2020 NFL Draft Winners and Losers: Day 1

Winners and Losers – Day 2 | Winners and Losers – Day 3

By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell
April 28, 2020


Dallas Cowboys: CeeDee Lamb, QB, Oklahoma
The Cowboys were planning on upgrading their defense in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, but when Lamb fell to their pick at No. 17 overallŠ± they snatched him up as the Sooners star receiver was too good to pass up. Dallas stayed true to its board and landed one of the best values in the first round. Lamb could have gone in the top-12 picks, and many around the league thought he was the best receiver in the 2020 NFL Draft, so getting him at the start of the back half was an amazing value for Dallas.

With his route-running and hands, Lamb looks like mismatch receiver who could be a No. 1 receiver in the NFL. His excellent route-running has him very polished for a college receiver entering the pros, and he is phenomenal after the catch. I think Lamb could be a more consistent receiver than Amari Cooper, and it would it would not surprise me if Lamb replaces Cooper as the No. 1 wideout in the Cowboys’ offense. Similar to the Texans taking DeAndre Hopkins late in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft, I think a lot of teams could end up regretting passing on Lamb.

Carolina Panthers: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn

Many teams around the league thought Brown was the second-best player in the 2020 NFL Draft, having him behind only Ohio State defensive end Chase Young. The Panthers were fortunate to land the consensus second-best player in the draft with the seventh-overall pick, which is a phenomenal value. Brown is a great fit for the Panthers, as they needed a dominant run-stuffing nose tackle who can also collapse the pocket as a pass rusher. With speed rusher Brian Burns on the outside, Brown and Burns could form a lethal combination. On top of his on-field ability, Brown is known to be a good kid and high-character individual. He should be a great building block for the new coaching staff in Carolina.

Los Angeles Chargers:
    Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
    Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma

I think the Chargers had a very strong opening night of the 2020 NFL Draft. They needed a new franchise quarterback and were able to land their target without moving up in the first round. Herbert has aspects to improve, but there is no doubt that he has a top-of-the-draft skill set with arm talent, size and mobility, plus has quality intangibles off the field. Chargers general manager Tom Telesco did a superb job of not bidding against himself and trading up unnecessarily.

Telesco followed that up by landing a leader for the Chargers defense in linebacker Kenneth Murray. At Oklahoma, ‘K9′ was a tackling machine who was all over the field for the Sooners defense. He is a fast and physical violent football player who loves the game and is a tireless worker with great leadership skills. Immediately, he will upgrade the Chargers’ run defense and also is a good coverage linebacker in the middle of the field. Murray has pass-rush ability as well and can be a versatile chess piece. The Chargers essentially only gave up their third-round pick to get Murray, and some teams had him as a top-16 player on their draft boards, so landing Murray in the 20s was an excellent value.

With these two first-round picks, Telesco could have landed the heart-and-soul for both sides of the ball on the Chargers over the next decade. This was a very good opening night of the draft for Los Angeles.


Green Bay Packers: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State

Green Bay’s selection of Jordan Love was a terrible first-round pick in so many ways that it will be hard to keep this from becoming a novel. For starters, Green Bay is in win-now mode with a future Hall of Fame quarterback in Aaron Rodgers still playing at an extremely high level. Last year, the Packers made it to the NFC Championship Game, and the are one of the top favorites in the NFC for 2020. While competitors like the Saints, Buccaneers and Falcons used their picks to improve their rosters around their aging quarterbacks, the Packers used their premium pick to replace their Hall of Fame signal-caller.

To make matters even worse, Green Bay’s general manager, Brian Gutekunst, traded up over teams that weren’t going to take a quarterback, so he wasted additional resources unnecessarily. There are many flaws to this selection aside from the fact that Love was a reach. Many teams had him graded as a mid-rounder. They question Love’s field vision, intelligence, and ability to avoid interceptions. As a player, he is very far from a slam dunk.

Rodgers, 36, has stated that he is not close to retirement and is interested in playing into his 40s. That gives Green Bay roughly a 5-year window to get another Lombardi before Rodgers is done. That first-round pick could have upgraded the Packers’ weak receiving corps, improved their run defense with an inside linebacker, or beefing up their blocking with offensive line help. Instead, their first-round pick is going to sit on the bench for the 2020 season if everything goes to plan. Thus for the short term, this was a bad pick.

Unless Love becomes a Hall of Fame candidate quarterback, it was a bad long-term pick as well. With Love waiting in the wings, Rodgers is forced into winding down his time in Green Bay. He will be on the team for one or two more seasons, maybe three seasons max, before the Packers move on and turn to Love as their starting quarterback. Thus, Green Bay will be cutting short its championship window with Rodgers, so if Love is any kind of a downgrade as a player, this was a horrible move.

The current situation in Green Bay also denies the franchise the major financial advantage of a young quarterback. Five-year rookie contracts are extremely cheap thanks to the rookie wage scale. Teams that have their starting quarterback on their rookie contract have been able to use those massive savings to go on huge spending sprees in free agency. The Seahawks did it in the early years with Russell Wilson. The Eagles did the same thing with Carson Wentz, and the Chiefs have done that with Pat Mahomes. Those young franchise quarterbacks alongside wise spending in free agency led to a Super Bowl championship for all three of those franchises. The Packers will have no such luxury with Aaron Rodgers costing them close to $60 million over the next two seasons before they have a potential out in his contract. Thus, they are blowing the rookie wage advantage by having one foot in a rebuilding process with a young quarterback and one foot in a win-now mode with an aging Hall of Fame signal-caller.

Team sources say that Jordan Love is a quiet and unassuming player. Last year, pressure seemed to get to him, as he didn’t play nearly as well as he did in 2018. There is going to be insane pressure on him to play well immediately when he gets on the field. Packers fans have been irate about taking him over giving Rodgers some help to win a championship now. I’m not confident that pressure won’t get to Love along with general manager Brian Gutekunst and head coach Matt LaFleur. It would not shock me if the Love pick goes down as one of the worst moves in the history of the franchise.

Atlanta Falcons: A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson

Many around the league thought Terrell was a fringe first-rounder who could be worthy of going late on the opening night of the 2020 NFL Draft, but the Falcons selected him the 16th-overall pick. Atlanta was in dire need of a potential No. 1 cornerback after cutting Desmond Trufant, but Terrell was a reach. He did not have the tape of a top-20 pick, and that was given clear proof in the National Championship when Terrell was used and abused by LSU. Terrell needs a lot of development for the next level, but given the Falcons’ roster and their efforts to win now, he is going to be forced onto the field quickly. Perhaps Atlanta’s defensive coordinator, Raheem Morris, can smoke-and-mirror some things and give Terrell some safety help over the top, but Terrell is more of a skill set than a player at this point. I think the Falcons should have given up their second-round pick to move up for C.J. Henderson and get Morris a true No.1 corner who is ready to play immediately. Atlanta is in win-now mode, while Terrell is a project.

Las Vegas Raiders: Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State

Often times, football teams are considered to be two different teams separated by offense and defense. In the case of the Las Vegas Raiders, they are two differently drafting teams. When the Raiders draft an offensive player, it stems from head coach Jon Gruden, who has a specific plan in place for that player and the a role they will play in the scheme. When a defensive player is drafted, the player was the choice of general manager Mike Mayock, and often times Mayock has overdrafted defensive players. Mayock made a massive reach in 2019 with Clelin Ferrell at the fourth-overall pick, and this year, he followed it up with Arnette at pick No. 19.

“They could’ve had him at pick 32,” said one NFC executive of Arnette. Around the league, Arnette was graded on Day 2 of the 2020 NFL Draft, with most having him squarely in the second round. Some teams were not considering him because of character and off-the-field issues. What makes this pick even more painful, is Mayock said that the Raiders had offers to trade down in the first round but decided to pass on them to take Arnette at No. 19. Thus, Mayock did not play the draft well at all because he could have added more players and talent to the Raiders while still getting the player he coveted. The organization would be better off if it defered to Gruden rather than being guided by Mike “Pardon my Reach” Mayock.

Go to Winners and Losers – Day 2

Go to Winners and Losers – Day 3

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