4 Burning Questions (2020 NFL Draft)
The big question entering the 2019 NFL draft was whether rookie Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury would push his front office to select two-sport quarterback prospect Kyler Murray with the No. 1 overall pick.
Much like this year, there was a consensus top pass rusher from Ohio State who would’ve been a shoo-in for the first pick in other drafts, but Kingsbury was on the record during his time at Texas Tech saying he would select Murray first overall if he could.
Weeks of rumors flew in the poker game that is pre-draft general manager posturing before fans knew that Murray would be the new face of the Cardinals franchise — and that Josh Rosen, the Cardinals’ first-round pick from the year before, would be headed to Miami.
Murray went on to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, throwing for more than 3,700 yards and finishing his season with a higher Total QBR than half the league’s starting quarterbacks.
Rosen predictably struggled with the Dolphins, as he was a victim of poor surrounding talent, poorer play, and a little Fitzmagic. For a second-consecutive offseason, he sits in a precarious quarterback carousel, perhaps again to be usurped by a generational rookie quarterback.
Will the Dolphins fulfill their two-year “Tank for Tua” destiny on April 23? We likely won’t know the answer to that and many more NFL Draft burning questions until Roger Goodell takes the stage in Las Vegas.
Until then, all we can do is postulate.
Which team will draft Tua?
It seems like the Dolphins and Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa are on a collision course, much like Murray and the Cardinals were last year. Cincinnati is apparently set on Joe Burrow with the first pick, despite word that the Dolphins are interested in trading up to draft him.
The Redskins are rumored to have told Tagovailoa that they would be looking to draft him with the second pick, but that seems unlikely, especially with Dwayne Haskins entering year two and Ohio State all-world defensive end Chase Young available. Washington might be wise to increase the value of its pick, but I don’t see the point in that unless they’re willing to miss out on Young, whose draft floor is third overall.
The Lions are a team to watch at three, but they need help all over and should be satisfied with Matt Stafford. Despite injury frustrations, he was the fourth-best quarterback by DVOA in 2019. With the Giants picking at four, the Dolphins could theoretically stay at five and gamble that no team trades up, but my guess is that they’ll swap places with the Lions to ensure they get their guy.
If things start poorly for the Fins in 2020, don’t be surprised if “Tank for Trevor” picks up steam in November.
How many wide receivers will be taken in the first round?
Since 2000, five or more wide receivers have been drafted in the first round nine different times, most recently in 2015. The NFL draft record for most receivers selected in the first round is seven, set way back in 2004 when Larry Fitzgerald entered the league.
It’s become cliche to say, but the incoming receiver group projects historically well. We could see as many as eight players drafted in the first round, with several others taken in the second.
Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, and Henry Ruggs III seem like surefire first-rounders, and my guess is at least two of Tee Higgins, Justin Jefferson, Denzel Mims, and Laviska Shenault Jr. are selected in the first round as well. Teams could also fall in love with any of Michael Pittman Jr., Brandon Aiyuk, or Chase Claypool.
Which running backs will land in the best fantasy positions?
While it seems safe to assume any first-round running back will be heavily utilized, that’s not always the case. Look no further than Rashaad Penny, who was drafted 27th overall by the Seahawks in 2018, but who still hasn’t even reached flex status as the backup to Chris Carson.
The most likely first-round running back candidates in this draft are D’Andre Swift and Jonathan Taylor, the former of whom has the receiving chops to excel in PPR formats right away. Second-round prospects such as Clyde Edwards-Helaire, J.K. Dobbins, and Cam Akers could also make some noise next season if they land in opportunistic backfields.
Most starting running back jobs are spoken for, but strong opportunities exists in Tampa Bay and Kansas City, where scoring should be plentiful in 2020. Miami, on the other hand, could be a death trap for rookie running back fantasy value.
What will the Patriots do at 23?
With Tom Brady off to Tampa Bay, the Patriots have a hole at quarterback for the first time in Bill Belichick’s 20-year tenure as head coach.
The team recently signed Brian Hoyer, and they apparently expect second-year fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham to compete for the job, but my guess is neither player is more than stopgap on the way to finding Brady’s true successor.
Don’t be surprised to see someone like Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm land with the Patriots in the second round. Belichick loves himself a cerebral game manager.