Wide receivers and Southeastern Conference talent dominated the second day of the 2020 NFL Draft on Friday.
FILE PHOTO: Oct 13, 2019; London, United Kingdom; General overall view of the NFL shield logo at midfield during an NFL International Series game between the Carolina Panthers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Teams continued to dip into a deep receiver class on Friday, with the Cincinnati Bengals kicking off the second round by grabbing Clemson wideout Tee Higgins.
After six wideouts went in Round 1, Round 2 began with two in a row, as the Indianapolis Colts grabbed USC’s Michael Pittman Jr. at 34th overall. The total of eight receivers in the first 34 picks set a record for the common draft era.
Higgins will catch passes from LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, the first overall pick on Thursday night and the quarterback of the team that beat Higgins’ team in the CFP National Championship game in January.
The Indianapolis Colts then took Pittman, the son of the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back at No. 34. They acquired the pick from Washington during last year’s draft, when the Redskins traded up for Montez Sweat.
A third straight skill position player went 35th, with the Detroit Lions grabbing Georgia running back D’Andre Swift.
The SEC flavor that began Thursday continued through Friday’s action.
After zero safeties went in Round 1, the New York Giants took Alabama’s Xavier McKinney, and the New England Patriots — making their first pick of the draft — grabbed Lenoir-Rhyne’s Kyle Dugger.
The Carolina Panthers opted for a pass rusher, taking Penn State defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos. That began a mini run in the trenches.
After the Miami Dolphins took Louisiana offensive lineman Robert Hunt, the Houston Texans tabbed TCU defensive tackle Ross Blacklock at 40th overall. Houston had acquired that pick from Arizona in the trade of DeAndre Hopkins.
The Indianapolis Colts made the first pick of the second round, sending the Cleveland Browns a fifth-round pick to move up three spots and select Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor.
The skill-position talent kept rolling from there, with the Jaguars taking Colorado wideout Laviska Shenault at 42, and the Chicago Bears grabbing the first tight end, Notre Dame’s Cole Kmet at 43.
Another pair of safeties went back-to-back next — LSU’s Grant Delpit to Cleveland and Minnesota’s Antoine Winfield Jr. to Tampa Bay — before the Broncos doubled up on receivers with Penn State wideout K.J. Hamler. Denver took Alabama wideout Jerry Jeudy on Thursday.
The Pittsburgh Steelers made their first pick of the draft with the 11th wideout in the top 49 picks — Notre Dame’s Chase Claypool.
The first cornerbacks of Round 2 came off the board back-to-back at Nos. 50 and 51, with Chicago taking Utah’s Jaylon Johnson and Dallas going with Alabama’s Trevon Diggs.
Then the Los Angeles Rams added a replacement for Todd Gurley, taking Florida State running back Cam Akers.
At 53 came one of the biggest surprises of the draft so far, as the Philadelphia Eagles took Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts. Eagles starter Carson Wentz has battled knee, back and head injuries over the last three seasons, failing to finish any of the three in the postseason.
The Buffalo Bills became the last team to take a player at No. 54, grabbing Iowa defensive end A.J. Epenesa.
The run on wideouts continued with the Rams and Jets, who grabbed Florida’s Van Jefferson and Baylor’s Denzel Mims respectively. That made for 13 wide receivers in the top 59 picks, setting a new record through two rounds.
Among the final picks of Round 2 were a pair of running backs — Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins to Baltimore and Boston College’s A.J. Dillon to Green Bay — and a pair of linebackers: Michigan’s Josh Uche to New England after a trade-up, and Mississippi State’s Willie Gay to Kansas City.
Gay marked the 25th SEC selection, breaking the previous record of 22 for most picks by one conference in the first two rounds.
A highlight arrived early in Round 3, with Detroit taking Notre Dame defensive end Julian Okwara and uniting him with his brother. Romeo Okwara, also a defensive end, has been with the Lions since 2018.
For the third year in a row, the Saints made an aggressive move up the board by giving up a future draft pick, sending a 2021 third-rounder to Cleveland to jump from 88 to 74. With the pick, they took Wisconsin linebacker Zack Baun, who some considered a fringe first-round prospect. The Saints also traded up at the end of Round 3, giving up four picks to Minnesota to get Dayton tight end Adam Trautman, and leaving them with no picks in the rest of the draft.
The Buccaneers bolstered their new-look offense later in Round 3, adding Vanderbilt running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn.
The Raiders — who took Henry Ruggs in the first round — added to the wideout craze by taking two more back-to-back in Kentucky’s Lynn Bowden Jr. and South Carolina’s Bryan Edwards. NFL Network reports the Raiders also plan to use Bowden at running back.
Late in Round 3, the New England Patriots made two trade-ups to target tight ends. First, they jumped nine spots to get UCLA’s Devin Asiasi, before jumping 24 spots to take Virginia Tech’s Dalton Keene.
LSU finished Round 3 with 10 players selected, tying the record for one school set by Ohio State in 2016, while Alabama has had nine chosen. The SEC conference as a whole has 40 selections through Round 3, easily setting a record for the most by a single conference through three rounds and already tying the record through four rounds.
33. Cincinnati Bengals: Clemson WR Tee Higgins
34. Indianapolis Colts: USC WR Michael Pittman
35. Detroit Lions: Georgia RB D’Andre Swift
36. New York Giants: Alabama S Xavier McKinney
37. New England Patriots (from L.A. Chargers): Lenoir-Rhyne S Kyle Dugger
38. Carolina Panthers: Penn State DE Yetur Gross-Matos
39. Miami Dolphins: Louisiana OL Robert Hunt
40. Houston Texans (from Arizona): TCU DT Ross Blacklock
41. Indianapolis Colts (from Cleveland): Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor
42. Jacksonville Jaguars: Colorado WR Laviska Shenault
43. Chicago Bears (from Las Vegas): Notre Dame TE Cole Kmet
44. Cleveland Browns (from Indianapolis): LSU S Grant Delpit
45. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Minnesota S Antoine Winfield Jr.
46. Denver Broncos: Penn State WR K.J. Hamler
47. Atlanta Falcons: Auburn DL Marlon Davidson
48. Seattle Seahawks (from N.Y. Jets): Tennessee DE Darrell Taylor
49. Pittsburgh Steelers: Notre Dame WR Chase Claypool
50. Chicago Bears: Utah CB Jaylon Johnson
51. Dallas Cowboys: Alabama CB Trevon Diggs
52. Los Angeles Rams: Florida State RB Cam Akers
53. Philadelphia Eagles: Alabama QB Jalen Hurts
54. Buffalo Bills: Iowa DE A.J. Epenesa
55. Baltimore Ravens (from New England via Atlanta): Ohio State RB J.K. Dobbins
56. Miami Dolphins (from New Orleans): Alabama DT Raekwon Davis
57. Los Angeles Rams (from Houston): Florida WR Van Jefferson
58. Minnesota Vikings: Boise State OT Ezra Cleveland
59. New York Jets (from Seattle): Baylor WR Denzel Mims
60. New England Patriots (from Baltimore): Michigan LB Josh Uche
61. Tennessee Titans: LSU CB Kristian Fulton
62. Green Bay Packers: Boston College RB A.J. Dillon
63. Kansas City Chiefs (from San Francisco): Mississippi State LB Willie Gay
64. Carolina Panthers (from Kansas City via Seattle): Southern Illinois S Jeremy Chinn
65. Cincinnati Bengals: Wyoming LB Logan Wilson
66. Washington Redskins: Memphis RB/WR Antonio Gibson
67. Detroit Lions: Notre Dame DE Julian Okwara
68. New York Jets (from N.Y. Giants): Cal S Ashtyn Davis
69. Seattle Seahawks (from Carolina): LSU G Damien Lewis
70. Miami Dolphins: Texas S Brandon Jones
71. Baltimore Ravens (from L.A. Chargers via New England): Texas A&M DT Justin Madubuike
72. Arizona Cardinals: Houston OT Josh Jones
73. Jacksonville Jaguars: Ohio State DT DaVon Hamilton
74. New Orleans Saints (from Cleveland): Wisconsin LB Zack Baun
75. Detroit Lions (from Indianapolis): Ohio State G Jonah Jackson
76. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Vanderbilt RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn
77. Denver Broncos: Iowa CB Michael Ojemudia
78. Atlanta Falcons: Temple C Matt Hennessy
79. New York Jets: Florida DE Jabari Zuniga
80. Las Vegas Raiders: Kentucky WR/RB Lynn Bowden
81. Las Vegas Raiders (from Chicago): South Carolina WR Neville Gallimore
82. Dallas Cowboys: Oklahoma DT Neville Gallimore
83. Denver Broncos (from Pittsburgh): LSU C Lloyd Cushenberry
84. Los Angeles Rams: Alabama OLB Terrell Lewis
85. Indianapolis Colts (from Philadelphia via Detroit): Utah S Julian Blackmon
86. Buffalo Bills: Utah RB Zack Moss
87. New England Patriots: Alabama OLB Anfernee Jennings
88. Cleveland Browns (from New Orleans): Missouri DT Jordan Elliott
89. Minnesota Vikings: Mississippi State CB Cameron Dantzler
90. Houston Texans: Florida OLB Jonathan Greenard
91. New England Patriots (from Seattle via Houston and Las Vegas): UCLA TE Devin Asiasi
92. Baltimore Ravens: Texas WR Devin Duvernay
93. Tennessee Titans: Appalachian State RB Darrynton Evans
94. Green Bay Packers: Cincinnati TE Josiah Deguara
95. Denver Broncos (from San Francisco): Arkansas DT McTelvin Agim
96. Kansas City Chiefs: TCU OT Lucas Niang
*97. Cleveland Browns (from Houston): LSU LB Jacob Phillips
*98. Baltimore Ravens (from New England): Ohio State LB Malik Harrison
*99. New York Giants: Connecticut OT Matt Peart
*100. Las Vegas Raiders (from New England): Clemson LB Tanner Muse
*101. New England Patriots (from Seattle via N.Y. Jets): Virginia Tech TE Dalton Keene
*102. Pittsburgh Steelers: Charlotte OLB Alex Highsmith
*103. Philadelphia Eagles: Colorado LB Davion Taylor
*104. Los Angeles Rams: Utah S Terrell Burgess
*105. New Orleans Saints (from Minnesota): Dayton TE Adam Trautman
*106. Baltimore Ravens: Mississippi State G Tyre Phillips
—Field Level Media