If anybody doubts the value of the quarterback position, or specifically drafting the right one, they need only look to the 2020 NFL Draft.
The Philadelphia Eagles, Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Chargers changed their franchises with quarterback picks in that draft. The Miami Dolphins also might have as well, although the verdict is still out on Tua Tagovailoa for a variety of reasons.
As for the Eagles, they went to the Super Bowl last year in large part because they drafted quarterback Jalen Hurts in the second round in 2020. The Bengals took Joe Burrow first overall that year and the Chargers took Justin Herbert sixth overall. Miami picked Tagovailoa fifth. All four of those teams are now considered Super Bowl contenders heading into this season.
That’s why when looking back at the 2020 draft in my annual regrade — which I do three years after a draft to get a real gauge on those drafts and the way I graded them — those teams all come out with sterling marks in my regrade. The Bengals top all the grades here with an A+, the only one I gave out.
In addition to Burrow, the Bengals also drafted receiver Tee Higgins and linebacker Logan Wilson with their first three picks. That’s great drafting. But it’s Burrow who has this team where it is now.
The Chargers get an A for their regrade draft, while the Eagles get a B+ and the Dolphins get a B, with both teams being hurt by other bad picks in the first round.
There were other teams who got A’s in my regrade. They were the Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns and Indianapolis Colts. All three teams added a bunch of players who will be starters this year, which means if Justin Fields (Bears), Deshaun Watson (Browns) and Anthony Richardson (Colts) can play well at the quarterback position, those teams might be ready to push for a playoff spot.
Only one team received an F, and that’s the Las Vegas Raiders. They botched the draft all the way through, which is probably why former general manager Mike Mayock is no longer around — although former coach Jon Gruden had his fingertips all over the drafts when he was there.
Three years is the proper time to wait to truly analyze a draft, so take a look and see how your team did — and how badly I did doing the grades immediately after that 2020 draft. At least I can admit when I am wrong.
2020 Grade: A
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