Long-time ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper put it best when he wrote that Day 2 is the day when the good teams separate themselves from the bad teams in terms of finding value and early starters.
“It’s also where the bad teams pick prospects based on traits and ceilings, and that’s how they get burned,” he said.
Who got burned? Who made smart picks? Here’s a snapshot of the round:
Three players commonly mocked in the first or second round fell to the third in Notre Dame edge Julian Okwara (No. 67 overall to Detroit), Houston OT Josh Jones (72 to Arizona) and Wisconsin edge/LB Zack Baun (74 to New Orleans).
The Jones selection was particularly surprising, as he was generally seen as the fifth-best OT and a first-round prospect leading up to the draft. Instead, Jones wound up being the eighth OT selected.
Walter Football was one of the few media outlets that predicted the fall. From their scouting report on Jones:
“Multiple team sources say they graded Jones in the third round and think he could be a backup who turns into a starter at right tackle.”
The problem with Baun may have been his size (6-foot-2, 238), as he’s generally seen as too small to play defensive end in a 4-3 but has limited experience as an inside linebacker, the position he’ll likely play for New Orleans, which traded up to get him. Teams were also allegedly concerned about Baun’s injury history.
Teams also may have been concerned with Okwara’s injury history after he suffered a fractured fibula late in the season. He was viewed as a “traits player” with untapped potential, but many still pegged Okwara as a second-rounder.
Four more safeties were drafted in the third round after five were selected in the second round and none were selected in the first.
The safeties include Ashtyn Davis of California (68 to New York Jets), Brandon Jones of Texas (70 to Miami), Julian Blackmon of Utah (85 to Indianapolis) and another Utah safety, Terrell Burgess (No. 104 to Los Angeles). It was a bit of a surprise to see Blackmon go before Burgess, as the former was generally seen as a Round 4 or later pick.
At one point in the lead-up to the draft, Oklahoma’s Neville Gallimore, Missouri’s Jordan Elliott and Texas A&M’s Justin Madubuike were all mocked in the second round, with some predicted to go in the first.
Instead, Madubuike was taken by Baltimore with the No. 71 overall pick, Gallimore went to Dallas with pick No. 82 and Elliott went to Cleveland with pick No. 88. Two more defensive tackles were selected in the third, Ohio State’s DaVon Hamilton (73 to Jacksonville) and Arkansas fast-riser McTelvin Agim (95 to Denver).
Collectively, the group of Day 2 DTs hope to fare better than the Day 2 and Dey 3 tackles who were drafted last season.
The tight end class was considered relatively weak, and that played out as none were drafted in Round 1 and only one, Notre Dame’s Cole Kmet, was selected in the second round.
But four were taken in the third, including Dayton’s Adam Trautman, who was widely viewed as the second-best TE but instead wound being the fifth one to be drafted. New Orleans traded the rest of its draft picks – (nos. 130, 169, 203 and 244) – to Minnesota to move back into the third round to take Trautman with the 105thx pick of the draft, the second-to-last pick of the third.
The other TEs taken in the third round include UCLA’s Devin Asiasi (91 to New England), Cincinnati’s Josiah Deguara (94 to Green Bay) and Virginia Tech’s Dalton Keene (101 to New England). The Deguara pick was considered another big reach, adding to Packers fans’ frustration with Green Bay’s draft. Keene was also seen as a bit of a reach for the second round.
Packers GM Brian Gutekunst called RB AJ Dillon and TE Josiah Deguara: "Two really versatile pieces to our offense." Added that Deguara can line up "everywhere — in line hand, slot, H-back. He’s a matchup piece that can move." https://t.co/OTHieW7xVw
— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) April 25, 2020
Two months ago, most analysts wouldn’t blink if you told them that LSU center Lloyd Cushenberry and Alabama’s Terrell Lewis would go back-to-back in the second round. Instead, the duo fell to the third round, with Cushenberry going to Denver with pick No. 83 overall and Lewis going to the Los Angeles Rams at pick No. 84. Several analysts predicted a potential draft slide for Lewis due to his extensive injury history, but the Cushenberry slide is a bit more curious, as he was only the third center drafted (Michigan’s Cesar Ruiz went to New Orleans with pick No. 24 overall and Temple’s Matt Hennessy went to Atlanta with pick No. 78.)
Jake Rigdon (email@example.com) covers the NFL draft for Fanspeak and the On The Clock, which is the only NFL draft simulator that allows you to customize and use your own big board while giving you control over trades.