After trading out of the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft entirely, the New England Patriots gave fans something to talk about on Day 2.
Armed with 13 picks over the course of the final six rounds of the draft, the Patriots moved up the board at will. They ended up making five picks, scooping three defensive players and adding a couple of tight ends to their roster. They'll hope these players can help to spark their retooling without Tom Brady at the helm for the first time since 2000.
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The Patriots had a solid day, but so too did several AFC teams. Their AFC East rival, the Buffalo Bills, had a great day after being sidelined in Round 1. And a couple of other teams, the New York Jets and the Tennessee Titans, landed steals who should make a difference for their teams as potential starters.
With Rounds 2 and 3 in the books, let's have a look at the grades for each AFC team's Day 2 performance.
Picks made: RB J.K. Dobbins (No. 55), DT Justin Madubuike (No. 71), WR Devin Duvernay (No. 92), LB Malik Harrison (No. 98), OL Tyre Phillips (No. 106)
Analysis: The Ravens made their already-scary rushing attack scarier by adding Dobbins to the fold. Then, they nabbed Madubuike, who was a fringe first-round prospect in our book, in the third round. Duvernay is a speedy slot man who will add yet another weapon to Lamar Jackson's arsenal. And Malik Harrison is a great thumper at linebacker who could be a three-down player. Phillips was taken a little bit early, but he was the final pick of the round, so it wasn't a huge deal. Overall, this was a great day for Baltimore and one that should only strengthen their case as one of the AFC favorites.
Picks made: EDGE A.J. Epenesa (No. 56), RB Zack Moss (No. 86)
Analysis: A.J. Epenesa was a player who the Patriots, among others, could've targeted in the first round and analysts wouldn't have had an issue with it. The Bills getting him at 56 has a chance to be the steal of the draft. Meanwhile, Moss was a solid value as he was the 74th overall player on our big board yet went 86th. He's a well-balanced runner who should work well in tandem with Devin Singletary to create a potent rushing offense for Josh Allen in Buffalo.
Picks made: WR Tee Higgins (No. 33), LB Logan Wilson (No. 65)
Analysis: Higgins was one of the better players remaining at the end of the first round on Thursday night, so the Bengals getting him to pair with Joe Burrow was smart. Wilson was a highly-productive linebacker at Wyoming and while he went a bit earlier than expected, he filled a big need for Cincinnati and could emerge as a starter early in his career. It was a rock-solid haul for Zac Taylor's club.
Picks made: S Grant Delpit (No. 44), DT Jordan Elliott (No. 88), LB Jacob Phillips (No. 97)
Analysis: The Browns got a steal in Grant Delpit who would've been a first-round lock had he not been impacted by an ankle injury for most of the season. He could join last year's Cleveland second-round pick, Greedy Williams, as a Draft Day steal and starter. Elliott was a solid value and ha untapped potential thanks to his athletic ability. Phillips was a little bit of a reach, but the team needed to replace Joe Schobert who they lost in free agency and Phillips had 113 tackles for the National Champions LSU Tigers last year.
Picks made: WR KJ Hamler (No. 46), CB Michael Ojemudia (No. 77), G/C Lloyd Cushenberry (No. 83), DL McTelvin Agim (No. 95)
Analysis: Cushenberry and Hamler were both good value picks who fill needs for the Broncos. Ojemudia and Agim both went a bit earlier than anticipated but have good upside. The Broncos are doing their part to build around Drew Lock while addressing some holes on defense, so this was a solid Day 2 for the team.
Picks made: DT Ross Blacklock (No. 40), EDGE Jonathan Greenard (No. 90)
Analysis: The Texans added some much-needed help on the defensive line with these picks. Blacklock will help to replace D.J. Reader, who left in free agency, while Greenard will add another solid pass rusher to the fold in Houston. Greenard was an excellent value as he could've gone in the second round but slipped all the way to 90. Bill O'Brien looked upset that the Detroit Lions backed out of a trade with that pick, but given the value he got, he shouldn't be.
Picks made: WR Michael Pittman Jr. (No. 34), RB Jonathan Taylor (No. 41), S Julian Blackmon (No. 85)
Analysis: Pittman is a nice fit for Indy as a No. 2 receiver, but he came off the board a little early and ahead of superior prospects like Denzel Mims, Laviska Shenault, and KJ Hamler. Trading up for Taylor was a solid move as he figures to be a three-down starter in Indianapolis and should support Philip Rivers well. Blackmon was a reach in the third round. He's an athletic converted corner playing safety, but he's coming off a torn ACL and may need time to develop at his position. It's hard to doubt Chris Ballard too much given his penchant for drafting quality players, but there are some question marks here.
Picks made: WR Laviska Shenault (No. 42), DT DaVon Hamilton (No. 73)
Analysis: How's this for perfect - Shenault was the 42nd overall player on our big board and was the 42nd player taken in the draft. He filled a big need for the Jaguars and could've gone earlier if not for a core muscle issue. Hamilton was a bit more of a reach. The Ohio State product has minimal starting experience so the Jags are banking on upside with him.
Kansas City Chiefs
Picks made: LB Willie Gay Jr. (No. 63), OT Lucas Niang (No. 96)
Analysis: Gay was taken a round too soon, but the former five-star recruit is a great athlete and will add needed speed to the linebacker corps in Andy Reid's defense. Niang was a steal at 96 overall and could be a long-term starter at tackle for the Chiefs. The reach for Gay is balanced out by the steal of Niang, so it was a good day for the Chiefs.
Las Vegas Raiders
Picks made: RB/WR Lynn Bowden Jr. (No. 80), WR Bryan Edwards (No. 81), S Tanner Muse (No. 100)
Analysis: The Raiders apparently drafted Bowden to play running back, which means he'll be a complementary player in the offense behind workhorse Josh Jacobs. Or he could be a gadget weapon at receiver. Not ideal for the team's third pick. Edwards has a great frame and can make contested catches, but between him, Henry Ruggs, and Bowden, that's three offensive weapons and just one upgrade to the defense (Damon Arnette, a reach in Round 1). To top off a poor day, the Raiders selected Tanner Muse, who is a great special teams option and has athleticism but is a bit of a safety/linebacker tweener for the next level. The Raiders picks have upside, but they haven't addressed some of the bigger needs they have, particularly on defense.
Los Angeles Chargers
Picks made: N/a
Analysis: Remember that trade that the Patriots made to move out of the first round? Well, they took the Chargers' second and third-round picks in that deal. As a result, Los Angeles was out of commission on Day 2 of the draft, though they're happy to have QB Justin Herbert and LB Kenneth Murray in the fold.
Picks made: OL Robert Hunt (No. 39), DT Raekwon Davis (No. 56), S Brandon Jones (No. 70)
Analysis: Hunt is a rock-solid interior lineman, but he probably should've gone in the late second. As for Davis and Jones, they were more in the late-third/mid-fourth range. The Hunt pick is probably the best of the bunch but all of these felt like reaches, which isn't great news for the Dolphins after a very strong first day of the draft.
New England Patriots
Picks made: S Kyle Dugger (No. 37), EDGE Josh Uche (No. 60), LB Anfernee Jennings (No. 87), TE Devin Asiasi (No. 91), TE Dalton Keene (No. 101)
Analysis: The Patriots had an effective draft in terms of adding quality defenders at every level of the defense. Dugger should be a long-term replacement for either Devin McCourty or Patrick Chung. Josh Uche should pair well with fellow former Michigan product Chase Winovich. And Jennings should help replace some of the departed linebackers on defense. Asiasi was a bit of a reach, especially with guys like Adam Trautman, Thaddeus Moss, and Albert Okwuegbunam on the board. He has upside and just barely cracked our top 150 big board, but trading up to get him seems a bit unnecessary. The same can be said of Keene, who is versatile but was definitely a Day 3 value.
New York Jets
Picks made: WR Denzel Mims (No. 59), S Ashtyn Davis (No. 68), EDGE Jabari Zuniga (No. 79)
Analysis: Mims was the 25th-best player in this draft according to our big board, so the Jets got a steal by nabbing the athletic receiver who can catch any ball thrown to him. Davis was a nice pick in the third as well and should help to add some depth to a safety corps that may lose Jamal Adams to free agency or via trade. The 79th pick was early for Zuniga, but he's athletic and more disruptive than his production indicates. The mega-steal of Mims bumps up this grade into the A-range because of how great the value was there.
Picks made: WR Chase Claypool (No. 49), LB Alex Highsmith (No. 102)
Analysis: Claypool deserved to be a top-50 pick as a receiver with the size and athletic ability needed to be a matchup nightmare. If he can improve his separation skills, he could be a steal. If not, he can try his hand at tight end. Highsmith, however, was a less inspiring choice. He was expected to be more of a late-round option, so seeing him come off the board in the third was surprising, to say the least.
Picks made: CB Kristian Fulton (No. 61), RB Darryton Evans (No. 93)
Analysis: The Titans got a mega-steal in Kristian Fulton. He was our fourth-rated corner and he could've gone in the first round without any complaints. Yet he made it all the way to 61. As for Evans, he was more of a mid-Day 3 running back, so this is a bit of a reach. The Titans needed a backup for Derrick Henry though, so at least it filled a need. We'll split the middle on these two picks.
2020 NFL Draft grades: Analyzing every AFC team's Day 2 picks originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston