2020 NFL Draft

Bengals, Joe Burrow Agree To Deal

At long last, the Bengals have reached agreement with No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow on his rookie deal (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter). Per the terms of his slot, the LSU quarterback will receive $36.1MM over the course of four years, including a $23.88MM signing bonus. 

Like the league’s other 31 clubs, the Bengals were skittish about forking over millions of dollars in the midst of economic uncertainty. Ultimately, Burrow got the payout structure he wanted – he’ll get 100% of his signing bonus within 15 days of the contract being executed, per Schefter. The deal will be formally signed later this week, after Burrow takes his physical.

Burrow joined Kyler Murray and Baker Mayfield as consecutive Heisman winners to be drafted No. 1 overall. The Bengals’ Burrow infatuation was the league’s worst-kept secret. After a 2-14 finish to the 2019 season, they’re hoping that Burrow will help right the ship and put them in contention in the not-too-distant future.

An Ohio native, Burrow posted arguably the greatest quarterback season in the history of college football in 2019, completing 76.3% of his passes for 60 touchdowns. That TD total is an NCAA record, and he did it while throwing only six picks. Fresh off of a National Championship, the LSU star is now weeks away from his pro debut.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants, First-Round Pick Andrew Thomas Agree To Deal

The Giants have finalized an agreement with first-round pick Andrew Thomas on his rookie contract, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY tweets. Thomas will receive a fully guaranteed $32.4MM, and the fifth-year option included in his deal would tether him to the Giants through 2024.

Of the several high-end tackle prospects this year, Thomas went off the board first. The Giants using the No. 4 overall pick on a tackle, despite deploying the No. 31-ranked DVOA pass defense last season, illustrates their need for a long-term piece at this position. New York has struggled to fill its tackle spots for several years.

Thomas declared for the draft after his junior season at Georgia. He started for the Bulldogs as a true freshman, protecting fellow 2020 draftee Jake Fromm for the past three seasons. Thomas is expected to start his career at right tackle, replacing Mike Remmers, before being projected to move over to the left side after Nate Solder‘s Giants tenure ends — likely after the 2020 season.

Here is the Giants’ 2020 draft class:

1-4: Andrew Thomas, T (Georgia): Signed
2-36: Xavier McKinney, S (Alabama)
3-99: Matt Peart, OT (Connecticut): Signed
4-110: Darnay Holmes, CB (UCLA)
5-150: Shane Lemieux, G (Oregon)
6-183: Cameron Brown, LB (Penn State)
7-218: Carter Coughlin, LB (Minnesota)
7-238: T.J. Brunson LB (South Carolina)
7-247: Chris Williamson, CB (Minnesota)
7-255: Tae Crowder, LB (Georgia): Signed

Seahawks Sign First-Round Pick Jordyn Brooks

Another first-round pick in the books. On Monday, the Seahawks announced that they have agreed to terms with linebacker Jordyn Brooks. Per the terms of his slot, his four-year deal will pay $12.35MM in total, including a $6.458MM signing bonus. After that, the Seahawks will hold a fifth-year option to keep him in the fold through 2024. 

Brooks wasn’t projected to be a first-round pick, but he was pleasantly surprised when he heard from the Seahawks at No. 27. Most analysts pegged Brooks as a second- or third-round pick, but Seahawks GM John Schneider didn’t want to take any chances.

When people aren’t talking about players, that’s when you get pretty nervous,” Schneider said in a press conference following the first night of the draft. “And Jordyn was clearly one of those players. At the combine, I totally stayed away from him. I didn’t talk to him at the combine. I just evaluated all the different interviews.”

Brooks, lauded for his grit and work ethic, projects to start as the Seahawks’ strongside linebacker, joining Bruce Irvin, Bobby Wagner, and K.J. Wright in the first-string group. With the Texas Tech product now in the fold, there are now just a handful of first-rounders in the NFL left unsigned.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chargers Sign Justin Herbert, Wrap Draft Class

The Chargers have wrapped up their 2020 NFL Draft class, per a club announcement. Quarterback Justin Herbert was the first reported signing, and the rest of the crop followed soon after. The full rundown, per our tracker:

1-6: Justin Herbert, QB (Oregon): Signed
1-23: Kenneth Murray, LB (Oklahoma): Signed
4-112: Joshua Kelley, RB (UCLA): Signed
5-151: Joe Reed, WR (Virginia): Signed
6-186: Alohi Gilman, S (Notre Dame): Signed
7-220: K.J. Hill, WR (Ohio State): Signed

Herbert was a polarizing prospect. Those that are high on the Oregon product believe that his elite arm strength will allow him to succeed as a starter. Others are concerned about his pension for holding on to the ball for too long. The debate between Herbert and Tua Tagovailoa was fierce, but, ultimately, the Dolphins made the decision for the Chargers by selecting the Alabama star No. 5 overall. At No. 6, GM Tom Telesco said that he would have been perfectly happy with either passer.

Herbert will have the unenviable task of eventually stepping into Philip Rivers’ shoes. For now, the 6’6″ rookie will likely begin the year as the QB2 behind Tyrod Taylor.

Raiders Sign Damon Arnette, Wrap Draft Class

The Raiders have wrapped up their 2020 NFL Draft class. Following their reported agreement with first-round wide receiver Henry Ruggs, the Raiders formally announced deals for the rest of the class. Here’s the full rundown, via PFR’s tracker: 

1-12: Henry Ruggs III, WR (Alabama): Signed
1-19: Damon Arnette, CB (Ohio State): Signed
3-80: Lynn Bowden Jr., WR (Kentucky): Signed
3-81: Bryan Edwards, WR (South Carolina): Signed
3-100: Tanner Muse, LB (Clemson): Signed
4-109: John Simpson, OL (Clemson): Signed
4-139: Amik Robertson, CB (Louisiana Tech): Signed

Per the terms of his slot, Arnette will receive a four-year deal worth $13.4MM, including a signing bonus of ~$7.3MM. Beyond that, the Raiders will hold a fifth-year option to keep him under club control through the 2024 season. Arnette wasn’t expected to go in the middle of the first round, but the Raiders aren’t afraid to buck conventional thought.

Arnette took a while to develop and reach Ohio State’s starting lineup, but once he got there, he provided the Buckeyes with a solid partner opposite star Jeff Okudah. With the ability to play on the inside or the outside, the Raiders believe that Arnette has what it takes to make it at the next level. His 4.56 second 40-yard-dash didn’t necessarily impress evaluators, but his ability to jam receivers at the line is a major plus.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos Sign Round 2 WR K.J. Hamler, Finalize Draft Class Deals

The Broncos signed all 10 of their 2020 draft picks this week. They concluded the stretch of deals by agreeing to terms with second-round wide receiver K.J. Hamler on his four-year contract Friday, Mike Klis of 9News notes.

Denver became the first team to select wide receivers in both the first and second rounds since the Cardinals chose Bryant Johnson and Anquan Boldin in 2003. The Broncos drafted Jerry Jeudy at No. 15 overall and took Hamler 46th, equipping Drew Lock with an intriguing set of weapons alongside Courtland Sutton and 2019 first-round tight end Noah Fant.

A hamstring injury prevented Hamler from participating at the Combine, but the Penn State product was viewed as one of the draft’s fastest players. A 5-foot-9 wideout who declared for the draft after his sophomore college season, Hamler is expected to see action in the slot for the Broncos. He showed high-level playmaking ability with the Nittany Lions, totaling 98 receptions for 1,658 yards and 13 touchdowns as an underclassman. He averaged 18 yards per catch as a freshman.

Hamler will join former Penn State teammate DaeSean Hamilton in the Broncos’ receiver group but will be expected to surpass him and man the slot in Denver’s three-wideout sets.

Here is the Broncos’ full 2020 draft class:

1-15: Jerry Jeudy, WR (Alabama): Signed
2-46: K.J. Hamler, WR (Penn State): Signed
3-77: Michael Ojemudia, CB (Iowa): Signed
3-83: Lloyd Cushenberry, C (LSU): Signed
3-95: McTelvin Agim, DL (Arkansas): Signed
4-118: Albert Okwuegbunam, TE (Missouri): Signed
5-178: Justin Strnad, LB (Wake Forest): Signed
6-181: Netane Muti, G (Fresno State): Signed
7-252: Tyrie Cleveland, WR (Florida): Signed
7-254: Derrek Tuszka, LB (North Dakota State): Signed

Jets Sign Ashtyn Davis, Wrap Draft Class

That’s a wrap. The Jets have inked third-round safety Ashtyn Davis to his rookie contract to round out their 2020 draft class (Twitter link via Manish Mehta of the Daily News).

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Davis, a Cal product, underwent core muscle surgery just before the draft. However, he’s expected to be 100% healthy by Week 1.

Safety seems to be Davis’ most likely position in the pros, but he also spent time at cornerback early in his collegiate career. The former walk-on is ready, willing, and even eager to line up at different spots in Gregg Williams‘ defense.

I think I can contribute anywhere they put me. I’m comfortable on the outside and inside, whatever the case may be,” Davis said. “After my first year of playing safety, I wanted to know every position and not just my responsibility. That way if someone went down they could put me in.”

Per the terms of his slot, Davis has received a four-year, $4.9MM deal. Here’s the full rundown of the Jets’ nine-man freshman class, via PFR’s tracker:

1-11: Mekhi Becton, T (Louisville): Signed
2-59: Denzel Mims, WR (Baylor): Signed
3-68: Ashtyn Davis, S (California): Signed
3-79: Jabari Zuniga, DE (Florida): Signed
4-120: Lamical Perine, RB (Florida): Signed
4-125: James Morgan, QB (Florida International): Signed
4-129: Cameron Clark, OT (Charlotte): Signed
5-158: Bryce Hall, CB (Virginia): Signed
6-191: Braden Mann, P (Texas A&M): Signed

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Vikings Sign CB Jeff Gladney, Wrap 15-Player Draft Class

The largest draft class in the seven-round era is now under contract. The Vikings agreed to terms with first-round cornerback Jeff Gladney on Thursday, closing the book on negotiations with their 15-man draft class.

Chosen 31st overall, Gladney will be expected to compete for a starting job right away. While the COVID-19 pandemic eliminating onsite offseason work (and threatening training camps’ start date) will make the TCU product’s climb more difficult, the Vikings lost three corners — Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander — this offseason.

Minnesota made Gladney its second first-round corner chosen in three years, following Mike Hughes, and fourth since 2013. Gladney spent five years with the Horned Frogs. He finished as a first-team All-Big 12 selection last season and graded as Pro Football Focus’ top Big 12 corner in passer rating allowed in 2018.

The Vikings made three corner selections this year. They will join Hughes, Holton Hill and 2019 seventh-rounder Kris Boyd in attempting to fill the void left by the Rhodes release and the Waynes and Alexander free agency defections.

Here is the full Vikings 15-man draft class:

1-22: Justin Jefferson, WR (LSU): Signed
1-31: Jeff Gladney, CB (TCU): Signed
2-58: Ezra Cleveland, OT (Boise State): Signed
3-89: Cameron Dantzler, CB (Mississippi State): Signed
4-117: D.J. Wonnum, DE (South Carolina): Signed
4-130: James Lynch, DT (Baylor): Signed
4-132: Troy Dye, OLB (Oregon): Signed
5-169: Harrison Hand, CB (Temple): Signed
5-176: K.J. Osborn, WR (Miami): Signed
6-201: Blake Brandel, T (Oregon State): Signed
6-203: Josh Metellus, S (Michigan): Signed
7-225: Kenny Willekes, DE (Michigan State): Signed
7-244: Nate Stanley, QB (Iowa): Signed
7-249: Brian Cole II, S (Mississippi State): Signed
7-253: Kyle Hinton, OL (Washburn): Signed

NFL Draft Pick Signings: 7/23/20

Here are Thursday’s draft pick agreements, with the list being updated throughout the day.

  • The Vikings picked an interesting year to make 15 draft choices, given the pandemic’s impact on developmental work. But the team is nearly finished with rookie contract agreements. Minnesota signed third-round cornerback Cameron Dantzler (Mississippi State), fourth-round defensive end D.J. Wonnum (South Carolina), fifth-round corner Harrison Hand (Temple), fifth-round wideout K.J. Osborn (Miami), sixth-round tackle Blake Brandel (Oregon State), sixth-round safety Josh Metellus (Michigan), seventh-round defensive end Kenny Willekes (Michigan State) and seventh-round safety Brian Cole (Mississippi State). Minnesota lost Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander this offseason and tripled up on corners in the draft. First-round corner Jeff Gladney is the Vikes’ lone unsigned pick.
  • Top 2020 Steelers pick Chase Claypool, a second-rounder, is now under contract. The Steelers have their latest Day 2 wide receiver investment signed, along with Round 6 safety Antoine Brooks (Maryland). Claypool’s addition means the top four Pittsburgh wideouts — JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, Diontae Johnson and Claypool — came from the second or third rounds. The Notre Dame product has quite the SPARQ profile, going 6-foot-4, 238 pounds and running a 4.42-second 40-yard dash at the Combine.
  • Washington wrapped up its 2020 draft class by signing Round 4 tackle Saahdiq Charles, Round 5 linebacker Khaleke Hudson, Round 6 safety Kamren Curl and Round 7 defensive end James Smith-Williams.
  • The Bengals signed one of Claypool’s former Fighting Irish teammates, fifth-round defensive end Khalid Kareem. He is the first of Cincinnati’s seven 2020 picks to agree to terms.

Broncos, First-Rounder Jerry Jeudy Agree To Terms

The Broncos and Jerry Jeudy have a deal. The first-round wide receiver will ink his four-year, $15.192MM deal soon, as NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets. The deal includes an $8.61MM signing bonus, of which 71% will be paid upfront.

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Most of this year’s draft pick signings have come later than usual, in one giant burst. There was little doubt that Jeudy and the rest of this year’s 250+ player crop would eventually sign, but teams have been nervous about the current financial climate and the prospect of laying out millions of dollars early on. The first-round picks, in particular, have dragged, due to their larger signing bonuses.

Teammate Henry Ruggs came off the board before Jeudy, going No. 12 to the Raiders. At No. 15, the Broncos got the Alabama star that many evaluators actually preferred. Jeudy doesn’t have Ruggs’ speed, but he has the size to outstretch cornerbacks on the outside and tremendous route-running ability. The 6’1″ receiver averaged 72 catches for 1,239 yards and 12 touchdowns over his final two years on campus, and he could also see some time in the slot. In Denver, he’ll team with Courtland Sutton – mostly on the opposite side, while second-round pick KJ Hamler handles the slot.

The Broncos have also agreed to terms with rookies Lloyd CushenberryJustin Strnad, Tyrie Cleveland, and Netane Muti, meaning that there’s not much paperwork left for their 2020 class.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.