News 12 Sports Mailbag: Grading the Giants, Jets and more for their selections in the 2020 NFL Draft
The 2020 NFL Draft has come and gone with a very different feel to it, as Commissioner Roger Goodell delivered the picks from his basement and soon-to-be players reacted from their homes. News 12 Sports' Pat O'Keefe and Dan Serafin are breaking down their thoughts on the picks – who do you agree with?
Grade each team’s entire draft – break down what you liked/didn’t like:
Giants: B... I didn't love taking Andrew Thomas at No. 4 overall. Beyond that, I really liked what the Giants did with the rest of their picks. They had a list of needs: Offensive line, secondary, front seven, and they addressed those needs with all 10 of their picks. They did not draft a single offensive skill position player, and that's fine. They are solid at those spots.
Jets: B+... Joe Douglas was extremely impressive running his first draft. I like that he went with Mekhi Becton instead of a wide receiver at No. 11 overall. I thought that strengthening the offensive line was a higher priority. Picking up the receiver Denzel Mims in the second round, while also obtaining an extra pick, was huge.
Eagles: B-... While there were some solid picks that addressed specific needs (wide receiver, defensive backfield), I don't understand the Jalen Hurts pick in round 2. Why bring unnecessary turmoil into a locker room? I think that's what you do when you already have a "franchise" quarterback and then pick another QB that high.
Patriots: C... Everyone said that Bill Belichick had to draft a quarterback to replace the departed Tom Brady. So what did he do? He didn't pick one, of course. Who will be throwing the ball to a less-than-stellar receiver group? Admittedly, I did not watch a lot of Lenoir-Rhyne football, but I am interested to see what safety Kyle Duggar (37th overall pick) can be. I will defer to Belichick's football judgement over my own.
Giants: B... I liked plenty from the Giants' draft ... especially the selection of Alabama safety Xavier McKinney in the second round. Playmakers on defense are exactly what the Giants need, they always seem to have them at this position, but they didn't before the draft. As for the Giants' first round pick, we can't be surprised that Dave Gettleman went with the offensive lineman instead of the generational linebacker - time will tell if this ends up becoming one of the those misses that gets remembered. Either way, Thomas looks to be NFL-ready to start Week 1 this season, but the Giants have had their issues drafting offensive linemen in the recent past (Ereck Flowers).
Jets: B... The Jets seemed to go by the book for most of their picks. The first round selection of Mekhi Becton could prove to be great if he ends up being the best of the first round offensive linemen. But to me, the overall success of this draft hinges on 2nd round pick Denzel Mims. If the receiver provides a boost for Sam Darnold and a Jets offense that desperately needs to add threats on the edges of the field, then this draft could be a homerun for the Jets.
Eagles: A... What an interesting place the Eagles are in. I give them an 'A' here simply because of their selection of QB Jalen Hurts. The truth for the Eagles is their backup, or "second" quarterback as they call it, is just as important as their starter. Just look at the past few seasons, when Wentz got hurt and they had Foles ready to go, they won the Super Bowl. When Wentz got hurt and they had McCown behind him, they lost immediately. Hurts could be the most important player on the Eagles, and who says its a bad thing to give Carson Wentz a viable back-up to push him and motivate him even more?
Which draft choice(s) stand out as having the best chance to make a big impact? What about some draft mistakes/reaches?
I think Xavier McKinney can have a big impact on the Giants defense. I had wanted them to pick Isaiah Simmons in the first round as a playmaker on D. McKinney, though not as dynamic as Simmons, can be that playmaker. Considering that he is a safety from Alabama picked at the top of the second round, the Landon Collins comparisons are inevitable.
Andrew Thomas can be a very solid offensive tackle. I just think the Giants could have traded down to the 10, 11, 12 range and still gotten him (or a comparable talent that that position), while picking up an extra asset in a trade.
Mekhi Becton is the offensive tackle who the Jets and Sam Darnold have craved. The first offensive lineman the Jets drafted in the first round since 2006 (D'Brickashaw Fesguson and Nick Mangold). How did those picks work out?
The most intriguing pick is Ashtyn Davis, the safety out of Cal, in the third round. He is a freak athlete who was on a track scholarship and walked onto the football team of a Pac-12 school. And he was still good enough to be drafted with the 68th overall pick? Imagine how good he can be when concentrating solely on football. This can be a homerun pick.
One way other another, the Jalen Hurts pick with have an impact on the Eagles locker room. If you want to look at it from the positive angle, Hurts could be what Philly management and Head Coach Doug Pederson envision, a Taysom Hill-like weapon who can play some quarterback, run the ball a little and even catch it. From the negative angle, Hurts' presence could undermine Carson Wentz at a time when Wentz just got into the good graces of the demanding Eagles fan base after a terrific 2019 performance. Another negative impact could be that the Eagles, a division winner looking to take another step forward in the playoffs this year, just wasted a second round pick on a part-time player whose presence could cause dissension in the locker room, rather than someone who could help more immediately.
During the last 10 Super Bowl appearances for the Patriots, the team had two quarterbacks (Drew Bledsoe, Tom Brady) and two placekickers. Adam Vinatieri held the position from 1996 through 2005, and Stephen Gostkowski has held the spot since 2006. Belichick knows the importance of the kicker position, and he knows how to select them. Will Marshall's Justin Rohrwasser, whom the Pats picked in the 5th round, hold the position for at least the next decade?
Any other closing thoughts on the draft?
ESPN's production/presentation of the event was incredibly impressive given all of the obstacles they had to overcome because of the coronavirus. Utilizing so many remote cameras to give viewers a behind the scene look at general managers, coaches, owners and players, not to mention the commissioner, made for a very good viewing experience. The fact that this event was the first "new sports content" that we had to absorb in more than a month also contributed to the level of enjoyment.
The surprise of the first round was the Packers trading up to draft QB Jordan Love with the 26th overall pick. In the current NFL, with the shortened length of rookie contracts, teams have the luxury to sit a first round pick for one year at the most. That means that this will be Aaron Rodgers' final season as the quarterback of the Green Bay Packers. My bold prediction: Next year, Rodgers will continue his quest for a second Super Bowl in New England with Bill Belichick.