2020 NFL Draft Preview

Sports editor gives analysis of team needs, who’ll be good fit

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The NFL won’t be able to put on a spectacle at the draft this year because of the pandemic, eliminating the possibility of another celebration like last year’s involving defensive lineman Christian Wilkins of the Dolphins and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. [Christopher Hanewinckel-USA Today Sports]

Story by TJ Wall, Sports Editor

The NFL Draft is upon us once more and will take place beginning tonight through Saturday. Every year, the draft has many key headlines and things to watch for, and this year is no different.

Since the banning of large gatherings was put into place, all sports have been put on hold. Because of this, the number of viewers watching the draft will likely increase significantly. However, most viewers may not be aware of the prospects who are up for grabs this year, thus watching the draft would seem pointless. Never fear, for I have prepared a guide which identifies each team’s most pressing needs and a few players who could potentially fill those needs.

The draft will air at 7 p.m. on the NFL Network, ABC, ESPN and ESPN 2. On Friday, begin watching at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 11 a.m.

Cincinnati Bengals

-Team Needs: QB, OL, LB

-Good Fits: (QB) Joe Burrow / LSU

(QB) Joe Burrow is a lock for the first pick of the draft. The Bengals have other needs, but in a quarterback driven league, Burrow is the one who will make the most difference for a team that went 2-14 last season.

 

Washington Redskins

-Team Needs: OL, TE, WR, CB, DE

-Good Fits: (DE) Chase Young / Ohio St., (CB) Jeff Okudah / Ohio St.

Similarly to the first pick, (DE) Chase Young will most certainly be the second overall pick. Young is a phenomenal standout edge rusher who is on a level of his own. If the Redskins pass on him here for anyone besides Young’s teammate (CB) Jeff Okudah, which is still highly unlikely, I’d be in disbelief. If you look at Redskins’ coach Ron Rivera, he always had a stout front seven when he was with the Carolina Panthers. If that means anything, it just furthers the evidence that Young will go to the Redskins with the second pick.

 

Detroit Lions

-Team Needs: CB, DL, OL, RB, WR

-Good Fits: (CB) Jeff Okudah / Ohio St., (OT) Jedrick Wills / Alabama, (WR) CeeDee Lamb / Oklahoma, (WR) Jerry Jeudy / Alabama

With the loss of (CB) Darius Slay, the Lions will likely look to replace him. Who better to replace him with than (CB) Jeff Okudah, the top corner in this draft? The Lions could easily just select Okudah with the third pick. Another option here is for the Lions to trade back; the teams who select shortly after the Lions aren’t necessarily looking to draft a top corner this early in the draft, so the Lions could trade back a few spots and still get their man Okudah. If someone decides to select Okudah, the Lions still profit because they likely will get an extra pick they didn’t originally have, plus one of the men listed above will still be available and will fill a need for them.

 

New York Giants

-Team Needs: OT, DE, S, WR, TE

-Good Fits: (OT) Jedrick Wills / Alabama, (OT) Mekhi Becton / Louisville, (OT) Andrew Thomas / Georgia, (OT) Tristan Wirfs / Iowa, (WR) CeeDee Lamb / Oklahoma, (WR) Jerry Jeudy / Alabama

If the Giants trust in their first-round pick from 2019, quarterback Daniel Jones, they need to either give him more protection or give him some more weapons to work with. I think the smart move would be to choose an offensive tackle to protect Jones. This year’s wide receiver class is loaded with talent, so the Giants can afford to wait until later and still get a talented offensive weapon. (WR) Denzel Mims out of Baylor or (WR) Jalen Reagor from TCU are good round two prospects who could serve as the number one receiver for Daniel Jones.

 

Miami Dolphins

-Team Needs: QB, OL, RB, S, DE

-Good Fits: (QB) Tua Tagavailoa / Alabama, (QB) Justin Herbert / Oregon, (OT) Mekhi Becton / Louisville, (OT) Andrew Thomas / Georgia, (OT) Tristan Wirfs / Iowa

Assuming there hasn’t been any trades and everything has gone as planned — which is highly unlikely — the Dolphins will likely look to draft the next best quarterback available. Who that quarterback may be really depends on Miami’s front office’s preferences. I’d like to say that they would select (QB) Tua Tagavailoa, but I would not be surprised if they passed up on him for (QB) Justin Herbert. Tagavailoa has had some injuries that are seen as a point of concern for many, if not all, general managers who are looking to draft him. The talent is there, but his health still remains in question.

 

Los Angeles Chargers

-Team Needs: QB, OT, LB

-Good Fits: (QB) Tua Tagavailoa / Alabama, (QB) Justin Herbert / Oregon, (OT) Mekhi Becton / Louisville, (OT) Andrew Thomas / Georgia, (OT) Tristan Wirfs / Iowa

The Chargers will either get (QB) Tua Tagavailoa or (QB) Justin Herbert, but in this scenario, Herbert is the only one out of the two that is still available. Herbert has a cannon for an arm and has the length and mobility that many quarterbacks dream to have. There are still some concerns surrounding his confidence and his passing accuracy at times, but he is still widely regarded as one of the top quarterbacks in this draft class. He had an outstanding performance at the combine and he has a really high ceiling, but he needs to be put with the right coach to help him thrive. He reminds me a lot of former first round selection quarterback Josh Allen from the Buffalo Bills. Allen had an impressive season last year, so if the team who drafts him tries to mimic what the Bills did, Herbert should do fine.

 

Carolina Panthers

-Team Needs: DL, CB, DE, OL, LB

-Good Fits: (LB) Isaiah Simmons / Clemson, (DL) Derrick Brown / Auburn, (DL) Javon Kinlaw / South Carolina, (CB) CJ Henderson / Florida

This is where it gets a little tricky. The Panthers have a new head coach in Matt Rhule and he is expected to implement a 4-3 style defense in Carolina. If this is the case, I would think he would lean more towards (DL) Derrick Brown or (DL) Javon Kinlaw. It depends on their preference, but I personally like Brown a little more than Kinlaw, though they are both great options. I would not be shocked at all, however, if they decided to select (LB) Isaiah Simmons. Due to his freakish athleticism, Simmons can serve multiple purposes. Whichever one of these guys they choose won’t be a bad choice, so rest assured Panthers fans.

 

Arizona Cardinals

-Team Needs: OL, DE, DL, CB, TE

-Good Fits: (LB) Isaiah Simmons / Clemson, (DL) Derrick Brown / Auburn, (DL) Javon Kinlaw / South Carolina, (CB) CJ Henderson / Florida

I think that the Cardinals are looking at the same prospects as the Panthers. Assuming that the Panthers select (DL) Derrick Brown, the Cardinals would consider drafting either (LB) Isaiah Simmons or (DL) Javon Kinlaw. I say, out of those two, they select Simmons. Simmons’ explosiveness and versatility brings a young, new fire to revitalize Arizona’s defense. I could also see the Cardinals trading back with the right kind of offer, but it would be really hard for me to pass up Simmons in this case.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars

-Team Needs: QB, DL, DE, OL, RB

-Good Fits: (QB) Tua Tagavailoa / Alabama, (QB) Justin Herbert / Oregon, (OT) Mekhi Becton / Louisville, (OT) Andrew Thomas / Georgia, (OT) Tristan Wirfs / Iowa, (LB) Isaiah Simmons / Clemson, (DL) Derrick Brown / Auburn, (DL) Javon Kinlaw / South Carolina, (CB) CJ Henderson / Florida

Obviously there are quite a few prospects who would fill a need for the Jaguars at this pick. If the Jaguars trust their quarterback Gardner Minshew, I really think (OT) Mekhi Becton would be a great addition to the offensive line to help protect him; I also think that they’re probably eyeing someone like (DL) Javon Kinlaw to replace former Jaguars defensive lineman Calais Campbell. They could even go with someone like (CB) CJ Henderson to try to fill the void left by the departure of corner Jalen Ramsey. There are multiple directions the Jags could take here, but my money is on Kinlaw.

 

Cleveland Browns

-Team Needs: OT, S, LB, DL

-Good Fits: (OT) Mekhi Becton / Louisville, (OT) Andrew Thomas / Georgia, (OT) Tristan Wirfs / Iowa

The Browns were supposed to have a really good season last year, but it didn’t turn out quite how they expected it to. Their offensive line was atrociously bad which was likely a leading factor in quarterback Baker Mayfield’s less-than-average play. Because of this, the Browns went and acquired former Tennessee Titans tackle Jack Conklin. To add onto this, I believe the Browns will draft another tackle, and (OT) Mekhi Becton is the way they should go.

 

New York Jets

-Team Needs: WR, DE, OT

-Good Fits: (OT) Mekhi Becton / Louisville, (OT) Andrew Thomas / Georgia, (OT) Tristan Wirfs / Iowa

The Jets will need to replace their former wide receiver Robby Anderson at some point, but now is not the time for that. Here, I expect the Jets to either trade back or draft a tackle. Assuming that they don’t trade back and they select a tackle instead, I think that (OT) Andrew Thomas is the pick.

 

Las Vegas Raiders

-Team Needs: WR, CB, DL, OL, LB

-Good Fits: (WR) CeeDee Lamb / Oklahoma, (WR) Jerry Jeudy / Alabama, (DE) K’Lavon Chaisson / LSU, (DE) AJ Epenesa / Iowa, (DE) Yetur Gross-Matos / Penn St., (CB) CJ Henderson / Florida

After the whole Antonio Brown debacle, I’m sure Gruden has spent many sleepless nights dreaming about what could have been. In an attempt to reconcile this incident, Gruden wants one of these top tier wide receivers. I believe both (WR) CeeDee Lamb and (WR) Jerry Jeudy are elite prospects, but Jeudy seems more like a guy that Gruden would want. If they don’t select a receiver, then I would not be surprised if they went for a defensive lineman. They selected former LSU Tiger Arden Key in 2018, so why not bring in his fellow alumni (DE) K’Lavon Chaisson? Whatever they decide to do will be interesting and will alter the course of the remainder of the draft.

 

Indianapolis Colts

-Team Needs: WR, QB, TE, DB, DL

-Good Fits: (WR) CeeDee Lamb / Oklahoma, (WR) Jerry Jeudy / Alabama, (WR) Henry Ruggs III, (QB) Jordan Love, (QB) Justin Herbert, (QB) Jacob Eason / Washington, (QB) Jake Fromm / Georgia

The Colts traded this pick to the 49ers and the 49ers will likely take (WR) CeeDee Lamb here. For the Colts, T.Y. Hilton is getting old and the Colts are going to have to get a young star receiver so that their new quarterback, whoever it may be, will have a weapon to throw to. However, since this receiver class is a deep class, the Colts will look to draft a quarterback as soon as possible. A good fit would be someone like (QB) Jordan Love or (QB) Jacob Eason. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of the Colts selecting (QB) Jake Fromm either. 

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

-Team Needs: OT, RB, DL, QB, S

-Good Fits: (QB) Jordan Love / Utah St., (OT) Mekhi Becton / Louisville, (OT) Andrew Thomas / Georgia, (OT) Tristan Wirfs / Iowa

With Brady being 42 years old, he won’t be the Buccaneers’ quarterback for another 10 years, so eventually they may want to draft his potential successor so that they can groom him under Brady for the next year or two. As of right now, they need someone to help Brady on day one because their window for success is not a large window by any means, so with this pick it would make sense for them to select (OT) Tristan Wirfs from Iowa. 

 

Denver Broncos

-Team Needs: WR, OL, CB, LB, S

-Good Fits: (WR) CeeDee Lamb / Oklahoma, (WR) Jerry Jeudy / Alabama, (WR) Henry Ruggs III, Mekhi Becton / Louisville, (OT) Andrew Thomas / Georgia, (OT) Tristan Wirfs / Iowa

If (WR) Henry Ruggs III is still available here, I don’t see any reason for the Broncos not to take him. He would be an excellent compliment to Broncos receiver Courtand Sutton and would be another target for their young quarterback Drew Lock to throw to. 

 

Atlanta Falcons

-Team Needs: DB, LB, DL, OL, RB

-Good Fits: (DE) K’Lavon Chaisson / LSU, (DE) AJ Epenesa / Iowa, (DE) Yetur Gross-Matos / Penn St., (CB) CJ Henderson / Florida, (S) Grant Delpit / LSU

Since the Falcons are in need of a defensive lineman and a linebacker, why not draft an athletic edge rusher who can be used for both purposes? (DE) K’Lavon Chaisson makes a whole lot of sense for the Falcons and I think he’d fit right in. The Falcons also need a corner, so (CB) CJ Henderson would be a solid pick as well.

 

Dallas Cowboys

-Team Needs: DE, CB, OL, WR, TE

-Good Fits: (DE) K’Lavon Chaisson / LSU, (DE) AJ Epenesa / Iowa, (DE) Yetur Gross-Matos / Penn St., (CB) CJ Henderson / Florida, (S) Grant Delpit / LSU

The Cowboys should be focusing on defense in the first round. They would love to see (DE) K’Lavon Chaisson drop to them at this pick, but in this scenario he doesn’t and the Cowboys select (CB) CJ Henderson out of Florida to replace former Cowboys corner Byron Jones.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers

-Team Needs: OL, DL, DE, WR, CB

-Good Fits: (WR) Jalen Reagor / TCU, (WR) Denzel Mims / Baylor, (WR) Justin Jefferson / LSU, (WR) Tee Higgins / Clemson, (DE) AJ Epenesa / Iowa, (DE) Yetur Gross-Matos / Penn St., (OL) Cesar Ruiz / Michigan, (OT) Josh Jones / Houston

The Steelers don’t have this pick because they traded it to the Dolphins. The Dolphins may consider taking someone like (S) Grant Delpit from LSU here. When the Steelers do get to pick, they should definitely look into drafting a receiver to help take the pressure off of their receiver Juju Smith-Schuster. (WR) Jalen Reagor has a lot of speed and so does (WR) Denzel Mims. I keep mentioning these two guys because I think they will be second round steals. Both are very talented and will be a great choice for whoever picks them. They may also invest in the best lineman available at that time, whoever it may be. Without a solid line to protect, it doesn’t matter who your receivers are. 

 

Chicago Bears

-Team Needs: CB, S, OL, WR, QB

-Good Fits: (CB) Kristian Fulton / LSU, (S) Xavier McKinney / Alabama, (CB) AJ Terrell / Clemson, (S) Grant Delpit / LSU, (QB) Jacob Eason / Washington, (QB) Jake Fromm / Georgia

The Bears traded this pick to the Raiders. If (S) Grant Delpit is still available, I could definitely see Gruden taking him in a heartbeat; when the Bears make their selection, they should look for some defensive help from players such as (CB) Kristian Fulton or (CB) AJ Terrell. If they don’t do that, maybe they’d consider drafting a replacement for their current quarterback Mitch Trubisky. Nick Foles is currently in Chicago as well, but he’s not going to be in their plans for the long-term future, so why not draft a young quarterback to groom under Foles. 

 

Los Angeles Rams

-Team Needs: DE, LB, RB, DB, WR

-Good Fits: (LB) Akeem Davis-Gaither / Appalachian St., (DE) AJ Epenesa / Iowa, (DE) Yetur Gross-Matos / Penn St., (CB) Jeff Gladney (TCU), (RB) D’Andre Swift / Georgia, (RB) Jonathan Taylor / Wisconsin, (RB) JK Dobbins / Ohio St. 

The Rams traded this pick away to the Jaguars, but when they select, it will be very important that they find themselves the best running back that is available to replace former Rams running back Todd Gurley. If they don’t, it would be good for them to select either a defensive end or a linebacker, whichever is the best player remaining on the board. 

 

Philadelphia Eagles

-Team Needs: WR, OL, LB, CB, S

-Good Fits: (WR) Justin Jefferson / LSU, (WR) Jalen Reagor / TCU, (WR) Tee Higgins / Clemson, (LB) Kenneth Murray / Oklahoma, (S) Grant Delpit / LSU

The Eagles are in desperate need of a receiver, so (WR) Justin Jefferson would be a good pick. At this point, however, I think the Eagles would love to get (LB) Kenneth Murray out of Oklahoma. He just seems like a guy who would fit in with Philadelphia and would be a great pick.

 

Buffalo Bills

-Team Needs: DE, CB, RB, OL, LB

-Good Fits: The best defensive player or offensive lineman still available

The Bills traded this pick to the Vikings. Again, if (S) Grant Delpit is still available, the Vikings should snatch him up. When the Bills get their first selection, they would be better off to just take the best defensive player still available. If not, they definitely should address the offensive line because you can never go wrong with giving your quarterback more protection. 

 

New England Patriots

-Team Needs: QB, TE, LB, DL, WR

-Good Fits: (TE) Cole Kmet / Notre Dame, (DE) Justin Madubuike / Texas A&M, (DE) Jordan Elliott / Missouri

According to Daniel Jeremiah, the Patriots plan to stick with Jarrett Stidham as their quarterback, so they may not draft a quarterback like everyone is expecting. Maybe, they are bluffing and really are looking for a quarterback. Who knows? Let’s say they’re telling the truth; if that’s the case, they definitely need a tight end like (TE) Cole Kmet from Notre Dame or a pass rusher like (DE) Justin Madubuike from Texas A&M. It is a very real possibility that the Patriots could also trade back if they don’t like any of the prospects on the board enough to select them with this pick. 

 

New Orleans Saints

-Team Needs: QB, LB, OL

-Good Fits: (QB) Jake Fromm / Georgia, (QB) Jordan Love / Utah St., (QB) Jacob Eason / Georgia, (LB) Kenneth Murray (Oklahoma)

In my eyes, the Saints don’t really have any pressing needs. If I were them, I would draft my quarterback for the future. This is likely Drew Brees’ last year, and what better way to create a smooth transition from one quarterback era to another than by drafting his replacement to sit behind him for a year, learn the system, and come in prepared next year? I like the Saints selecting (QB) Jake Fromm. Fromm resembles Brees in his playstyle and would fit right in. There is the possibility that instead of selecting Fromm, they could select (QB) Jordan Love. I would also consider trading back if you believe that you can still get the quarterback you want at a later pick. It will be interesting to see how the Saints handle this situation.

 

Minnesota Vikings

-Team Needs: CB, WR, DE, OL, S

-Good Fits: (CB) Trevon Diggs / Alabama, (CB) Kristian Fulton / LSU, (S) Grant Delpit (LSU), (WR) Brandon Aiyuk / Arizona St., (WR) Tee Higgins / Clemson, (WR) Justin Jefferson / LSU, (WR) Jalen Reagor (TCU)

The Vikings need to find a replacement for former Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs. Someone like (WR) Justin Jefferson or (WR) Tee Higgins would be a good selection. Another route they could go is to select a talented corner in (CB) Kristian Fulton if he is still available, but one ironic selection they could make would be to draft (CB) Trevon Diggs, Stefon’s little brother; that would be something to see. 

 

Houston Texans

-Team Needs: DL, OL, DE, WR, CB

-Good Fits: (DE) Justin Madubuike / Texas A&M, (DE) Jordan Elliott / Missouri, (OL) Cesar Ruiz / Michigan, (OT) Josh Jones / Houston

The Texans traded this pick to the Dolphins, so when the Texans get their first selection it is uncertain who will still be on the board. Even so, they need to address either their offensive or defensive line. (DE) Justin Madubuike may drop to the Texans, and if he does he’d be a great pick for them. (OL) Cesar Ruiz most likely will not be available at this point, but if he is, that would be a steal. 

 

Seattle Seahawks

-Team Needs: DE, OL, DL, RB, WR

-Good Fits: (DE) AJ Epenesa / Iowa, (DE) Yetur Gross-Matos / Penn St., (RB) Jonathan Taylor / Wisconsin, (RB) JK Dobbins / Ohio St.

I think the perfect pick for the Seahawks right here is (DE) Yetur Gross-Matos. He is a lengthy, big-bodied defensive end who has sneaky athleticism in his game. He would fit in with Seattle and would aid their other defensive end Jadeveon Clowney if he chooses to stay in Seattle.

 

Baltimore Ravens

-Team Needs: LB, OL, WR, DE, DL

-Good Fits: (LB) Zach Baun / Wisconsin, (LB) Patrick Queen / LSU, (OT) Josh Jones / Houston, (DE) Yetur Gross-Matos / Penn St.

For as long as I’ve been alive, the Ravens have had some star linebacker on their team; they always seem to have a strong front seven. Having good linebacking is a part of their identity, so this pick would be a good time for the Ravens to select (LB) Patrick Queen from LSU.

 

Tennessee Titans

-Team Needs: DE, DL, OL, CB, RB

-Good Fits: (DE) Marlon Davidson / Auburn, (OT) Austin Jackson / USC, (CB) Kristian Fulton / LSU

I would like to see the Titans draft a solid tackle to fill in the void left by the departure of Jack Conklin. (OT) Austin Jackson would do the job. 

 

Green Bay Packers

-Team Needs: TE, WR, OL, LB, CB

-Good Fits: (LB) Zach Baun / Wisconsin, (WR) Jalen Reagor / TCU, (WR) Brandon Aiyuk / Arizona St. (CB) Kristian Fulton / LSU

I think the Packers have to take a receiver here. Whether it’s (WR) Jalen Reagor or (WR) Brandon Aiyuk, I’m not quite sure, but for now we’ll stick with Aiyuk.

 

San Francisco 49ers

-Team Needs: WR, OL, DL, CB, S

-Good Fits: (WR) Jalen Reagor / TCU, (WR) Tee Higgins / Clemson, (WR) Brandon Aiyuk / Arizona St., (CB) Trevon Diggs / Alabama

After taking a receiver with the first pick, the 49ers could look to either reinforce their offensive line or add some supporting cast on the defensive line. However, a really solid pick, if he’s still on the board, would be (CB) Trevon Diggs from Alabama. He may not be available at this point, but if he is, he’d be a great addition to that San Francisco secondary on the opposite side of corner Richard Sherman. 

 

Kansas City Chiefs

-Team Needs: CB, LB, RB, OL, DL

-Good Fits: (RB) JK Dobbins / Ohio St., (RB) Jonathan Taylor / Wisconsin, (RB) Cam Akers / Florida St., (LB) Zach Baun / Wisconsin, (DE) Justin Madubuike / Texas A&M

If (RB) Jonathan Taylor is available, I would think the Chiefs would have to take him here. If not, (RB) JK Dobbins would be a good selection too. If they have a choice, Taylor is the way to go in my opinion and there is no question about it.

 

NFL Draft Prospect in Texarkana

(DL) McTelvin “Sosa” Agim, a Texarkana native and 2020 NFL Draft prospect, is in town this weekend for the draft. Agim is projected to be drafted on the second or third day, anywhere from round three to round five.