clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The First Night of the 2020 NFL Draft Proves the Twighlight Rule No. 1 About Talent

As proof of the Championship Talent Formula, Let’s look at the 1st round of last night’s NFL 2020 Draft. It was an interesting if boring and predictable walk. The production was awful, but the results enlightening in regard to the Twilight program issue.

2020 NFL Draft - Round 1
The NFL Draft is a College’s best recruiter.
Photo by NFL via Getty Images

So there I sat on my media room couch, phone and Gobbler Country Twitter account at the ready. I set the dial for the NFL channel because I often find ESPN to be a bit tedious. I guess I was off on that assessment. Both programs were as near to horrid as you can ever imagine. Picks were coming in briskly but not so much the billions of commercials and PSAs. Then there was the endless yammering about picks, and player profiles even when a pick was in, and everyone was waiting for the information. It was a slog, that’s for sure.

Observations in General

First, this draft was about as uninteresting and non-controversial as you could possibly get. Everyone new Joe Burrow was heading for the Bengals. It was a completely near-fetched conclusion. It’s his boyhood rooting team, he’s from southern Ohio, and an interesting biography. Does he help the Bengals find their way out of perpetual darkness? Probably not, but he’s got some talent and moxy, maybe he’ll get traded in a couple of years to a team who will win something. He did it in college, maybe he can do it again. The build up and fawning were annoying, however.

Second, the show kept patting itself on the back for its use of the net, and reaction to the COVID-19 quarantine... Well gee... what were you going to do? Cancel the thing and have it phoned into NFL HQ? It did take some serious processing power to get all of those conference sites linked and fairly stable, but technically it wasn’t a spectacular feat.. maybe in 1998, or 2002... but not in the age of the Cloud...

Third, how about the NFL donates every single penny of the advertising revenue earned in last evening’s endless commercial breaks, occasionally interrupted by sports programming, to hospitals and hospital employees who were idled by the emphasis on the epidemic.

Observations in Particular

It was a weird draft. Burrow (Bengals) and Tagovailoa (Miami) were picked by teams that most folks thought they’d be picked by. There wasn’t a ton of maneuvering for higher picks. BA jumped up one to grab Tristan Wirfs from Iowa... someone to have a shot at keeping Darth Legwarmers on his feet. Of course Darth Hoodie traded down. We’ll have to look at the details, but he’s not prone to wasting a shot at multiple good picks in less expensive contract rounds.

If Tyrod wants to play more than half a season, he’d better get the heck out of LA, and do it fast. Justin Herbert was a 2nd or 3rd round QB at best in rating, but he’s big and smart. He’ll end up being the starter by the end of October, and Tyrod will be riding the pine again.

The first “duh” pick was the Falcons picking A.J. Terrell from Clemson. He’s okay... but not 1st round okay... he’d probably have been there in the 3rd or 4th round, and the Falcons need some beef on the line. The second was Miami grabbing Austin Jackson. He’d have been there for a while. Using a 1st rounder for an above average talent had to do with something other than pure football. We’ll see how Brandon Aiyuk does for the Niners, but they traded away stuff for him to go in the 1st round, and he still needs lots of work.

The draft above the 26th pick was mostly 2nd round guys where the selecting teams just didn’t know what to do with their picks. Andy Reid was the exception, again (Like Patrick Mahomes a few years back). The Chiefs grabbed a much needed running back, Clyde Edwards-Helaire and that pretty much closed out the activity.

The Twilight Angle

Look, there were probably a ton of potential first rounders across the NCAA FBS ranks that just didn’t show up in the pick list. The answer is pretty obvious. The 1st round is reserved for Championship level teams from select conferences, and only the occasional oddball pick will jump out of the Power 5 Top 10. This year the honor went to Utah State Quarterback Jordan Love. A Group of 5 pick (Mountain West) in the first round is a real flash for that program.

So, here are the numbers for the conferences in the first 32 picks:

SEC - 15 That’s 47% of the first round going to the SEC

B1G - 5


PAC 12 - 3

ACC - 3

MW - 1

The Program breakdown of multiple picks is:

5 picks from LSU

4 picks from Alabama

3 picks from Ohio State

2 picks from Clemson

2 picks from Oklahoma

2 picks from Texas Christian

The remainder were scatterings of single picks from programs like South Carolina, Florida, Louisville, Texas Tech, Oregon, USC, Iowa, Arizona State, Michigan, and Utah State. It’s really important to remember that the first, second, and third rounds are really the only rounds that count big for making the team. The first round is all about high dollar contracts, but the reality is that if a player doesn’t pan out it’s only the guaranteed portion of the signing bonus that they get to keep.

Once we get to the higher rounds on Saturday, it’s not much better than being an Undrafted Free Agent... except for the much reduced size of the signing bonus.

This was a really mundane draft. No fun, no controversy, not much horse trading, and certainly not enough 1st round quality players to fill out the round. We’ll see where rounds 2 and 3 head, tomorrow.

We’ll probably have to wait until the the drive by notifications on Saturday to find out where our Hokies show up.