What a wild ride the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft turned out to be. Even though a majority of the picks early on were predictable, there were still some surprising selections made across the board. Some were significantly shocking, for better and for worse. But, which teams had reason to smile after Round 1? Who totally blew it?
Here are the three biggest winners and losers of the first night of the NFL Draft.
6. Winners: Arizona Cardinals
It's extremely rare that the best player on the board can fall to a team sitting at the bottom half of the top 10, but that's what happened to the Cardinals on Thursday evening. Entering Round 1, reports indicated that Clemson linebacker/safety hybrid Isaiah Simmons wouldn't drop past the Carolina Panthers at the seventh overall pick. That didn't happen, as Carolina opted to pick Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown instead, allowing Arizona to steal Simmons. Now, he gives the Cardinals defense a versatile, explosive player that can help rush the quarterback alongside Chandler Jones, while providing superb defense against the pass in the secondary. Congratulations Cardinals, you've got yourselves a stud.
5. Losers: Atlanta Falcons
For the past week, the Falcons were desperate to trade up into the top 10 to select Florida cornerback CJ Henderson. That never materialized, as Henderson was taken by the Jacksonville Jaguars. With fallback option Javon Kinlaw off the board by the time the Falcons were on the clock, they took Clemson cornerback AJ Terrell with the 16th overall pick. When looking at the cornerback class, there's a major drop off after Henderson and Jeff Okudah. Terrell isn't a ballhawk cornerback and struggled against top talent at the college level (i.e. LSU). Atlanta committed the cardinal sin in drafting: reaching for a positional need. You never do that.
4. Winners: Dallas Cowboys
Oklahoma's CeeDee Lamb was heavily projected to be the first wide receiver to be selected in the NFL Draft. No one thought he'd drop all the way to the Dallas Cowboys with the 17th overall pick. It's no secret that owner Jerry Jones loves his flashy receivers, and we can't fault him for picking Lamb here. Adding an explosive rookie alongside Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup is straight up overkill. There are no more excuses for quarterback Dak Prescott. If you can't win with this receiving corps, you better lessen your contract demands.
3. Losers: Green Bay Packers
This decision by the Packers was just mind-boggling. Green Bay needed two things: a quality defender to stop the run, or a wide receiver for quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Instead, general manager Brian Gutekunst traded up to the No. 26 pick to select Utah State quarterback Jordan Love. This wasn't the move for the Packers to make at this junction. Green Bay was one win away from reaching the Super Bowl last season with Rodgers at the helm. Deciding to give up draft capital to pick his successor instead of putting the Packers over the edge was the worst possible decision they could've made. And now, they've angered Rodgers and brought more drama to the organization. Way to go.
2. Winners: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
If you didn't think the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would take an offensive tackle in the first round, then you haven't been paying attention to the news lately. The Bucs brought in Tom Brady, while adding tight end Rob Gronkowski to an already explosive passing attack. Tampa Bay's biggest area of concern was at the tackle position, and luckily for them, Iowa's Tristan Wirfs dropped within range. The Buccaneers didn't mess around, as they moved up one spot with the San Francisco 49ers to take the extremely athletic right tackle, who has the highest upside amongst his classmates. Tampa Bay's o-line drastically improved with one pick, and subsequently made Brady a happy camper.
1. Losers: Philadelphia Eagles
Sometimes, karma is a wonderful thing. Just last year, Eagles fans roasted the New York Giants for selecting Daniel Jones. Now, the shoe is on the other foot. Philadelphia's irritation grew to nuclear levels on Thursday night after general manager Howie Roseman reached to take receiver Jalen Reagor out of TCU. Reagor, who stands at 5-11, does possess quality speed, but is more of a slot receiver than anything. To make matters worse, Roseman passed on LSU's Justin Jefferson, who was a big-bodied wideout that Carson Wentz could have targeted in the end zone. We get it, the NFL is getting faster with each passing year, but Reagor doesn't have nearly the same potential as Jefferson. Enjoy the mocking, Eagles fans. What goes around, comes around.