The 2020 NFL Draft has come and gone. As usual, there's plenty to like, equally as much to bash and more than enough material for relentless debating. We saw three quarterbacks go in the top 10, but the one who created the most buzz ended up as the 26th overall pick. Wide receiver was a popular choice, as well, with the fastest being the first selected. The one position that suffered the most was running back. It seemed like nobody was going to use a first-round pick on one until the Kansas City Chiefs decided to make a scary offense even scarier.
The last few days have been filled with endless discussion about who did the best, who graded the highest and who screwed up the worst. This space will be devoted to something different: Which current players were most affected by what happened in the 2020 draft? There are many who will be pleased by the decisions that occurred, and others who will be miffed.
Here's a quick breakdown of those veterans who were most helped or hurt by the choices in this year's class:
HELPED BY THE DRAFT:
1) Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, San Francisco 49ers
The 2019 season didn't end as Garoppolo would've hoped, with San Francisco losing to Kansas City in Super Bowl LIV -- but he has to be excited about the potential for 2020 after this weekend. San Francisco used its first pick to select South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw, which means the 49ers defensive line can continue its dominance despite trading DeForest Buckner to Indianapolis in March. General manager John Lynch then used his other first-round selection (No. 25, after a trade up from 31) on Arizona State wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, a freakishly gifted target who should pair well with second-year pro Deebo Samuel. Add in a trade that led to the acquisition of disgruntled Washington Redskins left tackle Trent Williams -- to offset the retirement of Joe Staley -- and Garoppolo should've been dancing a jig. The 49ers kept their defense strong while also improving their offense in the process. A quarterback leading a team that wants another Super Bowl shot couldn't have asked for more.
2) Tom Brady, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay may have been the surprise landing spot for Brady after New England, but it's looking better with each passing day. The Bucs followed a draft-week trade for Brady's buddy, retired Pro Bowl tight Rob Gronkowski, by trading up to select Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs with the 13th overall selection. The Bucs desperately needed a right tackle who could step in as a Day 1 starter. The 6-foot-5, 320-pound Wirfs has the experience and athleticism to do just that. His numbers from the NFL Scouting Combine were off the charts -- he broke the record for offensive linemen with a 36.5-inch vertical jump, and his 4.85-second time in the 40-yard dash was the fastest at his position -- and he was a three-year starter in a program known for developing NFL-quality linemen. We all know Brady's vision and lightning-quick decision-making will help the ball come out faster for a team that surrendered 47 sacks in 2019. However, the presence of Wirfs will allow Brady, who turns 43 in August, to sleep much easier at night.
3) Josh Jacobs, RB, Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders wanted to add serious speed to their passing game, which is why they used the 12th overall pick on Alabama's Henry Ruggs III, who ran the combine's fastest 40 (4.27 second). In doing so, head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock just made life much easier on their star running back. Jacobs was a stud in his rookie season. He ran for 1,150 yards and seven touchdowns in 13 games and finished second in the voting for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Jacobs did all that while operating in an offense that nobody would classify as explosive. The Raiders' top pass-catcher was tight end Darren Waller, and the preseason dismissal of Antonio Brown left them without a receiver who could prevent safeties from lingering around the line of scrimmage. There are plenty of people who are bashing the Raiders for taking Ruggs when they could've had Jerry Jeudy (who went three picks later, to the Broncos) or CeeDee Lamb (who went five picks later, to the Cowboys). The thinking there is that Ruggs isn't as polished as those other two prospects. That's fine. What he can do is terrify defenders with his speed, and that quality will make Jacobs even more devastating in the near future.
4) Courtland Sutton, WR, Denver Broncos
The Broncos made it clear that they needed more weapons in their passing game. GM John Elway used his first two picks on wide receivers, taking Jeudy in the first round (15th overall) and Penn State's KJ Hamler in the second (46th). While that's great news for second-year quarterback Drew Lock, Sutton should be equally giddy. Sutton did most of the heavy lifting when the Broncos dropped back to throw the football, as he led the team with 72 receptions for 1,112 yards. To give proper context to those numbers, no other player on that offense had more than 43 catches or even topped 600 receiving yards. Now Sutton can come into this season feeling better about his chance of having an even greater impact. Denver still has a talented young tight end in Noah Fant (their 2019 first-round pick), but Jeudy and Hamler have the potential to be game-changers. Jeudy was considered one of the two best receivers in this class, while Hamler has the speed and quickness to be a poor man's Tyreek Hill in Denver's offense. In other words, Sutton might blossom into a Pro Bowl player if everything works out as Elway hopes.
5) Baltimore Ravens' defense
A Ravens defense that played at a high level in the second half of 2019 is about to become even more difficult to handle. Their first-round pick, LSU linebacker Patrick Queen (28th overall), is the type of dynamic athlete who fits perfectly as a sideline-to-sideline playmaker in that aggressive scheme. The two third-round picks on defense, lineman Justin Madubuike and linebacker Malik Harrison, are strong run defenders who provide immediate depth. Oh, yeah -- the most prolific rushing attack in NFL history added Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins in the second round. That equates to even more rest for a defense that also bolstered its defensive line earlier this offseason with the additions of Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe. If there is a team that is going to challenge Kansas City for the AFC crown, this is the one.
HURT BY THE DRAFT:
1) Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers could've used the draft to find more weapons for Rodgers in the passing game. Instead, they opted to trade up to select his heir apparent, Utah State quarterback Jordan Love, with the 26th overall pick. It was a move that made sense for the future -- Brett Favre was at the same stage in his career when the Packers selected Rodgers in the 2005 draft -- but Green Bay also was one victory away from reaching the Super Bowl for just the second time with Rodgers under center. On top of taking Love, the only other skill player the Packers drafted on offense was running back A.J. Dillon. Talk about sending a message. Even if Rodgers has four years remaining on his current deal, it's fair to assume Love could have his job in half that time.
2) Marlon Mack, RB, Indianapolis Colts
The Colts have been saying all the right things ever since drafting Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor in the second round. No, they aren't looking to trade Mack. Yes, they think Taylor can form a nice 1-2 punch with Mack behind one of the NFL's best offensive lines. That's what franchises are supposed to do when there's a high potential for drama. The reality is that Mack -- who ran for a total of 1,999 yards and 17 touchdowns over the last two seasons -- can't be happy about this. For one, he's only 24 and entering the final year of his contract. Taylor also is the epitome of a back who doesn't need to share time. The dude ran for 6,174 yards in three college seasons. So while the Colts are envisioning a combo-back situation for this coming fall, Mack should be preparing to see his production take a huge hit with free agency on the horizon.
3) Michael Gallup, WR, Dallas Cowboys
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was beaming after Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb fell to his team with the 17th overall selection. It's hard to imagine Gallup being equally thrilled. After all, he enjoyed a breakout campaign in his second season -- he dramatically increased his rookie numbers in receptions (33 to 66), yards (507 to 1107) and targets (68 to 113) -- while proving to be a pleasant surprise for a vastly disappointing team. The only way Gallup continues that kind of production this fall is if Lamb isn't everything scouts envision. Lamb was one of the two best receivers in this class, and he's earned rave reviews for his route-running, ball skills and ability to run after the catch. He's also joining a Cowboys team that just handed a $100 million deal to wide receiver Amari Cooper in free agency. Oh, quarterback Dak Prescott is going to love this setup. Gallup, on the other hand, is probably going to be a No. 3 wideout in the near future.
4) Damien Williams, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
There's already plenty of buzz coming out of Kansas City about first-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire and the way he'll blossom in the Chiefs' high-powered offense. That kind of hype doesn't bode well for Williams. Even though he was the team's leading rusher in 2019 -- a player who also ran for 104 yards on 17 carries and scored the game-clinching touchdown in Super Bowl LIV -- he'd better prepare for a new role. Head coach Andy Reid loves to rotate his running backs, but it feels like Edwards-Helaire is destined to receive the largest chunk of the load. Chiefs GM Brett Veach said after the draft that Reid sees Edwards-Helaire as the second coming of former Philadelphia Eagles running back Brian Westbrook, an all-purpose ball-carrier that Reid turned into a Pro Bowl talent. The success Edwards-Helaire enjoyed at LSU backs that up, as he produced 1,414 yards, 55 receptions and 17 touchdowns for the national champions in 2019. Plus, it wasn't that long ago that the Chiefs' offense featured a Pro Bowl back in Kareem Hunt. Williams -- whose contract expires after this season -- has been surprisingly serviceable as a replacement for Hunt. Unfortunately for him, Edwards-Helaire looks like a much better option for that job.
5) Every tight end on the Chicago Bears' roster
Bears GM Ryan Pace has been all about the phrase "strength in numbers" this offseason. Chicago already had nine tight ends on their roster. However, none of those players was exciting enough to prevent Notre Dame's Cole Kmet from becoming the 43rd overall selection in this draft. (The decision to waive Dax Raymond brought the total back down to nine.) Sure, Kmet has talent (he was widely considered the top tight end in this class). The real issue revolves around what the Bears are trying to accomplish at this position. They signed Jimmy Graham to a two-year deal after he underwhelmed in Green Bay. They added Demetrius Harris -- who was in Kansas City when Bears head coach Matt Nagy was the Chiefs offensive coordinator -- as well. They also still have Adam Shaheen, a second-round pick in the 2017 draft who hasn't shown any signs of being a legitimate player at this level. It's obvious the Bears are doing everything possible to find a security blanket for whomever starts at quarterback (Mitch Trubisky will compete with Nick Foles for that spot). Kmet just became the leading candidate for the job.