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2020 NFL Draft Review - NFC East


If you missed the first two installments of this 2020 NFL Draft review series, you can read the AFC North review here and the NFC North review here. Every year after the draft, I write a way-too-long review of each team’s draft. The purpose of this draft review is to give predictions for the careers of each team’s drafted players. I’ve watched film of each player I’m commenting on. Draft grades are overly optimistic and unrealistic. Unlike the majority of post-draft coverage out there, I will pick busts. Keep in mind that 23.4% of all first-round picks bust.

Let me preface this by saying: predicting the career of an NFL draft pick is a ridiculous exercise. There is so much unknown that goes into whether a player succeeds or fails at the next level.  I can make educated guesses based on team situation, supporting cast, and research about the prospect’s character and work ethic, but there’s a reason teams make so many mistakes every year. You simply don’t know for sure how a player will react to being a pro. Injuries are also a huge factor in the fate of a player and impossible to predict accurately. I still write this long prediction article for three reasons:

1 - No one else does it.
2 - It’s more interesting than draft grades.
3 - It’s fun to try to get things right.

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Overview

Like NFL teams, I’m going to get things wrong. The greatest football mind in history drafted Ryan Mallett and Chad Jackson. I also like to argue against the consensus when my evaluations allow me to. That has gotten me in trouble with some unpopular predictions that turned out to be hilariously wrong. On the flip side, I don’t think anyone else predicted Lamar Jackson would be the best quarterback of his draft class. All of my picks are rooted in comprehensive film study and a mathematical understanding of what drafts typically produce (spoiler: draft grades are unrealistically generous).

Before we start, here are some of my general thoughts on the 2020 NFL Draft.

Quickly on the broadcast - they did a great job given the circumstances. The production quality was great and they did more actual analysis than usual. My main gripe with draft coverage every year is that they don’t show incredible highlights (they somehow didn’t show the Aaron Dobson catch in 2013). This year, they showed more footage of actual football and I appreciated that. The only two negatives for me were the constant tragic stories and Booger McFarland.

Oh, and if any poor soul bet on Justin Jefferson Under 21.5 draft position, ESPN should apologize to you. They showed him on the phone celebrating right before cutting to Goodell announcing the 21st pick - Jalen Reagor to the Eagles. Jefferson was of course on the phone with the Vikings, who took him at 22. Brutal beat.

As for the draft, remember this tweet about mock drafts being “wronger” than ever? Funny, this was probably the chalkiest first-round ever in the internet age. Nothing was truly shocking to me, including the Packers trading up for Jordan Love (more on that here). I had Damon Arnette in the first round in my first mock draft this draft season. I wrote an article lauding Jordyn Brooks as an undervalued commodity. Noah Ibinoghene going in the first was surprising, I suppose. But there was no Clelin Ferrell at No. 4 or Tyson Alualu at No. 10. It speaks to how the media and internet scouts might be catching up to, or God forbid actually influencing the teams.

So here is the first installment of my annual draft review. Each player will receive their career prediction in parentheses following their name. For example: Joe Burrow (5). Here's how the picks break down:

5 – All-Pro: Starter who has performed at an elite level at his position.
4 – Above-Average: Starter who has been among the best at his position.
3 – Solid: Starter or valuable back-up with significant positive production.
2 – Replacement Level: Below-average starter or back-up who made minor contributions.
1 – Bust: Player who didn’t amount to anything positive.

Next up, the NFC East.

 

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles came into the draft with primary needs at wide receiver and inside linebacker.  In a loaded wide receiver class with some really solid day two inside linebacker prospects, they would have to try to mess it up.  According to some, they did just that.

Jalen Reagor (3) was ranked 20th overall on my board and over Justin Jefferson.  I obviously don't think this pick was a mistake.  Reagor's play style is reminiscent of Antonio Brown because of his twitch and ability to make contested catches at his smaller stature.  Reagor struggled with drops a bit, but also had one of the worst quarterback situations of all the receiver prospects.  His play speed looks closer to the sub-4.3 from his make-believe pro day than the turtle-like 4.47 at the combine.  If you knocked him for that "slow" time, it pretty much proves you didn't watch his film.  He's faster than 4.47 and the red flag is that he didn't prepare enough to execute his 40 at the highest level technique-wise.  Back to actual football, Reagor will make a ton of plays as a pro, but continue to drop passes.

In the second round, the Eagles made one of the more shocking picks in recent memory, selecting Alabama back-up - I mean Oklahoma Heisman finalist - Jalen Hurts (2).  I disagree with this pick for one reason - I do not endorse Hurts as a franchise quarterback.  However, under the assumption that the Eagles view him with that potential, it was a wise choice.  Carson Wentz is always banged up, and there's nothing more valuable than a quality quarterback in the NFL.  I haven't seen this mentioned anywhere - THE EAGLES LITERALLY WON THE SUPER BOWL BECAUSE OF THIS POSITION.  It's insurance with upside at the most valuable position in sports on a team with a constantly injured starter.

As for the actual player, Hurts lacks ideal decision-making, tucking as a runner too quickly and showing almost no ability to go through reads at a pro level.  On the "did Manziel make Mike Evans or the other way around" spectrum I lean towards CeeDee Lamb (watch Texas).  His arm strength also isn't ideal, as a lot of his throws outside the numbers, including simple hitches, take an hour to get there.  He has decent touch and accuracy, but his game is based on rushing ability and improvisation.

I knew he would go fairly high in part due to Lamar Jackson's success.  However, I was incredibly high on Jackson because he was an UNREAL runner.  Hurts doesn't have that type of wiggle, speed, or elusiveness.  He can run the heck out of power read though - expect that to be the staple of his rookie year package.

Philadelphia was one of few teams that actually took advantage of the wide receiver depth in this draft.  There is a very low chance they didn't add a quality deep threat after selecting John Hightower (2) and Quez Watkins (3) in addition to Reagor.  Watkins was one of my favorite speedsters after a highly productive career at Southern Miss.  He fights the ball a bit, but his blazing 4.35 speed with that production plays in the NFL.

Hightower was similar on the smurf turf and has upside.  Jack Driscoll (1) did not impress on film.  He's heavy-legged, gets beat by good handwork, and doesn't show particularly good functional strength.  I would give Prince Tega Wanogho (2), a lump of clay who doesn't know how to play yet, more of a chance to be a decent pro.

Despite getting laughed at by many, the Eagles' reasoning in taking Jalen Hurts in the second makes sense.  I'm a proponent of Reagor over Jefferson and loved what they did in the later rounds, including the tripling up on deep speed at receiver.  This class has the potential to pay huge dividends down the line.

 

New York Giants

It's time to admit that Dave Gettleman is a good drafter.  His schtick is easy to make fun of, but I was in favor of the Beckham trade and the decision to draft Saquon Barkley at 2.  I had mixed reactions to last year's picks but Daniel Jones had a promising rookie year.  The Giants came in with a need at tackle, and Gettleman took the most polished offensive lineman in the draft at 4.

Andrew Thomas (4) fell down media draft boards due to over analyzation.  Looking back, we were silly to believe any other of the technically-developing younger tackles would jump him on the Giants draft board.  I had Thomas ranked as my No. 2 tackle (I love the upside of Becton), but this is one where his ultimate draft spot makes me question my ranking.

Thomas was a stalwart on the Georgia offensive line, and generally performed at an extremely high level.  He mostly won the battle with K'Lavon Chaisson, and showed probably the best awareness picking up stunts in this class.  I noted him as a mauler, and highlighted his length as a positive.  He recovers after an initial punch in pass pro and overall shows better technique than the other tackles.  He plays a little high and shows some waist-bending tendencies, but will likely usurp Nate Solder at left tackle and become a solid starter for many years in New Yor- Jersey.

Xavier McKinney's (3) evaluation boils down to one question: does he have the range to play deep?  His 4.65 is a concern, and the film suggests he's more of a strong safety.  The bottom line is that he projects as a quality player who excels most in the box.  The head-scratching part is where they choose to play Jabril Peppers, because he's more comfortable in the box as well.  A sound gameplan can have them both on the field at once in sub-packages, but McKinney's development as a deep safety is a situation to monitor.

As for the rest of their draft, I wasn't particularly high on Matt Peart (2), Darnay Holmes (1), or Shane Lemieux (1).  Peart isn't strong yet but has good athleticism.  I thought he was more of a guard.  There's upside though.  Holmes projects as a slot corner but has slow reaction time, isn't good in off coverage, and gets tossed around because he's so weak.  Lemieux looks powerful against smaller defensive linemen and on double teams but he doesn't have pro traits in terms of his size-power ratio translating.

The Giants got their top-ranked offensive lineman and top-ranked safety.  This is a huge litmus test for their scouting department because it's not very often you get your top pick at two positions.  There will be some chatter about a sneaky Giants team contending in the NFC East, and it will come down to Danny Dimes.  But don't forget that Saquon Barkley has an MVP-caliber year in him.  With their pedestrian defense, it probably won't matter much.

 

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys are getting a ton of praise for following the consensus internet big board to make almost all of their picks.  I used to think teams were so much smarter than media and internet scouts.  However, after studying the draft for the past 15 years, it has become clear that teams that make "weird" picks usually end up being wrong and teams that simply take the consensus higher rated players usually end up doing better.

CeeDee Lamb (5) was ranked 5th overall on my board.  I like Jerry Jeudy, and I see Ruggs' potential, but Lamb is a dog.  He's the quintessential WR1 and probably the best run-after-catch receiver I've ever scouted.  Lamb isn't a freak athlete, but neither is Michael Thomas and neither is DeAndre Hopkins.  The Cowboys needed a slot receiver and lucked out in a big way.  Lamb will relegate Amari Cooper to a WR2 in the near future.

Trevon Diggs (3) is an interesting prospect.  He's the brother of Stefon and a gifted football player in the general sense, having actually earned snaps at wide receiver and punt returner at Alabama.  He surely graded out well as a college corner, but the translatable traits don't pop out as positive on film.  There's an awkward mistimed jump to play the ball, struggling to stay in-phase along the boundary, and an overall theme of probably being more comfortable facing forward than backward.  He plays high and I envision him getting beat a lot early in press, but there's upside there and he'll develop nicely in a zone-heavy scheme.

I wasn't huge on Neville Gallimore (2) (notes read: jag-ish, jolted back too much, spin gets home but that doesn't translate), but based on everyone else's board it's a good value at 82.  I also think Bradlee Anae's (1) ultimate draft slot is telling in a bad way.  His sacks don't translate in terms of athletic traits or technique, and he's not big enough for strength to be his best skill.

I did, however, love the Reggie Robinson (3) pick.  He showed out against Michigan State and Oklahoma State with a "sick" pick (goes back to YouTube), great feet, "sticking to the MSU receiver's hip," and "nice play vs the run."  The Michigan State quarterback stopped looking at him after some great breaks on the ball.  It wouldn't surprise me if he ended up being better than Diggs.  Finally, Tyler Biadasz (3) is a badass.  Injuries made him fall, but I liked him better than Cushenberry.  Just a tough Wisconsin center.

The Cowboys killed it, and they needed to.  Cheap young players on rookie contracts will be all they'll be able to afford after they extend Dak Prescott.

 

Washington Redskins

I was not a big Dwayne Haskins fan last year, so I would have strongly considered a quarterback at 2.  In the end, the deciding factor probably had little to do with Haskins and a lot to do with the absolute monster they chose instead.

Here's some hard-hitting in-depth analysis: Chase Young (5) is going to be good.  He doesn't play with the power of some other elite edge rushers, but his twitchiness is just absurd.  Play recognition, hands, inside moves, ability to run the arc, ability to anchor against the run - he has the makings of a hall-of-famer.  The most underrated trait that can be evaluated on college film is balance.  Chase Young has other-worldly balance for his size.  Rumor has it the Wisconsin coaches burned their film against Ohio State.  To say Young wrecked that game would be an understatement.  You know how Derrick Henry was just largely responsible for a deep playoff run?  Chase Young is the Derrick Henry of defensive ends and will do the same for the Redskins in 2025.

In the third round, the Skins took offensive playmaker Antonio Gibson (3) of Memphis.  Gibson played mostly slot receiver for the Tigers and wasn't exactly comfortable running routes.  He still managed to score 14 touchdowns on just 77 career touches, including an absurd touchdown run versus SMU (gif below).  He's a little tight and struggled against better competition like Penn State, but the SMU tape shows off his 4.39 speed and playmaking ability.  I was surprised how seamlessly Tony Pollard made the transition to running back last year.  I don't know if Gibson has that in him, but as a gadget guy and specials contributor early it's worth it to see if you can develop him.

Other picks included Saahdiq Charles (2) who has character issues but pretty good film, and Antonio Gandy-Golden (3), who was a steal at 142 for his size/production mix.  He'll be a surprise contributor this year on the fantasy scene.

The Redskins can thank Daniel Jones for beating them in overtime last year, as that loss locked up the second overall pick.  They'll go through the motions with Dwayne Haskins, but ultimately Ron Rivera will get his own young quarterback to develop during Chase Young's prime.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more divisions in the coming days.

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We are now more than a third of the way into the fantasy football season and a seemingly clearer picture is available across the landscape. After a pandemic-shortened offseason and lack of preseason exposure, there were plenty of worries headed into the first month specifically. Thus far, one of the most prevalent topics with regards... Read More


Fantasy Football Warning Signals for Week 7

The warning signals get brighter by the week since we have more data to work from. The larger the sample size the easier it is for us to connect the dots from the latest trends. Football is a game of small samples and many variables, making it one of the hardest sports to predict. How... Read More


How to Value Clyde Edwards-Helaire with Le'Veon Bell in KC

Clyde Edwards-Helaire or Jonathan Taylor? Coming into the season this was the biggest question for fantasy GMs, both dynasty managers who were thinking long-term and redraft managers who wanted to know who would be better for this season. There were many different theories and believe me when I say, both sides thought they were 100%... Read More


NextGen Stats - Quarterback Breakdowns and Takeaways

It's been a month since the last time we took a look at our beloved quarterbacks. Numbers are numbers, and numbers don't lie. You can twist them, but looking at them objectively, numbers say that no matter what, rushing the ball is almost always a worse option than passing it in today's game. That's why... Read More


Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers - Week 7

Whether due to their own play, the play of others, or injuries, players' stock increases and decreases on a weekly basis. Perhaps more than any other, the NFL is a league that experiences ups and downs at a rapid pace. With only 16 games, there’s little room for error and seemingly endless opportunities for improvement.... Read More


Coaching Matters: Offenses That Will Improve From Week 6

This series continues into its sixth week of where I dive into offensive areas that will improve or decline based on coaching in order to glean insight as to fantasy football value. In Week 6, we saw performances such as Ryan Tannehill throwing for 364 passing yards, the Houston Texans running backs combining for 66 rushing yards, and the New... Read More


Tape Tells All: D'Andre Swift's Week 6 Performance

Welcome to another edition of Tape Tells All. I've been thinking of rebranding as just TAPE. All-Caps like that. Probably wouldn't be a good idea for SEO purposes, right? Anyways, this week we'll be discussing Detroit Lions rookie running back D'Andre Swift. Swift set a lot of career highs this week, with bests in carries... Read More


Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups & Adds

Week 6 was like the 2020 of fantasy football weeks. All those great matchups meant nothing, those studs let you down, and your bench likely went crazy. The good news is that we didn't have any season-ending injuries to running backs or games canceled due to COVID, so in retrospect maybe we shouldn't complain. The... Read More


FAB Bidding - Week 7 Waiver Wire Targets

Whether it's injuries, bye-week blues, or simply poor performance, we've got the waiver-wire cure...but it just might cost you! Alongside our famous waiver wire pickups list and our weekly waiver wire columns by position, this column focuses on suggested waiver wire bidding percentages for fantasy football owners in leagues using a Free Agent Budget (FAB). In... Read More


Waiver Wire Express - Week 7 Lightning Round

Week 6 was relatively healthy and had no coronavirus delays, so let's just take a moment to bask in that. That said, we still saw Miles Sanders (knee) and Zach Ertz (ankle) go down, while Mark Ingram (ankle) has a bye to get healthy. Week 7 byes are Baltimore, Indianapolis, Miami, and Minnesota. Let's get... Read More


Running Back Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 7

Fantasy GMs are to be commended for rising to the unique challenges that have unfolded during this regular season. Injuries to critical players is an unwelcome reality that occurs every year. This is also the case for backs that were expected to operate as RB1s, but have been relegated to committees. However, this season has... Read More


Wide Receiver Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 7

Six weeks of NFL football are behind us, aside from a pair of Monday games, including a late afternoon game between the Bills and the Chiefs. In terms of wide receiver production this week, we didn't have the huge breakouts like we had in Week 5. Chase Claypool didn't score four touchdowns. In fact, only... Read More


More Recent Articles

 

Dissecting Contact Quality In Search Of Fantasy Bargains

Of the 1,015 hitters sampled(1) between 2015 and 2019, there were only 14 instances of hitters making more productive contact against pitches outside of the strike zone than against pitches inside of the strike zone based on xwOBAcon. Based on the same sample, the average hitter was a whopping .116 points better against pitches inside... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 23rd, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 23rd, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Lineup Order Risers and Fallers: AL West 2020 Review

It’s the offseason and there are about to be a bunch of moving parts. This allows for speculation in terms of players gaining or losing playing time, moving up or down a batting order and much more. The idea here is to highlight some lineup situations for each team and some potential winners or losers... Read More


2021 1st & 2nd Year Players with James Anderson - Benched with Bubba (Episode 317)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by James Anderson (@RealJRAnderson) on episode 317. The guys will go over 30+ first and second-year players. They will discuss their current ADP's in the 2 Early Mocks, what to expect of the players in 2021, and much more. They also go over some listener questions, compare Juan Soto to Mike... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 21st, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 21st, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 20th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 20th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Bubba and Bat Flip 54: 2 Early Mocks APD Player Debates - Benched with Bubba (Episode 316)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by Bat Flip Crazy (@BatFlipCrazy) to take a deeper look at the 2 Early Mocks ADP. They go over some of the positions and look at players with similar ADPs and debate. Going around the diamond discussing some players people are high on and some they are down on with a... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 18th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 18th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 17th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 17th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


2021 Early Mock ADP Values & Reaches: WPC+ Videocast

Pierre Camus and Nicklaus Gaut prepare for the 2021 fantasy baseball season with a look at early mock draft results from the RotoBaller Expert mock. Like and subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest podcasts and catch us on iTunes and BlogTalkRadio as well! Be sure to also tune into RotoBaller... Read More


Statcast Season Review: 2020 Barrel Leaders (Hitters)

The 2020 MLB season will always be one for the record books, even if everything that took place will have multiple asterisks attached to it. Evaluating Statcast numbers is a nice way to find hot and cold hitters, as well as underachievers and overachievers. Now that the regular season is over, let's reflect on the... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 16th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 16th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 15th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 15th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 14th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 14th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Bubba and Bat Flip 53: 2 Early Mocks APD Trends & More - Benched with Bubba (Episode 315)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by Bat Flip Crazy (@BatFlipCrazy) to take a deeper look at the 2 Early Mocks ADP. They dig into trends, some interesting risers/fallers, and much more. They also go over some listener questions at the end to keep the Fantasy Baseball information coming even in the offseason. Be sure to subscribe... Read More