On Thursday, March 26, among the chaos of the coronavirus, NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell announced that the NFL draft would continue as planned. I think that this is the correct move by the NFL commissioner. In a world where people are craving events and sports, I think the draft will take minds off of the unfortunate events that are consuming our news feeds daily. It will give everyone something to watch for a few days that does not relate to the coronavirus. So, the Cincinnati Bengals are still on the clock and the rest of the NFL awaits their turn. Here is my stab at predicting what the 2020 NFL draft will look like.
With the first pick in the NFL draft, the Cincinnati Bengals will select Joe Burrow, QB from Louisiana State. I’m sure this prediction does not come as a surprise to everyone reading this. The presumptive №1 pick and assumed savior of this dormant franchise has been the predicted choice since he led his Tigers to a National Championship win in January. With Tua Tagovailoa’s injury issues and Justin Herbert’s consistency question marks, I think Burrow is the only QB that can be shoed in as a franchise QB. He has the moxy and confidence to fit this role, so I think the Bengals will be happy with this selection in the future. As for Burrow, he will be excited to take his talents from the Bayou Bengals to the Cincinnati Bengals.
After selecting their QB of the future in last year’s draft, Dwayne Haskins, I believe the Skins will select fellow Buckeye, Chase Young. Young is seen as the stand-alone, greatest talent in this year’s draft class, and there is not much to be said against this selection. He led CFB in sacks last season at 16.5 and was an unguardable force on the edge. The Redskins should be selecting a generational talent to solidify the edge of their defensive line for years to come.
With the third choice in this year’s draft, the Detroit Lions will sure up their Defensive Line by drafting Derrick Brown out of Auburn University. The Lions were 29th in run defense last year giving up 4.9 yards per rush before they traded for Damon “Snacks” Harrison. Today, Friday, March 27th, the Lions have not continued contract talks with Snacks so I think they will need to draft Brown to fill that void and improve their non-existent run defense from last year. The Lions also have holes in their secondary after trading Safety, Quandre Diggs to the Seahawks and Cornerback, Darius Slay to the Eagles. This could be a landing spot for Ohio State CB, Jeff Okudah, but I think they need to improve their defense by starting in the trenches with Derrick Brown.
I think New York has a real case to trade back and it would be a smart move for the Giants. I am not predicting trades though, just who each team will select. After acquiring James Bradberry and filling a gaping hole at CB the Giants should attend to another weakness in their defense at coverage LB by drafting Isaiah Simmons. Simmons, from Clemson, is one of the most versatile players in this draft. Coming in at 6’5” 240 he is big enough to stop the run, but also agile enough to cover Receivers and Tight-ends.
It would not surprise me if the Miami Dolphins drafted an O-lineman, like Mekhi Becton or generational talent linebacker like Isaiah Simmons at five. This is where Alabama Quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, should fall, though. I think it is a great spot for him because he won’t be thrust into a starting position. This might be an unpopular opinion, but I think the Dolphins are a franchise that is run well from the top down and know how to develop a QB like Tua who possesses raw talent and injury risk to go along with that talent. They have an Offensive Coordinator in Chan Gailey who has seen a thing or two in the NFL, to say the least, and knows how to get the best out of what he has. I don’t think it is out of the question to see the Crimson Tide product go to Miami and sit for a whole year behind Ryan Fitzpatrick. I think that would be the best thing for Tagovailoa’s future.
2020 will be a year of transition for a Chargers team that is in a win-now mode after letting their fifteen-year starting Quarterback walk in free agency and deciding to not re-sign their running back Melvin Gordon. Although 2019 did not go as well as Los Angeles planned, I think they still have the make-up of a contender. The Chargers had a top-5 pass defense last season and that was with their leader, Derwin James, missing most of the season. The Bolts have been blessed with talent falling into their lap in recent drafts with James falling to seventeen and consensus №1 player, Joey Bosa falling to them at three. This is yet another scenario where the Chargers will receive a top talent at six. Jedrick Wills is the most polished lineman in this year’s draft. For a team that is in win-now mode, it makes the most sense to draft an O-lineman that can come in and protect their QB right away.
At seven are the Carolina Panthers, a team that is looking into the future after releasing their long time QB, Cam Newton and fired their head coach, Ron Rivera. Their core, along with their recent hirings at head coach and offensive coordinator, is young. Wonderkid, OC Joe Brady is coming off a national championship win with LSU and is walking into an offense flooded with young talent and a QB in Teddy Bridgewater that is believed to be the QB of their future. Their defense, on the other hand, is one of the worst defenses in the league. They were in the bottom half of the league in stopping the run and lost their best D-Lineman in Gerald McCoy. They weren’t great against the pass either and lost their best CB to the Giants. Luckily for the Panthers, I think Jeff Okudah, who is a generational talent at the CB position could fall into their lap. Okudah is by far the best cornerback in this class and will help the Panthers from day one and go a long way to filling a void on their defense.
The Arizona Cardinals are a team that is in a very similar position to the Panthers. They are blessed with young talent at QB, in last year’s first pick Kyler Murray and a young coach and offensive wizard, Kliff Kingsbury calling the plays. They recently traded for one of the best WRs in today’s NFL in DeAndre Hopkins to provide Murray with an All-pro talent, along with placing a transition tag and securing RB Kenyan Drake for the 2020 season. I believe it is wise for the Cardinals to draft an O-lineman to protect Murray and open up opportunities for all their weapons. My choice for the Red Birds is Mekhi Becton out of Louisville.
The Jacksonville Jaguars were regarded as one of the best defenses for a short run from 2017 into part of the 2019 season, until they traded talents like Jalen Ramsey, A.J. Bouye, and Dante Fowler. Their defense, apart from their linebacker core, is now depleted, to say the least. I think this is a great landing spot for Florida CB, C.J. Henderson, but much like the Lions, I think it is smart for “DUUUUVVAL” to rebuild from the trenches and select DT out of South Carolina, Javon Kinlaw. Kinlaw is talented enough to come in right away and help to rebuild the culture on the defensive side in Jacksonville. Playing alongside Yannick Ngakoue and Myles Jack, along with recent signing, Joe Schobert, Kinlaw should help the Jags be a sturdy defense for the 2020 season.
The Cleveland Browns competed with the Los Angeles Chargers for the most disappointing team with the highest expectations in the 2019 season. A lot of their issues stemmed from not being able to protect Baker Mayfield, along with poor coaching. Although I do not agree with their coaching hire in Kevin Stefanski, I will hold judgment until after the 2020 season. But stupid franchises, stay doing stupid things and that has been the motto for the Cleveland Browns over the last decade. After selecting Baker Mayfield and Nick Chubb I thought they had turned the corner, but then they decided to trade a first-round pick and Jabrill Peppers for Odell Beckham Jr., who is a generational talent at WR but is also a proven headcase and terrible locker room presence. His off-field antics don’t help that narrative either, and although I could talk for hours about how immature Odell is, that isn’t the point of this article. The Browns need to sure up their O-line and I think selecting Tristan Wirfs to finish out the top-10, would be a great start.
After losing WR Robby Anderson in Free Agency the New York Jets have a pretty gaping hole at the WR position. I think it is vital for the Jets to select a WR and this is the perfect spot to do it. Jerry Jeudy out of Alabama has all the physical abilities to be a WR 1 in the NFL. By drafting Jeudy the Jets will give their young QB, Sam Darnold a raw talent to target down the field. Darnold and Jets fans will welcome Jerry Jeudy with open arms as they look towards the future of this offense.
Yes, that’s right, the Las Vegas Raiders, this will take me a minute to get used to as well. As a lifelong Los Angeles/San Diego Chargers fan the Oakland Raiders have always been the rival with a feeling of animosity every time the Bolts traveled to the Oakland Coliseum. Hopefully, with this change, the rivalry will keep the same feel. Anyways the Raiders have two first-rounders and are a candidate to use those two first-rounders to trade up. If they don’t trade up the Raiders should sure up their secondary and draft stand-out safety Grant Delpit, from Louisiana State. Delpit is arguably a top-5 talent in this draft and falling to the Raiders at twelve is a steal.
The defending NFC champs led by their stellar defense should be looking to sure up their secondary on the other side of Richard Sherman. C.J. Henderson, CB out of Florida is a proven talent out of a conference where cornerbacks see Sunday talent every Saturday. I think Henderson will provide the Niners with a great compliment to Sherman and be another piece that produces for one of the league’s most stout defenses.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are one of the most underrated teams coming into the 2020 season. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Buccaneers made the playoffs and won a game or two in the playoffs. Their offense is flooded with talent and now has a QB who knows how to utilize that talent to the best of their abilities. For some odd reason, there is a preconceived notion that the Buccaneers have an awful defense, however, their run defense was the best in the league last year and they brought back all those pieces. The same can’t be said for their pass defense, that is why they should bring in Xavier McKinney. The safety from Alabama is my favorite safety in this class and will play a big part for a team that has a potential playoff run in the cards.
Like the Buccaneers, the Denver Broncos are a very underrated team going into 2020. They have made some good moves on the defensive side of the ball by adding DT Jurrell Casey, along with bringing in more weapons on the offensive side of the ball for their young QB, Drew Lock. I think the Broncos need to bring in Kenneth Murray, a linebacker out of Oklahoma. He’s an NFL ready linebacker who can help the Broncos make a push for a wild card spot in a very deep AFC West division.
The Falcons underachieved greatly last season and much of it was due to injury and poor coaching. They brought back Dan Quinn, which is a move I do not agree with. I thought his time had run its course in Atlanta and a new face was needed. But they have made a lot of good offseason moves. They brought in Dante Fowler Jr. to help rush the QB and signed Todd Gurley to give Matt Ryan another weapon. Unfortunately, they lost Desmond Trufant, so they need to bring in a Cornerback. Kristian Fulton out of Louisiana State is one of my favorite players in the draft and should come into this team and be their number 1 corner from the start.
Is it just me or is it fun to watch the Cowboys do idiotic things. I thought last year’s Cowboys’ team had the talent to make a Super Bowl run, but as the Cowboys like to do, they disappointed once again. There was comedic value, however, in watching the Cowboys burn out in flames and miss the playoffs. Then they made idiotic moves in the offseason and decided to franchise tag the QB of their future and sign Amari Cooper, a very talented, but inconsistent WR to a lucrative deal. Not to mention, Cooper battled a knee injury for the second half of last year’s season. They lost their elite cornerback, Byron Jones because they spent too much money on the offensive side of the ball. So they desperately have to fill that hole in their secondary. By bringing in A.J. Terrell, an experienced CB out of Clemson, they won’t fill the void of losing Jones, but it is a start. Terrell should provide a consistent force on the outside of this defense.
The Dolphins have three first-round selections and I mentioned before that they will use their first one on Tua Tagovailoa. I think they will use their second first-rounder, which they acquired in a trade with Pittsburgh, to protect Tua in the future. Andrew Thomas isn’t my number one offensive lineman in this class, but he is a very good prospect that I believe headlines the second tier of O-lineman in this year’s draft and should fit right into an offense that is one of the most underrated offenses in the league.
The Raiders have two selections in the first round, the second one coming from Chicago in the Khalil Mack trade. The Raiders offense is better than people think, but it is not good enough to take them to the playoffs. They need weapons for coach Jon Gruden to utilize and QB Derek Carr to throw to. Henry Ruggs III would be the second WR taken and the second one taken out of Alabama. Ruggs may not be as good at route running as Jerry Jeudy, but he is an athletic freak and a combine star. He ran a 4.27 40-yard dash and is one of the most versatile WRs in this class. I think Gruden could use Ruggs in numerous ways, whether it is out of the slot, or in the end around game. I think this could be a match made in heaven and although I am not the biggest fan of the Raiders it would be cool to see Henry Ruggs drafted by Las Vegas.
Jacksonville could flirt with the idea of trading up and taking a QB, but I think they believe in Gardner Minshew at least for the foreseeable future. I could see them taking a QB in the second or third round to battle it out with Minshew, but here is a great landing spot for Alabama CB, Trevon Diggs. Diggs would be the fifth cornerback taken off the board and fifth Crimson Tide player. He is arguably better than A.J. Terrell who I think the Cowboys will select. I think Diggs would fill a much-needed void for the Jaguars after they traded Jalen Ramsey to the Rams and A.J. Bouye to the Broncos
The Eagles WR woes were the demise of this overall talented franchise last season and it is time for them to address that weakness. This is a very deep WR draft and Ceedee Lamb, WR out of Oklahoma is an elite talent. Lamb has amazing YAC ability, not to mention, Lamb is a great route-runner. By bringing him in the Eagles will give their young QB, Carson Wentz a great young talent to target consistently. Lamb should come in and be a 500+yds 4TD guy right away. Not many rookies have the experience of catching passes in huge games from NFL QB prospects, and that experience should lead to Lamb being able to produce for this offense right away.
The Vikings acquired this pick after trading WR Stefon Diggs to Buffalo and I believe they will use this pick on a WR to complement Adam Thielen and provide Cousins with another weapon. WR Tee Higgins, out of Clemson, possesses the physical features to be a NO. 1 on an NFL team. Cousins had one of the best years of his career last season leading this team on a playoff run, and it will be interesting to see how a physical freak like Higgins can fit into this electric offense
This is the highest first-round selection that the New England Patriots have had in a long time. I think this would be a great landing spot for a guy like Justin Herbert or Jacob Eason, but I think the Patriots will address their hole at the QB position in the later rounds of the draft. At the 23rd pick though, The Patriots should strengthen their defense by adding a talent that is arguably a top 10 player in this year’s class. A.J. Epenesa, DE out of Iowa, should not fall this far but if he does the Patriots will swipe him up. Epenesa should come in and put pressure on opposing QBs from week 1.
The New Orleans Saints had a disappointing exit from last year’s playoffs. They were a team with championship expectations which fell short again, and I think they could help themselves out by bolstering their secondary. Providing star corner, Marshon Lattimore with a compliment should be a priority for the Saints. Jeff Gladney, CB out of TCU will fit nicely in as a slot corner for the Saints and help them make a run at that elusive Super Bowl title.
With Minnesota’s second selection in the first round, they should look to fill the hole of losing their DT Linval Joseph in Free Agency. Ross Blacklock, DT out of TCU, would be the second Horned Frog selected in the first round, back-to-back with CB Gladney. Blacklock should help the Vikings, who had an underachieving defense last year, sure up their run stoppage and rush the passer with consistency.
The Miami Dolphins should use their third first-round selection on the defensive side of the ball. Their D-Line is better than most people think so attending to their weakness at linebacker should be the direction the Fins go with this pick. Patrick Queen is a very versatile product and would be the fifth selection out of Louisiana State in the first round. Although he is a smaller player for his position he can provide consistency guarding Tight-ends and helping to clog up opposing run games.
The Seahawks had a very good season last year and should look to fill some of their holes on the offensive line. Josh Jones, out of Houston has amazing athleticism for his size at 6’5” 319. He is a raw talent and could use some refinement on his footwork and abilities, but coming into an established offense and being able to protect one of the games’ best QBs in Russell Wilson should allow Jones to adapt to NFL life swiftly.
The Baltimore Ravens had the best record in the NFL last season at 14–2 and had hoped at a Super Bowl run. But their unorthodox offense built around mobile QB Lamar Jackson flamed out in the playoffs once again. After their hall of fame guard, Marshal Yanda retired they should go about replacing him. Although that is no small task, the Ravens should bring in Solomon Kindley, G, out of Georgia to provide some extra protection for Jackson along. Kindley is also one of the best run-blocking linemen in this class and will fit into Greg Roman’s scheme nicely.
The Tennessee Titans were one of the NFL’s Cinderella stories of last season. They made a statement by upsetting the Baltimore Ravens on the back of their stud RB Derrick Henry. But many people forget how good their defense was last season and how crucial they were in their defeat of the Ravens. The Titans lost DT Jurrell Casey to the Broncos and should look to improve their D-line by bringing in K’Lavon Chaisson. Chaisson is very versatile and can be an edge rusher or an outside linebacker. He would be the defending champs’ 6th NFL prospect to be selected in the first round. Chaisson would provide the Titans with an NFL ready player to help them reach the AFC playoffs once again.
Behind a strong offense, The Green Bay Packers are one of the stalwarts of the league every season and this past season was no different. The only difference was this season, they had one of their best defenses since their Super Bowl champion team. But it did have holes and could not keep the San Francisco 49ers in check when it mattered most. They lost some of their defensive pieces in Free Agency and should look to strengthen that. Zach Baun, LB out of Wisconsin should come up the street to Lambeau field and fill a gaping hole that the Packers have at LB. Baun is a tremendous athlete and has played against NFL talent his whole college career. He has the experience to help the Packers from week 1.
The defending NFC champs have two first-round selections and they should add to their explosive offense with this second selection. They recently lost WR Emmanuel Sanders to the New Orleans Saints and should add a guy to compliment Deebo Samuel. Justin Jefferson, WR out of LSU will complete the 7th first-round selection for the defending champs. Jefferson has some question marks surrounding his speed and consistency. But he answered all those doubts at the combine posting a 4.43 time. He is a great route runner and an elite red-zone target that Jimmy Garoppolo will drool over.
The defending champion Kansas City Chiefs have the final selection in this year’s first round. They won the super bowl on the back of their elite QB Patrick Mahomes, but many people forget how instrumental RB Damien Williams was in that Super Bowl game. The Chiefs could go many directions with this pick. But I think by bringing in Johnathan Taylor, an experienced 2,000 yd rusher out of Wisconsin will provide Mahomes with yet another weapon. He is my favorite RB in this class and possesses elite vision and burst. He is also a very underrated passer and will be another reason why this Chiefs’ offense will be a nightmare for opposing defenses