To say the least, Day 1 of the 2020 NFL Draft was unusual, but by the time the first round was complete, the results looked a lot like previous drafts with plenty of trades, sliding players, surprising picks and intrigue around where the quarterbacks landed.
Here are my six biggest takeaways from Day 1:
Dolphins get it right
With all the talk in the days leading up to the draft about the Miami Dolphins going in a different direction, they ended up right where they started last fall when all the Tank for Tua chatter began. Obviously, they got comfortable enough with the medical evaluations on Tua Tagovailoa and stuck with their evaluation of the talented-but-fragile Alabama quarterback on the field.
Once they selected Tagovailoa at No. 5 overall, they knew they weren't going to get one of the top four offensive tackles and would need to dip into the second tier. Austin Jackson was my fifth-ranked tackle and probably was taken a little earlier than he should have gone, but the Dolphins had no choice. He'll be their longterm left tackle. He just needs to add functional strength.
The Dolphins went into the draft with three first-round picks, and you kind of knew they had come out of Day 1 with a quarterback and a tackle. They did that, and in my opinion, they addressed those two needs in the proper order. They also picked up an extra fourth by trading down in the first with Green Bay, selecting Auburn CB Noah Igbinoghene at No. 30 overall.
Speaking of Green Bay ...
I had Jordan Love going to the Packers in two of my earlier mock drafts and changed my final one, so it didn't exactly surprise me that he landed in Green Bay. They must be hoping this is the guy who follows the guy (Aaron Rodgers) who followed the guy (Brett Favre), and continues the streak of high-level quarterback play in Green Bay.
They're betting on talent with Love, and their current situation allows them to put him in the oven and not the microwave. Just like with Rodgers when he was drafted, they have plenty of time to get Love ready to play, and I think it's a great fit for him. I don't think the Utah State prospect could have gone to a better place.
He's not going to play next year and after that, we'll see what Rodgers wants to do. I think he'll sit longer than the one year Patrick Mahomes did but not quite as long as the three years Rodgers did.
Lamb falls to Cowboys
At No. 17, you had to wonder what the Dallas Cowboys would do, and who among their top choices would be left. I had them taking Florida CB CJ Henderson at that spot in my final mock draft, but he went in the top 10 to Jacksonville. Then when the two Alabama receivers came off the board -- Henry Ruggs III to the Raiders at No. 12 overall, and Jerry Jeudy to the Broncos at 15 -- it dropped, in my estimation, the draft's best wideout into Dallas' lap. I don't think the Cowboys ever imagined they had a chance at CeeDee Lamb.
And not only did they get the best receiver in the draft, they prevented him from falling even further and potentially going to their top division rival. Four picks later, the Philadelphia Eagles took TCU's Jalen Reagor. It was a two-for-one special. I thought the Cowboys absolutely nailed it there, especially considering the money they're about to pay their quarterback -- you want to make that contract look good, and CeeDee Lamb will help them do that.
Josh Jacobs a big winner
The Raiders taking Ruggs with the 12th overall pick was fascinating because it clearly defined Josh Jacobs as the biggest Day 1 winner of people not involved in this draft. Jacobs ran for 1,150 yards against a lot of traffic in his rookie season last year, and no matter how many balls Ruggs catches in 2020, he's going to pull defenders out of the box and give his running back room. Jacobs had to be pleased with that pick.
Chargers get more athletic
I loved what the Chargers did, especially moving back into the first to take Oklahoma LB Kenneth Murray. It's going to be fun pairing him with Derwin James because of how explosive they are and because they are both big-time, alpha-male leaders. Everybody I talked to about Murray before the draft not only raved about him as a player but as a person. He's the kind of guy you want in your building.
By selecting quarterback Justin Herbert and Murray on Thursday night, the Chargers certainly got more athletic on both sides of the ball. Sixth overall was slightly higher than I had Herbert evaluated, but the decision was pretty much made for them when the Dolphins took Tagovailoa. And when you're picking that high in the draft, you almost have to address the most important position on the field. I know the Chargers think Herbert fits really well into what they want to do offensively, in terms of moving in the pocket and doing some different things with his athleticism. They were very comfortable with him.
BONUS: Vikings upgrade at WR?
The Minnesota Vikings taking LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson with the 22nd overall pick was the best value of the first round. He's perfect for Gary Kubiak's offensive system, and he'll end up catching a zillion balls for Minnesota. He's so dependable, so reliable, and will always be where he's supposed to be. He is going to get open, catches everything, and will be really good in the red zone. I wouldn't be surprised if we look back after next season and say the Vikings upgraded over Stefon Diggs.