2020 NFL Draft full of top talent, virtual locks, and questions in an unique format

Courtesy+of+Wikimedia+Commons

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Kyle McKee

Despite a pandemic taking over the globe, the NFL Draft will proceed to take place on April 23rd. Commissioner Roger Goodell informed all 32 teams on April 6th that the 2020 NFL Draft will happen in a fully virtual format. Even though just last month, the league prohibited teams from conducting pre-draft visits with prospects at club facilities, forcing teams to rely on virtual methods to meet with players. Additionally, club facilities are closed indefinitely and team personnel are advised to be in separate locations. So with teams not able to get prospects into their own facilities, meet with them face-to-face, and observe them through drills and workouts, the 2020 NFL draft should be interesting to say the least. With all that said, this draft is loaded with talent and big names.

The consensus first overall pick in this draft is the Heisman trophy winning quarterback from LSU: Joe Burrow. In the history of college football, few prospects have had such a miraculous rise in a single season like Joe Burrow did in 2019. His story is well-known, starting his career as a backup at Ohio State to Washington Redskins starting quarterback, Dwayne Haskins. Burrow then transferred to LSU and had a solid junior year. After his junior year, Burrow was a question mark to even be drafted before the start of the 2019 season. But then Burrow proceeded to dominate the SEC West, the toughest division in college football. Burrow won the Heisman trophy easily and led the LSU Tigers to a national championship victory over Clemson.

Burrow has the skill set to be a franchise quarterback for a decade. He’s a pocket passer who is known for his accuracy which is the most important attribute of great quarterbacks. For example, Jameis Winston last season led the NFL in passing yards (5109), becoming the eighth quarterback ever to eclipse the 5,000 yards. However, Winston threw thirty interceptions. Thirty! Nobody questions Jameis’ capabilities, he has shown he can produce with the best of them, but his inaccuracy is the reason why he lost his starting position in Tampa Bay to Tom Brady and why he has yet to be signed by a team.

The Cincinnati Bengals own the first pick and for them it makes perfect sense to draft Burrow.

After the Bengals, the Washington Redskins have the second pick, and similar to the first pick, the second pick most likely has already been decided. The Redskins will most likely draft former Ohio State defensive end, Chase Young. Many NFL draft experts believe Young is the best prospect in the draft. Young is known for his speed coming off the edge. His first step and quickness coming off the line will cause trouble for many offensive linemen on Sundays. He has excellent awareness and will rarely make a wrong read. With his combination of athleticism and size at 6’4’’, 264lbs, no wonder scouts are drooling over what Young could become.

After the first two picks is where the draft gets interesting. The Detroit Lions own the third pick and many believe the Lions will take Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah. With that being said some have speculated that the Lions will take Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, and have Tua sit for a season behind Matthew Stafford, learn the system and get fully healthy, and then, the following season trade away Stafford and start the Tua era in Detroit. However, one of ESPN’s Matthew Barry’s sources told him there was “no chance” the Lions would take Tagovailoa. Additionally, according to Dave Brickett of the Detroit Free Press, “One AFC positions coach said emphatically the Lions are ‘not taking Tua.’” Having said that, teams sometimes will send out false information to trick other teams or to try and gain leverage in trade discussions. Speaking of trades, some believe the Lions will trade out of the third pick to move down the draft and get more draft picks. The team most likely to trade with the Lions is the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins have a treasure trove of picks and are in desperate need of a quarterback. Many believe Miami has their eyes set on Tua to be their guy, and would do anything in order to get him.

The most talked about position of the draft, besides the quarterback because that’s a given, has been the wide-receiver position. The amount of talented wide-receivers in this draft is staggering. CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy, Tee Higgins, Henry Ruggs, and Justin Jefferson have the potential to be pro-bowl caliber, number one receivers. This wide receiver class is reminiscent of 2014 draft class that featured Mike Evans, Odell Beckham Jr, Jarvis Landry, Brandin Cooks, Sammy Watkins, and Allen Robinson.

Lastly, one thing to look for in the draft is to see if the New England Patriots draft a quarterback. It is well-known that the Patriots lost their franchise quarterback Tom Brady to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency and are in need of a new starting quarterback for the first time in two decades. Maybe the Pats draft trade up to take a guy like Justin Herbert from Oregon or Jordan Love from Washington State, the two highest rated quarterbacks after Tua and Burrow, or they do what they are most common to do which is to wait till the 3rd or 4th round and take a guy like Jake Fromm from Georgia or Jacob Easson from Washington. With that being said, the Pats are big on Jarrett Stidham the second year quarterback from Baylor picked in the fourth round of the 2019 draft. Stidham has gained the respect of teammates and coaches because of his work ethic and what he has shown in practice. As things stand right now he is in line to be the starter come week one.

The 2020 NFL draft will be more for the history books, being the first draft of any professional sport to take place completely virtually. Hopefully, it will be the last one.