2020 NFL Draft: 7 Round + UFA Review

Two parts to this post. Part 1 is a review of Day 3 and the early UDFA signings. Part 2 are general comments from the weekend’s Draft.

Part 1

It is a good reminder for regular readers and a good moment for new ones to explain what is happening in later rounds.

  • Once you get past Round 3 and into Round 4 the talent level starts to drop off precipitously
  • ESPN had a statistic which is worth noting- 65% of NFL rosters are comprised of Round 4+ PLUS UDFA signings
  • This lot is a continuing turnstile, so while many rosters will perpetually contain these names, few will “survive” beyond a few years
  • For our draft analyst, Wonder, he is looking for any signs of potential.. the pros are just much bigger and much faster

I am setting the table for a reason. Our draft analyst does not typically get excited about many of these players, but when he does, it is worth paying attention.

Without further ado, here are the few that drew comment from Wonder.

4.110 CB Darnay Holmes: I like the pick.

7.218 LB Carter Coughlin (pictured above): I kind of like Coughlin in 7th rd… May be a long shot, but worth a try IF he can be a “situational pass rusher.”

UDFA WR Austin Mack: I kind of like Austin Mack as an UDFA.

UDFA RB Javon Leake: I LOVE LEAKE AS AN UDFA !!! I think he can play.

Part 2

There have been 4 draft picks that really excited me in the past ~20 years. I was trying to distill what these guys had in common, and I think it was a combination of special talent, perceived value, and a fit for need. Those 4 players:

2002 1.14 TE Jeremy Shockey

2015 2.33 S Landon Collins

2018 2.34 G Will Hernandez

2020 2.36 S Xavier McKinney

These 4 picks were guys who I thought were fantastic selections for where they were taken and what they would deliver for the franchise. While Hernandez has started all 32 games in his first 2 seasons, frankly his second year has been well below where I was expecting to see him. His run blocking is disappointing. Considering all of the coaching failures at this positional unit, I am (pardon the pun) guardedly hopeful that new OL coach Marc Colombo can help Hernandez reach some of the potential which I saw at the time of the Draft.

Landon Collins was everything I hoped for and more. He became all Pro in 2016 but injuries have slowed him down. We always knew he was limited in coverage skills, and that has held him back from being an elite player. In 2016, he was elite.

I have opined on Jeremy Shockey numerous times over the years. My only filter on this player is that he needed a Bill Parcells coach in the worst way. This elite TE wanted the ball on every play. What does it mean when you are All-Pro in your rookie year and then Pro Bowl in a few more yet do not reach your career potential? It means to me that you underachieved because coaching failed you. Fassel let the rookie flourish in 2002.  2003 was a disaster and the coach was gone. Pope failed to teach Shockey to MISS the other player to protect his body, with the garbage idea that you weren’t playing hard enough if you weren’t playing hurt. Importantly, Coughlin ‘the rules guy’ did not have a different set of rules for this alpha. I am reminded of a great story that Bill Belichick told about Lawrence Taylor.

The greatness of Parcells was that he knew how to get greatness out of his special players. He DID have a different set of rules for these players. It wasn’t to placate them. Parcells was never a “players coach.” It was to make compromises with them and manage them so that they delivered what they could every Sunday. Taylor said of Parcells in hindsight, “that’s my boy.” Parcells had Taylor’s back. Taylor had Parcells’ back. They both supported one another. That’s what the alphas need to reach greatness.

And now we get to McKinney. Was McKinney the best player in the Draft? Certainly not. He was #19 on our Top 50 Board. If the Giants picked him at 1.04 I would be pissed. That would be a colossal waste of value. What gets me excited about McKinney is that the Giants got two Round 1 picks (him and Thomas) for the price of one. Frankly, I believe that getting McKinney in Round 2 made this draft. If we can get one of these late rounders/UDFAs like Holmes, Coughlin, Mack, or Leake to hit, then it will be excellent.

A couple of extra comments on Wonder’s Draft Board et al. He did not have Ross Blacklock, Yetur Gross-Matos, Zach Baun, and AJ Epenesa on his Top 50 despite consensus mocks having these players significantly higher. When the dust settled, NONE ended up being drafted in Round 1 and they were selected at 2.40 , 2.38, 3.74, and 2.54. His #1 Biggest Underrated Player of 2020, WR Chase Claypool, went 2.49 to the Pittsburgh Steelers.


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