Just like that, the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft is over.
Six weeks of unprecedented build-up in the absence of all other major American sporting events due to the coronavirus gave way to four hours of live television coverage. It ran much smoother than the worried crowd expected from a technological standpoint.
Here are five takeaways from what happened — and didn’t happen.
1. Quiet Patriots
If you thought the Patriots were going to break the mold and trade up after an offseason when the starting lineup was turned over in free agency, think again. Bill Belichick did what Bill Belichick frequently does: He traded out of the first round to acquire picks in the second and third rounds.
Maybe it would have been different if Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert slipped, but both those quarterbacks were gone in the top-six picks. The Patriots passed on Jordan Love — drafted by the Packers at No. 26 to be Aaron Rodgers’ heir apparent — and think highly of Jalen Hurts, who could be a Friday target.
2. SEC is king
Fifteen of the 32 first-round picks were SEC products, including five from LSU and four from Alabama. That is a record for any conference in the first round, smashing the old mark of 12 held by the 2017 SEC, 2013 SEC and 2006 ACC draft classes.
3. Trading was difficult, even without technological fails
None of the top 12 picks and only one of the first 22 changed hands. Four total trades were executed.
The number of trades was expected to be down from the norm given all the different moving pieces involved in negotiations that needed to be done virtually in a 10-minute window. The lack of buyers for the top quarterbacks also softened the trade market.
4. Tackles trumped receivers and cornerbacks
The two deepest positions in the first round ended in a tie: Six wide receivers and six offensive tackles selected. Surprisingly, six cornerbacks were taken, too.
But tackles were prioritized: Five went in the first 18 picks. Brooklyn’s Isaiah Wilson went to the Titans at No. 29 to complete the sextet.
In a twist, Henry Ruggs III was the first receiver taken, as the Raiders grabbed him at No. 12, over the more accomplished Jerry Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb. They were the only three receivers in the first 20 picks, but then the Eagles, Vikings and 49ers struck in a five-pick span. The run on receivers will continue Friday.
5. Reach me
No matter how many thousands of mock drafts exist, surprises never fail to happen in the first round.
The Falcons failed to trade up from No. 16, so they made A.J. Terrell the third cornerback off the board. Not to be outdone, the Raiders pulled a stunner by taking cornerback Damon Arnette at No. 19. Both players were commonly projected as second-rounders.
In between, the Dolphins drafted USC offensive tackle Austin Jackson at No. 18. Their margin for error is greater, with three first-rounders and 14 total picks across seven rounds.