• Blake Friedman

Grades for each team after the 2020 NFL Draft


Blake Friedman | Twitter: @BFriedman23


Every year, NFL fans have moments of joy and panic as they watch their franchise draft the future of their organization to (hopefully) lead them to a Super Bowl title. After a couple of days, we digest what happened during those three days and take a look at how each team made out. Now, these draft grades are pending the performance of these players, but especially players selected in the first three or four rounds. Rounds 5-7 are somewhat darts that GMs hope stick to provide depth to their rosters. Let's see how each team panned out in this year's post-NFL Draft grades.


ARIZONA CARDINALS

Round 1, pick 8: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson

Round 3, pick 72: Josh Jones, OT, Houston

Round 4, pick 114: Leki Fotu, DT, Utah

Round 4, pick 131: Rashard Lawrence, DT, LSU

Round 6, pick 202: Evan Weaver, LB, California


Kliff Kingbsury's war room may have stolen the show during the NFL Draft, but the Cardinals walked away with Isaiah Simmons, arguably one of the top prospects in this year's class, and were able to tackle getting some help to protect QB Kyler Murray in Josh Jones. Isaiah Simmons will be an immediate impact for an Arizona defense that ranked 28th in points allowed in 2019. His versatility to attack the line of scrimmage and defend in the open field will help tremendously.


Josh Jones was projected in many mocks to go late in the first round into the second, so grabbing him in the third should be something for the Cardinals to be excited about. Arizona used the rest of their picks to address defensive needs in hopes that with the addition of newly acquired WR DeAndre Hopkins, the offense can hold its own while the defense keeps them in games.


GRADE: B+


ATLANTA FALCONS

Round 1, pick 16: A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson

Round 2, pick 47: Marlon Davidson, DE, Auburn

Round 3, pick 78: Matt Hennessy, C, Temple

Round 4, pick 119: Mykal Walker, LB, Fresno State

Round 4, pick 134: Jaylinn Hawkins, S, California

Round 7, pick 228: Sterling Hofrichter, P, Syracuse


The Falcons lost veteran cornerback Desmond Trufant to free agency, so right away the team addressed a serious need in the secondary by drafting Clemson's A.J. Terrell in the first round. The NFC South has gotten significantly more competitive after Tom Brady's decision to join the Buccaneers, bringing along TE Rob Gronkowski who is coming out of retirement. The Falcons will need to lock down on the defensive side of the ball and that continued with their second pick with Marlon Davidson out of Auburn.


Matt Hennessy was a nice snag in the third round who will look to become Alex Mack's successor at the center position, but it wouldn't be surprising to see him plugged into the offensive line right away at a guard position.


GRADE: B


BALTIMORE RAVENS

Round 1, pick 28: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU

Round 2, pick 55: J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio State

Round 3, pick 71: Justin Madubuike, DT, Texas A&M

Round 3, pick 92: Devin Duvernay, WR, Texas

Round 3, pick 98: Malik Harrison, LB, Ohio State

Round 3, pick 106: Tyre Phillips, OT, Mississippi State

Round 4, pick 143: Ben Bredeson, OG, Michigan

Round 5, pick 170: Broderick Washington Jr., DT, Texas Tech

Round 6, pick 201: James Proche, WR, SMU

Round 7, pick 219: Geno Stone, S, Iowa


The virtual draft offered a unique perspective on how teams operated while they were on the clock. Every time the cameras were on head coach John Harbaugh, he was ecstatic with his team's pick. It started with grabbing LB Patrick Queen out of LSU late in the first round. The Ravens, throughout their history, have been known to have elite players at the linebacker position, and after the Chargers traded up to grab Kenneth Murray, Queen was the next best available.


Day 2 started off with a bang when Ohio State's J.K. Dobbins slipped to Baltimore. A perfect fit, he will be implemented right away in an offense that fits his elusive skillset. On top of that, the Ravens addressed more interior defensive line depth by selecting Justin Madubuike out of Texas A&M, who was a steal at 71.


A name to pay close attention to is WR James Proche. The SMU receiver was selected late on Day 3 in the sixth round and has the burners to get off the ball and become a potential vertical threat in an already potent Ravens offense.


GRADE: A


Buffalo Bills

Round 2, pick 54: A.J. Epenesa, DE, 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, Pitt


Let's start our way from the bottom and work our way up. The Buffalo Bills selected Georgia QB Jake Fromm in the fifth round, which to many, was an interesting selection seeing that Josh Allen is their franchise QB. However, a late-round QB pick could be beneficial pending an injury to Allen during the regular season.


The Bills addressed their WR need, adding to newly acquired wideout Stefon Diggs in free agency. Grabbing A.J. Epenesa and Zack Moss in the second and third rounds were solid picks as well. Both are experienced football players that are ready to make an immediate impact on the field. Moss compliments Devin Singletary in the backfield as the bruiser, while Singletary continues to be a duel-threat in the Bills offense.


GRADE: B+


Carolina Panthers

Round 1, pick 7: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn

Round 2, pick 38: Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State

Round 2, pick 64: Jeremy Chinn, S, Southern Illinois

Round 4, pick 113: Troy Pride Jr., CB, Notre Dame

Round 5, pick 152: Kenny Robinson, CB, West Virginia

Round 6, pick 184: Bravvion Roy, DL, Baylor

Round 7, pick 221: Stanley Thomas-Oliver III, CB, Florida International


There is no typo here. The Carolina Panthers used all seven of their draft picks on the defensive side of the ball. This makes them the first team in the common draft era to select all defensive players with all of their picks.


First-year head coach Matt Rhule knew coming in the defense needed re-tooling. So he and his staff tackled that by getting stronger upfront while adding potential in their secondary. Derrick Brown is an absolute beast in the trenches (See here). Not only does he win up front, his speed allows him to get to the outside to disrupt quick passes and outside runs.


Yetur-Gross Matos out of Penn State offers massive length to get around tackles and wreak havoc in the backfield. Jeremy Chinn was also a terrific pick up late in the second round adding depth to a secondary that struggled to stop the passing game in 2019.


GRADE: A-


Chicago Bears

Round 2, pick 43: Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame

Round 2, pick 50: Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah

Round 5, pick 155: Trevis Gipson, EDGE, Tulsa

Round 5, pick 163: Kindle Vildor, CB, Georgia Southern

Round 5, pick 173: Darnell Mooney, WR, Tulane

Round 7, pick 226: Arlington Hambright, G, Colorado

Round 7, pick 227: Lachavious Simmons, G, Tennessee State


The Bears had to wait until Day 2 to get into the action and with their first selection, they drafted one of the better TEs in the draft in Cole Kmet. Just a few picks later, Chicago addressed the defense by drafting Jaylon Johnson, who fell right around where he should have and has the potential to be a very good CB in the NFL. All in all, it wasn't a very exciting draft for Chicago, and that could be because of the lack of a first-round pick.


GRADE: B-


Cincinnati Bengals

Round 1, pick 1: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

Round 2, pick 33: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

Round 3, pick 65: Logan Wilson, LB, Wyoming

Round 4, pick 107: Akeem Davis-Gaither, LB, Appalachian State

Round 5, pick 147: Khalid Kareem, DE, Notre Dame

Round 6, pick 180: Hakeem Adeniji, OT, Kansas

Round 7, pick 215: Markus Bailey, LB, Purdue


After posting one of the greatest college seasons ever, it's no surprise Joe Burrow is headed back to his home state as the franchise QB for the Bengals. It didn't take long for head coach Zac Taylor to get his young QB another weapon in Tee Higgins with the first pick in the second round. One of the bigger issues with the Bengals draft is their lack of addressing the offensive line. They selected Hakeem Adeniji in the sixth round, as he will be more of a project before he gets into the starting lineup.


If you're a Bengals fan, rejoice. You got your quarterback and now this season will be used to get Burrow comfortable in the offense and next year's draft will be utilized to address needs to protect Burrow and continue to build a solid defense.


GRADE: B+


Cleveland Browns

Round 1, pick 10: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama

Round 2, pick 44: Grant Delpit, S, LSU

Round 3, pick 88: Jordan Elliott, DT, Missouri

Round 3, pick 97: Jacob Phillips, LB, LSU

Round 4, pick 115: Harrison Bryant, TE, Florida Atlantic

Round 5, pick 160: Nick Harris, C, Washington

Round 6, pick 187: Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR, Michigan


The draft board was kind to the Cleveland Browns as Jedrick Wills out of Alabama fell right into their lap at No. 10 overall. The Alabama offensive tackle was graded as one of the top 3 offensive linemen in this year's draft and that was a dire need for the Browns after this past season. With the addition of Jack Conklin in free agency, QB Baker Mayfield should be able to sleep a little better at night knowing he will have time to throw the ball in the pocket.


The Browns also added some safety depth when they drafted Grant Delpit in the second round adding to an already youthful secondary.


Harrison Bryant seems to be a solid player and was good value for Cleveland in the fourth round. Michigan WR Donovan Peoples-Jones fell all the way into the sixth round, and even though not a lot of people are high on him, the Browns couldn't pass on him given the selection.


GRADE: B+


Dallas Cowboys

Round 1, pick 17: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

Round 2, pick 51: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama

Round 3, pick 82: Neville Gallimore, DT, Oklahoma

Round 4, pick 123: Reggie Robinson II, CB, Tulsa

Round 5, pick 146: Tyler Biadasz, C, Wisconsin

Round 5, pick 179: Bradlee Anae, DE, Utah

Round 7, pick 231: Ben DiNucci, QB, James Madison


Arguably the steal of the draft knocked on the door of Jerry Jones' secret lair on his yacht when WR CeeDee Lamb fell to No. 17 in the first round. Lamb adds another weapon to an already explosive Cowboys offense.


Dallas also addressed a need at the cornerback position after losing Byron Jones to free agency when they drafted Trevon Diggs. Dallas' defense is still the weak side of the ball, but if Dak and company can put up 35+ points per game, it will be tough for teams to get a win.


One of the team's later picks came in the fifth round when they drafted Tyler Biadasz out of Wisconsin. He was named the country's best center last season and will be groomed to be the future center for Dallas after the shocking retirement of Travis Frederick.


GRADE: A-


Denver Broncos

Round 1, pick 15: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

Round 2, pick 46: KJ Hamler, WR, Penn State

Round 3, pick 77: Michael Ojemudia, CB, Iowa

Round 3, pick 83: Lloyd Cushenberry III, C, LSU

Round 3, pick 95 (from 49ers): McTelvin Algim, DT, Arkansas

Round 4, pick 118: Albert Okwuegbunam, TE, Missouri

Round 5, pick 178: Justin Strnad, LB, Wake Forest

Round 6, pick 181: Netane Muti, G, Fresno State

Round 7, pick 252: Tyrie Cleveland, WR, Florida

Round 7, pick 254: Derrek Tuszka, DE, North Dakota State


Speed. Speed. Speed. That's what GM John Elway wanted to address in the first two rounds of the draft by selecting Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler, two wide receivers that cause nightmares for defensive coordinators. With Denver putting their trust in QB Drew Lock it was important for him to have the weapons available to make him successful under center.


Denver also drafted another speedy TE in Albert Okwuegbunam who will pair well with Noah Fant in the fast-paced offense. If the Broncos want to compete with the defending Super Bowl Champion Chiefs, going the direction they went in was the right call.


GRADE: A-


Detroit Lions

Round 1, pick 3: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State

Round 2, pick 35: D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia

Round 3, pick 67: Julian Okwara, LB, Notre Dame

Round 3, pick 75: Jonah Jackson, G, Ohio State

Round 4, pick 121: Logan Stenberg, G, Kentucky

Round 5, pick 166: Quintez Cephus, WR, Wisconsin

Round 5, pick 172: Jason Huntley, RB, New Mexico State

Round 6, pick 197: John Penisini, DT, Utah

Round 7, pick 235: Jashon Cornell, DE, Ohio State


Matt Patricia and the Lions needed to address the secondary right away after losing Darius Slay in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles. They were able to pick up veteran Desmond Trufant, but getting a young, talented corner was the play when they selected Jeff Okudah with the third overall pick. Okudah can match up with any receiver and stick with him. He's on-ball instincts were seen during his time at Ohio State and he will be CB1 right away in Detroit.


The Lions wasted no time at the start of the second round when Georgia RB D'Andre Swift was still on the board. Providing Matt Stafford an elusive running back can open up the offense that was sub-par in 2019.


Grade: B


Green Bay Packers

Round 1, pick 26: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State

Round 2, pick 62: AJ Dillon, RB, Boston College

Round 3, pick 94: Josiah Deguara, TE, Cincinnati

Round 5, pick 175: Kamal Martin, LB, Minnesota

Round 6, pick 192: Jon Runyan, G, Michigan

Round 6, pick 208: Jake Hanson, C, Oregon

Round 6, pick 209: Simon Stepaniak, OT, Indiana

Round 7, pick 236: Vernon Scott, S, TCU

Round 7, pick 242: Jonathan Garvin, DE, Miami


The biggest head-scratcher of the 2020 NFL Draft was when the Packers selected QB Jordan Love with the No. 26 pick in the first round. Love offers massive potential with one of the strongest arms in the draft and mobility that reminds some of Patrick Mahomes. However, the Packers still of future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers. So what does this mean? Are they pushing Rodgers out or are they planning for the next 5 years. Either way, the 2019 Packers were one game away from Super Bowl LV and they did not grab a single WR in one of the deepest WR classes in draft history.


Boston College's A.J. Dillon seemed like a stretch in the second round, especially when they already have a talented back in Aaron Jones.


The Packers can still find some receivers that teams are looking to shop before the 2020 season, but as it stands now, the Packers team has not upgraded through this draft.


GRADE: D


Houston Texans

Round 2, pick 40: Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU

Round 3, pick 90: Jonathan Greenard, LB, Florida

Round 4, pick 126: Charlie Heck, OT, North Carolina

Round 4, pick 141: John Reid, CB, Penn State

Round 5, pick 171: Isaiah Coulter, WR, Rhode Island


The Texans had one of the more boring draft classes this year. After trading DeAndre Hopkins they also did not address any WR needs. Instead, they looked to get deeper on defense with Ross Blacklock being their first pick in the second round. Even though a draft is boring, doesn't mean it can't be successful. Blacklock has the potential to be a defensive rookie of the year. TCU head coach Gary Patterson says that he has an 'unbelievable ceiling'.


Other solid picks for the Texans were Jonathan Greenard and John Reid. Both players can have immediate roles in the defense that will need to hold its own to win a good number of games.


GRADE: C+


Indianapolis Colts

Round 2, pick 34: Michael Pittman Jr., WR, USC

Round 2, pick 41: Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin

Round 3, pick 85: Justin Blackmon, S, Utah

Round 4, pick 122: Jacob Eason, QB, Washington

Round 5, pick 149 (from Lions): Danny Pinter, OL, Ball State

Round 6, pick 193: Robert Windsor, DT, Penn State

Round 6, pick 211 (from Jets via Chiefs): Isaiah Rodgers, CB, UMass

Round 6, pick 212 (from Patriots): Dezmon Patmon, WR, Washington State

Round 6, pick 213 (from Patriots): Jordan Glasgow, S, Michigan


The Colts brought in veteran QB Philip Rivers on a one-year deal, which in other terms, means win-now mode. Head coach Frank Reich now has a couple of weapons he can work with to help Rivers with his new team.


Indy traded their first-round pick for DT DeForest Buckner to bolster their defensive line and went offense with their first two picks. Michael Pittman Jr. and Jonathan Taylor are two veteran players that have the potential to be explosive in a Frank Reich offense. Taylor struggles in the passing game, but that won't be a problem for Marlon Mack. Expect Taylor to be more of a bruiser, but a major role in the offense.


The Colts also snagged QB Jacob Eason to solidify their QB room. Eason would be third on the QB depth chart under Jacoby Brissett, but depending on his growth it wouldn't be surprising if the Colts take calls from teams in need of a quarterback and put Brissett on the market.


GRADE: B+


Jacksonville Jaguars

Round 1, pick 9: CJ Henderson, CB, Florida

Round 1, pick 20: K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU

Round 2, pick 42: Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado

Round 3, pick 73: DaVon Hamilton, DT, Ohio State

Round 4, pick 116: Ben Bartch, OT, St. John’s University at Minnesota

Round 4, pick 137: Josiah Scott, CB, Michigan State

Round 4, pick 140: Shaquille Quarterman, LB, Miami

Round 5, pick 157: Daniel Thomas, S, Auburn

Round 5, pick 165: Collin Johnson, WR, Texas

Round 6, pick 189: Jake Luton, QB, Oregon