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Draft Grades from the 2020 Draft - A Look Back (Picks 21-32)
By Keith Van Wagner
Special to rzl-football.com

1.21 – DT Michael Brockers, Lions. Brockers has had a solid if unspectacular three and half years in Detroit. In his first two seasons Brockers totaled 10 sacks, excellent for a rookie Tackle. His totals dipped in 2022 due in large part to not being on the field. Still in his first three seasons he also made about $14M, or about a million a sack. GRADE: B-

1.22 – FS George Iloka, Vikings. It’s not hard to understand why the Vikings loved Iloka coming out. He stands 6’4 and has 90 SPD, a great combo for any Free Safety. But here we are looking at production. Iloka had only 4 interceptions during his first 3 seasons, but they tell only part of the story. What’s interesting about Iloka is how good he is at breaking up passes. In his rookie season he finished in the Top 10 among Free Safeties, his sophomore season he finished second, and last year he was first. GRADE: A

1.23 – MLB Courtney Upshaw, Eagles. Upshaw seems to be a defensive end playing at MLB with some degree of success. Through his first three seasons Upshaw has averaged about 70 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, and 6 sacks a season. These aren’t bad numbers but for a starting MLB in a 4-3 you’d expect more tackles. Crucial to success at the position is high awareness and good tackling skills, which Upshaw currently lacks. GRADE: B-

1.24 – OLB Adam Borque, Rams. Borque’s best season came as a rookie when he recorded 37 tackles and 5 sacks. Since then he managed only 50 tackles in 2021 and 2022 with 2 sacks total. This season has seen an uptick in production and he may match his rookie totals. Borque still has all the potential he did when he was drafted, though has yet to show much else. GRADE: C+

1.25 – CB Janoris Jenkins, Panthers. Reviewing Jenkins’ production over his first three seasons is somewhat hard to do. In many respects it looks pretty good – he had more picks in his first 3 seasons than the two Top 10 corners selected – and even been a nice little blitzer with about 3 sacks a year. But what’s interesting is the lack of deflections. Jenkins recorded 16 deflections in his first 3 seasons, against 7 picks. He should have had many more deflections. So time will tell if he’s lucky or good or both. GRADE: B

1.26 – CB Robert Jackson, Browns. Kudos to the Browns for taking the time to develop young Jackson. Coming into the league with an impressive 6’2” stature, he lacked AWR and speed. Jackson’s 3 seasons in Cleveland have given him time to develop both. In each season Jackson has improved and this season he is currently tied for the league lead in interceptions. GRADE: A

1.27 – CB Ray Wilson, Jets. I remember during the 2020 draft I was trying to decide between drafting Janoris Jenkins and Ray Wilson. I went with Jenkins and immediately felt a pang of regret. Wilson has turned out to be the better player, though in their first two seasons Jenkins surpassed Wilson. In that period Wilson managed only 1 pick and a mere 10 deflections. But some switch flipped for Wilson and in the last season and a half he’s recorded 7 picks and 50 deflections. GRADE: B+

1.28 – FS Robert Lester, Jaguars. The second of two Free Safeties taken in the first round, Robert Lester hasn’t disappointed. After an average freshman year, Lester has come into his own, picking off 2 passes each season and netting 16 deflections in 2021 and 2022 each, which is near the top for the position. GRADE: A-

1.29 – TE Robert Wilson, Bears. The Bears were criticized at the time of the 2020 draft for taking a Tight End so high. Like him or not, Wilson has begun to produce after a rookie and sophomore season with little to brag about. In 2022 Wilson exploded with 744 yards receiving, good for second best in the league among Tight Ends. Again in 2023 he is second overall in yards. GRADE: B+

1.30 – RG Barrett Jones, Redskins. Jones was the third offensive lineman off the board in a relatively weak O-Line class. Since coming into the league Jones has kept improving and has developed quickly into a very capable lineman. In his first three seasons he allowed an average of only 4 sacks against 67 pancakes. While he’s not yet in the conversation for the Pro Bowl, he’s just on the outside. This season he has 43 pancakes and zero sacks allowed. GRADE: B+

1.31 – HB LaMichael James, Chargers. The third running back taken in the draft, LaMichael James has to be considered a bust for the Chargers. James had a decent rookie season with 921 yards and 3 TDs but followed up that season with 695 and 912 yards, respectively. In 2022, however, James showed some flashes and finished with 8 TDs and 5.0 yards per carry. But take away his career game in week 12 and you see how pedestrian his season was. And he makes $10M a year. GRADE: D-

1.32 – QB Landry Jones, Colts. Landry Jones finishes out the first round and his grade isn’t that good, but maybe it should be an “Incomplete.” In his 3 and a half seasons, Jones has watched Bobby Reid, Julio Torres, Matt Flynn and now Jose Giradeau have fairly non-descript seasons as starters. During that time Jones has totaled a mere 397 yards passing with 3 TDs and 2 picks. He hasn’t thrown a pass in 2023, despite the Colts being 3-5. GRADE: F
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