The second day of the 2020 NFL draft commenced on Friday night with the second and third rounds. Let’s take a look at some of the notable picks of Friday’s action.
33rd Overall: Cincinatti Bengals
After selecting Joe Burrow with the top overall pick on Thursday, the Bengals immediately got their new signal caller some help in Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins.
The 6’4″, 215-pound Tennessee native brings speed to burn to the Bengals receiving corps; averaging nearly 20 yards per catch and scoring 13 touchdowns in 2019. While Cincinnati could have opted to add some protection for their franchise quarterback, the upside Higgins provides as an explosive playmaker was too tempting for head coach Zac Taylor and company to resist.
One question mark hovering over Higgins however is his health; specifically with his right ankle. His range of motion decreased after a surgery last spring, but that didn’t seem to slow him down much in the short-term.
40th Overall: Houston Texans
Houston used the pick it got for DeAndre Hopkins on TCU defensive tackle Ross Blacklock.
Despite being more tall and lean than short and stout, Blacklock fills a big need for the Texans on the front line. According to ESPN they allowed the most rushing yards before contact in the NFL last season; and run defending was Blacklock’s specialty in college.
52nd Overall: Los Angeles Rams
After parting ways with former All-Pro running back Todd Gurley this offseason; the Rams picked up Cam Akers out of Florida State to add some juice to the backfield.
Despite playing on below-standard FSU teams, the 5’10”, 217-pound running back managed productivity. In 2017 he set the freshman rushing record previously held by Dalvin Cook. He flashed the well-roundedness of his game in 2019, setting a career high in not just rushing yards and touchdowns but receiving yards and scores as well.
In a backfield with no bell-cow ball carrier, Akers could be primed to have an immediate impact on the Rams offense.
53rd Overall: Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles selected the first quarterback of the second round, taking Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts.
Hurts’ story is one of the most unique in college football; starting two years at Alabama and posting a 26-2 record. But in perhaps the most Alabama move ever, he lost he still lost his starting spot to Tua Tagovailoa (selected fifth overall); and he transferred to Oklahoma.
In 14 games in Norman he showed he still had the skills to play at a high level, completing nearly 70 percent of his passes for 3,851 yards and 32 touchdowns with eight interceptions.
He will serve as the back up to Carson Wentz, who recently signed a four-year extension with Philadelphia. But Wentz has proven himself to be injury prone during his time in the NFL, so Hurts will never be too far from taking the field.
55th Overall: Baltimore Ravens
The best rushing offense in 2019 decided to add more fire power to its backfield, drafting running back J.K. Dobbins out from Ohio State.
With the combination of Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards playing a solid supporting role to MVP Lamar Jackson running back wasn’t a particular need for Baltimore; but Dobbins’ talent made him hard to ignore in the back of the second round.
66th Overall: Washinton Redskins
The Redskins gave breakout rookie star Terry McLaurin a partner in crime on Friday, adding an explosive wide receiver in Antonio Gibson out of Memphis.
Gibson played both running back and wide receiver at Memphis; posting 735 receiving yards and 369 rushing yards in 2019. He even showed a knack for kick returning as well, as exhibited here.
His versatility should provide an injection of energy and productivity to a Washington offense that struggled to run or throw the ball in 2019.
81st Overall: Las Vegas Raiders
After drafting Henry Ruggs in the first round; the Raiders continued to supplement their passing game by taking South Carolina wide receiver Bryan Edwards.
With the injury-prone Tyrell Williams the most experienced wide out on the Raiders roster at the moment; Jon Gruden elected to add some high-upside depth to his receiving corps. Edwards was a consistent playmaker for the Gamecocks, tallying at least 590 receiving yards all four years. In 2019 he caught a career-high 71 passes in 10 games; averaging over 11 yards per reception.
93rd Overall: Tennessee Titans
While the Titans have one of the rarest combinations of speed and size with running back Derrick Henry; they added Appalachian State’s Darrynton Evans to their backfield of the future.
While Henry undoubtedly will get the vast majority of the carries for the Titans, he adds little as a receiving option out of the backfield. That along with Dion Lewis catching 25 passes for 164 yards in 2019 leaves much to be desired for the Titans.
102nd Overall: Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh supplemented their defensive front with UNC-Charlotte linebacker Alex Highsmith late in the third round.
Highsmith began his career with the 49ers as a walk-on before starting his final two seasons; compiling 15 sacks in 2019. His pass-rushing prowess shows long-term upside for the Steelers and he gets the opportunity to learn from veterans T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree.
Highsmith still needs to increase his strength, but at 6’3″, 248-pounds he has the athletic tools to develop into a strong pass rusher at the professional level.
106th Overall: Baltimore Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens closed out the 3rd round of the draft by taking Mississippi State offensive tackle Tyre Phillips.
With the possibility of losing Ronnie Stanley to free agency after next season along with the retirement of Marshal Yanda; Baltimore needed to supplement its front line depth. Phillips comes in with the potential to be a beast in both run and pass blocking thanks to his massive frame.
He’s not the greatest athlete in the draft and lateral movement isn’t his strong suit, but he could still become a solid player in a good system.