The 2020 NFL Draft was a lot of fun for us at PFF. With the pandemic occurring and postponing the XFL until 2022, the draft was the only football-related event for us to work with. So, using our college-to-pro projection system, we identified a number of “analytical darlings” in the draft.
Now that we’re almost four weeks into the 2020 season, let’s revisit how some of these draft picks have done and look toward what is in store for them in the future.
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LB Isaiah Simmons, Arizona Cardinals (Pick No. 8)
It was an awful start for the rookie out of Clemson, who surrendered 86 receiving yards on just eight coverage snaps in Week 1. He has played sparingly since, giving way to veterans Jordan Hicks and De’Vondre Campbell despite Arizona’s defensive woes the last two weeks (losing outright as favorites to Detroit and Carolina).
Simmons’ versatility should eventually be of help to what Vance Joseph is trying to do in the desert, but if his early-season production is any indication, it might be 2021 before he makes good on the promise he showed at Clemson.
WR CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys (Pick No. 17)
Dallas’ offense has not been the reason they have started 1-3, and Lamb has been worth all of the draft capital used on him — and then some. He has turned 171 routes into 309 receiving yards, with 98 of those yards coming after the catch, despite sharing targets with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup.
Dallas is still the favorite to win the NFC East, but to do so, they’ll have to increasingly lean on its rookie wide receiver to produce as the other 88’s have in the history of the Cowboys franchise.
WR Jalen Reagor, Philadelphia Eagles (Pick No. 21)
Reagor could not avoid the ultimate fate of seemingly every Philadelphia wide receiver, sitting out the last two weeks with an injury. He gained 96 yards on 68 routes run before his injury.
The Eagles are in dire need of help at the position, having just won a game via a touchdown pass to Travis Fulgham, a player recently added to the roster from the practice squad.