2020 NFL Draft

Extra Points: 2020 NFL Draft, Gronk, T-Rich

The wide receiver crop in the 2019 NFL draft left much to be desired, but it’s a different story in 2020, as Kalyn Kahler of The MMQB writes. This year, there was not a receiver chosen until No. 25 overall when the Ravens took Marquise Brown. This year, there are several players with high-end potential.

On the surface it looks as though there are much better route runners with legit gas in this class,” one scout told Kahler. “Not just big jump-ball guys. There could be several Calvin Ridley-types, which could play multiple roles in offenses, increasing their value.”

Among 2020’s top WRs is Alabama junior Jerry Jeudy, who boasts impressive route running despite being undersized at 6’1″ and 192 pounds. Last year, Jeudy reeled in 14 touchdowns and dropped just four of his 72 catchable balls.

Others to watch: Colorado’s Laviska Shenault Jr., TCU’s Jalen Reagor, Oklahoma’s Ceedee Lamb, Oklahoma State’s Tylan Wallace, and Clemson’s Tee Higgins.

As you gear up way, way too early for the 2020 NFL Draft, here’s more from around the league:

  • The NFL and the NFLPA are set to meet on Monday-Wednesday to discuss a new CBA and Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (on Twitter) hears that the players are interested in creating shorter rookie deals for incoming players. Currently, draft picks are signed to four-year contracts, with teams holding fifth-year options for first-round picks. With shorter rookie deals, players would be able to reach free agency at an earlier date and earn market-value deals sooner.
  • Take this with a grain of driveway salt, but as Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports writes, a recent interaction captured between former Patriots star Rob Gronkowski and Drew Brees has conspiracy theorists (and amateur lip readers) buzzing. Gronk, some say, told the Saints quarterback that he is “coming back [to football].” For now, we’re assuming that the tight end is staying retired, especially since he has slimmed down considerably since the Super Bowl.
  • Running back Trent Richardson and quarterback Connor Cook are participating in the XFL’s “Summer Showcase” in St. Louis on Saturday, as Michael David Smith of PFT writes. T-Rich, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 draft, is apparently still focused on getting back to the NFL. Last year, he led the AAF with 12 touchdowns before the league went belly-up. Cook, meanwhile, was never able to do much in the NFL despite some buzz heading into the 2016 draft.
  • CAA, one of the most powerful agencies in the NFL, is driving a hard bargain for rookies, Mike Florio of PFT writes. This year, four of the five remaining unsigned first-round picks are repped by CAA. And, last July, five of seven unsigned players in the top 10 were repped by CAA. As of this writing, the following first-rounders are unsigned: 49ers defensive end Joey Bosa (No. 2; represented by CAA), Jets defensive tackle Quinnen Williams (No. 3; represented by Nicole Lynn of Young Money APAA Sports), Bucs linebacker Devin White (No. 5; CAA), Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (No. 6; CAA), and Panthers linebacker Brian Burns (No. 16; CAA).

Extra Points: Offsets, Comp Picks, Watson

Every year there are a few first round picks that take a while to sign. On rare occasions, like in the case of Joey Bosa a few years ago, it causes them to miss regular season action. Last year, it was eighth overall pick Roquan Smith who took the longest to sign, as his negotiations with the Bears lasted into mid-August. The disputes are almost always about offset language, and we could all end up studying offset discrepancies again if an early pick prolongs the process. Interestingly, every first round pick that has signed so far, including first overall pick Kyler Murray, has had offset language included in their contracts, per Albert Breer of SI.com.

As Breer points out, it’s been a big sticking point ever since the 2011 CBA established slotted rookie contracts. With the amount of money locked in, it’s pretty much the only thing for agents to fight over. Breer writes that this year it’s “notable that teams are winning decisively in this area, considering how it caused dustups in the recent past.” While that’s true for now, the majority of first round picks still aren’t signed and it’s too early to be declaring the process smooth.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Teams are beginning to place more and more of an emphasis on compensatory picks, which isn’t surprising. In an era of professional sports when teams in every league are realizing the value of adding volume in drafts, NFL teams are wising up. Teams like the Patriots have been good at racking up compensatory picks for years, and other teams are starting to catch up. With the deadline for free agents to count against the compensatory pick formula passing recently, outlets are able to make their first projections about what the compensatory scene might look like for the 2020 draft. Our friends over at Overthecap.com came out with their projections, and New England looks likely to cash in once again. They project the Patriots to add two third round picks, for the departures of Trey Flowers and Trent Brown in free agency. The Eagles are projected to get the earliest compensatory pick, for the loss of Nick Foles.
  • Speaking of the Patriots, they signed tight end Ben Watson last week, luring him out of retirement. Now we have more details on his one-year contract, courtesy of Ben Volin of the Boston Globe (Twitter link). His $3MM deal will include $600k guaranteed in the form of a signing bonus. He can also earn a $1.45m base salary, $300k in per-game bonuses, and $650k in incentives assuming he sticks on the roster. Volin writes that it “doesn’t guarantee him a roster spot, but chances are likely” he’ll be on the team. Watson is 38 now so he certainly won’t be replacing Rob Gronkowski‘s receiving production all by himself, but he can play a serviceable role and be a nice veteran leader.