Saints still pick Cesar Ruiz in 2020 NFL draft do-over

Would the New Orleans Saints still pick Cesar Ruiz in a 2020 NFL draft do-over? Bleacher Report explored that exact scenario, via @DillySanders

[anyclip pubname=”2103″ widgetname=”0016M00002U0B1kQAF_M8036″]

The ability to be able to go back in the past and change a draft pick is an idea that would excite most fans, especially with some of the recent New Orleans Saints first round selections. However, in the eyes of Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox, one recent selection would stay the same. While re-drafting the 2020 NFL draft, Knox stated that the Saints would stick with offensive lineman Cesar Ruiz if given another chance. Here is his reasoning:

Taking an interior lineman in Round 1 doesn’t generate headlines or much draft-day excitement. However, Ruiz has provided the Saints with good, reliable play on their offensive line.

Ruiz appeared in 15 games with nine starts as a rookie and performed well right out of the gate.

Ruiz certainly didn’t have a great start to his career in New Orleans, and while his play has improved greatly, taking him in the first while given another chance would be extremely puzzling. I could see New Orleans still wanting him on day two, but not at all in the first round.

If New Orleans would have wanted an offensive lineman still, Ezra Cleveland or Damien Lewis would have made much more sense. Though, in this scenario, it would make sense to jump on another skill position player you knew would work out at a better value. Brandon Aiyuk still being there on the board would be a much more intriguing option.

[lawrence-auto-related count=3]

Texans’ 2020 draft class gets new grade

The Houston Texans 2020 draft class received a new grade from CBS Sports, and it went as expected.

The Houston Texans’ 2020 draft class was the first of the general manager Bill O’Brien era, and it showed.

O’Brien signaled ahead of the draft that he anticipated 2020 would be a “veteran type of year” due to the impact of the COVID-19 lockdowns. Houston also had their draft capital impacted thanks to the trade for Laremy Tunsil at the end of the 2019 preseason. As a result, Houston had a five-man draft class.

According to Pete Prisco from CBS Sports, the Texans originally earned a C grade for their class of DE Ross Blacklock, OLB Jonathan Greenard, OT Charlie Heck, CB John Reid, and WR Isaiah Coulter.

The Skinny: The Texans traded their first-round pick this year as part of the deal to get left tackle Laremy Tunsil from the Dolphins. Tunsil has been their best offensive lineman. They had five picks the rest of the draft, but just one is a starter. That is third-round pass rusher Jonathan Greenard, who was limited to eight games last season because of injury. He had eight sacks in 2021. They missed badly on second-round defensive tackle Ross Blacklock, who was traded to the Vikings last August. The only other player still on the roster from this draft is backup tackle Charlie Heck, who has started 17 games over his three seasons.

How I did: I liked the pick of Blacklock, who I thought could develop into a quality insider rusher. He didn’t. I questioned making the trade for Tunsil — they gave up a ton — and then paying him. I said to keep an eye on Greenard, which was right.

Prisco gave the 2020 class a new grade of C-minus, which is a lot better than what it could have been.

The Texans fired O’Brien after an 0-4 start and named executive vice president of football operations Jack Easterby interim general manager. At the end of the season, the Texans hired Nick Caserio as general manager and thus began an entirely new era.

[lawrence-auto-related count=1 category=1365]

Giants select WR Justin Jefferson in 2020 NFL re-draft

In a 2020 NFL re-draft, the New York Giants pass on LT Andrew Thomas in favor of WR Justin Jefferson.

[connatix div_id=”3f8b015acdd24c648befc5d5dac47469″ player_id=”afe1e038-d3c2-49c0-922d-6511a229f69c” cid=”7cbcea0d-4ce2-4c75-9a8d-fbe02a192c24″]

When the New York Giants selected Andrew Thomas fourth overall in the 2020 NFL draft, they hoped the Georgia product would be a prized piece to build around for years to come.

If Thomas’ 2022 campaign was any indication of what is to come, Big Blue got just that.

But some would do it differently if they could go back. Bleacher Report released a 2020 re-draft and the Giants ended up landing star wide receiver Justin Jefferson.

4. New York Giants: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Original Pick: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones had his own breakthrough campaign in 2022, emerging as a capable dual-threat and helping the Giants return to the postseason after a five-year absence.

Offensive tackle Andrew Thomas, who was originally taken in this spot, played a big role in Jones’ progress this season. The former Georgia standout was responsible for only two penalties and three sacks allowed, according to Pro Football Focus.

However, New York now has a chance to snag arguably the best receiver in the NFL, and it doesn’t pass on it.

Former LSU wideout Justin Jefferson has simply been fantastic since the Minnesota Vikings took him 22nd overall in 2020. He has three Pro Bowls, one first-team All-Pro and the 2022 Offensive Player of the Year on his resume. In three seasons, the 23-year-old has amassed 4,825 yards and 25 touchdowns on 324 receptions.

This past season, Jefferson provided a passer rating of 104.2 when targeted. He’s the sort of dominant No. 1 receiver Jones has lacked throughout his career and would aid his growth tremendously.

Simply put, the Giants would have an easier time finding a serviceable offensive tackle via trade or free agency than a receiver of Jefferson’s caliber.

The Giants, like any team across the league, would certainly benefit from having a player like Jefferson in their offense. They are still lacking a No. 1 caliber receiver and Jefferson is known as one of the league’s best.

Interestingly enough, there may have been a domino effect if Big Blue selected Jefferson that year fourth overall. They likely would not have signed Kenny Golladay to a lucrative deal, which resulted in one of the worst free agent signings in franchise history.

Also in the redraft, the Washington Commanders selected quarterback Jalen Hurts, while Chase Young (5th, Detroit Lions) still went ahead of Andrew Thomas (9th, Jacksonville Jaguars).

[lawrence-related id=710207,710193,710189]

Tracking the 5th-year options on the 2020 NFL draft class

How many fifth-year options got picked up for the first-round class of the 2020 NFL draft?

Tuesday marked the deadline for teams to pick up the fifth-year contract options on the first-round picks from the draft class of 2020. All first-round picks get initial contracts for four seasons with a club option for a fifth year.

That fifth year is not a cheap one. Values are based on the average salary at a particular position, with additions to the base average according to playing time and Pro Bowl honors. Exercising the option guarantees the full salary for the player. They become unrestricted free agents after the conclusion of the fifth season, barring any extensions.

Picking up the option doesn’t mean the two sides can’t agree to a contract extension. Players can also be traded or cut, but the salary is guaranteed.

Kristian Fulton is last man standing from Titans’ 2020 draft class

Kristian Fulton is the only member of the 2020 draft class left on the Titans’ initial 53-man roster.

The Tennessee Titans appear to have themselves something special in 2020 second-round pick and cornerback, Kristian Fulton, but the rest of the 2020 draft class isn’t doing so hot.

In fact, Fulton is the only member of that group who is on the team’s initial 53-man roster ahead of 2022. Following final cuts that saw both defensive back Chris Jackson and defensive linemen Larrell Murchison get cut on Tuesday, Fulton is now the last man standing from the 2020 draft class.

Of course, not all hope is lost for Jackson and Murchison sticking in Nashville, as both could end up on the practice squad after they clear waivers.

In that case, either or both could receive a promotion to the 53-man roster at some point during the season.

Jackson and Murchison were two of the final three picks from a class that also included offensive lineman Isaiah Wilson, running back Darrynton Evans and quarterback Cole McDonald.

McDonald failed to make the initial 53-man roster in 2020, and Wilson lasted just one season on the team before being traded to Miami following a disastrous tenure in Nashville.

Evans lasted longer than those two but was cut earlier this offseason after a pair of injury-plagued seasons in Tennessee.

Chalk it up to whatever you like, but outside of one player the Titans’ 2020 draft class was a major swing and a miss.

[pickup_prop id=”25235″]

[mm-video type=playlist id=01eqbyh7crnrcs3ypf player_id=none image=]

[lawrence-related id=95708,95705,95698]

[listicle id=95712]

Poll: What draft selections outside of 2021 are Jags fans most excited about from past 5 years?

The Jags recent draft classes haven’t been great, but there are some players from them who could blossom. Excluding 2021’s class, what selections are you all the most excited about from recent drafts?

The Jacksonville Jaguars have selected 42 players over the last five drafts. Most of the high draft choices excluding the 2021 draft class haven’t panned out for the franchise. However, there are still a select few who have been successful and remain with the team.

For the sake of getting another fun post up, we wanted to poll the fanbase on the draft pick from the past five drafts who they are most excited to watch besides those from the 2021 class. The choices we’ll offer are cornerback Tyson Campbell, defensive end Josh Allen, defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton, and defensive lineman Dawuane Smoot.

Finding four players for this poll was difficult because the Jaguars made so many stumbles in the 2020 and 2018 drafts that include busts like C.J. Henderson, K’Lavon Chaisson, and Taven Bryan. However, the four players we’ve centered this poll around have a chance to be key pieces for the defense.

Allen should be the runaway favorite because in three seasons he has compiled 20.5 sacks, 128 total tackles, 25 tackles for loss, and 48 quarterback hits. And while the team has yet to pick up his fifth-year option, it would be unwise for the Jags to not continue forward with Allen in 2023 as he’s been a standout on the defense.

But fans shouldn’t sleep on Campbell because of how much potential he flashes down the stretch last season. Last season, he was second among rookies in interceptions and incompletions caused (11).

Hamilton is an interesting player because he hasn’t had any standout seasons two years into his career. In his first two seasons, he only acquired grades of 53.9 (2021) and 52.8 (2020) according to Pro Football Focus, but an X-factor for his career could be new defensive line coach Brentson Buckner. Buckner, a former player in the NFL, is a highly respected coach in the NFL and has coached players like Chandler Jones, Jason Pierre-Paul, and Maxx Crosby.

As for Smoot, he’s mostly been a rotational player in his five seasons with the Jags and only has 17 starts. However, an argument could be made he’s one of the better rotational players in the NFL. He ended the 2021 season second on the team in sacks with six and led them the year before with 5.5. He also garnered a 73.9 pass-rush grade last season, which was the highest of any defensive lineman on the team with significant snaps.

Now, with all the cases we’ve made for each of these four players, we’d like to hear from our readers at home in terms of who excites the fanbase the most heading forward. Vote in the poll below.

[polldaddy poll=11103226]

See who Bleacher Report thinks is the Jaguars worst draft pick of the past 5 years

Bleacher Report released its list of every NFL team’s worst draft pick over the past five seasons. See who they tabbed for the Jaguars.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have had their fair share of NFL draft picks that haven’t panned out.

Bleacher Report released its list of every NFL team’s worst draft pick over the last five seasons on Tuesday, and somehow Maurice Moton only managed to choose one for the Jags. He had quite a few options like CJ Henderson, K’Lavon Chaisson, Jawaan Taylor, Josh Oliver, Quincy Williams, and Taven Bryan.

Moton ultimately selected Henderson, though, because the Jaguars used the 2020 No. 9 overall pick on him. Here is his justification:

Henderson struggled in coverage through 10 games with the Jaguars, allowing five touchdowns and a passer rating of 110.2 or higher in both campaigns. He hasn’t fared any better in Carolina.

For the 2021 campaign, Henderson started in five out of 10 contests with the Panthers, giving up a 75.9 percent completion rate, two touchdowns and a 121.6 passer rating in coverage.

Carolina re-signed Donte Jackson, and 2021 first-rounder Jaycee Horn will return from a foot injury, which raises questions about Henderson’s role. Unless one of them makes a move to the slot position, the former top-10 pick from the 2020 class may need another change of scenery to play a significant number of snaps.

When considering the Jags just drafted Henderson in 2020, they could’ve given him more time for it all to come together. He was a star with the Florida Gators and did a great job of locking down whoever was viewed as the team’s biggest threat at receiver. However, Moton isn’t wrong about his listing because Henderson only was on the roster for about a season and a half.

It will be interesting to see how things go with Henderson with the Panthers, but it appears he has an uphill battle ahead of him to be a starter. As for the Jags, one thing that could help lessen the blow of trading Henderson is making the most of the picks received for him, especially the extra third they have this year. If the player they received in the trade, Dan Arnold, can take off that would help as well.

“Touchdown Jaguars!” will be published weekly, giving Jags Wire readers a new go-to podcast to hear the latest in news, rumors, and more. To stay up to date, subscribe via Apple Podcasts and Spotify, and feel free to rate and comment. 

Giants select Tristan Wirfs in 2020 NFL re-draft

In a 2020 NFL re-draft conducted by Bleacher Report, the New York Giants select OT Tristan Wirfs — not Andrew Thomas — in Round 1.

[mm-video type=playlist id=01eqbx61yex5whq8aq player_id=none image=]

One of the more useless (and frustrating) exercises NFL media types engage in are ‘redrafts’ of prior NFL drafts to point out where teams went right and/or wrong with a certain draft class.

In 2020, the New York Giants selected Georgia offensive tackle Andrew Thomas with the fourth overall selection in the draft. After a rocky rookie campaign, Thomas has settled in and become a solid player and is seen as the team’s left tackle for the present and the future.

But was he the right choice? Alex Ballentine of Bleacher Report says the Giants got the position right but the player wrong.

Ballentine believes the right choice for the Giants would have been Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs, who was taken 13th overall by the eventual Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers that year.

The New York Giants had the right idea when they took Andrew Thomas with the fourth overall pick. A dominant tackle would help with quarterback Daniel Jones’ development, as well as help get the most out of Saquon Barkley when healthy.

The problem is they took the wrong one.

Thomas struggled as a rookie but improved in his second season.

He gave up 10 sacks in his rookie season while earning a Pro Football Focus grade of 62.4, putting him in backup territory. In Year 2, he raised that grade to 78.9 with two sacks allowed.

Wirfs, meanwhile, has been a solid starter but on the right side. Thomas has been playing the more important left side of the line, so we have no way of knowing whether Wirfs would be a better left tackle at this point.

The Giants will always be questioned when it comes to this draft even though they took a foundational player. They passed on not only Wirfs but also passed up quarterback Justin Herbert, who is one of the top rising young stars in the NFL.

Follow the Giants Wire Podcast:
Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts

Should the Texans regret not drafting RB Jonathan Taylor?

The Houston Texans passed on drafting Jonathan Taylor in the 2020 NFL draft. Should they regret it?

HOUSTON — The Houston Texans’ run game has been historically bad over the previous two seasons. Dating back to their 4-12 campaign in 2020, the Texans have rushed for a league-low 2,411 yards, with David Johnson accounting for 867 through 23 games.

From the offensive line to the subpar talents that have comprised the backfield, several factors have played a part in the Texans’ abysmal rushing attack. But Houston’s run game could have received a lift had the Texans drafted running back Jonathan Taylor during the 2020 NFL Draft.

The Texans passed on the opportunity to draft Taylor with their 40th pick in the second round. Instead of selecting the soon-to-be NFL rushing champion, Houston drafted defensive tackle Ross Blacklock one spot ahead of Taylor.

To intensify Houston’s missed opportunity, Taylor wanted to play for the Texans in hopes of following in the footsteps of his favorite player — Arian Foster.

“I grew up watching the Texans with Arian Foster, so it would have been fun to play for Houston — growing up and watching him play,” Taylor said following the Indianapolis Colts’ 31-0 victory over the Texans on Sunday. “Every game I go into, it’s nameless faces, gray nameless faces. It’s ‘What can I do? Who do I have to execute against in order for the play to go and for the play to be successful?’ That’s my mentality no matter who we are playing.”

After passing on him in the draft, Taylor said there is no added motivation each time he plays against the Texans — but his numbers could tell a different narrative.

In the four games Taylor has played against Houston, the 22-year-old running back has tried his best impression of Foster by recording 462 rushing yards and six touchdowns. During the Colts’ shutout victory at NRG Stadium, Taylor rushed for a game-high 143 yards on 32 carries with two touchdowns in the win.

“He’s up for the MVP right now, and he’s doing his thing,” linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill said after the loss to the Colts. “We put a huge emphasis on just gap control and everyone just doing their job. And we couldn’t do it. We have to continue to grind, continue to go through it.”

For the 10th time this season, Houston recorded less than 100 yards on the ground amidst their shutout loss to the Colts. Rex Burkhead rushed for a team-high 30 yards on eight carries in the loss.

Browns Grant Delpit to make NFL debut Sunday per Kevin Stefanski

NFL debut on Sunday but how big of a role?

The Cleveland Browns continue to work through a myriad of injury-related issues. As we have covered, Odell Beckham Jr. is out for Sunday. Chris Hubbard is out for Sunday. Anthony Walker is out for a few weeks. Jedrick Willis is questionable for Sunday.

Grant Delpit has been dealing with injuries shortly after arriving in the NFL. The Browns second round pick in 2020, Delpit was seen as a versatile safety that was the perfect fit in today’s NFL. He has the coverage skills needed to cover pass catchers but the size and speed to be a factor in the run game.

Returning from that injury during the 2021 offseason, Cleveland has been cautious but Delpit still injured his hamstring. Now, according to head coach Kevin Stefanski, the former LSU safety is ready to make his NFL debut on Sunday:


With John Johnson III and Ronnie Harrison locked in as starters, it will be interesting how many snaps Delpit gets against the Texans. It is possible that the injury to Walker could free up more snaps for a safety to fill in instead of another linebacker.

With Delpit set to make his debut, will he get a chance to make an impact with a lot of snaps or be eased back into the game plan slowly?