D.A.'s 2020 NFL Draft Hits And Misses 

Damon Amendolara reflects on all the twists and turns of the first round of the NFL Draft

Damon Amendolara
April 24, 2020 - 12:07 pm

We were starving on the side of the road, broken down and eating cans of beans heated on the engine block. As sports fans, we've been thirsting for live events, something other than video games, classic games and H-O-R-S-E games. The NFL Draft arrived riding in on a white horse, a chance for the sports country to feel like we were watching something significant in real time. Roger Goodell was corny and stiff. The stationary cameras were awkward. The living room decors were (ahem) interesting. But who cares? We got something that mattered. Here's my list of the winners and losers. 

MISS: Attire. From Trey Wingo's Bugsy Siegel suit, to Michael Irvin's candy cane ensemble, to Henry Ruggs' bathrobe, it was not easy on the eyes. At one point, Goodell changed into his Mister Rogers sweater (and it was an upgrade). But for a country that's been unshaven and working from home for five weeks, this was the great breakout, taste be damned. 

HIT: Everything about the Cardinals’ offseason. DeAndre Hopkins and Isaiah Simmons? Been an amazing last month for Arizona fans. They get one of the best receivers in football for a 4th-round pick. They get to dump David Johnson's contract. They pick up one of the most exciting defensive players in the draft. It's good to be Kliff Kingsbury. The team's Twitter account posted a picture of their coach's war room. It looked like the nicest resort I've ever stayed in. Check that. It was way nicer. There's handsome, well-coiffed, no-socks Kingsbury on an $8K couch, watching a 100" TV with the mountains of the Phoenix Valley outside his massive glass walls. Must be nice. 

MISS: Everything about Mike Vrabel's war room. There's a kid with a mullet and a Napoleon Dynamite stare. There's another kid in the Freeze outfit. And there may or may not be a kid using the toilet with the door open. Let's hope his picks are better. 

HIT: Joe Burrow. He's got the attitude, ability and swagger to change the Bengals’ culture and expectations.

HIT: Jeff Okudah. We had the Ohio State corner on the show and he is as well-rounded as it gets. Star written all over him. He’s amazingly gifted and motivated by playing in honor of his late mother. He’s the real deal.

MISS: Dolphins: I’m extremely skeptical that Tua can stay healthy in the NFL, but it is a big win for the Dolphins in selecting a potential franchise QB and not having to trade up to do do. They were still able to keep their two other picks in the 1st round, and added a pick when the Packers moved up for Jordan Love. 

HIT: John Elway. Don't look now, but the GM that so many have taken massive shots at has collected major weapons for his offense. Since ’18, Elway has grabbed Courtland Sutton, Phillip Lindsay, Drew Lock, Noah Fant and now Jerry Jeudy. The QB is the key, but if Lock is their signal-caller, it's one of the best young offensive nucleuses in football. 
 
HIT: Cowboys. Jerry Jones sitting in an opulent, strangely decorated room (on his yacht) drafting a big-name player without any “young whipper snappers” telling him no is his personal nirvana. Getting CeeDee Lamb, who many thought would be the first WR off the board, was big for an already star-filled offense. 

HIT: The Vikings: What a baller maneuver. They turned frustrated Stefon Diggs into so much more. They got a 1st, 4th, 5th and 6th from the Bills. So with that #22 pick they select LSU's Justin Jefferson. They plug in a would-be star wideout into Diggs' spot. They escape Diggs' money and get Jefferson on a rookie contract. And they still had their own 1st-rounder… plus the other three picks from the Bills. Beautiful.

MISS: Packers: This is not only a verdict on the decision to take a QB, but also the project that Jordan Love is. Instead of getting Aaron Rodgers immediate help in his final years in Green Bay, the front office decided to take a guy who won't contribute until '22 at the earliest. The parallels are uncanny. At age 36, Brett Favre watched the Pack take his heir apparent at the end of the 1st round. That young man was Rodgers, who sat on the bench for three years. Yes, The Lion King teaches us the circle of life. But Green Bay was in the NFC Championship Game three months ago. They aren't far from another title run. Maybe the Pack is hoping Rodgers gets motivated into a renaissance like Tom Brady was after Jimmy G got drafted. Somewhere Elton John sings softly. 

It's the wheel of fortune
It's the leap of faith
It's the band of hope
'Til we find our place
On the path unwinding 
The circle of life.

Damon Amendolara, known by his fans as D.A., hosts “The D.A. Show,” from 6:00AM-10:00AM, ET, across the country on the nation’s largest 24/7 major-market radio network. “The D.A. Show” is known for its unique perspective on sports, tongue-in-cheek sense of humor, colorful listener interaction, and candid interviews with athletes and coaches. Amendolara also appears regularly on NFL Network as part of the “NFL Top 10” documentary film series, CBS television and SNY TV. He is a Syracuse University grad and native of Warwick, N.Y.