The NFL Draft is officially in the books. It was a particularly strong class in many positions, which bodes well for teams who needed to improve. In some cases, teams did really well and drafted guys who will be able to make an impact day one. On the other hand, some teams reached and took players at positions they were already strong at (@Bears @Packers).
In this little mini-series, the Burbs football boys will be grading each team's draft by conference. We're starting off with the AFC. Let's get right into it.
2020 NFL Draft Grades: AFC East
Written by: Matt Harris
Round 2 Pick 54: A.J. Epenesa EDGE Iowa
Round 3 Pick 86: Zack Moss RB Utah
Round 4 Pick 128: Gabriel Davis WR UCF
Round 5 Pick 167: Jake Fromm QB Georgia
Round 6 Pick 188: Tyler Bass K Georgia Southern
Round 6 Pick 207: Isaiah Hodgins WR Oregon State
Round 7 Pick 239: Dane Jackson CB Pittsburgh
Keep in mind that the Buffalo Bills traded their first-round pick away to acquire Minnesota Vikings wide receiver, Stefon Diggs. That alone would make the draft an A for me, but I won't account that in here. They started off hot on day two by getting Iowa defensive end A.J. Epenesa, who was widely considered to be a first-round talent. Great value and fills the hole that was left by the retirement of Lorenzo Alexander.
They also picked up Zack Moss, an underrated running back who figures to make a good one-two punch with last year's third-round pick Devin Singletary. Gabriel Davis and Isaiah Hodgins are great value receivers who give Josh Allen some nice speed threats alongside Diggs and John Brown.
And of course, Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm. They have Josh Allen, but you need a good backup and I think Fromm is going to be a great backup and could have a similar career arc to Chase Daniel. They also got great value with their last pick, as Dane Jackson provides nice depth to a thin cornerback spot. The only pick I didn't like was the kicker. I'm not a kicker guy, especially after Roberto Aguayo (former Bear) was drafted in the second round and absolutely sucked. If he's good, I'll eat my words, but I don't like drafting kickers. Otherwise, the Bills had one of the better drafts of any team.
Draft Grade: B+
Round 1 pick 5: Tua Tagavailoa QB Alabama
Round 1 pick 18: Austin Jackson OT USC
Round 1 pick 30: Noah Igbinoghene CB Auburn
Round 2 pick 39: Robert Hunt OL Lousiana-Lafayette
Round 2 pick 56: Raekwon Davis DT Alabama
Round 3 pick 70: Brandon Jones S Texas
Round 4 pick 111: Solomon Kindley OL Georgia
Round 5 pick 154: Jason Strowbridge DL UNC
Round 5 pick 164: Curtis Weaver Edge Boise State
Round 6 pick 186: Blake Ferguson LS (Yes, long snapper) LSU
Round 7 pick 246: Malcolm Perry WR Navy (Played QB in option)
This draft grade in the future will depend on Tua. If he pans out and becomes a perennial pro-bowl player, it's an A+++. If he can't stay healthy, it's an F. I'm going to be honest, I'm a little worried about his health, but he has all the tools and arm talent to be great if healthy. It was a little too early for Austin Jackson, but it fills a need at offensive tackle and he has the athletic tools to be a future LT. I didn't get the Noah Igbinoghene pick, because they signed Byron Jones and have Xavien Howard. Maybe he'll slide into the nickel position?
Robert Hunt and Solomon Kindley are good depth pieces on the inside and could fight for starting roles if they play well in preseason. My favorite pick for Miami though was grabbing Boise State pass rusher, Curtis Weaver. Incredible value in the fifth-round and is the kind of player that fits perfectly into what Brian Flores wants to do. He had no business being on the board at that point.
All the other picks didn't impress me, Raekwon Davis could be a good run stuffer, but he struggles mightily in pass-rush situations. Brandon Jones is a nice player, but they could've gotten him much later. They took a long snapper in the sixth-round... Probably could've signed him as a UDFA. Malcolm Perry player option QB at Navy, and could have a role on special teams or on offense as a gadget player. Miami's draft was meh, but we really won't know until we see Tua.
Draft Grade: B-
New England Patriots
Round 2 pick 37: Kyle Dugger S Lenoir-Rhyne
Round 2 pick 60: Josh Uche LB Michigan
Round 3 pick 87: Anfernee Jennings EDGE Alabama
Round 3 pick 91: Devin Asiasi TE UCLA
Round 3 pick 101: Dalton Keene TE Va Tech
Round 5 pick 159: Justin Rohrwasser K Marshall
Round 6 pick 182: Michael Onwenu OL Michigan
Round 6 pick 195: Justin Herron OL Wake Forest
Round 6 pick 204: Cassh Maluai LB Wyoming
Round 7 pick 230: Dustin Woodard OL Memphis
I hate to criticize the greatest coach in NFL history, but his drafting in the past few seasons has been a little weird. Kyle Dugger has a nice story, but he's already 24 years old and still has rawness in his game. Maybe a kick return/ punt return specialist? I love the Josh Uche pick though. Very athletic, versatile linebacker who will definitely have a significant role next year. A little small for an edge rusher, but makes up for it with speed and motor.
Devin Asiasi is a nice player, but why take a TE ten picks later? A kicker in the fifth round? He wasn't even the best kicker in the draft. They made up for it with the pick of Michael Onwenu from Michigan. With Joe Thuney's future in New England unknown, Onwenu provides a good insurance policy in case Thuney isn't re-signed next year. The rest of the picks we're offensive line depth, as it seems the Patriots are going to run the ball a lot this season. Not a fan of this draft, I thought they could've done better.
Draft Grade: C
New York Jets
Round 1 pick 11: Mekhi Becton OT Lousiville
Round 2 pick 59: Denzel Mims WR Baylor
Round 3 pick 68: Ashtyn Davis S California
Round 3 pick 79: Jabari Zuniga Edge Florida
Round 4 pick 120: Lamical Perine RB Florida
Round 4 pick 125: James Morgan QB FIU
Round 4 pick 129: Cameron Clark OL Charlotte
Round 5 pick 158: Bryce Hall CB Virginia
Round 6 pick 191: Braden Mann P Texas A&M
The New York Jets could've taken WR in round one, but they made the smart choice in my opinion, by taking Lousiville offensive tackle Mekhi Becton. Becton is raw in pass pro, but he's a mauler in the run game and should help create lanes for Le'Veon Bell. They also killed it with their second-round pick by taking Baylor wide receiver Denzel Mims. Mims shouldn't have been on the board there, but he was. He gives the Jets and Sam Darnold an explosive playmaker that wins with speed. He complements Jamison Crowder and Breshad Perriman very nicely.
The Ashtyn Davis pick was another great value choice for the Jets. Did they need safety? Not really, but he's a track guy with great instincts. Could he make the move over to cornerback? Cameron Clark and Bryce Hall were two more great value picks by the Jets. Clark could be a day one starter on the line for the Jets. Bryce Hall could also start day one, but health is a concern. Had season-ending surgery on his ankle. A second-round talent that fell all the way to the fifth.
James Morgan was a puzzling selection. Why not Jake Fromm if you were thinking quarterback? Not a fan of the punter pick either, but he was by far the best punter in the class. Jabari Zuniga was good when he was on the field for the Gators, but he was never on the field. It felt like he was always injured. Lamical Perine is no more than a third or fourth running back on the depth chart for them. Thought the Jets had a great draft though, definitely picked up some impact guys.
Draft Grade: B+
2020 NFL Draft Grades: AFC West
Written by: Connor Sheehan
Kansas City Chiefs
Round 1 pick 32: Clyde Edwards-Helaire RB LSU
Round 2 pick 63: Willie Gay Jr. LB Mississippi State
Round 3 pick 96: Lucas Niang OT TCU
Round 4 pick 138: L'jarius Snead Louisiana Tech
Round 5 pick 177: Michael Danna DE Michigan
Round 7 pick 237: Thakarius "BoPete" Keys CB Tulane
The Kansas City Chiefs surprised everyone on the first night of the draft taking the first running back off the board selecting Clyde Edwards-Helaire. It wasn't good value picking a running back in the first round, nonetheless, CEH is certainly in a good position to become a star in this league immediately. As the numbers of good running backs coming into the NFL increase, the value of drafting one in the first round decreases. The Chiefs should've drafted a cornerback in the first as it's proven that elite corners are harder to come by. But who can turn down Patrick Mahomes when he specifically texts the GM (yeah that happened).
The Chiefs got most of their value in the first three rounds and their best pick was Willie Gay Jr. out of Mississippi State. Due to off-field issues Willie slid early in the draft process. After coming in just behind Isaiah Simmons in the 40-yard dash, he also was first in the broad jump, and second in the vert. With explosive tape and a high PFF coverage rating (one of the most important traits for LBs) Willie Gay would've been a first-round pick without the off-field issues. Great value for a huge need for Kansas City's defense.
Lucas Niang is a very raw prospect at the tackle position. His pass blocking reps may not look pretty, but he gets the job done. With good coaching, Niang can become a very viable backup and potential late-career starter. L'jarius Snead is one of the best athletes in the safety class this year. His ball skills and speed potentially offer better translation in the NFL at cornerback, as L'jarius played half of his college snaps as slot corner.
The Chiefs overall had a good draft adding athletes with high ceilings to fill their roster holes. If it weren't for the early running back selection their grade would have been a lot higher, but considering the talent they already possess, this draft was a win for the reigning champs.
Draft Grade: B-
Round 1 Pick 15: Jerry Jeudy WR Alabama
Round 2 Pick 46: K.J. Hamler WR Penn st.
Round 3 Pick 77: Michael Ojemudia CB Iowa
Round 3 Pick 95: Lloyd Chusenberry C LSU
Round 4 Pick 118: Albert Okweugbunam TE Mizzou
Round 5 Pick 178: Justin Strnad LB Wake Forest
Round 6 Pick 181: Netane Muti OG Fresno st.
Round 7 Pick 252: Tyrle Cleveland WR Florida
Round 7 Pick 254: Derrek Tuszka EDGE NDSU
Throughout the entire pre-draft process, Denver had been linked to the wide receiver position for months. It was the only glaring hole on their roster that desperately needed an upgrade. If there was any draft to need a wide receiver, this was the one. In the first round, I thought the Broncos would end up with Justin Jefferson or trade-up for a top tier player. Instead Jerry Jeudy WR1B fell all the way to Denver at pick 15. This pick alone deserved an A+. Jerry has all the tools to be a number one option for the Broncos and possibly the best pure route runner in the league.
In the next round, they added another receiver in K.J. Hamler who has the best take-it-to-the-house ability next to Henry Ruggs. Playing a majority of his snaps in college out of the slot, you can see how explosive he was at Penn st. creating quite the group for Denver next season. I watched corner Michael Ojemudia play at Iowa for the last 2-3 years being the rock in our secondary time and time again. After a great combine and pre-draft interviews, Michael shot up GM's boards and lands in a perfect spot playing under Vic Fangio and the orange crush.
An absolute steal came in the sixth round when the Broncos traded up for one of my favorite players. Offensive guard Netane Muti was a first-round talent in my eyes and a similar prospect to pro bowl guard Will Hernandez of the Giants. Both overpower defensive lineman on every snap. Muti's combination of size, strength and finishing all are translatable traits for guards in the NFL. He showed off that strength at the combine putting up 44 reps on the bench press, the next closest? 37 and 34 reps from offensive lineman. If it weren't for Muti's injury question marks, he would have gone a lot earlier in this draft making this selection a steal for Denver.
All in all the Broncos had a great draft adding talent in almost every round while filling out the weakest parts of their roster. They traded up to get both of the o-lineman they wanted and got a blue-chip player late in the first.
Draft Grade: A
Los Angeles Chargers
Round 1 Pick 6: Justin Herbert QB Oregon
Round 1 Pick 23: Kenneth Murray LB Oklahoma
Round 4 Pick 112: Joshua Kelly RB UCLA
Round 5 Pick 151: Joe Reed WR West Virginia
Round 6 Pick 186: Alohi Gilman S Notre Dame
Round 7 Pick 220: K.J. Hill WR OSU
What can I really say about the Chargers draft? They were pigeonholed into selecting a QB at #6 because the chances are LAC won't ever be picking that high again. With one of the most talented rosters in the league, the Chargers are surrounding Justin with every possibility to succeed. The question is; can he? When the Burbs Football Team came together with prospect grades for each potential first-rounder, we unanimously felt that Herbert would not become a top tier quarterback much less deserving of the number six pick. One of our analysts Matty Ic3 compared Herbert to Blaine Gabbert a physically gifted QB that simply did not pan out. Likewise, with Justin, he doesn't have the necessary decision making that makes or breaks college QB's in the NFL. With that being said, this wasn't even the worst pick of the draft for LAC.
This move raised eyebrows across the football world. The Chargers traded with the New England Patriots at 23 overall to draft Kenneth Murray out of Oklahoma. At first glance, this pick doesn't seem that bad. Contrary to public opinion, moving up in the draft for a specific player is a bad play. When you move up for a player you give up chances to draft other players. The way I like to describe it is darts, you have a certain number of darts to throw in the draft, some will hit and some will miss. Even though 1st rounders have theoretically a better chance to "hit" doesn't necessarily mean that it will. The best strategy is to collect as many darts (picks) as you can to increase your chances to hit. In this case, the Chargers gave up two darts for one on a player that was the fourth linebacker on my board. Everyone speaks to Murray's insane speed for an LB and his character on and off the field that makes him a natural born leader. Although, Murray has a hard time controlling his own speed. He over pursues and misses large holes that's his number one job to fill. Contrary to his speed he only has 4 pass breakups on 102 targets in coverage per Pro Football Focus. If he can't control his own speed then he may earn an early bust tag for the Chargers.
It wasn't all bad though, the Chargers best pick was actually their last. K.J. Hill was in my eyes one of the best slot route runners in the draft. Like his old teammate, Terry Mclaurin was slept on before setting the NFL on fire, K.J. Hill has the tools to follow in his footsteps in a wide-open race for Los Angeles's slot receiver role.