2020 NFL Draft Awards

By Charlie Campbell.
Send Charlie an e-mail here: draftcampbell@gmail.com
Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell for updates.

Best Value Pick Round 1:

Dallas Cowboys:
WR CeeDee Lamb
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 overall, 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 as the top-12 pick, 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 NFL, and he is phenomenal after the catch. I think Lamb could be a more consistent receiver than Amari Cooper, and 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 they passed on Lamb.

Honorable mentions: Carolina Panthers DT Derrick Brown, San Francisco 49ers DT Javon Kinlaw, Los Angeles Chargers LB Kenneth Murray, Baltimore Ravens LB Patrick Queen and Kansas City Chiefs RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

2019 Winner: Quinnen Williams, Jets
2018 Winner: Derwin James, Chargers
2017 Winner: Malik Hooker, Colts
2016 Winner: Laremy Tunsil, Dolphins
2015 Winner: Todd Gurley, Rams and Malcom Brown, Patriots
2014 Winner: HaHa Clinton-Dix, Packers
2013 Winner: Sharrif Floyd, Vikings
2012 Winner: Riley Reiff, Lions

Best Value Pick Day 2:

Los Angeles Rams:
RB Cam Akers
This pick was a tough choice, but Akers was my top value pick for Day 2 of the 2020 NFL Draft, and for the Rams to get him in the back half of the second round was a huge steal.

For the NFL, Akers is a do-it-all back who looks like a three-down starter with Pro Bowl potential. He has an excellent combination of size at 217 pounds and speed. Akers shows the power to run through tackles and the speed to hit the second level while being able hit the gas in the open field to run away from the defense. Akers is a threat to break off long runs on any touch, and he would have produced a lot more big plays in college if it weren’t for a terrible offensive line.

Akers has a lot of natural abilities as a runner that make him a playmaker. He has very good feet and cutting skill to stop on a dime with a sudden ability to change direction. On top of his feet and cutting ability, Akers has good vision and patience to let holes develop while also being able to create on his own. He is a shifty runner and elusive in the open field to dodge tackler, possessing the ability to make defenders miss. Akers has strength to get yards after contact with balance to sustain hits and a strong build to finish his runs well. With his size, speed, and running ability, Akers can be the engine for a NFL offense.

Akers is a passing-game weapon as a check-down receiver. He has nice hands and finds the soft spots to get open for his quarterback. Akers is too quick, sudden, and explosive for linebackers to cover, so he should be a real mismatch weapon.

On top of his skill set, I think Akers went to a great landing spot and will be a superb fit in Sean McVay’s scheme. With Todd Gurley being in Atlanta, Akers could be a plug-and-play starter if he can pick up the playbook quick enough. It would not surprise me if Akers is one of the steals of the 2020 NFL Draft and is a great value for the Rams from the second round.

Honorable mentions: Lions RB D’Andre Swift, Giants S Xavier McKinney, Panthers DE Yetur Gross-Matos, Colts RB Jonathan Taylor, Cowboys CB Trevon Diggs, Rams RB Cam Akers, Ravens RB J.K. Dobbins, Ravens DT Justin Madibuike, Vikings CB Cameron Dantzler, Bills RB Zack Moss, and Saints TE Adam Trautman.

2019 Winner: Greg Little, Panthers
2018 Winner: Derrius Guice, Redskins
2017 Winner: Dalvin Cook, Vikings
2016 Winner: Myles Jack, Jaguars
2015 Winner: Jaelen Strong, Texans
2014 Winner: Carlos Hyde, 49ers & Louis Nix, Texans
2013 Winner: Eddie Lacy, Packers
2012 Winner: Janoris Jenkins, Rams

Best Value Pick Day 3:

Denver Broncos:
TE Albert Okwuegbunam
Landing Okwuegbunam in the fourth round was an absolute steal for Denver. The Missouri tight end had the best skill set of any tight end in the 2020 NFL Draft with the talent of a first- or second-round pick. As a receiver, Okwuegbunam (6-5, 258) is dynamic. He has the speed to get down the seam, and his size lets him wall off defenders or make catches over them when they were able to keep him from getting separation. Thus, Okwuegbunam is very difficult to cover because safeties will struggle with his size while linebackers will have a hard time running with him. Okwuegbunam runs quality routes and is adept at finding the soft spot in zone coverage. He tracks the ball well and shows impressive hands to snatch passes out of the air. With soft hands, Okwuegbunam does not have to body catch and is very calm to make receptions with defenders closing in on him.

I love the fit for Okwuegbunam in Denver, where he will be reunited with quarterback Drew Lock. The two were special together, and I believe Okwuegbunam could be a dynamic mismatch receiving tight end to be paired with Noah Fant. Okwuegbunam also will see a ton of single coverage as defenses will be more concerned with Courtland Sutton, Melvin Gordon, Jerry Jeudy, Noah Fant and possibly K.J. Hamler. Thus, it would not shock me if Okwuegbunam offers a huge payoff for Denver and is one of the best third-day values from the 2020 NFL Draft.

Honorable mentions: Cowboys CB Reggie Robinson, Bills wide receiver Gabriel Davis, Redskins wide receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden and Eagles offensive tackle Prince Tega Wanogho.

2019 Winner: Mack Wilson, Browns
2018 Winner: Nick Nelson, Raiders
2017 Winner: Caleb Brantley, Browns
2016 Winner: Andrew Billings, Bengals
2015 Winner: Jay Ayayi, Dolphins
2014 Winner: Justin Ellis, Raiders
2013 Winner: Philip Thomas, Redskins
2012 Winner: Bobbie Massie, Cardinals

Best Trade:

Los Angeles Chargers:
LB Kenneth Murray
After taking a potential franchise quarterback, Chargers general manager Tom 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. 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 in the top 16 on their draft boards. Therefore, landing Murray in the 20s was an excellent value. I think Murray could be a stud linebacker for the Chargers and a playmaker behind their tough defensive line.

Honorable mention: San Francisco 49ers trading down for DT Javon Kinlaw.

2019 Winner: Montez Sweat, Redskins
2018 Winner: Lamar Jackson, Ravens
2017 Winner: Tre’Davious White, Bills
2016 Winner: Myles Jack, Jaguars
2015 Winner: Maxx Williams, Ravens
2014 Winner: Louis Nix, Texans
2013 Winner: Alec Ogletree, Rams
2012 Winner: Justin Blackmon, Jaguars

Biggest Reach Day 1:

Las Vegas Raiders:
CB Damon Arnette

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 different drafting teams. When they draft an offensive player it stems from head coach Jon Gruden, who has a specific plan in place for that player and where that player fits in the scheme. When a defensive player is drafted, the player is the choice of general manager Mike Mayock, and often times Mayock has overdrafted defensive players. Mayock had 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 the second day of the 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, as he could have added more players and talent to the Raiders while still getting the player he coveted. The Raiders would be better off if they defered to Gruden rather than being guided by Mike “Pardon my Reach” Mayock.

Honorable mentions: Green Bay Packers QB Jordan Love, Atlanta Falcons CB A.J. Terrell, Minnesota Vikings CB Jeff Gladney, Miami Dolphins CB Noah Igbinoghene, Seattle Seahawks LB Jordyn Brooks and San Francisco 49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk.

2019 Winner: L.J. Collier, Seahawks
2018 Winner: Rashaad Penny, Seahawks
2017 Winner: Corey Davis, Titans
2016 Winner: Josh Garnett, 49ers
2015 Winner: Stephone Anthony, Saints
2014 Winner: JaWuan James, Dolphins
2013 Winner: Travis Frederick, Cowboys
2012 Winner: Bruce Irvin, Seahawks

Biggest Reach Day 2:

Philadelphia Eagles:
QB Jalen Hurts

As Walt highlighted in his video with Kenny and in our draft wrapup show, the Jalen Hurts selection was horrible and a notoriously bad pick for the Eagles. If everything goes to plan for the franchise, Hurts will never see the field, so from the very outset this pick is flawed. Carson Wentz is signed to along-term contract topping $100 million dollars and is a young quarterback entering his prime with a decade or more before retirement. It makes no sense to take his backup with a second-round pick when the team could have signed a veteran in free agency or drafted a backup on the third day. That would have allowed the Eagles to use their second-round pick on a wide receiver like Denzel Mims or Van Jefferson, a linebacker like Willie Gay, a cornerback like Kristian Fulton, or a defensive lineman like A.J. Epenesa. All those players were better prospects than Hurts. To make matters even worse, the Eagles could have used this second-round pick to move up for CeeDee Lamb in the first round, but the Eagles passed on doing that deal and instead saw him land with their arch rival.

Hurts is not a good quarterback entering the NFL, as he is a one-read-and-run signal-caller who does not see the field well and is not naturally accurate. Other teams had him graded as a mid-rounder. Sources also said the staff at Oklahoma was happy to see him leave, and he did transfer from Alabama after being beat out for the starting job. Thus, he may not take well to a backup role over time.

Honorable mentions: Tampa Bay Buccaneers CB Sean Bunting, Oakland Raiders CB Trayvon Mullen, Detroit Lions LB Jahlani Tavai, Houston Texans CB Lonnie Johnson, Arizona Cardinals WR Andy Isabella and Houston Texans TE Kahale Warring.

2019 Winner: Jalen Hurd, 49ers
2018 Winner: Connor Williams, Cowboys
2017 Winner: C.J. Beathard, 49ers
2016 Winner: Roberto Aguayo, Buccaneers
2015 Winner: Jordan Richards, Patriots
2014 Winner: Jack Mewhort, Colts
2013 Winner: Duron Harmon, Patriots
2012 Winner: Bryan Anger, Jaguars

Best Undrafted Free Agent Signing:

Buffalo Bills:
OT Trey Adams

A few years ago, Adams was considered a future first-round pick with franchise left tackle potential. If he can get back to that play, he’s going to be a massive steal for Buffalo. Adams signed with the Bills and that was a great landing spot for him. Entering the draft some felt that offensive line was one of the bigger need areas on the Bills roster yet they did not draft a lineman, so Adams won’t have to battle a draft pick for positioning or lose out on a roster spot because the team wants to keep the investment made on a draftee. The Bills have a solid veteran offensive line, but could use some young developmental talent. Adams is in a great position to battle for a roster spot to be a swing tackle backup at right and left tackle. If Adams stays healthy in the preseason and plays well, he has an excellent chance to stick with Buffalo and if he makes the team as a backup he could work his way onto the field. The Bills staff is willing to play late-round or undrafted players if they earn it, so Adams has a legit shot to make a NFL career for himself in Buffalo.

Honorable mentions: Carolina Panthers WR Omar Bayless, Detroit Lions S Jeremiah Dinson, Indianapolis Colts K Rodrigo Blankenship, Kansas City Chiefs C Darryl Williams, Kansas City Chiefs OT Yasir Durant and Washington Redskins TE Thaddeus Moss.

2019 Winner: Elijah Holyfield, Panthers
2018 Winner: J.C. Jackson, Patriots
2017 Winner: Fish Smithson, Redskins
2016 Winner: Geronimo Allison, Packers
2015 Winner: Akeem Hunt, Giants
2014 Winner: Antonio Richardson, Vikings
2013 Winner: Chase Thomas, Saints
2012 Winner: James Brown, Bears

Best Draft Class:

Dallas Cowboys

This was a tough decision between the Broncos, Giants, Cowboys and Ravens. With the exception of the Redskins, who’ve had a saga at the quarterback position, every previous winner has made the playoffs within 2-3 years of winning this award. We’ll see if Denver and Washington can keep that tradition alive. I really liked what the Broncos, Giants and Ravens did in the 2020 NFL Draft, but the Cowboys looked extra special to me and I think they had the best draft in the NFL.

Dallas is planning on Lamb being its No. 2 receiver to Amari Cooper, but in a year or two, I could see Lamb emerging as the team’s true No. 1 receiver. Lamb is a very polished wideout with advanced route-running. Via his precise feet and ability to avoid wasted steps, Lamb consistently generates separation due to his route-running. Along with getting open, Lamb has very good hands and is able to he his frame to make contested catches.

Lamb is very dangerous with the ball in his hands. He uses his well-built frame to break tackles and is very difficult for a lot of defensive backs to get on the ground. His strength to run through their hands makes it difficult for them to get a hold of him. While he isn’t a burner, he has a second gear to run away from defenders in the open field and is an elusive runner in space. Lamb has good feet and moves to change direction. Whenever Lamb touches the ball, he is a dangerous threat to rip off a long gain because off is tremendous run-after-the-catch skills. Due to his great skills with the ball in his hands, Lamb is also a dangerous punt returner. The Cowboys probably won’t use him much in that role to protect him from injury, but Lamb does bring that added value and could go back to return punts in critical situations. Some team sources have compared Lamb to Arizona Cardinals star wideout DeAndre Hopkins or the Packers’ Davante Adams, and I think Lamb could be that caliber of wide receiver for Dallas.

Like Lamb, Alabama cornerback Trevon Diggs was one of the top steals in the second round. He was in contention to go in the first round and was an option for Dallas in Round 1. Diggs has a No. 1 corner’s skill set, so to land him in the second round was highway robbery for the Cowboys.

After Diggs, they went back to Oklahoma for defensive Neville Gallimore, who was another wise pick. Gallimore is a dangerous interior pass rusher who has speed to get upfield and cause disruption in the backfield. He could form a nice tandem with Gerald McCoy for a year or two and then take over as a starter for Dallas. Gallimore could have gone a round higher, so he continued the Cowboys’ streak of getting good value for their picks.

On Day 3, Dallas landed another steal with Tulsa cornerback Reggie Robinson. He is big, fast and can cover. Team sources say he would have been an early-rounder had he played at a more high-profile school like Alabama, LSU, Ohio State, Florida or USC. Fourth-round pick Wisconsin center Tyler Biadasz could compete to start right away for Dallas, which is an excellent value. Fifth-round pick Bradlee Anae was a good value given that he was a prolific pass rusher at Utah. He could be a rotational contributor for Dallas.

I really love the values that the Cowboys got at each pick because they didn’t reach and really improved the talent on their roster. They also addressed some big needs, landing a potentially elite receiver, a possible No. 1 corner in Diggs, another corner with starting ability in Robinson, and a defensive tackle who could offer pass rush and has the skill set to be a starter in Gallimore. This was a phenomenal draft for Dallas, and the team deserves the top spot for its astute picks in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Honorable mentions: New York Giants, Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos.

2019 Winner: Washington Redskins
2018 Winner: Denver Broncos
2017 Winner: Washington Redskins
2016 Winner: Buffalo Bills
2015 Winner: Jacksonville Jaguars
2014 Winner: Houston Texans
2013 Winner: Green Bay Packers
2012 Winner: Pittsburgh Steelers

Worst Draft Class:

Green Bay Packers

Clearly, I blew it with the 2012 award for Seattle, and to a lesser extent with the Cowboys in 2013. However, the Chiefs’ 2014 class, Panthers’ 2015 class, and Patriots’ 2016 class have been underwhelming. Three years ago in this space, I ripped New England for the Cyrus Jones pick, and that was proven valid. I thought Arizona’s 2017 draft class was terrible, and that has been the case thus far, with those players disappointing to that point that the Cardinals had the worst record in the NFL in 2018 and were back in the top 10 in 2019. It’s too early to pass judgement on the Texans’ draft class from last year or even the Cowboys’ from 2018.

In my opinion, the Packers had the worst draft in the NFL, and there wasn’t another team even close to as bad as them. 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, they made it to the NFC Championship Game, and they are one of the top favorites in the NFC. While competitors like the Saints, Buccaneers,and Falcons used their picks to improve their roster around their aging quarterbacks, the Packers used their premium pick to replace their Hall of Fame signal=caller. To make matters even worse, 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 his 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 beefed up their blocking with offensive line help. Instead, Green Bay’s 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 their 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 Mathomes. 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.

I think the Packers made one of the worst picks in the history of their franchise with their trade up for Utah State quarterback Jordan Love in the first round, but they followed it up with a disappointing second day. To start it off at the end of the second round, they selected Boston College runnning back A.J. Dillon, who is a backup at best to veteran Aaron Jones. Instead of Dillon, the Packers could have selected offensive line help like Josh Jones or wide receiver help in the form of Lynn Bowden or Bryan Edwards. Any of those three would have offered a more immediate contribution than Dillon.

The next selection was receiving tight end Josiah Deguara. While Deguara wasn’t a terrible pick, he was a third-day prospect and a slight reach in the third round. Once again, some better options were available, including Missouri tight end Albert Okwuegbunam, who has a better skill set than Deguara but Okwuegbunam comes with off the field issues. There also were some worthy offensive line prospects like Connecticut offensive tackle Matt Peart (Giants), TCU offensive tackle Lucas Niang (Chiefs), LSU offensive tackle Saahdiq Charles (Redskins) and Georgia guard Solomon Kindley (Dolphins). All of them would have been good picks for Green Bay.

On Day 3, the Packers got some potential backups in Minnesota linebacker Kamal Martin, Michigan guard Jon Runyan, Oregon center Jake Hanson, Indiana guard Simon Stepaniak, TCU cornerback Vernon Scott and Miami defensive end Jonathan Garvin. The fifth-round pick and the three sixth-round offensive linemen were taken over Auburn’s Prince Tega Wanogho, who has the skill set of a top-16 left tackle. With three picks in the sixth round, Green Bay really had nothing to lose by taking Wanogho and only massive upside to gain if he pans out.

Team sources say Jordan Love is a quiet and unassuming player. Last year, pressure seemed to get to him, and 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 and a notorious pick in the history of the NFL draft.

2019 Winner: Houston Texans
2018 Winner: Dallas Cowboys
2017 Winner: Arizona Cardinals
2016 Winner: New England Patriots
2015 Winner: Carolina Panthers
2014 Winner: Kansas City Chiefs
2013 Winner: Dallas Cowboys
2012 Winner: Seattle Seahawks

Once again, pass along your thoughts on these awards and the 2020 NFL Draft. I may together a mail bag that answers questions/comments sent via email draftcampbell@gmail.com or on Twitter @draftcampbell.

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