Well, the very unscientific process that is the NFL Draft is complete, and so begins the even more unscientific process of evaluating how each team did.
The 2020 draft was plenty eventful, even if untraditional due to COVID-19 altering the event’s format. But in all, 255 picks were made — some shocking, others predictable, with even a few inexplicable choices getting mixed in as well.
Here are our grades, thoughts and analysis on each team’s draft performance. You can view the full draft results here.
Arizona Cardinals, C- — They did about as well as they could for a team that didn’t have a pick between Nos. 8 and 72. Isaiah Simmons addresses an immediate need, but they didn’t upgrade the offense much — although they did that last month by acquiring DeAndre Hopkins.
Atlanta Falcons, B — Atlanta’s defense was just so bad last season that it outright negated an actually decent offense. Four of their six picks were for defensive players, including A.J. Terrell and Marlon Davidson, so it’s a step in the right direction.
Baltimore Ravens, A- — It’s hard to imagine the Ravens offense getting even more fun to watch next season, but here we are. J.K. Dobbins and Devin Duvernay should get involved right away, and they also added some useful defensive pieces in the early rounds.
Buffalo Bills, C+ — Credit to Brandon Beane for being the one to stop Jake Fromm’s freefall. However, that was about as exciting as things got for the Bills, who didn’t pick until 54th overall and didn’t add much to their just average offense.
Carolina Panthers B+ — Defense. Defense. Defense. And we like it. While it’s anyone’s guess how Teddy Bridgewater will fare as a starter again, they have one of the most dynamic running backs in the game in Christian McCaffrey, so they took the prudent approach and loaded up on the other side of the ball, drafting only defensive players. Smart.
Chicago Bears, C- — Cole Kmet will be a nice addition for Mitchell Trubisky/Nick Foles, but that’s such an uncertain quarterback situation that they probably would’ve benefitted from shoring up the defense more. Oh, and they didn’t draft a quarterback this year, which wasn’t overly wise.
Cincinnati Bengals, A- — Considering how bad the Bengals were last season, it would be silly to say they’ll make a monumental turnaround in 2020. However, this team looks much, much better with Joe Burrow, Tee Higgins and Logan Wilson in the fold. They get high marks purely because they didn’t overthink the No. 1 pick.
Cleveland Browns, B — Baker Mayfield has to be feeling good right now knowing that the Browns signed Jack Conklin and drafted Jedrick Wills at 10th overall. Also, Grant Delpit was a great grab a 44. Now, all they have to do is determine how they plan to disappoint everyone this year. Fun!
Dallas Cowboys, B — Things could’ve gone south quickly for Dallas with Jerry Jones basically telling everyone that he was running the show and to stay the hell away from him. The addition of CeeDee Lamb should further electrify that offense, and it was srewd of them to pivot almost exclusively to defense the rest of the way.
Denver Broncos, A- — Are the Broncos about to be fun this year? Maybe! Drew Lock will be a question mark, but he can’t say Jon Elway didn’t put him in a position to succeed. After all, Denver used its first two picks on wideouts (Jerry Jeudy, K.J. Hamler) after adding Melvin Gordon earlier this offseason. In other words, the Broncos are loading up on offense.
Detroit Lions, C+ — They did well by drafting Jeff Okudah at third overall, and adding D’Andre Swift should provide Matt Stafford with some relief. It felt like a conservative three days for Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia though, which is interesting given that franchise is not in a spot where they should be playing things safe.
Green Bay Packers, D- — If their goal was to sufficiently infuriate Aaron Rodgers, they probably succeeded. After taking Jordan Love, nothing else mattered.
Houston Texans, D+ — Though we’re sure Deshaun Watson loves getting killed by opposing pass rushers every week, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense that Houston waited until 126th overall to take their only offensive lineman of the draft. At least Bill O’Brien doesn’t have a demonstrated history of bungling decisions both as a coach and executive.
Indianapolis Colts, A- — Quietly a very nice few days for the Colts. Getting a receiver (Michael Pittman) and running back (Jonathan Taylor) with their first two picks provided needed weapons for Philip Rivers, and drafting Jacob Eason after he slipped was a pragmatic move for a team with an uncertain long-term situation under center since they don’t appear to think Jacoby Brissett is their best option. Overall, not bad for a team that didn’t have a first-rounder.
Jacksonville Jaguars, B+ — Considering Jalen Ramsey is gone and Yannick Ngakoue probably won’t be far behind him, Jacksonville understandably took C.J. Henderson and K’Lavon Chiasson in the first round. And with the Laviska Shenault Jr. selection in the second round, Gardner Minshew will be working with a nice group of receivers that also includes D.J. Chark and Dede Westbrook.
Kansas City Chiefs, C+ — They were as efficient as they could be seeing as they were picking in the back of every round. Clyde Edwards-Helaire should help fix a suspect running back situation, and KC turning the focus mostly to defense the rest of the way was a smart call.
Las Vegas Raiders, B — If nothing else, the Raiders’ first season in Vegas should be defined by high-flying offense. Drafting three receivers in the first 81 picks to compliment an offense that’ll include Darren Waller, Josh Jacobs, Hunter Renfrow, Tyrell Williams and Nelson Agholor leaves the Raiders with no excuse not to put up a bunch of points. Although, their quarterback situation is, um, questionable, which begs the question: Is Lynn Bowden a better signal-caller than both Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota? It’s a question worth asking.
Los Angeles Chargers, D+ — The Chargers might not be very good in 2020. Justin Herbert very well could be backing up Tyrod Taylor, and after selecting Herbert and linebacker Kenneth Murray (23rd) in the first round, they didn’t pick again until the fourth. In other words, they didn’t do a whole lot to immediately improve a team that went 5-11 last season.
Los Angeles Rams, C — Not having a first-round pick was not ideal for a team entering a full-fledged rebuild. The Rams made the obvious moves of “replacing” Todd Gurley with their first selection of the draft (Cam Akers), then addressed some other areas of concern. A *shrug* few days for the Rams. Appropriate.
Miami Dolphins, B+ — Talk about working from abundance. They made 11 picks, including Tua Tagovailoa at fifth overall. Protecting him with Austin Jackson later in the first was a predictable next step, then adding some more defensive pieces in the ensuing rounds also made sense. Serious question: Could the Dolphins be an 8-8 team this season? Don’t call us crazy.
Minnesota Vikings, B- — Justin Jefferson is a fun player, and though he might not immediately replace Stefon Diggs, he’ll nevertheless be an important addition. And by the time the fourth round concluded, they had at least addressed their primary needs (receiver, cornerback, EDGE and offensive line). Now we just wait and see who pans out and keeps the Vikings as a win-now group.
New England Patriots, C- — Look, far be it from us to play armchair GM and criticize Bill Belichick, but here we go. The upside is there for Kyle Dugger, but he’s a massive question mark coming out of a Division-II school, especially so considering where the Patriots picked him. You could say they took Anfernee Jennings and Josh Uche too early, and their decision at kicker was a head-scratcher. What saves their grade here is the additions of Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene, two fascinating tight ends for what was a woeful position group in New England last season. But really not a great few days for the Patriots — though we guess that’s what happens when you turn the controls over to a dog.
New Orleans Saints, A- — The Saints did really well despite finishing with just four picks. Cesar Ruiz was a fine enough choice in the first round, but they made some intelligent moves in the second and third rounds by picking up Zack Baun and Adam Trautman after both slipped.
New York Giants, C — Maybe Dave Gettleman and Joe Judge would’ve been better off trading the fourth overall pick and going from there. Andrew Thomas will be a fine player, but they probably could’ve gotten him even if they traded back, and if not there were plenty of offensive linemen there who would’ve been equally adaquate picks. But hey, a big objective for them is creating holes for Saquon Barkley and keeping Daniel Jones upright, and using three of their first five picks on offensive linemen is a step in that direction.
New York Jets, B- — Joe Douglas isn’t exactly in an enviable position with the seemingly dozens of holes to fill on the Jets roster. But he made moves to try to address them, beginning with the addition of Mekhi Becton, who seems like he’ll be a fantastic NFL offensive lineman. The Jets are a ways off from being a playoff contender, but they did get better through this draft.
Philadelphia Eagles, B — The Eagles might be getting flamed for picking Jalen Hurts, but wow do we love it. They could use him as a Taysom Hill type, OR he could end up slotting in for the oft-injured Carson Wentz. Regardless of who’s under center, first-rounder Jalen Reagor will be a nice weapon for them. Hats off to Philly.
Pittsburgh Steelers, D+ — They weren’t in a great spot from the beginning with just one pick (49th) in the first 100. Chase Claypool was a value get in the second round though for a team that otherwise had a drab draft.
San Francisco 49ers, B- — The 49ers’ front seven was an absolute force last season, and Javon Kinlaw only will add to that — not bad for a team whose defense carried it to the Super Bowl. And while Jimmy Garoppolo might never be a gunslinger, certainly he’ll appreciate the addition of Brandon Aiyuk.
Seattle Seahawks, C+ — The Seahawks had the second-lowest sack total in the NFL last season, so it makes sense that they picked up a linebacker and EDGE with their first two picks. It was an efficient draft for the Seahawks, even if it lacked head-turning moves.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, B+ — Jason Licht wants to keep his prized new quarterback happy as a clam, as evidenced by two of their first three picks. Tristan Wirfs will slot right in to protect Brady (no pressure, kid!), and the addition of Ke’Shawn Vaughn was necessary for a team that needed backfield bolstering.
Tennessee Titans, B — Isaiah Wilson is an unsurprising move in the first round since they’re banking on Ryan Tannehill going forward — and obviously keeping him inside the pocket is best for all parties. But the Titans did have a pair of sneaky good moves: Appalachian State running back Darrynton Evans in the third round will make for a compelling backfield partner with Derrick Henry, and we love the flier on Hawaii quarterback Cole McDonald at 224.
Washington Redskins — After creating one smokescreen after another leading up to the draft, they made the right decision in keeping the second overall pick and selecting the best player, Chase Young. After that though, their picks were few and likely won’t do much to enhance a team that won three games last year.
Thumbnail photo via Philip G. Pavely/USA TODAY Sports Images