By Lenn Robbins
There is no place like the Big Apple. Courtesy of the Giants and Jets, it just got a little bigger – and maybe safer for their quarterbacks.
The Giants opted not to trade down and fulfilled Dave Gettleman’s vow to improve the offensive line. But instead of going with Alabama’s Jedrick Wills, Jr., Iowa’s Tristian Wirfs, or Louisville’s Mekhi Becton with the No.4 pick, Gettleman took Georgia’s Andrew Thomas.
“We spent a lot of time on this and we want to fix this offensive line once and for all,” Gettleman told reporters. “Andrew has a hell of a pedigree. Three-year starter. He’s played big-time ball in front of a lot of people … He’s ready.”
The Jets had their choice of Wirfs or Becton and went with the most massive player in the draft. Consider this, at 6-foot-7, 364 pounds, Becton can dunk a basketball – and not blow out his sneaker.
“He brings an edge for us,” coach Adam Gase told reporters on a conference call. “He brings nasty to our offensive line room.”
The draft, perhaps because of the complications caused by the coronavirus, was lacking in wheeling and dealing early on. But made up for it late with four trades. There were six 1st-round trades last year.
It was the Packers who shocked the NFL world by trading up to take Utah State QB Jordan Love. One problem. The Packers have a QB by the name of Aaron Rodgers (36). He expects to play for another Super Bowl or two.
- Bengals – Joe Burrow, QB, LSU – After turning in perhaps the greatest statistical season in college football history, capped by a national championship, Cincy hopes Burrow is the second coming of John Elway. Or at least not the second coming of JaMarcus Russell.
- Redskins – Chase Young, DE, Ohio State – Ron Rivera starts the Redskins major rebuild with an elite pass rusher. The big questions in D.C. – is Dwayne Haskins the answer at QB or is it “Tank for Trevor?”
- Lions – Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State – No drama. No trade. Okudah is the best CB prospect we’ve seen since Patrick Peterson (2011). That’s worked out pretty well.
- Giants – Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia – Dave Gettleman stays true to his word and drafts a Hog Mollie. But did he get the right one? We had Iowa’s Tristian Wirfs rated hired. Our streak of opening 3-for-3 snapped.
- Dolphins – Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama – If the hip, and the rest of his body hold up, he has everything to be a franchise player. Most accurate QB in the draft and a terrific young man. Aloha nui.
- Chargers – Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon – Let the debate begin: Herbert or Tagovailoa? Another top-shelf young man. Herbert has a stronger arm and no injury worries. Tua more mobile and accurate. We shall see.
- Panthers – Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn – Goodbye Gerald McCoy. Hello Brown. A high-character, high-effort, highly unmovable presence in the middle of the line. Brady, Brees beware.
- Cardinals – Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson – Ever since the Cardinals made Deone Bucannon a $LB in 2014, teams have been searching for hybrid defenders. Swiss Army never made a knife as versatile as this defender.
- Jaguars – C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida – Jalen who? The only CB in this draft that can be mentioned in the same sentence as Okudah. His 4.39 speed and 6-foot-1, 204-pound frame, he replaces Ramsey, without the baggage.
- Browns – Jedrick Wills, Jr., OT, Alabama – Baker Mayfield just got the protection he needs to emerge as an elite quarterback. Wills blocks like he has a personal vendetta against any defender.
- Jets – Meckhi Becton, OT, Louisville – The Zion Williamson of the NFL. A man 6-foot-7, 364 pounds who runs 5.1 40. Jets will have to keep a tight eye on his weight. He won’t hard to find. Flagged drug test. J-E-T-S.
- Raiders – Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama – They can move the franchise to Bora, Bora, the Raiders can’t resist speed. Ruggs is the fastest player in the draft. Is he the next Tim Brown or Darius Heyward-Bey?
- Bucs (from 49ers) – Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa – Tom Brady continues to live a charmed life. GOAT career. Model wife. Signs with a team that has a bounty at WR. The best tackle in the draft falls to the Bucs who move up.
14. 49ers – (from Bucs, plus No.117) Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina – Lose DeForest Buckner in a trade, replace him with a 6-foot-5, 324-poud disrupter. GM John Lynch continues to build inside out. Smart.
15. Broncos – Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama – Courtland Sutton, a 6-4 target and ball snatcher broke out last season. Team him with Jeudy, last year’s No.1 pick, TE Noah Fant, RB Melvin Gordon, and QB Drew Lock just might take the next step, ending John Elway’s QB curse.
16. Falcons – A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson – The second truly baffling pick, behind the Giants. Terrell has all the tools to be an elite corner but is he the third best corner in this draft? Atlanta better have gotten this right or it becomes Hotlanta.
17. Cowboys – CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma – The Cowboys had their choice of S Xavier McKinney or DE K’Lavon Chaisson but when a talent like Lamb, our No.1-rated WR, it’s too good to pass up.
18. Dolphins – Austin Jackson, OT, USC – There are more NFL-ready tackles than the 20-year-old. But this makes a lot of sense if the Fish “redshirt” Tagovailoa, giving Jackson a year to develop.
19. Raiders – Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State – Okudah got all the publicity but Arnette would have been the Buckeye’s best CB in most seasons. Just not a first-round pick in this draft.
20. Jaguars – K’Lavon Chaisson, OLB, LSU – Not too long ago, this was one of the best young defenses in the NFL. They might be there soon again. With Chaisson off the edge and Henderson at the corner it’s a good night in Jax.
21. Eagles – Jalon Reagor, WR, TCU – New aspect to the Cowboys-Eagles rivalry: Lamb or Reagor? Both are highlights waiting to happen. It would have been negligent not to give QB Carson Wentz a big-time playmaker.
- Vikings – Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU – Lose Stefan Diggs in a trade, add a WR that wins a lot of contested balls.
- Chargers (from Pats) – Kenneth Murray, ILB, Oklahoma – The Chargers are severely lacking at linebacker and Murray is the best pure linebacker in the draft. Was it work giving up a 2nd and 3rd? Hmmm.
- Saints – Cesar Ruiz, C, Michigan – Simple. Before Drew Brees heads to the broadcast booth, the Saints need to do everything to help him get one more ring. Ruiz can play center or guard. Not a need but insurance.
- 49ers (from Vikings) – Brandon Aiyuk, WR, ASU – The Niners needed to address this position in a big way. Aiyuk has a catch radius that would make an NBA forward proud. Jimmy Garoppolo, meet Baker Mayfield.
- Packers (from Dolphins) – Jordan Love, QB, Utah State – Aaron Rodgers eventually replaced Brett Favre. The cleat is on the other foot: Love is the heir apparent. No WR for Rodgers. Another Green Bay soap opera.
- Seahawks – Jordyn Brooks, LB, Texas Tech – A mean, sideline-to-sideline linebacker who is addicted to hitting. The Red Raiders weren’t very good and Seattle has other needs. They thought best player available.
- Ravens – Patrick Queen, ILB, LSU – LSU has replaced Miami as my favorite college for NFL talent. The Tigers play with a speed and tenacity that’s a football purist’s joy to watch. So do the Ravens.
29. Titans – Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia – Poly Prep’s latest product. Wilson still needs a little experience but imagine this: The 6-foot-6, 350-pounder blocking for the 6-3, 238-pound Derrick Henry. Pity the cornerback.
30. Dolphins – Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn – There is no better athlete in the draft. In addition to corner he’s a terrific kick returner. But the Dolphins just signed Byron Jones and have Xavien Howard.
31. Vikings (from 49ers) – Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU – Cornerback, WR, OT were the positions that were up for debate. Gladney makes up for his lack of height (5-10) with speed (4.48) and tenacity. Guess they wouldn’t take Trevon Diggs, huh?
32. Chiefs – Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RD, LSU – Just what the NFL wants – another weapon for Patrick Mahomes. E-H is not the best RB in this draft but he’s the best for KC. The 5-7 back is a great receiver. Lot’s of YAC, the Chiefs M.O.
We’ll be back Sunday with our grades. Stay safe. Boo Goodell.