10 biggest surprises from Day 2 of the 2020 NFL Draft
The 2020 NFL Draft has been unique in many ways, and Day 2 was filled with players who were projected first-round picks. This led to some surprising moves, and here are the 10 biggest.
10. Patriots take Kyle Dugger
After trading out of the first round, New England owned the 37th overall selection, and decided to bolster their defense with the talented safety out of Lenoir-Rhyne. Dugger is a tailor-made Bill Belichick selection, but it was interesting to see him taken so high; even after an impressive Combine, Dugger was projected to be a late second-round pick.
He has excellent size and strength, but is already 24 years old, played at the FCS level and will need time to adjust to the speed on the NFL game and to improve his mental processing. But if Dugger works out, he’ll be dangerous weapon on the back end of the New England defense, and is a good kick returner as well.
9. Jaylon Johnson falls to 50
Johnson was seen by many as a first-round pick and one of the better corners in the class, but he fell all the way to the middle of the second round, where the Chicago Bears picked him up. He will immediately challenge Artie Burns for the CB2 spot opposite Kyle Fuller, and should be able to win that battle, replacing the departed Prince Amukamara.
Johnson is one of the most instinctive players in this class at any position, and his smarts and playmaking should endear him to Bears fans.
8. Rams take Cam Akers
Los Angeles drafted Darrell Henderson in the third round last year, and decided to move on from Todd Gurley this offseason. Instead of bolstering their defense, the Rams attempted to replace Gurley with Florida State’s Akers, a good collegiate player who should be even better in the NFL.
Akers should produce for LA, but drafting a running back at pick No. 52 over players like A.J. Epenesa, Josh Uche and Kristian Fulton is puzzling. Are the Rams one rusher away from being Super Bowl contenders again? We’ll find out.
7. Eagles take Jalen Hurts
Carson Wentz may have dealt with myriad injuries to this point in his career, but there’s no denying he’s a legitimate franchise quarterback. That’s what makes this selection so odd. Do the Eagles really expect Hurts to challenge for the starting quarterback spot? Are they banking on Wentz getting injured again, and wanted a capable backup? Do they want to emulate the New Orleans Saints and how they deploy Taysom Hill?
There were some good receivers and corners still available at 53, but Philly went with a backup passer instead.
6. Kristian Fulton falls to 61
LSU cornerback Kristian Fulton was seen by many as a potential top-20 player, but instead he dropped all the way to the end of the second round. He cheated on a drug test and was suspended for the entire 2017 season, so that may be the reason for his major slide.
But as long as he is past that, and has no injury issues, the Tennessee Titans will end up with a good starter at a great value.
5. Packers take A.J. Dillon
After trading up for Jordan Love in the first round and angering Aaron Rodgers, the Packers needed to get some weapons on Day 2 to smooth things over. Dillon is a throwback 6-foot tall, 247-pound bruiser with elite explosiveness.
He was a very productive between-the-tackles runner at Boston College. The problem is he doesn’t really do much else. He lacks agility and is a non-factor in the passing game. Dillon should be effective in the right role, but he’s still an odd pick for a team that needs receiving targets.
4. Josh Jones falls to 72
Jones was typically considered one of the five or six best tackles in the class, and many even had him pegged as a top-20 selection. But he tumbled all the way into the third round, where the Arizona Cardinals were able to steal him.
Jones has some issues to iron out (his footwork is bad and he can be lazy at times), but overall his film is excellent, and he has all they physical tools needed to be a very good NFL player. He could potentially start day one at right tackle, and that’s great value for a third-round draft pick.
3. Zack Baun falls to 74
In a relatively poor EDGE class, Baun was considered an intriguing player because while he was a productive pass rusher at Wisconsin, his smaller size and athletic traits may fit better at linebacker, a transition that former Badger Joe Schobert successfully made.
Baun was flagged at the NFL Combine for a diluted urine sample, which likely contributed to his fall from a first-round prospect all the way to the third round. The Cleveland Browns initially owned this selection, and had been linked to Baun before the Draft, but decided to move out of the spot, sending 74 and a seventh-rounder the the Saints for 88 and their 2020 third.
New Orleans gets a versatile athlete to strength their defense, and even though they gave up a lot to get him, Baun is still a solid value here.
2. Browns take Jacob Phillips
After addressing safety earlier with LSU’s Grant Delpit, Cleveland needed a linebacker, and added yet another Tiger to their roster in Phillips. This was a surprising selection because Phillips was generally considered a Day 3 prospect, and the Browns angered a good part of their fanbase by taking him over Ohio State Buckeye Malik Harrison, who the rival Baltimore Ravens chose to draft with the very next pick.
Appalachian State’s Akeem Davis-Gaither was also passed on by Cleveland, and he ended up with another AFC North rival, the Cincinnati Bengals, with the 107th pick. Only time will tell if Andrew Berry and company chose the right LB.
1. Raiders take Tanner Muse
Muse was typically considered a later-round player, but the Raiders made him the 100th overall selection. He’s a very interesting prospect as he does a lot of things well, but may not have a true home in the NFL as far as a primary position.
He’s 6-foot-2 and 227 pounds, and ran a 4.41 40-yard dash at the Combine. With linebacker size and safety speed, he resembles former teammate Isaiah Simmons in a few ways, but is not on the same level. It will be interesting to see how the Raiders decide to deploy him.