptions) in his junior year. Henderson and fellow cornerback Tre Herndon should help safeties Ronnie Harrison and Jarrod Wilson, as the Jaguars look to create a dominant defense once again.
10. Cleveland Browns - Jedrick Wills Jr. - OT/Alabama
The man who spent his time protecting Tua Tagovailoa at Alabama has now been drafted to protect Baker Mayfield, who took a career-high 40 sacks last season. With a star receiving core and solid run game, all that is missing for the Browns offense is for Mayfield to match his confidence with his game play — Jedrick Wills should help in relieving that pressure. After re-signing Kareem Hunt, the Browns made their intentions to fill their few voids on offense very clear, and this pick solidifies that claim.
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11. NY Jets - Mekhi Becton - OT/Louisville
The NY Jets got a huge star, literally and figuratively, in 6-foot-7, 364-pound Mekhi Becton. With experience playing on both the left and right side of the offensive line, Becton is another example of a versatile mercenary who can help his quarterback breath before throwing. If he works on his foot placement, it will be very enjoyable seeing Becton brush off the NFL’s top rushers this season.
12. Las Vegas Raiders - Henry Ruggs III - WR/Alabama
Though Raiders Nation doesn't know who their starting quarterback will be this season, Derek Carr or Marcus Mariota, they can rest easy knowing Nelson Agholor won't be the only addition to the receiving core. Choosing the first receiver in a deep draft for that position, the Raiders saw something in Ruggs, so much that they preferred him over Alabama teammate Jerry Jeudy, who was favored to be the first receiver drafted. In his three seasons with the Crimson Tide, Ruggs caught 24 touchdowns (two less than Jeudy) and had a total of 1,716 receiving yards (1,026 less than Jeudy). If placed in the slot position, Ruggs can open up the field for fellow receiver Tyrell Williams on the outside.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (from Indianapolis via San Francisco) - Tristan Wirfs - OT/Iowa
In an attempt to prevent newly acquired quarterback Tom Brady from feeling the 47 sacks Jameis Winston faced last year, the Buccaneers traded up to boost their offense line. A favorite to go in the top ten, it seemed like there was a slim chance Wirfs would still be available at No. 13. And while NFL rumors have suggested that Brady wasn't getting the appreciation he deserved from former New England head coach Bill Belichick, Brady must be ecstatic he has a coach invested in him this season. The Bucs not only brought in Brady’s best bud, Rob Gronkowski, but also added much-needed pass protection.
14. San Francisco 49ers (from Tampa Bay) - Javon Kinlaw - DT/South Carolina
Drafting last year’s Defensive Rookie of the Year Nick Bosa wasn’t enough for the NFC Champions, as they picked up another defensive force in this year’s draft. Kinlaw finished his junior year with 35 total tackles and six sacks, totaling 93 tackles and 10 sacks in his South Carolina career. Adding Kinlaw to a defense that ranked second overall last season under Kyle Shanahan is just scary.
15. Denver Broncos - Jerry Jeudy - WR/Alabama
Projected to be the first wide receiver drafted this year by NFL analysts, Jeudy had to step aside for his former teammate. In three seasons at Alabama, Jeudy caught 26 touchdowns and had 2,742 total receiving yards. The Broncos have moved on from veteran quarterback Joe Flacco and look to invest in sophomore quarterback Drew Lock this offseason, already signing running back Melvin Gordon and drafting a ready-to-go receiver in Jeudy.
16. Atlanta Falcons - A.J. Terrell - CB/Clemson
With a team that was already stacked on offense with players such as Julio Jones, Todd Gurley II, Calvin Ridley and Matt Ryan, it only made sense that the Falcons would look into improving their 20th-ranked defense. Led by veteran defensive end Dante Fowler Jr., the Falcons needed to add depth with a reliable cornerback. They hope to have gotten that in Terrell, who totaled 74 solo tackles and six interceptions in his three years in Clemson. Far from having a stellar defense, the Falcons are on the right path to building one with this pick.
17. Dallas Cowboys - CeeDee Lamb - WR/Oklahoma
Jerry Jones’ excitement could be felt through the television screen right before commissioner Goodell announced this year’s 17th overall pick. Already boasting the top offense from last season, the Cowboys did not hesitate in giving Dak Prescott another weapon. Lamb had more than 3,000 receiving yards and 32 touchdowns in three years at Oklahoma with a career-high 14 touchdowns in his junior year. Moving forward, the Cowboys can now focus on improving their defense and signing Prescott to a new deal.
18. Miami Dolphins (from Pittsburgh) - Austin Jackson - T/USC
With the second of their 14 overall draft picks, the Dolphins decided to focus on protection for their newly acquired rookie quarterback, despite possibly being able to wait for later in the draft to select the young tackle. With the signing of both veteran and young players this offseason, the Dolphins’ vision of rebuilding is still a little blurry. Fans, however, should be happy with the detail and effort put into the construction of the team this past year.
19. Las Vegas Raiders (from Chicago) - Damon Arnette - CB/Ohio State
After acquiring a weapon on offense with their first pick, the Raiders turned their attention to the other side of the ball with their second pick of the first round. The third defensive player to be drafted from Ohio State so far, Arnette finished his four seasons in Columbus with 140 total tackles and five interceptions. With the NFL’s 19th-ranked defense last year, picking up a cornerback such as Arnette should light a fire underneath the unit, although they are still far from perfect.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars (from Rams) - K’Lavon Chaisson - DE/LSU
With their second pick in the first round, the Jaguars continued to add water to their dumpster fire defense. A key factor on LSU’s championship team, Chaisson balled out in his last year on the bayou with 60 total tackles and 6.5 sacks. With quarterbacks such as Philip Rivers and Deshaun Watson in their division, an intense pass rusher such as Chaisson should help the Jags add needed pressure. While the investment in defense looks promising, the offense still needs much work if the Jaguars truly want Gardner Minshew to succeed next season.
21. Philadelphia Eagles - Jalen Reagor - WR/TCU
Goodbye Agholor, hello Reagor. While Carson Wentz showed what his talents can do when left with absolutely nothing, having a young, elusive player such as Reagor should help Wentz immensely next season when the majority of his injury-ridden receiving core gets hurt again. In his three years at TCU, Reagor had more than 2,000 receiving yards and 22 touchdowns. Though the Eagles just added a new target for Wentz, their remaining focus in the draft should be on the defense and offensive line. Sneak in a running back somewhere just in case.
22. Minnesota Vikings (from Buffalo) - Justin Jefferson - WR/LSU
After shipping Stefon Diggs to Buffalo, the Vikings will look to Jefferson as their new WR2 to match Adam Thielen on the opposite side. Jefferson had a stellar final year at LSU, scoring 18 touchdowns with a career-high 1,540 receiving yards. The second offensive player to be drafted from LSU, Jefferson comes from an environment with a winning mentality. He’ll be welcomed by a team that wants to get back to an NFC championship, sooner rather than later.
23. Los Angeles Chargers (from New England) - Kenneth Murray - LB/Oklahoma
Unlike the Dolphins, which added protection for their newly drafted quarterback with their second pick, the Chargers decided to focus on their defense this time around. In three seasons with the Sooners, Murray was responsible for an incredible 334 total tackles and 9.5 sacks. He likely should have been drafted a lot earlier, and the Chargers should consider this trade with the Patriots a steal. Then again, it is the Patriots, and we all know what they can do with a sixth round pick.
24. New Orleans Saints - Cesar Ruiz - OL/Michigan
The third-highest scoring team last year with a quarterback who holds the current career touchdown passing record, the Saints wanted to keep it that way by adding extra protection for their quarterback. The only player to be drafted from Michigan so far, Ruiz was selected as an underclassman for obvious reasons.
The former Wolverine stated during this year’s NFL Scouting Combine (via USA Today), “…if you look at the film, if you look at how I dominate people, if you look at my character, how smart I am, I have everything for a first-rounder. I’m very confident in myself that I am a first-rounder.”
Apparently, the Saints agree.
25. San Francisco 49ers (from Minnesota) - Brandon Aiyuk - WR/Arizona State
In an effort to return to the Super Bowl to right last year's wrong, the 49ers drafted a top ten receiver in Brandon Aiyuk with their second pick of the first round after adding to their defense earlier in the evening. In his final year at Arizona State, Aiyuk caught 65 passes for 1,192 yards and eight touchdowns. Standing 6-feet tall, Aiyuk should be a great addition in the slot and make it difficult for defenders to focus on both Kittle and himself.
26. Green Bay Packers (from Houston via Miami) - Jordan Love - QB/Utah State
Probably the most bizarre and unpredictable pick of the evening, the Packers decided to draft Aaron Rodgers’ successor. In three years at Utah State, Love threw for more than 8,000 yards with a 60/29 touchdown/interception ratio. While Rodgers has plenty left in his tank, it’s very interesting the Packers have begun planning for a future without him. Then again, it took a few years for Rodgers to pry the starting position from Brett Favre, so we may not see Love this year, or even next year. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Patriots traded their first round pick, thinking they could steal Love early in the second round.
27. Seattle Seahawks - Jordyn Brooks - LB/Texas Tech
A team that has made a complete 180-degree roster change since their 2013 Super Bowl campaign, the Seahawks continue to focus on their defense. By the end of his senior year, Brooks was responsible for 360 total tackles, 6.5 sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles. While the addition of Brooks should help veteran Bobby Wagner in the long term, the Seahawks have bigger issues on their offense to worry about that will hopefully be addressed throughout the remainder of the draft and offseason.
28. Baltimore Ravens - Patrick Queen - LB/LSU
After being so close to another Super Bowl, coach John Harbaugh looked to continue to build his defense. As one of the best defensive minds in the NFL, fans can rest comfortably knowing that Harbaugh knows what he’s doing. Queen finished his junior year with 85 total tackles, three sacks, one interception and a National Championship, as the Louisiana-native will also join a championship-ready team in Baltimore.
29. Tennessee Titans - Isaiah Wilson - T/Georgia
The Titans continue to invest in quarterback Ryan Tannehill and running back Derrick Henry by using their first pick on protection. In a deep offensive tackle draft, the Titans might have found a sleeper in the 6-foot-6, 350-pound Wilson. With only two years under his sleeve, Wilson didn't have as much tape to show compared to other prospects, but his body of work seemed to be enough for the Titans.
30. Miami Dolphins (from Green Bay) - Noah Igbinoghene - CB/Auburn
After focusing on offense with their first two picks, the Dolphins added some youth to their veteran defense. In his short time at Auburn, Igbinoghene recorded 92 total tackles and 18 pass deflections. While cornerbacks such as Kristian Fulton and Trevon Diggs still on the board, Brian Flores' defensive mind saw something in Igbinoghene that made him worthy of drafting.
31. Minnesota Vikings (from San Francisco) - Jeff Gladney - CB/TCU
Speak of the devil, and he shall appear. The Vikings did not let the opportunity slip away, as they used their second pick to pick up a top defender. Unlike Igbinoghene, Gladney played four years at TCU, totaling 146 tackles, 37 pass deflections and five interceptions.
32. Kansas City Chiefs - Clyde Edwards-Helaire - RB/LSU
When you have one of the best offenses in the league, are the current Super Bowl champions and have the last pick in the first round, what do you do? The Chiefs added yet another weapon to an already dangerous offensive arsenal. The fifth player chosen from LSU, Edwards-Helaire is yet another player moving from one winning environment to another. In his junior year, Edwards rushed 215 times for 1,414 yards and 16 touchdowns. If that isn't enough to give you reasons to believe, keep in mind that head coach Andy Reid is also known for drafting great running backs, such as Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy.
The first night of a historical and first-of-its-kind draft has concluded. The virtual setting saw four teams pick their future quarterbacks, while five prospects came from LSU’s championship team. The Dolphins still have 11 draft picks left, while teams like the Patriots and the Steelers will have to wait until Round 2 to draft their first player. May the waivers always be in your team’s favor!
• The draft continues with Rounds 2 and 3 on Friday at 7 p.m. EST, and the remainder of the rounds continue Saturday afternoon at 12 p.m. EST.