NFL Draft Full First Round Grades


Joe Robbins

Offensive lineman Tristan Wirfs goes through his NFL draft combine workout. Wirfs was selected 13th overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Logan Potts, Sports/News Editor

This year’s NFL is the strangest one of all time as the entire draft is done completely virtual. This draft is also going to be one of the most watched of all time as sports fans have been starved for live action. As one of those starved sports fans, I sat down and watched the entire first round, not missing a pick, for the first time ever and I was not disappointed. This first round followed suit as being one of the strangest in recent memory, as the top 10 was very predictable, and there weren’t a lot of trades, but as the draft went on things got more questionable and unpredictable. Here are my grades for every first round pick and why I have that grade for the specific pick. Keep in mind that I am not grading the players, I am grading the overall pick based on the player, where they were projected to go, where they actually went, and the team needs.  


  1. Cincinnati Bengals- Joe Burrow, QB, LSU, Grade: B+

This was the easiest pick to predict since the Cleveland Browns selected Myles Garrett first overall in 2017. Burrow put together one of the best college football seasons of all time at LSU last fall, winning the Heisman Trophy and a National Championship. Everybody knew the Bengals were going to pick Burrow, and they did the right thing by not trading down. I don’t have this as an ‘A’ pick because although I think this was the right pick, Burrow is not in my top 5 for overall prospects.


  1. Washington Redskins- Chase Young, DE, Ohio State, Grade: A+

Chase Young is the best prospect in this year’s draft. He set an Ohio State record with 16.5 sacks and is one of two Ohio State players to record two double digit sack seasons. He is a slam dunk prospect who Ron Rivera will mold into one of the best defensive ends in the NFL. Easy A+ grade.


  1. Detroit Lions- Leff Okuda, CB, Ohio State, Grade: A

Okudah is one of the most well rounded players in the draft as he plays very well in man-man coverage with speedy, physical play, but also plays well dropping back in a zone with top notch athleticism and smarts. There were serious talks about the Lions looking to trade down, but they decided to stay put and pick who most people thought they would. The Lions now fill a need with a young player on a rookie contract after trading away Darius Slay.


  1. New York Giants- Andrew Thomas, OL, Georgia, Grade: C+

The Giants had so many options with this pick, including trading down, and decided to go with Thomas. He projects as a very good player, but he was not the highest ranked offensive lineman. I think they needed a playmaker on the defensive side of the ball (Isaiah Simmons), but offensive line was also a spot that needed to be filled. If Thomas was their guy all along, that’s fine because he’s a great prospect but the Giants should’ve traded down a few spots, loaded up on a few more assets, then drafted Thomas.


  1. Miami Dolphins- Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama, Grade: A

Tua Tagovailoa is the most talented quarterback in this year’s draft. The only problem with him is his injury history. His latest injury, a hip injury, is said to be one of the most unpredictable for a football player. He should sit behind Ryan Fitzpatrick for a year, build up his health and learn the playbook, and be the starter in 2021. We all saw what happened after Patrick Mahomes sat out a season. 


  1. Los Angeles Chargers- Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon, Grade: B

Herbert is the smartest and most pro ready quarterback in the draft. He did everything right leading up to the draft with his Senior Bowl performance and his combine performance. The only problem I have with this pick is that the Chargers feel fully comfortable with Tyrod Taylor as their starter for the 2020 season. So why not trade down and pick Jordan Love who has more upside and would benefit more from being a backup for a year before taking over the reigns?


  1. Carolina Panthers- Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn, Grade: A

This is who most mock drafts had the Panthers selecting and they do a great job by selecting the best defensive tackle in the draft. Brown is a physical specimen who not only causes major disruptions, but also produces at a very high level for a DT. Overall great pick by the Panthers by getting a guy who will have an immediate impact as the leader of the Panthers defensive line for new head coach Matt Rhule. 


  1. Arizona Cardinals- Isaiah Simmons, LB/S, Clemson, Grade: A+

The guy who I thought the Giants should’ve taken finally goes at pick 8 to the Cardinals. This was the guy the Cardinals wanted and they got him without having to trade up. Simmons is an athletic freak and he can play anywhere on defense. He ran a 4.39 40 yard dash at the combine, easily the best time for a linebacker, and he has received unlimited praise from former head coach Dabo Swinney for his work ethic. With the right coaching, Simmons could be the most impactful player in this draft.


  1. Jacksonville Jaguars- CJ Henderson, CB, Florida, Grade: C

Don’t get me wrong, I like Henderson a lot for his speed, agility and overall athleticism, but he was a guy most people thought should’ve gone between picks 15-20. The Jaguars desperately need wide receiver help and the top three receivers (Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, and Henry Ruggs) were all available.


  1. Cleveland Browns- Jedrick Wills, OL, Alabama, Grade: A

Everybody expected the Browns to go O line with this pick and they got one of the top 2 with Wills. Wills projects as a left tackle and the Browns needed a stud tackle to protect former number one overall pick Baker Mayfield.


  1. New York Jets- Mekhi Becton, OL, Louisville, Grade: C-

Becton was a top 5 OL prospect, but arguably the best lineman in this draft was still available (Tristan Wirfs). Becton did have an impressive combine as he wowed scouts with a 5.10 40 yard dash as a 363 LB offensive lineman. The Jets also desperately needed a go to wide receiver and the top 3 were still available.


  1. Las Vegas- Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama, Grade: B

The Raiders were going to select a wide receiver here, the only question was who and they took the speedy Ruggs. Ruggs flew up draft boards with a 4.27 40 yard dash and he is the first receiver of the board even though most experts thought he would be the third or second wide receiver taken.


  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Tristan Wirfs, OL, Iowa, Grade: A+

Wirfs took an unexpected tumble down the draft and Buccaneers wasted no time, trading up with the 49ers to get my favorite offensive lineman in the draft to protect Tom Brady. Wirfs can play both inside and outside on the line and the Buccaneers got an absolute steal at pick 13.


  1. San Francisco 49ers- Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina, Grade: F

The 49ers did a good job by trading down a spot, as they didn’t need Wirfs, but they selected a defensive lineman, another position they don’t need. Kinlaw was my number 2 defensive tackle, but the 49ers already have a stacked defense and needed a wide receiver like Jeudy or Lamb to replace Emmanuel Sanders.


  1. Denver Broncos- Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama, Grade: A

Jeudy’s slide finally ends as the Broncos select Lamb to add another offensive weapon along with Courtland Sutton, Melvin Gordon and Philip Lindsay for second year franchise QB Drew Lock. Jeudy is the most polished route runner in the draft and put together two extremely productive seasons at Alabama.


  1. Atlanta Falcons- AJ Terrell, CB, Clemson, Grade: B

Terrell is a physical cornerback who was a projected first round pick and he comes off the board as the third cornerback selected. Most people have LSU product Kristian Fulton ahead of Terrell but taking a cornerback here was the best choice for a Falcons defense that desperately needed secondary help.


  1. Dallas Cowboys- CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma, Grade: A

Lamb’s fall was finally halted as Jerry Jones could not pass up on arguably the best wide receiver in this draft class to add a weapon for Dak Prescott and new head coach Mike McCarthy. Lamb is an exceptional receiver with the ball in his hands and he has the best hands in the draft.


  1. Dolphins- Austin Jackson, OL, USC, Grade: D+

The Dolphins made a move to protect Tua Tagovailoa, their 5th overall selection, but Jackson was a reach. He had a second round grade from every expert, and there were higher ranked offensive lineman available. It was a great positional selection, but Josh Jones from Houston would’ve been my pick here.


  1. Los Vegas Raiders- Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State, Grade: F

This was a horrible pick. Alabama safety Xavier McKinney was available and LSU CB Kristian Fulton was available. Arnette is a huge reach as he was a second round talent at best and he has commitment and motivation concerns. Not a great pick for a team that just had to deal with the Antonio Brown circus last season.


  1. Jacksonville Jaguars- K’Lavon Chaisson, LB, LSU, Grade: B

Chaisson was one of the leaders of LSU’s National Championship winning team and the Jaguars grab him at a reasonable spot as they look to build up their defense with youth. Chaisson didn’t fall and didn’t go too early and he will join last year’s first round pick, edge rusher Josh Allen, on a revamped and young Jaguars defense.


  1. Philadelphia Eagles- Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU, Grade: B+

This was a very unexpected pick, but one that will be very underrated. Reagor is unexpectedly the fourth wide receiver off the board and most experts didn’t have Reagor as a top 5 receiver. However, the Eagles fill a need and grab a player who will fit well as a speedy, elusive receiver who is the most explosive receiver in the draft behind Ruggs. Along with his receiving skills, Reagor was one of the best return men in the NCAA last year.


  1. Minnesota Vikings- Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU, Grade: B+

Jefferson fell down a little bit, but landed in a great situation, joining the Vikings after the trade of Stefon Diggs to the Bills. Jefferson was one of the most productive wide receivers in the country, but a lot of that had to do with the offense he was in.


  1. Los Angeles Chargers- Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma, Grade: A

The Chargers saw linebackers falling and traded back into the first round to select Murray. Murray is a physical linebacker who is also highly regarded for having great character and was one of the most productive linebackers in the country.


  1. New Orleans Saints- Cesar Ruiz, OL, Michigan, Grade: D

Ruiz is a solid prospect who has the tools to become a really good interior lineman, but he is unpolished and I question the need here. The Saints retained Andrus Peat in free agency, and the center spot (Ruiz’s primary position) is occupied by second year center Erik McCoy. One of them will move to a guard spot, but the Saints missed a chance to select a potential Drew Brees successor in Jordan Love who would’ve been a perfect player to sit behind Brees for a year. 


  1. San Francisco 49ers- Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State, Grade: D

Aiyuk is a solid prospect and definitely a first round talent, but the 49ers desperately needed a receiver like CeeDee Lamb and Jerry Jeudy. Instead of picking one of those two at pick 14, they took Javon Kinlaw and had to settle for Aiyuk who is very similar to a receiver they already have (Deebo Samuel) as he is more of a slot receiver who is very elusive with the ball in his hands.


  1. Green Bay Packers- Jordan Love, QB, Utah State, Grade: A

Love has the highest ceiling of any quarterback in this draft. He is very unpolished and is viewed as a project player (similar to how Pat Mahomes was viewed), and he now lands in an ideal situation sitting behind future Hall of Fame QB Aaron Rodgers. Love is very similar to Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen as they are both very physically gifted, but both came into the draft unpolished. Allen has been successful so far, and we’ll see how long it is until Love takes over the Packers offense.


  1. Seattle Seahawks- Jordyn Brooks, LB, Texas Tech, Grade: F

The Seahawks have a reputation for moving out of the first round, and if this was who they wanted, they should’ve traded out. Brooks was highly productive at Texas Tech, but seems to have a very low ceiling. Patrick Queen was available here after an unexpected slide and he should’ve been the pick.


  1. Baltimore Ravens- Patrick Queen, LB, LSU, Grade: A

If you watch his film, Queen just looks like a Raven defender. He flies all over the field, he’s the definition of a disruptive player and I can’t believe he fell to the Ravens. He has a high motor and will be a high impact player right away on one of the best defenses in the NFL.


  1. Tennessee Titans- Isaiah Wilson, OL, Georgia, Grade: C

Wilson was one of the top 2 lineman available at this point and he’s a first round talent, but you have to question the positional need here. The Titans needed secondary help and defensive line help more than they needed an offensive lineman. Players like Kristian Fulton, Xavier McKinney, Jeff Gladney and Ross Blacklock all would’ve been better fits here.


  1. Miami Dolphins- Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn, Grade: F

Igbinoghene was not the best defensive back available here, and cornerback is a position that the Dolphins don’t need after investing a ton of money in Byron Jones in free agency. The Dolphins could’ve used a defensive lineman, another offensive lineman, or a wide receiver. This was an overall horrible pick.


  1. Minnesota Vikings- Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU, Grade: B+

After releasing Xavier Rhodes and losing Trae Waynes in free agency, the Vikings needed a physical, shutdown corner, and they got one in Gladney. He does have some recent injury concerns and is a little bit undersized, but has been a healthy player in the past, and was the best cornerback in the offense heavy Big 12. For the past two years, Gladney was tasked with shutting down star receivers and he notably held CeeDee Lamb to two catches.


  1. Kansas City Chiefs- Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU, Grade: D

Edwards is a high-motor back who enjoyed a lot of success last year in LSU’s pass heavy offense. He is one of the top running backs in this year’s class, but he should not have been the first running back off the board. If the Chiefs were really targeting Edwards-Helaire, they probably would’ve been able to select him with their second round pick and filled a bigger positional need here. Players like Xavier Mckinney, Grant Delpit, Yetur Gross-Matos, and Ross Blacklock all would’ve been better picks here.