The Super Bowl is, like, old news. All that matters now is the 2020 NFL Draft. Well, that and free agency, the future of Tom Brady, a potential new collective bargaining agreement, and contracts for big-name players like Drew Brees, Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, Jadeveon Clowney, and Byron Jones.
But who are we kidding, the draft is what matters the most. So this week, with draft season officially underway, we look at what could happen in the first two rounds, with a possible twist developing with the No. 1 pick.
1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
Are things getting interesting with the first overall pick in the draft? Burrow said on The Dan Patrick Show that he wants to play for a team “committed to winning Super Bowls.” Former Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer said Cincinnati never really tried to win a Super Bowl. The deeper connection between the two is that Carson Palmer’s brother, Jordan Palmer, is training Burrow in the pre-draft process. Burrow is still the prohibitive favorite, but this is an interesting quarter turn.
2. Washington: Chase Young, DE, Ohio State
There is seemingly less intrigue with the second pick than the first. We haven’t heard from Young in some time, and he’s not the type to slate teams anyway. This is one of the easiest picks to project ever.
3. Detroit Lions: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
For as easy as it is to predict Young to Washington, it’s still difficult to get a grasp on what the Lions could do with the third overall pick. This could be a spot for a trade up if Miami gets anxious about missing out on Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. The Lions could also go a few different directions if they make the pick. This week, it’s Brown, the brutish defensive lineman who pushes blockers around with ease.
4. New York Giants: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
Wills is a pro-ready run blocker, which is a good thing for a franchise that took a running back with the second overall pick in the draft two years ago. And while he’s not quite as accomplished as a pass blocker, Wills’ athleticism leads you to believe he should develop just fine in that area.
5. Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
The Dolphins need Tagovailoa, even if he sits a season behind Ryan Fitzpatrick. The question is whether or not they’ll take him at No. 5. With three first-round picks this year, the Dolphins have plenty of ammunition to do whatever they want.
6. Los Angeles Chargers: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
Let’s go full weird with this one and say the Chargers somehow land Tom Brady. It’s ridiculous, of course, but NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport floated the possibility. If that’s the case, the Chargers could wait yet again to draft a quarterback early. Then, landing Wirfs would be smart. He can slide right into the right tackle spot and finally solve the problematic position for the Chargers.
7. Carolina Panthers: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
The Panthers have had either or both of Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly at linebacker since 2005, but now Carolina goes into the offseason needing to address the position. Davis left last year and Kuechly shocked people by retiring on Jan. 14. Simmons, while not a traditional middle linebacker, would make for a nice partnership with Shaq Thompson.
8. Arizona Cardinals: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
Becton in the top 10 and over Andrew Thomas of Georgia might seem strange, but don’t discount it. NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah rates Becton far ahead of Thomas, and he might not be alone.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State
If Okudah drops this far, the Jaguars would pass on offensive and defensive linemen for him. Okudah is a day one starter, which the Jaguars need at cornerback. Other than A.J. Bouye, Jacksonville doesn’t have much at the position.
10. Cleveland Browns: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
The Browns need a player like Thomas. In the two years since Joe Thomas retired, the Browns have been an inconsistent mess at left tackle. Andrew Thomas is arguably the best pure left tackle in this draft, and he would help jumpstart a Cleveland offense that was spotty last season.
11. New York Jets: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
During the draft process, there is often fluctuation on where we think the wide receivers will get drafted. In 2018, for instance, DJ Moore vaulted over Calvin Ridley to be the first wide receiver selected. If there’s a wide receiver who could jump to the front of the line this year, it might be Ruggs. Even though he was Alabama’s third-leading receiver in 2019, his speed could help him separate from the pack of first-round receivers.
12. Las Vegas Raiders: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
If the Raiders decide to move on from Derek Carr this offseason, they could begin their era in Las Vegas with a rookie quarterback. It’s never been Jon Gruden’s nature to rely on rookie quarterbacks, but he might not be able to resist an athletic 6’6 signal caller.
13. Indianapolis Colts: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
If Ruggs is the first wide receiver taken, it will lead to a domino effect with the next few wide receivers after him. Even if Lamb gets jumped over by someone else, it’s difficult to see him falling outside the top 15. The Colts could be a landing spot as they look to add a receiving weapon to pair with T.Y. Hilton. Now if only they could find someone to throw the ball.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
The Buccaneers may have just taken Vita Vea in the first round two years ago and allowed the fewest rushing yards per game last season, but they could be in need of a defensive lineman. Tampa has several free agents up front, including interior linemen Beau Allen and Ndamukong Suh, and edge players Shaq Barrett and Carl Nassib. Kinlaw is a combination lineman with his size and power to play the run, and athleticism to get after the quarterback.
15. Denver Broncos: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
Even if they don’t get Ruggs, the Broncos would do well with another Alabama wide receiver in this draft. Jeudy isn’t the flashiest, but he’s a consistent receiver who makes defensive backs look foolish with his quick cuts on routes.
16. Atlanta Falcons: A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa
If Epenesa had better sack numbers last season, his draft buzz might be louder. But after being asked to set the edge and play the run more, he proved his worth as an all-around defensive end.
17. Dallas Cowboys: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
McKinney over LSU’s Grant Delpit might seem surprising, but the feeling on this year’s two top safeties could go back-and-forth in the lead up to the draft. McKinney is a capable coverage safety and in nickel situations will come down and play linebacker. While he’s not quite on Simmons’ level in that regard, McKinney’s skill set is attractive.
18. Miami Dolphins (via Pittsburgh Steelers): Josh Jones, OT, Houston
With six picks in the top 70, the Dolphins have a chance to rebuild their entire franchise this offseason. Pairing Tagovailoa with a left tackle like Jones would give Miami an identity on offense.
19. Las Vegas Raiders (via Chicago Bears): Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado
The Raiders want speed on the outside to take some pressure off running back Josh Jacobs and tight end Darren Waller. That could eliminate Tennessee’s Tee Higgins and LSU’s Justin Jefferson. While both are good receivers, neither is a burner. Even at 6’2 and 220 pounds, Shenault has speed. He’s versatile too. In Colorado, he worked outside and at slot, but also lined up at running back and wildcat quarterback.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars: (via Los Angeles Rams): Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
After DJ Chark, Jacksonville’s wide receivers are confounding. Chris Conley, the team’s second-leading receiver, caught only 47 of 90 targets this season, which is miserable. Dede Westbrook has caught 66 passes on 101 targets in each of the last two seasons, but only averaged 10 yards per catch in 2019. Higgins is a big-bodied receiver who knows how to go up and get the ball, and is hard to take down after the catch.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: CJ Henderson, CB, Florida
Although the Eagles need to address wide receiver, cornerback is arguably just as big of a hole. Henderson is a man coverage ace who rarely allows first downs and can lock down his side of the field.
22. Buffalo Bills: K’Lavon Chaisson, Edge, LSU
Chaisson is something of a one-trick pony, but that trick is a good one. He is almost exclusively a standup speed rusher off the edge. He doesn’t play with a lot of power or technique. But when you can fly past blockers, you don’t need those things.
23. New England Patriots: Terrell Lewis, Edge, Alabama
If Tom Brady leaves New England, this becomes the most fascinating pick of the first round. You just have to wonder if, at 67 years old, Bill Belichick will want to try and make a go of things with a rookie quarterback. Instead, he could lean into what he knows best by taking a versatile pass rusher like Lewis, who was coached up by someone Belichick trusts in Nick Saban.
24. New Orleans Saints: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
Somehow, somewhere Love should land in the first round. The fifth year of control on a rookie contract quarterback is just too valuable for it not to happen. Especially regarding a quarterback who might be best served sitting a season to refine his immense talent.
25. Minnesota Vikings: Austin Jackson, OT, USC
This is a pick I’m stuck on, even if it’s this deep into the first round. Jackson is one of the best pass blocking left tackles in this draft thanks to quick feet that help him mirror speed rushers and ride them around the pocket. Kirk Cousins will like that.
26. Miami Dolphins (via Houston Texans): Grant Delpit, S, LSU
If Delpit drops in the draft, the Dolphins shouldn’t hesitate to take him with their third first-round pick. Miami has to make several upgrades to the secondary, and Delpit can help fix a middling, at best, pass coverage unit.
27. Seattle Seahawks: Julian Okwara, Edge, Notre Dame
Okwara may not be a freaky speed rusher like Chaisson, and some prefer fellow Irish pass rusher Khalid Kareem, but he has size and good enough athleticism. Most importantly for Seattle is that Okwara has length at 6’5 and can keep blockers out of his pads. With the right coaching, he can be a steal.
28. Baltimore Ravens: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
With MVP Lamar Jackson, the Ravens will go into the 2020 season as one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl. For the most part, the Ravens are set on offense with one glaring problem. That would be a No. 1 wide receiver. Marquise Brown is a good player, but maybe not a lead target. Jefferson could be.
29. Tennessee Titans: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
Murray may not be a traditional pass-rushing linebacker, but he can do enough to be a worthwhile pick for the Titans. Murray has good speed for a linebacker and can be an asset on blitzes.
30. Green Bay Packers: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
Packers linebacker Blake Martinez is a free agent, and Green Bay could let the tackling machine walk. While his tackle numbers are impressive — an incredible 443 the last three seasons — he just doesn’t make a lot of splash impact plays. Instead of paying him, the Packers could replace him with Queen, a high-level athlete with range.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
If the Super Bowl showed one thing about San Francisco’s defense, the team has some questionable play at cornerback. Diggs is a little raw, but it’s hard to say no to a 6’2 cornerback with athleticism and physicality.
32. Kansas City Chiefs: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
While Chris Jones is Kansas City’s biggest free agent, it cannot be discounted that the team could lose cornerbacks Bashaud Breeland and Kendall Fuller this offseason. If either is gone, and there’s a little run on linebackers late in the first round, the Chiefs could turn to Fulton.
33. Cincinnati Bengals: Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
34. Indianapolis Colts (via Washington): Neville Gallimore, DT, Oklahoma
35. Detroit Lions: Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
36. New York Giants: Zack Baun, LB, Wisconsin
37. Los Angeles Chargers: Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah
38. Carolina Panthers: Jacob Eason, QB, Washington
39. Miami Dolphins: D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
40. Arizona Cardinals: Marlon Davidson, DL, Auburn
41. Cleveland Browns: Prince Tega Wanogho, OT, Auburn
42. Jacksonville Jaguars: Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia
43. Chicago Bears (via Las Vegas Raiders): Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame
44. Indianapolis Colts: Yetur Gross-Matos, Edge, Penn State
45. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Lucas Niang, OT, TCU
46. Denver Broncos: A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson
47. Atlanta Falcons: Lloyd Cushenberry, OG/C, LSU
48. New York Jets: Josh Uche, Edge, Michigan
49. Pittsburgh Steelers: Hunter Bryant, TE, Washington
50. Chicago Bears: Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia
51. Dallas Cowboys: Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU
52. Los Angeles Rams: Curtis Weaver, Edge, Boise State
53. Philadelphia Eagles: K.J. Hamler, WR, Penn State
54. Buffalo Bills: Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
55. Atlanta Falcons (via New England Patriots): Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State
56. Miami Dolphins (via New Orleans Saints): Khalid Kareem, Edge, Notre Dame
57. Houston Texans: J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio State
58. Minnesota Vikings: Cameron Dantzler, CB, Mississippi State
59. Seattle Seahawks: Adam Trautman, TE, Dayton
60. Baltimore Ravens: Jonathan Greenard, Edge, Florida
61. Tennessee Titans: Raekwon Davis, DL, Alabama
62. Green Bay Packers: Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR, Michigan
63. Kansas City Chiefs (via San Francisco 49ers): Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU
64. Seattle Seahawks (via Kansas City Chiefs): Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia