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Round 1 Draft Grades

Alex Simpson and Alex Gilstrap are here to break down every pick of the 2020 NFL Draft as they happen in real-time. This page will be updated as every pick is made and each selection will be given a grade by our draft experts. Be sure to follow all night through the first round of the NFL Draft.

2020 NFL Draft

Pick 1: Cincinnati Bengals – Joe Burrow – QB – LSU

Alex Simpson: Joe Burrow was the obvious pick here. The Bengals hope that he can turn their franchise around as their new signal-caller. We’ve known this for months and now it’s confirmed. Burrow returns home to Ohio.

Grade: A

Alex Gilstrap: It is the pick we have expected since the conclusion of the college football season. Joe Burrow is the right choice and points the Cincinnati Bengals in the right direction. This team still needs a lot of help to even sniff the playoffs anytime soon, however, the draft capital they own in the 2020 NFL Draft should send them in the right direction.

Grade: A

Pick 2: Washington Redskins – Chase Young – EDGE – Ohio State

Alex Simpson: Defensive line isn’t the Redskins biggest need and that’s the only thing that keeps this from being an A+ graded pick. Chase Young is the best player in this class and will become an immediate candidate for defensive rookie of the year. I expect Young to be a perennial Pro-Bowler, if not All-Pro, for years to come.

Grade: A

Alex Gilstrap: Again, this pick was the expected one. The Redskins are getting the best player in the 2020 NFL Draft. They already have some notable pass-rushers in Montez Sweat, Da’Ron Payne, Jonathan Allen, and Ryan Kerrigan, however, having the chance to bring in a top talent like Young is an opportunity you can not pass up.

Grade: A

Pick 3: Detroit Lions – Jeffrey Okudah – CB – Ohio State

Alex Simpson: I’ve been predicting Okudah to go number-three overall for a while. Okudah is the best cornerback to come out of college in a few years. He will look to come in and replace Darius Slay who is now a Philadelphia Eagle. The Lions did not trade the pick and grabbed the best player on the board. No surprises so far.

Grade: A

Alex Gilstrap: This was the correct pick in my opinion. After losing Darius Slay, Okudah can come in and play opposite of Desmond Trufant. He should be a plus starter walking into the building. In the NFC North, you have to be able to defend the pass and that’s what Okudah can do for Detroit.

Grade: A

Pick 4: New York Giants – Andrew Thomas – OT – Georgia

Alex Simpson: The first surprise in the draft. I had the Giants taking an offensive tackle but not this one. Andrew Thomas is the most pro-ready tackle in the draft. New York will need him to slow down Chase Young twice a year. He was my third-rated tackle in this draft because of his limited ceiling. Dave Gettleman fills a huge need but with a surprise at the position. Low risk/low reward pick.

Grade: C

Alex Gilstrap: Andrew Thomas being the first offensive tackle off the board is surprising. In fact, many believed he would be the last offensive tackle selected out of the big four. Thomas is my OT2 and 9th overall player on my board. He is a safe tackle prospect that has versatility in playing both sides of the football. He is good in both the pass and run game and will be a solid piece to protect Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones

Grade: B

Pick 5: Miami Dolphins – Tua Tagovailoa – QB – Alabama

Alex Simpson: The Dolphins executed one of the best smokescreens in years. The world was 50/50 on Tagovailoa and Herbert and they go with the better quarterback here. Tua would have been in the conversation with the first pick if he didn’t have a lengthy injury history. If he can stay healthy, he has the potential to be their franchise quarterback for years to come.

Grade: A-

Alex Gilstrap: The correct pick. There is risk involved in Tua Tagovailoa, but his upside, if he’s healthy, is so much higher than that of Herbert. Ryan Fitzpatrick is in the building if he is not ready to go, so it is a solid fit.

Grade: B+

Pick 6: Los Angeles Chargers – Justin Herbert – QB – Oregon

Alex Simpson: There were some better players on the board but the Chargers feel they need a quarterback. Three quarterbacks go in the top 6 picks which will push some very talented players down the board. Herbert and Tyrod Taylor will be battling for the job immediately. The strong-armed quarterback is now the heir-apparent to Philip Rivers.

Grade: C+

Alex Gilstrap: With Tua off the board, this was the expected selection for the Chargers. Herbert has so many tools to like, but he will take time to develop his mental processing. With the weapons he will have at his disposal in LA, he should find success by getting the ball in their hands. Don’t forget that Tyrod Taylor is in town if Herbert isn’t ready to start early.

Grade: B

Pick 7: Carolina Panthers – Derrick Brown – IDL – Auburn

Alex Simpson: There were some better players on the board but the Chargers feel they need a quarterback. Three quarterbacks go in the top 6 picks which will push some very talented players down the board. Herbert and Tyrod Taylor will  be battling for the job immediately. The strong-armed quarterback is now the heir-apparent to Philip Rivers.

Grade: A-

Alex Gilstrap: I thought this could’ve been Isaiah Simmons, but you don’t get a better guy on and off the field than Derrick Brown. His presence should take looks off of the rest of the pass-rushing group in Carolina. Him and Brian Burns should wreak havoc on this quarterback-driven NFC South division.

Grade: B+

Pick 8: Arizona Cardinals – Isaiah Simmons – LB/S – Clemson

Alex Simpson: The Cardinals need someone to help protect Kyler Murray. With that being said, Simmons is the fourth-ranked player on my board and fills a need for that Arizona defense. Simmons is versatile enough to lineup at safety, linebacker, and on the edge as a pass rusher. Great value here for Kliff Kingsbury.

Grade: A

Alex Gilstrap: This was not a fit that many thought of coming into the 2020 NFL Draft. However, the value here is insane and I can’t fault Arizona for pulling the trigger on the gifted athlete. Isaiah Simmons will be able to do a lot for the Arizona defense.

Grade: A

Pick 9: Jacksonville Jaguars – C.J. Henderson – CB – Florida

Alex Simpson: C.J. Henderson is the second-best cornerback in this class. The Jaguars may have reached just slightly but they fill a big void after trading Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye. Henderson is a very athletic corner that can mirror opposing receivers. A nice player for a Jaguars team that needs players at almost every position.

Grade: B

Alex Gilstrap: C.J. Henderson is one of my favorite prospects in this class and is the clear CB2 in the 2020 NFL Draft. With their pressing need at corner, Henderson will fill an immediate role at a high level. Physicality is not as big of a concern for Henderson than some may think.

Grade: B+

Pick 10: Cleveland Browns – Jedrick Wills Jr. – OT – Alabama

Alex Simpson: The Browns fill their biggest need with the best player at the position. Jedrick Wills Jr. is the best pass-blocker in this draft and will likely move over to the left side to protect Baker Mayfield’s blindside. This is a home-run pick for Cleveland right here.

Grade: A+

Alex Gilstrap: My number one offensive tackle and 6th overall player goes 10th to the Browns. Wills is such an imposing force and can play either side of the football. He will likely play on the left side for Cleveland and should be a plus starter day one to protect that talented backfield.

Grade: A+

Pick 11: New York Jets – Mekhi Becton – OT – Louisville

Alex Simpson: Mekhi Becton is a high risk/high reward for the Jets at 11. He is a mammoth of a man with good athleticism for his size. He is my fourth-rated tackle because of the low floor. If Becton ever reaches his full potential, Sam Darnold and Le’Veon Bell will be much more efficient. Becton fills a massive need for Adam Gase’s offense.

Grade: B-

Alex Gilstrap: I fully expected this to be either a receiver or Tristan Wirfs. I am happy they prioritized protecting their franchise quarterback, because they haven’t done that so far in his young career. Size, length, and athleticism are all there for Becton. Fundamentals should come with time but they aren’t quite there yet.

Grade: B-

Pick 12: Las Vegas Raiders – Henry Ruggs III – WR – Alabama

Alex Simpson: Henry Ruggs III is an unbelievable weapon for Jon Gruden’s offense. His 4.27 speed will open up the passing game and make life easier on the entire offense. He’s my third-rated receiver in this draft but this pick doesn’t surprise me at all. The Raiders have always loved speed.

Grade: B+

Alex Gilstrap: Jon Gruden is known to love a dominant trait in his football players and Henry Ruggs III’s speed is one of the most dominant traits in the 2020 NFL Draft. He will threaten the AFC West defenses on an every-down bases.

Grade: B+

Pick 13: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (via SF)- Tristan Wirfs – OT – Iowa

Alex Simpson: Tampa Bay is in win-now mode with Tom Brady and his plethora of weapons. This is arguably the most talented offense Brady has ever had. Wirfs closes the door on the run on offensive tackles. The Buccaneers had to trade up one spot to make this pick happen. Tristan Wirfs is a slam dunk here at 13.

Grade: A

Alex Gilstrap: I fully expected Tampa to look to gain protection for their newest quarterback, Tom Brady. I don’t necessarily understand the trade-up over San Francisco for him, though. My guess is is there was a bidding war for 14, and if that’s the case, they needed to pay up to ensure they got the last of the big four tackles

Grade: A-

Pick 14: San Francisco 49ers (via TB) – Javon Kinlaw – IDL – South Carolina

Alex Simpson: San Francisco moved back one spot and gave a seventh-rounder in exchange for a fourth-round pick. After trading DeForest Buckner to the Colts for the 13th pick, many thought they were looking for a receiver. Instead, they get a great replacement for Buckner at a much cheaper cost. For a team that needed to gain picks in the middle rounds, this entire set of moves worked out well Kyle Shanahan.

Grade: A-

Alex Gilstrap: To trade back and still get an impact starter that they wanted all along is great drafting by John Lynch. His pass rush upside is hard to match. I think Javon Kinlaw’s best football is ahead of him.

Grade: A

Pick 15: Denver Broncos – Jerry Jeudy – WR – Alabama

Alex Simpson: The best route-runner in college football joins the Broncos to form an explosive offense. Drew Lock needs weapons and John Elway gives him exactly that. This offense adds more weapons in a loaded AFC West division. Jeudy is the seventh-ranked player on my big board so great value here for Denver. Expect immediate production from Jeudy in the slot with Courtland Sutton outside, Noah Fant at tight end, and Melvin Gordon in the backfield.

Grade: A+

Alex Gilstrap: For the Broncos to get their choice of two of the top three wide receivers was just what they hoped for coming into the night. Jerry Jeudy is potentially the best route runner the NFL Draft has ever seen coming out. Drew Lock gets another dynamic weapon who should make life easy for the young quarterback.

Grade: A

Pick 16: Atlanta Falcons – A.J. Terrell – CB – Clemson

Alex Simpson: A.J. Terrell is my fourth-ranked cornerback and I like him a lot. He struggled against Ja’Marr Chase in the national championship but who didn’t? The Clemson product has tremendous length and speed at the position. He went a little earlier than I thought he might but I still like the pick. The Falcons grab a good player and fill a big need.

Grade: B

Alex Gilstrap: Unfortunately for Atlanta, the board did not fall their way. They would’ve loved to have seen Simmons, Brown, Henderson, or Kinlaw fall here but it wasn’t in the cards. I like Terrell’s tools, but he is much more of a projection than I would be comfortable in the middle of the first round. Right positional target, wrong prospect.

Grade: C+

Pick 17: Dallas Cowboys – CeeDee Lamb – WR – Oklahoma

Alex Simpson: It’s official. The Dallas Cowboys get the steal of the draft. CeeDee Lamb is the sixth player on my big board and will be a great fit in Dallas. Dak Prescott has some unbelievable weapons to throw to and this puts them in immediate Super Bowl contention. I said it once and I will say it again. Steal. Of. The. Draft.

Grade: A+++

Alex Gilstrap: My WR1 and 7th overall prospect fell in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Wide receiver isn’t the biggest need on this Dallas roster, but you can’t pass on this value. This offense will be fun to watch for years to come with Amari Cooper and Lamb on the outside with Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield.

Grade: A+

Pick 18: Miami Dolphins (via PIT)- Austin Jackson – OT – USC

Alex Simpson: Tua needs someone to protect his blindside. The Dolphins’ offensive line was terrible in 2019. Austin Jackson is a bit of a reach here for Miami but they desperately need a tackle. Jackson is ultra-athletic and has a ton of potential but he struggled at times with stronger pass rushers. If he reaches his ceiling, this will pay off.

Grade: C-

Alex Gilstrap: The Dolphins obviously had to invest in protection for Tua, but I am not a huge fan of Austin Jackson. He has a ton of upside, but his floor is just as low. If he pans out, this could be one of the better picks in the 2020 NFL Draft, but the use potential is glaring here.

Grade: C-

Pick 19: Las Vegas Raiders (via CHI)- Damon Arnette – CB – Ohio State

Alex Simpson: The Raiders need a cornerback and they grab the third-rated corner on my board. My top four corners are now off the board. The Raiders grab another player from a big-name school. Arnette plays the ball well and should bring immediate value to the Las Vegas secondary.

Grade: B+

Alex Gilstrap: This name surprised me more than anyone at this point. I like Arnette, but his upside is limited. He has CB2 written all over him, but I don’t think he has the necessary tools to be a C1 in the NFL. The Raiders continue to ignore the media and take their guys. You have to respect that.

Grade: C+

Pick 20: Jacksonville Jaguars (via LAR)- K’Lavon Chaisson – EDGE – LSU

Alex Simpson: The Jaguars were known for their defense before they lost the entire group. They go defense again at 20 with the second-best edge rusher in the draft. Chaisson has a ton of speed, burst, and bend off the edge who can convert speed-to-power. Great value here for Jacksonville as they turn over a new leaf.

Grade: A

Alex Gilstrap: My number 19 overall prospect goes later than most expected. K’Lavon Chaisson will be a versatile pass-rusher for Jacksonville that should see his best football ahead of him. With Yannick Ngakoue out the door, Chaisson fills a much needed role to help rebuild that defense.

Grade: A-

Pick 21: Philadelphia Eagles – Jalen Reagor – WR – TCU

Alex Simpson: Henry Ruggs is the guy most people compare to Tyreek Hill. I actually see more Hill in Jalen Reagor than I do with Ruggs. He is an explosive athlete with the ability to out-run you or run around you. He high-points the ball well for a smaller receiver and contributes as a returner on special teams. Very underrated pick here at 21.

Grade: A-

Alex Gilstrap: I love the fit. The Eagles need a dynamic pass-catching weapon and a speed threat. With Reagor, they get both in one. Eagles fans may have flashbacks to Nelson Agholor with the occasional bone-head drop, but his presence on the field will help that offense get back to where they were a couple of years ago.

Grade: B+

Pick 22: Minnesota Vikings (via BUF)- Justin Jefferson – WR – LSU

Alex Simpson: After the Vikings traded away Stefon Diggs, they were in need of a receiver to pair with Adam Thielen. Justin Jefferson will likely transition back to the perimeter for Minnesota. Wide receivers 4 and 5 go back-to-back at 21 and 22 overall.

Grade: A

Alex Gilstrap: The Minnesota Vikings do a heck of a job replacing Stefon Diggs here. The Vikings’ offense shouldn’t miss a beat with Jefferson dominating the middle of the football field. I love this fit and the value.

Grade: A

Pick 23: Los Angeles Chargers (via NE) – Kenneth Murray – LB – Oklahoma

Alex Simpson: The Chargers gave up picks 37 and 71 to move up to 23. The Patriots trade out of the first round and the Chargers take my 13th-ranked player in Kenneth Murray. The Chargers defense is one of the best in the NFL when they are all healthy. Murray is a tackling machine that wreaks havoc all over the field.

Grade: A

Alex Gilstrap: Kenneth Murray is a perfect three-down linebacker prospect who imposes his will on ball carriers. His well-rounded skill set will benefit the Chargers’ defense in both the run and pass game at the next level. He has a ton of athleticism and should translate well to the NFL.

Grade: B+

Pick 24: New Orleans Saints – Cesar Ruiz – IOL – Michigan

Alex Simpson: The Saints drafting Cesar Ruiz brings in an immediate day-one starter on the offensive line. Ruiz can play center or either guard spot while the Saints make one more Super Bowl run. This should help out both the running and passing game and keeps the Saints offense in the top-tier of the league.

Grade: B

Alex Gilstrap: The New Orleans Saints have again prioritized the interior of the offensive line like they did in drafting Eric McCoy last year. Instead of taking the eventual heir to the QB position in Jordan Love, the Saints take care of Drew Brees and look to compete for a Super Bowl until he decides to hang it up.

Grade: B+

Pick 25: San Francisco 49ers (via MIN) – Brandon Aiyuk – WR – Arizona State

Alex Simpson: The 49ers trade picks 31, 117, and 176 to come up to 25 and take Brandon Aiyuk. Aiyuk is a dynamic playmaker who excels after the catch. Once the ball is in his hands, he has the potential to take it to the house. He also has experience as a return man so the 49ers get a weapon to stretch opposing defenses vertically and horizontally. They didn’t have to give up too much either since the fourth round pick was gained earlier in the draft.

Grade: B-

Alex Gilstrap: Brandon Aiyuk has ridiculous length and is pretty athletic. He has plenty of tools and should provide a spark for that dynamic offense. He thrives after the catch and has special teams ability as well.

Grade: B

Pick 26: Green Bay Packers (via MIA)- Jordan Love – QB – Utah State

Alex Simpson: The Packers trade up to draft Aaron Rodgers’ successor. Jordan Love is a raw quarterback with loads of potential. Sitting behind Rodgers for a couple years will do him a lot of good as he learns the game at the next level. The Packers are still in win-now mode and will need to give Rodgers some weapons later. But if Love can become the next great Packer quarterback, it will be worth the high pick.

Grade: B-

Alex Gilstrap: I fully expected Green Bay to bring in a guy to help them compete right away while they still can with Aaron Rodgers, however, I understand that it is hard to pass on a quarterback with Love’s upside this late in the first round. It worked out well for them last time in Aaron Rodgers himself. Love is in a great situation to learn and develop under one of the NFL’s best of all time.

Grade: B

Pick 27: Seattle Seahawks – Jordyn Brooks – LB – Texas Tech

Alex Simpson: The Seahawks normally trade out of the first round. They are one of the hardest teams to predict and this proves that point. Brooks is a downhill runner who is great in the run game but has showed little dropping back into coverage. I don’t hate the player. But I HATE the pick. Massive reach here for me.

Grade: D-

Alex Gilstrap: Jordyn Brooks is a massive reach. He is athletic and has upside, but when you have Patrick Queen available, I don’t know why you’d prefer Brooks. I thought I was high on Brooks with an early 3rd-round grade, but this is too much for me especially given the board.

Grade: C-

Pick 28: Baltimore Ravens – Patrick Queen – LB – LSU

Alex Simpson: Patrick Queen is a player that really came on strong for LSU during the second half of the season. He is an athletic freak that is very solid in coverage. Queen is a rangy linebacker that ranges from sideline to sideline. Great pick here for the Ravens at a position of need.

Grade: A

Alex Gilstrap: An absolute steal at this point in the 2020 NFL Draft. The AFC North is filled with pass catchers that love to work the middle of the field and Patrick Queen’s athleticism and coverage ability makes that harder to do in Baltimore. C.J. Moseley needed to be replaced in Baltimore and Queen fits what they need perfectly. He is a great modern NFL linebacker.

Grade: A+

Pick 29: Tennessee Titans – Isaiah Wilson – OT – Georgia

Alex Simpson: With the loss of Jack Conklin, Tennessee needed a guy to replace him. They play a very physical brand of football and have a clear identity. I’m not very high on Wilson but he fits what they want to do perfectly. He has a lot of upside and is a real run-grader. I’ve been mocking this pick for a while and now it’s official.

Grade: C-

Alex Gilstrap: Isaiah Wilson has some tools. He is huge and has some vines for arms. However, his thin lower half and lack of leverage at the point of attack will be exposed at the next level. His height is almost a bad thing because he simply can’t get low enough to drive defensive linemen that have any lower body strength to their game.

Grade: D+

Pick 30: Miami Dolphins (via GB) – Noah Igbinoghene – CB – Auburn

Alex Simpson: The Dolphins have two premier corners and now they draft another solid player for their secondary. Noah Igbinoghene is raw but he’s very athletic. He can mirror opposing receivers but he has to do a better job at finding the ball. The Auburn product has seen his stock rise quite a bit since the end of the season. He will add to a loaded secondary in Miami. I like Noah Igbinoghene but there are plenty of other needs they could have filled here.

Grade: C

Alex Gilstrap: I am a huge fan of Noah Igbinoghene. His natural athleticism and grit on the outside are so intriguing. His ceiling is super high. He has only played the position for a couple of years and is already one of the best corners in the country. There’s still Gladney and Fulton ahead of him for me available.

Grade: B+

Pick 31: Minnesota Vikings (via SF) – Jeff Gladney – CB – TCU

Alex Simpson: The Vikings have a massive need at corner and they fill that with my 33rd-ranked player overall. Gladney is smaller but he’s fast and plays physical for his size. He’s a ball hawk who is a good value at 31 overall.

Grade: A-

Alex Gilstrap: This is great value for my CB3 and 18th overall prospect. Everyone mocked Gladney to Minnesota at 22 or 25, so for them to get him here is insane. Minnesota has one of the best value drafts so far with Gladney and Jefferson.

Grade: A+

Pick 32: Kansas City Chiefs – Clyde Edwards-Helaire – RB – LSU

Alex Simpson: Clyde Edwards-Helaire is one of the best running backs in this class. He is a compact guy who is also very elusive. Edwards-Helaire had a lot of production at LSU as both a runner and a receiver. He can play every down and it gives Mahomes another weapon. An already great offensive just got even better.

Grade: A-

Alex Gilstrap: Many will be surprised that Clyde Edwards-Helaire would be not only the RB1 in the 2020 NFL Draft but a first-rounder as well. He has three-down ability and should have some fun in this Kansas City offense. Perfect landing spot for CEH. I know he’s excited to run in a system that is this dynamic.

Grade: B


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