I'm starting a new series in which I will be choosing my biggest STEAL from each round in every draft class from the 2010 class to the 2020 class. Let's get into it
There's really no debate on who the biggest steal in the first round of the 2020 Draft. It's Justin Jefferson and it's not really close. Jefferson was overshadowed by the top 3 WR in the Draft coming into it, Jerry Juedy, CeeDee Lamb, and Henry Ruggs. Jefferson proved to not just the Eagles (who selected Jalen Reagor a pick prior to the Vikings selected Jefferson) but to the world that he should be a household name. Jefferson caught 88 passes for 1,400 yards and 7 TDS while being the second option to Adam Thielen. At pick 22, Jefferson shattered expectations and was named to the NFC Pro Bowl Roster as a rookie. A very impressive season from Jefferson, and I can't wait to see what he brings next season.
HM : Justin Herbert QB Chargers
A LOADED 2nd round that included the names of Michael Pittman Jr., Jonathan Taylor, JK Dobbins, Chase Claypool and Antoine Winfield Jr., make it tough for me to choose. But I'm going to have to take Jonathan Taylor. Taylor was the 41st pick in the Draft, and joining a Colts team that had Marlon Mack and Nyhiem Hines it was going to be tough for him to get carries, but after Mack suffered a season ending injury in the Colts week 1 loss to Jacksonville, Taylor got his shot. Taylor finished the season with 1169 rushing yards with 11 TDS as well as a 5.0 YPA. He also added 300 yards receiving with another TD. His best game though, came in week 16 when he ran for 253 yards and 2 TDS. A great rookie season for the former Wisconsin star, I'm interested to see what the Colts will do with Marlon Mack after his breakout year.
HM : Chase Claypool WR Steelers
Really between just 2 guys for me, Antonio Gibson and Julian Blackmon. I know it's boring see offensive skill guys get it, but Antonio Gibson was so good for the WFT. Gibson was selected with the 66th pick in the draft, and I instantly had high expectations for him being in a weak RB room. Gibson lost carries to JD McKissic and Peyton Barber all season, even after he seemed like Gibson had won the job in week 7 after a 120 yard 1 TD day against the Cowboys. Over 1K scrimmage yards and 11 TDS in a very poor WFT offense impressed me and was a key reason to the WFT "success" as they made the playoffs. Hopefully, Gibson becomes the featured back in Washington next season alongside HOPEFULLY a new QB.
HM : Julian Blackmon FS Indianapolis
A really easy choice for me is L'Jarius Sneed of the Kansas City Chiefs, selected with the 138th pick. Sneed, from Lousiana Tech only played in 9 games this season due to a fracture in his collarbone. Despite playing in just 9 games, Sneed finished 6th on the team in tackles with 41, 2nd in INT with 3, and 2nd with 7 pass breakups. Sneed emerged as the teams best CB, and for that he's the biggest steal in the 4th round. I want to see how he does in a full season sample size, hopefully in 2021.
HM : Gabriel Davis WR Buffalo
In the later rounds, there's less talent to find but the Bears HIT with WR Darnell Mooney. At pick 173 the Bears landed the Tulane stud, and he preformed pretty well for being a late 5th round pick. It took a while for him to get some real play time, but when he did he was solid. Mooney finished his rookie campaign with 61 catches 631 yards and 4 TDS. Possibly without Allen Robinson next season, we could see Mooney take a big step to becoming and reliable #1 WR for the foreseeable future.
HM : Tyler Johnson WR Tampa Bay
Kicker lives matter! Let's not forget about our special teamers in the world, as this one goes to Anthony Bass. Bass made 82.4% of his kicks and had a long of 58. He was 12-15 from 40+, and 28-34 in all. 71 touchbacks on kickoffs ranks 3rd out of all KOS. Bass only missed 2 XP out of 59 attempts. Bass seems to have made his case for being one of the better kickers for the next decade or so.
HM : Donovan Peoples-Jones WR Browns
WFT makes their 2nd appearance, this time with rookie breakout safety, Kamren Curl. Boy was Kamren Curl a stud. Curl started in 11 of the 16 games he played in and finished 2nd on the Football Team with 88 tackles and 3 INT. Curl coming out of Arkansas was selected with pick 216 in the 7th, the 2nd pick of the round. Curl was overshadowed by other rookies on his team like Chase Young and Antonio Gibson, but played very well filling in for Landon Collins. The WFT had themselves a very good draft, and sealed it off with one of the biggest steals of the draft as a whole, in Kamren Curl.
HM : Tae Crowder LB Giants (Mr. Irrelevant)
Another easy one, James Robinson of the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags picked up James Robinson after Chris Thompson had a season ending injury and they cut Leonard Fournette, which opened up the starting role for Robinson. Robinson started in all 14 games that he played in and ran for 1070 and 7 TDS on the ground and added 344 and 3 more TDS receiving. With no real stable QB play, the Jaguars leaned on Robinson, who provided quite well for not just an undrafted rookie, but as any NFL RB.
HM : Salvon Ahmed RB Dolphins
That'll do it for part 1 of my new series, breaking down the biggest steal from every round of the NFL Draft. If you enjoyed, stick around and there will be more posts like this!