The 2020 NFL Draft is in the books.
The Miami Dolphins and Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady were among the big winners of the first round. The Baltimore Ravens and Broncos quarterback Drew Lock had a solid second day. But the third day is a little tougher to gauge.
In Rounds 4-7, NFL teams are searching for players who can make the roster and have an impact. Only a handful of players picked in Day 3 will emerge as stars and it’s anyone’s guess who that’ll be. There were still some big winners and losers, though.
Here’s who stood out, both positively and negatively, on the last day of the 2020 NFL Draft:
Winner: The 49ers for getting Trent Williams without a huge extension
Part of the reason it was so difficult for Washington to trade Williams was because he reportedly wanted a contract that averaged at least $20 million per year. While a deal with the Vikings almost got done, Williams’ desire for a massive extension led Minnesota to draft Ezra Cleveland in the second round instead.
But Williams isn’t making the same demand in San Francisco. For the cost of a 2020 fifth-round pick and 2021 third-rounder, the 49ers got a seven-time Pro Bowler who — at least for now — seems fine playing on his current contract.
Williams isn’t exactly cheap with a $12.5 million cap hit, but that’s way more affordable than the alternative. With Joe Staley retiring, the 49ers set themselves up for a smooth 2020 by landing Williams.
Loser: Leonard Fournette
About a week before the draft, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Fournette was on the trading block. It makes sense for the Jaguars, who have already traded away Calais Campbell, A.J. Bouye, and Nick Foles as part of their 2020 teardown.
There doesn’t much of a market for Fournette, though. Jacksonville tried to send him to the Buccaneers, but they drafted Vanderbilt running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn instead. The Jaguars reportedly had discussions with the Dolphins too, before Miami traded for Matt Breida.
Now Fournette is still on the roster of a team that clearly doesn’t really want him. Awkward.
Winner: Eric DeCosta
Baltimore general manager Eric DeCosta was already acing the draft before Day 3. In the first round, the Ravens drafted linebacker Patrick Queen, a perfect fit for their defense and a player who fills a major need. In the second round, they landed the No. 1 RB on their board (J.K. Dobbins) to improve their already scary ground game, and added three more college stars with potential to be big-time contributors in the NFL (Justin Madubuike, Devin Duvernay, and Malik Harrison).
In all, DeCosta took his 14-win roster and added these players:
Ravens 2020 NFL Draft Class:— Baltimore Beatdown (@BmoreBeatdown) April 25, 2020
Rd 1: 28- LB P. Queen
Rd 2: 55- RB J.K. Dobbins
Rd 3: 71- DT J. Madubuike
Rd 3: 92- WR D. Duvernay
Rd 3: 98- LB M. Harrison
Rd 3: 106- OL T. Phillips
Rd 4: 143- OL B. Bredeson
Rd 5: 170- DT B. Washington
Rd 6: 201- WR J Proche
Rd. 7: 219- S G. Stone
Expect to see the Ravens bring home a straight-A report card from draft experts.
Winner: Special teams players
Day 3 was these guys’ time to shine. Look at all these specialists drafted on Saturday:
- Marshall K Justin Rohrwasser, taken by the Patriots at No. 159 in the fifth round
- LSU long snapper Blake Ferguson taken by the Dolphins at No. 185 overall in the sixth round
- Georgia Southern K Tyler Bass, taken by the Bills at No. 188 in the sixth round
- Texas A&M P Braden Mann, taken by the Jets at No. 191 in the sixth round
- Syracuse P Sterling Hofrichter, taken by the Falcons at No. 228 in the seventh round
- Miami (Ohio) K Sam Sloman, taken by the Rams at No. 248 in the seventh round
Rodrigo Blankenship is going to the Colts!— SB Nation (@SBNation) April 25, 2020
The Georgia kicker might be 47-year-old Adam Vinatieri's replacement. Big shoes to fill. pic.twitter.com/WlOq4M4Kza
Loser: Aaron Rodgers, for a third effin’ day
After trading up to draft Jordan Love in the first round and collecting several non-wide receivers after that, surely the Packers would end up with at least one new weapon for Rodgers in the passing game, right?
Two kickers and a long snapper now gone before the Packers took a WR. What a wild time to be alive— Bucs Nation (@Bucs_Nation) April 25, 2020
The Packers’ final count: 1 QB, 1 RB, 1 TE, 1 LB, 3 OL, 1 DB, 1 Edge, zero WR.
Loser: The Jets’ sad QB draft history
It’s not really a surprise the Jets took a quarterback in the draft. The depth chart after Sam Darnold is David Fales and Mike White, who have combined to throw exactly zero passes in New York.
In the fourth round, the Jets selected Florida International’s James Morgan, who has a strong arm but some accuracy issues (he completed just 58 percent of his passes in 2019). Basically, he’s the most Jets pick possible:
James Morgan is the 10th QB taken by the Jets in the last 15 years, most by any team.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 25, 2020
He's the 2nd FIU QB drafted in the past 3 years (Alex McGough - 7th round, 2018).
FIU is now 1 of just 4 schools to have multiple QBs drafted since 2018 (Oklahoma, LSU, Washington St). pic.twitter.com/CYNUyeuWU7
Darnold still has a chance to be a high-level starter — especially now that the Jets have spent the offseason getting him protection — but Morgan is not joining elite company here. The other QBs the Jets have drafted in recent years include Christian Hackenberg (never appeared in a game), Bryce Petty (4:10 TD:INT ratio), Geno Smith (punched in the face), and Mark Sanchez (buttfumble).
Morgan will need some time to develop if he’s going to stick in the league, but he’ll probably get thrown into the fire immediately when Darnold adds, like, gout to his list of weird injuries.
Winner: The Raiders, who basically drafted every player from the Clemson-Bama national championship games
Clemson and Alabama faced off in the national championship game three times in four seasons: 2015, 2016, and 2018. Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock must have liked what they saw. The Raiders have selected eight Bama and Clemson players who played in both of the last two title game matchups.
Raiders select another former Clemson Tiger, this time guard John Simpson. Raiders now have eight players on their current roster from the Clemson-Alabama National Title game. https://t.co/1IfEh7wvqU— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 25, 2020
There are obviously more Tigers than Tide players on this list, so it’s pretty fitting that the Raiders garnered the nickname “Clemson West” this draft cycle.
Loser: Joe Brady
Brady, the Panthers’ new OC, spent last season as the architect of LSU’s historically great offense. He saw seven of his former players from that Tigers offense drafted this year. Unfortunately for him, he won’t get a reunion in Carolina because the Panthers didn’t draft any of them. Or any offensive players whatsoever:
The Panthers have used up all their picks in the 2020 draft, so let’s look back at all seven players they drafted and grade the overall draft class. They went 7-for-7 on defensive players, which hasn’t happened in modern NFL history, so that’s neat. https://t.co/F0y7SqGj5l pic.twitter.com/xJAgelonw5— Cat Scratch Reader (@CatScratchReadr) April 25, 2020
To be fair, the Panthers REALLY needed reinforcements on a defense that ranked just 25th in DVOA last year, allowed 29.4 points per game, AND just lost Luke Kuechly, Gerald McCoy, and Dontari Poe this offseason.
But, sheesh, at least throw Brady a bone!
Winner: Jarrett Stidham
The Patriots didn’t trade up in the first round to find a franchise quarterback. They didn’t pick one in Day 2, either. That extended to Day 3, when they chose a kicker instead of Georgia’s Jake Fromm in the fifth round and then opted to take three offensive linemen and one linebacker to close out their draft class.
That means the starting job is still Stidham’s to lose. He’s likely to beat out Brian Hoyer, although there’s still a chance New England goes after a veteran — Cam Newton, Jameis Winston, Jacoby Brissett, and Andy Dalton are all possibilities — to take over.
For now though, Stidham is in position to be the Patriots’ long-term solution at quarterback. At the very least, he’s going to get a shot.
Winner: The Cowboys, who stuck with tradition at center
Travis Frederick was an All-American center at Wisconsin before the Cowboys drafted him to anchor the center of their offensive line in 2013. He retired in 2020 after battling Guillain-Barre Syndrome, so Jerry Jones replaced him with ... an All-American center from Wisconsin.
Tyler Biadasz is roughly as Wisconsin as they come. He came out of the womb eating cheese curds and shunting aside Iowa linemen:
Dallas swung a trade with arch-rival Philadelphia to target Biadasz, who slid from a possible Day 2 pick despite winning the Rimington Award — college football’s top center — in 2019. He’s a player who can immediately step into the Cowboys’ starting lineup and make himself anonymous. That’s exactly what you want from a high-level interior lineman.
Loser: The Eagles (and everyone in the NFC East not named the Cowboys)
The Eagles had weird draft. They went with receiver Jalen Reagor in the first round, which addressed a need but was a little higher than he was expected to go. Then they surprised everyone by grabbing quarterback Jalen Hurts in the second. Linebacker Davion Taylor in the third round was a bit of a reach, and they didn’t draft a cornerback.
But where they’re really screwed is in the NFC East. The Cowboys had an incredible draft, and as their top competition in the division, the Eagles need to keep pace with them. But the Cowboys lucked into top-talent players like CeeDee Lamb and Trevon Diggs, and are building what looks like one of the elite teams. They even replaced their best offensive lineman with one of the draft’s best offensive linemen in the fourth round.
The NFC East has been a division in flux for the better part of a decade, and it’s just been begging for someone to step up and take control. It looked like the Eagles would be that team after they won a Super Bowl two years ago, but since then have only seemed to make lateral moves at best.
Bonus: the Cowboys got rid of Jason Garrett, so they should be firmly favored to be the top team in the division next season.
Loser: All of us who ain’t shit compared to Antonio Gandy-Golden
Gandy-Golden can solve a Rubik’s Cube, juggle, do backflips, once bowled a perfect game, has raised sheep and chickens, and he’s spent his time in quarantine learning guitar while the rest of are proud of ourselves for changing our underwear today.
Meet Antonio Gandy-Golden. The Liberty receiver’s first sport was gymnastics. He bowled a 300 game two months after picking up the sport. He is the most interesting player in this year’s draft, and this Rubik’s Cube never stood a chance. https://t.co/qOUJT4IwtJ pic.twitter.com/kMRUZGhnXv— Andy Staples (@Andy_Staples) February 25, 2020
Oh, and he’s a really damn good receiver too. Washington selected Gandy-Golden in the fourth round. After three straight years of 1,000+ yards receiving and 10 touchdowns in college (if you even consider Liberty a real college), Gandy-Golden was a popular sleeper pick this draft season. He’ll give Dwayne Haskins another big receiver to target on Sundays, while he learns a new language, composes a symphony, and works toward his PhD in medieval architecture the other days of the week.
Winner: The all-name team
The final day of the draft isn’t just filled with “who the hell is Ben DiNucci?” players and special teamers. It’s also the time for the all-name to step into the spotlight.
This year, we chose one player per position to represent the all-name team. That ended up including three seventh-round picks, almost in rapid succession:
- QB Cole McDonald (No. 224, Titans)
- G Arlington Hambright (No. 226, Bears)
- LB Casey Toohill (No. 233, Eagles)
And several others who just missed the cut:
- G Lachavious Simmons (No. 227, Bears)
- P Sterling Hofrichter (No. 228, Falcons)
- CB Bopete Keyes (No. 237, Chiefs)
That’s quite the run of A+ names. It’s also a good thing Roger Goodell stopped announcing picks after Day 2, because he would’ve butchered every single one of them.