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A.J. Epenesa and the Top Draft Steal for Every NFL Team
The 2020 NFL Draft is in the books, and everyone has an opinion. Some teams had some poor drafts, others killed it, and of course, there are the worst picks in the 2020 NFL Draft.
You can go in a number of directions when breaking down each prospect and the teams that drafted them, but a fun route is talking about the biggest NFL Draft steals.
Value is in the eye of the beholder, but a lot of quality players slid a bit further than expected. Here’s a quick breakdown of every team’s biggest steal from the 2020 NFL Draft.
New England Patriots – Kyle Dugger, S (Round 2)
It’s quite arguable the Pats didn’t have a true steal, as most agree they surprisingly had one of the worst drafts this year.
They did land a stud in safety Dugger, though. An elite athlete with great size, speed, and playmaking ability, he should be a star in New England’s defense.
Miami Dolphins – Curtis Weaver, EDGE (Round 5)
The Dolphins enjoyed a franchise-changing draft, where they landed their quarterback of the future and a slew of nice prospects.
Lost in the chaos could be edge rusher Curtis Weaver, who is a monster pass rusher (34 sacks at Boise State) and was regarded as a day-two prospect.
Buffalo Bills – A.J. Epenesa, EDGE (Round 2)
I was right about Epenesa sliding out of the first round (pats self on back), but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t a good prospect. Poor timed speed dropped him into round two, but he’s a fantastic pass rusher.
Buffalo snagged him to give their pass rush a boost, which is a huge steal considering how good their defense already is.
New York Jets – Denzel Mims, WR (Round 2)
Gang Green snagged stud Baylor wide receiver Denzel Mims with the 59th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, getting Sam Darnold the dangerous weapon he deserves.
Mims was seen as a potential first-round pick and offers an elite blend of size and speed. Considering his upside and the need New York had at the position, this was a crazy steal.
If you weren’t sure, just consider he has solid odds to win 2020 NFL Rookie of the Year.
Baltimore Ravens – Devin Duvernay, WR (Round 3)
The Ravens also snagged linebacker Malik Harrison as a solid NFL Draft steal in this same round, but Duvernay has crazy upside in their system.
Duvernay already was seen as a tantalizing prospect due to his scorching speed, but he fills a direct need for Baltimore and arguably could have been selected a little sooner.
Pittsburgh Steelers – Alex Highsmith, EDGE (Round 3)
I also like the pick of Chase Claypool in round two, but some might even call that a mild reach. That isn’t the case for Alex Highsmith, who may be one of the best 2020 NFL Draft steals.
The weird part is most may not agree, seeing as he wasn’t a widely covered prospect despite notching 15 sacks in 2019. He projects as a terror in Pittsburgh’s defense, though, so this feels like a terrific value pick.
Cleveland Browns – Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR (Round 6)
The Browns had a stellar draft, so this was a tough one to peg. You could seriously say most of their picks were elite NFL Draft value picks.
I’ll go with DPJ, though, seeing as he was perhaps a day-two prospect yet free-fell to round six. He has a nice size/speed combination and fills an arguable need behind Cleveland’s top receiving weapons.
Cincinnati Bengals – Akeem Davis-Gaither, LB (Round 4)
The Bengals hit the restart button for their franchise with the Joe Burrow selection, but they followed that up with a rock-solid draft.
Part of their success this year came in round four, where they plucked a quality linebacker off the board in Akeem Davis-Gaither. His sure tackling and run support will come in handy for a hopefully improving defense.
Houston Texans – Jonathan Greenard, EDGE (Round 3)
The Texans don’t give me much to work with here, as they had just five picks in the 2020 NFL Draft. They still had two solid pickups, though, with one of them being pass rusher Jonathan Greenard.
The Florida product registered 17 sacks over the past two years, filled a clear need, and was a potential round-two talent.
Indianapolis Colts – Jacob Eason, QB (Round 4)
Indy enjoyed a solid draft, as you could argue any of their day-two picks were relative steals. That said, nobody offers more value than the big-arm Jacob Eason, who they snagged in round four.
The Washington quarterback has pocket presence and accuracy issues, but his size and arm strength make him a prospect worth investing in.
Jacksonville Jaguars – Laviska Shenault Jr., WR (Round 2)
A former first-round talent, Shenault dropped to round two due to poor timed speed and the wide receiver position being positively loaded.
That said, Shenault is a flat-out offensive weapon and gives Gardner Minshew II a little more help in Jacksonville’s passing game.
Tennessee Titans – Kristian Fulton, CB (Round 2)
Thought by many to be a first-round prospect, Fulton slid with a couple of other big-name defensive backs.
It had little to do with talent, while the Titans snatched up an elite steal and filled a need at the same time.
Kansas City Chiefs – Lucas Niang, OT (Round 3)
The Chiefs didn’t have a jaw-dropping draft, but they hit some nice spots and picked up a little value. Their best steal came in round three, where stud offensive tackle Lucas Niang was still on the board.
Offensive line was loaded in this draft, but Niang was still good enough to be a second-round pick. Kansas City got him at a bargain with the 96th overall pick.
Los Angeles Chargers – Kenneth Murray, LB (Round 1)
Nobody really stands out as a draft steal for LA, but Murray was taken right around his draft projection.
The Chargers needed some linebacker help, and Murray was arguably the best linebacker prospect in this entire draft. That’s enough to call him a steal in my book.
Las Vegas Raiders – Lynn Bowden, WR (Round 3)
The value is roughly on par with Bowden’s draft range, but it’s still a really nice pick. A wide receiver and so much more, Bowden is a true offensive weapon that can do a little bit of everything.
It’s safe to say the cupboard is full for Derek Carr in 2020. If he can’t take advantage of it now, he never will.
Denver Broncos – Albert Okwuegbunam, TE (Round 4)
The Broncos made a concerted effort to improve Drew Lock’s supporting cast, and adding an uber athlete at tight end was part of it.
While not crazy productive in college, Okwuegbunam scored a lot and flashed ridiculous upside thanks to his speed. He was arguably a lot better than his round four draft status suggests.
Dallas Cowboys – CeeDee Lamb (Round 1)
Getting Trevon Diggs in round two is technically the better value pick, but CeeDee Lamb at 17 overall still takes the cake for me.
It was undeniably a luxury pick for a Dallas team that badly needed defensive help, but Lamb was the best receiver in this draft class to many. Seeing as he ended up being the third receiver selected, I’d say that’s a steal.
New York Giants – Xavier McKinney, S (Round 2)
New York arguably reached for Andrew Thomas at 4th overall, but they responded with a steal in stud safety Xavier McKinney in round two.
Alabama’s last line of defense offers big hits and stellar run support. He was widely considered the top safety and a likely first-rounder, so he qualifies as elite value.
Philadelphia Eagles – Quez Watkins, WR (Round 6)
The Eagles went into the 2020 NFL Draft in desperate need of wide receiver help, and they made sure that would be rectified.
Jalen Reagor is grabbier, but Watkins has blazing speed (4.35 40 time) and feels like a steal this late in the draft.
Washington Redskins – Antonio Gandy-Golden, WR (Round 4)
The Redskins needed a little help at wide receiver, and they got it in round four, where AGG offers insane contested catch ability and elite ball skills.
Gandy-Golden isn’t a perfect prospect due to poor timed speed and questionable lateral movement, but the size and ability to win one-on-one makes him a steal.
Green Bay Packers – Jordan Love, QB (Round 1)
The Packers don’t have a true steal, and Love honestly simultaneously qualifies as one of the worst picks in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Even so, the Packers did get a guy some had mocked well inside the first round. Comparisons to Patrick Mahomes and a cannon for an arm could make him the eventual replacement to Aaron Rodgers (and a steal).
Minnesota Vikings – Cameron Dantzler, CB (Round 3)
The Vikings had one of the best 2020 NFL Drafts, if not the #1 overall class. Dantzler was part of it, as he was seen as a potential round-two pick and fell to them at 89th overall.
Minnesota also had a pressing need in their secondary, so snagging a steal like Dantzler helped make their draft better.
Chicago Bears – Jaylon Johnson, CB (Round 2)
A lot of people made fun of the Bears for having ten tight ends on their roster, but they actually had a pretty good draft.
Their best pick was cornerback Jaylon Johnson, though. He was a nice steal at 18th overall in round two, as he has the size, length, and athleticism to be a shutdown cover man.
Detroit Lions – D’Andre Swift, RB (Round 2)
The consensus top running back, Swift fell into round two, and the Lions plucked him off the draft board at 35th overall.
Detroit didn’t have many draft steals this year, but getting the perceived best running back in round two has to fit the bill.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Tyler Johnson, WR (Round 5)
I really loved the value with Tristan Wirfs sliding to 13th overall, but Tyler Johnson wins the battle to be Tampa Bay’s biggest draft steal in 2020.
Johnson was just a monster in contested catching, which gives the Bucs an elite rotational piece for whenever Mike Evans needs a breather.
New Orleans Saints – Zack Baun, LB (Round 3)
The Saints had one of the worst drafts of the year when looking at sheer volume, but they landed a stud linebacker in round three.
Baun is a balanced linebacker who can play the run, rush the passer, and has the athletic traits to potentially succeed in coverage, too.
New Orleans got a defensive tool they can use all over the place, while Baun was thought by many to be a potential first-rounder.
Atlanta Falcons – Marlon Davidson, EDGE (Round 2)
The Dirty Birds didn’t really get a steal this year, but Davidson is the closest thing to it. He was probably properly drafted in round two, but he was a nice pickup that should bolster their lethargic pass rush.
Carolina Panthers – Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE (Round 2)
The Panthers honestly had an amazing draft, and you could rattle off several steals from this class. That said, Gross-Matos is the pick, as he was seemingly a first-round lock.
The stud pass rusher slid to day two, however, where the Panthers snatched him up and addressed a clear need in the process.
San Francisco 49ers – Javon Kinlaw, DT (Round 1)
The Niners only had five picks this year, and pretty much everyone they got was right around their draft range. The lone steal could be Kinlaw, who probably could have been taken inside the top 10.
A disruptive force up front, Kinlaw bolsters an already nasty San Francisco defensive line.
Los Angeles Rams – Terrell Lewis, EDGE (Round 3)
The Rams didn’t have a first-rounder this year, so they did pretty well for themselves, all things considered. Part of their underrated draft was nabbing Lewis, who could help their pass rush.
LA has lost some key bodies in the pass rushing department, and Lewis offers serious upside with elite size, length, and athleticism.
Seattle Seahawks – Alton Robinson, EDGE (Round 5)
Few teams needed pass rush help as badly as the Seahawks, and they got some nice value while attacking that issue in round five.
Alton Robinson left a lot to be desired last year, but he had ten sacks in 2018 and offers nice size and explosiveness. It’s a solid pickup that fills a massive need.
Arizona Cardinals – Josh Jones, OT (Round 3)
Isaiah Simmons was a nice surprise when he slid to Arizona at 8th overall, but perhaps the biggest steal of the 2020 NFL Draft arrived in round three.
That came in the form of Houston stud offensive tackle Josh Jones, who was looked at by many as a likely first-round prospect. The size and talent are there, and this move also filled a key need for Arizona’s o-line.
Biggest Draft Steals in 2020
It’s interesting to reflect on the biggest steals in the 2020 NFL Draft, as it reminds us that this is not a perfect (or easy) process.
Prospects will get different grades across the board, teams don’t always do what you expect them to, and this combines to give you some insane value at times.
You can’t use this to bet on the NFL, really, but it should shine a light on which teams landed an elite value within their draft class.
For assistance with NFL betting in 2020, stop by our NFL blog.