The 2020 NFL Draft will always be remembered for what it was – a three day period of sports entertainment in a period of time when we sorely needed it. But the 2020 NFL Draft class could end up being remembered as one of the best we’ve seen in a long time.
In every round, it felt like teams that were at the bottom of the league last season improved, and the rich got richer, with contenders finding pieces to help them stay at the top. It’s rare that we leave a draft and think so highly of so many teams’ drafts.
The first couple rounds are easy though, you’re supposed to hit on those picks. Its rounds four through seven where the championship teams are made, and the contenders come out to play.
Each round featured some great players who will contribute big time to team success, and in this article I’ll examine one ‘sleeper’ pick in each round who can do that.
Round 1, Pick 30: Noah Igbinoghene, Miami Dolphins
Igbinoghene was not expected to go in the first round, but the Dolphins made the former Auburn Tiger a day one selection with the 30th pick. He’s a fantastic man coverage corner, who’s also a great tackler against the run. He has off the charts athleticism, and should fit in well behind Xavien Howard and Byron Jones. Jones and Igbinoghene might be the most athletic defensive back duo in the entire league. My knock on him is that he doesn’t intercept a lot of passes, but he’ll have plenty of opportunities for that with teams throwing at him instead of Howard or Jones. This Dolphins focused a lot on their defense this offseason, and this pick can help turn their secondary into a huge strength.
Round 2, Pick 46: KJ Hamler, Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos selected Jerry Jeudy in the first round, which must’ve made Drew Lock do cart-wheels in his living room. I don’t know what he was doing after the KJ Hamler pick, but the Broncos doubling down on talented receivers have to have made him very happy. Hamler didn’t get as much coverage as he should’ve, with this being such a talented receiver class, but he’s the perfect receiver for this offense. He has incredible speed and runs super crisp routes, and he did nothing but make plays during his time at Happy Valley. With defenses already keyed in on Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy and Noah Fant, Hamler should have plenty of chances to make big plays. I can see him having a big rookie season, even likening it to the rookie season Calvin Ridley had in 2018.
Round 3, Pick 80: Lynn Bowden Jr., Las Vegas Raiders
Lynn Bowden Jr. was one of my favorite players coming into this draft, and I definitely didn’t expect him to go as early as he did. I’m glad he did though, because I think he went to the perfect team. Jon Gruden will let Bowden Jr. do exactly what he did throughout his career at Kentucky – make plays. Whether it’s at wide receiver, running back or quarterback, Bowden Jr. will add a whole other layer to the Raiders offense. They’ll be dynamic and explosive, especially with the addition of Henry Ruggs III in the first round. Bowden Jr. just puts them even farther over the top. The AFC West will be fun to watch this year, especially with this Vegas squad.
Round 4, Pick 108: Saahdiq Charles, Washington Redskins
Saahdiq Charles could’ve been a much earlier pick if it wasn’t for some character concerns, but he went to the perfect situation in Ron Rivera’s Redskins. Charles can develop into a suitable replacement for Trent Williams, and Rivera should be able to straighten him out. The Redskins haven’t exactly been a model for locker room culture over the years, but I’m confident their new regime will help. Charles has enough talent that he could develop into a franchise tackle, and in the fourth round, that’s a steal.
Round 5, Pick 152: Kenny Robinson, Carolina Panthers
Kenny Robinson was the only XFL player to get drafted, and he probably will be for a long time, with the league folding. Robinson chose to go to the league instead of continuing his college career at West Virginia, and I think it will help him tremendously. Robinson and Panthers second-rounder Jeremy Chinn could develop into a dangerous, young safety tandem for the Carolina based franchise. Robinson was a standout for the St. Louis Battlehawks, and I think his XFL experience will help him immensely. He could become a great play-maker for Matt Rhule’s squad.
Round 6, Pick 210: Prince Tega Wanogho, Philadelphia Eagles
Tega Wanogho has one of the best stories in the whole draft, coming to America from Nigeria in search of a professional basketball career. He ended up playing football, loving it, and here we are. Now that’s a super short version of his amazing story, but I think Tega Wanogho has a chance to have a long, prosperous football career. He went to a team in the Eagles that’s great at developing offensive line talent, and he won’t be expected to do too much in his first couple years. Learning behind Jason Peters will help him immensely, as he’s been one of the best tackles in the league over his career. With Andre Dillard last season and Tega Wanogho this year, the Eagles might have their tackles for the next decade.
Round 7, Pick 255: Tae Crowder, New York Giants
Mr. Irrelevant isn’t always the most successful pick, but this could be the one. Tae Crowder is a former running back and wide receiver turned linebacker, so he’s wildly athletic for his position. He’s shown good instincts, playing well against the pass and the run while at Georgia. It was reported that up to 10-15 teams were going to offer him a contract as an un-drafted free agent, so the Giants drafting him might have actually been something he didn’t want. As it stands, the Giants got a much sought after player in the seventh round with their last pick of the draft, and he has potential to develop into a worthy contributor.