The first round of the 2020 NFL Draft is one for history books.
Not only did the league conduct (most) successful virtual first rounds, but the SEC broke its own record with 15 defeats. That’s right, almost half Thursday’s picks come from one conference. I don’t recommend the NFL general manager calling “The Paul Finebaum Show” under an alias, but at least it needs to be investigated.
The SEC is not the only entity to make a mark on draft night. Here are the winners and losers from Thursday’s first round.
49ers play their cards right Thursday night. San Francisco spins around and agrees to move up and down, but still ends the first round with two choices and its two biggest needs are met.
Joe Staley’s 49ers future is uncertain of course helping to convince the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to move up one place to 13th place, and San Francisco can move back and choose Javon Kinlaw South Carolina, a natural replacement for set off defensively to deal with DeForest Buckner. 49ers then put a fourth round Bucs pick (overall No. 117 overall) in the package to move up to overall No. 25, where they chose the vast Arizona State. wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk.
General manager John Lynch recently said the final round pick will have a hard time making 49ers next season, so it’s not always important that 49ers depend on all their choices. Getting direct contributors is more important, and Kinlaw and Aiyuk certainly qualify.
Loser: Running back
Many others who are smarter and more qualified than this writer have written about the NFL’s insistence on running back. Recently in 2014 there were no running backs chosen in the first round.
However, something strangely suited to the first run back – Clyde Edwards-Helaire – taken by the last pick of the first round. That’s especially true when you consider that Todd Gurley, who was the All-Pro’s First-Team recently in 2018, was cut off this season.
Career running back, on average, is the shortest NFL player. The front office clearly recognizes that now, and you don’t need to look beyond the fact that only one team – the Kansas City Head – who is considered a worthy person back even has the option to sign for the fifth year.
Winner: Miami Dolphins
Dolphins aren’t really a tank for Old Alabama midfielder Tagovailoa last season, but they can have their cake and eat it too, after he fell to them in overall No. 5 overall. He might not have been there if it wasn’t for his hip injury last season, but Miami has the most promising caller since Dan Marino played.
They set up a tackle to protect it (Austin Jackson from USC), but their best business may have traded the entire No. pick. 26 to Green Bay Packers for 30th and 136th overall choice. Dolphins choose Auburn cornerback Noah Igbinoghene with Packers pickers.
Miami enters the draft with 14 high-NFL picks and needs across the field. The dungeon occupants of AFC East end it with a QB franchise, offensive midfielder, lock-in corner with room to grow and additional options. That’s how you build the foundation to take advantage of the departure of the Tom Brady division.
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Loser: Aaron Rodgers
The similarity is frightening when the Packers assemble Rodgers to replace Brett Favre, and time will tell whether Utah’s Utah State can follow in the footsteps of Rodgers. You can’t help but feel incumbent, however, given the lack of offensive support in Green Bay.
Rodgers carried countless substandard support casts in his prime, but the possibility that the Pro Football Hall of Famer will be 37 this year and the loss of the NFC Championship Game Packers to the 49ers confirms that he can no longer do it himself. QB made a draft of his preference known in an interview with Pat McAfee on Thursday.
Aaron Rodgers is active @PatMcAfeeShow: “We haven’t chosen a skill player in the first round in 15 years, so that would be very cool.”
Rodgers said whoever chooses, he will trace his telephone number and welcome him to the team tonight – if the Packers don’t trade.
– Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) April 24, 2020
This draft does have a wide range of recipients, but trading until successor Rodgers in the first round does not smell of trust in the Green Bay 2020 opportunity. Maybe the Packers don’t want to double in a season where they win about three more matches than expected based on points difference. However, good luck selling it to one of the best QB of all time.
Winner: Roger Goodell’s change of clothes
Goodell wore a no-tie jacket to start the first round Thursday, exchanging it for a v-neck sweater around the midpoint.
Why did Roger Goodell change clothes?
Only wrong answer pic.twitter.com/V58gZVUxkm
– Sports News (@sportingnews) April 24, 2020
Both look too formal for most – if not all – work-from-home arrangements, but change is a strange step. He was at home, why didn’t he change the jacket with a sweater if he was uncomfortable, the camera settings would be damned?
Of course, most people who work from home at this time change a pair of sweat for another, so it’s not like Goodell is the People’s Champion to change into other professional clothes. Still, I like how he relies on the strangeness of it all.
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Loser: Roger Goodell’s note card
The commissioner reads from a note card. That’s not too strange to read on your own, until you remember him alone because of the virtual nature of the draft.
I have many questions. Nobody handed Goodell’s business card, unlike the usual concept. Did Goodell send the picks to him and then write them down so he could read them from the card? Did the team send him an answer? Did he even realize how strange it looked because the only person who could hand over the card was … himself?
We all look for a sense of normalcy when we adjust to difficult circumstances, but Goodell’s note cards are an unnecessary effort to make everything seem “business as usual.” It’s not like people come into the night saying, “You know what we need to feel like a real draft? Note cards!”
Yes, anyone outside the league office, that is.
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