The 2020 NFL Draft lacked the pomp and pageantry of previous years, but prospects were picked nonetheless. All 32 clubs spent the last three days selecting these new players in an effort to rebuild and reshape their future fortunes. In addition, the virtual NFL Draft served as a fundraiser, raising more the $100 million in support of Covid-19 relief efforts.
2020 NFL Draft: By the Numbers
- 255 players were selected over the course of the 2020 NFL Draft. In all, 96 teams across all three divisions of the NCAA had at least one player selected.
- For the 14th straight year, the SEC had the most draft picks among conferences, finishing with 63.
- LSU led all schools with 14 selections. Per the Elias Sports Bureau, that’s tied for most by any team through 7 rounds in NFL Draft history (2004, Ohio State). Only Texas’s 17 players selected in 1984 stands as a higher single-school total.
- Michigan and Ohio State each had 10 selections in the 2020 NFL Draft. This marked the sixth time in the Common Draft Era (since 1967) that multiple teams from the same conference had 10+ picks in the same draft.
- Only 6 FCS players were selected, far and away the lowest total. Previous low was 12 (2003). The high is 29 (1996).
- 36 wide receivers were selected in the 2020 NFL Draft. That’s tied for the most in draft history through seven rounds (2003).
- 23 teams selected a WR, and 13 were selected between round one and two (most all-time). Nine came from the SEC (most by any conference). Three teams took three WR (Denver, Philadelphia, Las Vegas), and one school had three selected (UF).
- 56 players selected had a first name that began with “J”, most by any letter in a draft since the draft was shortened to 7 rounds in 1994.
- The Bengals made the first pick in every round of this year’s draft, marking the third time Cincinnati has done so (2003, 1994). No other NFL team has done that even once in the common draft era (1967-).
2020 NFL Draft: Winners & Losers
Winner: Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore selected LB Patrick Queen in Round One, marking the first time in franchise history they picked a player from LSU. Then, in during Day 2, the Ravens selected Ohio State RB J.K. Dobbins, and followed that with the selection of speedy Texas WR Devin Duvernay.
Baltimore continued to beef up it’s defense with selections of Texas A&M DT Justin Madubuike, as well as Ohio State LB Malik Harrison. All of these players could be contributors for the 14-2 Ravens immediately.
Winner: Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins continued their rebuild in earnest during the 2020 NFL Draft, starting with the selection of Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa. Miami hopes Tagovailoa, the most efficient QB in college football history, can become the face of the franchise. He is only the fourth QB the Dolphins have taken in the first-round of the draft in the common era. Two of the other three (Bob Griese, 1967; Dan Marino, 1983) went on to be Hall of Famers. Marino stands as the last Miami QB to make a Pro Bowl (1995), but the franchise has seen 21 different starting QBs since Marino’s retirement in 1999.
From there, the Dolphins solidified the trenches, selecting three offensive linemen and three defensive linemen. USC’s Austin Jackson (18) may right away at LT, and Louisiana’s Robert Hunt (39) could take over at RG or RT. Last year, Miami surrendered the most sacks (58) and registered the fewest rushing-yards-per-game (72.3).
The Miami Dolphins have drafted a possibly transcendent QB, traded for an explosive, young, proven NFL RB, taken potential studs at LT and RT, added depth and strength to DL and interior OL and taken two talented, versatile DBs. How’s your draft going?— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) April 25, 2020
Winner: Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys saw Oklahoma WR CeeDee Lamb fall to them at No. 17 overall. Dallas then pivoted to need with the selection of Alabama CB Trevon Diggs (51), Oklahoma DT Neville Gallimore (82) and Tulsa CB Reggie Robinson (123). They also added Wisconsin C Tyler Biadasz (146) to mitigate the loss of Pro Bowl C Travis Frederick. They also nabbed Utah edge rusher Bradlee Anae late (179), and he could be a steal.
Winner: Denver Broncos
The Broncos drafted their franchise QB Drew Lock in the second round of the 2019 draft. In the 2020 NFL Draft, they stocked up on offensive weapons for Lock to use. At No. 15 overall, Denver drafted Alabama WR Jerry Jeudy. At No. 46 overall, they took Penn State WR KJ Hamler, and followed that in the fourth round by selecting Lock’s former Missouri teammate TE Albert Okwuegbunam.
Winner: Carolina Panthers
The Panthers accomplished something never done before in draft history when they spent all seven selections on defensive players. New head coach Matt Rhule inherited a defensive group that finished 31st in the league in scoring defense in 2019.
Carolina focused first on the defensive line, adding Auburn DT Derrick Brown (7) and Penn State edge Yetur Gross-Matos (38). They also took Southern Illinois S Jeremy Chinn (64). Each of these players could be starters next season. The Panthers tied the most picks by a team all on one side of the ball in the common draft era (since 1967).
– Derrick Brown— Jonah Tuls (@JonahTulsNFL) April 25, 2020
– Yetur Gross-Matos
– Jeremy Chinn
– Troy Pride Jr.
That’s how you build a defense through the draft #Panthers.
All carried top 60 grades on my board.
Losers: Green Bay Packers
The selection of QB Jordan Love would’ve been a point of praise for most team, but not the Packers. Green Bay traded up to select the Utah State product, much to the chagrin of incumbent QB Aaron Rodgers, who had bemoaned the lack of skill player selections of late.
Green Bay saw 54% of WR snaps in 2019 come from undrafted free agents, so it seemed like the historic 2020 WR class would be a boon for them. But they were one of only nine NFL teams not to draft a WR in the 2020 NFL Draft. Love remains a high-risk, high-reward prospect, considering he led the NCAA with 17 interceptions during his final year at Utah State.
By starting the deepest WR draft in recent memory with a first-round QB and ending it without choosing a single receiver in 9 picks, the @Packers only discernible draft strategy appeared to be pissing off @AaronRodgers12 pic.twitter.com/lHyMP8km4t— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) April 25, 2020
Losers: Las Vegas Raiders
Unlike the Green Bay, the Raiders were enamored with the WRs. Las Vegas became the first team in 38 years to draft three receivers in the first three rounds of a single draft. Something that had happened only twice before (Saints, 1982 and Vikings, 1967). The Raiders spent three days reaching for players, taking WR Henry Ruggs (12), CB Damon Arnette (19) and LB Tanner Muse (100) way ahead of their projected spots.
FIRST SHOCKER, AND I DO NOT BUY THIS PICK. Raiders get too cute and take Henry Ruggs just for his best-in-the-draft speed. But he will not be more productive than CeeDee or Jeudy. Ruggs will make more draft news than he'll make plays.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) April 24, 2020
Losers: LA Rams
The Rams took FSU RB Cam Akers (52) as a potential replacement for RB Todd Gurley, despite having 2019 third-round pick Darrell Henderson waiting in the wings. LA added UF WR Van Jefferson to a deep core of pass catchers that includes WRs Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp and Josh Reynolds, as well as TEs Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee.
Losers: Jake Fromm
Jake Fromm’s draft slide was perhaps the most pronounced of any 2020 NFL Draft prospect. Expected by some to be the fourth QB off the board, Fromm saw seven QB’s names called ahead of his. Among those were Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts (second round) and, surprisingly, Florida International QB James Morgan (fourth round).
The Bills ended Fromm’s slide in the fifth round (No. 167). New England, who have a clear need at QB, could have drafted Fromm in the fifth round at No. 159, however, they passed on him and they selected K Justin Rohrwasser instead. Fromm, who has questionable arm-strength, goes to the often windy New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York. He’ll also have very little shot at the starting job, considering the team’s commitment to Josh Allen.
Jake Fromm is a really nice guy, had a very good career at Georgia and very well might surprise as a pro.— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) April 25, 2020
But we shouldn't be acting like he's "falling" in the draft. He was always going to be drafted on Day 3.