The NFL combine is here and everyone who loves the draft, like myself, are all tuned in. Owners, General Managers, coaches, scouts finally get to see what the best athletes in college has to offer. From the measurements and interviews to showing what they can do out there on the field, this is the time to answer the most of the important questions. Let’s not get carried away on who has the fastest 40 time or who can have the most reps at the but pay attention to what will translate.
The draft order has been set for a month, with Kansas City Chiefs winning the Super Bowl over the San Francisco 49ers in Miami. The Chiefs moved up in the draft through trade to select, future Super Bowl MVP, Patrick Mahomes in the 1st round in 2017 and drafted Eric Fisher 1st overall in 2013. So who will select their future Super Bowl Champion — Here’s my 2nd version of how it will shape out come April.
1. Cincinnati Bengals
QB Joe Burrow, LSU
Even though his words from recent interviews haven’t embraced the nickname of ‘the Bayou Bengal’, I will continue to pick Joe Burrow here first, every single time. Will he pull an Eli Manning – I’m not sure if he has the leverage to do so. While everything went right for Burrow and LSU in 2019, to me, there lies a concern about him being a 1-year wonder, but the Bengals know Zac Taylor needs everything to succeed and that includes the most important position in football.
2. Washington Redskins
DE Chase Young, OHST
Young is the best player in the 2020 NFL Draft and every team knows it. Chase Young would be the first pick in most drafts following guys like Clowney and Garrett as top picks but it’s fine, he can be Von Miller (2nd overall in 2011) and Nick Bosa (2nd overall in 2019) who both went on to win DROY. Rivera won’t waste time with this decision
3. Detroit Lions
DB, Jeff Okudah, OHST
Jeff Okudah is one of my favorite players in the draft and will be the 3rd Ohio guy off the board. There have been talks that Lions GM Bob Quinn would like to trade back but how far? Lions need a star, with Darius Slay contract looming, with Slay or without the CB position is a dire need. I predicted this defense would be top 8 in the league and that prophet prediction was way off (lions defense ranked 31st in 2019). The thing I like about Okudah is he’s phenomenal in pass coverage and to prevent separation with a combination of size, speed, athleticism and instincts. NO BRAINER.
4. New York Giants
OT, Jedrick Wills, BAMA
With the ability to play either tackle spot, I have Wills as my highest ranked O-Lineman in the draft. Wills is big (6’5 320 lbs), strong, quick and athletic. Giants have invested in Daniel Jones (6th pick in 2019) and Saquon Barkley (2nd pick in 2018) the only way to protect and clear lanes for those investments is to continue to work on the OL. Daniel Jones fumbled 13 times in 9 games, Giants please help!
5. Miami Dolphins
QB, Tua Tagovailoa, BAMA
Tua is the best QB in this draft! Don’t let what Joe Burrow did in 1 year overlooked what Tua has done dating back to the championship comeback vs UGA as a true freshman. Tagovailoa has a quality arm that can make any throw required in the NFL. Accuracy and poised, no wonder he’s been compared to Drew Brees.
6. Los Angeles Chargers
DE Derrick Brown, AUB
Yes, Philip Rivers will no longer be the QB at the helm. No, the Chargers shouldn’t panic and draft a QB. Derrick Brown from Auburn is a monster. Interior DL has been the chargers weakness for years and they have the opportunity to fix it. With Ingram and Bosa on the edge and Derwin James at safety this defense can bounce back and be one of the best. He’s a monster in the ground game and as a pass rusher – take BPA (best player available) and don’t look back.
7. Carolina Panthers
OT Tristan Wirfs, IOWA
Good in both sets, plays with good leverage as a run blocker and sustains his blocks well enough to make room for the stud running back in Christian Mccaffery and blocking for whoever is at the helm for QB next season, if its Cam Newton or Kyle Allen, someone needs to protect. Carolina has a long rebuild ahead. Tackle is not the sexiest move but a building block.
8. Arizona Cardinals
OT Mekhi Becton, UL
He’s a late riser and physical freak, for his size he has great athleticism – much need blocker for Kyler Murray. Kingsbury need his QB to have more time to execute the offense and this is the start.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars
LB Isiah Simmons, CLEM
Versatility is my favorite attribute. Simmons can play Linebacker, Safety, Slot Corner, Running Back, and Quarterback….. You get my point. With Telvin Smith not coming back, no Jalen Ramsey, this defense needs talent. Imagine Simmons and Myles Jack controlling the middle of the field for years.
10. Cleveland Browns
OT Andrew Thomas, UGA
Kevin Stefanski did a great job last year as the Vikings OC with a suspect OL and this was Baker Mayfield’s problem last year. He looked like he was seeing ghost so it’s best to add a much need tackle to the team. Baker has everything to succeed from a weapon standpoint but the OL needs to protect and that’s what Thomas from UGA can bring.
11. New York Jets
WR Jerry Jeudy, BAMA
My WR1 in this draft class, with Robbie Anderson looming, either way Jets need a #1 guy for Sam Darnold. Jeudy has been impressive since day 1 with his route running ability. He has the skills to be very dynamic and walk on the team as an instant star. Getting Darnold the tools is succeed should be priorty one.
12. Las Vegas Raiders
WR Ceedee Lamb, OKLA
Since Jeudy is off the board, the Raiders will run up to the podium to select Lamb. A lot of people say that Lamb doesn’t have the speed but the Raiders need someone who can get open. Good size, good hands and route running ability, I don’t see Gruden passing up on WR of this caliber.
13. Indianapolis Colts
DT, Javon Kinlaw, SCAR
The story of Kinlaw should amaze everyone. He’s work extremely hard to get to this point and getting drafted top 15 is the icing on the cake. Kinlaw was the best player at Senior Bowl practices from either team and the first thing that stands out about Kinlaw is his size. He is quick to close and has strength to fight off blockers. Notice I didn’t spend this pick on a QB – it’s because I’m not a fan of the Jordan Love hype train to go this high so take Kinlaw.
14. Tampa Bay Bucs
QB Justin Herbert, ORE
I think Jamies Winston will be back but Bruce Arians may be looking for someone to groom. Herbert has something in common with Big Ben, Peyton Manning, and Carson Palmer,ho all played under Arians, the similarity is they all are TALL with a BIG ARM. Learning what NOT to do by watching Jamies can also help.
15. Denver Broncos
WR Henry Ruggs
Henry Ruggs may have been the 2nd best WR on this team but he was one of the best in the country. Ruggs will have the fastest 40 yard time at the combine and that enough will move him ahead in the draft. If Drew Lock continue to be the starter having the TE set, the RBS and your #1 WR Cortland Sutton, adding Ruggs as the deep threat would be a perfect fit.
16. Atlanta Falcons
DE K’Lavon Chaisson, LSU
The Falcons aren’t bringing back Beasley, Chaisson from LSU has great bend around the edge and the ability to create chaos for a team that was toward the bottom in sacks. Chaisson doesn’t have the numbers but if you watch the games, the impact was felt.
17. Dallas Cowboys
S, Xavier Mckinney, Bama
Mckinney has moved up on my board as the #1 Safety ways ahead of Delpit. McKinney is the jack-of-all-trades in the secondary, as he is able cover tight ends and wide receivers, can play deep zone free safety, also has the strength to tackle and can be the eighth man in the box. McKinney has size, speed, athleticism and upside for the NFL. He’ll be a can’t miss prospect for the Dallas Cowboys.
18. Miami Dolphins (Steelers)
CB Kristian Fulton, LSU
Aqib Talib is old and Xavien Howard is in legal trouble. He’s a clean prospect and can help a secondary right away. I don’t know if I see star but I do see a good piece.
19. Las Vegas Raiders (Bears)
LB Kenneth Murray, OKLA
Murray is a fast and physical linebacker who flies around the field and is always around the ball. He is put together well and a good tackler. Raiders drafting the WR-LB combo with their 2 draft picks are a win-win for this organization.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars (Rams)
CB Trevon Diggs, BAMA
A very physical corner but Diggs is not the Jalen Ramsey replacement, he has above-average instincts but is not a natural defender converting to a CB not too long ago, but he could sneak into the first round because of his skill set.
21. Philadelphia Eagles
WR Laviska Shenault, COL
WR is the biggest need for the Eagles. Definitely can be a #1 WR with Carson Wentz – has the speed to be a big playmaker year 1. With all those injuries he can be poised for a BIG year.
22. Buffalo Bills
DE Yetur Gross-Matos, PSU
The defense is getting older, Gross-Matos has fallen but maybe the combine is what he needs to insert his name higher in the draft. He’s a good run defender and an improving pass-rusher. Jerry Hughes over 30 getting the replacement could be the selection.
23. New England Patriots
IOL Cesar Ruiz, MICH
He just seems like a Patriot, he’s a lineman who can play at Center or at either guard position. He is a well-balanced blocker in the ground game and in pass protection which can help them get the ground game going and buy time for WRs to get open.
24. New Orleans Saints
WR Brandon Aiyuk, ASU
The Saints need to help Michael Thomas; Aiyuk has the speed and ability to make it a dangerous duo. Scouts believe that Aiyuk was better than N’Keal Harry, if Harry was a 1st rounder so can Aiyuk.
25. Minnesota Vikings
CB Jeff Gladney, TCU
Rhodes is closed now and Waynes should be on the way out tool. Gladney has real cover skills to run with receivers and prevent separation and can be lined up as an outside or inside corner.
26. Miami Dolphins (Texans)
RB DeAndre Swift, UGA
Swift ran well for Georgia showing his speed, vision, cutting ability, and versatility. He’s a 3 down back and Dolphins doesn’t have a running back on the roster of his caliber.
27. Seattle Seahawks
DT Ross Blacklock, TCU
Could be a one hit wonder but 6’4 and 305 Seattle could fall in love with him and drafting at this spot. Blacklock does have medical issues.
28. Baltimore Ravens
DE AJ Epenesa, IOWA
Ravens have to replace Judon if he leaves in FA, Epenesa at 6’6 280 he has all the power from the edge. Epenesa can play the solid base end on 4-3 defense but is best suited as a five-technique end in a 3-4.
29. Tennessee Titans
OT Josh Jones, HOU
Probably will lose Conklin to FA, fill the void at tackle with Josh Jones who has good size with length, athleticism and agility. Not an overpowering athlete, but he has some functional strength to manipulate and lean on defenders.
30. Green Bay Packers
WR Jalen Reagor, TCU
Same reason with the Saints taking a WR, Devante Adams needs help. Reagor has the ability to take the top off the defense, he’s a speed demon and a home run hitter for the NFL that coaches drool over.
31. San Francisco 49ers
S Antoine Winfield Jr. MINN
His dad was a great corner, his son can potentially be a great safety. A couple injuries but he’s another jack-of-all- trades who’s a ball hawk safety. Continuing to add help on that defense is the smart thing to do, John Lynch will love him.
32. Kansas City Chiefs
LB Patrick Queen, LSU
The Chiefs has to hit on draft picks due to the Mahomes contract that will follow. With that being said the Chiefs should select someone who can be a star on a cheap deal. Enter Patrick Queen. Queen is a fast linebacker who can go sideline-to-sideline and has three-down starting potential for the next level. He has special speed and athleticism that make him a valuable linebacker in pass coverage