The NFL Draft has always proven to be a cornerstone of the NFL offseason. Exciting new superstars are made and hidden gems are found. This year, five analysts from The Athletes Hub selected teams and represented their picks in the first round of the draft.
1. Cincinnati Bengals – QB Joe Burrow, LSU
It is an obvious pick here, with the Bengals needing a quarterback to build the future of the franchise around. All eyes will be on Burrow and Cincinnati, especially after his stupendous college season.
2. Washington Redskins – DE Chase Young, OSU
It’s almost a given Washington Redskins will take the best talent in this draft at #2. The only way Washington doesn’t end up with Chase Young is if they trade out of this spot. At this time, there is no reason to pass up on a pure pass-rusher of Young’s caliber.
3. Detroit Lions – CB Jeff Okudah, OSU
Detroit has a multitude of needs, but defense is their top priority. With Darius Slay gone, the Lions need a new top cornerback and Okudah fits the bill. He is tall, fast, agile and provides plenty of upside.
4. New York Giants – OT Mekhi Becton, Louisville
The Giants added their quarterback and running back of the future in the past two drafts, but struggled to find consistency last year behind a make-shift offensive line. Adding a blue chip left tackle will make these guys’ jobs easier going into the 2020 season.
5. Miami Dolphins – QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
Miami is looking for their future quarterback and they want a star. Tua Tagovailoa offers that star talent and potential the Dolphins have been looking for. There is no question that Miami will address their quarterback need in the first round, but who will it be? In this case, Tagavailoa is their man.
6. Los Angeles Chargers – QB Jordan Love, Utah State
The Chargers are reportedly moving forward with Tyrod Taylor as their presumed starter entering the NFL Draft. However, that won’t stop them from selecting Love; who the front office has been high on for a few weeks. Some have Justin Herbert as a more well-rounded prospect, but Love provides Los Angeles with a higher ceiling of success.
7. Carolina Panthers – LB Isaiah Simmons, Clemson
The retirement of Luke Kuechly was a surprise to the Carolina Panthers, but they must adjust accordingly. Isaiah Simmons will bring another talented linebacker to Carolina. It will help round out the defense that has been filled through free agency.
8. Arizona Cardinals – OT Jedrick Wills, Alabama
Arizona has made some serious moves over the last two weeks, which now sees them with plenty of offensive power. The one place that could use a boost is the offensive line, with a need to protect Kyler Murray. Wills has a fast first step and good hands, with plenty of upside.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars – DT Derrick Brown, Auburn
The ability for Derrick Brown to get through the line of scrimmage will be enough to merit a top 10 selection in the NFL Draft. Brown accumulated nine of more tackles for losses in three of his final four seasons with Auburn.
10. Cleveland Browns – OT Tristan Wirfs, Iowa
The Browns have an improving quarterback, a dynamic running back, and receivers that can change the game on a dime. They just need an offensive line to square away the offense: Enter Tristan Wirfs. The Browns can build the rest of the line around Wirfs, and focus on their defense from here.
11. New York Jets – WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma
The New York Jets are in the market for a top wide receiver for Sam Darnold. CeeDee Lamb has great ball skills and body control. He has the potential to become an elite receiver, especially with his size and athleticism.
12. Las Vegas Radiers – WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama
The Raiders thought they had their top receiving going into last offseason in Antonio Brown. When that didn’t work out, they struggled to move the ball in the red zone. Adding an elite route runner like Jerry Jeudy should help solve their offensive woes.
13. San Francisco 49ers – OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia
The 49ers get this pick from the trade with Indianapolis, and use it to bolster an already handy offensive line in a run-first offense. Thomas has a quick first step and is strong off the mark, creating gaps in the running game.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – QB Justin Herbert, Oregon
The Bucs made a splash in free agency by adding Tom Brady, jumping from 60-1 odds to win the Super Bowl to 16-1 after the signing. Drafting Herbert allows for the rookie to learn from the GOAT, while also being primed and ready to take the reigns in 2022.
15. Denver Broncos – WR Henry Ruggs, Alabama
With a few missing pieces in their wide receiver core, the expectation is that Denver will address this need through the draft. Although both Lamb and Jeudy are off the board, Ruggs provides the Broncos with potential to become a standout player within time.
16. Atlanta Falcons – DE K’Lavon Chaisson, LSU
The Atlanta Falcons have bolstered their offense during free agency with the addition of Todd Gurley. It will be no surprise when they turn to the draft to fill their defensive needs. K’Lavon Chaisson will be the pass-rusher that they need to take the elevate that defensive front.
17. Dallas Cowboys – CB C.J. Henderson, Florida
After the Miami Dolphins signed cornerback Byron Jones in free agency, the Cowboys have a need they have yet to address. The addition of Henderson would add to an already-young defense that has provided progression across multiple players.
18. Miami Dolphins – DL Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina
Oddly enough, Miami will add another defensive piece in the first round to cap off their defensive haul this offseason. They won’t pass up the opportunity to add a big defensive lineman. Javon Kinlaw will give the defense depth and rotation to that defensive line.
19. Las Vegas Raiders – LB Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma
In 2019, the Raiders linebacker core ranked 32nd in the NFL. Kenneth Murray is a leader on the field and in the locker room and has the ability to transform this defense.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars – CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama
The foundation of success for the Jaguars was once built on their defense. With Jalen Ramsey headlining the players no longer with the franchise, rebuilding through the draft will be essential. Henderson totaled six interceptions across three seasons with Florida.
21. Philadelphia Eagles – WR Tee Higgins, Clemson
With Alshon Jeffery unsatisfied with his tenure in Philadelphia, the team will look ahead to the draft for a wide receiver. Higgins is the top receiver remaining on the board after three other prospects were taken ahead of him.
22. Minnesota Vikings – WR Jalen Reagor, TCU
The addition of Reagor provides the Vikings with depth at receiver, as well as an opportunity to mold him into a crossing route/deep threat. If Reagor ends up balling out, he very well could see himself as the main target down the road
23. New England Patriots – S Xavier McKinney, Alabama
The Patriots suffered a massive loss with Tom Brady joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but this isn’t the year they attempt to solve their heir to the quarterback position. The team will likely hold off on selecting a remaining prospect such as quarterback Jacob Eason, and instead select the top player available in McKinney.
24. New Orleans Saints – CB Kristian Fulton, LSU
This could be a bit of an out-there pick, with Fulton projected towards the end of the round. New Orleans has one of the most complete rosters, although the cornerback position could use a little depth. Fulton will be a solid player in the first year, getting into the groove of the NFL before standing out in his sophomore campaign.
25. Minnesota Vikings – DE AJ Epensa, Iowa
With Everson Griffin leaving Minnesota, the Vikings have a big hole to fill opposite Danielle Hunter. Luckily for them, Epenesa happened to slide and fall right into their lap.
26. Miami Dolphins – OT Josh Jones, Houston
They didn’t reach for an offensive lineman earlier in the draft and it’ll pay off when one of the top offensive tackles falls to them at #26. Josh Jones was ranked as the second-best offensive tackle in the most recent positional rankings and Miami will be grateful he fell to them.
27. Seattle Seahawks – OT Austin Jackson, USC
The Seahawks have been dealing with an extended issue at the offensive front, and should continue to build around the protection of Russell Wilson. Jackson could have gone earlier in the draft, but remains a bargain prospect for Seattle.
28. Baltimore Ravens – LB Patrick Queen, LSU
After three seasons at LSU, Queen is one of the most talked-about prospects entering his draft. The Ravens have continued to stay busy during the offseason, but the addition and development of Queen could provide them with a leader on the defensive side of the ball.
29. Tennessee Titans – LB Zack Baun, Wisconsin
Harold Landry had a great season last year, compiling 68 tackles and nine sacks. However, outside of him, the team didn’t provide much pressure. Zach Baun can step right in and be that threat opposite of him.
30. Green Bay Packers – WR Laviska Shenault, Colorado
Outside of Adams, Rodgers struggled to find chemistry with his wide receiver core. They failed to get separation and were routinely in third-and-long situations. Shenault has big-play ability, and is someone who can be used all over the field and in unique packages.
31. San Francisco 49ers – S Grant Delpit, LSU
With Richard Sherman getting up there in age and Weatherspoon being a liability in coverage, it’s very possible San Francisco goes with a cornerback here. However, with the top four cornerbacks already off the board, Delpit could shore up their strong safety position. He is a great box-safety who can contribute in the run game while also helping hide some of the weaknesses in the 49ers secondary.
32. Kansas City Chiefs – CB Jeff Gladney, TCU
There is no need to look at offensive prospects for Kansas City, so we look to the secondary instead. The run game provides issues for Kansas City, however, there is depth in the later rounds of the draft at defensive lineman. Gladney will provide the Chiefs with an immediate impact in the secondary, offering plenty in zone and man-to-man coverage