While some teams benefited immensely from the 2020 NFL Draft, other organizations made questionable decisions with their limited selections. This article runs through 11 of the most egregious instances in the draft where teams took a prospect too early or selected an inferior talent when better players remained available.
Now, let’s see which teams started 2020 on the wrong foot.
11. Seattle Seahawks- Jordyn Brooks, LB Texas Tech (27th Overall)
Pete Carroll and John Schneider don’t deserve the benefit of the doubt when it comes to drafting players in the first round. Seattle’s recent first round debacles include James Carpenter, L.J. Collier, Germain Ifedi, Bruce Irvin, and Rashaad Penny. The team hasn’t drafted a player in the first round who remained with the organization for more than four years since 2010.
Brooks becomes the latest in a long line of questionable and surprising first round selections for Seattle. The Seahawks do need a replacement for Mychal Kendricks and will need a replacement for K.J. Wright after this coming season, but the Seahawks passed on better prospects to take a linebacker who struggles in pass coverage.
10. Atlanta Falcons- A.J. Terrell, CB Clemson (16th Overall)
While Clemson’s star cornerback deserved a first round selection, he came off of the board about ten picks too high. In this case, the Falcons wanted a cornerback and reached for the best available player at the position. However, Terrell should’ve gone closer to Jeff Gladney at the bottom of the first round. Also, Atlanta could’ve still picked a starting cornerback like Trevon Diggs or Kristian Fulton in the second round.
9. Denver Broncos- Michael Ojemudia, CB Iowa (77th Overall)
With A.J. Bouye joining the team and Bryce Callahan returning from injury, the Broncos needed a third cornerback. However, the team overlooked prospects like Cameron Dantzler, Lucas Niang, Matt Peart, and Troy Pride Jr. to get Ojemudia. It feels like Denver could’ve gotten more for their investment at this spot.
8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Ke’Shawn Vaughn, RB Vanderbilt (76th Overall)
The Buccaneers found a running back they trust in pass protection, but Vaughn is still a less talented runner than Ronald Jones. If the team just wanted a running back for pass protection, they could’ve gotten one after the third round. Instead, Tampa Bay passed over more talented runners like Joshua Kelly and Zack Moss to take Vaughn.
7. Las Vegas Raiders- Tanner Muse, LB/S Clemson (100th Overall)
Muse made an underrated impact on Clemson’s defense the past several seasons. His game developed well during his time with the Tigers, and Muse should make an immediate impact on special teams. However, he’s more limited than fellow Clemson safety, K’Von Wallace, who went in the fourth round with the 127th overall pick. Muse going in the third round came as a surprise because he doesn’t project as a rotational defensive player until at least his third season.
6. Green Bay Packers- Jordan Love, QB Utah St. (26th Overall)
Quarterbacks rise into the first round every year, and Love happened to be the lucky man this time. However, the Packers traded up to get Love while Aaron Rodgers is still under contract for four more years. Not only is Love not worth a first round pick, he doesn’t project out well as a starting quarterback. The Packers made a terrible move and alienated their star quarterback.
5. Seattle Seahawks- DeeJay Dallas, RB Miami (144th Overall)
Seattle suffered multiple injuries at the running back position late last season. Chris Carson fractured his hip but should be ready for Week 1. On the other hand, Rashaad Penny could miss half of the season as he recovers from a torn ACL. Still, Dallas adds very little to a Seattle backfield that already features Carson and Travis Homer. If Seattle hadn’t reached on Penny in the first place, this wouldn’t be an issue now.
4. Minnesota Vikings- D.J. Wonnum, DE South Carolina (117th Overall)
After losing Everson Griffin in free agency, the Vikings needed a defensive end. However, the team reached for a low floor/low ceiling prospect in Wonnum. A backup/project prospect, Minnesota could’ve gotten a player of Wonnum’s caliber a round later. Instead, the team chose a player who might not even break into Minnesota’s weakening defensive rotation.
3. Seattle Seahawks- Darrell Taylor, DE Tennessee (48th Overall)
The Seahawks tend to outsmart themselves in the draft’s early rounds. With Jadeveon Clowney’s return not imminent, Seattle did need a defensive end. However, the team traded up to get Taylor one pick after the Atlanta Falcons took Marlon Davidson. Perhaps the Seahawks panicked and wanted to make sure they got the defensive lineman they wanted, but trading up for Taylor looked foolish.
Seattle overlooked better defensive end prospects like Iowa’s A.J. Epenesa and Notre Dame’s Julian Okwara. Pete Carroll’s team also passed over other highly ranked prospects like Raekwon Davis, Trevon Diggs, J.K. Dobbins, Kristian Fulton, Van Jefferson, and Jaylon Johnson.
2. Miami Dolphins- Austin Jackson, OT USC (18th Overall)
Miami wanted a left tackle capable of protecting Tua Tagovailoa, but the team reached for Jackson. The big USC product possesses most of the desired physical traits for a left tackle, but he lacks the crucial polish needed for a Day 1 starter.
Frankly, Jackson could’ve fallen to the second round, and better players remained on the board at 18th overall, including K’Lavon Chaisson, Justin Jefferson, Xavier McKinney, Kenneth Murray, and D’Andre Swift. The Dolphins passed over the draft’s top linebacker, running back, and safety to take a tackle that ranked somewhere between fifth and eighth on most big boards.
1. Las Vegas Raiders- Damon Arnette, CB Ohio St. (19th Overall)
Most analysts believed Arnette belonged somewhere between the late second and mid-third rounds. Instead, the Raiders took him with the 19th overall pick. The team passed on superior cornerback prospects like Trevon Diggs and Jeff Gladney and overlooked other potential upgrades like Ross Blacklock and Cesar Ruiz.