2020 NFL Draft: Predictions for the entire weekend
Thursday, April 23, is the first night of the 2020 NFL Draft. The 7 rounds of the event will take place Thursday-Saturday and air on ESPN, ABC, and NFL Network with various coverage teams. Throughout out the years, we’ve seen plenty of drama and surprises. People are making their 2020 NFL Draft predictions, so here is some of what I think we’ll see this weekend.
The Lions will trade the 3rd overall pick.
General manager Bob Quinn has said they’ve had discussions and will probably know where they stand by Thursday afternoon. The only way I see they keep the pick is if Chase Young slides past Washington. He’s considered the best non-QB prospect in this draft, maybe even in years, and would provide exactly what this defense needs: a legitimate pass rush.
I don’t see Washington passing on a talent like that, so I think they’ll make a trade. Gaining more draft capital would be a smart thing to do for a team with so many holes. They can trade with a QB-needy team and stay in the top 10, possibly even still grabbing Jeff Okudah, Derrick Brown, or another top-tier defensive prospect. So, step on up (looking at you Dolphins and Chargers).
Tua Tagovailoa is NOT the 2nd QB taken.
Red flags from the late-season hip injury have hindered Tua’s draft stock. He was once thought of as the only option for the 1st overall pick, but things have changed. Reports on his medical condition and physical results seem to vary greatly. Many reports have come out that Miami now likes Justin Herbert better. Whether it’s a smokescreen or not, we’ll soon find out, but I’ve seen enough to suggest he will fall.
5 QBs will be drafted in the 1st round.
One of the bolder 2020 NFL draft predictions I’ll make. Burrow. Tua. Herbert. Love. And? Those first 4 are pretty much guaranteed to be 1st round picks, with as many as 3 going in the top 10. I believe the 5th QB will be selected at New England’s 23rd overall selection, unless someone trades back into the first round. Common opinion, I know, but they don’t have great options on their roster. The two most likely candidates are Washington’s Jacob Eason and Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts. I don’t think either is a first round prospect, especially hurts, but that doesn’t mean some teams feel the same way. Although Hurts has his struggles, his athleticism perfectly fits where the position seems to be trending. Eason, on the other hand, is the classic huge guy with a cannon for an arm.
Fewer small school prospects than usual are selected.
Seems pretty simple. Smaller schools get less exposure during the season and fewer combine and all-star game invites. It unfortunately gives them less of a chance to stand out until their pro days. This year, with COVID-19 cancelling almost all pro days, teams have less information on these prospects. It’s an unfortunate consequence of these hard circumstances.
Jeremy Chinn is the first small school prospect drafted.
Speaking of small school prospects, Southern Illinois’s Jeremy Chinn has been generating a lot of buzz lately. Some even have him going in the late first round. I’ve been impressed with everything I’ve seen from him. He’s big, physical and can cover. He’s got great instincts, and I would gladly take him on my team. Some have him projected as linebacker because of his size. Personally, I think he’s a great fit at safety and will be taken somewhere in the late first to early second round (I’ll say 20-44 pick range).
Grant Delpit falls to Day 2.
The LSU safety started the season as one of the top names to watch. With the size, speed, and athletic ability, he was widely considered the top safety and a top 10 prospect for the 2020 draft. He didn’t have a necessarily bad season, he just didn’t show the desired improvement. He was expected to become the undisputed leader and best player on the Tiger’s defense. Although the team had an unforgettable season, there were other defensive players who stood out more than Delpit did. He’s still tremendously talented, but other safeties have emerged and some people have questions about him moving on to the next level. For those reasons, he will slide.
Bradlee Anae gets drafted earlier than most people think.
There have been reports that some GMs think the media projections and mock drafts have been “way off.” I think Anae is one of those players that the media is not as high on as GMs. He had 13 sacks this season for Utah and followed it up with a big senior bowl week. He is a great player at a premium position in today’s NFL. Still, most projections have him being drafted in the late-3rd or early-4th round. I think he can go as early as the top of the 2nd round.
The virtual format will screw things up for someone.
The writing’s on the wall for this one. It’s a new format that we haven’t seen used. Technology can be wonderful but also cause problems. Whether it’s a connectivity issue in interviews or a pick or trade submission, technology will fail someone this weekend.
The SEC will be the conference with the most drafted players
The Big Ten is really the only conference that could compete for this spot. Both conferences have elite talent and depth, which can be seen easily on the field during games. Both conferences have good offenses with great defenses. The SEC has stronger defenses when you look at the conference as a whole, however. That means players on both side of the ball are probably seeing more NFL ready competition on a weekly basis.
LSU will have the most players drafted of any school.
The Tigers may have been the most talented team in college football, a big reason they were your national champs. The defense might even have enough prospects to make this prediction come true itself, but it helps to have guys like Joe Burrow at the top of the draft and Lloyd Cushenberry and Thaddeus Moss in the middle rounds. The Tigers may end up with at least player drafted in each round.
WR will be the most drafted position.
Kind of a no-brainer. WR has been hyped up as the deepest position in this draft class. Some even say you can get a normal 1st round player in the middle rounds. Makes sense that teams would want as many of these guys as possible.
More defensive players than offensive players will be drafted .
I went back and forth on this one because it really is that close this year. WR is pretty clearly the deepest position, so it would be easy to pick offense. I think teams will be more focused on adding players to stop explosive offenses instead of getting involved in an arms race.
The terms “high ceiling,” “explosiveness,” “huge upside,” and “burst” will be ridiculously overused.
Another no-brainer. Every year the media uses redundant, “key” terms to describe each prospect’s game. Some analysts do a better job of avoiding the jargon than others, but it’s pretty much a guarantee you’ll be hearing these words a lot this year.
A Florida team will draft a player from a Florida school.
Seems like it happens every year. Florida is a big football state and has had some great teams from its universities. Jacksonville stands out specifically because they have drafted a player from a Florida college in every draft since 2012.
Each team will draft at least one prospect who played at a college in their state.
Just a huge shot in the dark here. There are enough talented prospects that it COULD happen, but it probably won’t. With the limited contact teams have been able to have with prospects this year, they might be more familiar with more local players than usual.
Some random name that few people have heard of gets drafted on Day 3.
It happens most years, so it will probably happen again. Last year it was the Raiders taking Quinton Bell out of Prairie View A&M in the 7th round. Cleveland also took little known Southeast Missouri State tackle Drew Forbes in the 6th and Indy took Tarleton State linebacker E.J. Speed.
3 punters and 2 kickers will get drafted… but none before the 5th round.
Some years, teams will make surprise special teams picks as early as the 1st or 2nd round. Usually, these players are taken on Day 3. The last highly-drafted specialist was Roberto Aguayo. The Buccaneers took him the 2nd round in 2016, but he is no longer in the NFL just 4 years later. Last year, specialists started to come off the board in the 4th round. This year, I don’t think there is anyone that will be selected before round 5. Kickers Tyler Bass and Rodrigo Blankenship will probably be selected, and Dominic Eberle is a possibility. Punters Brayden Mann, Michael Turk, and one other will be selected. The last spot is between Houston’s Dane Roy, Florida’s Tommy Townsend, and Syracuse’s Sterling Hofrichter.
That’s what I see happening. Let me know some of your 2020 NFL Draft predictions.