With the completion of Day 2 of the 2020 NFL Draft, we now have a strong idea as to which teams have “won the draft” and which teams have lost it. The second and third rounds are where the substance of an NFL roster is built. Hitting on your Day 2 picks is just as vital as hitting on Day 1, and the teams that consistently dominate Day 2 of the draft are the consistently competitive ball clubs. This year’s class was very deep, and there were a number of first-round grades I had drop into the second round. There were even a few first-round graded prospects that dropped into the third. With that said, who were the winners and losers on Day 2 of the NFL Draft?[sv slug=mocksim]
Winners and losers of Day 2 of the NFL Draft
Winners: New York Jets
The Jets have easily had one of my favorite drafts thus far. They took Mekhi Becton with the 11th overall selection to be their franchise left tackle, investing in protecting Sam Darnold. On Day 2, they renewed that investment in their franchise quarterback. The Jets initially held the 48th overall pick, and Baylor’s Denzel Mims was on the board, an obvious selection. Then, the Jets decided to trade down with the Seattle Seahawks where Mims fell to them at 59. The Jets not only accumulated assets, but they were also able to select my fourth-ranked receiver in the second round. The only person more impressed than me with the Jets draft so far is Darnold.
The Jets then followed this selection up with California safety Ashtyn Davis, one of my favorite players in the class. Davis has the athletic ability to play everywhere in the secondary. Whether asked to play single high, in the box, or even at nickel or outside cornerback, Davis can do it. An injury likely forced his slide, but make no mistake, Davis is a big-time player. The Jets desperately needed secondary help, and Davis is a great player to add talent at all spots.
With their second third-round selection, the Jets added Florida defensive end, Jabari Zuniga. I think there were some players still available that were a little better, but I valued Zuniga as a third-rounder. I viewed defensive end as the Jets’ biggest remaining need. There’s a good chance Zuniga could be an immediate starter.
Loser: Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles are coming off a divisional championship, and plan to be in contention for a playoff spot again in 2020. They selected Jalen Reagor with the 21st pick, to the dismay of many Eagles fans, but I don’t mind the pick too much. However, in the second round, the Eagles decided to draft Jalen Hurts, the former Oklahoma and Alabama quarterback. The issue? The Eagles have a pretty good quarterback named Carson Wentz.
I understand that Wentz has dealt with injuries throughout his career. However, he played every game last season, and the drafting of a backup quarterback at 53 is just awful value. The Eagles still have needs at receiver, edge rusher, linebacker, cornerback, and safety. If your argument for drafting Hurts is: “What if Wentz gets hurt?”, then it obviously wasn’t a good pick. If someone needs to get hurt in order for a team to get full value from a second-round pick, it wasn’t a good pick.
With their final third-round selection, the Eagles added Colorado linebacker, Davion Taylor. Taylor did not even crack my top-10 linebackers in the 2020 NFL Draft class. Taylor is a solid athlete and has very good range for the linebacker spot. However, he is undersized, lacks good instincts, and struggles to shed blocks. Despite being a great athlete, he severely lacks instincts in coverage. Taylor, in my eyes, is a late third-day project, that the Eagles took too soon. All three other teams in the NFC East could be called winners, but Philadelphia is unequivocally a loser on Day 2 of the NFL Draft.
Winner: Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills didn’t have a first-round pick after trading for Stefon Diggs, a trade I know they’re more than happy about. However, they were still able to add first-round talent with their second pick. With the 54th overall selection, the Buffalo Bills selected AJ Epenesa, my second-highest ranked edge rusher and a first-round talent in my eyes. Epenesa is a dominant edge rusher who profiles as a tone-setting edge setter, who can get you 7-10 sacks a season. Getting that kind of player in the second round is phenomenal value.
With their third-round selection, the Bills were able to select a player many thought could go as early as late first-round. Utah running back Zack Moss was taken 86th overall by Buffalo, and he is a perfect fit for what Buffalo lost in Frank Gore. Moss is a workhorse back whose downhill style perfectly compliments 2019 rookie Devin Singletary.
Loser: Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pennsylvania football teams are really struggling today. The Steelers traded their first-round pick for Minkah Fitzpatrick, and that trade worked out excellent for the ball club. What I don’t envision working out so well, is the selection of Chase Claypool with a top-50 selection.
Whether you wanted Claypool to play wide receiver or tight end, there were better players available at both positions. At receiver, guys like Denzel Mims and Bryan Edwards were still available. At tight end, you had the options of Adam Trautman, Harrison Bryant, and Hunter Bryant. Reaching for Claypool was a poor way to start the 2020 NFL Draft for the Steelers, especially considering that they traded away their third-round selection.
Then with their third-round compensatory selection, the Steelers selected Charlotte edge rusher, Alex Highsmith. Highsmith is by no means a bad player, but with edge defenders like Curtis Weaver and Bradlee Anae still available, the selection was a bit puzzling. Neither of the two players that the Steelers selected are bad, but both are third-day talents in my eyes, and better players were available at both positions.
Winner: Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys came into Day 2 with three pressing needs in my eyes: defensive tackle, cornerback, and safety. They’ve already addressed both defensive tackle and cornerback with two players at great value. First, they selected Trevon Diggs with the 51st selection. Diggs is a high-upside corner with elite ball skills and a very strong frame to play on the boundary. Though not an elite athlete, Diggs has the requisite speed to carry a receiver up the field. His ball skills will be a massive bonus to a Dallas secondary that really doesn’t have any.
With their third-round selection, the Cowboys selected Oklahoma defensive tackle Neville Gallimore. At 82nd overall, the value is excellent for a player that was just outside my top-50. Gallimore has massive upside, and if utilized correctly, could be an 8-12 sack type of player. Dallas’ defensive line is one really good run defender away from being a strength of the team. While their division rival Eagles were losers, the Cowboys are winners on Day 2 of the NFL Draft.