2020 NFL Draft – My Favorite (Best) Picks by Round
Despite the fact that the 2020 NFL Draft has come to an end I continue to find myself breaking down every teams’ draft class. Every pick and every round and I couldn’t help but formulate my “Favorite Picks” by Round. Which I share with you… Feel free to comment and share your favorite picks and compare them to mine.
DALLAS COWBOYS – 17TH OVERALL PICK – CEEDEE LAMB – OKLAHOMA
The Dallas Cowboys found themselves in an excellent position having the 17th pick and watching reportedly their 6th ranked prospect in the 2020 NFL Draft Class fall right to them. Lamb who is my WR1 in the class, could’ve of been selected as high as 9th overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars as far as I am concerned. The Jets and the 49ers decided to wait until later in the draft to select a wide receiver, but the Raiders and the Broncos might regret passing up on Lamb and selecting Henry Ruggs and Jerry Jeudy instead. The Cowboys now have one of the most explosive offenses in the league with Lamb in the fold to go along with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. Lamb is the type of receiver that makes his quarterback look good as you just need to get the ball in his vicinity and he can come down with contested catches. The best comp for Lamb is DeAndre Hopkins as his body control, strong hands, and route running are all reminiscent of Nuk. The Cowboys got themselves the steal of the first round, as there will be many big game performances for the latest member of the #88 club in Dallas.
Notables for “Favorite Pick” in Round 1
- Kenneth Murray – Los Angeles Chargers
- Javon Kinlaw & Brandon Aiyuk – San Francisco 49ers
- Patrick Queen – Baltimore Ravens
- Jeff Gladney – Minnesota Vikings
- Clyde Edwards-Helaire – Kansas City Chiefs
BUFFALO BILLS – 54TH OVERALL PICK – A.J. EPENESA – IOWA
The poor combine results of Epenesa depressed his draft value, however the tape at Iowa shows that he is a first round talent. When I saw the Bills take Epenesa in the second round I said to myself, “The Bills sure do know how to find a physical defensive lineman that fits their scheme.” A strength of the Bills for some time now, Epenesa just adds another talented player to Buffalo’s down-line. With one of my draft favorites last season Ed Oliver in the middle of the defense, Epenesa is a nice compliment that can win from the edge or from the interior on passing downs. He’s a grown man that excels in the run game and utilizes his hand technique and power to play through blockers on his way to the quarterback. With Tom Brady now in Tampa Bay, the Bills in my opinion are the favorites in the AFC East without question.
Notables for “Favorite Pick” in Round 2
- Yetur Gross-Matos – Carolina Panthers
- Jonathan Taylor – Indianapolis Colts
- Denzel Mims – New York Jets
- Josh Uche – New England Patriots
- Kristian Fulton – Tennessee Titans
- Jeremy Chinn – Carolina Panthers
ARIZONA CARDINALS – 72ND OVERALL PICK – JOSH JONES – HOUSTON
One of the more surprising developments of the draft was offensive tackle Josh Jones falling all the way to the 3rd round in the 2020 NFL Draft. I had a late 1st early 2nd round grade on Jones and ranked him 5th among all tackles, after the “BIG 4.” Austin Jackson, Isaiah Wilson, and Ezra Cleveland all went before Jones as well due to their potential ceiling; however, Jones’ floor is much higher. This is a passing league and in my estimation, he’s more NFL ready to go up against pass rushers than the three tackles I mentioned earlier. Jones is very clean from a technical standpoint as he plays with a certain smoothness due to his feet, hand placement, and football IQ. Another attribute that makes Jones the steal of the third round was his ascension at the collegiate level, as he got better and better from year-to-year.
Notables for “Favorite Pick” in Round 3
- Brandon Jones – Miami Dolphins
- Justin Madubuike – Baltimore Ravens
- Zack Moss – Buffalo Bills
- Jonathan Greenard – Houston Texans
- Malik Harrison – Baltimore Ravens
- Alex Highsmith – Pittsburgh Steelers
- Adam Trautman – New Orleans Saints
MINNESOTA VIKINGS – 130TH OVERALL PICK – JAMES LYNCH – BAYLOR
The Vikings had a terrific draft class that was highlighted by excellent Day 3 picks including James Lynch in the fourth round. I call Lynch the poor man’s A.J. Epenesa due to his ability to win in a similar fashion with strength through contact. The Vikings did a great job of replenishing their losses this offseason first by drafting Justin Jefferson to replace Stefon Diggs. They followed that up by selecting three corners in the 2020 NFL Draft to replace Xavier Rhodes, Mackenzie Alexander, and Trae Waynes. The Vikings also managed to add a pass rusher of Lynch’s caliber to replace Everson Griffen, assuming he doesn’t sign back with the team. The Vikings will be just fine inserting Lynch on the edge on running downs and sliding him inside to rush the quarterback on passing downs. For a guy his size, Lynch is extremely agile and nimble enough to penetrate gaps and cause havoc in the opponent’s backfield. His ability to use his hands and contort his body through blockers will be a welcomed addition to that Vikings defensive front.
Notables for “Favorite Pick” in Round 4
- Joshua Kelly – Los Angeles Chargers
- Reggie Robinson II – Dallas Cowboys
- Anthony McFarland – Pittsburgh Steelers
- Amik Robertson – Las Vegas Raiders
- Antonio Gandy-Golden – Washington Redskins
- Tyler Biadasz – Dallas Cowboys
NEW YORK JETS – 158TH OVERALL PICK – BRYCE HALL – VIRGINIA
A 2019 ankle injury derailed Bryce Hall’s senior season, but I haven’t forgotten how dominant he was in 2018. A Day 1-2 talent fell all the way to the fifth round for the New York Jets to pounce and possibly insert him in their lineup sooner than many may believe. Hall thrives in a zone scheme due to his length and playmaking ability, but I also believe he can be just as effective in man defense due to his patient feet and technique. He will be put to the test in Gregg Williams’ aggressive defense that will have him on an island occasionally, but Hall’s long arms to disrupt the timing of receiver’s routes and technique to be in phase will go a long way. The Jets needed help at the corner position so getting a steal like Hall in the fifth round could possibly be their best value pick in the class.
Notables for “Favorite Pick” in Round 5
- Alton Robinson – Seattle Seahawks
- Jason Strowbridge & Curtis Weaver – Miami Dolphins
- Quintez Cephus – Detroit Lions
- Larrell Murchison – Tennessee Titans
- Bradlee Anae – Dallas Cowboys
NEW YORK GIANTS – 183RD OVERALL PICK – CAMERON BROWN – PENN STATE
If you caught my pre-draft rankings, I raved about Cam Brown as one of the biggest sleepers in the class. I was in awe of the talent and versatility Brown brought to Penn State and was even confused why other draft evaluators didn’t love him as much as I did. I guess you can say this is my guy in the 2020 NFL Draft Class. The Giants selected a very skilled and versatile defender that can play in the box, on the edge, and even match up against athletic tight ends in pass coverage. There were talks of the Giants drafting Isaiah Simmons with the fourth pick in the draft, but the G-Men opted for Andrew Thomas and may have gotten a player in Brown that might be the second most versatile linebacker in the class behind Simmons. He’s a do-it-all hybrid defender that closes quickly to the ball carrier and brings a high motor on every play.
Notables for “Favorite Pick” in Round 6
- Hakeem Adeniji – Cincinnati Bengals
- Donovan Peoples-Jones – Cleveland Browns
- James Proche – Baltimore Ravens
- Evan Weaver – Arizona Cardinals
- Prince Tega Wanogho – Philadelphia Eagles
BUFFALO BILLS – 239TH OVERALL PICK – DANE JACKSON – PITTSBURGH
Another member of the Buffalo Bills 2020 NFL Draft Class makes my “best picks of each round” in cornerback Dane Jackson. A position of strength with pro bowler Tre’Davious White, Levi Wallace, and the newly acquired Josh Norman just got stronger with Jackson. The size and athleticism of Jackson may make some doubt his staying power in the league, but I am a fan of his ability to mirror and match opposing receivers due to his feet and hips working in unison. Jackson will more than likely battle for the slot corner role on the Bills, which in today’s NFL is a starting position as the league has moved towards three receiver sets as the norm. Jackson is a competitor that can help the Bills take away slot receivers with his ability to jam at the line, turn, and run with players like Julian Edelman and Jamison Crowder in the division.
Notables for “Favorite Pick” in Round 7
- Markus Bailey – Cincinnati Bengals
- Geno Stone – Baltimore Ravens
- K.J. Hill – Los Angeles Chargers
- Eno Benjamin – Arizona Cardinals
- Kenny Willekes – Minnesota Vikings
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