First things first, the term “generational player” seems to get some people’s backs up. If you take the term at it’s literal meaning, then sure, it’s extremely rare to find one, and, almost impossible to predict one to have a hall of fame career. But, if you accept that this overused term is used to describe a player that could end up being in the top tier of elite talents for the majority of their careers, then we can explore the possibility of seeing a potential “generational” player from this years’ draft.
Over the last few decades, we’ve seen many running backs progress through the collegiate ranks and create a buzz within the NFL community when the draft rolls round. Some players have lived up to the hype, Emmitt Smith, Eric Dickerson, Barry Sanders, Adrian Peterson and Saquon Barkley to name just a few, and some have developed into upper echelon elite backs when not so hyped coming out of college – Le’veon Bell and Frank Gore come to mind. But, of course there have been those that have failed to progress to the pro-level and have proved complete busts, please stand up Trent Richardson, Ki-Jana Carter and Darren McFadden, with an honourable mention to Leonard Fournette who “some” considered a “generational” talent.
What constitutes a “generational running back” label?
NFL analysts/journalists/reporters or whatever title you want to give someone that discusses this sport with an audience generally speak about their opinion which in most cases is backed up with some kind of statistical data. To me, that’s how a player with this label comes about. It’s a blend of stats from their collegiate careers mixed with what NFL scouts and professional analysts portray their talent level’s to be.
For me, I think that to be considered “generational”, the player must have a productive college career. I put that number at 1,000 rushing yards season average, and in more recent times, some proven receiving ability. I know that’s not a water-tight system, but when you look at “generational talents” that have had elite-level careers, they all had this level of productiveness at the collegiate level.
It’s only very recent that the new breed of “generational running back” ‘must’ be productive in the passing game as well as on the ground.
Previous “generational” running backs
So by using that logic, I’ve devised a list of former players since the year 2000 that have seen that level of collegiate productiveness, hyped by the media as generational talents, and drafted within the top 50 (indicating NFL scouts also believe in the talent). Productiveness is seen here by using the players’ rush yards, receiving yards and touchdowns per season averages whilst at college.
These 11 players drafted over the last 20 years have had the “generational player” tag linked with them coming out of college football. Judging by the season average stats, you get a good indication of what’s required in order to be projected a great future.
Current potential “generational” running backs
From this year’s prospects, it’s apparent to see that one player fulfills the criteria of being a “generational talent”; Jonathan Taylor. In fact, his rushing yards and TDs per season average are miles ahead of any other running back out of college in the last 20 years.
J.K Dobbins isn’t far behind statistically although he doesn’t meet my particular criteria as he was drafted outside of the top 50. Statistically though, Dobbins too could be considered a generational level player.
D’Andre Swift comes in third and not a million miles away from hitting the criteria having been the most productive in the receiving game out of these selected players.
Cam Akers needed to be more productive in the ground game, whereas ironically, the first RB off the board in this years’ draft Clyde Edwards-Helaire is someway off what I would deem as a “generational” player.
Predicting their futures
Of course now these players have been drafted into the NFL, lot’s of new variables come into play to determine whether or not they can translate their college production into a pro-level. What’s their new offensive line like? Are they a part of a committee? Do they have proven veterans ahead of them? Are they a part of a run-friendly scheme? Does their new Head Coach like to run the ball frequently? Are they playing in a similar scheme to what they did in college?
You’d like to think the NFL teams and their scouts have done their homework before drafting the players onto their rosters in order to get the best out of their high-capital picks, but some times that doesn’t always work out.
Let’s look at those previously mentioned players and how their NFL careers progressed (some of course are still active) and whether their “generational player” tag rang true in their pro-careers.
It’s been quite a mix bag of success. From the HOF careers of LT and Adrian Peterson to the bust and near bust careers of Ron Dayne and T-Rich.
Predicting just how the careers of the Class of 2020 is almost impossible, but judging by historical data and recency bias, these prospects will unlikely be busts in their careers.
It’s hard not to love Jonathan Taylor after seeing what he’s done in his college career and ending up behind one of the best offensive lines currently in the NFL with Indianapolis.
D’Andre Swift could potentially see a path to a majority backfield after the Lions clearly signaled that Kerryon Johnson by himself is not the answer, and J.K Dobbins is in a ripe running spot with a run-first team in Baltimore. However, Dobbins may have to wait for Mark Ingram to move on before claiming the backfield for himself.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire has landed on a team coached by a run-favouring HC in Andy Reid and is the most talented RB on that roster, and despite Cam Akers running behind an ageing o-line, Todd Gurley had a very successful rookie contract for the Rams when he was healthy.
Final Opinionand Career projection
Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts – A “Generational talent” who is in the right spot to produce elite numbers over his career
J.K Dobbins, Baltimore Ravens – Borderline “Generational talent” who is on a team that could lead him to produce elite numbers over his career
D’Andre Swift, Detroit Lions – Elite college talent that could be elite in the NFL if the right team is built around him and he’s used as a swiss army knife.
Cam Akers, Los Angeles Rams – Elite college talent but is likely to put up average numbers unless drastic changes in the future help him progress to the next level.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs – Good college talent helped by one outstanding season. Is in the right spot to be very productive, but will likely only return good, not elite production.
Some NFL teams have more picks than others heading into a draft. As the event progresses, a team can gain or lose its draft capital through trade deals. The formula for the Cincinnati Bengals this year was simple – seven selections, one placed at the beginning of each of the seven rounds.
The Bengals war room stuck at every one of their picks during the three days; made no deals and put together a very good draft class to take into the 2020 season. Here is what Cincinnati fans should expect from the players that make up this year’s draft class.
Round 1 (#1) – Joe Burrow (QB), LSU
With the first overall pick, the Bengals made Joe Burrow their new signal-caller. A year ago, Burrow would have owned a mid-round grade at best from most observers, but an incredible National Championship winning season full of record-breaking numbers during his final year with LSU, propelled Burrow up to being the consensus QB1 in the draft.
He excels in the leadership and mental aspects of the game, with an ability to read defenses quickly and react to pressure. Give Burrow time and he shows great poise and pocket movement to use just a step or two to extend a play. He is an accurate thrower and I really like the way he leads receivers when completing a pass.
It certainly does feel like time for a quarterback change in Cincinnati and Burrow arrives with the experience of winning plenty of big games as the head of one of the most potent offenses in college football history.
If he continues the sort of growth seen during last season, the Bengals have a strong new leader capable of bringing success.
Round 2 (#33) – Tee Higgins (WR), Clemson
Pairing Burrow with the man who was the number one receiver at Clemson for the last couple of years is a very nice way to build the passing game in your offense.
Higgins’ draft stock dipped during the process owing to questions about his athleticism, which actually is not that bad, and the Bengals took advantage to select him at the top of the second round. The production that Higgins put up at Clemson was impressive, he works best lined up on the outside and likes to use his frame against close coverage – give him the chance to challenge a defense physically and he will be effective.
This is a great landing spot for Higgins, as he will have the opportunity to be paired with Cincinnati’s all-pro wideout A.J. Green, which should help his development.
The Bengals will enjoy having a new big WR on the team, who can potentially take over from Green as “the guy” in the future.
Round 3 (#65) – Logan Wilson (LB), Wyoming
I loved seeing Logan Wilson go at the start of round three. One of my favourite linebackers in the entire draft, he will be a good addition to a Bengals defense in need of some help in the middle of the field.
I was happy to see his high level of play over the last few seasons backed up with a great workout at the NFL combine. Wilson is solid as an outside linebacker – a smart player who reads and reacts to what the offense shows in front of him and gets to the ball at speed.
There are some good highlights showing that when asked to drop into coverage, his athletic ability gets him up into passing lanes like a defensive back to break up a play or get an interception.
Wilson suits the classic linebacker leader role with the versatility to be tried inside the defensive formation, and if he can get to grips with pro schemes quickly, the Bengals have a guy who will see a lot of playing time during his rookie year.
Round 4 (#107) – Akeem Davis-Gaither (LB), Appalachian State
Why draft one linebacker with huge potential, when you can draft two! Cincinnati followed the Wilson pick by selecting the up-tempo Davis-Gaither to kick off the last day.
He is a slim, athletic linebacker who is not going to win with strength, instead was able to make a lot of plays using great burst and body control. Appalachian State liked to use Davis-Gaither on the outside, close to the line of scrimmage where he could blitz at speed and also disrupt the run game. His skill-set compliments Wilson’s very well and I can see them working at each end of the LB core.
Davis-Gaither would have been further up big boards (including mine) if he played more coverage and bulked up – the lack of weight aids his acceleration, but he will need to add more size to be effective in the NFL.
For this reason, he will likely start on special teams, but his relentless playing style means he could turn into a real fan favourite in 2-3 years.
Round 5 (#147) – Khalid Kareem (DE), Notre Dame
Kareem is a nice addition to the Bengals’ defensive end depth chart, and the fifth round seems good value too. The defender out of Notre Dame wins his battles in the trenches with strength above anything else; he appears difficult to move around once he is engaged.
Kareem currently projects as a better run defender, as trying to go all-power off the edge when pass rushing at the next level will result in him being nullified by the top offensive linemen he faces. Kareem needs to add more variety to his technique when fighting through contact, if he is able to do so soon, he will see playing time in his rookie season.
For now, he will be a backup in Cincinnati.
Round 6 (#180) – Hakeem Adeniji (OT), Kansas
Having found Joe Burrow a new target in receiver Tee Higgins, Cincinnati decided to begin adding extra protection for their new QB in the form of Adeniji in round six.
The offensive line was a weak point for the Bengals last season and Adeniji will have the chance to compete for a place at the offensive tackle position. There was talk pre-draft that teams may try him at guard too, so the coaches will like that versatility.
He does look undersized to play OT, and his strength as a blocker lies in his movement, which showed up during his athletic combine, rather than power and technique.
Adeniji needs to develop in those areas in order to be a regular NFL starter.
Round 7 (#215) – Markus Bailey, LB, Purdue
To end their 2020 draft, the Bengals went back to building at the linebacker positions. Bailey feels like great value in the seventh, although he did fall due to injury concerns.
When healthy, he was a playmaker at Purdue with strong tackling skills and the ability to finish very well. He worked best against the run, so projects as a middle linebacker in the NFL that can attack plays in front of him.
Bailey will begin life in the pros on special teams but has enough upside to work his way into the defensive lineup. After the selections of Wilson and Davis-Gaither, picking up Bailey here mean the Bengals have a whole new set of high ceiling linebackers to play with.
I like the possibility of seeing all three of them playing together in Cincinnati across the defense.
From top to bottom this looks like a strong draft for Cincinnati Bengals fans to get excited about. The team addressed needs and appeared to find good value players throughout the rounds. Burrow will be the highlight of the class – every NFL team is under pressure to find a franchise quarterback to build their future around and the Bengals may well now have that box ticked. With the qualities these players bring, over the next few seasons this could be seen as the draft that the Bengals faithful look back on as the start of some progression for the team.
Best quarterback to ever step field in at the college level. Joe Burrow will be the face of the Cincinnati Bengals for the coming years and hopefully take the Bengals back to the playoffs in the coming years.
Another obvious no brainer, the best pass rusher in a long time will add some more punch to the Washington defense. Couple him with Daron Payne and this defensive line is going to cause some headaches in the upcoming season
3rd Pick – Detroit Lions select: Jeff Okudah, Cornerback, Ohio State, A+
Needing a replacement for standout corner Darius Slay, Detroit pick up arguably one of the best corners in recent memory. Jeff Okudah can tackle, defend the pass and most importantly bait quarterbacks. Big upgrade for the Lions secondary going forward.
4th Pick – New York Giants select: Andrew Thomas, Offensive Tackle, Georgia, C
Not who I expected Giants to take with all the lineme but Andrew Thomas is still a great linemen with tons of upside and some great technical ability.
5th Pick – Miami Dolphins select: Tua Tagovailoa, Quarterback, Alabama, B
While Tua has been dogged with injuries he’s still the second best quarterback in this draft class and will be a welcome sight as a signal caller in south beach.
Provided he can stay healthy Miami have a future pro-bowler on their hands.
6th Pick – Los Angeles Chargers select: Justin Herbert, Quarterback, Oregon, D
Despite many analysts and colleagues of mine marveling over Justin Herbert’s amazing raw ability, he’s boom or bust and in my eyes – he’s going to be another Mitchell Trubisky. Hopefully the Chargers coaching staff can refine Herbert to help him realise his potential.
The best defensive tackle in the 2020 draft and a very scary player. Derrick Brown is a massive defensive tackle with a huge frame and freaky strength. A complete mauler the Panthers have a new boogeyman to help them out come season time.
Arguably one of the most talented players in this draft. Isiah Simmons can play in coverage, stuff the run or rush the quarterback. Great side to side speed and a real nose for the ball. Simmons is a great addition to help the cardinals make a run at the playoffs this year.
9th Pick – Jacksonville Jaguars select: CJ Henderson, Cornerback, Florida, B
After losing AJ Bouye it was a no brainer for Jacksonville to pick up another corner who can make a real difference. CJ Henderson showed out in the very strong SEC and made a case for himself time and time again. Henderson will be able to ply his ball hawking trade for the Jags as they hope to push back into the winning ways of 2018.
The best tackle in this draft without a doubt. Jedrick Wills has a huge frame and some great technical ability with an elite kickset and amazing body control. This is the browns first step towards protecting Baker Mayfield and becoming the team everyone expected them to be.
11th Pick – New York Jets select: Mekhi Becton, Offensive Tackle, Louisville, B
Without a doubt the most violent lineman in this draft. Bullying pass rushers in the ACC was what Mekhi did day in day out. Great pick to hopefully stop Sam Darnold seeing so many ghosts on Sunday.
12th Pick – Las Vegas Raiders select: Henry Ruggs III, Wide Receiver, Alabama, A
Is anyone really surprised that the Raiders went for the fastest receiver on the board? Henry Ruggs will take the top off a defense and open up some huge play opportunities for Derrick Carr in Las Vegas.
13th Pick – Tampa Bay Buccaneers select: Tristan Wirfs, Offensive Tackle, Iowa, C
While highly touted I see a lot of problems with Wirfs’ consistency and technique. While it may take him a year to adjust to NFL I think this pick will pay off in a year or so if he can get the coaching he needs.
14th Pick – San Francisco 49ers select: Javon Kinlaw, Interior Defensive Line, SouthCarolina, B
A real great and strong defensive tackle who can impose his will on offensive lines up and down the country. Carolina are serious about turning their defense up to 11 by adding a great anchoring defensive tackle in Javon Kinlaw.
15th Pick – Denver Broncos select: Jerry Jeudy, Wide Receiver, Alabama, A
Arguably the best receiver in the draft Jerry Jeudy is going to make a great target for Sophomore signal caller Drew Lock. With some insane routes and safe hands Jeudy is going to be a fantastic target up in Denver in the approaching season.
16th Pick – Atlanta Falcons select: AJ Terrell, Cornerback, Clemson, B
AJ Terrell was a real difference maker in Clemson during his 2019 campaign. He did nothing but show out all year and help Clemson have one of the strongest defenses in the college football world. A fast strong playmaker who isn’t afraid to tackle will make a big impact in the NFC this year.
It’s hard to go wrong with any of the top wide receivers in this class, CeeDee Lamb is no exception. Fast, clean routes and strong hands make him serious downfield threat to help Dak Prescott this year. This pick gives Dallas one hell of a receiver group.
Another strong Lineman in this class, Austin Jackson was a terror at USC with his large frame and powerful hips allowing him to anchor down and keep a pocket intact.
This was a brilliant choice to keep their number 5 pick safe for his rookie year.
19th Pick – Las Vegas Raiders select: Damon Arnette, Cornerback, Ohio State, B
Moving to the opposite side of the field in 2019 due to a wrist injury took a little shine away from Damon Arnette but even with an injury he continued to be a great compliment to Jeff Okudah at Ohio State. The Las Vegas Raiders have a great piece to augment their secondary here.
With the strength of the 2019 LSU team being one of the best ever seen in college football it was only a matter of time before more key pieces like K’Lavon Chaisson were snatched up. Looking to earn back the moniker of “Sacksonville” the Jaguars pick up one of the strongest linebacker prospects in this draft
21st Pick – Philadelphia Eagles select: Jalen Reagor, Wide Receiver, Texas Christian, C
With receivers like Brandon Aiyuk and Justin Jefferson still on the board this was a massive shock. The horned frog Jalen Reagor has some excellent production and great physical traits but hasn’t really demonstrated himself to be a day 1 talent. The Eagles are hoping they’ve made the right call here.
The perfect replacement for Stephan Diggs, Justin Jefferson has been dominant all year. He can play in the slot or split secondaries out wide with crazy speed and some of the best ball tracking I’ve ever seen in a wide receiver.
23rd Pick – Los Angeles Chargers select: Kenneth Murray, Linebacker, Oklahoma, B
Another top linebacker in a stacked draft Kenneth Murray was one of the reasons the Oklahoma Sooners defense was so dominant in 2019. With physical attributes like this, Kenneth Murray will be a great addition to the rebuilding Chargers.
24th Pick – New Orleans Saints select: Cesar Ruiz, Interior Offensive Line, Michigan, B
A bit of a surprising pick personally but not a bad one. The best Centre in college football was the wolverine Cesar Ruiz. A powerful man hit a great football IQ an amazing hands to control defensive linemen and linebackers looking to stuff the run or sack his quarterback.
25th Pick – San Francisco 49ers select: Brandon Aiyuk, Wide Receiver, ArizonaState, A
A wide receiver who I thought would come off the board a lot earlier is Brandon Aiyuk. Playing alongside fellow first round pick N’Keal Harry in his earlier days Aiyuk developed into a real threat for the sun devils in his last year filling the gap that Harry left. Jimmy G will have a great target in this man.
26th Pick – Green Bay Packers select: Jordan Love, Quarterback, Utah State, F
Honestly a massive shock that Green Bay traded up to get a quarterback with 20 touchdowns to 17 picks in 2019. Maybe they see something that I don’t and maybe Aaron Rodgers can really help develop this raw talent into something tangible.
Either way, I think this pick was a bit of a waste for a team with a quarterback with as many years left as Rodgers.
With Clowney’s future still up in the air the Seahawks needs to make a move at linebacker to help bolster their defense. Jordyn Brooks was a standout on a decidedly average Texas Tech team. Powerful and instinctive Brooks punished opposing offenses with a punishing and fast play style.
28th Pick – Baltimore Ravens select: Patrick Queen, Linebacker, LSU, B
Patrick Queen can do it all, built like a safety he can play coverage, stuff the run or sack a quarterback. One of the best to do it for LSU Patrick Queen was a marvel to watch. With obvious comparisons to former team mate Devin White clearly warranted you can be sure you’ll see Queen at a Pro Bowl very soon.
The second Georgia offensive tackle taken in this first round Isiah Wilson is a big mauler with a violent play style and a frame to match. The Titans clearly wanted someone to move people to get Derrick Henry into the open field and this is the man to do it.
A man somewhat overlooked until Auburn had a fairly decent ending to their season, even beating Alabama in the Iron Bowl. Noah Igbinoghene will be a great piece for this strong Miami roster looking to give everyone problems in the 2020 season.
31st Pick – Minnesota Vikings select: Jeff Gladney, Cornerback, TCU, C
The second horned frog taken in this first round, Jeff Gladney was lights out all season. With some tremendous ball tracking skills and a long frame that he uses to stop receivers getting their hands on passes Gladney will be a solid if not high level player in Minnesota.
32nd Pick – Kansas City Chiefs select: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Running Back, LSU, A
Even though I had him in my “dark horses” article it seems many people finally sat up and listened. The powerful back with quick hips and fast eyes will be a great addition to the superbowl champions roster. Expect to see Cydle Edwards-Helaire in contention for OROY as he plies his trade in Kansas.
33rd Pick – Cincinnati Bengals select: Tee Higgins, Wide Receiver, Clemson, A
The 2019 ACC receiving touchdown leader lands in Cincinnati as a prime target for new franchise quarterback Joe Burrow. Higgins excels at creating separation and using his height and speed to make plays downfield or out ride. Excellent pick for the Bengals to kick off round 2.
34th Pick – Indianapolis Colts select: Michael Pitman, Wide Receiver, USC, B
The 2019 all PAC-12 wide receiver is a new target for Phillip Rivers in Indianapolis. Michael Pitman excels in the slot at 6’4” being a match up problem for any one having to cover him. While not the fastest his high catch point and freak work rate makes him a great pick for the Colts.
35th Pick – Detroit Lions select: D’Andre Swift, Running Back, Georgia B
If you need a guy who can break off some big downhill runs and really exploit holes in a defence this is the guy to do it. D’Andre Swift is a first round talent who managed to really stand out despite the running back pedigree of his college. With solid hands Swift can also make himself a receiving threat when Matthew Stafford needs a safety valve.
36th Pick – New York Giants select: Xavier McKinney, Safety, Alabama A
The 2019 all SEC safety is the newest member of the New York Giants, a physical safety with massive versatility and physical upside. He has played under Nick Saben which gives him a massive defensive football IQ and that shows with his on field instincts.
37th Pick – New England Patriots select: Kyle Dugger, Safety, Lenoir-Rhyne University C
A shock pick to say the least but with great hands and a 42 inch vertical makes him a physical freak. 6 punt return touchdowns and a great nose for the ball gives this man great utility on special teams and defense. With an emphasis on special teams at the Patriots Kyle Dugger will look to make an impact on day one.
38th Pick – Carolina Panthers select: Yetur Gross-Matos, Edge, Penn State C
A tall, athletic defensive end with a great motor is a great pairing with the Panthers first round pick to turn this pass rush into one of the best in the NFL. His size and work ethic make this man one of the first round talents who unluckily fell to the second round. The Panthers get a steal here.
39th Pick – Miami Dolphins select: Robert Hunt, Interior Offensive Line, Louisiana, D
2018 2nd Team all Sun Belt guard from Louisiana is another pick in service of keeping the Dolphins first round quarterback protected. A vicious pass and run protector with a great technical skillset who can be an instant starter in the NFL.
40th Pick – Houston Texans select: Ross Blacklock, Interior Defensive Line, Texas Christian, B
A big defensive tackle to help bolster the Texans line, Ross Blacklock has quick twitch speed and an elite first step which will make him dangerous from day one. Pair him with JJ Watt and this Texas line is going to give people headaches all year.
41st Pick – Indianapolis Colts select: Johnathan Taylor, Running Back, Wisconsin, C
A player with great awareness and physical attributes that make him a three down back. With speed to burn linebackers and jukes to fool the secondary Taylor is one of the top backs in this class and a steal for the colts.
An explosive playmaker with a big physical frame who can use his body to box out defenders and make catches. He can really make things happen on the run after the catch too at 230lbs defenders bounce off him and he will be a big time weapon in Jacksonville.
43rd Pick – Chicago Bears select: Cole Kmet, Tight End, Notre Dame, B
The first tight end of the board and a great pick from the bears. His size and hands make him a great red zone threat. Pair him with Jimmy Graham and the Bears will have some great redzone help in 2020, something that Mitchel Trubisky really needs if he wants to keep his job.
44th Pick – Cleveland Browns select: Grant Delpit, Safety, LSU, A
In my opinion the best safety in this draft, Grant Delpit will be with some LSU teammates in Cleveland. A great safety with big tackling ability, playing close to the line of scrimmage who can really transform a team’s secondary. Great steal for the Browns here at pick 44.
45th – Tampa Bay Buccaneers select: Antoine Winfield, Safety, Minnesota, B
A super smart safety with great side to side speed and crazy good instinct. His hands are crazy good and his motor will keep him in any play on the field. While he’s only 5’8” he makes plays and will be a threat to any quarterback in the league.
46th Pick – Denver Broncos select: KJ Hamler, Wide Receiver, Penn State, C
Breaking the Penn State freshman record for yards KJ Hamler has the dynamic slot skills and great speed in open field. He’s got some great cutting ability and acceleration who can take the top off some of the best defenses in the NFL.
47th Pick – Atlanta Falcons select: Marlon Davidson, Interior Defensive Line, Auburn, B
The sack leader at Auburn last year, Marlon Davidson is a versatile player with some great physical ability that he can use to rush the interior or push the edge to put pressure on the quarterback or snuff out runs before they develop.
Another big defensive pick for the Seahawks, Darrell Taylor is a big defensive end with a huge frame and great quick feet to help him move linemen to make it to the quarterback. A big physical guy with some great upside for the defensive minded Pete Carroll.
The first Canadian player taken in the 2020 draft, Chase Claypool is 6’4” and his size is his biggest weapon. He can high point the ball on go routes and use his body to jump over people and win contested catches in the endzone. A big redzone weapon for the Steelers.
50th Pick – Chicago Bears select: Jaylon Johnson, Cornerback, Utah, B
Jaylon Johnson played very tough and aggressive in 2019 despite being injured. Super aggressive from the cornerback stop who is always trying to make big plays on the balls and change the momentum in games. Comfortable tackling or in coverage makes Johnson very very dangerous in the NFL.
It’s hard to find a cornerback with this size, he’s a lockdown player who can defend a ton of different routes and due to playing at Alabama his defensive IQ and understanding of his position is already very developed and he will be a great replacement for Byron Jones down in Dallas.
52nd Pick – Los Angeles Rams select: Cam Akers, Running Back, Florida State, B
Only the 3rd running back to have more than 1000 yards in a season. Quick, compact and agile Akers had to do it all on his own at Florida State so with some top linemen and a competent offensive coach the sky’s the limit with Akers in Los Angeles.
53rd Pick – Philadelphia Eagles select: Jalen Hurts, Quarterback, Oklahoma, D
The former Alabama and Oklahoma quarterback was a Heisman finalist and SEC championship winner and has all the tools to be successful in the NFL despite the fact he’s a little bit of a project with the right coaching he will be successful in the NFL. Just watch the Eagles use him in a Taysom Hill type roll in upcoming seasons.
54th Pick – Buffalo Bills select: AJ Epenesa, Edge, Iowa, B
Another player who could’ve easily gone on day one. He’s the type of defensive end who can slap down a lineman’s hands and run right through him. Despite playing on the outside in college AJ Epenesa could easily play on the interior and create as much chaos as he does on the edge.
55th Pick – Baltimore Ravens select: JK Dobbins, Running Back, Ohio State, A
A common theme in this second round is the amount of first round talent that still remains. JK Dobbins is one of these guys. He’ll run the gap scheme almost as good as anyone else and will make people miss in open space. A focused and determined back who can really help move the chains for the Ravens.
This Miami defense is looking seriously scary, and Raekwon Davis just makes them even more nightmarish. Davis is very physically gifted and while his pass rushing may need some work he might be one of the most intimidating looking players to have on your defensive line.
57th Pick – Los Angeles Rams select: Van Jefferson, Wide Receiver, Florida, C
The son of Shawn Jefferson with fantastic routes and body control. Great soft hands who can make some very awkward catches and really give defensive backs headaches. Great fundamentals and hands are what make Van Jefferson the ideal weapon for Jarred Goff in LA.
While not highly recruited out of high school, watching Ezra Cleveland play makes it clear that he has the footwork and technique to protect Kirk Cousins in the NFL. Big, strong and technically capable Cleveland is one of the top tackles I’ve scouted and definitely will be a great addition for Minnesota.
59th Pick – New York Jets select: Denzel Mims, Wide Receiver, Baylor, B
Denzel Mims is a player I expected to go in the first round, a player with elite athleticism who can track the ball and high point it as well as anyone in the draft. This is a great pick up for the Jets who are getting a guy with reliable hands who never stops working and will make a play when you need him to.
60th Pick – New England Patriots select: Josh Uche, Linebacker, Michigan, B
Another need addressed for the Patriots, Josh Uche is a hard working linebacker with elite speed and a great IQ to help him run the QB Spy. While his hand to hand skills haven’t been displayed as much as possible due to his elite first step getting him off linemen quickly, trust me when I tell you it’s there.
61st Pick – Tennessee Titans select: Christian Fulton, Cornerback, LSU, B
One of the top corners in this draft with great ball tracking and incredible patients. With amazing timing and incredible double moves he’s very dangerous to every receiver on the field. He also has some amazing make up speed which means it’s very rare he’ll get beaten even against more agile receivers.
62nd Pick – Green Bay Packers select: AJ Dillon, Running Back, Boston College, C
With one of the best combines amongst running backs this year AJ Dillon is an old school running back who is going to drop his shoulder and truck over anyone trying to bring him down. With an imposing stature and great speed Dillon is going to be a tough player to stop when he breaks free from the line.
63rd Pick – Kansas City Chiefs select: Willie Gay, Linebacker, Mississippi State, B
Another needed piece for the superbowl champions, Willie Gay is one of the fastest linebackers in the combine and is a great starter for Mississippi State. Despite some of the field trouble which caused his draft stock to slip this NFL chance will cause him to keep his head straight and focus on his play.
64th Pick – Carolina Panthers select: Jeremy Chinn, Safety, Southern Illinois, C
With some great numbers and nose for the ball Jeremy Chinn has incredible speed and really turned heads at the combine. Great tackling and heavy hits make him dangerous for receivers who aren’t paying enough attention to him or locating him quickly enough.
A player I featured in my draft dark horses, and incredible athlete with great hands and massive frame. The fact he even made it to the third round is honestly a shock. Not only can he pressure the quarterback but he can get into space and pick the ball off too.
66th Pick – Washington Redskins select: Antonio Gibson, Wide Receiver, Memphis, C
Despite being listed as a receiver because of what he can do on the outside Antonio Gibson has great instincts running the ball and can line up in the backfield if needed. Incredibly versatile and can make a real difference as a gadget player when needed.
67th Pick – Detroit Lions select: Julian Okwara, Linebacker, Notre Dame, D
Not the strongest linebacker left on the board but still managed to put up decent numbers in college. With a great work ethic and will to get better Okwara will have a lot of improvements to make if he wants to make a final roster but he definitely has the work ethic to do so.
68th Pick – New York Jets select: Ashyn Davis, Safety, California, C
Originally a walk-on, Ashtyn Davis is a great athlete who needs to work on his consistency to be a top level player but definitely has the tools to do so. In the slot he can really do some work against bigger receivers due to his physical skills and technique.
A massive player who made a perfect 79 for 79 in his assignments against Alabama, Damien Lewis is a talented guard who will shut anyone down when he gets his hands on them. One of the most underappreciated players at LSU this year Lewis is a big reason why Joe Burrow remained upright on route to his 60 Touchdown passes.
A great safety from the storied Texas program, Brandon Jones is a versatile playmaker with the skills to make it on this stacked Miami defense. With great physical ability it will be good to see how he plays alongside the defensive pieces Miami has picked up in this draft and off season especially as a weapon on special teams.
While he’s not the strongest player available on the board it’s clear what Baltimore’s strategy is: sure up the line and make sure you’re as explosive on defense as you are on offence. Decent pick for the ravens. But not who I would’ve taken.
A guy I didn’t expect to fall this far , Josh Jones is a very very talented lineman who can grab and pull on the line and will add some much needed protection for the Cardinals here in the 3rd round. Hopefully this pick will stop Kyler Murray getting sacked less than 50 times in the 2020 season with help from Josh Jones.
73rd Pick – Jacksonville Jaguars select: Davon Hamilton, Interior Defensive Line, Ohio State, C
Really upgrading all 3 levels of their defense here in the draft the Jags grab a brilliant productive nose tackle who can really make some plays and put pressure on quarterbacks and stuff runs before they develop.
74th Pick – New Orleans Saints select: Zach Baun, Linebacker, Wisconsin, A
Another guy who could’ve gone in round 2 Zach Baun is a great athlete with speed and athleticism who can win great one on ones despite his size. His size lends to his versatility and he has proved how he can improve when given the right coaching.
75th Pick – Detroit Lions select: Jonah Jackson, Offensive Guard, Ohio State, B
While not the best guard at Ohio State with the right coaching Jonah Jackson can make a difference on this Detroit Lions team. Tall and long the Rutgers transfer was a guy I said to look out for in the later rounds and getting his number called proves I was right.
76th Pick – Tampa Bay Buccaneers select: Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Running Back, Vanderbilt, D
With some great wiggle and burst when he hits the open field Ke’Shawn Vaughn is a great pairing with Ronald Jones in Tampa Bay. I do have some questions about his speed and instincts which could make him a problem against some of the more athletic guys in the NFL.
Needing to address the defense here in the third round Micheal Ojemudia is a great pick for Denver to make. Despite there being some better players on the board corner was a big need for Denver and this is a decent pick.
78th Pick – Atlanta Falcons select: Matt Hennessy, Interior Offensive Line, Temple, B
A big tough player with an insane work ethic, Matt Hennessy is a fantastic player and is a total student of the game on every level. With a decent skill set when snapping the ball with decent size and skill to anchor in the middle this is a very good pick for Atlanta.
79th Pick – New York Jets select: Jabari Zuniga, Edge, Florida, C
While the Jets needed more instant impact on the edge, Jabari Zuniga has all the physical tools to make it in New York, but he’s very coachable and has some he can make improvements when needed.
80th Pick – Las Vegas Raiders select: Lynn Bowden, Wide Receiver, Kentucky, D
Despite being a great utility player who can provide speed in the slot or a change of pace at running back this wasn’t a real need for Las Vegas and ultimately a wasted pick in my eyes.
81st Pick – Las Vegas Raiders select: Bryan Edwards, Wide Receiver, South Carolina, A
Bryan Edwards is a first round talent who fell in the draft due to his foot injury. A contested catch beast with deceptive yards after catch and a crazy ability to create separation. Good pick up for Gruden and the black and silver.
Neville Gallimore is a strong player who can disrupt the gaps and has a crazy motor and should fit well with the existing Cowboys schemes. Given enough first team reps and you’ll see Gallimore become an important part of the Cowboys defence.
A guy who arguably could’ve been taken in the early second Lloyd Cushenberry is a long powerful blocker who can play anywhere on the interior. His athletic ability makes him a real problem.
84th Pick – Los Angeles Rams select: Terrell Lewis, Linebacker, Alabama, B
While injuries could be a worry with Terrell Lewis he has the full prototypical edge rusher profile. Long, powerful hips and great burst. Lewis can get to the quarterback very well and has super heavy hands. This is a great pick up for the Rams but his injury concerns stopped me from marking him as an A graded prospect.
85th Pick – Indianapolis Colts select: Julian Blackmon, Safety, Utah, A
Making the move from corner to safety Justin Blackmon has elite level instincts, quick hips and great explosive bursts. While he isn’t the fastest he’s a great compliment to Malik Hooker and can play corner if needed.
A hard working player with the ability to drop the hammer on people. While he can lose speed downfield he can make some great jump cuts and leave linebackers tackling the air. Should be a good partner for Devin Singletary in Buffalo.
87th Pick – New England Patriots select: Anfernee Jennings, Edge, Alabama, B
With polished hand work and a wide frame that enables him to set a strong edge Anfernee Jennings is a great run defender who can also make it flat to the quarterback when needed. Not the best pickup the patriots could have made but solid nonetheless.
88th Pick – Cleveland Browns select: Jordan Elliott, Interior Defensive Line, Missouri, B
High motor, Heavy hands and great technique are what make Jordan Elliott so good. While he’s not super athletic and can wrap up too high sometimes these are things that the Browns can develop and turn Elliott into an absolute steal.
While tall and showing prowess in zone and press coverage Cameron Dantzler isn’t very fast and his skinny frame can lead him to be shaken off by bigger wide outs. Despite his great ball skills he doesn’t track very well and can be easily beaten by a receiver who can run a crisp route.
90th Pick – Houston Texans select: Jonathan Greenard, Edge, Florida, B
With a chiseled frame and first round flashes during his college career Jonathan Greenard has great power and his high motor will make sure he’s constantly working on the field. He’s a great prospect and filled a real need that the Texans had.
91st Pick – New England Patriots select: Devin Asiasi, Tight End, UCLA, B
With great ability to separate and create space at the next level Devin Asiasi has some great size to make him a red zone threat, He doesn’t have the ability to be a great blocker or have the long speed of other tight ends but he fits the exact type of player that the Patriots normally love.
A rare type of slot receiver in that he’s faster than he is quick. Small player but can track the ball like a first rounder. Great strong hands, while his release is slow he adds some great speed to the Ravens wide receiver group.
Darrynton Evans is a zone runner with great one cut ability and serious explosion for a man of his size and physique. While he’s not the fastest or best after contact he’ll give some good depth behind Derrick Henry.
94th Pick – Green Bay Packers select: Josiah Deguara, Tight End, Cincinnati, D
Despite being a hard worker and some solid hands there is nothing spectacular about Josiah Deguara’s game at all and this was a wasted pick by Green Bay.
A pass rushing specialist with long arms and active hands. His slender frame seeing him get shut out against the run more often than not but is a very coachable young player with a ton of upside if he works in training camp.
96th Pick – Kansas City Chiefs select: Lucas Niang, Offensive Tackle, Texas Christian, B
While this isn’t a major need for the superbowl champions right now Lucas Niang has some great lateral movement and great size which could really come in handy when he gets some reps as a starter in Kansas City.
97th Pick – Cleveland Browns select: Jacob Phillips, Linebacker, LSU, B
Watching Jacob Phillips is a great jack of all trades linebacker with solid tackling and a large tackle radius. Could be a quality player in Cleveland if given the right chances on the field.
98th Pick – Baltimore Ravens select: Malik Harrison, Linebacker, Ohio State, C
A strong run stopping specialist who can shed blocks and make quick reads. While not especially athletic he can make plays in coverage and fits in well with the Ravens defensive schemes.
99th Pick – New York Giants select: Matt Peart, Offensive Tackle, Connecticut, A
A long athletic lineman with great feed and solid pass protection. Great lateral quickness makes this man a solid anchor that will only get better overtime. Great pick to go alongside first rounder Andrew Thomas.
100th Pick – Las Vegas Raiders select: Tanner Muse, Safety, Clemson, D
Quick and tall linebacker safety hybrid who can sometimes be a problem in coverage. Great speed and can be competent as a blitzer on certain formations. Might not make a massive impact but could see some playtime on special teams.
101st Pick – New England Patriots select: Dalton Keene, Tight End, Virginia Tech, C
Athletic H-Back type who looks to be another special teams pick for the Patriots. He can make some plays after the catch and can make some blocking too when it’s needed. Not a groundbreaking or sexy pick but seriously functional.
102nd Pick – Pittsburgh Steelers select: Alex Highsmith, Edge, Charlotte, C
A great rusher with some nice off the line speed and a fairly decent first step. Doesn’t have the power of some other defensive ends but he’s a solid player who could make some serious improvements with the right coaching.
103rd Pick – Philadelphia Eagles select: Davion Taylor, Linebacker, Colorado, B
A strong player with a ton of raw talent that could be turned into something seriously dangerous with some coaching and guidance. He actually looked fairly decent when playing at cornerback and could have some serious utility value.
104th Pick – Los Angeles Rams select Terrell Burgess, Safety, Utah, B
With solid instinct and coverage skills Terrell Burgess plays with the speed and agility of a cornerback which makes him more than a match to cover slot receivers hitting the second level of the ield. A guy who loves to make plays all across the field is a great addition to the Rams secondary.
105th Pick – New Orleans Saints select: Adam Troutman, Tight End, Dayton, B
With fairly impressive speed and acceleration for his size Adam Troutman has the ability to create separation and make some big plays downfield, while I wouldn’t exactly call him a steal you could easily make a case for Troutman being drafted a lot sooner than now.
106th Pick – Baltimore Ravens select: Tyre Phillips, Interior Offensive Line, Mississippi State, C
A massive immovable man mountain in pass coverage with some solid fundamentals make Tyre Phillips a great little project for the offensive line coaches in Baltimore. While he lacks the hips and kick set of an elite lineman these are things that he can be taught which coupled with his size could make him a great piece in the Ravens trenches.
So, let me start by saying that I have never done a mock draft. I usually read hundreds and might even have a play around on a mock draft simulator, but I’ve never actually taken pen to paper. Maybe it’s being in “lockdown”, or maybe it’s recording our series of “wayyyy too early” pods and discussing team needs, but whatever it is, without further ado I give you………
Shaun’s Mock Draft 1.0 (of all time…….)
1 – BENGALS SELECT – JOE BURROW – QB
So I might not win prizes for getting my first pick bang on, but surely this is effectively signed and sealed? The Bengals hope to land their franchise QB for the next decade or more.
2 – REDSKINS SELECT – CHASE YOUNG – EDGE
The best player in the draft could become a transformational piece on the Skins line. Look at what Nick Bosa brought to the 49ers and imagine that being replicated in DC.
3 – DOLPHINS SELECT – TUA TAGOVAILOA – QB
Trade w/DET – MIA sends #5, #56, 2021 2nd
The dolphins might not “need” to make this trade, but there is no way they leave it to chance. Tua is the QB that has been talked about here for over 12 months, with all the draft capital not just this year, but next, the dolphins make their move.
4 – GIANTS SELECT – ISAIAH SIMMONS – LB
This is what I “think” will happen and not necessarily what “should”. Simmons is viewed as a sexier pick and Dave Gettleman passes up on all of the premier tackles (poor Danny Dimes)
5 – LIONS SELECT – JEFF OKUDAH – CB
A perfect scenario plays out for the Lions as they get the man that they would have taken at #3. The best corner in the draft fills a big need, and extra capital is gathered in the process.
6 – CHARGERS SELECT – JUSTIN HERBERT – QB
I didn’t “buy” the Tyrod Taylor talk when he was in Cleveland, and I’m not buying it now. The Chargers hope to be nowhere near the top 10 next year so they take their QB here whilst the opportunity presents itself.
7 – BRONCOS SELECT – CEEDEE LAMB – WR
Trade w/CAR – DEN sends #15,#77,2021 2nd
The Broncos trade up to grab the wide receiver of their choice. With Courtland Sutton on 1 side this could form a tantalizing partnership for years to come. I have Denver as a dark horse this year to surprise a few people.
8 – CARDINALS SELECT – MEKHI BECTON – OT
There is talk of a wide receiver going to Arizona but after investing in Kyler Murray its time to find him some protection. Becton is raw but possibly has the highest ceiling of the tackle class and the combine drugs test doesn’t bother the Cardinals.
9 – JAGUARS SELECT – DERRICK BROWN – DL
The Jags are in a rebuild and start by trying to re-establish what was considered a formidable defence a few years ago. Josh Allen played well on the line last year and is joined by the Auburn prospect to give the Jags some nice building blocks.
10 – 49ERS SELECT – JERRY JUEDY – WR
Trade w/CLE – SF sends #13, 2021 2nd
The 49ers look primed for a wideout and with Lamb off the board and receiver needy teams ahead of them they pull the trade for the Alabama man. This is a big need to take pressure off the run game and also replace Emmanuel Sanders.
11 – JETS SELECT – TRISTAN WIRFS – OT
The Jets will be thrilled if this scenario plays out. Explosive and athletic, Wirfs will start day 1 and provide Sam Darnold with some much sought after protection.
12 – RAIDERS SELECT – HENRY RUGGS – WR
The last of the big 3 receivers comes off the board to Las Vegas. Although scheduled to pick again at 19 they pull the trigger on the defense stretcher here and wait to address other needs.
13 – BROWNS SELECT – ANDREW THOMAS – OT
From San Francisco
Offensive line was the Browns biggest weakness last year. With Jack Conklin added via free agency, the Browns address the left hand side with the selection of Thomas who they may have taken at #10 had they stayed put.
14 – BUCS SELECT – JEDRICK WILLS – OT
The Bucs have invested in Tom Brady and now they invest in his protection. With Donovan Smith on the left side, Wills can start off on the right side of the line and learn from playing with Brady to begin his career.
15 – PANTHERS SELECT – JAVON KINLAW – DT
The Panthers have a lot of holes to fill on this roster and replace the slightly disappointing Gerald McCoy experiment with the 6ft 5inch, 325lb man mountain in the middle that is Kinlaw.
16 – FALCONS SELECT – CJ HENDERSON – CB
The consenus 2nd best available corner in the draft becomes an opening day number one corner in Atlanta for a secondary that has been a weakness in recent years.
17 – COWBOYS SELECT – KRISTIAN FULTON – CB
The Cowboys continue to retool their secondary with the addition of Fulton out of LSU. Safety is also an option here but free agency moves dictate the move is made at corner.
18 – DOLPHINS SELECT – AUSTIN JACKSON – OT
Miami traded away their premier left tackle in Laremy Tunsil so now they have to use some of that capital to find a replacement. There is talk of them trading up but I feel they value Tua more so sit at 18 and pick the tackle here.
19 – RAIDERS SELECT – JEFF GLADNEY – CB
The Raiders switch attention from their biggest offensive need at #12 to their biggest defensive need here. Gladney is a physical corner who should start right away in the Vegas defensive backfield.
20 – JAGUARS SELECT – JUSTIN JEFFERSON – WR
The Jags switch the opposite way to the Raiders and now go offense by adding a legitimate weapon to the passing game. Gardner Minshew will have someone other than DJ Chark to throw to at last.
21 – EAGLES SELECT – XAVIER MCKINNEY – S
I can’t believe I have the Eagles making this pick as is their history of trading up or down but safety is a need and the best available prospect is on the board, sometimes just do the simple things.
22 – VIKINGS SELECT – JOSH JONES – OT
Tackle makes a lot of sense for the Vikings. Jones is a raw prospect but might not need to be pushed into day 1 starting duty so this is a good landing spot for him.
23 – PATRIOTS SELECT – JORDAN LOVE – QB
I refuse to belive that the Patriots will not address the quarterback position in a big way over the course of the draft. The board is kind to them here as they stay put and take Love who is the consensus “best of the rest” option.
24 – SAINTS SELECT – PATRICK QUEEN – LB
The Saints don’t have a lot of obvious holes but lnebacker is one that probably does need some help. The LSU product provides the Saints a rangy presence at the second level of the defence.
25- VIKINGS SELECT – TEE HIGGINS – WR
The Stefon Diggs drama is over and with one of the picks that trade landed the Vikings look for a replacement. The Clemson product carries enough deep threat to be a nice compliment to Adam Thielen.
26 – DOLPHINS SELECT – K’LAVION CHAISSON – EDGE
A surprising fall this far down the board possibly but if it works out this way the Dolphins will be thrilled. A new QB, LT and now a pass rusher would be an excellent nights work in South Florida.
27 – SEAHAWKS SELECT – YETUR GROSS-MATOS – EDGE
Another team within need of pass rush help get it at the back end of the first round as Seattle lands the edge rusher out of Penn State.
28 – RAVENS SELECT – KENNETH MURRAY – LB
The Ravens linebacker room has been depleted over the last few seasons and they are able to start the rebuild here with addition of Murray.
29 – TITANS SELECT – TREVON DIGGS – CB
An underrated roster doesn’t have many holes to fill and for me this was a toss up between offensive line and cornerback. Corner is the selection here as Stefon’s baby brother heads to an AFC rival of his brothers new team.
30 – PACKERS SELECT – DENZEL MIMS – WR
Outside of Davontae Adams can anyone honestly name a Green Bay receiver (outside of Packers fans)? Mims projects as a good running mate for Adams with size and speed to beat 1 on 1 coverage.
31 – 49ERS SELECT – EZRA CLEVELAND – OT
The 49ers will need to be on the lookout for Joe Staley’s replacement and pick the Boise State product who is a perfect fit for the wide zone scheme in San Francisco.
32 – CHIEFS SELECT – D’ANDRE SWIFT – RB
The rich get richer! The needs of linebacker and corner can wait as the guys the Cheifs may have taken are gone so they pick the drafts best running back to add to their already high powered offensive unit.
Here we are then, everyone. We made it (and well done to you for doing so!). A final mock draft means that the real thing is just around the corner. A 2 round mock from yours truly to whet the appetite ahead of the big few days in a world where we are thirsty for anything sport related (how about that marble racing!?).
I don’t know how excited you can get at being able to see inside Roger Godell’s house, but it’s happening, get over it (on a side note, if he dubs in to the broadcast a chorus of boos, he’ll instantly turn from heel to a face WWE style). Let’s see in which order the names will be announced with regards to how I see it playing out come Thursday.
Let me know your thoughts, are you happy with your team’s selections. Make sure you check out some of our other mock drafts by our other talented writers, with the link on the homepage and don’t forget to get involved with our prediction competition!
(1) Joe Burrow – QB
Obvious and everything that needs to be said has been. So let’s move swiftly on.
(2) Chase Young – EDGE
Yes, Washington have decent defensive line presence and yes they have put some feelers out for people that may want the pick to come and take a QB, but no-one is on the other end making the call so Washington stick here and pick the monster that is Chase Young.
(3) Jeff Okudah – CB
Corner is a big need for Detroit and Okudah is by far the best CB in the draft. First 3 picks are simple. Do Detroit trade back here? I think they would like to trade back with Miam, but Miami know that their trading rivals wouldn’t dare poke the bear so nothing happens here.
(4) Tristan Wirfs – OL
Gettleman uses all his bits of stacked paper to etch the name Wirfs on his draft selection card (are those still going to be written on this year?). Giants don’t trade during the draft and another option could be Simmons, but protecting Danny Dimes should be the focus with this pick.
(5) Tua Tagovailoa – QB
First big pivotal point for this mock draft and the Dolphins take Too. Would seem to be a waste of all that tanking and not get the guy you were being touted for for almost 12 months! Even better, they let him fall in to their lap.
(6) Isaiah Simmons – LB
After one pivotal selection, this one will be the same come draft night. Do the Chargers take Herbert? Well, as you can see…no. They take another piece to add to what could be a top 3 defence in 2020.
(7) Derrick Brown – DT
I would fully expect Panthers GM David Tepper to field calls for this pick and could get a lovely haul for it too should Herbert fall here. But the slide continues for the Oregon QB and Carolina add a cinder block to their defensive line. Are they tanking? Are they not? who knows, but this defence could be bottom 3 bad in 2020.
(8) Mekhi Becton – OT
I do not expect Arizona to field calls for this selection as their offensive line has been a wreck for longer than the Titanic. They pretty much get their pick of the litter here and take the half man, half monster in Becton. Coming from Louisville, he could probably pass off his helmet for a Cardinals one. There’s a couple of hundred dollars saved.
(9) Jedrick Wills – OL
Trade w/ JAX – TB sends #14, 45, 2021 2nd
We all know how much New England Tom liked offensive lineman. Tampa Tom is no different. Bruce Arians and co signal their intent by grabbing possibly the best lineman in the class, to add to a offensive line the ranked inside the top 10 according to PFF in 2019, giving all that time for Winston to…erm..yeah.
(10) Andrew Thomas – OL
I do get a sneaky suspicion that the Browns could trade back here and allow the WR party to get started. However, as the offensive lineman are starting to come off the board, the Browns may not get one if they go back to 12 or 15 so they pick the last of the big 4 lineman to help Baker Mayfield.
(11) CeeDee Lamb – WR
Trade w/ NYJ – DEN sends #15, #77, 2021 2nd
Similar comments for the Jets apply here with regards to O-lineman. This shows how pivotal it is for the Jets that Justin Herbert, still available here, goes inside the top 10 as it would allow them to get the last of the OL. However, they don’t so decide to accumulate a few more picks. Denver trade up to get the first stab at the WR and take CeeDee Lamb to partner Courtland Sutton in an offence I have high hopes for in 2020.
(12) CJ Henderson – CB
The Raiders may think at this point that they can chance their arm at WR because if the Jets wanted one, they would’ve stayed at pick 11. So Las Vegas’s first pick is CJ Henderson to help bolster a defence that started to turn a corner towards the back half of last year.
(13) Javon Kinlaw – DT
As a direct replacement for DeForest Buckner who they traded to the Colts, they pick man mountain Kinlaw and he’ll slot right in at home and that ferocious D-Line will be just as mean in 2020.
(14) Justin Herbert – QB
From Tampa Bay
Don’t be surprised to see Jacksonville have THREE first round picks in this draft, getting the additional one by way of trading Yannick Ngakoue or Leonard Fournette. Josh Dobbs should not be anywhere near 2nd on a depth chart. The Jags get some actual competition for Minshew. Yes, the Jags like him now, but wait ’til he stinks it up in the first 6 weeks of the season, the team in disarray. Mark my words, the Jags come out with a top 4 or 5 QB from this draft. It’s Herbert in this one falling to them.
(15) Jerry Jeudy – WR
Pick from Denver
The Jets get someone at 15, who they could have taken at 11. That is #Value. A big name to replace Robby Anderson in the WR and immediately comes in as their number 1. Now they just need to keep Darnold upright to do make into something useful.
(16) K’Laivon Chaisson – Edge
In the running for “most obvious pick to come true” betting without Joe Burrow and Chase Young, this surely has to be it. Tak McKinley and Vic Beasley have not lived up to the hype so Atlanta reload the gun and add another bullet to the chamber.
(17) Kristian Fulton – CB
I REALLY want Dallas to take Xavier McKinney here, but the signing of HaHa Clinton-Dix makes me feel like they’ll address safety later, possibly in the second round.
(18) Josh Jones – OL
Miami add a lineman to protect their new star QB with the 2nd of their 2 1st rounders. After splashing a lot on defence through Free Agency, expect the Dolphins to maybe use all 3 picks in the first round on the offensive side of the ball.
(19) Henry Ruggs – WR
Vegas get away with it a little bit with still having Ruggs on the board, who could have possibly gone before this pick. Only Hunter Renfrow from the wide receivers covered himself in any glory and Say Jones isn’t the answer to any question.
(20) Xavier McKinney – S
A really versatile piece in the Jags new look defence as they take the safety that can do pretty much everything from make plays in the back but also come up into the box. Guy loves a tackle. Don’t rule out a WR in the first round after the release of Marqise Lee, but it’s likely a position to address in the later rounds
(21) Justin Jefferson – WR
Philly probably won’t be as aggressive as they usually are due to hearing that they want to take care of their picks this year, luckily the number 4 WR lands here. Dustmen were lining up for the Eagles last year and still were able to make the playoffs, Jefferson will be a great tool for Pederson and Wentz.
(22) Jeff Gladney – CB
It’ll be interesting to find out whether the Vikings use either of their first round picks to draft a replacement for Stefon Diggs. Seeing as though 4 WR are off the board, a 5th here could be a bit of a waste so instead they retool their defence after a mass exodus during Free Agency.
(23) Ezra Cleveland – OL
You are seeing this right and it isn’t due to a trade but the Patriots select from 23 this year. They use that pick to add Ezra Cleveland. On a side note, don’t be surprised to see Joe Thuney offered to the masses during the draft after they placed the Franchise Tag on him.
(24) Kenneth Murray – LB
Not too many positions of need for the Saints and they are not cap healthy either so don’t expect any trading up like they did for Marcus Davenport a few years ago. A solid player here falling to #24.
(25) Patrick Queen – LB
Trade w/ MIN (BAL sends #28, #92, #106)
Baltimore got steamrolled by Derrick Henry in the Divisional round in 2019, Patrick Queen will help ensure they do not suffer a repeat. With the offence on fire, Baltimore take a defensive player with their picks and move up a few spots at the cost of a 3rd and 4th.
(26) Y. Gross-Matos – EDGE
Miami were awful last year at getting pressure and getting sacks. Gross-Matos will come in and help right away.
(27) Jordan Love – QB
Trade w/ SEA (IND sends #44, #75, 2021 2nd
Chris Ballard is usually quite conservative with his draft picks. However, Jordan Love is still here and Philip Rivers is on a 1 year deal. Love would be perfect to sit behind Rivers for a year and take over the mantle for a team still counting the cost of Andrew Luck’s retirement.
(28) Jalen Reagor – WR
Minnesota are next on the clock at #58 so unless they can move back a tiny bit once more, it’s likely that the cream of the WR crop has well and truly vanished. So here they take Reagor to replace Diggs.
(29) Austin Jackson – OL
Titans said goodbye to Conklin, which was a grave error in my opinion. However, they try to rectify that huge loss by selecting a replacement here.
(30) Laviska Shenault – WR
Green Bay have probably lost patience with their wide receivers not named Davantae Adams. They try once again with a bit more heavy investment and take Shenault who is going to be exciting to watch if Rodgers can find anything next year.
(31) Noah Igbinoghene – CB
I fully expect the 49ers to trade back here to a CB needy team, but they need one themselves and they address 2 of the few holes they have on defence with both 1st round picks. Richard Sherman has to retire one day…
(32) DeAndre Swift – RB
There is no love for the running backs these days. Kansas again could trade back a few spots and acquire some more draft capital but it would be also very fun to see Swift in an Andy Reid offence.
33. CIN – Denzel Mims WR
34. IND – Tee Higgins WR
35. DET – AJ Epenesa EDGE
36. NYG – Zack Baun EDGE
37. SEA – Cesar Ruiz IOL (Trade with LAC, SEA sends #44, #75, #133)
Here we go then, the draft is now just hours away.
Hours of film work, thousands of tweets, loads of articles and several podcasts, all combing over and and discussing many, many points of interest over the last college football and draft seasons, have boiled down to this.
I hope you have your time off booked for Friday and the food and drink in the fridge and you’re all set for what will be the most unique of drafts, maybe ever.
For me and many other draft nerds it’s the end of a cycle and the event where we finally get the answers that we’ve been waiting for.
I hope you’re looking forward to it as much as I am.
With that, let me present my final mock draft of the year. Enjoy.
Cincinnati Bengals – Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
I wish I could bring myself to do something a little more creative here but I just can’t. The writing has been on the wall for months, no matter how much the media have tried to create a story that isn’t there.
Washington Redskins – Chase Young, Edge, Ohio State
Another team that the media tried creating a story about because the writing has been on the wall for months. The Redskins just take the best player available and enjoy him for the next 10 plus years, no need to get cute.
It would have been ideal for Matt Patricia to pair Slay with Jeffrey Okudah but Slay had been creeping towards the exit door for over 12 months if we’re all honest. So Okudah ends up being the replacement instead of the partner but Detroit isn’t in a bad spot – they replaced a CB1 with a cheaper and younger alternative.
Okudah’s combine workout with regards to his footwork, in particular, was teaching tape for any young DB’s out there. He’s been college football’s most refined and dominant corner for the past year and is NFL ready from day 1.
It’s often the done thing to dunk on Dave Gettlemann and whilst drafting an offensive tackle doesn’t get the blood pumping, nor does seeing the QB you just drafted, to replace a franchise legend, on his backside a lot of the time.
The Giants have to protect Daniel Jones and drafting one of the top tackle prospects is actually pretty sensible, no matter what you think of the GM.
Giant’s fans may not like this move, especially with Isaiah Simmons sitting there and waiting to be picked but it isn’t a bad move at all.
Wirfs is a potential All-Pro tackle with unbelievable ability to move people in the running game, which not only helps Jones but Saquon Barkley too.
If they’re going to draft a running back second overall… The Giants might as well maximise him.
I know a lot of people are still expecting some kind of trade up from the Dolphins, most likely with the Lions, however, I really question whether Miami needs to at this point now that Darius Slay is an Eagle and the Lions need Jeffrey Okudah in the worst way.
Firstly, I would like to point out that if Miami has been angling (tanking) for Tua for over 12 months and they don’t come away with the former Alabama passer, it’ll be one of the most egregious wastes of draft capital that we’ve ever seen. However, if Miami holds their nerve I think they can keep their picks and let Tua fall right into their laps.
I don’t buy the interest in Tua that the media has tried to drum up from Washington – Arizona dumping Josh Rosen after one year is an outlier with a particular set of circumstances, not a rule.
In terms of a trade up: Detroit isn’t taking Tagovailoa at 3 and Dave Gettleman never trades back, so I would be SHOCKED if he did now.
Which leaves us with the Chargers… Tom Telesco has never made a big move up in the draft and is generally a stoic and conservative GM. Miami can also blow any offer out of the water, should Telesco move up so would the Chargers risk making a move, only to have Miami move up above them? I don’t think so.
Besides, if you don’t think Miami has called all 4 teams above them and told those teams they’ll beat any serious offer that comes their way from another team, then you’re out of your mind.
No one can win a bidding war against Miami, so why bother?
Los Angeles Chargers – Isaiah Simmons, Defense, Clemson
I have said a couple of times on recent podcasts that I really think that the Chargers are edging towards picking the best player available at number 6 and then looking at a QB later on.
Anthony Lynn loves Tyrod Taylor and seems to really believe in him and his skill set, so I think he’s going to get a fair crack at the starting job next season, without having a top 10 QB breathing down his neck, similar to what he had in Cleveland.
This of course, allows the Chargers to draft Isaiah Simmons and create a defense that is, on paper at least, absolutely out of this world.
I’ve been joking that this defense could hold opponents to 10 points per game… Or was I joking?
The Browns spring a trade here to move ahead of Arizona in the queue for these incredible offensive tackle prospects. New GM, Andrew Berry has been talking about the possibility of moving up or down but says that, “best player available” will be their “driver”.
Carolina is an easy trade candidate considering they’re beginning a rebuild with Matt Rhule and happily accept a generous trade package from the Browns.
Becton gets the nod over Wills and Thomas due to starting left tackle experience and simply because they don’t make them like Mekhi Becton very often – a mountain of a man with dancing feet.
He becomes the third tackle off the board but I personally feel that Jedrick Wills is the best tackle prospect in the draft. He’s maybe even the best tackle prospect I’ve evaluated since I began doing this… maybe. I am absolutely in love with how rounded he is in pass protection and how he loves to bury any defensive lineman that is unfortunate enough to take him on.
I know that I mentioned Becton being selected above Wills for Cleveland due to Becton having left tackle experience, but I don’t have any qualms about Wills playing on either side of the offensive line. DJ Humphries signing a new contract probably means Wills starts life on the right side anyway but he could easily switch later in his career if required.
This relegates Marcus Gilbert to swing tackle duty, which will suit him since he’s 32 and has missed a lot of time over the past two seasons.
Just a short time ago, it felt like the Jaguars had the best corner tandem in football in AJ Bouye and Jalen Ramsey…
Both of those guys now reside out west with Ramsey in L.A. with the Rams and Bouye a recent trade acquisition for the Broncos, which leaves the Jags starting corners as DJ Hayden and Tre Herndon…
So, yeah, the position needs some serious investment. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Jacksonville double down on corners in the draft.
Henderson isn’t a player I’m personally super high on, but Jacksonville will like taking a local product and I believe the NFL will be higher on him than I am. His athletic abilities were on show in Indianapolis a couple of weekends ago too and that is what he will lean on at the next level.
This trade back really worked well for Carolina as they net Derrick Brown, a player they would have loved to have taken at #7, and now they have another couple of swings of the bat later down the line, too.
Brown has been a game wrecker at multiple spots on the defensive line this year for Auburn and I’d expect him to be used in multiple spots by new Panthers DC, Phil Snow, as he looks to exploit weaknesses in the offensive line and accentuate Brown’s penetrative traits and athleticism (don’t let Brown’s combine fool you, he’s a monster off the snap on tape).
I will be looking forward to how Snow uses Brown should this happen in the real draft too, because no disrespect to Baylor and the guys who played on their D line, Brown is on another level in comparison.
Note: Carolina needs to freshen up the defensive line and I could imagine that they will double dip this position later on – I would imagine that Rhule and Snow would love to bring in James Lynch, the defensive lineman from Baylor, later in the draft on early day 3, potentially even with pick 113, their pick in the early part of round 4.
The Jets’ situation on offense kind of reminds me of what division rivals Buffalo had on their hands around 12 months ago. They have a promising young quarterback who needs more protection and some guys to throw the ball to, and I feel like the Jets went about free agency in a similar way to what the Bills did – bring in a bundle of cheap, middling free agents, on short contracts and see what turns out to be your best combination on the line and also who Darnold builds good chemistry with. The Bills added Cody Ford out of Oklahoma last year to add some potential star power and some youth to their rag-tag bunch of hog-mollies.
Andrew Thomas fits the mould here and gives New York what could be a franchise left tackle for years to come and hopefully keeps the ghosts away from Darnold’s blindside.
Last offseason, the Raiders put all their eggs in one basket case at wide receiver and it kind of derailed Jon Gruden’s offensive masterplan before it got started. Tyrell Williams is fine, in fact, he’s good, but simply isn’t a WR1 in the NFL and should be used accordingly. Again, Hunter Renfrow is going to be a really nice slot receiver for them for a while, but it’s going to scare a defense like an Antonio Brown would. Las Vegas would also be mindful to guard against Darren Waller regressing, at least somewhat.
With the talent at wide receiver that is available, the now Vegas Raiders get a chance to right that wrong, by selecting the best wide receiver in the draft class.
Philadelphia Eagles – Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
Trade – San Francisco receive picks 21 & 53
Philadelphia receive pick 13
Big trade alert! Howie Roseman is never afraid to make a move and this draft gets off to a flying start for Philadelphia.
DeSean Jackson is out, Alshon Jeffrey is oft-injured and unfortunately, JJ Arcega-Whiteside… well, didn’t have the impact that some people expected after ranking him as WR5 last year… So the Eagles need to make a move and bring in someone who will make an impact.
Ruggs is a flier but not only a flier who catches deep balls, he’s got fantastic hands and he thrives in the short game where we can create for himself.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Javon Kinlaw, IDL, South Carolina
This is one pick that I feel just makes a lot of sense. Beau Allen has gone even with the resigning of Ndamukong Suh, the defensive line needs retooling in Tampa and I think they’d like to keep adding to this unit, in a similar vein to San Francisco over the past few years.
Kinlaw brings a lot of juice to the defensive front and alongside Vita Vea and Shaq Barrett he could form a young trio who can all get after the QB.
I also feel the Bucs are now going to try to put as much talent around Tom Brady as possible – The modus operandi for both Brady and Head Coach, Bruce Arians will be to win a championship and then retire simultaneously.
This pick and generally boosting the defense fits that plan nicely.
The Broncos offense may just be on the precipice of being really quite good. Drew Lock showed some flashes, Gordon and Lindsay are solid in the backfield and Courtland Sutton took big strides last year.
It remains to be seen what Daesean Hamilton and Noah Fant will become but they have both shown some promise at the very least. Jerry Jeudy can come in and form another part of the offense and potentially take Denver to another level. Jeudy would be a matchup nightmare both inside and outside with his precision route running and slippery nature after the catch.
Atlanta are absolutely crying out for an edge defender. Vic Beasley has flamed out and will be looking for a fresh start in Tennessee, Adrian Clayborn is in Cleveland and has never been a top shelf edge defender. Plus, the drafting of Takk McKinley hasn’t really worked out either for the Dirty Birds.
This is a move that doubles down on the pick up of Dante Fowler and gives Atlanta a pair of edges that have a very high ceiling.
Chaisson adds a good amount of athleticism to the defensive front and isn’t just an edge rusher either, he’s possibly the best run defending edge in this class and has the versatility to play standing up and with his hand in the dirt.
There’s talk of Atlanta wanting to move up, and I wouldn’t doubt that Thomas Dimitroff would want to do so for a second, I’m just not sure if they can find a dance partner without overpaying.
The Cowboys just had too many people who needed paying this offseason and now Byron Jones is a Dolphin. This leaves a hole in the secondary and I feel they need to address that need sooner rather than later. The ‘Boys neglected to bring in a replacement via free agency so I have them drafting Kristian Fulton, who I actually believe is being short changed in this draft cycle, by a fair bit.
I believe if it wasn’t for the fact Jeffrey Okudah is better than a lot of the corners in the NFL, and the fact that this is a deep class generally, Fulton would be getting much more recognition than he is right now, the guy is an unbelievable prospect.
The Vikings love to draft corners under Mike Zimmer.
There is also a vacancy or two on the roster at the position since they cut Xavier Rhodes last week and also have Trae Waynes, Mack Alexander and Marcus Sherels heading towards the exit door.
This leaves Mike Hughes, their first round selection from 2018 as the CB1 on the roster at the time of writing and we’re not even sure that Hughes is an outside corner at the NFL level.
So why Gladney and why trade up in a deep class?
Well Zimmer loves physical corners who can be sticky in man coverage and don’t mind laying a hit on someone. Jeff Gladney fits the bill on this score and even in a deep class, you might as well go up and get the best guys when you can.
Jon Gruden continues to shop at the name brand schools. Queen strikes me as a Gruden linebacker – He’s active and very athletic, he could use some work on his tackling, which I do admit, could be an issue for a linebacker but the ceiling is very high.
Last year, Gruden brought in a leader on the back end of the defense in John Abraham and also a leader up front, in Clelin Ferrell. Free agency this year brought Nick Kwitakoski and Corey Littleton – Queen rounds out what would be an excellent linebacking group and generally a great looking defense to combat the red hot offenses in the AFC West.
Let me tell you… The Jags have issues. Sizable issues. It’s a fire sale and it’s going to be a long road back.
So how do you go about resolving this? Well, you bring in good football players and players who will contribute towards a positive culture in and around the team for years to come.
It would be ideal if these players played at premium positions but this isn’t a one year fix, it’s going to be a process.
Whilst this isn’t a great fit, given that Jacksonville already has a player of a similar ilk on the roster in Ronnie Harrison, the Jags do need safety help and I feel the fact Harrison is already on board will mean that McKinney is moved around the defense a little bit, perhaps as in big nickel packages and allowed to get after tight ends and running backs.
San Francisco 49ers – Laviska Shenault. WR, Colorado
Trading down from 13 to 21 gives San Fran a second round pick and whilst losing the chance to draft Henry Ruggs is never a positive, the 49ers don’t lose out on drafting a dynamic offensive weapon.
A dream scenario and Shenault’s diverse skill set is paired with one of the best offensive minds in the game in Kyle Shanahan.
If this goes down, I will be watching a lot of 49ers games next season to see what the results of this marriage are. This is purely a team fit, there aren’t many other teams that will look at Shenault this early.
Wide receivers are flying off the board in the 20’s!
Does Minnesota get the best one of them at 22? I think that is a distinct possibility.
Justin Jefferson showed that he’s a complete wide receiver last season at LSU – operating well out wide and out of the slot, being productive in terms of yards and also putting the ball in the paint, like most of the LSU offense, he had a career breakout year at the best possible time.
The Vikings need to come away with a corner and a wide receiver from the first round and picking Jeff Gladney and Justin Jefferson makes this a home run first round of them.
I actually don’t believe I’m mocking this myself, to be quite honest.
If Justin Herbert falls past the Dolphins and the Chargers, where does the slide end?
It’s a genuine question, and it’s not an indictment of Herbert as a prospect or as a QB because I think Justin Herbert is very good but where does he go in this situation?
The Raiders are the only team I can think of that are a slight possibility and I just can’t see Jon Gruden loving Herbert, plus they brought in Marcus Mariota and they have an entrenched starter in Derek Carr.
The only other possibility I could think of is New England trading up to get him but then, as this shows, would the Patriots need to do so?
The fact that Zack Baun hasn’t been invited to the virtual draft makes me a little nervous of this pick and in all honesty, I’m not certain that Miami makes three first round selections – I strongly suspect that they’ll use their abundance of draft capital to move around the board freely and unload capital in trades in order to secure the players that they really want.
However, in this event, they haven’t needed to get rid of their pick and do still have a need at edge. Baun isn’t a prototypical edge defender and can drop in and play linebacker but that is exactly the kind of player that Brian Flores worked with in New England and for that reason I feel like Baun fits the mould really nicely here.
Los Angeles Chargers – Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
Trade – Seattle receive picks 37 & 71
Los Angeles receive pick 27
Seattle won’t make this pick, they barely ever make their first pick before trading back so the Chargers spot an opening and make a leap up the board in order to secure their potential quarterback of the future.
Jordan Love has the physical traits that everyone is looking for now in terms of arm talent and mobility, he also works well outside of structure which also lends itself well to the modern NFL.
Love isn’t coming off the greatest season and was actually much more impressive in 2018 when he had more offensive talent around him, so his uneven college career gives me pause when I try to fit him into the conversation as a top QB prospect.
Time would be on his side with Tyrod Taylor in situ and with Love attracting comparisons, in some circles, to Patrick Mahomes, it could be a gamble worth taking.
Each time I do a mock draft and I come to the Titans, I look around their roster and look for an area of improvement and I often come to the same conclusion – That this roster is really good and quite underrated throughout the NFL community.
The Titans don’t have many (if any) league renowned stars, you could make a case for Kevin Byard, potentially Derrick Henry and maybe Taylor Lewan but it feels like this whole roster is under appreciated.
Jon Robinson really deserves some high praise for how he’s put this team together!
One casualty of this off season is right tackle Jack Conklin, who left during free agency, so I feel this is the most obvious place to start for Tennessee.
Jackson is a little rough around the edges but he should make the starting job his over the offseason and be a nice addition to the Titans line.
Green Bay Packers – Justin Madubuike, IDL, Texas A&M
I know the consensus here is that Green Bay will go for a wide receiver here but with 6 already gone, is there value there at 30 for a receiver like Jalen Reagor or Brandon Aiyuk?
I’m not certain.
This class of wide receivers is deep and there will be value and good players to be had later down the line – Remember, the draft is 7 rounds long.
One area where there isn’t a whole lot of depth is on the defensive line – The likes of Justin Madubuike, Ross Blacklock, Neville Gallimore and to a degree Jordan Elliott – The tier 2 interior defensive linemen are all nice prospects but after those guys the drop off is fairly sharp.
Outside of Kenny Clark, the Packers could use some talent up front. Justin Mabubuike will give them some juice and mixes that with nimble footwork and hand placement as a rusher.
These late round picks always get a bit wild and this is certainly one of those – It’s a gamble but could pay off in a big way.
The 49ers really aren’t too far away and after the trade back with Philadelphia, they now hold pick 53 which is where I feel they can get good value for a cornerback and fill another big need.
For now, John Lynch continues to give Kyle Shanahan what he needs on offense. Ruiz is a stout center who holds up really nicely in pass protection and is a powerful adversary for any defensive lineman in the run game.
Ruiz has the mobility to hold up nicely in Shanahan’s complex running scheme too, whether that be from the center position or from right guard, both of which he has played at Michigan.
I think Ruiz will end up at the pivot in time but due to Weston Richburg, may begin his career at right guard – Either way he makes this line better now and in 5 years time.
With the final pick of the first round the Kansas City Chiefs improve an area of their team which is one of the only areas of their roster that requires some serious investment, the cornerback position.
Terrell has slipped in the hearts and minds of a lot of fans because of the College Football National Championship game which Clemson lost to LSU in crushing fashion, with LSU running out 42-25 winners.
However. Terrell put together a great season overall and showed his prowess as a great corner prospect with his play.
Terrell is an unbelievable athlete, who possesses excellent coverage ability and has all the physical attributes and movement skills to be a CB1 for any team in the league.
In the first part of this article I explored four players who I personally felt were overlooked in terms of draft hype this year. For one reason or another these players are slipping through the cracks and despite their talent, they aren’t going to get taken until the final couple of rounds, in some cases. In part two of NFL Draft Dark Horses I’m going to take a look at another group of players who aren’t getting the hype or attention they deserve this year.
Josh Love, QB, San Jose State
Despite winning the 2019 Mountain West offensive player of the year award San Jose State quarterback Josh Love is getting little to no attention in terms of his pro potential.
A pro style quarterback who put up some seriously impressive numbers with 3,923 passing yards, 22 touchdowns and 8 interceptions in his 2019 campaign. While he may not get a lot of looks because of his 6’, 200lbs frame, his play speaks for itself. Love displays great awareness and isn’t afraid to take a hit if he can make a play. He converted pressure to sacks at the lowest rate in the country last year (only 9%) and earned a 68.9 passing grade while under pressure. (9th in the country) While I see Love going undrafted, I think a team like the Patriots, Cowboys or Colts should take a chance and see what Love can bring to their training camp and see if he can produce during a pre-season.
Teams would be stupid not to give this kid a chance.
Jonah Jackson, IOL, Ohio State
A graduate transfer from Rutgers, Jackson figured some time in a powerhouse program was all that was needed to raise his game to the next level if he wanted to go pro.
Boy! What a year he had.
Ohio State led the conference in rushing this year, in no small part to Jackson’s great run protection work in the trenches. While PFF don’t think Jackson has the quickest feet or most powerful frame for his position these things are offset by some great short sets and quick hips, Jackson is a nightmare for anyone he gets his hands on.
Jackson also won 58% of his one-on-ones despite splitting time between 3 different interior positions. This sort of versatility is a big bonus for Jackson given his projected draft position.
While he sometimes handles his run blocks a little up the frame, his aggressiveness and ability to run second level blocks vertically on outside zone concepts is a valuable asset that will serve him well in the pros.
Marc-Antoine Dequoy, S, Universite de Montreal
Now this might actually confuse some people who aren’t really clued in on Canadian football and Canadian colleges but the rules in Canadian football are a little different to what you’re used to in the NFL or American college systems. 3 downs, vertical movement is allowed by receivers pre snap, bigger field and different kicking rules.
However, with a guy like Dequoy his raw talent makes this a non issue. A 4.36 40 yard dash time should be enough for teams to take a little notice of him – This is a kid who made the All-Canada team 3 times across his college career, (2x first team selections). The 6’2” 200lbs safety has all the traits to make him a valuable pro player, his 2019 campaign saw him rack up 37 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 pass breakup and 3 interceptions across 8 games.
With other Canadians making an impact in the NFL it would be good to see a team take a chance on this guy with a late round pick and possibly develop his talents to see how far he can go in the NFL.
Ben Bartch, OT, Saint John’s (Minnesota) (DIII Program)
Now unless you lived in Minnesota or watched the senior bowl there’s a good chance you have no clue who Ben Bartch is. If you did watch the senior bowl then you’ll know that this DIII program offensive lineman came in and showed out against guys from Alabama, Florida and other big name programs.
He’s a 6’6”, 309lbs beast who allowed just 4 quarterback pressures inside 12 games…that’s pretty impressive if you ask me.
You may know him for his repulsive weight gain shakes that enabled him to add 60 pounds to his frame as he moved from tight end to offensive tackle.
Bartch has great technique and athleticism, and if you package that with his grit and determination they make up some great qualities in what you’re going to need in the trenches in the NFL.
I think if a team like the Texans or Seahawks pick this kid up it will really take their passing offence up a notch – Wilson and Watson will get better with more time to throw. These are bold claims to make but I’m 99% sure Bartch’s ability will back these claims up when he’s given some game time in the pro’s.