By HCR Staff | April 24, 2020
Round 1 of the 2020 NFL Draft is complete. We give the league and ESPN a lot of credit for successfully pulling it off – there weren’t any major glitches and most importantly, it didn’t get hacked.
Here’s our Round 1 analysis.
The Bengals Wisely Take QB Joe Burrow. Some of us here thought the Bengals might try to get cute with the first pick overall, but luckily for Bengals fans, they stood pat and took Burrow.
While we believe Andy Dalton can still be a productive quarterback, it’s pretty clear the Bengals needed to inject some energy into the organization and fan base.
The Bengals couldn’t afford to pass on the in-state kid with the championship resume.
The pressure now shifts to second- year head coach Zac Taylor. He had his honeymoon season in 2019 and was able to coach without any expectations whatsoever. That’s going to change now, and he’ll either be known as the head coach who turned Burrow into a star or who failed to develop the most talented quarterback in this draft.
49ers GM John Lynch Had A Good Night. We didn’t like that the 49ers traded all-world defensive tackle DeForest Buckner (there has to be some back story to this) to the Colts. However, drafting South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw will take the sting out of Buckner’s departure. The heart of the 49ers is the defensive line, and they’ll line up in the fall with Dee Ford, Arik Armstead, Nick Bosa and Kinlaw. If Kinlaw is just 50% of what Buckner is, it’ll still be a fearsome unit. By taking Kinlaw with the fourteenth pick rather than a much-needed WR, we see now that Lynch’s philosophy is to use their assets on defense.
Lynch knows he’s got Kyle “minimum 30 points a game” Shanahan as head coach. Shanahan put up incredible numbers last year with a beat up OL and WR group, so Lynch has some margin of error.
Lynch also jumped back into the end of the first round to snag Arizona State WR Brandon Aiyuk with the 25th pick.
In sum, Lynch drafted a top level potential replacement for Buckner and still was able to obtain a premium WR prospect. Not bad for a guy who still is learning on the job.
The LA Chargers Have A Bright Future. The Chargers head into 2020 with a serviceable veteran quarterback in Tyrod Taylor, and talent throughout the roster. With their first selection in Round 1, the Chargers selected Oregon QB Justin Herbert – a top level physical and intellectual talent who has as high a ceiling as any QB in the draft. Herbert will need many reps under center, but he’s a bright guy and a hard worker, so we have no concern that he’ll adjust. He will need to work on the play action game, but having Taylor gives the Chargers some security. The Chargers also traded back into the first round and selected speedy Oklahoma LB Kenneth Murray with the 23rd pick. He’s another physically gifted player that looks to be the Chargers’ version of Bobby Wagner. The Chargers will need to upgrade the OL unit, but top to bottom, it’s a squad that could surprise. Taylor isn’t elite, but he’s led a team to the playoffs before, and he’s not going to make a lot of dumb mistakes.
We Like QB Jordan Love, But We Didn’t Like The Packers Taking Him There. We can understand why the Packers took Love with their selection – QB Aaron Rodgers will turn 37 during the season, and the Packers have to start planning on a replacement at some point. But other talented QBs are in this draft too (e.g., Jacob Eason), and the Packers aren’t that far away from playing in a Super Bowl. They need a LB, and LSU’s Patrick Queen was there for the taking. Love definitely is going to sit for at least a year…or two…or maybe even three. Some might argue that’s a waste of a top selection when you have a team that can contend now.
Round 1 Didn’t Contain A Lot Of Surprises. Most of the round played out with the ‘chalk’ picks – every player selected was considered, for the most part, a first round talent. That was to be expected; after all, teams are dealing with less information this than in previous years, so at least in Round 1, being conservative made a lot of sense. We anticipate that there’ll be more surprises on Friday and Saturday.