NFL Draft 2020 Winners and Losers From Round 1, According to the Experts

The first round of the 2020 NFL Draft had the potential to deliver surprises and it lived to expectations, but the shocks did not come where most expected.

The Cincinnati Bengals selected LSU quarterback Joe Burrow as the first overall pick, while the Washington Redskins and the Detroit Lions picked Ohio State duo Chase Young and Jeffrey Okudah, despite rumors both teams may trade their picks.

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was the fifth player off the board, dismissing claims he may fall out of the top-10 altogether and the Green Bay Packers pulled off a surprising move by trading up to select Utah State quarterback Jordan Love.

Here's a round-up of Thursday night's winners and losers


Cincinnati Bengals

All the chatter over the last few months about Joe Burrow not wanting to play for Cincinnati and rumors leading up to the draft the franchise may be fielding calls for the first overall pick proved to be exactly that—chatter and rumors.

The reigning Heisman Trophy winner was Cincinnati's main target since the Bengals finished with the league's worst record last season and became the first quarterback to be drafted at No. 1 by the Bengals since the franchise used the first overall pick on Carson Palmer in 2002. Burrow lit up college football last season and while he will need time to adjust to the NFL, he joins a team that has been savvy enough in free agency to present him with an already competitive roster.

At long last, the future in Cincinnati may be bright.

"It won't be too surprising if 10 years from now Burrow ends up as the defining player of this class," said The Ringer's Danny Kelly.

Joe Burrow, LSU Tigers
Joe Burrow #9, head coach Ed Oregon and Grant Delpit #7 of the LSU Tigers receive the trophy after defeating the Clemson Tigers during the College Football Playoff National Championship held at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 13 in New Orleans, Louisiana. LSU defeated Clemson 42-25 for the national title. Jamie Schwaberow/Getty

Miami Dolphins and Tua Tagovailoa

The hip injury that curtailed Tua Tagovailoa's final season at Alabama threatened to derail his draft even before the coronavirus outbreak prevented teams from carrying out medicals examination to assess his fitness. Concerns over Tagovailoa's condition seemed to grow exponentially in the lead-up to the draft, with the 2018 Heisman Trophy runner-up going from consensus top-five pick to potentially falling out of the top-10 altogether.

Eventually, the Dolphins stuck to their guns and drafted him with the fifth overall pick, betting Tagovailoa's incredible talent will offset worries over his injuries—aside from his hip injury, the former Alabama star has undergone surgery on both ankles. A decade ago, Miami passed up on the chance to bring Drew Brees to Florida because of concerns over his shoulder injury. The Dolphins' loss was New Orleans' gain as Brees turned the Saints into bonafide contenders and won Super Bowl XLIV.

As Around the NFL editor Gregg Rosenthal pointed out, Miami "righted a wrong and may have snapped the post-Dan Marino Dolphins quarterback curse".

Speaking to Newsweek, former NFL Hall of Famer Morten Andersen was also full of praise for the Dolphins.

"The big winner was Miami, they aced their quarterback in Tua, then their tackle in Austin Jackson and the cornerback in Noah Igbinoghene," the seven-time Pro Bowl selection, now an NFL ambassador for, explained.

"They got Tua what he needs, he will be in there for a long time."

Tom Brady

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sent the 14th overall pick and a fourth-round pick to the San Francisco 49ers to snap up Tristan Wirfs. One of the top-rated tackles going into the draft, the former Iowa star has done enough during his collegiate career to be considered a starter in Week 1.

"There aren't many with Wirfs," said ESPN's Bucs reporter Jenna Laine.

"Sustaining blocks and improving in his vertical pass sets will be key for him to excel in coach Bruce Arians' passing attack."

After landing Brady in free agency the Bucs needed to protect him and selecting Wirfs goes a long way towards shoring up the offensive line. In the space of a month, Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht has secured Brady, convinced Rob Gronkowski to come out of retirement and added one of the most pro-ready prospects in the draft. The Bucs have a two-year window to win with Brady and have gone all in.

Denver Broncos and the Dallas Cowboys

In a draft stacked with talent at wide receiver, the Broncos and the Cowboys drafted the best two wideouts available. Denver selected Alabama receiver Jerry Jeudy with the 15th overall pick, with Oklahoma's CeeDee Lamb going to Dallas two picks later.

Broncos general manager John Elway moved to add another offensive weapon to a roster already boasting Courtland Sutton, which should give quarterback Drew Lock all the help he needs to improve in his second year in the league.

For Cowboys fans, meanwhile, the prospect of adding a talent of Lamb's calibre to a roster already containing Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup is mouthwatering.

"The Cowboys could not have projected having the chance to select Lamb with this pick. In most projections, he was gone by No. 17 and the Cowboys' focus was on the defensive side of the ball," said ESPN's Todd Archer.

"But they answered the old question of best player available versus need, and they went with the best player available."


Aaron Rodgers' mood

The Green Bay Packers were crying out for attacking weapons but traded up four spots to select Utah State quarterback Jordan Love, who will be Aaron Rodgers' understudy for the foreseeable future. Rodgers now finds himself in the position Brett Favre was in when the Packers selected Rodgers as his heir apparent in 2005 and Green Bay has effectively started the countdown to the post-Rodgers era.

The Packers may still add attacking options over the next six rounds, but if they don't expect Rodgers to make his feelings very clear.

The Athletic's Matt Schneidman believes drafting Love is "a decision that will be met with immense public scrutiny and ultimately define Brian Gutekunst's tenure as general manager."

Speaking to Newsweek, Andersen added: "I don't think Aaron Rodgers was briefed that Love was going to end up there, which will be a tasty dynamic to follow. I think this spells the end of Aaron Rodgers, simply because he is an old quarterback he's done everything and made the money. The stone cold fact is he will be replaced by this guy for the long haul unless Love really screws it up.

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Lambeau Field on November 10, 2019 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Dylan Buell/Getty

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles desperately needed to add a wide receiver and did so by drafting Jalen Reagor out of Texas Christian University with the 21st overall pick. As Zach Berman of The Athletic pointed out, however, the Eagles' decision to draft Reagor over Justin Jefferson is curious, given the LSU wideout ran a faster 40-yard dash than Reagor at the combine and Philadelphia has emphasised the need to add a speedy receiver—although the latter is believed to be faster than he has showed so far.

The Eagles, however, failed to trade up for CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy or Henry Ruggs III and the fact the former went to NFC East rivals Dallas Cowboys must have stung in Philadelphia.

Big Ten edge rushers

While the SEC broke the record for the number of first round draft picks from the same conference, the Big Ten and specifically its edge rushers endured a difficult day office. Iowa defensive end A.J. Epenesa was spoken of as a potential top-10 pick last season and in most mock drafts, but a disappointing performance at the NFL Combine in February saw him left on the board on Thursday night.

He will be joined on Day Two of the draft by Penn State edge rusher Yetur Gross-Matos and his Wisconsin counterpart Zack Baun, who also slipped out of the first round.

Hopes the Patriots may draft a quarterback

The New England Patriots held the No. 23 pick going into the draft, the joint-highest in the last three drafts and the second-highest since 2012. Any hopes Bill Belichick may trade up to draft a quarterback to replace Tom Brady, however, were quickly extinguished as the Patriots dealt away their pick to the Los Angeles Chargers in exchange for the 37th overall pick and a third-round pick.

New England now has a total of 13 picks, four of which are in the third round. The Patriots need offensive weapons and a draft stacked with quality at wide receiver bodes well for Belichick, a master in finding hidden gems in the later rounds.