While most of the sports world remains on lockdown, one event will take place as scheduled – the 2020 NFL Draft. League commissioner Roger Goodell agreed to hold the draft in Paradise, Nevada, as originally planned on April 23 and continuing through April 25.
The league did cancel all public activities associated with the draft, which means prospects will not get to ride the boat to the main stage in front of the Bellagio’s fountain. The final plans on how the league will conduct the draft have not yet been released, but it will go on.
With the draft less than a month away, here’s a look at the projected top ten selections.
1. Cincinnati – QB Joe Burrow
There is simply no question the Bengals are going to draft their quarterback of the future. Head coach Zac Taylor was moving away from veteran QB Andy Dalton at the end of last season anyway. Now, Taylor has a chance to select a Heisman Trophy-winning national champion to run his offense.
Burrow is also from Ohio and Cincinnati placed the franchise tag on wide receiver A.J. Green. The Bengals are building their offense and drafting Burrow as the cornerstone.
2. Washington – DE Chase Young
If not for the Bengals need of a quarterback, Young could easily be the first pick. The Ohio State product is an absolute beast of an edge rusher. Young is big at 6-foot-5 and 265 pounds and is an amazing athlete for his size.
Despite missing two games last season, Young still led the nation in sacks with 16.5. The Redskins might not be sold on last year’s first-round pick, QB Dwayne Haskins, but Young is too good to pass up.
3. Miami (trade with Detroit) – QB Tua Tagovailoa
The first drama of the 2020 draft will come at No. 3 where the Dolphins, in desperate need of a quarterback of the future, trade up to acquire Detroit’s pick. The Dolphins will take a chance on Tagovailoa, the former Alabama star who led the Crimson Tide to a national championship as a freshman.
4. NY Giants – OT Tristan Wirfs
The Giants got their quarterback last year in the first round. With Daniel Jones firmly entrenched as the team’s starter, the Giants fill a need on the offensive line with former Iowa star, Wirfs. He is big at 6’ 5” and 320 pounds, but his athleticism is unmatched at the offensive tackle position.
At the NFL Combine in February, Wirfs ran the 40-yard dash in 4.85 seconds, an almost unheard of time for an offensive tackle. He also recorded a 36.5-inch vertical jump and a 10-feet-1-inch broad jump.
5. Detroit (trade with Miami) – CB Jeff Okudah
The Lions can still get their guy by making the trade with Miami. Detroit needs to add a strong cover corner with the loss of Darius Slay to Philadelphia. The Lions get exactly that with Okudah. The former Ohio State star is big enough at 6’ 1” and 200 pounds to take on bigger receivers yet fast enough (4.48 in the 40-yard dash) to cover.
6. LA Chargers – QB Justin Herbert
The Chargers are another team that might look into trading up. The loss of veteran QB Philip Rivers prompts head coach Anthony Lynn to take Herbert, the former Oregon quarterback. Lynn likes the bigger and more athletic Herbert as opposed to Tagovailoa. The Chargers get their guy at No. 6.
7. Carolina – LB Isaiah Simmons
The Panthers need to replace the retired Luke Kuechly at linebacker and get a future All-Pro in the making in Simmons. With a couple national titles under his belt at Clemson, Simmons is just the guy Carolina needs to slow down the likes of New Orleans, Atlanta, and Tampa Bay in the NFC South.
8. Arizona – WR CeeDee Lamb
The surprises start at No. 8 where the Cardinals decide to reunite starting QB Kyler Murray with his former Oklahoma teammate. Lamb has good size at 6’ 2” and enough speed (4.5 in the 40) to be a consistent playmaker in head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s Air Raid offense. Lamb is also versatile enough to play on the outside or in the slot.
9. Jacksonville – WR Henry Ruggs III
Arizona’s pick at No. 8 begins a flurry of surprising wide receiver picks that continues with the speedy Ruggs at No. 9. With Gardner Minshew the starter at quarterback, the Jags add another weapon to his arsenal. Ruggs ran the fastest 40 at the NFL Combine, 4.27 seconds. That will help Minshew and Jacksonville stretch defenses.
10. Cleveland – OT Mekhi Becton
The Browns think about taking Ruggs’ teammate at Alabama, WR Jerry Jeudy, but with two 1,000-yard receivers (Jarvis Landry & Odell Beckham Jr.) already on the roster, Cleveland goes for some help on the offensive front.
Becton, who played collegiately at Louisville, is a mammoth offensive tackle at 6’ 7” and 364 pounds. Becton is a unique prospect who ran a 5.1 40-yard dash at the combine.