Now the draft’s done, we are truly into doldrums of the off-season.
We even have the worry that football won’t return on time in September but let’s shut our eyes, cover our ears and ignore all those worries and focus on your next draft.
There’s more of a buzz around this year’s quarterback class with Joe Burrow being selected #1 overall by the Bengals, another two taken in the top ten and a fourth in the first round.
Compare this to 2019 where the only real notable signal-caller selections were Kyler Murray, Daniel Jones and Dwayne Haskins.
Obviously we weren’t to know that sixth-rounder Gardner Minshew was to become a brief moustachioed sensation in Jacksonville or that Drew Lock’s promising end to the season for the Broncos – if you listen to Denver fans – would actually turn out to be the Second Coming of Our Lord and Saviour John Elway.
So to the forthcoming Fantasy Drafts. Are you looking at picking a rookie QB? If so, who? Let’s find out…
Jalen Hurts – Philadelphia Eagles
This was, initially, a surprise pick from The Iggles as they already have a franchise Quarterback in Carson Wentz but this is a player who can’t stay healthy for a whole season and as we saw in the playoffs against Seattle, their current backup of Nate Sudfeld just won’t cut the mustard.
So this ‘Bama/Oklahoma prospect taken 53rd overall had 32 passing touchdowns to go with 20 rushing touchdowns in the 2019 season and the instant comparisons are to Taysom Hill in terms of being a ‘dual-threat’ quarterback.
Will he see many snaps under centre this season? It all depends on Wentz’s health, frankly. A torn ACL and a lower back injury curtailed his 2017 and 2018 seasons respectively before carrying the Eagles to the playoffs last year only to be knocked out of the game after nine snaps by Jadeveon Clowney.
However, as the season goes on I’d not be surprised to see Hurts’ usage increase primarily in the backfield like the aforementioned Hill. In my opinion Hurts will be a good pickup this year for Dynasty leagues. I suspect he’ll be a starter before too long, be it with the Eagles or another team down the line.
Jordan Love – Green Bay Packers
If Eagles fans were stunned by their team picking up a Quarterback rather than a receiver, then imagine how Cheeseheads felt when the Packers – with their first round pick – didn’t select a receiver to give Aaron Rodgers a target other than Davante Adams but picked his replacement instead!
Make no mistake, the clock is ticking close to midnight on Rodgers and Green Bay’s relationship and if Green Bay find themselves below .500 come December will it be time for Wisconsin to feel the Love Generation?
Tua Tagovailoa – Miami Dolphins
Much like the actual draft, Tua could be someone who could go anywhere in Fantasy Dynasty Drafts. Will he be the great leap forward for the Dolphins who showed signs of life in December under Brian Flores’ supreme coaching?
I’m not so sure we’ll see as much of Tua as we’d like this year, the injury record is obviously much discussed and whilst it isn’t something that concerns me as much as it does others, I do think that Ryan Fitzpatrick will be the starting QB in September.
However…Looking into the future I like what Tua will bring to the Dolphins and the increasing amount of weapons available to him – combined with his running threat – intrigues me.
I’m not saying he’s going to put up Lamar Jackson style numbers but with a lot of investment in the offensive line through the draft and also some free agent additions from the Dolphins is giving the ‘Bama alumnus the best possible chance to succeed. It may not be instantaneous but I expect Tua to be a reliable Fantasy player from 2021 onwards.
Justin Herbert – LA Chargers
I view Tua as having more upside than Herbert but his higher ranking here is down to being an immediate starter in LA, I don’t feasibly see Tyrod Taylor being the starter unless Herbert suffers a pre-season injury.
On the theme of injuries, this is another reason why I have Herbert above Tua. Whilst I would not be scared to draft Tua, I would err on the side of caution between Herbert and Tua in a draft this summer and pick the Oregon signal-caller.
Additionally, the fact that Herbert will be throwing to Keenan Allen, Hunter Henry and screens to Austin Ekeler means he’s going to be putting up good numbers on a weekly basis from the opening weekend.
With the Chargers sharing a division with the Chiefs, Broncos and Raiders they are going to need to score and score quickly to keep up. This should be enough for Herbert to not only be one of the better Fantasy Rookie QBs this year but I think he could be threatening the top ten of all QB scoring.
Joe Burrow – Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals are going to be a lot better than 2019 and not just because Joe Burrow is going to be the quarterback although it certainly helps.
The LSU man is going to be throwing to AJ Green, Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, John Ross and Auden Tate. Admittedly the last two are a stretch but are promising receivers, especially if Green ends up being traded.
The consensus is that Joey Small Hands (trademark pending) will be the star of the Bengals for the next 10+ years and good for them, finally getting a quarterback that gives them hope.
On the fantasy side of things, the five receivers mentioned above are going to be a goldmine for Burrow who will no doubt find success with them. He threw for sixty touchdowns last year, an NCAA record. If he gets half of those for the Bengals in 2020 he will not only be a success in Cincinnati but also a success in fantasy.
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.
Time to jump on the bandwagon and start to put a few feelers out there in terms of the 1st round of the NFL draft. Don’t forget to check out the Full 10 Yards College Football podcast that will cover a whole host of topics and no doubt mock drafts from now until April rolls around. Without any further a delay, here is my first mock draft for 2020 (going straight in with trades!).
#1 – Joe Burrow – QB
Let’s not get too crazy right out of the gate, Joe Burrow is a 1/100 shot currently with bookmakers to go 1st overall. I don’t buy all the current smokescreen that Burrow will “pull an Eli”. Not saying I won’t do a mock draft where this happens, but let’s keep things simple, stupid.
#2 – Chase Young – DE
Again, not getting too creative here at 2 and the Redskins get a monster who’ll make his presence felt as soon as he walks through the door as the edge rusher from Ohio State lands in the Nation’s capital. Whilst I think the Redskins will be open to trading back with teams such as Miami, we’ll save the trades until pick number 3,
#3 – Tua Tagoviola – QB
*MIA TRADE #5, #26 and #70 to DET for #3*
Miami trade up to take Tua, who’ll sit behind Ryan Fitzpatrick for at the most part of the 2020 season. The price they pay is their 5th overall, number 26th (from the Texans) and a 3rd round pick. The price could easily be a lot steeper should the Panthers and Chargers sniff around and if Tua’s medical issues are not too much of an issue.
#4 – Jeffrey Okudah – CB
Another year, another top 5 pick for the blue side of New York. This time it’s Okudah that gets the call. The Cornerback out of Ohio State helps plug one of many needs for the Giants. I would suggest that the Giants are candidates to move back, but Gettleman isn’t know for his creativity or intricacy in April (or any month of the year for that matter). As they have a new HC, they’ll keep things simple and go with a best player available approach.
#5 – Isiah Simmons – OLB
*MIA TRADE #5, #26 and #70 to DET for #3*
I wouldn’t put it past Detroit to fall further back and accumulate even more picks from here. Matt Patricia of course would have learned from the best in Bill Belichick in terms of acquiring more dart throws. For now, we have the Lions selecting Simmons, Linebacker out of Clemson. A team that have plenty of gaps to fill on the defensive side of the ball start here.
#6 – Justin Herbert – QB
The Chargers take their shot at QB in Oregon QB Justin Herbert. He’s raw, and a project and the Chargers certainly wont want to be starting him until the latter parts of the 2020 season at the earliest! There are scenarios where I see them trade out of this spot as they acquire their QB in free agency (maybe Cam Newton? Maybe Tom Brady) but we’ll leave that until we have a bit more clarity. For now, Herbert is their guy.
#7 – Derrick Brown – DT
Brown somehow falls to the Panthers here at #7. Whilst they’ll be strong candidates to go QB in the 1st round too as all signs point to Carolina wanting to strip this whole thing back with a whole new coaching staff (which is why I can see Cam going to LA), in this scenario, they take Brown as the QBs left on the board are not worth the #7 overall.
#8 – Jedrick Wills – OT
Arizona have just re-signed DJ Humphries to a long term extension and they double down here and select the first offensive lineman on the board in 2020. The Alabama tackle will come in straight away and help fix the patches on the line and give Kyler Murray the protection they’ve been wanting to provide for years. If Wills isn’t here or they aren’t enamoured with the OT in the class until later on, Arizona are another trade back candidate.
#9 – Javon Kinlaw – DT
The Jaguars were one of the worst against the run in 2019. How to fix that? Stick in a 6 foot 6, 301 anchor from South Carolina. There’s a lot of questions and holes to fill in east Florida, and Kinlaw can be the first guy to plug up the leak in the trench from day 1 and he’ll only improve with the more experience he gets.
#10 – Mekhi Becton – OT
I will be stunned if the Browns look this gift horse in the mouth. Plenty of tackle options for the Browns in this prime spot, Becton is an absolute monster of a man. He’s a freak of nature who moves unbelievably well for a man that is 6 foot 7 and 350+ lbs. Whilst he wont be as effective as some of the other tackles from day 1, a few years down the line, he could be one of the best around. A key piece for Baker’s resurgence as he enters his 3rd year.
#11 – Tristan Wirfs – OL
The most sensible option here for the Jets would be to take a offensive lineman to help protect Sam Darnold. Tristan Wirfs is the guy here who can play either side of the line. Sam Darnold was pressured a lot last season and he needs to be able to feel comfortable with his line to eradicate poor decisions and ultimately interceptions. They could go WR here too, filling the void that Robby Anderson will likely leave.
#12 – Jerry Jeudy – WR
The Alabama WR heads to Sin City to be their star attraction. Jeudy is great at separation and garnering yards after the catch, something Derek Carr will love and it will give a helping hand to Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller after the Antonio Brown experiment failed catastrophically last year. Feel free to interchange this name with CeeDee Lamb as i undoubtedly will do as I get through more iterations of mock drafts.
#13 – Andrew Thomas – OT
Whilst the Colts could have made it three WR in a row, the Colts’ offensive line could see Anthony Castanzo vacate his spot on the line so the Colts could plug that hole back up with the All-American Tackle from Georgia. Who knows who he’ll be protecting at Lucas Oil Stadium.
#14 – Grant Delpit – S
Whilst it’s not the sexiest of picks, the Buccaneers struggled against the pass mightily and have done so for a while. A Shaq Barrett replacement could also be used with this pick but let’s assume he returns to Raymond James here. The LSU Safety has the ability to be one of the best on the field, despite his knock of missing tackles and is most people’s top Safety on the board in this class. McKinney truthers will have to wait a few more picks.
#15 – CeeDee Lamb – WR
Difficult to pinpoint exactly what Denver want to do here. It must be refreshing that the QB talk (for now) has dissipated and in this mock, they give current QB Drew lock and his main guy Courtland Sutton a huge helping hand. CeeDee will help take safety coverage away from Sutton and both could prosper. There are a few holes for Denver to fill including O-Line and CB/LB but hey, WR are more sexy to mock aren’t they!?
#16 – K’Lavon Chaisson – EDGE
The Falcons have made it clear they will not entertain Vic Beasley in one of their new uniforms next season. Enter the man with a name perfect for an edge rusher almost so perfect, it’s a shame Chase Young is in this draft class. The LSU pass rusher is an explosive guy off the edge and should slip in quite nicely here in Atlanta.
#17 – Xavier McKinney – S
Safety is a position Jason Garrett avoided like the plague. Under a new era sparks a new way of thinking. McKinney is very versatile and can play both up top on the line and back deep too. With Byron Jones questions lingering, he could also help fill in at CB. He’ll primarily be their Safety and the odd Nickel/Dime slot Corner, but McKinney ticks a lot of boxes for a team that isn’t known for its brilliance on defence in terms of takeaways.
#18 – A.J Epenesa – EDGE
The Miami Dolphins take another player here to fill a big need. The Iowa pass rusher will come and fill in for a depleted pass rush room where Taco Charlton, a Cowboys castaway is currently “the guy”…yikes. Teams do like to pick a like for like replacement on pick trades; with this being the Minkah Fitzpatrick pick from the Steelers, don’t be surprised to see the Dolphins pick a safety if Delpit/McKinney fell here.
#19 – Jordan Love – QB
If the Raiders, more specifically Jon Gruden, want to transition from Derek Carr, they will be taking a Quarterback in this draft. Love is a more mobile Quarterback than Jacob Eason and seems more like a “Gruden guy”. If they aren’t interested in a QB in this draft, either because they “like” Carr or they bring in a vet from FA, they will likely go defensive side of the ball here with a guy like LB Kenneth Murray. That’s for later.
#20 – Henry Ruggs – WR
*BUF trades #22, #86 #150 for JAX #20, #187*
Buffalo need to give Josh Allen a few more weapons. They have a decent defensive roster and their RB from 2019 Devin Singletary acquitted himself well. With John Brown reaching the age where father time gives him a visit, the WR core needs improvement and rather than getting sloppy seconds after Philadelphia, they trade 2 picks up to get their guy.
#21 – Tee Higgins – WR
Whilst Buffalo traded up to get their guy, Philadelphia’s guy wasn’t the one they selected and Tee Higgins makes it 2 WR in a row. Alshon Jeffrey’s status is unclear but considered Greg Ward and Mack Hollins were rolled out last year, their need at WR is a lot bigger than that at CB.
#22 – Kristian Fulton – CB
Offensive line is another possibility here, but it’s strange how poetic the franchises makes these picks. This being the Rams’ pick for Ramsey, they draft his replacement with one of the picks they receive and use it on the Cornerback from LSU.
#23 – Josh Jones -OT
Isiah Wynn’s injury history seems to be a bit of concern. We know the Patriots like to draft trench players early. If Tom Brady returns, he’ll want the same treatment as he has gotten over the past 2 decades. Kenneth Murray dropping here was the other plausible option here. If either McKinney or Delpit fell, they would be snapped up by Belichick and co. too.
#24 – CJ Henderson – CB
Who knows what the Saints will go with here. Cornerback, Wide Receiver help or dare I say QB (Yes Brees is back, but for how long. Teddy Bridgewater is not a guarantee to stick around and no, Taysom Hill is not the answer)? Considering the WR that are off the board, the Saints would probbaly go with CB here and CJ Henderson is the pick. A CB from Florida joins up with fellow Gator Gardner-Johnson from 2019 draft.
#25 – Kenneth Murray – LB
Murray drops to #25 in this mock and that’s only because the Vikings will rue the Cornerback run from Jacksonville and New Orleans. The athletic LB from Oklahoma is a sideline to sideline guy and would add a lot of speed to this defence. If Minnesota still go CB hunting Trevon Diggs could fit the bill.
#26 – Terrell Lewis – EDGE
The Lions make their second pick in the first round after the trade back with Miami. They fill another hole, this time at pass rush. This Alabama edge rusher is explosive and should help improve this defence along with their other 1st rd pick.
#27 – Yetur Gross-Matos – EDGE
The Seahawks may trade back here to someone who wants to come up and get their guy or a QB. That being said, Ziggy Ansah and Jadeveon Clowney are headed to Free Agency this offseason, will either be back? Who knows. Let’s say they aren’t or 1 is, taking this Penn State Edge rusher helps ease the pain of losing the other (or both).
#28 – Patrick Queen – LB
The offence is pretty much there for the immediate future with no glaring holes. So they decide to bolster the defensive side to stop instances like the Derrick Henry train running through them like they did in the postseason. A replacement for Josh Bynes, who could head for Free Agency. A quick-footed, speedy linebacker who can play all 3 downs is the call here.
#29 – Ross Blacklock – DL
I am not going to explore the idea that Derrick Henry isn’t a Titan next season, purely because i think the coaching staff think he is too ingrained into their offensive identity. They have 1 or 2 holes to fill in the trenches, especially if trying to retain Conklin goes south. However, Blacklock is a good pickup for a Titans team as he’ll require a lot of effort to nullify from opposing O-lines due to his explosiveness and how disruptive he could be.
#30 – Laviska Shenault Jr. – WR
Aaron Rodgers’ window is not going to open for much longer. The Packers focused their efforts on the defence last offseason so this time, they give Aaron Rodgers a bit more help to try and win a 2nd ring. Do it all WR Shenault Jr will be a fun toy to play with and can stick around with Adams years after Rodgers retires.
#31 – Jeff Gladney – CB
Richard Sherman getting toasted by Sammy Watkins will send alarm bells ringing and he is now 31 years old. They also need help opposite him with Witherspoon not pulling up trees, Verrett still always on the treatment table. Moseley filled in capably but the back end of the defence needs a bit of youth injected in to it. Gladney, the corner out of TCU is quite a versatile guy to have on the team, the type of guy that Saleh will do a lot with and will be able to get a lot out of.
#32 – Jacob Eason – QB
*TB Sends #45, #107, 2021 2nd rnd for #32, #128*
Sorry Kansas fans, you wait all night for your pick and they trade out with someone who wants to go up and get Eason. The Buccaneers offence is a decent fit if they wish to move on from Winston or even just keep him for another season or 2, like is currently being reported. Even if Winston leaves, the fun might not stop in Tampa Bay.