Grading Each First Round 2020 NFL Draft Pick

For the first time all spring, we have seen our first live sporting event. Ever since the COVID-19 outbreak began, the NFL has suspended all but one thing: the draft. Though it has to be done digitally, the draft is on schedule and running. There were a lot of twists and interesting picks from the first round, so let’s grade each pick based on the Sideline’s criteria:

Joe Burrow — Quarterback, Cincinnati Bengals

A+

Not much needs to be said here. Burrow is the best quarterback prospect of the last eight years, and the Bengals made a perfect choice. Nothing out of the ordinary happened with the first pick — like last year — and the Bengals now have their franchise guy.

Chase Young — EDGE, Washington 

A+

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Leading up to the draft, there were a lot of rumors about Washington’s franchise possibly trading back. But they stayed put and drafted arguably the best players in the whole draft. Young is elite, and Rivera has already made a fantastic choice in Washington.

Jeff Okudah — Cornerback, Detroit Lions

A

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Okudah is probably the best cornerback prospect since Jalen Ramsey, and the highest-taken defensive back of the 21st century. Okudah is a fantastic player and a terrific replacement to Darius Slay in the secondary.

Andrew Thomas — Tackle, New York Giants

B

What Georgia OL Andrew Thomas brings to the New York Giants – The ...This was the first pick in the draft that came as a surprise. It deserves a B because Thomas wasn’t the best tackle in the draft, so not the best pick for the Giants. That being said, it addressed their biggest position of need, and they now have a long term pass protector for Daniel Jones, which can’t hurt.

Tua Tagovailoa — Quarterback, Miami Dolphins

B+

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Tank for Tua is finally here, and Miami fans couldn’t be happier. Tua was a perfect fit for Miami, and they finally have a QB. But his injury concerns keep the choice from deserving an A grade. 

Justin Herbert — Quarterback, San Diego Chargers

C+

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This is the first pick that raised eyebrows. Herbert to the Chargers has been ‘a thing’ ever since he entered his senior year, but I’m just not buying the hype. He’s never truly been an amazing QB like Tua or Burrow, and isn’t polished enough to be a top-six pick.

Derrick Brown — Defensive Tackle, Carolina Panthers

A+

This pick is everything for the Panthers. Brown was in the top four for many big boards and yet Carolina was able to get him at 7. He fills a huge need while also being the best player available at the pick. Carolina knocked it out of the park with this one.

Isaiah Simmons — Linebacker, Arizona Cardinals

A

Ever since he burst out for Clemson last year, Simmons has won over fans. New York might’ve taken him at no. 4, so the Cardinals getting him at no. 8 is fantastic for the team. Though there are people who see him as a master of none, fans can’t help but love his versatility for a team that needs a superstar on defense.

C.J Henderson — Cornerback, Jacksonville Jaguars

B+

This was a pure best-fit pick for the Jags, and Henderson will be a longtime starter on the team. Though he was not the best player on the board, Jacksonville was able to snag the best CB still available in the draft, which can’t be faulted.

Jedrick Wills — Tackle, Cleveland Browns

A+

It’s hard to believe the Browns got as good of a fit as Wills at the no. 10 spot. Cleveland was desperate for an o-lineman this year, and getting one of the best ones deserves an A+. Wills should have gone in the top-five, and for Cleveland to get him at no. 10 is a fantastic value.

Mekhi Becton — Tackle, New York Jets

B-

The Jets deserve sympathy in this situation. They were placed behind a team with the same exact need who ended up taking the best player at that position. The Jets reached for Becton, and fans might have preferred a pass blocker like Wirfs instead. A trade back would have been better for New York.

Henry Ruggs III — Wide Receiver, Las Vegas Raiders

D

This was the most stereotypical Raiders pick possible. Not only did they reach for a player when they had many holes to fill, but they also took the speed at wide receiver over a more well-rounded player. Though I don’t think Ruggs is a D level player, it was generally an awful pick. Both Jerry Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb were still on the board, yet they chose the less talented wideout in Ruggs. We don’t get it.

Tristan Wirfs — Tackle, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

B+

Though Wirfs is a fantastic pick for the Bucs, it doesn’t deserve an A because they had to trade up to get him. However, Tampa now fills their biggest hole in the roster and adds to an already stacked offense. Tom Brady will be sleeping a little easier tonight knowing Wirfs will protect him for the next two years.

Javon Kinlaw — Defensive Tackle, San Francisco 49ers

A

What a pick. Kinlaw will end up being the steal of the draft, and he has the talent to be a top-ten defensive tackle in the league. Though the 49ers had to give up Deforest Buckner for this choice, they replaced him with an extra fourth-rounder from the Bucs trade and a younger, cheaper alternative in Kinlaw.

Jerry Jeudy — Wide Receiver, Denver Broncos

A

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Jeudy was very popular throughout the draft process, as he was commonly the no. 1 wideout. The Broncos got a steal in Jeudy at 15 and now have a tremendous young offense that features Courtland Sutton, Drew Lock, and Noah Fant. Soon, he’ll make the Raiders regret passing on him.

A.J Terrell — Cornerback, Atlanta Falcons

D

This was an objectively bad pick for the Falcons. Many experts didn’t even have him as a first-rounder, yet Atlanta took him as high as no. 16. Many didn’t even have him in their top-three corners, yet they took him here? This was one of the biggest reaches in the first round, and the Falcons should have traded back and taken value for him later in the draft.

CeeDee Lamb — Wide Receiver, Dallas Cowboys

A+

In such a deep draft class for wide receivers, it’s hard for a player to stand out. Lamb, however, does just that. He is an absolute steal at no. 17. That type of offensive firepower is a dream for Dak Prescott, and not only does it help the Cowboys, but it also hurts the Eagles as well. 

Austin Jackson — Tackle, Miami Dolphins

C

This is such a ‘meh’ pick for the Dolphins. I understand that Tua needs to be protected from this draft, but it’s a pretty disappointing pick with players like Chaisson and Queen still on the board. We can’t knock it too hard when they get a player that fills a need, but I think the Dolphins should have been going BPA (best player available) in these later first-round picks.

Damon Arnette — Cornerback, Las Vegas Raiders

F

This pick was such a head-scratcher. I understand that they needed a corner, but why Arnette? He wasn’t even close to being the best corner on his team, and at most points in the season, he didn’t look very good. Arnette wasn’t even on most peoples’ radar as a first-rounder, and for a team like the Raiders with multiple firsts, they have disappointed so far.

K’lavon Chaisson —, EDGE, Jacksonville Jaguars

A-

Chaisson was promising in the late first, and this was a great pick for the Jags. They added another pass rusher to the roster after losing Calais Campbell, which now gives them a two-headed monster with Josh Allen and Chaisson.  

Jalen Reagor — Wide Receiver, Philadelphia Eagles

C-

Why Reagor? The Eagles desperately needed a wideout after problems last year, but why Reagor of all players? Though he does have talent, he is prone to drops, which has been a huge struggle in Philly as of late. Some might’ve preferred Justin Jefferson here.

22. Justin Jefferson — Wide Receiver, Minnesota Vikings

A

This was a fantastic pick for Minnesota. After shipping Stefon Diggs in the offseason, they desperately needed another wideout alongside Adam Thielen. Jefferson was debated by many as the fourth best receiver this year, so there should be no complaints about this pick.

Kenneth Murray — Linebacker, Los Angeles Chargers

B

In classic Patriots fashion, they traded out of the first round in order to secure later picks. For the Chargers, I think this is a pretty solid pick. It fills a hole in the linebacker position, but we can’t be sure if it was the best pick. They lost value from trading up, and some might’ve preferred Patrick Queen to Murray at linebacker. However, Murray is a good player and will be a long-term starter for the Chargers.

Cesar Ruiz — Center, New Orleans Saints

C+

This pick was very unpopular for many Saints fans online, and it’s easy to see why. Though the Saints are trying to compete this year, they drafted a center who won’t start until next year. This is all while LSU stars Patrick Queen and Kristian Fulton are still on the board. Though I believe Ruiz will be a solid starter, this might’ve been the wrong team to take him.

Brandon Aiyuk — Wide Receiver, San Francisco 49ers

C

Aiyuk will be a good but not great receiver in the NFL. In this class, where there is so much depth at that position, there isn’t much need to trade up for a player that won’t be all that better than others in the second round. Aiyuk will probably succeed because he will have a great offense around him, but he won’t be better than other receivers. 

Jordan Love — Quarterback, Green Bay Packers

B

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This was a really tough pick to grade, and we won’t be able to know how productive it is for another two years. Love wasn’t a favorite prospect at QB, but he does have plenty of upsides. His biggest problem is turnovers, and playing behind Rodgers for a couple of seasons could help amend that. This is an eerily similar pick to when Rodgers was drafted, so only time can tell how Love will be.

Jordyn Brooks — Linebacker, Seattle Seahawks

F

What were they thinking here? Patrick Queen was still on the board if they wanted a linebacker, Xavier Mckinney is there for BPA, and players like Josh Jones could’ve been a good fit. Linebacker isn’t a need for the Seahawks, and Brooks isn’t close to these other players mentioned. Yet another head scratcher coming from Seattle in the first round.

Patrick Queen — Linebacker, Baltimore Ravens

A

Queen is a fantastic linebacker prospect, and the Ravens got a steal at no. 28. He perfectly fits their team needs, is one of the best available, and is ready to be a day one starter. The ravens got a good one in Queen.

Isaiah Wilson — Tackle, Tennessee Titans

C-

This was another odd pick late in the draft. Josh Jones is a more talented tackle who was still left, yet Tennessee goes for the unproven and raw Isaiah Wilson. This seems like a stretch pick for a team desperate to fill a need,

Noah Igbinoghene — Cornerback, Miami Dolphins

D+

This pick from Miami just doesn’t add up. Two better corners in Fulton and Gladney were still on the board, and more talented players like Jones or Mckinney are still there. A real odd one for Miami, which caps off a lackluster first round for the Dolphins.

Jeff Gladney — Cornerback, Minnesota Vikings

A-

The Vikings were one of the real winners in the draft this year. They fixed both their receivers and secondary in one round and did it with two good players. Gladney looked very explosive coming out of TCU, and he should be able to fill a gaping hole in the Minnesota secondary.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire — Runningback, Kansas City Chiefs

C+

It feels like a lot of people really like this pick for Kansas City, but some are really not thrilled. Many say that a scary offense gets scarier, but it was unnecessary. The Chiefs already had plenty of depth in the backfield, and I don’t believe he will have the impact that a guy like Mckinney on defense would. However, this isn’t a trash pick because Edwards-Helaire is a talented back, who will be very solid for a long time.

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That’s it for our grades of all 32 draft picks. It’s inspiring how far these players have come, and even more insane that so many more talented players are left. The likes of Xavier Mckinney, Josh Jones, A.J. Epenesa, and many more are still available in round two, so look out for their grades as well.

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