Bengals-Bound Joe Burrow Tops NFL Draft Picks
The annual National Football League draft will be a most interesting event when it opens April 23. In this article, I will take a look at the teams and players involved and tell you where the best of the talented crop of rookies will be playing as professionals in 2020.
1 – CINCINNATI BENGALS. Joe Burrow is the hottest commodity in this talented class. He is the obvious choice for Cincinnati, desperately in need of a franchise athlete to take over as quarterback. Burrow would be an excellent addition to the Bengals, who were winners of only two games in 2019.
In the 42-35 victory over Clemson in the college championship game, Burrow broke the single-season passing touchdown record. The Ohio native had 60 TD passes on the season. Against Clemson, Burrow threw for 463 yards and five touchdowns.
All the world can count on Cincinnati making Joe Burrow the No.1 overall pick.
2 – WASHINGTON REDSKINS. Expect the Skins to go with Chase Young of Ohio State. Young can play defensive end or outside linebacker and play each position quite well. He should excel in the NFL with Washington. The Redskins look to improve on a 3-13 record.
Chase Young has tremendous size (6-5, 265 pounds) and he has proven that he can give quarterbacks nightmares. He was a powerful, dynamic force in helping the Buckeyes rank among the top teams in the land in 2019.
Washington will not overlook Chase Young. He will be the No. 2 overall selection in this year’s draft.
Lions Go With Linebacker Simmons from Clemson
3 – DETROIT LIONS. The Lions, I say, will not, as many believe, draft Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa as the successor to Matthew Stafford. Instead, I predict the Lions will select Isaiah Simmons, outside linebacker from Clemson. Detroit’s pathetic defense was one reason the Lions finished with a 3-12-1 mark.
Simmons is brilliant at his position. He has speed and moves gracefully over the field with his 6-4, 230-pound body a menacing figure. Simmons can haunt opposing backfields, too, with his awesome rush-the passer skills. With Clemson last year, Simmons had 104 tackles, 7 sacks and 3 interceptions in 15 games.
4 – NEW YORK GIANTS. Look for the Giants to select outstanding defensive tackle Derrick Brown from Auburn. Scouts all agree that Brown is the best interior defensive prospect in this crop of draftees. He stands 6-5 and weighs 318 pounds. Brown is a solid No. 4 overall pick and he should help New York improve on its dismal 4-12 record of a year ago.
Derrick Brown comes with impressive credentials. He was a first team All-America and Southeastern Conference defensive player of the year in 2019. In three seasons as an Auburn Tiger, Brown was dominant at his position. He recorded 170 career tackles.
5 – MIAMI DOLPHINS. The Dolphins won only five games in 16 outings and will be on the lookout for some defensive help. I say Miami will take Ohio State corner back Jeff Okudah. Here again is a team that will likely pass on Alabama’s Tagovailoa and pray their decision is a good one.
Jeff Okudah has the size at 6-2, 200 pounds to compete against NFL receivers. He will do well as a Dolphin, teaming with Xavien Howard to give Miami more punch in its defense. The Buckeye standout has remarkable strength and superb quickness.
Tagovailoa Will Be Future Quarterback for Chargers
6 – LOS ANGELES CHARGERS. Crimson Tide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will be the No. 6 overall selection. The Chargers, 5-11 last year, will pick Tagovailoa and hope he has fully recovered from the hip injury that brought his college career to a sudden end at Alabama last year.
Experts believe Tagovailoa (6-0, 217 pounds) has as much potential as Joe Burrow to be a standout in the NFL. Tagovailoa has a tremendous arm and can throw the deep ball with accuracy. Tagovailoa is likely to open the season for the Chargers.
7 – CAROLINA PANTHERS. Javon Kinlaw, defensive tackle out South Carolina, will be the Panthers’ opening round choice. Carolina needs to rebuild its defense and Kinlaw is an excellent selection for a team that finished a poor 5-11 last season.
Kinlaw is a 6-6, 310- pound giant of an athlete who has received high ratings among scouts for his speed, height and strength. He should be a dominant force in the NFL as an interior pass rusher. Kinlaw was listed on All-America teams and was an All-Southeastern Conference performer.
Alabama Tackle Is Arizona’s Prize Pick; Epenesa to Jaguars
8 — ARIZONA CARDINALS. Jedrick Wills, offensive tackle from Alabama, will join Arizona (5-11-1). Over time, Wills should develop into a superb protector of quarterbacks and an elite blocker for running backs. He is 6-4, weighs 320 pounds. He is quick and agile.
Jedrick Wills is recognized for his poise, power and balance. He earned second-team Associated Press All-American and first-team All-Southeastern Conference honors at Alabama. Wills plays with a “nasty disposition” and has an excellent NFL future.
9 – JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS. A. J. Epenesa of Iowa gets the nod as the No. 9 overall pick. Epenesa will give the Jaguars a quick and powerful pass rusher as they seek to improve on a 2019 season record of 6-10. He stands 6-5 and weighs 280 pounds. Scouts love Epenesa’s strength and rushing instincts.
A.J. Epenesa won All-Big 10 honors in 2019 and was a second team All-America in the Associated Press balloting. He forced 4 fumbles and had 49 tackles and 11.5 sacks in 13 games. He is quick and explosive.
10 – CLEVELAND BROWNS. I see the Browns (6-10) going with Georgia’s offensive tackle Andrew Thomas. Thomas is 6-5 and is a 320 pounder with bullish power. Defensive linemen and coaches give Thomas respect.
Andrew Thomas earned first team Associated Press All America honors and was named to the All-Southeastern Conference team. Scouts like his competitive mentality which they call “fierce.” He is equipped with excellent hands and quality footwork.
Jeudy, Lamb, Herbert and McKinney Are Among Elite Choices
11 — NEW YORK JETS (7-9). Jerry Jeudy, 6-1, 192- pound wide receiver from Alabama will go with the Jets as the 11th overall pick. The All-SEC performer will be a good one. Scouts rave over his ability to run the long routes..
12 – LAS VEGAS RAIDERS (7-9). CeeDee Lamb is a wide receiver out of Oklahoma known for making the impossible catches in clutch situations. The Raiders will welcome the 6-2, 189-pound Lamb to bolster their often sputtering offense.
13 — INDIANAPOLIS COLTS. (7-9) Justin Herbert will go to the Colts. He is a 6-6, 231-pound quarterback from Oregon. He has adequate arm strength and is very accurate.| Scouts feel Herbert has a great future in the pros.
14 — TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (7-9). Xavier McKinney (6-1, 200) hails from Alabama where he played safety for Nick Sabin . He is expected to add strength to fit well into the Tampa Bay secondary.
Broncos tag Tristan Wirfs; Mekhi Becton to Falcons
15 — DENVER BRONCOS (7-9). Tristan Wirfs (6-5, 322 pounds) has the size to hold back opposing defenses and protect the passer. The University of Iowa offensive tackle should add a new toughness to Denver’s game plan.
16 — ATLANTA FALCONS (7-9). Mekhi Becton, from Louisville ,is a giant (6-7, 355) of an offensive lineman. I’m looking for Atlanta to make Becton the 16th overall pick in the draft. Becton is the kind of frontman quartebacks want on their side.
17 — DALLAS COWBOYS (8-8). Grant Delpit (6-3, 203 pounds) was an outstanding safety for the national champion LSU Tigers. He can help the Dallas defense. Delpit may be carrying an ankle injury, however, that could slow his progress.
18 – MIAMI DOLPHINS(via 8-8 Steelers). Henry Ruggs III (5-11, 188 pounds) Another Alabama wide receiver ready to unleash his skills on opposing secondaries. He’ll be the No. 18 overall draft pick, giving the Dolphns an added weapon on offense.
19 — LAS VEGAS RAIDERS (via 8-8 Bears) Kenneth Murray (6-3, 240 pounds). Murray is a linebacker out of Oklahoma. Scouts applaud Murray as a born leader. He made a great impression at the NFL Combine.
Florida’s Henderson is Jackaonville’s Pick; Bills Like Higgens
20 – JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (via 9-7 Rams). C. J. Henderson (6-1, 204 pounds) is a cornerback from Florida. He is as good as they come at his position. The Jaguars will be using the pick that they obtained in a trade for Jalen Ramsey.
21 – PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (9-7). Laviska Shenault Jr. (6-1, 227 pounds) will join the Eagles after a stellar career as a wide receiver at Colorado. Shenault has tremendous and his potential and scouts believe he may have a breakout rookie season.
22 – BUFFALO BILLS (10-6). Tee Higgens (6-4, 216 pounds) is a wide receiver out of Clemson. Higgins comes to the NFL with a quality reputation. He had 27 career touchdown catches, which tied the school record. In his final year, Higgens had 59 catches for 1,167 total yards.
23 – NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (12-4). Yetur Gross-Matos (6-5, 264 pounds). An All-Big 10 defensive end from Penn State, Gross-Matos has long arms and is strong and quick. He has all the tools to perform well as a pro.
24 – NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (13-3) Justin Jefferson (6-1, 192 pounds). Jefferson was a key figure in LSU’s championship season. He is a class act wide receiver. The Saints will pick Jefferson and he should be a quality addition to the New Orleans high-octane offense.
LSU’s Fulton to be a Viking;Seattle Picks Josh Jones of Houston
25 – MINNESOTA VIKINGS (10-6 ) Kristian Fulton (6-0, 197 pounds). Fulton is a defensive back who was a major part of LSU’s undefeated season. He will be the 25th overall pick. Look for Fulton to strengthen the Minnesota secondary.
26 – MIAMI DOLPHINS (via 10-6 Texans). K’Lavon Chaisson is another LSU standout .The 6-3, 250- pounder plays defensive end and scouts rank him among the top pass rushers. He is fast and will perform well at the next level.
27 – SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (11-5). Josh Jones (6-7, 310 pounds). Jones played college ball for the Houston Cougars. He has tremendous size and strength at his offensive tackle position. He loves to punish defenses. I know he will make it in the NFL.
28 – BALTIMORE RAVENS (14-2) Patrick Queen (6-2, 215 pounds). The Ravens will get another good defender in Queen, a linebacker from LSU. He won the MVP honor as the best defensive player in the national championship game.
Titans Add Diggs; Champion Chiefs Pick Notre Dame’s Kareem
29 – TENNESSEE TITANS (9-7) Trevon Diggs is a 6-2, 207-pound defensive back out of Alabama. Diggs has all the tools to make an impact in the NFL.
30 – GREEN BAY PACKERS (13-3) Neville Gallimore (6-2, 304 pounds). Gallimore is a defensive lineman out of Oklahoma. Scouts rank him high for his overall athleticism and explosiveness.
31 – SAN FRANCISCO FORTY- NINERS (13-3) Zach Baun (6-3, 240 pounds) Baun is a pass rusher from Wisconsin who displays a lot of power at his defensive end position. Scouts like his toughness and strength.
32 – KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (12-4) Khalid Kareem. Kareem is a defensive end from Notre Dame who is 6-4 and weighs 262 pounds. He is agile and strong and scouts say he has a veteran-like understanding of his position.