The 2020 NFL Draft is in the books and, as was projected, LSU’s Joe Burrow was the first overall pick going to the Cincinnati Bengals. Fellow quarterbacks Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert were projected to go in the first round and did to Miami and the Los Angeles Chargers, respectively.
As is usually the case with the NFL draft, there were some surprises. Here’s a look at the most surprising selections from the 2020 NFL draft.
Seattle Takes Brooks
It was a big surprise when Seattle elected to hold onto its first-round pick. The Seahawks have traded out of the first round in four of the past seven drafts. It was an even bigger surprise when head coach Pete Carroll and the Seahawks brass decided to take Texas Tech LB Jordyn Brooks.
The 6-feet, 240 pound Brooks was not projected to be a first-round draft choice, Carroll and Seahawks defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. love Brooks’ run-stuffing abilities. Brooks has good speed – 4.52 in the 40-yard dash – and has penchant for making tackles. He led Texas Tech in tackles last year with 108 and ranked in the Top 10 nationally with 20 tackles for loss.
1st RB Off Board not D’Andre Swift
In today’s NFL, running backs are no longer a priority. Most teams are not willing to invest heavily in a position whose NFL life expectancy is barely three years. It would have not been a surprise if no running backs were selected in Round 1 of the draft.
If a running back was going to go in the first round, experts thought the pick would be Georgia RB D’Andre Swift. The surprise came with the very last pick of the first round. The Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs selected not Swift, but LSU’s Clyde Edwards-Hellaire.
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid envisions Edwards-Hellaire as another Brian Westbrook, who Reid coached in Philadelphia. Like Westbrook, Edwards-Hellaire is an outstanding receiver and that is why he was picked in Round 1.
No WR for Packers Fans
Green Bay was one game away from last year’s Super Bowl and the collective thought was that the Packers would grab another weapon for QB Aaron Rodgers in the draft. There were plenty of wide receivers from which to choose.
The Packers decided to make a move trading the 30th pick to Miami to move up four spots. To the surprise of many, the pick was not a receiver but QB Jordan Love out of Utah State. Rodgers is 36 coming off a season where he threw for 26 touchdowns against just four interceptions. He is among the elite passers in the NFL.
Green Bay also needed to address the linebacking corps, but instead took a quarterback who threw the most interceptions (17) of any starting quarterback in the FBS. The selection of Love in the first round was a huge surprise, but the fact that the Packers didn’t take a wide receiver with any of their nine selections might be an even bigger one.
New England Drafts Kicker
The Patriots lost QB Tom Brady to Tampa Bay leaving them with Jarrett Stidham and the recently signed Brian Hoyer. One would have thought that New England head coach Bill Belichick would have taken a quarterback somewhere in the 2020 NFL draft.
He didn’t. Instead, Belichick used his fifth-round draft pick to take a kicker. Yes, a kicker. Justin Rohrwasser made 85.7 percent of his field goals with a long of 53 yards and converted 35-of-36 extra-point attempts.
It’s not the first time Belichick has drafted a kicker. In 2006, the Patriots selected Stephen Gostkowski, who was released by New England just a few weeks before the draft.
Since Belichick did not take a quarterback in the draft, it appears he is prepared to go with either Stidham or Hoyer. The though was also that he might take a look at free agents like Cam Newton and Andy Dalton, who was just released by the Cincinnati Bengals. It has since been reported that the Patriots aren’t interested in Cam Newton, and Andy Dalton has already signed a 1-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys.
Top 10 Surprise
For the first time since the 2015 draft, none of the first ten teams to pick executed a trade. It has become common for teams drafting in the top ten to trade down and acquire more draft capital. Not this year.
Last year’s only move involved Pittsburgh and Denver. The Steelers traded up to No. 10 giving the Broncos their first- and second-round picks last year and a third-rounder this year.
This year, the first draft day trade didn’t occur until pick No. 13. San Francisco, which had acquired Indianapolis’s first-round pick in a trade for DeForest Buckner, traded that pick plus another to Tampa Bay. The Bucs received the No. 13 pick which they used to select OT Tristan Wirfs out of Iowa.
The first four quarterbacks to go in the 2020 draft went as expected in the order that most had envisioned. Burrow, Tagovailoa, Herbert, and Love all went in the first round. Most figured the next two off the board would be Washington’s Jacob Eason and Georgia’s Jake Fromm, who ironically had been teammates at Georgia in 2017.
The surprise came at pick No. 53 in Round 2 when the Philadelphia Eagles selected Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts. Last year, Hurts totaled over 5,000 all-purpose yards and 52 touchdowns. That led to him being selected ahead of Eason (4th round, Colts) and Fromm (5th round, Buffalo).