The NFL’s annual draft gives teams an opportunity to meet some immediate needs as well as build a roster for the future. Plenty of teams have used the draft to their benefit. The Chiefs, for example, traded up to draft Super Bowl MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes in 2017. That one worked out for Kansas City.
For every pick that goes as planned, there are many others that do not. Some picks are puzzling and others just don’t seem to make sense. Here’s a look at those picks and the losers of the 2020 NFL draft.
Did the Packers need a quarterback in Round 1? Current starter Aaron Rodgers isn’t getting any younger at 36, but he is still one of the elite passers in the league. Even so, Green Bay felt the need to take Utah State QB Jordan Love with the 26th overall pick.
Of the top four quarterbacks in the draft, Love was the wild card. Joe Burrow, who went No. 1 to Cincinnati, and Tua Tagovailoa (Dolphins) and Justin Herbert (Chargers) were all sure-fire first-rounders. Love, on the other hand, has all the raw skills – size, athletic ability, arm talent – but saw his production dip in 2019. Plus, he threw an FBS-high 17 interceptions last year against primarily Group of 5 talent.
With what seemed like a glaring need at receiver, the Packers didn’t draft one in their nine picks. This coming in a draft where 37 wide receivers were taken.
The Two Jakes
In 2017, Georgia starting quarterback Jacob Eason suffered a knee injury in the Bulldogs’ season opener. He was replaced by true freshman Jake Fromm. Fromm, of course, would take over as the starter even as Eason healed.
Eason, at 6-6 and 230, decided to transfer back home to Washington where he would take over as the starter in 2019. Both Fromm and Eason were considered potential first-round draft picks. Both slipped with the rise of Burrow and the others, but Fromm and Eason were still viewed as solid Day 2 picks.
Neither would be called until Day 3. Eason went first going in the fourth round to Indianapolis. Fromm took an even bigger dive as he fell to the fifth round to Buffalo. Both will have an opportunity to become backups with their respective teams.
A Stockpile of Tight Ends
The Chicago Bears didn’t have a first-round, but they had two in the second round. They used the first on TE Cole Kmet of Notre Dame. Kmet is definitely worthy of being a second-round pick, but one must wonder why the Bears would select another tight end. They had nine on their roster already.
Yes, nine. That includes veteran Jimmy Graham, the projected starter and 2017 second-round pick Adam Shaheen. Kmet will probably contribute to the Bears offense, but the Bears had a huge need for a quality offensive lineman. Chicago addressed that need but not until Round 7 when they selected Colorado OT Arlington Hambright and Tennessee State guard Lachavious Simmons.
With two weeks to go before the draft got underway, the Philadelphia Eagles appeared ready to address a need for a big-time wide receiver. The situation was perfect. The Eagles would pick at No. 21 and despite Henry Ruggs, Jerry Jeudy, and CeeDee Lamb all being off the board there was still plenty of talent remaining.
Then, the Eagles took TCU WR Jalen Reagor. On most draft boards, Reagor was a Day 2 pick. Built more like a running back at 5-11 and 206 pounds, Reagor had a 1,000-yard season in 2018 but caught just 43 passes for 611 yards last season. There is no doubt that Reagor has the physical skills to be a solid receiver in the league. He ran a 4.47 in the 40-yard dash, recorded a 42-inch vertical jump, and an 11-foot-6-inch broad jump at the NFL combine.
What makes the pick seem even more like a reach was the fact that LSU receiver Justin Jefferson (6-1, 202) was still available. Jefferson is bigger than and just as fast as Reagor. Jefferson also had a much more productive 2019 catching 111 passes for 1,540 yards and 18 touchdowns for the national champion Tigers.
Houston, We Have a Problem
The Texans head coach and general manager Bill O’Brien bungled the 2020 draft long before it actually took place. Houston sent two first-round picks, one of those in 2020, to Miami for OT Laremy Tunsil. The Jadeveon Clowney trade to Seattle netted Houston exactly one draft pick…in the third round. Then, to top it all off, O’Brien traded one of the game’s elite receivers, DeAndre Hopkins, and did not receive a first-round pick in return.
Houston’s only pick in the first 90 selections was at No. 40 where Houston got a solid defensive tackle in TCU’s Ross Blacklock. Houston addressed a need at wide receiver but waited until Round 7 to do so picking Isaiah Coulter from FCS Rhode Island. In the end, the Texans would end up with a total of just five draft picks.