More so than the previous two days of the 2020 NFL Draft, trades defined what we saw on Saturday. A future Hall of Famer was finally traded from the nation’s capital. Another elite player at that position called it quits.
In terms of the draft itself, former Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm found himself falling down the board big time. Two NFC teams in that of the Vikings and Cowboys found value at need positions.
Over in the AFC, it’s now readily apparent that the New England Patriots are in rebuild mode after what we saw Saturday.
These are among the biggest takeaways from Day 3 of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Jake Fromm’s dramatic drop
Some had expected this former Georgia standout to go as high as the second round. Heck, Fromm was considered a potential first-round pick heading into his final season in Athens. Fresh off a disappointing 2019 campaign and with renewed questions after he bombed the NFL Scouting Combine, Fromm continued to fall on Saturday.
When it was all said and done Fromm was the eighth quarterback off the board to the Buffalo Bills in Round 5. That’s about as dramatic of a draft day fall as we have seen from a quarterback in recent draft history.
It also tells us a story that group think is overrated. NFL teams knew what they were getting in Fromm. It was much different than how the mainstream media viewed him.
Jerry Jones knows what he’s doing
The Dallas Cowboys absolutely dominated the first two rounds of the draft, stealing star wide receiver CeeDee Lamb in the first before adding a projected Day 1 starter in that of former Alabama cornerback Trevon Diggs. Two elite-level players at positions of need.
But it’s what Dallas did on Saturday that has this team as the talk of the NFL world. The Cowboys doubled down in the secondary with stud corner Reggie Robinson with the first of their fourth-round selections. They then found a way to add the consensus No. 2 center in the draft, Wisconsin’s Tyler Biadasz, in a shocking trade up with the division-rival Philadelphia Eagles later in the fourth. He replaces the recently retired Travis Frederick.
In no way was Dallas done there. It found value at a need position in that of former Utah edge rusher Bradlee Anae in Round 5. The 6-foot-3, 257-pound defensive lineman recorded 28.5 sacks in his final three seasons with the Utes. After initial jokes about him controlling the board in Big D, Jones answered critics big time.
Changing of the tackle in San Francisco
Day 2 of the 2020 NFL Draft was a sleepy one for the defending NFC champions. The San Francisco 49ers did not have a single selection on Friday night after picking twice in the first round. In fact, San Francisco was set to go three-plus rounds without making a pick.
All of this changed immediately with the 49ers being extremely active on Saturday. San Francisco shockingly traded for seven-time Washington Redskins Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams. The move was questionable in that the 49ers had their own longtime left tackle in that of six-time Pro Bowler Joe Staley.
Once news of the trade broke, Staley officially announced his retirement from the NFL. It now makes all the sense in the world. San Francisco adds a future Hall of Fame tackle who is four years younger than Staley. It does so yielding a fifth-round pick in 2020 and third rounder in 2021. The rich get richer.
Vikings continue to find value, need
Some will question Minnesota’s decision to select smallish corner Jeff Gladney with the second of their two first-round picks Thursday night. That’s fine, but it set the stage for the Vikings to head into Day 3 with more than a dozen picks after they traded down from 25 to land Gladney.
General manager Rick Spielman and Co. more than took advantage of these picks by finding value at need positions. Within a three-pick span in the fourth round, Minnesota added Baylor defensive lineman James Lynch and Oregon linebacker Troy Dye. Both were seen as Day 2 prospects and will help Minnesota get younger on defense.
Lynch (6-foot-4 and 289 pounds) recorded 19.5 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks last season with Baylor. A freak athlete, Dye can line up at both linebacker and strong safety. These were two absolutely tremendous picks for a Vikings team looking to add more youth on that side of the ball.
Packers completely ignore wide receiver
Former NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers was a good sport when his Packers traded up for fellow quarterback Jordan Love in the first round of the draft. He didn’t make a big deal of it when Green Bay shockingly took running back A.J. Dillon in the second round. That’s all fine and dandy. But Rodgers can’t be a happy man right now.
Green Bay completely ignored the wide receiver position, one area of major need, throughout the entire draft. All said, the Packers made nine selections without taking a single wide receiver. Not one.
It sure looks like the Packers are looking more to the future than 2020. For a player in Rodgers who is entering the back end of his prime, that can’t be seen as a good thing. It’s also rather obvious that Green Bay doesn’t view itself as legitimate contender next season. That also has to be a bitter pill for Rodgers to swallow.
Patriots in full-scale rebuild mode
If we needed any indication what the Patriots’ plans were next season after losing Tom Brady in free agency, we didn’t need to look any further than Saturday’s events.
New England took the first kicker off the board in that of Marshall’s Justin Rohrwasser in the fifth round. Bill Belichick followed that selection up by going offensive line with the Patriots next two picks. Of the three, none are going to contribute outside of special teams next season.
Meanwhile, the Pats avoided quarterback throughout the 2020 NFL Draft. Even on Saturday, New England had an opportunity to add Georgia’s Jake Fromm to the mix. It passed. This is now a clear indication that the Pats are punting it on the 2020 season with the hopes of landing a top pick next April.