The virtual draft is over.
You now know what the inside of your general manager's home office looks like. You're aware if he's a dog or cat person. Most importantly, you now have a pretty good idea of the roster your favorite team will take into action in 2020. (Please let there be action in 2020.) So, before we hit up Kliff Kingsbury for a loan, let's sort out all 32 teams in our post-draft edition of the Power Rankings.
Remember, all opinions are mine and mine alone. You have the right to disagree with them, even become viscerally angry over them, but please be aware I make no promises to care. Stay safe, everybody.
The Chiefs used their first-round pick -- No. 32 overall -- on LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, whose pass-catching ability and elusiveness make Kansas City's offense almost unfair. Edwards-Helaire is arguably the best receiving back in this draft class, prompting many to connect the dots and imagine a 2020 Chiefs attack using Edwards the way Reid used Brian Westbrook to befuddle opposing defenses in Philadelphia. Big Red said that Edwards-Helaire is *better* than Westbrook. It begs the question: Are we about to see the full potential of this Chiefs offense? It's a terrifying thought for the rest of the NFL.
Kudos to general manager John Lynch, who further cranked open the Niners' Super Bowl window with the acquisition of seven-time Pro Bowler Trent Williams, who takes over for the retiring Joe Staley as Jimmy Garoppolo's blind-side protector. It only cost Lynch a pair of mid-round picks spread out over this year and next. If Williams is anything close to the same player he was before he dropped off the grid in Washington, this trade is a heist. Speaking of Jimmy G, things ended up just fine for the quarterback. He survived the Tom Brady rumor storm, received public backing from his team, then gained a Hall of Fame-level left tackle and a first-round receiver (No. 25 overall pick Brandon Aiyuk). And he's handsome as hell. Gross.
Previous rank: No. 3
Patrick Queen, meet outsized expectations. After the Ravens used the No. 28 overall pick on the inside linebacker out of LSU, Ravens quarterback and reigning league MVP Lamar Jackson shouted "Ray Lewis Jr.!" on Instagram Live. Queen might not become a 13-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time Super Bowl champion, but he'll be another hit for GM Eric DeCosta if the rookie fortifies the heart of Baltimore's defense with his sideline-to-sideline speed and plus coverage ability. Queen and trade acquisition Calais Campbell have upgraded the Ravens' front seven in a big way. Baltimore and Kansas City are the clear class of the AFC.
The Saints entered the draft boasting one of the most complete rosters in the NFL. With no glaring holes, coach Sean Payton and GM Mickey Loomis did some tinkering. Enter first-round pick Cesar Ruiz, who appears poised to replace veteran incumbent Larry Warford at right guard. Come Sunday morning, the Saints' quarterback room became the source of the team's highest level of intrigue. We learned that New Orleans is reportedly closing in on a deal to sign Jameis Winston(!) on the same day Taysom Hill inked a two-year, $21 million extension. That's substantial money for a gadget player poised to be a third-string QB if Winston signs to be Drew Brees' backup. Hey, rich-people problems, right?
First-round pick Isaiah Wilson enters the right tackle competition created by the departure of Jack Conklin. It's an important position for the Titans, who leaned on Conklin to blow open holes for rushing champion Derrick Henry. Speaking of Henry, he has some new backfield company in Darrynton Evans. The third-round pick is a home-run hitter and a solid fit for Tennessee's scheme. With Henry poised to play out 2020 on a one-year franchise tag, could the Titans be grooming Evans as a potential replacement in 2021? Meanwhile, is Jadeveon Clowney still on the radar in Nashville? Tennessee didn't use any of its six picks on a traditional edge rusher. This feels like a perfect fit.
The Bills' draft was a productive one before it began, thanks to the four-pick package that became trade acquisition Stefon Diggs. Buffalo then addressed an area of need with second-round pick A.J. Epenesa, a powerful and versatile defensive lineman who will help mitigate the loss of Shaq Lawson. Third-round pick Zack Moss brings some fresh legs to the backfield, and Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm -- who took a surprise fall to the fifth round -- gives Buffalo a compelling prospect whose passing skill set greatly contrasts with starter Josh Allen. It's impossible to look at Buffalo's roster and not see it as the strongest in the AFC East -- by a substantial margin.
How about them Cowboys? Jerry Jones and Co. did excellent work in the draft, finding value up and down the board. It might not have been the plan to select a wide receiver in the first round, but Dallas didn't expect CeeDee Lamb to still be on the board at No. 17. Question: Would the 'Boys have re-signed Amari Cooper to that massive contract if they knew Lamb was going to fall to them? We'll never know, but we do know that Lamb joins Cooper and Michael Gallup to form one of the most talented wide receiver groups in football. Elsewhere, Dallas added depth and starting options at offensive line, defensive line and cornerback. This feels like your NFC East favorite.
Well, that was interesting. Packers fans and football pundits went into the draft expecting Green Bay to add a wide receiver (or two) to help support Aaron Rodgers. Instead, the Packers passed on any receiver from a historically deep class and instead drafted Rodgers' possible replacement with their first-round pick. I may envy Jordan Love's youth, athleticism and bank account, but being Rodgers' teammate at this moment in time feels ... dicey. After taking Love, Green Bay used its next pick on a between-the-tackles pounder in Boston College running back A.J. Dillon. Huh. Cincinnati tight end Josiah Deguara, the team's third-rounder, could add some value in the passing game in time, but this is not the draft that anyone expected. We imagine Rodgers is fine with some social distancing for the time being.
Indianapolis' first-round pick was used to acquire DeForest Buckner, a move that could have a huge impact on the Colts' interior defense. With Indy's first pick in the draft (34th overall), Chris Ballard landed another difference-maker in USC wideout Michael Pittman Jr., who has all the tools to become an immediate star playing with Philip Rivers and T.Y. Hilton. Pittman immediately upgrades a wide receiver group that lacked depth and playmaking talent. The Colts had a similar situation at running back before trading up to land Wisconsin star Jonathan Taylor. A 2,000-yard rusher in each of his final two collegiate seasons (and nearly all three), Taylor could threaten Marlon Mack for The Man status in the Colts' backfield. Big-armed Washington QB Jacob Eason (taken in the fourth round) will learn behind Rivers and could be the first man up when the veteran decides to hang up his bolo tie.
Take a load off, Rick Spielman. The Vikings general manager made history by selecting 15 players in the 2020 NFL Draft. It's the most players acquired in a draft class since the league adopted the seven-round format in 1994. The first pick was LSU star Justin Jefferson, who neatly slides into the wide receiver spot vacated by Stefon Diggs. Jefferson can play outside or in the slot, and you get the feeling he can be an immediate producer playing with the ever-consistent Kirk Cousins. The additions of Jeff Gladney (31st overall pick) and Cameron Dantzler (89th) should provide immediate help to a cornerback room that needed reinforcements. Offensive tackle Ezra Cleveland was a nice value add in the second round that immediately ended any possibility of a Trent Williams trade. The Vikings look ready to roll.
Star cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick cost the Steelers their first-round pick on Thursday night, but we already know that was draft capital well spent. With their first pick in the draft (49th overall), Pittsburgh landed huge Notre Dame wide receiver Chase Claypool, a big-play athlete who nicely complements JuJu Smith-Schuster. Fun fact: Ben Roethlisberger now has three top receiving targets standing at least 6-foot-4 -- Claypool and tight ends Eric Ebron and Vance McDonald. There's been a lot of speculation -- much of it fueled by the Steelers themselves -- about unearthing competition (or a replacement) for James Conner in the backfield, but GM Kevin Colbert waited until Day 3 before pulling the trigger on Maryland running back Anthony McFarland Jr. in the fourth round. McFarland scans as more of a speed complement than a lead dog -- obviously good news for Conner in an important season.
The Bucs made their biggest wave right before the draft with the bombshell trade that brought Rob Gronkowski out of retirement to play with buddy Tom Brady. It remains to be seen how much football is left in ol' Gronk, whose body took a vicious beating in nine seasons with the Patriots. With that in mind, it perhaps makes sense to keep both O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate, creating tight end depth that will allow Bruce Arians to choose the best spots to deploy Gronkowski. Brady got more good news on Thursday night, when Tampa Bay traded up to land offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs with the 13th overall pick. The Bucs are clearly a team in win-now mode -- they'll be fascinating to watch when football returns. (Please return, football.)
So are the Seahawks out on bringing back Jadeveon Clowney or not? Pete Carroll said the free-agent defender could still return to Seattle, but then the Seahawks moved up 11 spots in the second round to select Tennessee edge defender Darrell Taylor. Seattle added another edge player in Day 3, taking Syracuse's Alton Robinson early in the fifth round. Carroll and GM John Schneider now have protection if Clowney signs elsewhere, but it's also fair to wonder if the three-time Pro Bowler could still be in their plans. Few teams in the NFL were worse at getting to the quarterback last season. Then again, Clowney was part of that problem, contributing just three of Seattle's 28 sacks. Decisions, decisions.
Packers fans were stunned to watch their team draft a quarterback in the first round of Thursday's draft. Eagles supporters were similarly befuddled when GM Howie Roseman pulled the trigger on Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts with the 53rd overall pick. On the surface, it doesn't seem like a position of need, but Philly can no longer ignore the possibility that Carson Wentz will simply never be a durable quarterback. Hurts provides Doug Pederson with much-needed insurance and a dynamic athlete opposing teams must factor into the game plan (think: Taysom Hill in New Orleans). And let's not act like the Eagles didn't help Wentz out: The team used its first pick (25th overall) on explosive TCU star
Jalen Reagor, who molded himself into a first-round target despite being saddled with subpar QB play in college. Deep breath, Eagles fans.
Previous rank: No. 16
I joked on Twitter that Bill Belichick traded out of the first round because he didn't want anyone to see the inside of his house. In reality, it was just the Patriots coach doing the most Belichickian thing possible -- beginning their most highly scrutinized draft in ages by selecting a safety out of Division II Lenoir-Rhyne. Classic. Kyle Dugger is a very good prospect, but it speaks to the reality in New England: Tom Brady might be gone, but the fundamentals of team-building are unchanged on Patriot Way. The Pats didn't use any of their 10 picks on a quarterback -- a decision that shows faith in 2019 fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham ... or hints at the impending acquisition of a known veteran. Hi, Andy Dalton.
Houston didn't have a first-round pick this year -- and it's the same story in 2021 -- so the Texans needed coach/GM Bill O'Brien to unearth some gems in the non-premium rounds. Houston's 2020 class numbered just five players and was headlined by TCU defensive tackle Ross Blacklock, selected 40th overall. O'Brien took another defender in the third round -- edge rusher Jonathan Greenard -- an acknowledgement that the team's defense slipped in 2019. Previously, O'Brien used draft capital in trades to add running back David Johnson (in the much-castigated DeAndre Hopkins deal) and wide receiver Brandin Cooks, whose second-round pick price tag felt exorbitant, considering Cooks' troubling concussion history. Laremy Tunsil, the left tackle who cost Houston their first-round picks in 2020 and '21, signed a three-year, $66 million extension with $57.85 million guaranteed. It's hard to say which direction this organization is headed in.
The Rams have several roster holes and not enough cap space or draft picks to fix everything in one offseason. Coach Sean McVay and GM Les Snead started plugging away in the draft. Out the door are running back Todd Gurley and wide receiver Brandin Cooks. Enter second-round picks Cam Akers (RB) and Van Jefferson (WR) as their presumed replacements. Clay Matthews was one-and-done in Los Angeles, so say hello to outside linebacker Terrell Lewis, drafted 84th overall out of Alabama. Eric Weddle is also history, so here comes fourth-round rookie Terrell Burgess at safety. You get the picture. The Rams are getting younger and cheaper. That second part is especially important with mega-contracts on the books for Jared Goff, Aaron Donald -- and soon enough -- Jalen Ramsey.
Longtime ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper called first-round pick A.J. Terrell "one of the biggest reaches of the past few years." Oof. Rumors swirled about Atlanta potentially moving up to grab one of the top two corners in this class, but the Falcons ended up staying home to address a serious position of need. GM Thomas Dimitroff had better hope Kiper is losing his fastball. Draft critiques aside, this has been a solid offseason overall for the Falcons, who added running back Todd Gurley and pass rusher Dante Fowler Jr. and traded for tight end Hayden Hurst after losing Austin Hooper in free agency. There won't be another reprieve for Dan Quinn and Dimitroff if Atlanta misses the playoffs for a third straight year.
It's all there for Baker Mayfield. The Browns' talented crop of playmakers got better with the addition of tight end Austin Hooper in free agency. The offensive line got a much-needed makeover at tackle with the arrival of free-agent acquisition Jack Conklin and first-round pick Jedrick Wills. The obvious holes are gone, and so are the excuses for Mayfield, who disappointed mightily in 2019 after a record-setting rookie campaign. Give the Browns credit: They still believe in Mayfield's potential, and they have done everything they can -- from coaching hires to roster moves -- to put the former No. 1 overall pick in a position to succeed. Now all Mayfield has to do is ... make the leap.
The Raiders knew they had to get more explosive on offense, and they didn't mess around at the top of their 2020 draft class. Las Vegas had five selections in the first 100 picks of the draft, and they used three of their first four on wide receiver. Enter Henry Ruggs III (12th overall), Lynn Bowden Jr. (80th) and Bryan Edwards (81st), additions that give the Raiders' attack an immediate shot in the arm. Ruggs -- a speedster with superstar potential -- joins running back Josh Jacobs and tight end Darren Waller to form a dynamic core around Derek Carr. Speaking of Carr, this offseason couldn't be going any better. The team punted on a Tom Brady pursuit, signed middling Marcus Mariota as his new competition, then used the draft to add weapons around him. The question now becomes whether the notoriously conservative Carr can cut loose and make the most of his spoils.
The Broncos appear serious about turning over the reins of their franchise to quarterback Drew Lock, so it only makes sense to surround the second-year passer with more legitimate talent. Running back Melvin Gordon and guard/center Graham Glasgow were imported in free agency, and Denver used the 15th overall pick on wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, who fills an obvious need opposite Courtland Sutton. John Elway wasn't done, however. The GM used Denver's second pick on another wide receiver, this time Penn State standout KJ Hamler, your classic Undersized Vertical Deep Threat Guy (UVDTG). Everyone wants their own Tyreek Hill these days. If Elway is right about Lock, the Broncos should be able to hold their own in the high-flying AFC West.
With Joe Douglas in charge, it feels like the Jets finally have a grown-up in the room. The GM has Super Bowl rings for his contributions to championship teams in Baltimore and Philadelphia, and his sensible approach to team building was on display in this draft. Offensive tackle and wide receiver were the two biggest needs for New York, and Douglas addressed those with his first two picks: LT Mekhi Becton (11th overall) and Baylor WR Denzel Mims, who surprisingly slid to the Jets at No. 59. The selections of Becton and fourth-rounder Cameron Clarke capped a complete offseason makeover of the Jets' offensive line, which may have five new starters in 2020. Like we saw with the Browns and Baker Mayfield, the Jets were aggressive in addressing roster issues that held back their prized young quarterback last season. Now it's on Sam Darnold to take the next step.
Let's welcome Justin Herbert, who becomes just the latest QB prospect to blast away an offseason's worth of notebook ledes exclaiming "Team X views Tyrod Taylor as a potential long-term starter." That was never going to be the case in L.A., and the Dolphins removed a potentially agonizing decision when they selected Tua Tagovailoa the pick before the Bolts hit the clock at No. 6. Herbert is big -- 6-foot-6 big -- and has the tools to be a star, but we're told it may take time. That makes Taylor the perfect in-house option to hold the fort. We'll see how long the Chargers can resist temptation. GM Tom Telesco made more waves on Thursday night by trading back into the first round to land inside linebacker Kenneth Murray, who should be an immediate starter. Well, he had better be.
The Cardinals' offseason was made back in March, when GM Steve Keim fleeced Bill O'Brien in the already-legendary DeAndre Hopkins trade. Hopkins was a major addition to the roster, and many are expecting Kyler Murray to take a Lamarian Year 2 leap because of the All-Pro wideout's arrival. Not so fast. A No. 1 wide receiver wasn't the only obvious need for Arizona, and passing on a premium tackle prospect in favor of uber-talented linebacker Isaiah Simmons with the eighth overall pick could come back to bite Arizona, especially if third-round OT Josh Jones doesn't pan out. Murray was sacked 48 times last year, tied with Matt Ryan and Russell Wilson for the most in football. Of course, Simmons could turn into Darius Leonard crossed with Lawrence Taylor, and this blurb will be rendered as meaningless as all that Tyrod Taylor copy.
Thanks in large part to the blockbuster Khalil Mack trade, which cost the Bears their first- and third-round picks in this draft, Chicago only had a pair of selections (two second-rounders) in the first 150 slots. That doesn't make for easy team building in what could be a make-or-break year for general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy. They did land the perceived best tight end in the class in Notre Dame's Cole Kmet. They needed more than a broken-down Jimmy Graham in that positional group. Seven picks later, the Bears landed cornerback Jaylon Johnson, who could have a chance to start on a Chicago defense that might be asked to carry this team again. With a glamour-free draft class in tow, the focus around this team will quickly turn back to Mitchell Trubisky vs. Nick Foles. Remember when kicker was the only position the Bears thought they had to worry about?
Miami's offseason makeover has been quite an undertaking. The Dolphins opened up their wallets in free agency to add a host of quality players, then used a huge draft bounty to infuse an improved roster with young talent. It starts with Tua Tagovailoa, the fascination of this draft class, and now, the face of the Miami Dolphins. Tua had been linked to the Dolphins since last year -- him being available at No. 5 overall could be remembered as a franchise-shifting stroke of fortune. The new quarterback will play in front of a new offensive line, as the Dolphins used first-, second- and fourth-rounders on blockers. The choice of USC LT Austin Jackson at 18th overall was not universally adored; in an ideal world, Jackson is ready to take on the all-important role of blind-side protector come September. It's a new day in Miami.
Joe Burrow has come home. Is he the man who will restore dignity to Who Dey Nation? It's been three decades since the Bengals last won a playoff game, and Burrow is fresh off arguably the greatest season a college quarterback has ever enjoyed. He was a slam-dunk No. 1 overall choice who can change everything for one of the league's eternally wandering franchises. Every hotshot rookie QB should be paired with a dynamic young pass catcher, which is why I loved the selection of Tee Higgins with the first pick of the second round. This is not your average 2-14 team. The roster has talent and a potentially special rookie passer out front. Daybreak has arrived.
"We want to fix this offensive line once and for all," GM Dave Gettleman said on Thursday night, after the Giants used the fourth overall pick on Georgia All-American left tackle Andrew Thomas. The Giants weren't done addressing the position, either: They tabbed UConn tackle Matt Peart with the 99th overall pick on Friday night. This is all great news for second-year quarterback Daniel Jones and star running back Saquon Barkley, who both stand to benefit greatly from improved performance up front. Safety Xavier McKinney might have been a Day 2 steal; he joins a defense that used free agency to add cornerback James Bradberry and middle linebacker Blake Martinez. This isn't a Super Bowl roster, but it does look better than last year's. We'll find out if the Giants win enough in 2020 to allow Gettleman to see this rebuild through.
It's been a busy offseason for the Panthers. Matt Rhule was hired, Cam Newton was fired and Christian McCaffrey got paid. Teddy Bridgewater is the new QB in town, and Rhule made a statement in the draft by using all seven of his selections on defensive players. The 2020 Panthers became just the second team to make at least seven picks and use all of them on one side of the ball. (The 1985 Browns did the same thing with seven offensive picks.) Carolina used the seventh overall selection on Derrick Brown, a wickedly talented defensive tackle who should be an ideal partner for Kawann Short in the center of the defensive front. Defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos (38th overall) and safety Jeremy Chinn (64th) could earn immediate starting jobs. The Panthers have a lot of work to do -- this offseason was just the start.
The Lions had the worst pass defense in the league last season, so it's hard to argue with their decision to stay at No. 3 overall and take Ohio State standout Jeff Okudah. Okudah and Darius Slay would have made for a killer pairing in the secondary, but Desmond Trufant is a solid second banana if Okudah becomes a star, as many predict. Second-round pick D'Andre Swift is Detroit's latest swing for a legit answer at running back. (Are we inching into Curse Of Barry Sanders territory here?) Swift should add another dimension to the Lions' passing game, as well, and Matthew Stafford is no doubt pleased with back-to-back guard picks in Rounds 3 and 4. Is there enough here to compete for a playoff spot? The jobs of GM Bob Quinn and coach Matt Patricia may depend on it.
Chase Young has superstar potential, and his selection at No. 2 overall gives Washington one of the best defensive lines in football. For a rebuilding team, that's a great starting point. On the flip side, the Trent Williams standoff came to a merciful conclusion when the disgruntled left tackle was traded to the 49ers for a fifth-rounder and a 2021 third-rounder. Williams was on a Hall of Fame trajectory before his ugly falling out with the team -- Redskins fans can only hope the organization learned from the fiasco. After Young, Washington used its next four picks on skill players and offensive linemen. This should help Dwayne Haskins, who will get another shot to prove himself. Does he have the goods? We'll find out.
The Jaguars are starting over, and the draft focused on defense at the top. Cornerback CJ Henderson (No. 9 overall) is an important add to a secondary that lost both Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye over the course of six months. K'Lavon Chaisson, selected 20th overall, was one of the best pass rushers in this class and could fill the void if/when the team finds a trade suitor for Yannick Ngakoue. The Jags did not select a quarterback with any of their nine picks in the first five rounds, more evidence that Gardner Minshew will get a full-season audition to be The Man. 2020 will be an audition for a lot of people in Jacksonville.