Five Burning Questions for the 2020 NFL Draft
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To quote Michael Scott, “Oh my God! Okay, it’s happening!” We have made it to Draft Week! Final rankings are being submitted. Mock drafts are being posted. Rumors and smokescreens are flying. Thursday can’t get here fast enough!
While we anxiously wait for Thursday I wanted to take the time to answer some burning questions that have been popping up with all the new rankings and mock drafts being posted. I have narrowed the topics down to five main questions. My responses to each question are my final thoughts based on the information I have gathered through reported rumors, others rankings and mocks, and my personal rankings and mock draft. Enjoy!
Who are the first-round locks? How many of them are there?
A lot of times the term “lock” gets thrown around loosely. “X player is a first-round lock” while simultaneously being ranked in the late 20s to early 30s is not what should be considered a lock. To be a lock the player most likely has to be top 15 minimum and play at a position of high importance, like offensive tackle, QB, CB, or edge rusher. That way there is no at worst the majority of teams could not pass on them.
As for who I view as first-round locks, my list is made up of 16 prospects:
- Joe Burrow (QB – LSU)
- Tua Tagovailoa (QB – Alabama)
- Jedrick Wills (OT – Alabama)
- Tristan Wirfs (OT – Iowa)
- Andrew Thomas (OT – Georgia)
- Mekhi Becton (OT – Louisville)
- Jerry Jeudy (WR – Alabama)
- CeeDee Lamb (WR – Oklahoma)
- Henry Ruggs III (WR – Alabama)
- Justin Jefferson (WR – LSU)
- Derrick Brown (IDL – Auburn)
- Javon Kinlaw (IDL – South Carolina)
- Chase Young (Edge – Ohio State)
- Isaiah Simmons (LB – Clemson)
- Jeff Okudah (CB – Ohio State)
- CJ Henderson (CB – Florida)
That is my complete list of players that I 100% expect to go round one. Every other player, to me, has at least a slight chance of falling out of round one.
Who could experience a fall down the draft in round one?
This is the part you hate to see while watching the draft. Watching a player who seems like they had a great chance of going early and all signs pointed to it, but for some reason, teams don’t grab them. When I look over my personal rankings and think about who could fall a few names jump out to me. I will list my five players most likely to fall down the draft and then add a quick summary of what could cause the drop.
- Kenneth Murray: coverage ability
- Antoine Winfield Jr.: size/ injury concerns
- Jonathan Taylor and D’Andre Swift: positional value
- A.J. Epenesa: poor testing
Who are potential surprise first-round picks?
This category could also be called “Late Risers” and this year we have a few of them. The first one up is Ezra Cleveland. Cleveland was well under the radar pre-Combine before having an excellent workout. Even then it seemed like he would be an early-round two selection at best. Then recently reports came out that the Browns would be willing to trade down from 10 and select Ezra Cleveland later in the first round. This would be a pretty big surprise considering Cleveland ranks as roughly my 50th overall.
Another play that could make a surprise appearance in round one is OT Isaiah Wilson. Just like Cleveland, Wilson has come on hot down the stretch here after two GMs were reported to have said they expect him to go round one. I have Wilson as my OT10, so this would be an even bigger surprise than Ezra Cleveland.
A third player who could make the surprise jump into round one is Cesar Ruiz. I actually mocked this in my Final 2020 NFL Mock Draft. While Ruiz is one of the best interior linemen available, the class overall is very weak and I don’t see Ruiz as being a high impact type player, but due to the lack of talent at the position teams may be forced to reach on him to ensure they get a player who is at least serviceable.
How many of each position group will be drafted round one?
Before viewing the table below making my predictions, I want to put in a disclaimer that I am making these predictions using the current draft order. Even with a few trades mixed in, I believe every number should be within 1 over or under of my prediction.
|Position||Number of Selections|
|Interior Offensive Line||1|
|Interior Defensive Line||2|
How many trades are likely in round one?
To take a further look inside the chances each pick in round one is traded be sure to take a look at my article on the FantasyPros website where I dove into each pick and rated the chances each pick was traded, what position or player could be targeted with the trade, and whether the team with the pick is trying to trade up or down.
To give a quick breakdown from the article, I predict that there will be for sure two trades. The first team I’m confident will trade in some fashion is the Atlanta Falcons. They have been vocal about making a move and if they do I expect them to move up.
The other team I’m the most confident in trading is the 49ers. They own two picks and I believe they will trade down from 31. They currently don’t have any day two picks, so trading down from 31 seems like almost a guarantee to ensure they can be active on day two.
From there it becomes more unpredictable. With the virtual draft this year, it will make it very hard to figure out trades in the 10 minutes given per pick. So, besides those two I could see maybe one or two other trades happening. Going into night one of the Draft I do expect a much calmer first round than usual when it comes to trades.