Welcome to the 2020 NFL Draft! The first round of the league’s college player selection process has arrived and it projects to be a highly interesting one from the New England Patriots’ perspective: the team owns the 23rd overall selection, and has numerous directions in which it could go — from a trade, to a new quarterback, to help at the offensive skill positions or defensive front seven.
Here at Pats Pulpit we will have plenty of coverage over the next three days, so make sure to regularly check back for all the latest news, rumors and analysis. As for the first day of the event, here is all you need to know — as well as our Patriots rumors tracker and our regularly updated live tracker once the event actually gets underway.
Day 1: Round 1
When: Thursday, April 23 at 8:00 p.m. ET
Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas NV All over the United States
Television: ABC, ESPN, NFL Network
Time per pick: 10 minutes
Patriots draft picks
Round 1: 1-23
Round 2: --
Round 3: 3-87, 3-98, 3-100
Round 4: 4-125, 4-139
Round 5: 5-172
Round 6: 6-195, 6-204, 6-212, 6-213
Round 7: 7-230
The 23rd overall selection is scheduled to be made between 11:40 p.m. ET and 11:50 p.m. ET at the latest. Realistically, however, it will happen earlier given that not all teams will wait until the end of their 10-minute window to announce their selection. Based on years past, you should expect New England’s pick to be made at around 10:30 p.m. ET.
Patriots draft needs, potential Thursday targets
Quarterback: Justin Herbert (Oregon), Jordan Love (Utah State), Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama
Wide receiver: Brandon Aiyuk (Arizona State), Justin Jefferson (LSU), Denzel Mims (Baylor, Jalen Reagor (TCU)
Tight end: Cole Kmet (Notre Dame)
Offensive interior: Lloyd Cushenberry III (LSU), Cesar Ruiz (Michigan)
Defensive tackle: Ross Blacklock (TCU), Marlon Davidson (Auburn), Javon Kinlaw (South Carolina)
Defensive edge: K’Lavon Chaisson (LSU), A.J. Epenesa (Iowa), Yetur Gross-Matos (Penn State)
Linebacker: Zack Baun (Wisconsin), Kenneth Murray (Oklahoma), Patrick Queen (LSU)
Not including players expected to be out of New England’s range
The Patriots have had more than 70 reported player meetings in the pre-draft process. (source)
The Patriots are expected to draft a quarterback in one of the first three rounds. (source)
The Patriots are rumored to be one of three teams interested in Notre Dame tight end Cole Kmet, and maybe even considering using a first-round pick on him. (source)
The Patriots are reportedly in the market for an offensive lineman with the 23rd overall selection. (source)
1-1 Cincinnati Bengals: QB Joe Burrow, LSU
For the third year in a row and the fifth time in the last six, a quarterback gets drafted first overall. To nobody’s surprise, that quarterback is Joe Burrow: the Heisman Trophy winner was the best passer in college football in 2019, after all, and brings an impressive skillset to the table that should translate well to the NFL game. Burrow should be a Day One starter in Cincinnati as the team’s new franchise QB.
1-2 Washington Redskins: DE Chase Young, Ohio State
The best edge defender in this year’s draft, Young was a monster at Ohio State and will help further bolster Washington’s pass rush after the team already selected Montez Sweat in the first round last year. Young has all the tools – the size, the speed, the power – to become a difference maker Day One.
1-3 Detroit Lions: CB Jeffrey Okudah, Ohio State
Despite fielding calls for the third overall selection, the Lions opted not to trade out and instead add the best cornerback in this year’s draft to their defensive secondary. Okudah’s combination of size and flexibility is off the charts and makes him one of the most exciting players available in this year’s draft. A physical press-man cornerback, Okudah instantly makes Detroit’s defense better.
1-4 New York Giants: OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia
After drafting their new franchise quarterback last year, the Giants go to Georgia and add Andrew Thomas with the fourth overall pick. Thomas was a powerful blocker for the Bulldogs and could start Day One opposite Nate Solder — possibly succeeding the former Patriot at left tackle further down the line.
1-5 Miami Dolphins: QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
The Patriots’ AFC East rivals have found their new quarterback: Miami drafts Tua Tagovailoa out of Alabama with the fifth overall pick. Tagovailoa has the skillset to become an electrifying player in the NFL due to his natural arm plus some impressive processing skills. His injury history is a concern, but he gives the Dolphins a high-ceiling franchise QB to build around.
1-6 Los Angeles Chargers: QB Justin Herbert, Oregon
With the consensus top-two quarterbacks — Burrow and Tagovailoa — coming off the board within the top five selections, the Chargers go after the number three guy: Justin Herbert out of Oregon. While it remains to be seen whether or not he starts Day One, Herbert does become the face of the franchise after L.A. parted ways with Philip Rivers earlier this offseason.
1-7 Carolina Panthers: DT Derrick Brown, Auburn
A three-year starter who has the size and burst to succeed as both a run defender and pass rusher, Brown can line up in numerous techniques along the interior defensive line. The Auburn product, who was voted first-team All-American in 2019, brings smarts and durability to the table alongside his impressive athletic profile.
1-8 Arizona Cardinals: LB Isaiah Simmons, Clemson
Simmons might just be the most impressive athlete in this year’s draft — something he showed at the scouting combine in late February. His outstanding athleticism and the versatility it brings are not the only reason why he was the top linebacker prospect this year, though: he also offers the necessary processing skills to succeed at the next level no matter the role he will eventually play.
1-9 Jacksonville Jaguars: CB J.C. Henderson, Florida
The second cornerback to come off the board, Henderson immediately upgrades the Jaguars’ defensive backfield after the team traded away Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye. A physical press-man cornerback who has the traits to become a shutdown corner in the NFL, Henderson should see considerable playing time from Year One on.
1-10 Cleveland Browns: OT Jedrick Wills Jr, Alabama
Wills may be the most complete offensive tackle in this year’s draft: combining tremendous athleticism and balance with ideal size, Cleveland adds some much needed talent up front to protect quarterback Baker Mayfield — and to give running back Nick Chubb a road grader on the ground.
1-11 New York Jets: OT Mekhi Becton, Louisville
While Wills might be the most complete offensive tackle in the draft, Becton might be the one with the highest upside. An impressive athlete, who had a combine workout for the ages, Becton gives the Jets a blind side protector for quarterback Sam Darnold.
1-12 Las Vegas Raiders: WR Henry Ruggs III, Alabama
The first ever pick that the Raiders made since their relocation to Las Vegas goes to the fastest wide receiver in this year’s draft class. Ruggs gives Las Vegas’ quarterback — whether it ends up being Derek Carr or free agency signing Marcus Mariota — a big-play threat that also has natural ball skills.
1-13 TRADE San Francisco 49ers —> Tampa Bay Buccaneers: OT Tristan Wirfs, Iowa
The first trade of this year’s draft involves Tom Brady’s new team: the Buccaneers move up one spot in order to secure some help for their star quarterback. Wirfs may not have the ideal length, but he is a powerful blocker that immediately upgrades the right tackle position for Tampa Bay.
1-14 TRADE Tampa Bay Buccaneers —> San Francisco 49ers: DT Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina
After moving down one spot in a trade with Tampa Bay, the 49ers addressed their defensive line — one that saw the departure of DeForest Buckner via trade earlier this offseason. The pick the team received for Buckner was turned into one of the better defensive tackles available: Kinlaw needs to improve his consistency but he has the size and athleticism to become the anchor of San Francisco’s defensive line.
1-15 Denver Broncos: WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama
The first wide receiver off the board spent his college career at Albama, the second off the board did as well: Denver picks Jerry Jeudy to give quarterback Drew Lock a viable downfield threat and one of the best route runners in this year’s draft. Together with Courtland Sutton, Jeudy gives the Broncos a quality one-two punch at wide receiver.
1-16 Atlanta Falcons: CB A.J. Terrell, Clemson
One of the bigger surprises of this year’s draft belongs to the Falcons, who picked A.J. Terrell 16th overall. The third cornerback to be selected, Terrell is an impressive athlete but needs to improve on the technical side. That said, he has the foundation to develop into a top cornerback further down the line.
1-17 Dallas Cowboys: WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma
Once seen as a candidate to become the first wide receiver off the board and a potential top-10 selection, Lamb fell all the way to the 17th overall pick before the Cowboys picked him up. His size and ball skills are certainly intriguing, and are the reason why he can develop into a productive WR1 for quarterback Dak Prescott.
1-18 Miami Dolphins: OT Austin Jackson, USC
After drafting a quarterback earlier in Round one, the Dolphins added some offensive line help at No. 18: Austin Jackson out of USC. Jackson has the physical tools to develop into a quality starting tackle, but needs to improve his fundamentals to become a consistent blocker at the next level.
1-19 Las Vegas Raiders: CB Darmon Arnette, Ohio State
The Falcons are not the only team to make a surprising cornerback selection on Day One: three picks later, Las Vegas made Darmon Arnette the third Ohio State defender to come off the board. Arnette has impressive moving skills but enters the NFL as a work in progress from the technical side.
1-20 Jacksonville Jaguars: DE K’Lavon Chaisson, LSU
Chaisson was a dynamic playmaker at LSU in 2019, and has one of the highest upsides of any front-seven defenders in this year’s draft due to his outstanding skillset: his burst and short-area quickness in combination with a quick processor make the 20-year-old a potential impact player.
1-21 Philadelphia Eagles: WR Jalen Reagor, TCU
The Eagles going after a wide receiver was no secret after the team’s pass catchers struggled mightily in 2019. What was a slight surprise is that they did not go after the consensus best remaining option — LSU’s Justin Jefferson — but rather Jalen Reagor out of TCU. That said, Reagor is still one of the most dynamic pass catchers in this class and a serious deep threat for quarterback Carson Wentz.
1-22 Minnesota Vikings: WR Justin Jefferson, LSU
With Reagor going to Philadelphia, the Vikings decided to jump on Justin Jefferson. A big target at 6-foot-3 that runs some crisp routes and has had tremendous production out of the slot at LSU, Jefferson is a solid complementary option alongside Adam Thielen.
1-23 TRADE New England Patriots —> Los Angeles Chargers: LB Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma
After the Patriots decided to trade out of the 23rd overall pick, the Chargers opted to go after a player who was seen as a potential fit for New England: Kenneth Murray out of Oklahoma is one of the better off-the-ball linebackers in this year’s class due to his downhill ability and range in coverage.
1-24 New Orleans Saints: C Cesar Ruiz, Michigan
With Drew Brees returning for the 2020 season, the Saints add an experienced blocker who can line up at both center at guard. The first interior lineman drafted, Ruiz brings the necessary toughness to the table to succeed in the NFL and serve as a cornerstone lineman for years to come.
1-25 TRADE Minnesota Vikings —> San Francisco 49ers: WR Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State
After it took a while for the first wide receiver to come off the board, the position started to quickly fall off the shelves later in the first round: the 49ers made Aiyuk the sixth wideout taken on Day One, adding a dynamic player who has considerable room for growth but could still be a weapon for Jimmy Garoppolo from Day One.
1-26 TRADE Miami Dolphins —> Green Bay Packers: QB Jordan Love, Utah State
Aaron Rodgers is 36 years old, and the Packers are actively trying to prepare for life after him: they moved up from the 30th overall spot to pick Jordan Love out of Utah State. Love has tremendous potential but needs to be able to find his 2018 form after an inconsistent 2019 season. That said, his ability to make plays outside the pocket is enticing.
1-27 Seattle Seahawks: LB Jordyn Brooks, Texas Tech
Brooks’ upside in coverage may be limited, but he can still be a starter-level player due to his downhill abilities: he offers good range and solid functional athleticism, and could have an impact on early downs right away.
1-28 Baltimore Ravens: LB Patrick Queen, LSU
Even though he is somewhat undersized by conventional standards at 6-foot-0, 229 pounds and lacks starter-level experience, Queen has proven himself an impressive player at LSU: he is a terrific athlete with the quick reactionary skills to adapt his play well to the NFL and become a playmaker from the inside linebacker position.
1-29 Tennessee Titans: OT Isaiah Wilson, Georgia
With Taylor Lewan as the left tackle and Dennis Kelly recently re-signing on a $21 million deal, the Titans could opt to give Isaiah Wilson some time to develop into a starter. He should benefit from it: while he has the size and physical tools, he needs to improve his fundamentals to become a starting-caliber player.
1-30 TRADE Green Bay Packers —> Miami Dolphins: CB Noah Igbinoghene, Auburn
After going offense with their first two pick, the Dolphins address their defensive backfield by adding a defender who is raw around the edges but does have intriguing upside. Igbinoghene is probably not a Day One starter, but a solid developmental pick.
1-31 TRADE San Francisco 49ers —> Minnesota Vikings: CB Jeff Gladney, TCU
After trading down from the 25th overall selection, the Vikings decided to add to their defensive backfield by adding a cornerback out of TCU. Gladney may not be the most physical defensive back, but his footwork and moving skills are impressive.
1-32 Kansas City Chiefs: RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, LSU
The round ends with Kansas City adding more depth to its already impressive offense: Edwards-Helaire has the skillset to become a lead back, but also can help the Chiefs in the passing game.