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 has been no secret that Cincinnati has a quarterback issue. Andy Dalton has thrown for 26 or more touchdowns twice in his career, and the last time came in the 2013 season. Burrow is the safest quarterback prospect in the draft and allows the Bengals to sell an answer to their fan base.
2. Washington Redskins- DE Chase Young, OSU
The Redskins need assistance at various positions. Their best bet is to take the highest graded talent in the draft in Chase Young. Washington ranked 27th in yards allowed among all defenses. With 16.5 sacks in his junior year, at Ohio State, he will only improve.
3. Detroit Lions- CB Jeff Okudah, OSU
Darius Slay has been outstanding for the Lions, but he can’t do it alone. Jeff Okudah offers him and Detroit the help they need on defense. He is used to playing in one-on-one coverage, which allows for Matt Patricia and company to get more creative with their secondary.
4. New York Giants- OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia
Daniel Jones was sacked 38 times and committed 24 turnovers in 2019, so even though the defense needs some work as well, the Giants should address their offensive line needs. Thomas has impressive athleticism and should be able to help keep Jones upright.
5. Miami Dolphins – QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
Miami is desperate for someone to come in and become the face of their franchise. Tagovailoa has an injury history, but when healthy, he is the clear-cut #2 quarterback in this draft class.
6. Los Angeles Chargers – QB Justin Herbert, Oregon
The Chargers need a quarterback with Philip Rivers seemingly on his way out of Los Angeles. With Burrow and Tagovailoa off the board, they select the player who arguably could have been taken as the top pick last year. Herbert has a solid arm and is accurate, with a tendency to use his running back more than most. With Austin Ekeler in the backfield, it makes perfect sense for both sides.
7. Carolina Panthers – LB Isaiah Simmons, Clemson
Carolina fans got some shocking news this offseason when Luke Kuechly announced his retirement. The Panthers could go with a defensive tackle here, but drafting a linebacker to fill the void left by Kuechly is an immediate need.
8. Arizona Cardinals – OL Tristan Wirfs, Iowa
We can almost copy and paste what we wrote for the New York Giants, although Kyler Murray did fumble 10 less times than Daniel Jones. However, he also took a total of 48 sacks. Wirfs is talented enough to deserve a top-ten selection, and his run blocking is borderline elite.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars – DT Derrick Brown, Auburn
As potentially the top defensive lineman in the draft class, Jacksonville would be lucky to get Brown if he falls in their laps. He was disruptive at Auburn, and his ceiling could have him selected within the top five of the 2020 Draft.
10. Cleveland Browns – OT Jedrick Wills, Alabama
Considering the Browns were interested in adding Trent Williams at the Trade Deadline last season, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them address their offensive line needs through the draft. Wills is a right tackle by nature, and Cleveland allowed the eighth-most sacks last season.
11. New York Jets – WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama
Darnold needs help on offense, and the Jets to either go with an offensive lineman or wide receiver here. In this mock, three offensive linemen went off the board early, so adding a talent such as Jeudy gives Darnold a weapon on the outside.
12. Oakland Raiders – WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma
After the sudden departure of Antonio Brown, the Raiders are missing an explosive wide receiver to line up opposite of Tyrell Williams. Lamb is a red zone machine who totaled 14 TD last season; the fifth-most in college football.
13. Indianapolis Colts – DL Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina
The Colts have rejuvenated their offensive line the past few years, but their defensive front is lacking. With Jeudy and Lamb off the board, I have them shoring up their trenches.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – OT Mekhi Becton, Louisville
Tampa Bay will select the fourth offensive lineman in the top 15 of the draft. No one is certain of who the quarterback will be, so investing in an offensive lineman won’t hurt. The Buccaneers gave up the sixth-most QB hits last season.
15. Denver Broncos – WR Laviska Shenault Jr, Colorado
The Broncos have gotten rid of Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, and second-year quarterback Drew Lock could use another weapon on offense. Shenault was electric in college, and his size and speed combo could be just what Denver needs.
16. Atlanta Falcons – DE A.J. Epenesa, Iowa
With only 28 sacks in 2019, the Falcons finished in the bottom four in the league in that regard. Combining Epenesa with Takk McKinley should improve the pass rush coming off the edge, and Epenesa isn’t shabby against the run either.
17. Dallas Cowboys – S Xavier McKinney, Alabama
The Cowboys are expected to address needs on defense through the draft, and will likely start with their secondary. Jeff Heath is now a free agent, making Xavier Woods the only proven safety on the roster.
18. Miami Dolphins – LB K’Lavon Chaisson, LSU
The Dolphins addressed their quarterback need earlier in the round, but still need someone to pressure opposing quarterbacks. With that, pass rushing specialist K’Lavon Chaisson seems like the perfect fit.
19. Oakland Raiders – LB Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma
After selecting Lamb earlier in the round, Oakland should then focus on their defensive issues. The range of Murray is described as his top trait, and he could very well make an immediate impact during his rookie campaign.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars – CB CJ Henderson, Florida
Jacksonville needs a replacement for Jalen Ramsey, and Henderson has similar size at 6’1”, 202 lbs. He has long arms and great instincts in getting to the ball, although he may need to add some muscle.
21. Philadelphia Eagles – CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama
Philadelphia takes Diggs as a means to increase security in the secondary. Listed as the second-best cornerback in college football a couple of months ago, Diggs would be an immediate impact against the plethora of receivers in the NFC East. While it may be a couple of spots further up than initially thought, Diggs is a player in high demand.
22. Buffalo Bills – WR Tee Higgins Clemson
The receiving core for Buffalo was missing a dependable and lengthy receiver who could separate from receivers last season. With that, an option in Higgins could be the answer to their lack of a deep threat.
23. New England Patriots – S Grant Delpit, LSU
Drafting a quarterback could very well be the play here, but if they choose to go elsewhere, the safety position makes the most sense. Devin McCourty, 32, is a free agent and Patrick Chung turns 33 in August.
24. New Orleans Saints – CB Bryce Hall, Virginia
Hall was the best player for the Virginia this past season, but it was cut short due to season-ending surgery on his ankle. There are other needs for New Orleans, but they need to provide depth at the cornerback position.
25. Minnesota Vikings – OT Josh Jones, Houston
Minnesota could go with either an offensive tackle or cornerback here. Jones was a standout player at Houston in what was a poor season for the Cougars. Jones only gave up four pressures all year and can play anywhere on the offensive line. There is depth at the cornerback position in this draft, but Jones appears to be the safer option.
26. Miami Dolphins – C Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin
The Dolphins have to shore up their offensive line to protect their future in Tagovailoa. With five offensive tackles off the board, I have them going with Biadasz, the clear-cut #1 center in this draft class.
27. Seattle Seahawks – CB Kristian Fulton, LSU
Since the dismantling of the ‘Legion of Boom’, the secondary for Seattle has been in shambles. Last season, they ranked 27th in passing yards allowed per game. They will go with Fulton to try and restore a once great secondary.
28. Baltimore Ravens – DE Curtis Weaver, Boise State
The Boise State edge rusher provided too many problems for offensive linemen to handle this past season. At 260 pounds, Weaver also has the ability to drop into passing coverage. Weaver would fit right into the Ravens defense that is one step away from a Super Bowl appearance.
29. Tennessee Titans – DE Terrell Lewis, Alabama
After coming close to the Super Bowl, the Titans need a few pieces before contending once again. Harold Landry is promising, but a prospect such as Lewis would help the entire defense to balance out the rush.
30. Green Bay Packers – WR Henry Ruggs, Alabama
Aaron Rodgers loves weapons, and Ruggs offers Rodgers more versatility among their receivers. He gives speed where the bigger receivers lack, and he could prove to be a game changer with a veteran such as Rodgers under center.
31. San Francisco 49ers – RB D’Andre Swift, Georgia
This appears to be a pick out of left field, but the 49ers could relish from it. Swift is seen as the best running back in the draft, and is in a position that San Francisco could use some help in. While the emergence of Raheem Mostert is comforting, injury concerns to the three other running backs on the roster shows fragility.
32. Kansas City Chiefs – LB Patrick Queen, LSU
The Chiefs linebacking corps improved during the playoffs, but there is always room for improvement. Queen is a sure tackler, and both his effort and speed should translate to the next level.
Photo Credit- Vasha Hunt, AP