They say hindsight is 20/20. And for the 2020 NFL Draft, that was especially true. In this 2020 NFL Redraft, we walk back through the highs and lows of a particularly tumultuous first round. Who got it right, who got it wrong, and who should’ve actually been the pick? Let us remember and regret together.
2020 NFL Draft Redraft | Picks 1-16
For purposes of simplicity, the final order arrived at in Round 1 of the 2020 NFL Draft was used in this redraft. To the best of our ability, we were able to look back at 2020 team needs and make picks accordingly. But we also have the luxury of foresight and seeing which needs have lingered to this point.
1) Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
You could argue that Justin Herbert has had the more productive career to this point. But Joe Burrow was still a fringe MVP candidate down the stretch in 2021, and he’s in a Super Bowl. Herbert isn’t.
Burrow doesn’t have Herbert’s rocket arm, but his killer instinct and ice-cold veins make him impossible to bet against in clutch situations. He has the “it” factor, and the Bengals likely aren’t regretting their decision to make him their QB.
2) Washington Football Team: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
Unfortunately, Washington in 2020 wasn’t working with the information we have now. That the Dwayne Haskins experiment would unravel very quickly in the ensuing year. But in hindsight, you take Herbert over Chase Young 101 times out of 100. There’s no replacement for a transcendent QB, and Washington has learned that the hard way.
3) Detroit Lions: A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson
The Lions still take a cornerback top three in this 2020 NFL Redraft, but it’s not Jeff Okudah. The Ohio State product still has time to rebound after missing most of the 2021 season due to injury, but A.J. Terrell has surged into the lead as the best CB from the 2020 NFL Draft.
Terrell played at an All-Pro level for the Falcons in 2021, allowing a mere 61.0 passer rating while racking up 3 picks and 16 deflections. Terrell and Amani Oruwariye would be a scary CB duo — the one Detroit hoped to have with Okudah.
4) New York Giants: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
The Giants got a lot of flack for selecting Andrew Thomas first among the 2020 NFL Draft’s menacing quadrumvirate at offensive tackle. And to be fair, he had a rough rookie season. But Thomas is a classic lesson of patience for draft evaluators.
In his second season, he took a massive step up and became a formidable blindside blocker for Daniel Jones. Tristan Wirfs has had the better career to this point, but Thomas’ natural fit at left tackle earns him the pick in our 2020 NFL Redraft.
5) Miami Dolphins: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
In case you didn’t know, Jesse Davis was the Dolphins’ starting right tackle in 2021. That’s not ideal. The Dolphins did spend one of their three 2020 first-round picks on a tackle when they selected Austin Jackson from USC. However, Jackson hasn’t panned out either. If we could turn back the clock, Wirfs — already a Pro Bowler and an All-Pro at right tackle — is the easy choice.
6) Los Angeles Chargers: Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
The Chargers are one of the few teams who likely prefer real life to fantasy — because they are currently living a fantasy with Herbert at quarterback. Herbert shouldn’t have been there at sixth overall. So with this 2020 NFL Redraft, we pose the question: What if he wasn’t?
No other quarterbacks have proven themselves worthy of a top-10 pick, so the best option might be BPA (best player available) — bringing together two Ohio State legends in Chase Young and Joey Bosa.
7) Carolina Panthers: Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama
At this point, the Panthers had already signed Teddy Bridgewater and were giving him a chance to start a full season. With no high-end quarterbacks on the board, the optimal path for Carolina in this 2020 NFL Redraft is to beef up the offensive line. The team’s blocking unit was atrocious this past season, but perhaps adding Jedrick Wills Jr., who’s been a solid starter for the Browns, would help matters.
8) Arizona Cardinals: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Isaiah Simmons was well worth the eighth pick based on upside, but the Cardinals haven’t been able to maximize his talents yet. They’d have an easier time doing that with Justin Jefferson, who’s already emerged as one of the best receivers in the league with the Vikings.
It’s scary to think about an offense with DeAndre Hopkins, A.J. Green, and Jefferson catching passes from Kyler Murray. Luckily, we were spared from that reality.
9) Jacksonville Jaguars: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
It was a bit of a surprise when Kristian Fulton fell to the end of the second round. Some evaluators had him pegged as a first-round prospect, and those evaluators have some validation after his sophomore season. Fulton is quickly developing into one of the league’s better coverage defenders.
In 2021, he recorded 2 interceptions and 14 deflections, allowing a meager passer rating of 71.3. So far, he’s outpaced CJ Henderson, the Jaguars’ original pick at ninth overall.
10) Cleveland Browns: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
The Browns have clearly emphasized offensive line in recent years, and if Wills was available here, he’s still the pick. But in this 2020 NFL Redraft, he’s not. Nevertheless, there’s still an opportunity for the Browns to add high-level offensive talent — and at a position of need. CeeDee Lamb immediately becomes the alpha in a Browns WR room that’s desperate for dynamic ability.
11) New York Jets: Jeremy Chinn, S/LB, Southern Illinois
The Jets’ defensive woes aren’t new. New York has struggled on that side of the ball for years now, but the team’s lack of talent is especially stark in the current year.
Mekhi Becton showed promise early on, but his recent fallings must have some wondering if they should’ve spent the 11th pick on a high-upside defender instead. Jeremy Chinn, a hybrid on the back end, was a DROY candidate in his first season, and his elite athleticism at 6’3″, 220 pounds is hard to replicate.
12) Las Vegas Raiders: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
The discussion surrounding Trevon Diggs is incredibly polarizing — probably because he’s a polarizing player. Diggs had 11 picks and 21 deflections in 2021 but also allowed over 900 yards and 4 touchdowns in coverage. Nevertheless, Diggs allowed a mere 55.8 passer rating this past season, and his interceptions are a big reason why.
He’s a gambler, and sometimes that doesn’t pay off. But he’s also undoubtedly a high-level playmaker at a young age, and the Raiders could use that in their secondary.
13) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
Tampa Bay would, of course, need to fill the void left by the loss of Wirfs in this 2020 NFL Redraft. But how dominant would Tom Brady’s Buccaneers be if they had a game-breaking running back like Jonathan Taylor? Would red and pewter become the new standardized primary colors? Would Tampa Bay become the new capital city of the USA? The Buccaneers already won a Super Bowl without this pick, but Taylor might help them win even more.
14) San Francisco 49ers: L’Jarius Sneed, CB, Louisiana Tech
Hopes were high for Javon Kinlaw, and they still are. But the South Carolina product’s early returns haven’t been as bountiful as expected for the 49ers. Meanwhile, there exists a need for more talent in the secondary in San Francisco, and L’Jarius Sneed would’ve been a nice get.
Sneed has 5 interceptions and 15 deflections in two years with the Chiefs, and he’s an elite athlete with a 4.37 40-yard dash, a 131-inch broad jump, and a 41-inch vertical.
15) Denver Broncos: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
Derrick Brown has had his moments for the Panthers, but we’re still left wanting more after his first two seasons. The upside is apparent, though, and that’s why he still goes in Round 1 of this 2020 NFL Redraft. At the time in 2020, the Broncos had Mike Purcell at nose tackle. He’s been decent, but Brown provides a clear opportunity to upgrade and gives Denver a difference-maker on the interior.
16) Atlanta Falcons: Isaiah Simmons, LB/S, Clemson
Like many other first-round picks from the 2020 NFL Draft, Simmons has been productive, and he’s been productive enough to remain in Round 1 of this 2020 NFL Redraft. But at the same time, he hasn’t taken the leap into the ranks of the elite. Perhaps the Falcons will know how to use him better and won’t box him into one position. After all, why would you box in a 6’4″, 238-pound playmaker with 4.39 speed and elite explosiveness numbers?