The 2020 NFL Draft provided great entertainment for sports fans during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s time for a new set of power rankings. Hopefully the summer can go as planned so we get football in early September. Keep in mind that these are 2020 power rankings projecting for this year, as a couple of teams from conference title games last season are lower than some might expect.
1. Kansas City Chiefs | Last rank: 1
The defending champions were already in very good shape before the draft, retaining most of the crew from last season’s Super Bowl run. The first-round selection of LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire at No. 32 overall is just another addition to the embarrassment of riches at Patrick Mahomes’ disposal, and Edwards-Helaire is a player that Mahomes, head coach Andy Reid, and general manager Brett Veach all wanted on the roster. Among their six draft choices, Kansas City also got linebacker Willie Gay Jr. in the second round to boost the defense.
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers | Last rank: 3 (+1)
I seriously considered putting the Buccaneers at No. 1 ahead of the Chiefs. It’s hard not to like what they’ve done this offseason after signing Tom Brady, as they’ve added future Hall of Fame tight end Rob Gronkowski and then had what looks like an outstanding draft with selections like offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs (filling a need), playmaking safety Antoine Winfield Jr., and a potential fifth-round steal at receiver in Tyler Johnson. Tampa Bay might be discounted because people think “oh it’s the Bucs”, but the offense will be explosive, and the defense is no joke under Todd Bowles.
3. Baltimore Ravens | Last rank: 2 (-1)
While the Ravens drop a spot in the power rankings, it’s also hard not to like the moves they have made over the past several weeks. It just felt like LSU linebacker Patrick Queen would be a perfect fit as a Raven, and they were able to sit at No. 28 and select him in the first round. Then to follow it up, the Ravens were able to get Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins—a considerable value and another fantastic fit for the other side of the ball—at running back toward the end of Round 2. Baltimore added productive players from big schools, and they somehow stole receiver James Proche (No. 201 overall) and safety Geno Stone (No. 219 overall) with their final two selections.
4. San Francisco 49ers | Last rank: 4
Kyle Shanahan is going to speak positively about his players, but he says the team got its No. 1 receiver in the draft in Brandon Aiyuk out of Arizona State, so the team’s receiving corps should be in superb shape for years with Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, and All-Pro tight end George Kittle headlining the group. While stalwart left tackle Joe Staley retired over the weekend, San Francisco was able to immediately fill the on-field gap with stud offensive tackle Trent Williams, who held out all of last season because he did not want to play for the Redskins. General manager John Lynch has the 2019 NFC champions in strong shape.
5. Buffalo Bills | Last rank: 5
The Bills entered the draft without a first-round pick because of the Stefon Diggs trade, but they still came away with one of the better returns from the weekend. Early in the pre-draft process many felt that A.J. Epenesa was a definite first-round pick—regardless, he is the type of player the Bills want, and he should slide right in as a tough contributor for Buffalo’s defense as a second-round pick. But my favorite pick of the draft is one that hopefully won’t see the field, as Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm had no business being available into the fifth round. Unfortunately for Fromm, he might not have a chance to show what he can do anytime soon, but the Bills might have the best overall quarterback room in football. Bills general manager Brandon Beane did not expect the team would draft Fromm, but he said that he was too good to pass up given their grade on him.
6. New England Patriots | Last rank: 6
Perhaps the potentially-shortened training camp and on-field offseason work was a factor in things, but I am perplexed that the Patriots didn’t take Fromm at some point during the draft. That said, New England not selecting Fromm or another quarterback is good news for second-year player Jarrett Stidham, but I think we could see an intriguing attack from Bill Belichick’s squad in 2020. Expect the Pats to run the ball a ton while playing elite defense. Second-round pick Josh Uche and third-round pick Anfernee Jennings feel like they are going to be major contributors in New England.
7. Seattle Seahawks | Last rank: 7
Seattle’s first-round selection of Jordyn Brooks could help the linebacker position remain an area of strength for the franchise for another several years. Overall, the Seahawks did not have a huge noteworthy draft, but they just rotate guys in and have them perform up to the standard the team has expected under Pete Carroll. A concern for the team is that they moved on from center Justin Britt and guard D.J. Fluker, but Russell Wilson has typically been able to mask any continuity issues on the offensive line.
8. Atlanta Falcons | Last rank: 8
The Falcons attempted to move into the top five or top ten to select a prospect like Chase Young or Jeff Okudah, but they did well to land Clemson cornerback A.J. Terrell in the middle of the first round, as the team identified him as a match for Dan Quinn’s defense. And Auburn defensive tackle Marlon Davidson has the mindset to help lift a defense that could use more consistent energy in perhaps the NFL’s toughest division.
— Cody Chaffins (@Cody_Fox5) April 25, 2020
9. New Orleans Saints | Last rank: 9
The Saints had just a few selections during the virtual draft, but they got three players they feel can make an immediate impact for a squad that wants to compete for a title. Cesar Ruiz might have been the biggest surprise in Round 1, but he’ll either be an upgrade as a starter or push current right guard Larry Warford to elevate his game, so it should be a win-win situation that adds more depth and flexibility up front. Former Wisconsin linebacker Zach Baun could have gone much higher than he did at No. 74 overall, and it sounds like Sean Payton has a plan in mind for Dayton’s Adam Trautman at tight end.
10. Los Angeles Rams | Last rank: 10
The Rams were without a first-round pick because of the Jalen Ramsey trade from last season, but I like their draft. Cam Akers, Van Jefferson, Terrell Lewis, and Terrell Burgess all look like potential Year 1 starters (or at least guys that will push for starting roles). Not hitting offensive lineman until late in the seventh round is an indication that Sean McVay and the coaching staff are confident in the group after the improvements made down the stretch in 2019. The Rams could certainly be a few spots lower than this in the power rankings, but people might be sleeping on the NFC champs from just a couple of seasons ago.
11. Tennessee Titans | Last rank: 11
As was the case in the previous power rankings when they were also No. 11, there’s an easy argument for the Titans being squarely in the top ten of the power rankings—Ryan Tannehill could be just as good as he was last season with an offseason locked in as the starter, and I’m as high as anyone on Derrick Henry’s ability to put a team on his shoulders. Isaiah Wilson fills a need a right tackle after the team lost Jack Conklin during free agency, and LSU cornerback Kristian Fulton easily could have been the pick at No. 29 but was gotten at No. 61.
12. Las Vegas Raiders | Last rank: 13 (+1)
Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden are not afraid to take chances and make selections that aren’t always popular with draft analysts, and they pulled off their second consecutive first-round stunner by selecting Ohio State cornerback Damon Arnette with the No. 19 selection—but not before adding speed demon Henry Ruggs III with their first pick of the draft. Las Vegas also picked up versatile runner/receiver Lynn Bowden Jr. and underrated South Carolina receiver Bryan Edwards to further equip the offense, while Clemson’s Tanner Muse and Louisiana Tech’s Amik Robertson will improve the secondary. The Raiders appear to be building something as they move to their new city.
13. Pittsburgh Steelers | Last rank: 14 (+1)
The biggest offseason addition for the Steelers—who already have a solid roster—in 2020 is getting future Hall of Fame quarterback Ben Roethlisberger back after he basically missed all of last season with an elbow injury. Pittsburgh gave Big Ben another weapon to utilize with their first pick, selecting Notre Dame receiver Chase Claypool at No. 49 overall. I am intrigued by the Steelers, as their playing style could be versatile and unpredictable—if healthy, Roethlisberger has no trouble slinging the ball around to a plethora of weapons, but the team also has a top-tier defense that should be able to keep them in nearly every game.
14. Indianapolis Colts | Last rank: 15 (+1)
The Colts arguably improved more than any team aside from the Buccaneers ahead of the draft, and they then added a couple of instant-impact weapons for Philip Rivers to work with in 2020. Michael Pittman Jr. should be a big target that will make plays on the outside for Rivers—there might not have been a better landing spot for Pittman, as Rivers will allow him to use his frame down the field and on the boundary. Jonathan Taylor was a top-ten player in the draft in my opinion, so I think he could eventually be scary behind Indy’s offensive line.
15. Green Bay Packers | Last rank: 12 (-3)
This No. 15 ranking might feel way too low for a team that was within a game of the Super Bowl last season. However, while I think draft grades don’t make much sense, mostly everyone is in agreement that they had the worst draft of any team—and everyone might be way wrong on it, we’ll see. While he might come off as unconcerned or not overly upset with the Jordan Love selection, Aaron Rodgers is almost certainly mad about the franchise’s decision. Rodgers understands better than most the situation, but he’s indicated the he wants to play for at least a few more years, and it simply seems that he has the type of personality to not take kindly to what’s happened. There’s been some smoke of this being a power play by second-year head coach Matt LaFleur, and it’s critical that Green Bay gets off to a good start in 2020 or things could go south quickly.
16. Dallas Cowboys | Last rank: 18 (+2)
Again, draft grades might be a waste of time, but I think the Cowboys might have had the best draft in terms of their first two selections. I don’t think anyone expecting Oklahoma receiver CeeDee Lamb to be sitting there at Dallas’ first pick, and the Cowboys grabbing him might have kept the division rival Eagles getting him a few picks later. The Cowboys then followed it up with Alabama corner Trevon Diggs in the second round, and no one would have blinked if he was the choice in Round 1. There is major upside for Jerry Jones’ team under Super Bowl-winning head coach Mike McCarthy.
17. Minnesota Vikings | Last rank: 17
Minnesota does not move up from the previous power rankings, but they appear to have had an exceptional draft under Rick Spielman and have a case for being several spots higher than this. LSU receiver Justin Jefferson was thought of as someone that would go higher than he did, but the Vikings benefitted from the receivers slipping into the middle of the first round—he’s another guy that should be a natural fit with his new quarterback and offense. Also, Mike Zimmer added a couple of corners in Jeff Gladney and Cameron Dantzler, and they are in a good spot to develop, but the team will likely be relying on them to step in and contribute in 2020. Overall, the Vikings are this low partly because there are a bunch of moving pieces for the squad.
18. Denver Broncos | Last rank: 24 (+6)
The Broncos make by far the biggest jump in the post-draft power rankings, as general manager John Elway has done about everything he can to surround quarterback Drew Lock with the supporting cast to maximize his ability after a promising rookie campaign. Denver is fully expected to be a defensive-minded team under Vic Fangio, but after adding Melvin Gordon, Jerry Jeudy, K.J. Hamler, and Albert Okwuegbunam (Locks’ college teammate) this offseason (not to mention offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur), the offense suddenly has the firepower to win some shootouts moving forward.
19. Philadelphia Eagles | Last rank: 16 (-3)
While I would have traded up for CeeDee Lamb (or at least attempted to) or selected Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray with the way the board fell, I think the Jalen Reagor pick offers a lot of upside—the TCU speedster has legit receiver skills in addition to the speed (see the 2018 Ohio State game as an example). I am very optimistic about Jalen Hurts’ ability to transition to the NFL, but it was still a stunner that Philadelphia pulled the trigger on him on Day 2. It feels like there is something going on, and—while if anyone knows the importance of a backup quarterback, it’s Philadelphia—I would think the team has major plans for Hurts into the future, perhaps at the expense of Carson Wentz.
20. Chicago Bears | Last rank: 19 (+1)
With limited selections, the Bears were quiet over draft weekend, but they continue to pour resources into the tight end position, drafting Cole Kmet at No. 43 overall after signing veteran Jimmy Graham during free agency. Matt Nagy has a good group at his disposal on offense, but the big decision will be at quarterback between Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles. A more normal offseason would likely benefit Foles as he transitions to his new team, but—similar to the Raiders situation with Marcus Mariota at least pushing Derek Carr if not supplanting him—the quarterback position is going to improve one way or another.
21. Houston Texans | Last rank: 20 (-1)
The wheeling-and-dealing Texans led by Bill O’Brien were also limited in number of draft selections, and they drop a spot in the power rankings. However, I like that Bill O’Brien gets to choose his own players as the general manger, and Houston has won the AFC South in four of the past five seasons—the criticism has gone way too far in my opinion. It was costly, but the Texans secured left tackle Laremy Tunsil to a massive long-term contract extension.
22. Arizona Cardinals | Last rank: 22
Clemson do-it-all defender Isaiah Simmons was arguably the top overall player in this year’s draft class, but he dropped to No. 8 for the Cardinals to scoop up and plug into their defense. Not only is Simmons a great player, but he’s an ideal fit in the NFC West as someone that will go up against George Kittle—and he might be the best player in the league to spy Russell Wilson. Some thought of Houston offensive tackle Josh Jones as a first-rounder, but Arizona was able to get him in the third round as their second draft choice after Simmons. The division is going to be a challenge, but things are looking up for the Cardinals.
23. Miami Dolphins | Last rank: 21 (-2)
The talk was that the Dolphins wanted Joe Burrow after his record-breaking season for LSU, but Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was the apparent target for much of the past year after the franchise started tearing things down to rebuild. Maybe you don’t believe in karma, but it’s cool that things worked out for Miami after Brian Flores was not going to partake in any tanking situation and did everything he could to help his team win five games in 2019—legitimate tanking should never happen in the NFL. Miami also beefed up the offensive line with Austin Jackson and Robert Hunt to protect Tua long-term, and the secondary could be scary after adding Noah Igbinoghene to a talented unit. The Dolphins should be optimistic about their future.
24. Los Angeles Chargers | Last rank: 23 (-1)
They were able to trade up and get two picks in the first round, so that helps, but the Chargers are a team that might rival the Cowboys for the best first two selections in the 2020 draft. Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert offers serious upside, but he’ll have the benefit of not playing until he’s ready due to the presence of capable veteran Tyrod Taylor. And Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray might have been a steal at No. 23; playing behind one of the league’s best fronts and in front of one of the league’s most talented secondaries, Murray should be able to run around and make a bunch of plays for Los Angeles.
25. New York Giants | Last rank: 26 (+1)
General manager Dave Gettleman doesn’t get much love from the media because he apparently isn’t progressive enough in terms of his evaluation approach, but he’s arguably had the best draft in each of the past two years (granted, that will be better debated in a few years). If you believe the rumors, the Dolphins liked Georgia offensive lineman Andrew Thomas so much that they wanted to leap the Giants to select him at No. 3. Thomas figures to be a foundational blindside protector for Daniel Jones over the next 10-15 years, and the Giants also got UConn’s Matt Peart as a potential long-term right tackle at pick No. 99. New York added safety Xavier McKinney (No. 36) and cornerback Darnay Holmes (No. 110) as two potential Year 1 starters in the secondary.
26. Detroit Lions | Last rank: 25 (-1)
Lions general manager Bob Quinn said that he didn’t know why cornerbacks aren’t typically drafted higher, which probably hinted at his intentions, but I was still a bit surprised that he took Ohio State corner Jeff Okudah with the No. 3 pick—that’s who the team wanted, and it probably hurt that teams like the Dolphins and Chargers stood pat and waited for the quarterbacks to drop to them. Georgia running back D’Andre Swift is an electric player, but it was also a surprise that Detroit took a running back early on Day 2. Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia will need these rookies to make instant impacts in 2020, but the entire team will benefit from the return of quarterback Matthew Stafford.
27. Carolina Panthers | Last rank: 28 (+1)
While I don’t like draft grades, you can make an easy case that the Panthers had the best overall draft in their first year under head coach Matt Rhule, who has a clear idea of how he wants to build a program. Carolina went with all defense with all seven picks, headlined by defensive tackle Derrick Brown, defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos, and safety Jeremy Chinn—all arguably value picks for where they went. It might be tough to compete in the NFC South this season, but the Panthers should be a consistent contender under Rhule at some point, and they might be much better than this No. 27 ranking after games get underway.
28. New York Jets | Last rank: 27 (-1)
After the way they finished the 2019 season and had a strong offseason, the Jets could be much higher than this in the power rankings. Teams like the Panthers and Jets being this low is an indication of the depth in the NFL today. (I was against adding an additional playoff team at first, but with so many promising teams in the league, it makes sense right now.) In his first draft at the helm, general manager Joe Douglas added more protection for Sam Darnold with towering left tackle Mekhi Becton. Their next pick came at the end of Round 2, and they were able to get Baylor receiver Denzel Mims, who easily could have been selected in Round 1, as a No. 1 receiver for Darnold.
29. Cleveland Browns | Last rank: 29
Perhaps it’s because of all the real-world issues and news dominating headlines, but the Browns and their players with big personalities have not been talked about much this offseason, which is a good thing. Baker Mayfield must love the past several weeks his team has had, as he’s set to have excellent pass blocking (along with a top rushing attack led by Nick Chubb), and the team signed tight end Austin Hooper and did not trade away Odell Beckham Jr. despite speculation. It’s still hard to trust Cleveland, though, so they remain down at No. 29 in a deep league.
30. Cincinnati Bengals | Last rank: 30
There was zero controversy at the top of the draft, as the Bengals did not seriously entertain any offers for the No. 1 overall pick, instead selecting Ohio native Joe Burrow to lead the franchise. Despite a talented supporting cast on the outside and at running back heading into the draft, the Bengals added even more firepower by selecting Clemson receiver Tee Higgins to start Day 2. The media talk of Burrow not wanting to play for Cincinnati was borderline embarrassing—it’s not a perfect situation, but he could do a lot worse to begin his NFL career.
31. Washington Redskins | Last rank: 31
The second pick in the draft felt like as much of a lock as the first, as the Redskins added a hometown area kid of their own in Ohio State’s phenom defensive end Chase Young. The Redskins have committed a lot to building the defensive line, and Ron Rivera will look to quickly get a lot out of the group and the defense overall. Washington’s offense doesn’t look like it will be overly exciting, but the team can be competitive if they run the ball well to set up play-action for Dwayne Haskins while playing stout defense.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars | Last rank: 32
The Jaguars are the biggest longshot for the Super Bowl, but they restocked the decimated defense a bit during the first round of the draft, getting Florida cornerback C.J. Henderson (Jacksonville has shown they enjoy drafting prospects from the Florida schools) and LSU edge rusher K’Lavon Chaisson. They’ll join last year’s first-rounder Josh Allen as the primary players to help build the defense back up. Offensively, Laviska Shenault Jr. will provide playmaking ability as Gardner Minshew looks to show he can be the long-term solution at quarterback.