NFL Brings Hope for Exciting Season



The NFL draft arrived on April 23.

After three months of painstaking waiting, the National Football League (NFL) Draft finally arrived on April 23. Often the tipping point between contenders and pretenders, the 2020 draft came with its fair share of surprises and steals.

The NFL originally announced that the draft would take in Las Vegas, the home of the newly relocated Raiders; however, they shifted the event to a virtual format following the outbreak of COVID-19. Luckily for Las Vegas, the NFL announced that the city would host the 2022 draft. Leading up the big day, skeptics voiced numerous well-merited concerns: While other leagues, such as the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) had already executed a virtual draft, practice drafts hosted by the NFL for preparation crashed after just the first pick (there are 255 picks in total) only days before the event. Additionally, with old-school coaches and general managers, there was a concern that the draft could see less movement as the adjusting front offices learned the new method for executing trades.

The beginning of the first round saw surprisingly little movement: the Los Angeles Chargers didn’t leapfrog the Miami Dolphins to draft Justin Herbert with the sixth pick, the Detroit Lions ended up staying put and drafted Jeff Okudah with the third pick, and the top ten picks came and went as if in a pre-draft mock. The first trade of the night came when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers moved up one spot from 14 to 13 to draft franchise right tackle, Tristian Wirfs. 

Throughout night one, surprising drops and reaches continued to unfold. When the Atlanta Falcons took a flier on cornerback A.J. Terrell, CeeDee Lamb, ranked by many as the top receiver prospect, fell right into the hands of Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys. Chaos continued as the receiver-thirsty Philadelphia Eagles passed on Justin Jefferson in favor of an unproven Jalen Raegor, and the Green Bay Packers took quarterback Jordan Love, the future successor for Aaron Rodgers.

Days two and three continued with no technical difficulties and provided fans abiding by stay-at-home orders with an exciting draft. However, a common complaint was the insensitive broadcasting by ESPN. Throughout the night, the network excessively publicized the tragedies that burdened the newly-drafted players’ lives. “It’s a very fine line between providing human interest stories to show [the] adversity players have overcome and just sensationalizing tragedy. I hope ESPN takes this draft to review where that line is,” tweeted NFL analyst Jim Weber.

Overall, teams made dozens of trades and fans were left at the edge of their seats for three straight nights. In the following section, I will provide my personal grades and analysis for picks.


Best Pick: Dallas Cowboys, CeeDee Lamb 

Grade: A

As a die-hard Eagles fan, it pains me to rank Lamb as the best pick through three days of the draft. However, Lamb, the eighth-ranked prospect on my board, fell right to the Cowboys, who will pair Lamb, Amari Cooper, and Michael Gallup together for the league’s most dynamic receiving core.


Worst Pick: Los Angeles Chargers, Justin Herbert

Grade: F

While many are big fans of Justin Herbert, I believe he has “bust potential” written all over him. Like Mitch Trubisky only a few years ago, Herbert’s big arm and show-stopping talent have blinded GMs to his obvious accuracy and footwork issues.


Biggest X-Factor: Philadelphia Eagles, Jalen Raegor 

Grade: B

The theme of the Philadelphia Eagles this draft was speed, speed, speed. They picked up Marquise Goodwin via trade (4.27 40 yard time) and drafted Quez Watkins (4.35 40 yard time). However, the biggest x-factor of the group is Jalen Raegor, who ran an abysmal 4.47 at the NFL Combine yet bounced back with a 4.22 during his pro day. Raegor has game-changing athletic traits; however, Eagles fans can only hope he produces.


Most Shocking Pick: Philadelphia Eagles, Jalen Hurts

Grade: D

With franchise quarterback Carson Wentz almost always ending the season on injury reserve, Howie Roseman and the Eagles front office decided to take a second-round flier on a Taysom Hill gadget-type player. However, with potential game-breaking stars such as the University of Iowa’s A.J. Epenesa and Baylor’s Denzel Mims on the board, picking a player who is going to be utilized for fewer than ten snaps a game is embarrassing.


Want to debate? Contact Alex Cheng at [email protected].