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    Re-Visiting the 2020 NFLHC Draft

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    View Re-Visiting the 2017 NFLHC Draft if you haven't yet.




    Format shamelessly stolen from this article because it's a good format - https://www.footballoutsiders.com/nfl-draft/2018/2012-nfl-draft-six-years-later)



    I honestly don't remember having too many thoughts about the 2020 NFLHC Draft going into it, but that may because that was back when we were still good (no, I'm not salty, you are). This was not a very good draft, both considered at the time and in hindsight. While the first round is not quite the trash tier that 2019's is, it's still not very good. Besides the Jaguars trading up to #2 to take Raheem Robinson, their second consecutive #2 overall pick, there was not much interesting action happening at the top either. There was no truly elite QB at the top to buzz about either. Besides not being a great class, it might be the most boring class we've ever had too. On that exciting note, let's take a look at what happened at each position!



    Conventional Wisdom: There were only two QBs highly thought of: Oklahoma's Graham Burnett and Miami's Brett Fisher. Fisher, interestingly, did not get a Pro Day, and struggled heavily as a senior as Miami went 3-9. Burnett, meanwhile, led Oklahoma to the playoffs, putting up 30 points in an admirable performance (but loss) against #5 seed Alabama. Perhaps this is why Burnett went at #7 and Fisher went #29. Still, Fisher's athletic upside and striking performances as a sophomore and the fact that he didn't have a coach and lost a lot of talent in his senior season meant that some GMs were still intrigued by his ability and thought he could be molded into a top tier QB in the right situation.


    This might be one of the best mid-tier crop of QBs as prospects that have entered an NFLHC draft, and a lot of them from mostly unrepresented schools. From Colorado State's [Devin] Conroy Convoy, to Kansas' Eric Jennings, to Rutgers' Elijah Moffett [The Prophet], there was a lot of interesting pocket QBs available. Arkansas' Sean Sitton led the nation in passing TD as a senior, South Dakota's Kevin Marshall dominated FCS, and Washington QB Julius McIntosh was one of the toolsiest prospects to enter at QB despite throwing more interceptions than touchdowns as a senior - a bargain brand Brett Fisher, if you will. And that's not to mention Heisman winner, Syracuse's Dylan Bishop, who got drafted despite being a low-70s overall due to his dominance.



    Highest Pick: Graham Burnett, 7th overall to the Cowboys.



    Best Player: Well, Burnett is the only starter from this class in Week 1 of 2025. Now a 92 overall, he made his first Pro Bowl in 2024 and looks to continue to be an ascending player in Dallas - it's just hard to notice in a tough division. He put up the 6th highest passer rating in NFLHC in 2024 throwing to 10th year Rodney Montgomery and a cast of nobodies, and he is at bare minimum knocking on the door of the top 5 QBs in NFLHC at this point.



    Biggest Bust: The other first rounder, Brett Fisher, never quite developed as a passer. After sitting his rookie year, Fisher posted solid TD/INT ratios but took too many attempts to do it in his 2nd and 3rd seasons. Fed up and with a new front office, the Ravens took Marcus Black in 2023's first round and haven't looked back since, and Fisher was relegated to the bench in Baltimore for 1.5 seasons. Fisher was then traded to Atlanta, where he proceeded to completely sink what looked like a playoff team by throwing for a 47% completion percentage, 1 TD, and 7 INT in 5 starts. That puts him at 27 TD to 21 INT in his career, which in NFLHC is just not acceptable. Honorable mentions go to Devin Conroy and Eric Jennings, taken as the 3rd and 4th QBs off the board in the 3rd round, who were not even rosters this preseason. Not being able to even get a passable back up in the 3rd round is not great.



    Best Value: Burnett is the only starter but someone taken #7 could not be considered value. Sean Hamilton in the 3rd to Carolina has now been the backup for 5 seasons going into his 6th but is yet to appear in a game. The only QBs from this class to start multiple games besides Burnett and Fisher are Rory Weston, had a 70 passer rating for Arizona in 7 starts as a rookie, a 55 passer rating for Pittsburgh in 3 starts in his 3rd season and a 70 passer rating for Pittsburgh in 3 starts in his 4th season, Eric Jennings, who had a 55 passer rating for Denver in 10 starts in his 3rd season, and Sean Sitton, who had a 72 passer rating in 5 starts for the Jets in his 4th season. I think I'm going to (nobias) give it to Sitton, who has progressed to the rating of a solid backup and has a 4-1 career record as a starter!



    Running Backs

    Conventional Wisdom: This was a solid RB class with a couple of clear guys at the top. There were three potential first rounders: Mississippi State's Terrence Rodgers and UAB's J.B. Blacknall were 82s, and Baylor's Sean Bell had been a favorite of many ever since he was a recruit from New York. Of course, Rodgers went in the top 10 and... Iowa State's Arturo Pacheco went in the first round eventually.


    The middle of the pack 2nd round RBs were considered quite good compared to normal (although not as good as 2019's). Ohio State's Moussa Goode and Nebraska's Marcus Williams were 81s who had quite a bit of upside in their own right, and Williams' 4.31 40 had some teams, like the 49ers, sweating.


    FCS products Quincy Honeycutt and Sam Chapman were both considered potential gems by many GMs, with both putting up well above average stats as seniors. North Carolina's Logan Pruitt was intriguing as a power back who ran a 4.51 and was notable for catching many passes for the Tar Heels. Besides 4 other unnamed RBs that went in the first round, all of whom were not considered particularly great (and none of whom worked out - FSU's Elijah Harden, Iowa's Jermaine Newton, Purdue's CJ Sheffield, and SMU's Kevin Muse) - there was a... major dropoff. Only The Citadel's Major Morris was a realistically draftable prospect among remaining players.



    Highest Pick: Terrence Rodgers, 9th overall to the Chiefs.



    Best Player: This was a great draft for RBs. On the 2024 All-Pro team, 2/3 RBs were from this class: Marcus Williams (SEA) and Major Morris (LV). J.B. Blacknall (DEN at the time) was also a 2nd team All-Pro in 2022. Terrence Rodgers is a 91 and Sean Bell is an 89, while Moussa Goode is still starting in Baltimore despite disappointing progressions. Chicago is also giving Quincy Honeycutt a shot as their starter for the first time this year. Overall, I'd have to go with Marcus Williams. He was the top overall RB in NFLHC in 2024 with 1546 yards and 16 TD, and was rewarded with the top spot on the All-Pro team, and is now the highest overall RB from the class. Not bad for the fifth one drafted in a good class.



    Biggest Bust: Ah, the tale of Arturo Pacheco. The 22nd pick put up a sub-4 YPC in 16 starts as a rookie and was languished to 3rd on the Texans' depth chart by the end of his second season behind notable player Justin Barksdale, at least for the last couple of games. He got one more chance in 2022, averaging 10 carries a game but appearing in every game, and even with Leshoure mostly passing he still barely nudged over 4 YPC and had gone net +0 in 3 years. He was summarily waived and was been a member of the Chargers, Cardinals, and Broncos during the 2024 preseason but could not catch on anywhere. He is now a free agent.


    Best Value: Major Morris, the 2nd Team All-Pro RB last year, went with the 145th overall pick in the 5th round. He also was signed to a cheap contract as 2024 was his true breakout year. Still, 1300 yards and 14 TD at a 5 YPC clip while catching 23 passes is solid value in NFLHC terms. He makes just $2 million per year for 2025 and 2026. Time to start #MajorMorrisIsUnderpaid now that Nick Hall got paid?



    Wide Receivers

    Conventional Wisdom: This was considered a rather strong receiver class overall. That was helped by the fact he finished 6th in Heisman voting with 1620 yards and 17 TD in his senior year, and proceeded to run a 4.35 at 6'3 with all 9s at his Pro Day. He did eventually become tied for the highest drafted WR of all-time, #2 tying with Mosi Bartos in 2015, although most consider Raheem the best WR prospect NFLHC has seen even now. There were two 82s available besides him, with Fresno State's Sam Hiller-Weeden leading FBS in receiving with 1679 yards and 16 TD - catching passes from some guy named Ryan Harris. Washington State's Jeremy Cook rounded out the 82+ guys with not-as-gaudy stats, just a paltry 1233 yards and 10 TD.


    There were still 6 more 80+ WRs. They ranged from intriguing players like Rutgers' Benjamin "Father" Franklin, a 5-9 speedster who didn't actually end up being that fast, Eli Austin, the toolsy raw receiver out of Tennessee, and Michigan State's Jaheim "Thurston For" Lemons, a player who disappointed his entire college career but still came out as an 80. Iowa State's Tom Oldham was skinny as hell but put up 1100 yards and 10 TD as a senior with a kick return TD. Also generally considered in this tier was Michigan's Tyrus Wilson, a 79 6'2 4.39 beast. (None of these players have worked out as of writing).


    Sleepers included Jacory Kessler out of Auburn, NFLHC's first real positional convert (he changed from QB to WR as a senior to make room for Marcus Black), Boston College's Gerald Morrison who ran a 4.49 as a target receiver, North Carolina's Justin McCain who put up a 4.31 40 but had under 800 yards as a senior, and Tennessee-Martin's Cody Hunter, an intriguing prospect out of the OVC.


    There were some late players who intrigued some. Eastern Washington's Tyrone Turner dominated FCS, while BC's William Moore put up 740 yards despite being WR3 on Boston College (with 2 WRs drafted ahead of him in the same class). Maryland's Norman Spencer was also a target for some as a return specialist.



    Highest Pick: Raheem Robinson, 2nd overall to the Jaguars.



    Best Player: Based on body of work, it's Raheem - he's led the league in receiving yards twice (2022 and 2023) and his worst single-season output is 1,126 yards and 12 TD on 80 catches in his sophomore campaign. But if Justin McCain continues dominating like he did in 2024, where he had 1401 receiving yards and led the league with 17 TD, he might have a chance to surpass him career-wise. But McCain had to crack Green Bay's rotation while Raheem has dominated from the beginning, so Raheem gets the nod (and likely stays there, in my opinion) - but it is no doubt closer than many would have expected from anyone else.



    Biggest Bust: There are a lot of good options here. Many think of Hiller-Weeden as a disappointment but he's been rather consistently above 1000 yards for his career. He's not the All-Pro many thought at the beginning but he's a solid player. The next 6 receivers drafted are rough until you get to anyone who might be considered decent value (Lamont Crawford to LV in the 2nd). Detroit's Jeremy Cook has progressed well but has hovered around 900-1000 yards, not ideal for a first rounder. 30th pick Eli Austin looked ok until an achilles tear in his second season completely derailed his development, and he's bounced around since. Tom Oldham has never progressed but does have two 700+ yard seasons to his name (including last year with the Rams), but that is still not ideal for the 35th overall pick. 39th pick Benjamin Franklin never cracked 500 yards in a season and isn't even on a team now as a 76 overall. 46th pick Tyrus Wilson had a similar fate to Austin - looked promising until a major injury, although he did have a nice preseason this year for the Rams. Overall, Benjamin Franklin never cracking 500 yards as such a high pick and without major injury issues like a couple of the others is the most bust-worthy here. I didn't even manage to get into the glut of mid-round terrible WRs, which could be its own thing with how many were drafted and aren't even on teams anymore.



    Best Value: That Justin McCain is even in the conversation for best player as the 72nd overall pick and 11th receiver off the board is impressive in its own right. He's the clear winner here. Jacory Kessler, taken in the 4th round 112th overall, is also the Vikings WR1 and has consistently gone above 1100 yards per season since taking over that role. The Titans' Cody Hunter, now an 85 overall, was a 5th rounder (137th overall). I also want to shoutout Israel Hawker, a UDFA who is now the Jets WR1, although he's still yet to crack 1000 yards in a season.



    Tight Ends

    Conventional Wisdom: Utah State's Curtis Henry was thought by some as the best TE prospect ever as he dominated his pro day and broke the TE record with a 4.59 at the combine, while others were concerned that he only managed to post 415 receiving yards and 3 TD as a senior for the Aggies. Past him, Jordan Kemp looked great as a pure blocking TE but a 4.96 40 showed that that was probably all he could do. The dropoff started there, although Mississippi State's Patrick Glass ran fast (4.64) and had decent stats in his final year with 659 yards and 7 TD. MSU's William Johnson didn't look to have huge upside but could be a solid contributor.


    There did not look to be much mid-round value. Some apparently liked Tulsa's Antonio Heath (as he eventually went above Johnson), but I don't know why as he was slow for a receiving TE (4.83 40) and had a not particularly impressive 525 yards as a senior... at Tulsa. One intriguing option was early declaration, Notre Dame's Tyler Dotson, who put up 316 yards and 5 TD in just 4 statsheets before declaring as a 4/4 73. Some liked CSU's Floyd Arnold who had the only 1000 yard season by a TE in CFB in 2019, while adding 14 TD. Nebraska's Luke Graf also had 966 yards as a senior and looked to have some upside.



    Highest Pick: Curtis Henry, 17th overall to the Panthers.



    Best Player: Curtis Henry has been a first team All-Pro in four consecutive seasons and has made a Pro Bowl every year of his career. He led all TEs in receiving in 2021, 2023, and 2024, and the lowest he's ever finished is 3rd as a rookie with 1,116 yards and 9 TD. Made easier when catching passes from Christian Skaggs... but still. Enough said.



    Biggest Bust: Saints GM @Dean really liked Patrick Glass for reasons that are still rather unclear to me. He went 40th overall, the 2nd TE off the board, and never quite materialized as a starting option. He's still hanging on as a starter despite being a rather unimpressive 83 (from 79) after 5 seasons, but has never put up more than 600 yards catching passes from a top QB in Devereaux. Not ideal for the 40th pick.



    Best Value: Jordan Kemp is the highest rated blocking TE, at 91 overall, but he was the 60th pick. There are two huge late round values here - Tyler Dotson (225th overall to the Colts) and Jason Erwin (181th overall to the Falcons). Erwin is now a 91 from a 75, and Dotson is an 84 from a 73. Erwin looks to have the higher overall skill but Dotson has put up better stats, although I'd credit that to catching passes from Aaron Shea. The overall doesn't lie here - Erwin is the best TE taken not named Curtis Henry.



    Offensive Line

    Conventional Wisdom: Prospect-wise, this could be one of the weakest offensive line classes, if not arguably the weakest, in NFLHC history. At offensive tackle, Taylor Randolph was a great prospect out of Iowa who was an All-American and looked like a rather safe future LT. Donald Reed out of Virginia Tech was rather similar but with some injury concerns. CSU's Rafael O'Donnell was the most athletic of all of the tackles, BC's Dylan Hastings looked average for a Day 1-2 prospect, and ASU's Arthur Taylor struggled at the combine, dropping his stock a bit. Besides these 5, only one other offensive tackle would end up going in the first five rounds: Conor Crane out of Mississippi State.


    At guard, no one was over 81 overall but guard was still weak enough across the league that there were some first round contenders. The scouting favorite was clearly Russell Benson-Gifford, a pass blocking guard out of South Carolina who got all 9s at his Pro Day - under the new system his overall likely would have increased during the process. Lucas Hopkins out of Mizzou looked like a great run blocker but had some drug issues. Ian Hendrickson from Arizona looked like a good bet to be solid while CSU's Nick Ramos had strength concerns. Guys like Hawaii's Toma Tumaalii and Penn State's P.K. Fletcher were mid-round favorites, with a decent scouting grade and athletic potential.


    Only two centers attended the combine. Alabama's Lucas Hurd was an 83 although he didn't put up an amazing combine and looked like a lock to go top 10. Iowa State's Aden Hastings had injury concerns and subpar athleticism but broke the Wonderlic record with a 45. With little info on the other centers and a massive dropoff in overall, only 4 more would be drafted.



    Highest Pick: Lucas Hurd, 10th overall to the Packers.



    Best Player: Hurd is now a 96 overall 2x Pro-Bowler 1x All-Pro. Ian Hendrickson, taken 28th by Indianapolis, is a 91 overall 2x Pro Bowler 1x All-Pro. Lucas Hopkins, taken 41st by Green Bay, is a 93 overall 1x Pro Bowler 1x All-Pro. Nick Ramos, taken 47th by Washington, is a 90 overall 1x Pro Bowler 1x All-Pro. Donald Reed, taken 24th by Minnesota, just made his first Pro Bowl. Taylor Randolph, taken 12th by New England, is a 96 overall but has not won any accolades. Russell Benson-Gifford, taken 20th by Denver, is a 2x Pro Bowler 2x All-Pro who is now a 96. Of these, Hurd or Benson-Gifford are the most decorated with high overalls. I'd probably take Benson-Gifford who I think is a bit more consistent but both are good choices.



    Biggest Bust: Interestingly, of the 7 OL taken with top 50 picks, all but onehave worked out and made at least one Pro Bowl. The best candidates here are Rafael O'Donnell, OT taken by the Jaguars with the 48th pick who is now an 83 most recently dumped in a trade with a 2nd rounder due to his bloated salary and Aden Hastings, C taken by the Jets with the 53rd pick who is now an 81 backup in Detroit. I think Hastings is probably a bit worse as a player but O'Donnell's circumstances have been worse after his massive FA contract. Hastings probably is my pick overall.



    Best Value: I apologize if I missed your player since I have to do this by overall and there’s no real way to sort besides searching individual players. Ian Braden, taken 97th (4th round) by the Titans, is now an 87 overall starting guard. Will Doughty, taken 152nd (5th round) by the Ravens, is an 88 overall starting guard (next to RBG!) Gary Gaines, taken 115th (4th round) by New England, is an 85 overall starting guard. Connor Kraus, taken 202nd overall (7th round) is an 84 overall possibly starting tackle in Washington. Toma Pinati, taken 194th overall (6th round) by Jacksonville is now an 87 and just made first team All-Pro. Of these, probably take Pinati for the All-Pro accolade and being taken so late.



    Defensive Line

    Conventional Wisdom: This is one of the best DL classes NFLHC has seen. Tyler Jones was a #1 pick contender from the beginning despite his contain tag with 11 sacks as a senior, while Anthony Miller was another 83 blitz player, while Dexter Flowers was an 82 blitz guy with some athleticism and personal issue concerns. Past those lied 4 more 81 DEs. For comparison, there weren't any 81 DEs in the 2025 draft whatsoever. All 7 of these DEs also went in the first round, and it was projected to be that way. The depth was not nearly as good, with none of the remaining players tallying more than 9 sacks in their final season (besides South Dakota's Jacob Kirk in the FCS). A pair of Nebraska DEs both ended up going in the 6th round, Kareem Yancey and Larry Scott, but neither seemed to have huge upside.


    It was also quite a nice looking DT class. Oregon's Christian Okonkwo looked like an elite NT in the making, and Pitt's Michael McBride was a less dominating nose tackle who offered some pass rush skills. Both went in the first round, and multiple DTs going in the first frame is a rarity in NFLHC. While the rest of the players were not great, a couple of players like Georgia's Nigel McKinney and Michigan's Zion Hopkins got some hype as having potentially good upside.



    Highest Pick: Tyler Jones, 1st overall to the Titans.



    Best Player: By overall, many of the top players worked out. Tyler Jones is now a 94 on a massive contract, but he's also only gone above 10 sacks twice in 5 seasons  with zero accolades - not exactly what you want from a healthy #1 pick. Shah Vereen, Dexter Flowers, and Anthony Miller are all 90+ with varying levels of sack success between them. The DTs suck. The only real blow up season in the group is Anthony Miller's 14.5 sacks in 2023. Miller is the only one with any accolades with his Pro Bowl and All Pro nod in 2023, so despite being a couple of overall points lower than Tyler Jones I'll pick him here. Jones probably takes this spot with his better run stopping ability if he ever has a blow up sack season, though.



    Biggest Bust: Christian Okonkwo is one of the more surprising busts in NFLHC history, but DT is also notoriously hard to project. He had some injury issues, including an ACL bruise, but nothing serious - he just never really seemed to progress or make quite the impact up the middle that scouts thought he would. The Seahawks finally offloaded him to the Giants this offseason in a swap of mediocre DTs. Of the 7 first round DEs, about half were busts as well, with Eric Jennings (15th overall to Atlanta) never reaching over 10 sacks in a season - although he had one 9.5 sacks one in there. Jared Self (21st overall to the Rams) and Isaiah Hall (27th overall to the Chiefs) were even worse, with neither ever recording more than 5.5 sacks, especially bad for Self as a blitz DE.


    Best Value: Two players tied for the sack lead in this class last year - Shah Vereen and Samir Dixon. Who the hell is Samir Dixon? He was a 69 overall UDFA out of Stanford signed by the Jets who sat for 3 seasons before getting to start the last couple of seasons after progressing well, and he put up 8.5 and 10 sacks. Not too bad. There wasn't too much else value outside of the top round. Zion Hopkins is a solid nose tackle for the Chargers at 85 overall but hasn't put up too much in the numbers department.




    Conventional Wisdom: There were two elite ILBs at the top - Georgia's C.J. Thomas and Nevada's Akeel Morris. Akeel was generally more hyped than C.J. and had been for a couple of seasons, looking to be the next great ILB prospect, and he proved his greatness coming out as an 83. But Thomas' 9.6 scouting grade compared to Akeel's 8.0 meant that C.J. actually ended up rising above Akeel despite the overall rating difference. Past them, the inside linebackers sucked. No one else was above an 80. There were two mediocre looking wills in Kansas' James Carson and North Carolina's Michael Avery. Avery is famously one of the worst looking prospects to enter NFLHC, but still went 102nd due to overall being 79. The only other combine worthy ILB was Oregon's Brick Madden, who looked solid but not spectacular.


    If you needed a blitz OLB, you were out of luck. None were even combine worthy. Martin Whiting of North Carolina was the top rated coverage OLB, and he received some hype. TCU's Daquan Darcey was the other first round candidate, and he got a lot of love from @DangerZoneh which may or may not have raised his stock a bit. The other three that hit the combine were also mediocre looking. WVU's Ahmed London put up stats but had mediocre athleticism, while VT's Richard Ryan had great athleticism but mediocre stats in college.



    Highest Pick: C.J. Thomas, 5th overall to the Browns.



    Best Player: The top two ILBs got all the hype for a reason. Neither of them are with their original teams anymore (C.J. got moved from Cleveland to Buffalo and has a famous series of tweets about it, while Akeel got moved from Chicago to Arizona in an interesting pick swap). Both of them just put up 100 tackles and went from 89 to 93 overall this offseason. Both are probably top 5 and even potentially top 3 inside linebackers in all of NFLHC. Akeel's 3 consecutive All Pros likely gives him the edge here, although that may be due to more opportunities on a worse defense.



    Biggest Bust: Neither of the first round OLBs have really worked out. Martin Whiting is still a starter in Philadelphia and has gone from 81 to 86 in 5 years, but he's also never topped 50 tackles in a year and is probably rather mediocre for his draft slot. Darcey has gone from 80 to 84 and even changed teams, as the Jets let him go after 4 years and he signed a $5.5 APY, 3 year deal with New England that's off to a mediocre start, although he did contribute a bit with 76 tackles. Still, neither look worth first rounders, and Darcey may be considered more of a disappointment considering the team change and lower overall increase.



    Best Value: Dillon Grant has been a decent find for the Texans in the 4th round (105th overall), as he still is their starter and has progressed to an 85. Similar story for OLB Jamie Price, a former 7th rounder (227th) overall who has progressed to an 80 and has started for both Las Vegas and Tampa over the last couple of seasons, still slated to be a starter this year. OLB Kenji Sagatomo from New Hampshire, a 5th rounder (142nd overall) famously broke out as a rookie and has gone from a 74 to an 84. I think Kenji is probably the winner here with 24.5 career sacks and some turnovers in a productive career in Seattle.



    Defensive Backs

    Conventional Wisdom: Only one CB was 82 overall but multiple were very popular picks, so much so that two of them went in the top 10. Penn State's Cameron Marshall had gotten a lot of hype and declared after the Nittany Lions won the National Championship. His scouting grade of 7.3 was not great but a 4.31 40 catapulted him into Top 10 consideration. Clemson's Marquise Reed (who also played a decent WR in college) had huge hype as well, but the fact that he went #8 (and turned into an elite player) showed an end to the era of corners going much higher than they should. Ohio State's Blake Turner got some first round hype but mediocre scouting grades hurt him a bit in the process. NDSU's Jordan Harris had FCS concerns but blazing 4.29 speed got him some first round hype as well. A slew of 78-79 man corners including LSU's Eugene Malone and Ronnie Bailey (both 79s), Miami's Nathaniel Woodworth, and Mizzou's Jeremy Starks were expected to go in the early-to-middle of the second round. The remaining zone corners included Prince Williams out of Air Force and Jeremy Evans of BYU, but both had intelligence concerns (not great for a zone corner surely).


    At free safety, Wiscy's Aaron Blakely led the pack with 3 First-Team All Big Ten selections and a senior season All-American pick. After he ran fast at the combine (4.39) with good grades (8.9 scouting) he began to get some top 10 hype. Notre Dame's T.J. Lawrence came out as an 81 but had mediocre grades and athleticism. No one else looked particularly great (even though everyone else included two future Pro Bowlers). Alabama's James White lacked athleticism and stats, while Oregon State's Emmanuel Slade had some seeming potential with an 8.7 scouting grade and Blakely-level athleticism. Washington's Sammy Grey had mediocre stats and no Pro Day and had 3 different non-combine invitee free safeties selected before him, even though he did have the 4th best SPARQ in the class.


    The strong safeties were mediocre but got some hype. There were two 81s. Pitt's Corey Davis was a superstar recruit who had a couple of great seasons but didn't look to have huge NFLHC upside. Tennessee's Michael Williams was worse in college but seemed to have more NFLHC upside with superior athleticism. There were then a slew of mediocre prospects such as Georgia's Jose Leon, who was thoroughly mediocre, Cincinnati's Mario Ruff, who hit hard but didn't think, and Air Force's Jesse Hutchins, with good grades but no production in a not great conference.



    Highest Pick: Aaron Blakely, 4th overall to the Buccaneers.



    Best Player: Marquise Reed is now a 94 overall, although he's only made the Pro Bowl and the All Pro team once (in 2022). Still, he's fearsome in coverage even if his ball skills haven't been amazing of late, and he's a big reason no one wants to throw on Green Bay. Other options include Buffalo's Sammy Grey, as the former 6th rounder is now a 2x Pro Bowler and 1x All-Pro and a 90 overall; and Jordan Harris, now a 91 and almost certainly the league's second best CB2 (Reed is currently playing that role next to Cameron Bowman).



    Biggest Bust: The highest selection is certainly the biggest disappointment, as Aaron Blakely has just 4 interceptions in 5 seasons, and has also gone just +4 in 5 seasons. I'm not quite sure why he's not the impact player he looked like he could be in college, it could just be the development environment, but ever since he had 0 interceptions starting as a rookie he just has not looked able to be the turnover creating player he was in college. While many thought he was overdrafted, I don't think anyone thought he would average 1 interception per year despite being healthy. Blake Turner, who went #18, is also terrible and has bounced around with a lower overall. He just tore his ACL as well, unfortunately for him - but he still does have more interceptions than Blakely, who has to be clearly more disappointing.



    Best Value: We discussed it up there, but Sammy Grey and Jordan Harris are probably the second and third best secondary players from this class, and neither were first rounders (although Harris went #33). Grey is the clear winner as the 179th overall pick, here.



    Special Teams

    Conventional Wisdom: This was an awful special teams class. There were no 5.0 kickers, but 3 still were drafted as we were still in the time with a dearth of good special teams players available. Leon Augustine went 100% on FGs as a senior at North Texas, and Alabama's Eric Holder missed just 3 of his 24 attempts (both went in the 4th round). The only other drafted kicker was Illinois' Aaron George, who went 28/30 but did not have much power - although he did also averaged 41 yards per punt pulling double time!


    The punters also didn't look amazing but at least a couple seemed to have more NFLHC quality. The top punter in the class finished 4th in average in 2019, as UNC's Andrew Lindsay put up 45.15 yards per punt (the top 3 were all redshirt juniors). Ball State's Luke McHenry had a booming leg and good scouting and so catapulted himself over Lindsay with an 82 overall. Nebraska's Theodore Sauer was another solid option who finished 6th in the nation in average in 2019.



    Highest Pick: Leon Augustine, 123rd overall to the Colts.



    Best Player: Luke McHenry (132nd overall) struggled as the Chargers' punter before being traded to Denver this last offseason, where he was 7th in NFLHC in punting average. He went +0 so it remains to be seen if that can maintain, but he might be on a better path than he was in LA. Similar goes for Zachary Murphy, who went 176th overall to Chicago, struggled there, and was 8th in average last year after being picked up by Seattle.



    Biggest Bust: Leon Augustine and Eric Holder went 123rd and 128th, the two highest drafted players on ST - and both were godawful (although both under 80s, which are certainly more of a crapshoot). Augustine was decent as a rookie, going 23/29 although he didn't hit any over 50. A severe groin tear in his sophomore training camp derailed his career as he was 8/15 to start his second year before the Colts drafted Chris Connell in 2022's 6th round. Augustine then disappeared into the ether for a year and re-appeared when the Colts waived him in 2023. He never kicked again. Holder, meanwhile, immediately struggled as a Raider, going 15/23 as a rookie, although he did hit one over 50. After Holder went +0 from 75 to 75, alien cut bait to sign veteran 75 Matt Fisk (who ironically was pretty good, hitting 86% in 2021!). Holder was signed by Miami as training camp bait in 2021 and never played again. Overall I'd say Holder kicked worse and was the worse player, so he's the biggest bust here.



    Best Value: UDFA Ilan Youngblood has bounced around a bit, starting in Buffalo, making his way to SF, Tennessee, and Minnesota... in his rookie year. After an injury during some playing time, he was cut by Minnesota before being signed by Tennessee again after cutting longtime kicker Leon Woodruff due to some struggles in 2022. Youngblood has been the Titans' primary kicker since, even going +3 this offseason despite a severe ankle fracture at the end of the year. Considering none of the three drafted kickers are still playing, that's pretty good value.



    Best and Worst Performing Teams

    Green Bay's draft here is an all-timer. Sure they had two top ten picks that turned into All-Pro level players - CB/WR Marquise Reed and C Lucas Hurd are both 94+ overall players now - but that's easy, you might say. But when your second rounder (G Lucas Hopkins) turns into a 93 overall All-Pro player, and your third rounder (WR Justin McCain) turns into a 93 overall Pro Bowler and future All-Pro, you have turned in one of the greatest drafts if not the greatest NFLHC has ever seen. Even the next pick after McCain, TE Luke Graf, is an 84 overall (from 76) and one of the league's better backup tight ends. The final two picks did not work out amazingly, but both are still on the team. FB Frederick Marshall is still the team's fullback, and ILB James Robertson is a mediocre backup. Still, that every player drafted is still on the team amongst 7 draft picks is a testament to the strength of this draft at both ends.


    Other good drafts include the Colts, who despite drafting three busts in a row from the second to the fourth round (DT Joseph Whiteside, RB Elijah Harden, and K Leon Augustine), took an All-Pro guard in the first and a Pro Bowl tight end in the seventh. The Jaguars also grabbed multiple All-Pros with WR Raheem Robinson #2 overall and OT Toma Pinati in the 6th. Denver took G Russell Benson-Gifford and RB J.B. Blacknall with their first two picks, both of whom are All-Pro and Pro Bowl talents, but the rest of the draft is not so pretty. Minnesota grabbed OT Donald Reed in the first and WR Jacory Kessler in the 4th, both Pro Bowlers. Dallas grabbed a franchise QB at #7 and a Pro Bowl FS in Emmanuel Slade in the 3rd. WFT took solid WR Sam Hiller-Weeden in the first and All Pro guard Nick Ramos in the second. Finally, Tennessee came out with Tyler Jones and Jordan Harris, both All Pro talents, with WR Cody Hunter in the 4th being a good contributor, but they also used #1 and #33 to grab the first two.


    Houston had a rough draft. First rounder Arturo Pacheco was awful, second rounder CB Tom Wyman and third rounder OLB Ahmed London lasted four years but never progressed, and only Dillon Grant from the fourth round is a contributor in 2025, and he's just okay. The Chargers also didn't fare too well, as besides #3 pick Anthony Miller (who was out of town soon after this due to scheme issues) the two second rounders in WR Tom Oldham and CB Prince Williams didn't pan out to much, while only DT Zion Hopkins remains as a nose tackle. The Jets were also quite bad, with first rounder OLB Daquan Darcey never contributing much, and among two second rounders CB Nathaniel Woodworth is an acceptable CB3/backup while C Aden Hastings is godawful. None of the mid-rounders worked out much either, with only RB Sam Chapman being the backup for the Chargers.


    But the worst is Tampa's. Aaron Blakely in the top 5, even though he is still starting in Tampa as a below average FS, is not a good use of resources, and the team then had four third rounders. The first was RB Jeremiah Newton. Newton is now in his sixth season in Tampa, somehow, despite his career statline being 255 carries for 743 yards (good for a solid 2.91 YPC) with just 9 touchdowns and 3 fumbles lost. Hard to call that a success. They  then spent their third pick on QB Devin Conroy, who was not employed this offseason or in 2024. Their fourth pick, CB Michael Hernandez, is a league average nickel/backup who only spent 2 seasons with the Bucs. Their fifth pick, TE William Johnson, is arguably the most successful of all of these picks with his career-high receiving yards being 289 in Seattle in 2023. In his career in Tampa, he had 8 catches for 83 yards with 3 drops. None of the Day 3 picks, including, sadly, QB Dylan Bishop, never amounted to anything. All in all, a complete waste of what could have been a solid class here. Among 11 picks, only one (Blakely) still starts in NFLHC.

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    17 minutes ago, cultur3 said:

    I really do love this series. A lot. 

    It doesn’t surprise me at all that Tampa and Arizona had the two worst drafts this class, based on who was running each franchise at the time. 


    I don't think AZ had the worst draft, just because TE Emanuelu Lesa was an All Pro STer, and Eugene Malone worked out to be the All Pro slot last year (though unfortunately for Arizona, in San Francisco). Omar McManus, Rory Weston, etc. were awful picks but at least contributed, all of Tampa's third rounders basically did nothing, and of the two that have contributed meaningfully both of them did it out of Tampa. I didn't even mention the three fifth rounders who were all awful as well, along with fourth round WR James Richardson is already a 74 and cut by the Colts.

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    6 hours ago, Jumbo said:


    I don't think AZ had the worst draft, just because TE Emanuelu Lesa was an All Pro STer, and Eugene Malone worked out to be the All Pro slot last year (though unfortunately for Arizona, in San Francisco). Omar McManus, Rory Weston, etc. were awful picks but at least contributed,

    McManus was actually not terrible until he got hurt - a 9.0 sack season in 2021 had his potential way higher than it should have been, but he got hurt in 2022, relegated behind Samir Sample, and then this year with a chance to rotate in again, got hurt again and will likely never play for Arizona again. 

    rory, though, I would not say contributed, at least not positively. He managed only 5.79 yards per attempt in Arizona, a trend which has continued on the other teams he’s been on, and I’m not sure why he keeps getting chances. Kareem Taylor was averaging 7 ypa and had a positive TD:INT ratio when he was randomly benched for Rory mid season. Nicholas Garland came in last year and posted better stats than Rory did in a Cardinals uni. 

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    9 hours ago, Jumbo said:

    Biggest Bust: Saints GM @Dean really liked Patrick Glass for reasons that are still rather unclear to me. He went 40th overall, the 2nd TE off the board, and never quite materialized as a starting option. He's still hanging on as a starter despite being a rather unimpressive 83 (from 79) after 5 seasons, but has never put up more than 600 yards catching passes from a top QB in Devereaux. Not ideal for the 40th pick.



    What eating a sock does to your brain

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    6 hours ago, Broletariat said:

    Great stuff as always. Whiting seemed so promising in his rookie season before a nasty injury really derailed him. He's settled at "passable starter" but I have to imagine the injury had a lasting impact on his development which is a real bummer.


    Yeah, I think that's happened to a couple of busts here (Eli Austin rupturing his ACL I'd also put in here even if he was mediocre as a rookie). Although Austin is not as passable a starter as Whiting, of course.


    11 hours ago, Ape said:

    Whiteside was a draft and trade 




    Apologies, it's basically impossible to track those while tracking everything else. I try to rely on my memory but hard if it's not on the wiki/not a first rounder.

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    We still did well in recouping value for Miller when we dealt him.  But those 2nd round picks that were made without my consent set us back tremendously.  I hated Oldham in the predraft process and did not list him on my board.  And Prince Williams was not who I wanted either.  Based on the draft board that I built, and looking at where players wound up going, our picks, had I selected, would have been JBB at #35 and Dylan Hastings at #51.  That certainly would have changed the fortunes of this franchise, and we would not have been saddled with Joseph Bowen as the lead back and a turnstile at offensive tackle.


    I loved Gerald Morrison as a 4th round pick, and thought he could develop into something decent.  He had the size and speed.  But he was never any good.  And I thought for sure that drafting McHenry, college's top punter, would fix our punting issues, but he never performed for us.  Moving to the thin air in Denver, he should have improved his punting average, but overall, he was a disappointment for us, for sure.

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    1 minute ago, TheSam said:

    Very nice write up. Cool to see Will Doughty get a shout out. 


    This is kinda just a moot point but fisher did get a pro day. And it was pretty good. It was a good pick! (copium lol) http://cfbhc.com/index.php?/topic/15336-2020-pro-days/




    Holy shit I forgot that this was what happened lmao. I just went looking in 2020 Pro Day QBs and I'm pretty sure I also thought at the time he just didn't have a pro day. Thanks for pointing it out

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