“With the fourth pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders select Clelin Ferrell, defensive end, Clemson,” Roger Goodell announced in Nashville last April, stunning fans and draft analysts in delivering one of the most shocking moves of the entire draft.
Widely regarded as one of the best defensive players in college football over the last two years, Ferrell was not projected as the fourth overall pick by any notable draft analyst, nor was he projected as a top-10 by most analysts, including Matt Miller, Todd McShay, Mel Kiper Jr., and Daniel Jeremiah.
One year later, using pre-draft projections and expectations, what are the most shocking trades, selections, and passes of the 2020 NFL Draft?
Updated throughout the first round.
Lions Stay at No. 3
After weeks of reports the Lions were shopping the third pick, including a potential Dolphins’ jump to acquire an offensive tackle ahead of the Giants, they didn’t strike a deal and selected Jeffrey Okudah.
Shocking? Maybe not, though mildly surprising amid projections of landing spots for Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert.
Giants Select Andrew Thomas
The Giants passed on the most versatile defensive player in the draft in Isaiah Simmons for Georgia offensive tackle Andrew Thomas, the 12th-ranked overall player in The Draft Network’s rankings.
Ranked behind Alabama’s Jedrick Wills by most analysts, including Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller (who also ranks Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs higher), Thomas became the third offensive tackle drafted by the Giants in the first round since 2013.
The pick itself isn’t shocking; the one-spot trade is shocking because it’s a rarity.
The last one-spot trade in the first round: Chicago Bears moving up one spot to select Mitchell Trubisky in the 2017 draft. This time, it was the Buccaneers jumping one spot to select Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs, the fourth offensive tackle selected, to protect Tom Brady.
49ers Pass on Lamb, Jeudy
With CeeDee Lamb and Jerry Jeudy on the board, John Lynch and the defending NFC champion 49ers passed on the two talented receivers to upgrade their interior defensive line after trading DeForest Buckner to the Colts over the winter.
Raiders Pick Arnette
The Raiders needed help at cornerback, prompting several analysts to predict players like A.J. Terrell, Kristian Fulton or Trevon Diggs to them at No. 19. The Raiders got their help at cornerback, though they passed on Fulton, Diggs, and others and (arguably) reached for Ohio State’s Damon Arnette, widely projected as a second-round pick.
Chargers Trade Up
The second draft-day trade of the first round but the first move of more than one spot, the Chargers acquired the Patriots’ 23rd pick in exchange for a second- and third-round pick, the former of which replenished the Patriots’ second-round selection they sent to Atlanta in the Mohamed Sanu trade. The Chargers jumped on Kenneth Murray, picking the Oklahoma linebacker over LSU linebacker Patrick Queen.
In most years, this trade isn’t shocking. After three hours of no notable trades, this was finally a big one.
Packers Draft Jordan Love
Instead of selecting a receiver in the first round for the first time in Aaron Rodgers’ career, the Packers selected Rodgers’ successor. The pick comes three weeks after Rodgers, who has five more years left on his contract, said he’d like to play until he’s 40 years old.
And the Packers traded up to do so. Shocking on so many levels.