Despite the whole world going completely mad around us due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NFL draft will still continue as planned; virtually that is, but you get the point. While some teams take the approach of trading their draft picks in order to acquire proven veterans, other teams stockpile their picks in order to gain some fresh young legs. Here are three teams in a position to gain the most immediate profit from their draft picks:
2020 Draft Picks: #22, #25, #58, #89, #105, #132, #155, #201, #205, #219, #249 & #253
The Vikings took a step in the right direction in 2019, making it all the way to the NFC divisional round before receiving their comeuppance from the 49ers. For the most part, their core pieces will be coming back next year. Their linebacking corps, led by the consistent play of Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr, will still be as ferocious as ever. Dalvin Cook will still be around to alleviate pressure off of Kirk Cousins’ shoulders. And with five picks in the first three rounds of the draft, Minnesota has more than enough room to address their team needs at WR, DL and at CB.
With the losses of longtime veterans, Everson Griffen and Linval Joseph on their defensive line, it’s urgent for the Vikings to spend either pick #22 or pick #25 on a defensive lineman. There’s a good possibility that either AJ Epenesa or Yetur Gross-Matos will still be on the board once they get a chance to make their pick. Both edge rushers are QB hunters who wreaked havoc on Big Ten offenses last year. There’s also a realistic chance for them to pick up a promising 3-technique that fits their defensive scheme, such as Ross Blacklock or Justin Madubuike.
The loss of 3-time Pro Bowler Xavier Rhodes will also be a major blow to their defense, and it would be best for the Vikings to spend their other first round pick on a corner to fill that void. Rhodes was a big, physical corner for the Vikings who loved playing press coverage. Jeff Okudah should be gone by the time Minnesota gets their pick, but there are multiple corners with late 1st round/early 2nd round grades for them to choose from.
Their biggest loss on the offensive side of the ball this offseason is obviously Stefon Diggs, but with the amount of talented receivers in this year’s draft, that is not a position in which they need to address immediately. There will still be plenty of wideouts to choose from in rounds two and three. CeeDee Lamb and Jerry Jeudy are the only two receivers who are surefire top 15 picks, but there’s still going to be a handful of first round-worthy receivers to choose from; many who will end up slipping into round two. It will be important for the Vikings to add a pass-catching threat capable of drawing some attention away from Adam Thielen and Kyle Rudolph.
Los Angeles Chargers
2020 Draft Picks: #6, #37, #71, #112, #151, #186 & #220
The Chargers were one of the bigger disappointments from last season, as inconsistent play and injuries ruined their 2019 season. However, Los Angeles has already done a good job adding proven veterans to their roster this offseason.
Some of their notable free agency pickups include Chris Harris, Nick Vigil, and the previously mentioned Linval Joseph. Those free agency signings will add strength to an already talented defense, leaving them with a chance to address their offensive team needs early at QB and on the OL.
With the loss of their longtime QB, Phillip Rivers, the Chargers will need to spend their first round pick on a QB. Tyrod Taylor is not a horrible option as signal caller, but his ceiling has already been seen at Buffalo. With Tua and Burrow likely being gone by the time Los Angeles gets to pick, the next best option would be Justin Herbert, who has a more proven track record in college than Jordan Love.
While there were moments and certain games where Herbert failed to rise to the occasion in college, he still had a successful career playing behind center for Oregon. With his massive frame, his athleticism and his live arm, Herbert could potentially be a day one starter for the Chargers. From there, they can spend round two upgrading their offensive line and picking up a tackle in which they need badly, after allowing Phillip Rivers to get brutalized last year.
2020 Draft Picks: #5, #18, #26, #39, #56, #70, #141, #153, #154, #173, #185, #227, #246 & #251
From the first half of the season to the second half of the season, there was not an NFL team that showed more improvement than the Miami Dolphins. After losing the first seven games of the season, the Dolphins finished 5-4 in their last nine games, ending it on a high note when they upset the Patriots in week 17.
The inclusion of Shaq Lawson to their defensive line will be an asset for them, especially when it comes to stopping the run. Kyle Van Noy is a versatile linebacker and will be a valuable asset to a linebacking corps that was lacking in talent. With the addition of Jordan Howard to their offense, the Dolphins have a RB capable of producing decent numbers; something that Miami did not have last year. With three first round picks and six picks within the first three rounds, the Dolphins have a lot to gain. After losing Mikah Fitzpatrick in the middle of the season last year, it’s important that Miami drafts a safety in the first round, alongside their offensive needs at QB and OL.
It would be smart for the Miami Dolphins to draft Tua Tagovailoa with their 5th pick, despite the concerns of many draft scouts. The “injury-prone” label being thrown onto him is a bit unfair, after playing all 15 games in 2018 and still being able to play 9 games in 2019. The main objective of the draft is to pick the best player available at the position needed the most, and with Joe Burrow likely being gone by pick #5, the best QB available for Miami will be Tua.
Pick #18 should be spent on an offensive tackle, as the Dolphins’ offensive line was ranked as the worst o-line in the entire NFL last season. The last thing Miami needs is for their young hotshot QB to receive another injury due to poor offensive line play. Andrew Thomas is a capable pass protector, and a prospect that Miami should hope is still around by the time they get their 18th pick.