The National Football League successfully completed the first night of its first all virtual draft.
The presentation overall was pretty solid. It was also cool to get to see the plush in-home setups that some of the coaches and GMs around the league have. The real winners of this draft night were frankly the fans. For the first time in months, fans were able to watch some sort of live sporting event; while it wasn’t actual action, it was the next best thing.
But let’s also get into some of the other winners and losers; the franchises who earned some new rookies at the virtual draft.
Here’s who really came out on top and who didn’t.
The Dolphins got their guy. At the beginning of the season, the Dolphins looked like they were in full-on tank mode. But when they started piecing things together at the end of the season and winning games, it looked like their plan to get the number one overall pick and thereby draft Tua Tagovailoa was out the window. Fast forward Dolphins get the fifth pick and get Tua. Now the Dolphins have the chance to redshirt Tua in a way and get another top ten pick next year. Looking ahead, he can sit behind Ryan Fitzpatrick— who hopefully performs some Fitz magic– and learns a thing or two before he inherits the team. It was a great night if you’re a Fins fan.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I might be a prisoner of the moment, but I think Tampa Bay is having a phenomenal offseason. They landed Tom Brady and his former tight end Rob Gronkowski. Now the Bucs are littered with weapons in Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, OJ Howard, so that offense will sure be fun. In the span of a month, Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht has secured Brady, convinced Rob Gronkowski to come out of retirement and now added one of the most pro-ready prospects in the draft. Protecting Brady was paramount, and selecting the 320 pound, 6’5″ offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs goes a long way towards shoring up the offensive line. The Bucs have a two-year window to win with Brady and have gone all in. Admirable.
For what seems like a decade now, the running back position has trended down in terms of value. As recently as 2014, there were no running backs selected in the first round. Things briefly changed as Ezekiel Elliott and Saquon Barkley were top-three picks, but those were the exceptions to the rule. Thursday night saw zero running backs drafted until the very last pick, LSU‘s Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Then you factor in Todd Gurley, who was an All-Pro in 2018, was cut this past offseason, and you realize running backs definitely lost.
History repeats itself, and that’s just how it goes, poor 36-years-old Aaron Rodgers just wants the Green Bay Packers to draft him some help. Instead, the Packers went out and drafted his backup and future successor, Utah State QB Jordan Love, with the No. 26 pick. Just like the Packers did when they drafted him while Brett Favre was at the helm. This draft is still very deep at wide receiver, but the fact that they feel the need to take an insurance policy out on their QB now– who’s broken his collarbone and has a plummeting passer rating– makes me think they might not have high hopes for the 2020 season.