In exactly one week from tonight, 32 of the best football players in the world will have the dream of being selected to play in the NFL become a reality. Though the setting will be a little different because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the feeling will be the same for 32 men that deserved to have their names called on the first day of the NFL draft.
1. Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
Anytime a player wins the Heisman Trophy, they are most likely to be selected in the top 10. In this case, the Bengals would be crazy to not draft Burrow as the top overall pick.
Cincinnati’s top priority has to be getting the best quarterback in the draft. After having a dominant year at LSU, Burrow looks like the guy to get Cincinnati back in the playoff picture.
2. Washington Redskins
Chase Young, DE, Ohio State
The Heisman Trophy finalist and Big Ten defensive lineman of the year will give the Redskins defense a huge boost. Almost every time the Redskins lost last year, they got crushed. Perhaps a six-foot five-inch tall 265-pound defensive could lead the defense to more than three wins from a year ago.
3. Detroit Lions
Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
Okudah, arguably the best cornerback in the nation last year, could be the boost that the Lion’s defense needs. In two years at Ohio State, Okudah had 51 total tackles with 37 of them being solo tackles. It will be interesting to see how he adjusts against the best offensive players in the NFL.
4. New York Giants
Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
Wirfs is the right size offensive tackle for any NFL team. The 6-foot-5 322-pound Iowa Hawkeye will give some protection to Daniel Jones. The 2019 Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year could be drafted later, but I don’t see the Giants passing him up.
5. Miami Dolphins
Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
It would make sense for Miami to draft Tagovailoa since he grew up in Hawaii. Tagovailoa is used to playing in a nice climate, so playing in sunny Florida could give him a boost instead of playing somewhere cold like New York or New England.
6. Los Angeles Chargers
Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
The Chargers can go with Tyrod Taylor next season, but if they do decide to draft a quarterback, it has to be Justin Herbert since Tagovailoa is going to Miami in this situation. Herbert had a fantastic season with the Oregon Ducks last season throwing for 3,471 yards and 32 touchdowns.
7. Carolina Panthers
Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
The 2019 AP First-Team All-American finished his Gamecock career with 93 total tackles with 48 solo tackles and 10.5 career sacks in three years. The Panthers could go with an offensive player with their first-round pick, but the defense could use a big boost from an All-American defensive tackle.
8. Arizona Cardinals
Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
The Cardinals offensive line had trouble blocking last season. Thomas, the 2019 SEC Jacobs Blocking Trophy winner, could help with that. The 6-foot-5 320-pound offensive tackle could be a great fit for the Cardinals.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars
Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
In his career at LSU, Fulton defended 25 passes while getting two interceptions. He also got 65 total tackles with 49 solo tackles. Jacksonville is not the worst defense in the NFL, but it could get better with Fulton.
10. Cleveland Browns
Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
In 2019 as the right tackle for the Crimson Tide, the team only averaged 7.7 yards per rush outside the right tackle. Wills could be drafted in the top five, but Cleveland could be a good fit for him.
11. New York Jets
CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
One of the best wide receivers in Oklahoma history will be a great fit for the Jets. Lamb ranks first in career catches of at least 40 yards (24) and career games of at least 160 receiving yards (6).
12. Las Vegas Raiders
Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
This was a tough pick. I could have went with CeeDeeLamb here, but I have to go with Jeudy being the first-ever draft pick going to Las Vegas. One thing is for sure, the Raiders need a wide receiver and they will get one in Jeudy.
13. San Francisco 49ers (from IND)
Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
Higgins is a big 6-foot-3 wide receiver, which would be great for any NFL team. He is tied for most career touchdown receptions (27) in Clemson history with Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins. If the 49ers do get Higgins, we could see him and Hopkins against each other next season, which would be epic for Clemson fans to see.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Josh Jones, OT, Houston
Jones never won All-American honors, but his impressive performance at the NFL Combine turned him into a potential first-round pick. The 6-foot-5 319-pound offensive tackle ran the 40-yard dash in 5.27 seconds and had an impressive broad jump of 109 inches.
15. Denver Broncos
Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
The Broncos and Drew Lock need a wide receiver that can score and they can get it with Henry Ruggs. Ruggs leads Alabama with 24 career touchdown receptions, the third most all-time with the Crimson Tide.
16. Atlanta Falcons
K’Lavon Chaisson, OLB, LSU
Chaisson was an animal in the college football playoffs in 2019. In the semifinal against Oklahoma, he was named the defensive MVP after getting six tackles including two for a loss of 12 yards. We could see Chaisson getting drafted higher, but Atlanta could be a good fit for him.
17. Dallas Cowboys
Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
McKinney is a safety that can do everything. In three years, he had 176 total tackles including 108 solo tackles and 13 tackles for a loss of 85 yards.
Every time McKinney saw the ball going for a deep pass, he was right at the receiver waiting for it. This is exactly what the Cowboys need with their first-round pick.
18. Miami Dolphins (from PIT)
Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
The Dolphins don’t have a great run game, but Becton can change that. Becton didn’t do a whole lot in 2019, but in his first season with Louisville, the Cardinals averaged 245.1 yards on the ground, which was ranked third in the country. The 6-foot-7 369-pound offensive tackle could be a great fit for Miami.
19. Las Vegas Raiders (from CHI)
CJ Henderson, CB, Florida
Henderson finished his Gator career with 92 tackles and 65 solo tackles. He also had six interceptions, 22 pass breakups, four sacks and seven tackles for loss. Despite missing some games in 2019 due to injury, he could be a great fit for the Raiders.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars (from LAR)
Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
Brown was a beast for the Auburn Tigers. In four years, he had 170 total tackles and 33.5 tackles for a loss of 133 yards and 13 sacks. With Brown and Fulton being selected in the first round for Jacksonville, the Jaguars could become a powerful defense next season.
21. Philadelphia Eagles
Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
The Eagles need a wide receiver. Jefferson had a fantastic season for LSU in 2019 grabbing 111 receptions for 1,540 yards and 18 touchdowns. Jefferson also grabbed four touchdowns in the college football playoff semifinal against Oklahoma before winning the national championship.
22. Minnesota Vikings (from BUF)
Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn
Igbinoghene is a little small for a cornerback, but that gives him a huge speed advantage, which is the boost the Vikings defense needs. Igbinoghene was also the kick returner for the Auburn Tigers scoring two touchdowns in 20 attempts, including two 96-yard returns.
23. New England Patriots
Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
We never really know what Bill Belichick will come up with in the first round, but with Tom Brady out of New England, the Patriots will have to go with the best remaining quarterback. In this case, it will have to be Jordan Love.
The Utah State record holder for total offensive yards (9,003), career 300-yard passing games (12), and 80+ yards completions (4) may not be Tom Brady, but he could be a great replacement for arguably the greatest quarterback in NFL history.
24. New Orleans Saints
Isaiah Simmons, OLB, Clemson
Even though Simmons won the Butkus award in 2019, I don’t see Simmons being drafted in the top 20. The first Butkus Award winner in Clemson football history could make a real impact on the Saint’s defense.
25. Minnesota Vikings
Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
Aiyuk may not be the best wide receiver in the country, but his ability to return punts and kickoffs makes him a good fit for the Vikings. In 2019, Aiyuk returned a 63-yard punt for a touchdown against Oregon State. In his two-year career for the Sun Devils, he has earned 1,666 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns.
26. Miami Dolphins (from HOU)
D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
The only running back in the first round could be amazing for the Dolphins. The Georgia Bulldog is a running back that can run and catch the ball with 2,885 career rushing yards with 20 touchdowns and 666 career receiving yards with five touchdowns.
27. Seattle Seahawks
Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State
Gross-Matos did not have a spectacular 2019 season with the Nittany Lions, but his career numbers shine enough to be a first-round pick. Gross-Matos is tied 10th in Penn State history with 19 career sacks. His 37 career tackles for loss is ranked 11th in program history.
28. Baltimore Ravens
Patrick Queen, ILB, LSU
The Ravens lost some linemen this past offseason including C.J. Mosley. Patrick Queen might be a good replacement after having a good career with LSU. Queen might be a little small for a linebacker, but he has a powerful hit for a guy that can run 40 yards in 4.5 seconds.
29. Tennessee Titans
Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
Murray finished his three-year career at Oklahoma with 335 tackles and 37 tackles for loss. Both of those stats are tied for 11th in program history. His 9.5 sacks is ranked eighth by a linebacker in program history.
30. Green Bay Packers
Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame
Kmet had a breakout 2019 season for the Fighting Irish. After only grabbing 15 receptions in 2018, he crushed that number with 43 receptions for 515 yards and six touchdowns in his final season at Notre Dame. The Packers could stick with Jace Sternberger next season, but they shouldn’t pass up on the best tight end in this year’s draft.
31. San Francisco 49ers
Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah
Richard Sherman did not have a spectacular season with the NFC champions last year. With this being Sherman’s last year under his current contract, it’s time for the 49ers to draft a younger cornerback. In this case, it will have to be Jaylon Johnson.
Johnson’s 21 career pass breakups is ranked 10th in Utah history. The 6-foot tall 195-pound cornerback could be a great backup for Sherman next season.
32. Kansas City Chiefs
AJ Terrell, CB, Clemson
Terrell finished his college career at Clemson with 107 career tackles and he only lost one game in two years as a starter. I can see Terrell being drafted in the second round, but he could be a good fit with the defending world champions.
preview photo credited to oregonlive.com
#NFL #Football #NFLDraft #COVID19 #CincinnatiBengals #WashingtonRedskins #DetroitLions #NewYorkGiants #MiamiDolphins #LosAngelesChargers #CarolinaPanthers #ArizonaCardinals #JacksonvilleJaguars #ClevelandBrowns