Warrior Weekly: NFL Draft Preview and First Round Mock Draft

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Credit: Olivia Harvey

WSPN’s Dante Coppola reviews and discusses the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft.

Dante Coppola

The 2020 NFL draft is almost upon us, and it will certainly be one of the more interesting drafts in football history. In addition to the highly touted class of prospects itself, we will be seeing a totally reimagined draft as the normal presentation was canceled due to COVID-19. Here is a rundown on how the draft itself will be presented, the risky prospects who could go in the first round and how the first round could look.

 

How The Draft Will Look

For starters, this year’s draft is going to look far different from usual. The public presentation, which usually takes place at a large venue in a heavily populated city, will not occur. Instead, the league is going to create a virtual experience with the help of popular video developer EA Sports. It will consist of each prospect digitally walking across a stage to the commissioner when they are drafted. 58 prospects were specifically selected to participate remotely during the draft, with each player’s avatar interacting with Goodell in the way of their choosing.
Additionally, each prospect will choose a high school program to receive a $2,500 grant for its football program, with the league having money to spend now that it won’t be used on live festivities. The draft will be held April 23 to 25, with a private practice round taking place beforehand to give each team’s executives experience with the new system.

Risky First Round Options

Like every draft, there are seemingly clear-cut stars that should get chosen pretty quickly. However, with the abundance of talent this year, there also comes a handful of risky prospects that could possibly be selected in the first round. For example, defensive tackle Ross Blacklock is a probable late first-round selection but has a lot going against him. He is smaller than the average tackle, clocking in at 6-foot-3, 290 pounds with 32 3/8-inch arms at the NFL Scouting Combine. He also has never had more than 3.5 sacks in a season. He is very reminiscent of two other first-round DT busts: Dominique Easley (29th pick by the Patriots in 2014) and Justin Harrell (16th pick by the Packers in 2007), who each started in fewer than seven NFL games in their careers.
A pair of first-round QBs also poses potential risky picks in the first round. Utah State’s Jordan Love looked impressive at times but never really showed up against big competition. While he has impressive athleticism, he threw a total of 17 interceptions in 13 games with only 20 passing touchdowns to make up for it. Then there’s the case of Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, who has both skill and athleticism on his side. He even has multiple impressive college seasons under his belt, which is more than probable first overall pick Joe Burrow can say. But issues arise in his injuries and how that could affect his longevity and performance in the NFL. At Alabama, he had a broken finger, sprained left knee, two ankle sprains and a dislocated right hip. That, added to him reportedly failing at least one team physical as well as suffering a wrist injury, Tagovailoa could be a risky first-round selection.
To finish this list off on the defensive side of the ball, sure first-round picks edge defender K’Lavon Chaisson and linebacker Patrick Queen posses problems of their own. Queen had limited production over the course of his collegiate career, as he didn’t have a starting role until his junior year. Even when he began to start games, he wasn’t as productive as other linebackers in his class. He’s also a bit on the small side at 6-foot, 229 pounds, but that could’ve been overlooked if he was a more sure prospect. Chaisson is more like Tua, with great athleticism and production, but with a worrying injury history. But it remains to be seen how far they fall in the draft, and which teams will take a chance on them.

1st Round Mock Draft

This mock draft is based more on team needs and the importance of each position rather than the best available player. There should be around four or five trades in this draft but probably with less movement in the top five than this mock draft. While there are talented running backs, they will probably not be taken in the first due to other positional needs. A lot of teams need offensive line and receiving help, which is reflected in nearly half of the first-round picks being a combination of receivers and linemen. But without further ado, here’s my 2020 mock draft.

  1. Bengals – QB Joe Burrow
  2. Redskins – DE Chase Young
  3. Dolphins(Via Lions) – QB Tua Tagovailoa
  4. Lions(Via Giants) -CB Jeffrey Okudah
  5. Giants(Via Lions) – LB Isaiah Simmons
  6. Chargers – T Tristan Wirfs
  7. Panthers – WR Jerry Jeudy
  8. Cardinals – T Andrew Thomas
  9. Jaguars – T Jedrick Willis JR
  10. Browns – DL Derrick Brown
  11. Jets – WR Ceedee Lamb
  12. Raiders – WR Henry Ruggs III
  13. 49ers – DL Javon Kinlaw
  14. Buccaneers – T Josh Jones
  15. Broncos – CB C.J. Henderson
  16. Falcons – CB Kristian Fulton
  17. Saints (via Cowboys) – QB Justin Herbert
  18. Dolphins – EDGE A.J. Epenesa
  19. Raiders – S Xavier McKinney
  20. Eagles(Via Jaguars) – WR Justin Jefferson
  21. Broncos(Via Jaguars, Via Eagles) – S Grant Delpit
  22. Vikings – WR Laviska Shenaut Jr
  23. Patriots – LB Patrick Queen
  24. Cowboys (via Saints) – CB Trevon Diggs
  25. Vikings – T Mekhi Becton
  26. Dolphins – WR Tee Higgins
  27. Seahawks – EDGE K’Lavon Chaisson
  28. Ravens – WR Jalen Reagor
  29. Titans – CB A.J. Terrell
  30. Packers – WR Denzel Mims
  31. 49ers – WR Brandon Aiyuk
  32. Chiefs – G Cesar Ruiz