Written: Brett Fine
The 2020 draft class is something that may be discussed for years to come. There are sure-fire stars that could quite possibly exceed the first two rounds, based on the depth.
Sure, there are some positions that could be lacking, That gets made up for at positions like a wide receiver and tackle. The talent at wideout this year is being spoken so highly by guys like Mel Kiper and Todd McShay.
I will dive deeper into the specifics as we go on, but in short form, some say there is first-round talent falling into the third round.
You will see guys like Chase Claypool, Jalen Hurts, Javon Wims and so forth dive past the first round but end up being an absolute steal for someone.
Let’s dive into this.
No. 1 Overall: Cincinnati Bengals select Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
This one was pretty obvious, and I am sure everyone can agree here that this is the way to go for the Bengals. Andy Dalton’s run in Cincy was not something the fans will forget because he did help put them in a step towards the right direction along with coach Marvin Lewis. They finally ~appeared~ in the playoffs in their tenure together.
Nonetheless, now they are back in a big hole. Since it’s apparent that Dalton is moving on elsewhere as (we assume) a QB2, Joe Burrow should be a no brainer for the Bengals. They have many positions to fill, but their top priority after selecting Burrow should be getting him some protection.
The weapons Burrow will have won’t be bad at all. A healthy (keyword: healthy) trio of A.J Green, Tyler Boyd, and John Ross could be lethal. That also includes Joe Mixon taking handoffs from Joe, who is also a huge part of that offense. What Burrow did this past season was not only phenomenal in itself, but it essentially replaced Tua Tagovailoas’ draft stock before the season began.
No 2. Overall: Washington Redskins select Chase Young, DE, Ohio State
Some say the overall BEST player in this draft is the 6 foot 5, 265-pound man himself. The ability to rush the passer with the plethora of moves that he has at such a young age shows a ceiling we have not encountered before out of an Ohio State edge rusher. That is saying something considering we have recently seen the Bosa brothers thriving in the NFL, along with other guys like Sam Hubbard, Cam Heyward, and Derek Barnett.
Obviously, there have been talks surrounding the organization saying Ron Rivera could shock everyone and grab a guy like Tua, essentially sending last years’ first-round selection Dwayne Haskins out the door, or at least into an unexpected QB competition this summer.
I believe that is just a giant smokescreen, which we see from GM’s and coaches more often than an average fan could recognize. I will use an example of that as we go on, but for now, this should be a lock-in D.C.
No. 3 Overall: Detroit Lions select Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
This is one that was previously a toss-up in a lot of mock drafts, before the recent departure of 3-time pro bowler Darius Slay. Slay was the anchor of that pass defense for the entirety of his tenure there, without him they have a giant hole at DB. Quandre Diggs has done a great job back at safety, but he will need some help on the sideline.
Some would say a guy like Isaiah Simmons is also ideal after they let go of Devon Kennard as well. The hole at DB is too great to pass up on a guy like Okudah. The 6’1 200-pounder did not receive one single pass interference OR holding penalty during the 2019 season. He will be compared to a guy like Denzel Ward, a former Buckeye teammate and star Cleveland Brown corner.
No. 4 Overall: New York Giants select Isaiah Simmons, OLB, Clemson
Simmons, for me, is the steal of the draft. I think he is the best player out of the entire class. The combination of size, speed, and strength is unheard of. He reminds me of a bigger, faster, stronger Derwin James. Derwin is similar in the sense that, like Simmons, you can place him anywhere. He ran a 4.4 and is similar in size just like Isaiah, but isn’t quite as big, while also being slower by just a tad based off their 40 times.
Simmons ran a 4.38 as a linebacker at the combine and that blew teams away. His tape will do the same, as you can see him all over the field from playing OLB, but tracking the ball down in the air like an all-pro safety.
The Giants have a golden opportunity to pair him with the big hitter Jabril Peppers and fill the void Landon Collins left. Most say they go left tackle here, but I disagree.
No. 5 Overall: Miami Dolphins select Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
The breakout star quarterback for the Crimson Tide is almost certainly falling in the top 5. There have been talks of teams like the LA Chargers targeting a guy like Tua, but I believe Miami is set on the 6’1 Hawaiian. A team would have to trade up past the Phins’, but if Miami is set on their guy there is no other team with more ammo to trade up then the Dolphins themselves.
They have multiple first and second-round picks for years to come. I made this analysis based on their free agency moves. Miami had a boatload of money to spend, and they did so by grabbing stars like Byron Jones, Shaq Lawson, Kyle Van Noy, Ereck Flowers, Jordan Howard, Emmanuel Ogbah, etc. They addressed a plethora of positions with the exception of quarterback, so one would make the assumption that they select their guy at 5. Tua is essentially confirmed to be locked and loaded health-wise, so hopefully, there are no worries there.
No. 6 Overall: Los Angeles Chargers select Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
This is something that is shaping up to become more realistic by the day. The Bolt fanbase is all over the place with what they think is the happen, and that’s no thanks to the quiet but hard to figure out Tom Telesco. LA’s General Manager has fired many smokescreens and could be firing another one out again by assuring us Tyrod Taylor is the guy. It was only a few months ago Telesco told the press he is happy with “internal options” (Tyrod Taylor and Easton Stick) only until pursuing Tom Brady alongside Tampa Bay not much later.
With guys like Simmons and Tua becoming more likely to fall in the top 5, Herbert is the Chargers’ best option. LA is one of two teams to have a video conference call with the Oregon native this week as well.
Herbert will have the keys to a yacht, after what Telesco put together this offseason. A huge problem with the Chargers 2019-2020 season, most would say the most significant issue, was the offensive line. Los Angeles brought in 5-time pro bowl guard Trai Turner via trade with Carolina and signed veteran tackle Brian Bulaga to a 3 year roughly 30 million dollar deal. With the Chargers bulking up their o line and the variety of weapons such as Keenan Allen, Ekeler as his safety blanket, Hunter Henry and Mike Williams being his jump ball guy Herbert would theoretically take over when he’s ready over Tyrod Taylor.
This is the most logical pick for the new-look Chargers, who are going to re-brand the entire franchise after moving from San Diego, editing their logo, switching up their uniforms, and bringing in their new quarterback after moving on from 16-year veteran Philip Rivers.
No. 7 Overall: Carolina Panthers select Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
Carolina has also made some changes this off-season. Along with moving on from the former MVP Cam Newton, they dished away their 5-time pro bowl guard Trai Turner to the Chargers in exchange for veteran tackle Russell Okung. As most of you may know, the Panthers moved on from long time beloved coach Ron Rivera and brought in the Matt Rhule. After seeing how Rhule turned around Baylor’s program in such a short amount of time following all of the legal trouble they went through, Rhule turned a lot of heads.
This one could go a few different directions, including a possible trade. I absolutely believe there will be a discussion with a team like Tampa Bay for a draft-day trade, considering the players available at 7 may not outweigh the positives from moving down and adding another draft pick in the process. Nonetheless, I have them bringing in Derrick Brown from Auburn. Brown is huge and can fill the trenches.
The 6’5, 317-pound beast himself will fit in perfectly alongside Kawann Short. The Panthers recently parted ways with Gerald McCoy, as he signed with the Dallas Cowboys. There is a hole in the middle where Brown could fit right in. Carolina has always taken pride in their defense, and especially their pass rush. Brown is a run stuffer, but his ability to penetrate the interior pass protection as a defensive tackle is by fire better than anyone other defensive tackle in the draft. This makes sense for Carolina.
No. 8 Overall: Arizona Cardinals select Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
It goes without saying Arizona has already hit a home run this offseason. Bringing in superstar wide receiver Deandre Hopkins from Houston in exchange for David Johnsons’ hefty 13 million dollar contract has taken a huge amount off the pressure off of Steve Keims’ back.
Keim, the Red Birds General Manager, has a margin for error with this pick after pleasing the entire fan base. Ideally, you still want to hit a home run in the draft. The Cardinals most logical choice amid the Hopkins addition would be to add a lineman, a tackle specifically. Becton has shown us such a high ceiling with his draft interviews, tape, and combine performance. I would’ve guessed that Arizona would go wide receiver here, but that was before adding Hopkins.
Now that the Cards’ have Hopkins, future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk, and Andy Isabella I think pairing a young star tackle along with D.J Humphries, who is coming off of a breakout year under Kliff Kingsburys’ new system, would be the most ideal thing to do. The Cardinals should keep stacking this offense, the sky is the limit for them right now.
No. 9 Overall: Jacksonville Jaguars select Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
There are a variety of different roads the Jaguars can take here. Jacksonville could go defense, considering they essentially wiped their star coveted 2017-2018 AFC championship appearing defense clean. Jalen Ramsey, A.J, Bouye, soon to be Yannick Ngakoue, Calais Campell, and probably Telvin Smith will all be on another team (or not playing) this season.
I have seen a lot of guys like Javon Kinlaw from South Carolina going here at pick number nine, but I believe general manager David Caldwell is going to stock up on a position that has been needed for several years; wide receiver. Jeudy, to me, is the best and most pro-ready receiver in this draft. I am fully aware of what Oklahoma star Ceedee Lamb brings to the table, but the tape for Jerry pops out. His ability to run routes reminds me of a much more clean version of Calvin Ridley. His speed checked the box, running a 4.45 at the combine. Also, his agility is something no one can top in this draft.
Jeudy is one of those guys who may not be the D.K Metcalf type of draft profile, his upside pops out on the tape. He will be great in the NFL, and if the Jaguars add him to the list of limited weapons that Minshew has he will be the best receiver they’ve had since Allen Robinson.
No. 10 Overall: Cleveland Browns select Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
I really like this pick for Cleveland. Obviously, after the departure of future hall of fame left tackle, Joe Thomas, the Browns offensive line has had many question marks. With as deep as this tackle class is this year the Browns can afford to sit back comfortably at pick ten and grab themselves a future pro bowl lineman in a pick your poison fashion. Whether we get surprised and its Becton, Andrew Thomas, or Wirfs I would be shocked if Cleveland went another direction here. The Browns have had quite an interesting tenure since bringing in big-name guys like Odell Beckham, Denzel Ward, Kareem Hunt, Olivier Vernon, and Sheldon Richardson.
The expectations, sadly, were set too high last season. The line was a huge problem last season, forcing Mayfield to struggle even with the plethora of talented weapons he had to throw to. Adding a star tackle here would help the entire offense more than one could imagine. The Browns also signed star tight end Austin Hooper to pair with the young David Njoku, so this could really solidify the edge blocking for Cleveland. Wirfs is widely known to be the most NFL-ready tackle in the class, based on how Iowa prepares its guys. I like Cleveland to get Wirfs at pick number ten.
Featured Image: ClutchPoints