By LOGAN KING
Sports Info Solutions (SIS) brings you the second annual edition of The SIS Football Rookie Handbook, with scouting reports and statistical breakdowns on over 280 college football players who are likely to be drafted or signed as rookie free agents in 2020 (a glossary for the below stats can be found here). New features for this year include unique and informative NFL team pages, research deep-dives by the SIS R&D team, and—for the first time ever—the NCAA version of their flagship football statistic, Total Points.
Last night’s broadcast of the first-ever virtual NFL Draft went off seemingly without a hitch, providing fans with a much-needed return to sports. Today we’ll use the Football Rookie Handbook in a recap of the first round, highlighting the most active teams along with the biggest steals and reaches of the round. Additionally, we’ll look ahead to the upcoming rounds by highlighting the top prospects remaining.
Four teams stood out in terms of their activity level in Round 1: the Dolphins, Chargers, 49ers, and Vikings.
The Dolphins entered the night with three first round picks and were able to fill three holes on their roster while gaining additional draft capital in the process (by sending pick 26 to Green Bay in return for pick 30 and a fourth-round pick). Miami gained its presumptive starting quarterback in Tua Tagovailoa with the fifth pick.
Picked at number 18, Austin Jackson fits nicely into Chan Gailey’s zone-heavy offensive scheme and will improve an offensive line group which finished last in Total Points in 2019. Finally at pick 30, the Dolphins added Noah Igbinoghene who fits well into their man-coverage based defense. With Xavien Howard facing league discipline, Igbinoghene could play a significant role in this secondary early on in his career.
The Chargers made waves with their new uniforms earlier this week and continued to do so in the first night of the draft. With the sixth pick, Los Angeles staked its future under center in Justin Herbert. Following this, the Chargers traded back into the first round (sending a second and third-round pick to New England) to add SIS’s top graded Mike linebacker in Kenneth Murray, with the 23rd pick. Murray joins a linebacker group who ranked 24th in Total Points in 2019 and lost their Total Points leader, Thomas Davis Sr., this offseason to the Redskins.
After a static start to round one, the 49ers and Buccaneers swapped picks 13 and 14 to test Zoom’s draft trade feature, opening the floodgates for trades throughout the night. San Francisco used pick 14 to replace DeForest Buckner, who ranked 4th among defensive tackles in Total Points in 2019.
Javon Kinlaw was the second ranked defensive tackle in the class and his rookie contract will come at a steep discount from what Buckner is due in 2020. The 49ers then traded up from pick 31 to 25 to select Brandon Aiyuk, who should see work immediately given the loss of Emmanuel Sanders this offseason.
Through this offseason, Minnesota lost productive players at both receiver and corner; these needs were addressed towards the end of the first round. With the 22nd pick (acquired from Buffalo in the trade for Stefon Diggs), the Vikings drafted Justin Jefferson. Jefferson has the shoes to fill of the 24th-ranked WR in Total Points, and will attempt to do so in an offense that lined up in two-receiver sets (12 and 21 personnel) on 57% of plays in 2019.
After trading with San Francisco back to the 31st pick, Minnesota partially addressed their need at corner with Jeff Gladney. This offseason, the Vikings lost three of their top four corners in terms of Total Points (Trey Waynes, Mackensie Alexander, and Xavier Rhodes). Gladney was SIS’s 4th-ranked corner and has the ability to play both inside and outside.
The biggest steals of the night come at the receiver position. There was only one receiver off the board by the time Denver picked, at number 15. Both Denver and Dallas (pick 17) were able to snag receivers in Jerry Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb who grade as Pro Bowl-level prospects. All other prospects to receive such a grade were off the board by the seventh pick (Chase Young, Jeffrey Okudah, Derrick Brown).
The biggest reach of the night came with Tennessee’s selection of Isaiah Wilson at pick 29. Wilson was ranked 19th out of 19 offensive tackles in the Football Rookie Handbook, projecting to become a backup right tackle by the start of his second season.
Furthermore, though Wilson fits best into a gap running scheme Tennessee ranked third in the league in zone rushing percentage in 2019. While Tennessee needed help at right tackle after the departure of Jack Conklin this offseason, there were several options still available which graded higher than Wilson and better complemented the team’s primarily zone-rushing scheme.
There were several teams which did not make a selection on the draft’s opening night: the Bills, Bears, Texans, Colts, Rams, Patriots, and Steelers. New England entered the night holding pick 23, but chose to trade down and now owns five picks on Day 2 of the draft.
Top Players Remaining
The following is a list of the top-graded players (in no particular order) from the Football Rookie Handbook remaining, entering Day 2. All project to become strong starters by the beginning of their second season.
|Grant Delpit||S||Louisiana State||6.9|
|Laviska Shenault Jr.||WR||Colorado||6.8|
|Antoine Winfield Jr.||S||Minnesota||6.8|
Below is a recap of every pick in Round 1:
|2020 NFL Draft – Round 1|
|1||Bengals||–||Joe Burrow||QB||Louisiana State|
|2||Redskins||–||Chase Young||EDGE||Ohio State|
|3||Lions||–||Jeffrey Okudah||CB||Ohio State|
|12||Raiders||–||Henry Ruggs III||WR||Alabama|
|13||Buccaneers||Colts via 49ers||Tristan Wirfs||OT||Iowa|
|14||49ers||Buccaneers||Javon Kinlaw||DT||South Carolina|
|18||Dolphins||Steelers||Austin Jackson||OT||Southern California|
|19||Raiders||Bears||Damon Arnette||CB||Ohio State|
|20||Jaguars||Rams||K’Lavon Chaisson||EDGE||Louisiana State|
|21||Eagles||–||Jalen Reagor||WR||Texas Christian|
|22||Vikings||Bills||Justin Jefferson||WR||Louisiana State|
|25||49ers||Vikings||Brandon Aiyuk||WR||Arizona State|
|26||Packers||Texans via Dolphins||Jordan Love||QB||Utah State|
|27||Seahawks||–||Jordyn Brooks||MLB||Texas Tech|
|28||Ravens||–||Patrick Queen||WLB||Louisiana State|
|31||Vikings||49ers||Jeff Gladney||CB||Texas Christian|
|32||Chiefs||–||Clyde Edwards-Helaire||RB||Louisiana State|