As we get deeper into the 2020 NFL Draft, finding value in selections becomes increasingly important as talent begins to slide down the board.
Despite 149 picks still to be made, there have already been some steals through the first three rounds.
Let’s examine the best thievery to this point.
New York Jets: Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
(Round 2, No. 59)
Mims is a blend of size, speed, and agility. He profiles as an outside receiver which enables Jamison Crowder and Breshad Perriman to play more from the slot, maximizing all of the skill sets on New York’s roster. Mims plays a physical brand of football, excelling in contested situations and when dealing with aggressive corners. As a bonus, he’s arguably the best blocking receiver in the loaded class, which will be an asset for the Jets’ offense.
It would have been of no surprise to see Mims selected in the back half of the first round, and he’s a steal for the Jets at nearly the end of Round 2.
Tennessee Titans: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
(Round 2, No. 61)
Forecasting how the NFL is going to value cornerbacks is tricky given the variety of schemes and skill sets that are optimal to fill them. Teams in search of a certain type of cornerback enabled Kristian Fulton to slide down the board, and a multiple coverage defense like Tennessee was able to land a steal.
Fulton is a true technician with terrific coverage instincts, ball skills and spatial awareness. He never panics, trusts his technique and does his job. Fulton has the ability to thrive in zone and press coverage right away.
Logan Ryan was a big loss for the Titans’ defense but landing Fulton at the end of Round 2 gives them an exciting young talent in the cornerback room to help replace him.
Carolina Panthers: Jeremy Chinn, S, Southern Illinois
(Round 2, No. 64)
There was some disappointment that Carolina passed on Isaiah Simmons in the first round in order to select defensive tackle Derrick Brown. While Jeremy Chinn didn’t make his mark playing against top competition, his skill set and physical traits compare quite favorably to Simmons; Carolina was able to land him almost 60 spots later.
Chinn is an exciting defensive chess piece that has the size, length, range, ball skills and physicality to fill a variety of positions. Phil Snow’s defense at Baylor featured a 3-3-5 alignment that used a slot safety, which is an ideal role for Chinn.
He is a younger prospect with terrific physical gifts that can serve as a matchup neutralizer at the next level.
Baltimore Ravens: Justin Madubuike, DT, Texas A&M
(Round 3, No. 71)
Per usual, the Ravens are putting together an exceptional draft class and landing Justin Madubuike in the third round is a big reason why. Madubuike is a wrecking ball on the interior defensive line and can serve as a penetration-style player that can attack gaps. In addition, Madubuike plays with terrific extension skills and can play in even fronts, defending multiple gaps and anchoring at the point of attack.
His versatility meshes perfectly with Wink Martindale’s diverse scheme that features aggressive pressure packages. A selection in the top 50 wouldn’t have surprised anybody; Madubuike at No. 71 overall is a bargain, and the rich get richer.
New Orleans Saints: Zack Baun, EDGE, Wisconsin
(Round 3, No. 74)
I love the way Zack Baun developed and improved throughout his career. He was a high school quarterback that never played a snap of defense prior to his time at Wisconsin. As a senior in 2019, Baun racked up 75 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss, 12 1/2 sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception.
Baun is a versatile defender that has terrific pass-rushing skills in addition to a comfort playing in space, dropping into coverage and playing downhill against the run. His skill set is a welcomed addition to a Saints defense that can use some help on the second level. Many believed Baun would be a top-50 pick, and it was surprising to see him slide down the board.