One of the most pointless things about trying to assign scores or value immediately to an NFL draft class. We don’t really know how well these players are doing until we can see them for a few seasons. The PFF looked back at the 2020 draft in the form of a first-round rework, trying to put players where they would justify their actual performance in the Pro.
According to their assessment, the Dallas Cowboys had one of the best draws in the league. He was definitely the best in the NFC East, and it wasn’t even close.
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Part of this is because Dallas got his CeeDee Lamb at 17 years old. Most of us saw it as an absolute steal at the time as it was never expected to stay on the board when cowboys had to pick. The PFF clearly agreed and saw it as the Arizona Cardinals’ top pick in the pick of eight. Not only is that nine points higher than what he’s already gone through, he was the second wide receiver to go to the PFF’s alternate reality behind Justin Jefferson. LB Isaiah Simmons was the actual selection of cards. Here is the justification from the article.
The wide receiver wasn’t much needed to enter the Arizona Draft 2020. The Cardinal had just added DeAndre Hopkins to the receiving team that also included Christian Kirk, Larry Fitzgerald, and Andy Isabella in the 2019 second round, however, it would have been wise to target a receiver like Lamb instead of Simmons (49.7 score PFF in 2021), too late.
Lamb improved his PFF from 72.6 as a rookie to 84.8 in 2021 (eighth among eligible broad receivers) and could be in store for a massive 2022 season in Dallas following the departure of Amari Cooper. It would have given former college quarterback Keeler Murray another high-quality receiving option to pair up with Hopkins.
Some who are concerned about the Lamb carrying the WR1 torch for their cowboys may be reassured. It makes sense in other ways. Wide receivers often have big years in their third season. It’s just a tough situation to master adapting to the level of talent facing them in high school, as well as having to master an NFL offense that has more complex track trees and is also more task-based than what they saw in college. If the Lamb is typical in this way, this could indeed be a prime weapon for Dak Prescott. Sorry, Kyler.
Praiseworthy given that Lamb’s pick at 17 was, Dallas’ biggest win, at least according to the PFF, was pointed out by the person who ended up in this exercise: CB Trevon Diggs.
Dallas’ first-round selection (lamb) is not available in this exercise, so the Cowboys “settle” for their second-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Diggs was one of the most polarizing players in the NFL last season due to the number of times he played and allowed big performances in the coverage. His 11 interceptions were three times more than any other defender, but Diggs also allowed a league-high 1,016 yards to hit his coverage this season. The value he can provide as a defensive playmaker getting the ball back into the Cowboys attack keeps him in Dallas in this re-draft.
The Cowboys claimed to have had a first-round score in the Diggs all along, and it would have been a choice had Lamb not dropped them. At least in the PFF’s opinion, it wasn’t just propaganda. Diggs was named a legitimate first-round talent, sourced by the 51st overall pick.
By these criteria, Dallas was knocked out with two talents from the first round. Both are later seen as real thefts. Several teams have fared much worse with their picks, including other NFC East clubs. The PFF saw Washington’s leaders as over-phrasing de Chase Young, though on only three points. Most importantly, they passed Justin Herbert, who would have solved their problems in the middle far more efficiently than they are trying to do this year with Carson Wentz. The Philadelphia Eagles may have slammed with WR Jalen Reagor, who took on better options like Jefferson, Chase Claypool, Tee Higgins and others who have done better so far in their NFL careers. The New York Giants didn’t make a terrible choice with T Andrew Thomas, but Tristan Wirfs was available and could have been a better option.
However, before the Cowboys rained on much praise, they were less successful in the remainder of the draft. While third-round pick Neville Gallimore and fourth-placed Tyler Biadasz became starters, the rest of the draft for Dallas consisted of Reggie Robinson II, Bradley Anna and Ben Dinoshi. Robinson and Annie are long gone, and Dinucci is downright baffling as to QB’s choice to stick around. However, having two A-level talents and a couple starters is a good outcome for any draft and provides some evidence that employees know what to do in the draft. This is how the PFF categorizes things, at least. Feel free to let your confirmation bias run out.