Sports fans may not have much to look forward to, but one event still remaining on the schedule is the 2020 NFL draft. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced that this year’s draft will take place as originally scheduled.
Because of the ongoing coronavirus scare, the league did cancel all public activities associated with the draft. This year’s event will still take place in Paradise, Nevada, but draftees will likely not be present. Drafted players in attendance were set to be delivered to the main stage in front of the Bellagio fountain via a boat.
Still, the draft will go on beginning Thursday, April 23, and continuing through Saturday, April 25. Here’s a look at how the top ten selections could play out.
1. CINCINNATI: Joe Burrow, LSU
It’s about as sure a bet that one can make. The Bengals are going all-in with national championship and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Joe Burrow. Head coach Zac Taylor was moving away from veteran Andy Dalton at the end of the 2019 season and with a talent like Burrow on the board, Cincinnati cannot pass him up.
Burrow is a native of Ohio and will become the cornerstone of a Bengals offense that put the franchise tag on WR A.J. Green. He’ll become Burrow’s No. 1 target.
2. MIAMI (from Washington): Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
The Dolphins work some magic and trade up. Washington got their first-round quarterback last year and move down to No. 5. It’s no secret that Miami likes Tagovailoa, the former Crimson Tide quarterback. Despite a hip injury that ended his 2019 season, Tagovailoa is a rare talent and any turnaround in Miami will revolve around him.
3. LA CHARGERS (from Detroit): Justin Herbert, Oregon
Losing Philip Rivers precipitated a move on the part of the Chargers who jump up to No. 3 to snag Oregon’s Herbert. Big, athletic, and strong-armed, Herbert will fit nicely into head coach Anthony Lynn’s plans with the Chargers’ offense. The selection also marks the first time since 1999 that three quarterbacks were selected with the first three picks (Tim Couch, Donovan McNabb, and Akili Smith).
4. NY GIANTS: Tristan Wirfs, Iowa
With last year’s first-round pick Daniel Jones now the starter at quarterback, the Giants get him some help up front. The best candidate is Iowa OT Tristan Wirfs who, at 6-5 and 320 pounds, is an amazing athlete. His combine numbers are stunning.
At the NFL Combine in February, Wirfs ran the 40-yard dash in 4.85 – unheard of for an offensive lineman – and recorded a 36.5-inch vertical jump. Some wide receivers don’t have a vertical leap that high.
5. WASHINGTON (from Miami): Chase Young, Ohio State
The Redskins might not be sold on QB Dwayne Haskins, but with Alex Smith and Kyle Allen in the mix Washington can get the stud edge rusher they need. Young is an exceptional talent at 6-5, 265 with outstanding speed and athleticism. He led all of FBS with 16.5 sacks despite missing two games last season.
6. DETROIT (from LA Chargers): Jeff Okudah, Ohio State
The Lions trade down because they can still get the guy they are after – Okudah. A lengthy corner at 6-1, Okudah has the size to take on bigger receivers, yet he is nimble enough to match up and even play in the slot. With the loss of Darius Slay to Philadelphia, the Lions fill a huge need.
7. DENVER (from Carolina): CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma
Another first-round surprise happens at No. 7 where the Broncos move up to draft a No. 1receiver in Lamb. He’s big, strong, fast, and is a true playmaker as evidenced by his statistics at Oklahoma in 2019 – 62 receptions, 1,327 yards, and 14 touchdowns. With Drew Lock the quarterback of the future, Denver gives him a top receiving threat in Lamb.
8. ARIZONA: Mekhi Becton, Louisville
With Kyler Murray at quarterback and the recent trade that led to the acquisition of WR DeAndre Hopkins, the Cardinals go out to get some offensive line help. They get it in mammoth OT Mekhi Becton. At 6-7 and 364 pounds, Becton was athletic enough to run a 5.1-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine.
9. JACKSONVILLE: Derrick Brown, Auburn
The Jaguars need help on defense and get it with Brown, a guy who can play more than one position on the defensive line. At 6-5 and 325 pounds, Brown will likely line up inside and give the Jags a strong inside pass rush. He’s also versatile enough to step outside and times.
10. CLEVELAND: Jedrick Wills, Alabama
The Browns are loaded with skill position players, but need to shore up the offensive line. Cleveland signed Jack Conklin in free agency and adds an absolute beast of an offensive tackle in Wills. A tad on the short side at 6-4, Wills is athletic and moves almost like a tight end. He’s 315 pounds and ran the 40 in 5.05 seconds at the combine. He also recorded a 34.5-inch vertical jump.