Round One of the 2020 NFL Draft is in the books, and while four rookies won’t completely re-make the division, each one is an important building block for his respective team.
I thought I’d take a moment to assess how the Redskins fan base reacted to the Chase Young pick, and add a quick peak at the fan bases of our three division rivals as well.
Redskins take Chase Young at #2 overall
This pick has been written in slow-drying concrete since the final whistle of the Week 17 loss in late December. When Bruce Allen was fired; when Ron Rivera was hired; when Kyle Smith was promoted; as we went through free agency — none of it mattered. The second overall pick was always gonna be Chase Young, so the fans had a long time to analyze it.
The fan base, and pretty much the entire NFL, solidified around the one guy that most pundits and average fans saw as the single best player in the draft class — Chase Young.
This was an opportunity to select a player with the potential to force opposing offenses to game plan against him as he racks up multiple pro-bowl and all-pro seasons, and the Redskins didn’t overthink it.
This may have been the easy pick, but most people would agree it was also the right pick.
There may be a Redskins fan or two who would’ve preferred to see a trade-down (I saw one or two comments this off-season suggesting that a team like the Dolphins might prove to be an attractive trade partner). To hear Ron Rivera tell it, the Redskins were unlikely to accept a trade down offer that was anything less than highway robbery:
It’d have been very hard to convince me that somebody else would be as impactful as the guy we drafted.
I haven’t taken any kind of poll of Redskins fans, but I think this falls into the “no brainer” category, making it hard for anyone to be truly critical. I’m gonna say that most Redskins fans would give this an “A” by default, because any other pick would have been almost unthinkable.
The Redskins defense got better by building on a strength, and the rest of the NFC East is gonna feel the pressure.
Eagles select Jalen Reagor with pick No. 21
The Eagles were drafting for need; everybody knew it. They were gonna draft a wide receiver because their receiving corps was running on empty.
On Wednesday, most Eagles fans were focused on one player: CeeDee Lamb. When he wasn’t available, Howie Roseman went with Jalen Reagor from TCU, and even in a virtual draft you could feel the air go out of the room. With Lamb gone, I think the expectation was that Plan B for the Eagles would be Justin Jefferson, the former LSU Tiger who was eventually selected by the Vikings at 22nd overall.
I think it’s fair to say that Eagles fans are happy to get a receiver, but a bit slow to accept the specific player.
Readers from Bleeding Green Nation reacted quickly, and in a poll with nearly 10,000 responses, roughly 64% of readers graded the pick as a “C” or lower, while only 7% gave it an “A” rating.
I think the Eagles fans are going to slowly get comfortable with the Reagor pick, but in the early returns I’d suggest that the Philly fans are probably the least excited in the division with the first round results.
Giants pick OT Andrew Thomas at No. 4
Once again, everyone knew that the Giants were going to draft to fill a need — there was really no question that they were going to draft an offensive tackle. Dave Gettleman was expected to have his pick of the litter in a draft that man people believe will be remembered for its top-end quality at the OT position, meaning that he almost couldn’t go wrong as long as he chose from the group of Wills, Wirfs, Thomas and Becton.
The Giants went with Andrew Thomas, surprising most pundits, but not our very own Mark Tyler:
Andrew Thomas has been my OT1 for months. I may have been one of 3 people who believed this— Mark Tyler(Hogs Haven) (@Tiller56) April 24, 2020
I think it’s fair to say that Mark was a bit more of a fan of the pick than Giants fans, though they were by no means unhappy. Rather like the Eagles fans, NY fans had by and large expected Jedrick Wills to be the name called by Roger Goodell at Number Four.
At Big Blue View, the initial descriptions of Thomas as the newest player on the roster were muted:
He can step in and start Day 1 but will have some growing pains as he develops and acclimates to the speed of the NFL.
Overall, Thomas’ balance issues are the main concern with his pro transition, abandoning his mechanics and getting himself out over his skis, but he can maneuver his hips in pass protection and clear run lanes, projecting as a starting NFL tackle with fixable issues.
Big Blue View readers were much more enthusiastic about Thomas than Eagles fans were about their team’s Friday night draft pick; 76% of respondents rated the selection either an “A” or a “B”.
The first comment in the comments section of this article seemed to summarize the expectations and acceptance of Giants fans:
Would’ve preferred Wills, but here we go!
Cowboys select CeeDee Lamb with the 17th pick
You might remember the 2018 draft when the Cowboys clearly wanted to draft Dallas Goedert as the heir-apparent to Jason Witten at tight end, but Philly jumped ahead and gazumped them by drafting Goedert instead.
Well, the Cowboys got a little revenge last night by ignoring the idea of drafting to fill a need and taking the best player available — who just so happened to be the player that the Eagles were known to covet.
Blogging the Boys was rightly pleased:
Even though the Cowboys have Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup already on the roster, they didn’t flinch when CeeDee Lamb somehow slipped all the way to #17. Lamb was considered by many scouts to be the best wide receiver in the draft and was supposed to easily go before Dallas was on the clock. When he didn’t, the Cowboys made sure to take the best player available.
In answering the question of whether this draft pick was a hit or a miss, BTB clearly felt it was a hit:
The Dallas Cowboys saw the seventh best player (according to The Draft Network) in this draft fall to them at 17.
BTB declared that the pick deserved an “A” grade, saying:
The reason this is an “A” is because the Cowboys were able to take the best receiver in this draft class while still having a number of cornerbacks/safeties and pass rushers on their draft board, so they have options in the second and third rounds to fill holes on that defense.
Stephen Jones reiterates that CeeDee was the No. 6 player on the Cowboys' board. In countless dress rehearsals and mock drafts, Lamb didn't fall to them once.— David Helman (@HelmanDC) April 24, 2020
The division added 2 receivers, an offensive tackle and a defensive end. Two teams drafted to fill specific needs while two teams seemed to simply take the best player on the board when their pick came up.
The Chase Young pick was such a no-brainer that the Redskins front office doesn’t seem to deserve any special plaudits beyond, “Well, they didn’t screw up the pick.”
The Eagles front office seems to have left the Philly fan base scratching their heads and hoping that the morning light on Friday will bring more clarity to a selection that puzzled and disappointed many of them.
The Giants fans seem to be happy to have gotten one of the “big 4” tackles, though they seem mildly suprised at which one Gettleman chose.
The Cowboys front office and fans may be the most euphoric in the division, having added to their 2019 top scoring offense, gotten the guy that many perceive to be the best at his position in the draft, and screwed with Eagles fans’ hopes and dreams all in one fell swoop.
I’m not assigning grades, but I get the sense from what I’ve read, that the fans are grading their own teams this way:
- Eagles: C-
- Giants: B+
- Cowboys: A+
- Redskins: A (by default)
I wonder what Day 2 will hold for the NFC East?
Which NFCE team made the biggest positive impact on its roster in the first round of the drafft on Thursday night?
This poll is closed