As I sit down and reflect on the news of legendary Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula’s passing, I felt yet again that a part of my childhood was lost. Lost to only memories now. I won’t get to see Coach Shula in his golf cart driving around Hard Rock Stadium, or as it once was Joe Robbie Stadium.
Like so many older Dolphins fans, it took a while to adjust to this stadium, for all of our early memories were of the Orange Bowl. That is where the real magic was. That is where it all began. During the late ’60s and ’70s, Don Shula’s name was a mainstay in our household. Going to Dolphins game became so religious that all our neighbors would think we were heading off to church.
Since the departure of quarterback Tom Brady from the New England Patriots to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the AFC East now is considered “up for grabs”. So which team is poised and ready to take over the reins?
With the Miami Dolphins in full rebuild mode and the Jets still finding their nitch with second-year Head Coach Adam Gase, the Bills are poised and are deemed the heavy favorites to take over the AFC East. Fourth-year head coach Sean McDermott brought the Buffalo Bills to a 10-6 record and second in the AFC East in 2019. With the aid of a departing Brady and a solid draft class(see below) for 2020, the Buffalo Bills and their Bills Mafia fan base are ready for an AFC East take-over.
The NFC West is a battleground. In order to win it, you have to beat some of the best in the league in just your divisional games. The 2020 NFL Draft made one of the best divisions even better.
While all four teams got great grades on their drafts, a few players really stood out as fantastic picks. And while there weren’t a lot of holes in this division, each answered a few questions that surrounded their teams.
Let’s take a look at their picks and which draftees should stand out in a division full of stars.
As the Miami Dolphins approached rounds two and three of the 2020 NFL Draft, they held two picks in the second round (39-56 picks overall), followed by the 70th pick in round 3.
With the 39th pick, the Miami Dolphins selected Louisiana tackle, Robert Hunt. This guy is a beast. At 6’5″ and 323 pounds, Hunt played mostly right tackle for the Ragin Cajuns. Miami was sure to add more protection for their star pick, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who just happens to be a left-handed quarterback.
Coming into the 2020 NFL Draft with three picks in the first round, the Miami Dolphins were poised to make some noise. There were rumors swirling all day about the Dolphins moving up to secure a quarterback or offensive lineman. But, Dolphins general manager Chris Grier held fast.
The Miami Dolphins didn’t flinch and grabbed Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with the fifth overall pick. Despite his season ending hip injury he suffered in November 2019, Tagovailoa has been on the Dolphins radar all year. Grier said the team felt comfortable with his health. Coach Brian Flores then added that Tagovailoa was the guy they felt at the end of the day would be the best fit for the Dolphins.
After landing their quarterback, the Dolphins went back to work. Having a left handed quarterback meant that Miami would need a right tackle to protect his blind side. With the 18th pick Miami went with USC tackle Austin Jackson. Interesting fact, in the summer of 2019 Jackson donated bone marrow to his younger sister. Which already speaks volumes of the young man.
When your division has the current Super Bowl champions in it, you know it is time to step it up. The teams not named Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West are looking to do just that in the 2020 NFL Draft.
It looks like the main thought in the AFC West is if they can’t beat him, try to keep up. The “him” being the Chiefs offense. Going in heavy on offense proves that the Broncos, Chargers, and Raiders are showing it’s going to be all about scoring a lot of points in this division.
Let’s take a look at the new players headed to the AFC West.
What a year it was for the NFC West. They had two teams reach the playoffs, one reaching the Super Bowl. It has long been considered one of the best divisions in the league, and 2020 is looking to be a strong year for all four teams.
However, we all know that teams always have needs. Teams always NEED the draft.
A few teams lost quite a few players to free agency and will need the draft to fill obvious positions of need, others just need to add depth to an already solid team. Here is a recap of who the NFC West teams took in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.