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NFL Draft: Breaking down the draft picks by position

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position | Team

Devin White
Devin White (AP Images)

RELATED: First-round grades | Possible 2020 first-round picks

The NFL Draft finished up over the weekend. Here is a thorough breakdown of which positions had the best most players drafted.

LINEBACKER (31 PLAYERS DRAFTED)

Overview: There was a ton of debate and discussion at the highest-end of linebackers leading into the draft as LSU’s Devin White and Michigan’s Devin Bush both put up phenomenal numbers in college and then performed so well at the combine. As expected they were the first two linebackers off the board and the only first-round selections. But then things got really exciting - and surprising - at the position for the rest of the draft.

In a group that usually doesn’t put up these kinds of numbers in a draft, it remained quiet through Round 2 when only surprisingly Hawaii’s Jahlani Tavai was picked. Five linebackers were selected in the third and then two more in the fourth and then the fifth round was where things went ballistic as 11 linebackers were drafted.

Farrell’s take: This is really surprising as I would expect other positions, like cornerback, wide receiver or defensive end to be at the top. This is a really strong linebacker class especially when you get to the mid rounds where guys like Mack Wilson are steals. I really like Ben Burr-Kirven a lot as well. This linebacker group will have a huge impact on the NFL for years to come.

CORNERBACK (31 PLAYERS DRAFTED)

Overview: The cornerback position is always at or near the top of these lists and this year is no exception even though the top end of this group is not considered elite. There was only one first-round cornerback taken in Georgia’s DeAndre Baker and even leading into the draft there was no clear-cut leader at this spot.

Round 2 was especially busy as Washington’s Byron Murphy was the first pick in that round followed by Temple’s Rock Ya-Sin, a surprise in Central Michigan’s Sean Bunting and then Clemson’s Trayvon Mullen, Vanderbilt’s Joejuan Williams, LSU’s Greedy Williams and Kentucky’s Lonnie Johnson. A lot of analysts had Greedy Williams going first at this position but concerns over his open-field tackling seemed to drive him down some draft boards. Teams also filled up late in the draft on cornerbacks as 13 of the 31 drafted went in the sixth and seventh rounds.

Farrell’s take: This isn’t a strong cornerback group overall but there is some value here. I think Baker, Murphy and Greedy Williams will all be excellent players, although there are some reaches as well like Bunting and Ya-Sin. Time will tell how this group pans out but it’s loaded with guys who weren’t highly rated coming out of high school.

WIDE RECEIVER (28 PLAYERS DRAFTED)

Overview: There were so many storylines when it came to wide receiver in this draft, whether it was Marquise Brown’s size or D.K. Metcalf looking like The Hulk or why A.J. Brown was not getting more respect - and through the draft it was busy for the receivers.

Brown ended up being the first wide receiver drafted and the only other first-round receiver was Arizona State’s N’Keal Harry, the last pick of the first round. Metcalf surprisingly slid a little bit, which could be telling that executives care more about on-field delivery than combine performance since Metcalf was unquestionably the best-looking receiver in a long time. He didn’t go until late in the second round and eight receivers were picked ahead of him.

Farrell’s take: There were some guys, like Emmanuel Hall who wasn’t even drafted, that surprised me quite a bit and there’s a lot of value at wide receiver in this draft in the middle and late rounds. Marquise Brown and Harry will be stars and I love AJ Brown, but this wasn’t a good wide receiver group at the top. There is a lot of the value in the later rounds.

DEFENSIVE END (26 PLAYERS DRAFTED)

Overview: Seven defensive ends were selected in the first round and while it’s a big number, it’s not a major surprise since the defensive line group was so loaded. There was definitely some interesting jostling though as to the order of the defensive ends after Ohio State’s Nick Bosa went second overall to San Francisco.

Before Kentucky’s Josh Allen, who had 17 sacks this past season, Michigan's Rashan Gary, Florida State’s Brian Burns and Mississippi State’s Montez Sweat, Oakland took Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell with the fourth overall pick. It was a small surprise on draft night as many had Ferrell more in the middle of the first round. TCU’s L.J. Collier was the No. 29 overall pick by Seattle and not many had him in their mock drafts nearly that early.

Farrell’s take: This draft was loaded along the defensive line at both defensive end and defensive tackle. In fact, this is probably the best draft for defensive linemen since I started covering the draft. Guys like Bosa and Allen will be stars and Burns, Sweat and others could be excellent as well. I’m most interested to see how Ferrell does since the Raiders took him at No. 4, about 20 spots higher than expected.

RUNNING BACK (25 PLAYERS DRAFTED)

Overview: Over the last few years, there has been a lot of debate over value at running back and whether the position was losing some steam in the pros, but this draft proved that it’s still a high-quality spot even if not at the top. Alabama’s Josh Jacobs was the only running back taken in the first round and Penn State’s Miles Sanders was the only second-round back.

After that, the floodgates opened. In the third, sixth and seventh rounds, five running backs were taken in each. Former five-star Damien Harris was a third-round pick sandwiched between FAU’s Devin Singletary and Boise State’s Alexander Mattison.

Farrell’s take: I really like Sanders and think he can be a steal, but I worry about Jacobs and his physical running style and how he’ll hold up in the NFL. This is a weak draft for running back for sure and I don’t expect many stars here.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE (21 PLAYERS DRAFTED)

Overview: Again, the defensive line group was absolutely loaded in this draft and defensive tackle was a hot commodity in the first round as six players were taken, led by Alabama’s Quinnen Williams, Houston’s Ed Oliver and then two from Clemson in Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence.

The middle rounds were quiet, though, as only one defensive tackle was taken in each of the second and fourth rounds and only two in the third. Five-star JUCO transfer Isaiah Buggs out of Alabama was picked in the sixth round.

Farrell’s take: The defensive tackle position is actually more impressive than the defensive end position because it’s hard to find tackles. Williams, Oliver, Wilkins and Lawrence all bring different things to the table and guys like Buggs could be absolute steals. You’ll see many of the defensive tackles in this class last for a long time.

SAFETY (20 PLAYERS DRAFTED)

Overview: There were a lot of names that emerged as the top safety in the draft but in the final weeks Maryland’s Darnell Savage surged up the list and he ended up being the first one taken and one of only two first-rounders along with Mississippi State’s Johnathan Abram. Twenty is a surprisingly high number of safeties drafted and it was consistent throughout the rounds. It was unexpected that Florida’s Chauncey Gardner-Johnson didn’t go until the fourth round.

Farrell’s take: Usually safety is one of the lower ranked positions, but I guess there were a lot of impressive guys this year. I love Savage and think he will be a star and Abram is a hitter. Gardner-Johnson isn’t an overly physical guy which is why he slipped but he can have a very strong career regardless.

OFFENSIVE TACKLE (19 PLAYERS DRAFTED)

Overview: Offensive tackle was not a particularly loaded position in this draft and there was a lot of discussion among a bunch of top players about which one would be picked first. Alabama’s Jonah Williams, who could play tackle or guard, went first followed by Washington State’s Andre Dillard, regarded as the most athletic tackle in this group. It was definitely a surprise that Alabama State’s Tytus Howard and Washington’s Kaleb McGary were first-round selections. There was some talk that Ole MissGreg Little could plummet down the list but he ended up as a second-round selection.

Farrell’s take: There weren’t a ton of tackles taken in the draft but there is a lot of quality. Williams is a can’t miss guy and Dillard is a very good athlete. Howard and McGary are reaches, so time will tell how they pan out. I love Little as a second round value but how does a guy like Mitch Hyatt go undrafted? Very odd.

TIGHT END (16 PLAYERS DRAFTED)

Overview: Iowa really made a statement - and we will see if it pays off in recruiting - that two Hawkeyes were picked in the first round as T.J. Hockenson went eighth to the Detroit Lions. Hockenson going so high is definitely a statement of his value even if comparisons to Rob Gronkowski might be over the top. Iowa’s Noah Fant, the only other first-round tight end, went No. 20 overall to Denver. Alabama’s Irv Smith was a second-round pick and Washington’s Drew Sample was a surprise in that round. Former five-star Isaac Nauta was picked in the seventh round.

Farrell’s take: Beyond the two Iowa tight ends and Smith, this is a bad tight end group overall and don’t expect much. We’ll see how Hockenson and Fant pan out, but I was not enamored with this group at all, especially when the position is becoming more important and the players more athletic.

OFFENSIVE GUARD (14 PLAYERS DRAFTED)

Overview: Boston College’s Chris Lindstrom was a three-star out of Dudley (Mass.) Shepherd Hill Regional who was listed at 6-foot-4 and 236 pounds in high school and now he’s become the only offensive guard taken in the first round. Oklahoma’s Cody Ford, who could play guard or tackle, was the only second-round pick. The fourth round was especially busy as six guards were taken including Dru Samia and Ben Powers, who also played for the Sooners.

Farrell’s take: This group of offensive guards is small and not that deep, but there is talent there and guys like Lindstrom and Ford will play for 10-plus years. Some of the tackles will move inside as well but this isn’t a deep group.

QUARTERBACK (11 PLAYERS DRAFTED)

Overview: There was so much pre-draft discussion about whether Arizona would or would not take Kyler Murray that it might have been lost on some just how much interest the New York Giants started to have in Duke’s Daniel Jones in the days before the draft. Murray was taken first, Jones went before Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins and that has opened up a great deal of debate. Missouri’s Drew Lock went in the second round although many believed he had first-round talent.

Farrell’s take: I thought there would be five quarterbacks taken in round one including Lock but I was wrong. I thought some team would reach for Will Grier in the first round and the quarterback panic would ensue but it didn’t happen. I think Murray, Jones and Haskins will all be busts, so I’m not high on this quarterback class at all.

OFFENSIVE CENTER (8 PLAYERS DRAFTED)

Overview: NC State’s Garrett Bradbury had a great season, he performed really well at the combine and it was no shock that he was the first center taken off the board. It was a mild surprise that he was a first-round selection. The second round was especially busy at the position as Kansas State’s Dalton Risner, Mississippi State’s Elgton Jenkins and Texas A&M’s Erik McCoy were all picked.

Farrell’s take: Not a great center group overall, although I like Bradbury quite a bit as a former tight end out of high school who developed into an offensive lineman. This is always the lowest ranked position when it comes to the draft, but guys like Bradbury and Risner should be good. I’m just not sold on the rest.