The first round of this year’s NFL Draft was certainly filled with drama and intrigue. Though, that rarely ever compares to what we see during Day 2 of the annual event.
This was very much the case on Friday, as the NFL Draft concluded the second and third rounds. Right out of the gate, the Cincinnati Bengals found a way to bungle their second-round pick.
On the other end of the ledger, the Las Vegas Raiders, New York Giants and Baltimore Ravens continued what have been strong drafts. Meanwhile, a surprise team selected Heisman finalist Jalen Hurts.
These are among the top takeaways from Day 2 of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Bengals find a way fumble 33rd pick
Selecting at the top of Day 2, Cincinnati had an opportunity to take the best player available. The position did not necessarily matter for a rebuilding team that finished last season with the worst record in the NFL. It also had multiple offers to trade down from that spot.
Cincinnati made the smart decision to find a weapon for No. 1 pick Joe Burrow. It came in the form of Clemson pass catcher Tee Higgins. Unfortunately, he was nowhere near the top receiver on the board at the time. A pick later, the Indianapolis Colts stole a better prospect in that of Michael Pittman Jr. The Bengals had the right idea, they just chose the wrong player.
Giants continue solid draft
General manager David Gettleman did the right thing Thursday evening, adding potential franchise left tackle Andrew Thomas at No. 4 overall to help protect young quarterback Daniel Jones’ blindside.
Early on in Round 2, New York doubled down with another great selection in that of Alabama safety Xavier McKinney. He was seen as a first-round talent heading into the draft. We’re talking about a true center fielder from the free safety position, someone with arguably the best range in the class. It might not have been sexy, but New York fortified two areas with high-upside players.
Patriots’ first post-Brady selection
Fans in New England had to wait an extra day to see what Bill Belichick (and his dog) had up their sleeves with the first selection in the post Tom Brady era. New England traded out of the first round, picking up an early Day 2 selection and a third rounder.
With that pick, the Patriots added small-school safety Kyle Dugger from Lenoir–Rhyne. It wasn’t a bad selection. Dugger showed out at the Senior Bowl and figures to be a starter down the road. Rather, it was a clear indication that New England is building more for the future than 2020.
Eagles with shocking second-round pick
Philadelphia targeted a need position by selecting former Texas Christian receiver Jalen Reagor in the first round of the draft Thursday night. Most figured that they would double down at receiver or go defensive back with the 53rd overall pick.
Not only did the Eagles go in another direction, they selected former Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts. Sure it was a sexy pick, but I have no idea what to make of it. Philadelphia just signed Carson Wentz to a lofty contract extension. It views him as the team’s franchise quarterback and potential MVP candidate.
With so many options at other positions of need, this made little sense. Is Philadelphia now looking at using the reigning Heisman finalist as a trick player? It’s the only reasonable explanation at this point.
Colts go win-now to open their draft
General manager Chris Ballard already showed his hand earlier in the offseason when Indianapolis dealt its first-round pick (13th overall) for All-Pro defensive tackle DeForest Buckner. Signing future Hall of Fame quarterback Philip Rivers to replace the struggling Jacoby Brissett under center added another layer to this.
If what we saw early Friday night is any indication, the Colts are aiming to dethrone the Kansas City Chiefs next season. It started with Indy drafting underrated receiver Michael Pittman Jr. with the 34th overall pick. The Colts then doubled down on the skill positions with record-breaking former Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor at 41. The goal in Indianapolis is clear. Take out the Chiefs next season.
The Ravens are good at this drafting thing
Baltimore’s selection of linebacker Patrick Queen with the 28th overall pick Thursday night was among the best value picks in the draft. It came after the Los Angeles Chargers moved up for a lesser linebacker in that of Kenneth Murray.
If that weren’t enough, Baltimore got value and need with its Day 2 selections. It started with all-everything running back J.K. Dobbins late in the second round. The Ohio State product is a first-round talent. He’ll now team up with Mark Ingram to form an elite backfield duo. Not to be outdone, the Ravens then added stud defensive tackle Justin Madubuike from Texas A&M at the top of the third round. Yeah, these Ravens know how to draft.
The Rams aren’t
We already know that the Rams are lacking in draft capital after trades for Jalen Ramsey and others over the past two years. Their first selection in the 2020 NFL Draft came midway through the second round on Friday. With that pick, general manager Les Snead and Co. opted for a running back to replace the recently-released Todd Gurley. It came in the form of Cam Akers with a better back in that of J.K. Dobbins on the board.
Then, with the pick they acquired from Houston in the Brandin Cooks trade later in the second round, Los Angeles went wide receiver. It was a need, but the player they landed did not represent value. A better receiver in that of Baylor’s Denzel Mills was on the board. Instead, the Rams selected Florida product Van Jefferson. He was seen by most as a mid-round pick, at best, heading into the draft.
Raiders adding all the weapons for Derek Carr
The Raiders’ decision to take Henry Ruggs at No. 12 overall Thursday night was not too much of a surprise. It reminds me of the Al Davis era. The fastest receiver in the draft and a deep threat that will take Las Vegas by storm.
After reaching for cornerback Damon Arnette with their other first-round pick, the Raiders doubled down on skill positions in Round 3. Jon Gruden and Co. selected all-purpose player Lynn Bowden Jr. at No. 80. He can play both running back and wide receiver, two areas the Raiders need help. Not to be outdone, Las Vegas picked up an underrated receiver in that of South Carolina’s Bryan Edwards at 81.
After making it clear they are committed to him through at least next season, there are no more excuses for Derek Carr. He has a whole plethora of weapons to work with. The onus is now on the three-time Pro Bowler to prove his worth.