Our draft week coverage continues, but now it is time to dish out some hate for some of the teams that got a little over aggressive in their draft strategy. After reviewing the best value picks of this draft, I figured the next step would be to look at the biggest reaches. There are a number of teams that showed up on both lists. Now I understand that my rankings are specific to me. I am using them primarily as a reference point for where I had them. I tried to focus more on other players that were still available and the level of need the team had at that position. These are the players that I thought came off the board too early in the 2020 draft.
A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson – Atlanta Falcons
Draft position: 16th overall (1st round)
My ranking: 63rd overall (2nd-round grade)
Atlanta desperately needed corner help, but they got a little too desperate here. There were reports the Falcons wanted to move up the 2nd pick to grab Chase Young or into the top 10 to draft CJ Henderson. Once they couldn’t trade up, it felt like they settled for A.J. Terrell. There were definitely better corners available, but Atlanta should have tried to trade back or taken the best player available and address corner in round two. K’Lavon Chaisson was still available at a major position of need for this team. Keep in mind the following corners were still on the board for the Falcons second-round pick: Jaylon Johnson, Trevon Diggs and Krisitan Fulton. I had them all ranked higher than Terrell to begin with and in the second round, they were much more valuable additions.
Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State – Las Vegas Raiders
Draft position: 19th overall (1st round)
My ranking: 72nd overall (3rd-round grade)
Welcome to the reach of the first round and maybe the entire draft. Damon Arnette seems to have the makings of a solid second option in the secondary. He has some physical limitations though and was the third-best corner on Ohio State this year. There is no question the Raiders need help at the position, but this was way too early for Arnette to come off the board. All those same corners I just mentioned above for Terrell were available and I had higher draft grades on all of them as well. Arnette was 11th ranked corner, but he was the fourth one off the board. The Raiders definitely should have traded back. It is easier said than done, but without a second round pick, this felt like the perfect opportunity to do so.
Jordyn Brooks, LB, Texas Tech – Seattle Seahawks
Draft position: 27th overall (1st overall)
My rankings: 74th overall (3rd-round grade)
This was surprising at face value, but when you factor in how the Seahawks tend to draft, this is par for the course. Spoiler alert: Seattle shows up on here twice, which probably means this list is going to look really silly in about three years. Few franchises have as much success identifying and developing talent as the Seahawks. However, for every Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman or Bobby Wagner this team seems to find, it hard to ignore mistakes like Rashaad Penny, Malik McDowell and potentially L.J. Collier if he doesn’t take a big step in his second year. I liked Brooks as a prospect, but I didn’t think he was good enough to go in the first round. He is rangy and explosive, but definitely pretty raw. He has very limited experience in coverage. Most of his snaps on passing downs are spent spying on the quarterback. If he can become more comfortable dropping back, he will justify this draft slot, but that is a really big if.
Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia – Tennessee Titans
Draft position: 29th overall (1st round)
My ranking: 96th overall (3rd-round grade)
I actually really like this fit a lot, I just thought it was very early to see Isaiah Wilson come off the board. He has tons of potential given his size, but I think he would have really benefited from another year at Georgia. He just isn’t very technically sound yet as a prospect. He will likely be in contention to start at right tackle with the departure of Jack Conklin. Wilson will grow into the role eventually, I just think he has a decent amount of work to do. Given the coronavirus-impacted offseason, that could be a problem. If Tennessee is comfortable letting him learn on the job, that’s fine, but it could hurt them in the short term.
Robert Hunt, OL, Louisiana – Miami Dolphins
Draft position: 39th overall (2nd round)
My ranking: 79th overall (3rd-round grade)
This was not as significant of an overdraft as some of these others on this list, but still a surprise nonetheless. Robert Hunt is a really powerful blocker who can knock opponents back in the run game and punish them if they misstep as a pass rusher. However, he is not exactly pro ready and has lapses in his footwork and hand placement. I would consider him to be something of a project with decent upside as an interior lineman. My bigger issue with the selection was the list of interior linemen still on the board. I had Matt Hennessy, Tyler Biadasz, Lloyd Cushenberry and John Simpson all ranked ahead of Hunt. Simpson in particular feels like a more polished prospect that brings a lot of the same attributes to the table. Perhaps Miami liked how Hunt could fit in their scheme, but I still think there were some better options available.
A.J. Dillon, RB, Boston College – Green Bay Packers
Draft position: 62nd overall (2nd round)
My ranking: 149th overall (5th-round grade)
I really did not see this pick coming. People have been slamming the Packers for not taking a receiver in this draft (I have been one of them), and this selection in particular made that even harder to swallow. When you already have Aaron Jones and Jamal Williams on your roster, finding a goal line back shouldn’t be super high on the priority list. Had the Packers made this selection in the fourth round, I would be all in favor, but this was simply too early for a player that had almost 850 career collegiate carries. At best, A.J. Dillon is a short-yardage specialist for this team. He has taken small steps as a receiver, but not to the point where you expect him to be a factor in the passing game. Even if you want to argue that Green Bay has enough developing options at receiver, this should have been a linebacker to help bolster the team’s poor run defense.
Antonio Gibson, RB/WR, Memphis – Washington
Draft position: 66th overall (3rd round)
My ranking: 161st overall (5th-round grade)
In terms of difference between draft slot and overall ranking, this was my biggest reach of the draft. Antonio Gibson certainly brings a unique skill set to the table. However, this feels like the type of selection a team looking to add a unique playmaker to an already established offense makes. Washington’s offense is anything but established. He could be an impact player in the next few years, but I think this team had much bigger holes to fill and honestly much better playmakers available. If you wanted that do-it-all weapon to install in your offense, Lynn Bowden Jr. was still on the board.
Damien Lewis, OL, LSU – Seattle Seahawks
Draft position: 69th overall (3rd round)
My ranking: 136th overall (4th-round grade)
Another new Seahawk makes the list. I appreciate the effort the front office made here to protect Russell Wilson, but this was a miss. Damien Lewis should help the Seattle run game as they continue to pound the rock, but he is limited in space and has some very uneven film as a pass blocker. Go watch how often Joe Burrow was running for his life in the College Football Playoff. I don’t think Lewis has a tremendously high ceiling to chase either. This feels like Seattle trying to force a need. On top of all of that, I had Ben Bredeson, Jonah Jackson, Logan Stenberg, and Solomon Kindley all ranked ahead of Lewis. That doesn’t even include Matt Hennessy, Lloyd Cushenberry or Tyler Biadasz, all of whom played center in college. Quick reminder, the Seahawks just released long-time center Justin Britt.
Jabari Zuniga, EDGE, Florida – New York Jets
Draft position: 79th overall (3rd round)
My ranking: 153rd overall (5th-round grade)
I’ve hated on some other teams’ draft picks. Now I get to question my favorite team for one of its selections. Jabari Zuniga has the potential to be a solid pass rusher, provided he can stay on the field. He works hard to generate pressure and displays good play strength. Unfortunately, he is not the most athletic player of all time, which I think caps his upside. He also missed a good chunk of his final season at Florida due to an ankle injury. With Curtis Weaver, Bradlee Anae, Kenny Willekes, Terrell Lewis, Jonathan Greenard, Alex Highsmith, Khalid Kareem, Alton Robinson and Nick Coe all still on the board, I just don’t love this pick at this spot. Maybe it is recency bias (or anti-recency bias, if that’s a thing) after watching former Gators pass rusher Jachai Polite fail to make it out of training camp, but I think Zuniga is going to max out as a situational pass rusher.