The first round of the 2020 NFL Draft was an odd one. Conducted from hundreds of different locations via webcam, it was certainly different from every other version of the NFL Draft that came before it.
No Wisconsin Badgers were expected to be picked on the opening night, and none were, but the local professional side sure did make a splash. The Green Bay Packers traded up in the first round to draft their quarterback of the future, Utah State signal caller Jordan Love. People...had thoughts about that.
Now that everyone has had a night to sleep on it, what did the B5Q writers think about round one and what are their predictions for Friday night’s round two and three? Let’s get to it.
What was your favorite pick of the first round?
Belz: The Cowboys landing CeeDee Lamb all the way down at No. 17 was a coup in my opinion. The Cowboys have a lot of other areas that they could have turned to, but Lamb is a legit difference maker because of his size and speed.
Ryan: I have to agree with Belz and say Lamb, going to Dallas. I mean, I’m not happy about it, because that gives them another weapon, but I thought it was the best pick. He’s a very talented receiver and I was surprised he fell to No. 17.
Drew: Ugh, I’m pissed that the Cowboys drafted Lamb because he was a primary target of the Eagles. Now I have to spend the rest of my life comparing Jalen Reagor’s career against Lamb’s and that’s just going to be exhausting. I thought the Jets getting OT Mekhi Becton at No. 11 was a pretty big win for them. Weird when the Jets do something right.
Owen: Tampa Bay being able to trade up to No. 13 and grab Tristan Wirfs was huge. They traded up with former Bucs great John Lynch, and got the last of the big four offensive tackles. Wirfs is going to be an upgrade over Demar Dotson, and Wirfs has the potential to be one of the top offensive tackles in the NFL.
Tyler: I have to agree with Owen on this one. Getting Tristan Wirfs was such a steal in my opinion. He was a guy that had top five written all over him, but fell instead to No. 13. If you can get Tom Brady, Gronk, and a shiny new tackle to protect the asset you just made a huge investment in, I think you win the first round. They didn’t have the most picks, and Wirfs isn’t the flashiest, but he’s exactly what TB needed (both) and I like when teams draft based on needs when the answer is right there in front of you.
Which NFL team had the best first round?
Belz: I actually really liked what the 49ers did. They continued to add to their great front seven with Kinlaw (who I don’t actually like better than Buckner who they got rid of, but also were able to jump back a slot there to add later round talent. Then they took Aiyuk who fits really well with what San Francisco does offensively, and gives Jimmy Garoppolo another weapon.
Ryan: I have to go with a tie between Miami and San Francisco. Miami had three picks and took their franchise QB, they took a talented lineman and corner. San Francisco’s night was also impressive, with the wheeling and dealing that they did. They got the 13th pick for DeForest Buckner and then replaced him with Javon Kinlaw when they swapped with Tampa for the 14th pick and then they traded up to No. 25 to pick up Aiyuk.
Drew: The Dolphins had a lot to work with in the first round and I liked that they were able to turn their three first round picks into an extra pick by trading down when the Packers wanted to move up. Miami didn’t overthink their first pick (No. 5) and picked QB Tua Tagovailoa, who has the potential to be the bet signal caller in this draft (caveat: if he stays healthy) and then they picked his future LT personal protector, Austin Jackson. I like CB Trevon Diggs out of Alabama better than Noah Igbinoghene, but picking up the extra draft pick makes their last selection a push.
Owen: Baltimore continues to be the best front office in the NFL. They sat at 28, didn’t panic, didn’t freak out, and got the linebacker they wanted. Patrick Queen screamed Baltimore Raven when I watched him play, and they get an athletic, instinctive linebacker without trading up and losing picks like the Chargers did.
Tyler: On paper it seems like Miami, they got Tua, a piece to protect him, and a cornerback that will help build their class but on paper is as far as it goes for me. I have never really been that sold on Tua to be honest, so it seems like a “we’ll see” play. I think San Fran dominated everyone with their moves. They got a beast of a player in Kinlaw and also traded back in to get a guy that everyone thought Green Bay would be looking at. Chess vs. checkers.
Which college team had the best first round?
Belz: Either LSU or Ohio State. I give the slight edge to LSU here because of Burrow being the first overall pick after winning a title, and three other players were picked later in round one. Add in the fact that Ohio State did most of their damage at the same positions they always churn out, defensive line and cornerback, and LSU was able to spread their recruiting footprint a little more in my opinion.
Ryan: As much as I hate to say it… Ohio State. They had two corners go in the top 19 picks. They had a hand in Burrow’s development and Young went second. Other than that, LSU and Alabama had impressive showing, as always.
Drew: I mean, the Buckeyes did really great. Bama and LSU are probably tied for second, but you can’t argue with the top-three picks all being developed by Ohio State.
Owen: Ohio State, it’s not even close. THE TOP THREE PICKS WERE OHIO STATE GUYS. Good lord.
Tyler: *$#@ Ohio State. They won again. I hate it here.
Ok………...what did you think about the Packers pick of QB Jordan Love?
Belz: I get it, but I didn’t Love trading up to make it happen or the timing. I think it was a year or two too early. The business of the NFL is so contract based that I feel it hurts them in the short term and potentially in the long-term for major success. The majority of Super Bowl winning teams lately have won with either a star veteran quarterback, or a young stud who is on his rookie deal so you can spend on other areas to surround him with talent. This move narrows the window for Rodgers to succeed, and it also shortens the length that Love will be able to actually play on his rookie deal given that A-Rod has four years left on his contract.
Love is a project, and the fact that he learned some of his craft from...Gary Andersen...makes me cringe a bit. I don’t claim to be a draft expert, but I do watch a lot of college football, and Jordan Love was not even statistically the best quarterback with the last name Love in the Mountain West last year.
Giving up a fourth round pick stings, because it essentially took away a wide receiver AND an offensive lineman/defensive back/linebacker off the squad to make it happen. I will be rooting for Love as a Packers fan, but he needs to hit to make this worth it down the line.
Thanks Drew, that was cathartic.
Ryan: First impressions.. What? Second impressions… why? Third… huh? I didn’t understand it. Green Bay was a team that went 13-3 and has very little depth at receiver and who has Aaron Rodgers under contract for four more years and he wants to play well into his 40s so…? At the very least, they traded up to take a guy that will sit for four years. Now, this may be helpful because he is a guy that will need some work. Seventeen interceptions in 2019 at Utah State and he played for… *checks notes* Gary Andersen… ewww.
I would have much preferred to see them go wide receiver in that spot and then take a QB in a couple of years, so you don’t waste a handful of years of Rodgers’s replacements career. I hear there is a kid at the UW right now that has four years of eligibility left…maybe Green Bay could give Rodgers two more years and left Graham Mertz learn under Aaron’s wing for two years, before he takes over and crushes it. Yes, I said Graham Mertz and I don’t regret it. #MertzSZN
One silver lining that may come from the Packers not taking a receiver last night is that they can take Quintez Cephus, who both of the OSU corners drafted last night, said was the best receiver they faced in 2019… so game recognize game.
Drew: I think that the Packers probably overpaid for Love because it seems unlikely that he was going to be picked before their original pick, but they would obviously know better than I, an idiot. As a non-Packers fan (who supports the Packers due to my wife, father, mother-in-law, most of my friends being Packers fans) I wanted to be really mad about this pick. But...I’m not. If Green Bay thinks Love is their guy, they needed to go get him, regardless of cost.
If Love turns into a franchise, decade-long starting QB then everyone will call this move brilliant. It worked for the Packers before with Rodgers and Brett Favre, right? I think a lot of how this pick will look is what the Packers do with the rest of their picks. They need to acquire at least one weapon for Rodgers, and the fans, to be excited about. Almost a PR thing more than a football thing.
Love’s last season at Utah State was...not great and he was never even the best quarterback in his own conference but Green Bay liked him and having your next franchise QB already on the roster is never a bad thing.
Owen: So, I wasn’t thrilled about it initially, but the more you think about it the more it makes sense. While you never want to “waste” a first round pick during a potential championship window, the fact of the matter is that the worst time to find your quarterback of the future is when you need one. Packer fans should understand this concept better than any other fan base in the NFL.
Now, Love is a project and will need a year or two to sit behind Rodgers, but he’s in probably the best situation to succeed. He’s got a hose of a right arm, he’s athletic, and has a ton of potential. Frankly, if he’s starting for GB in four or five years and is good, no one will care that they traded a 4th round pick for him. The rumor is that Indianapolis wanted Love, which makes sense as he was rumored to be their pick at No. 13 before they traded it to San Francisco.
Tyler: I hate being a Twitter GM and I’m trying to make sense of it but it just really isn’t clicking for me. Firstly, I’d like to address the Aaron Rodgers/Brett Favre comparisons as this is so much different. Favre had hinted at retiring multiple times, and Rodgers was the #1 pick and top QB until he somehow wasn’t. Was it still a head scratcher at the time? For sure, but the talent of the prospect was still there.
Jordan Love seems like a nice kid, but I can’t say the same for him. Was he a good, fun QB to watch at 11:30 on a Saturday night? Yes, but I think it stops there. The kid threw 17 interceptions. I know Utah State lost everything from the year before and Gary Andersen will ruin good players but damn son 17? Five turnovers against the 62nd rated defense of BYU? He did have a great 2018, so we’ll see. I don’t know. Whatever, it is what it is and I hope Jordan Love is the next Hall of Famer but I don’t get it no matter how hard I try.
Who did you actually want the Packers to pick?
Belz: After the run on wide receivers in the early to mid 20s I was really hoping they would trade back if possible. The Packers have done a really nice job of getting skill players in the second and third round, so racking up picks in the middle rounds would have been nice to shore up the offensive line.
Ryan: I would have loved to see Justin Jefferson drop to Green Bay, but stupid Minnesota took him… considering who was available at the time Green Bay picked, Tee Higgins, Laviska Shenault Jr. (amazing name) and Denzel Mims were all intriguing wide receiver options.
Drew: I cede my time to my wife, who was looking over my shoulder while I was writing these questions: “anyone else.”
Owen: Aiyuk was the last guy i wanted so I’d have advocated for a trade back but, well /shrugs
Tyler: I never cared for Ayiuk or Raegor all that much, so I was kind of hoping they traded back and acquired some more picks. Or I would have loved to see Patrick Queen but we all know Green Bay doesn’t care to have athletic, talented linebackers. Personally I just hoped they went back or took the best available player at 30 and they went ahead and did the exact opposite.
Which Badgers player will go first on Day 2?
Belz: I think both Zack Baun and Jonathan Taylor will go on Day 2. Biadasz could squeak into the late third if the right team snags him, but I think Baun and Taylor are as close to sure things to be drafted today.
Ryan: I think it’s a push, between Taylor and Baun. All I know is that if they show Taylor on tv when he is drafted, he better be wearing a Toppers polo...
Drew: Baun should probably go first due to NFL teams’ overall need for getting pressure on the quarterback, but I’m most excited to see where Taylor ends up. It would be great if he could immediately get into a situation where he takes on a heavy workload early.
Owen: Baun and Taylor 100%, but Biadasz could sneak in potentially at the end of the third round. Baun and Taylor could both go in the top 10-15 picks of the second round on Friday night.
Tyler: I think Baun will go first maybe to New York and then Taylor to Miami possibly? I don’t expect either of them will be around long in the second round.