The 2020 NFL Combine has come and gone. Despite the new schedule causing a lot of top prospects to skip testing, we still saw some freakish athletic performances that drove guys up the draft boards, and some disappointing times that hurt some stocks as well. With about 50 days and a whole lot of Pro Days left before the draft, here is my latest 3-round projection.
1. Cincinnati Bengals: QB Joe Burrow, LSU
Joe Burrow came out at the combine and said he would play for Cincinnati, so there’s a 0% chance this pick is anyone other than him now. Apparently, he is already calling the shots there, as he reportedly told the team he wants AJ Green there. Not coincidently, the Bengals are slapping the franchise tag on him. There’s no more debate, Burrow is the pick.
2. Washington Redskins: QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
Now this is where I am going to have some fun. There are a lot of factors here as to why I have the Redskins taking Tua over a sure thing in Chase Young.
a. Tua’s medicals came back very positive and it’s looking like he will be fully healthy soon.
b. Quarterback is the most important position in football and, if not for health concerns, there would be a huge debate between Tua and Joe Burrow going number 1.
c. Dwayne Haskins did not play particularly great last year.
d. Ron Rivera has been given full control of this team and he has nothing invested in Haskins.
e. Tua is a far better prospect then Haskins was.
With all that, I think there is a very good chance Ron Rivera comes in, believes Tua is a franchise quarterback and decides he wants to build his team with him leading it. Chase Young is the safe pick and would give them an incredibly talented defensive line, but Tua is a franchise changing prospect. Right now, I’m 50/50 on who is the pick, but Tua is the hot name.
3. Detroit Lions: DE Chase Young, Ohio State
This is a best case scenario for Detroit, who would get the best player in this draft class to put opposite Trey Flowers and give them a nightmare duo to go against the NFC North quarterbacks. If Young isn’t available at 3, this is a team that needs to trade down, but if he falls here, they need to unplug the phone and stop taking calls from teams, and draft him.
4. New York Giants: CB Jeff Okudah, Ohio State
The Giants could go a few routes here, take an offensive tackle to protect Daniel Jones (Mekhi Becton, Jedrick Wills), take a linebacker to fill a hole in the defense (Isaiah Simmons), but I’ll take Okudah, the best corner prospect to come out in recent years. Okudah gives their defensive backfield a huge boost and would give NFC East signal callers Carson Wentz and DakPrescott headaches for years to come.
5. Miami Dolphins: QB Justin Herbert, Oregon
If Miami wants Tua, they will need to trade up. If he is unavailable, it sounds like they are very comfortable moving forward with Justin Herbert, who has the tools and intelligence to become a great starting quarterback. He should sit behind Ryan Fitzpatrick to start, but he would be the right pick for the rebuilding Dolphins.
6. Los Angeles Chargers: OL Mekhi Becton, Louisville
With the top 3 quarterbacks in this draft class off the board, the Chargers have a choice, draft Jordan Love and hope for a development year behind Tyrod Taylor, or address a major need by adding an offensive tackle, and in this case, a monster offensive tackle. Becton showed at the combine that he is a freakish athlete and at his size, he has the potential to be one of the most dominant linemen in the league. The Chargers could draft him to protect a veteran QB and try to win this season with a very talented roster.
7. Carolina Panthers: OL Tristan Wirfs, Iowa
Whether or not Cam Newton is the Panthers starting quarterback next season, the Panthers could benefit from continuing to build up their offensive line with freakish athletes like Wirfs, who set records for linemen in the vertical and broad jump this weekend. Matt Rhule is in no rush to snag a quarterback after signing a 7 year deal, so he will build a solid foundation and wait for next years class to make a move.
8. Arizona Cardinals: OL Jedrick Wills, Alabama
Arizona’s offensive line was hot garbage last season, so they need to address that early in the draft. Wide receiver is a hot topic here at 8, but when a lineman as good as Wills is available, you take him to protect your young franchise quarterback.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars: LB Isaiah Simmons, Clemson
Telvin Smith is not coming back, and the Jacksonville defense is in need of some serious upgrades. Listed as a linebacker, Simmons can do everything except play nose tackle, and will be a game changing talent on the Jacksonville defense.
10. Cleveland Browns: OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia
Offensive line is the biggest need in Cleveland, and thankfully for them Thomas, the top tackle in this class coming into this season, falls to them at 10. A smart player with good size, Thomas’s floor is a very talented guard in this league and is a day 1 starter at left tackle.
11. New York Jets: WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama
The Jets need to help Sam Darnold in this draft, and after missing out on the top 4 offensive tackles, they will do the next best thing and get him a number 1 receiver in Jeudy, my number 1 receiver with the best route tree in this class. Jeudy is a 1,000 receiver from day 1 and reminds me of another guy who did well in NY, a certain OBJ.
12. Las Vegas Raiders: WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma
Mike Maylock and Jon Gruden will be jumping for joy that Lamb, a top 10 talent, falls to them at 12. Oakland is in desperate need of a true number 1 pass catcher and a possession guy, and Lamb’s physicality sets him apart from the other wideouts in this class. Jordan Love could go here, but Lamb is too good to pass up.
13. Indianapolis Colts: QB Jordan Love, Utah State
The Colts need a quarterback to develop into their long term solution, and with Jacoby Brissett under contract, it’s the perfect situation for them to bring in Jordan Love, who has some Mahomes like traits, to sit and learn for a year before taking over. Colts GM Chris Ballard loves to stockpile picks, but this year he should finally take a big swing and get a quarterback with a vey low floor but an all-pro ceiling.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DT Derrick Brown, Auburn
Jacob Eason could be a target here, but with the rumors swirling about Tampa being in on Teddy Bridgewater, and Derrick Brown being simply far too good to pass up here, plus he fills an immediate need on the defensive line.
15. Denver Broncos: WR Henry Ruggs III, Alabama
Offensive tackle is tempting here as protecting young franchise quarterback Drew Lock is very important to John Elway, but one way to do that is to give him more weapons to help him get the ball out quickly. Ruggs will give the Broncos a bigger Tyreek Hill type who will complement Courtland Sutton very well, and provide Lock with a deep threat for his huge arm.
16. Atlanta Falcons: DE K’Lavon Chaisson, LSU
Chaisson gives Atlanta some much needed pass rush, and as he said at the combine, he speaks 3 languages. He can rush the passer, stop the run, and drop into coverage. Dan Quinn will love and need all 3 of those for his defense.
17. Dallas Cowboys: CB CJ Henderson, Florida
Once Amari Cooper and Dak Prescott get signed, star cornerback Byron Jones will be the odd man out and will be heading to a new team. After a great combine performance, Henderson cemented himself as the 2nd best corner in this class and will fill a huge need in the Dallas secondary.
18. Miami Dolphins: OT Josh Jones, Houston
No matter who the Dolphins draft to be their quarterback, they will need to protect him. Jones has the size and athleticism to become a top tackle at the NFL level, and he has improved every year of his career as a pass protector. There are better players available here at 18, but Miami needs to prioritize the offensive line.
19. Las Vegas Raiders: LB Patrick Queen, LSU
The Raiders defense needs an upgrade in the middle, and Queen has come on stronger than any linebacker outside of Isaiah Simmons in this draft class. Solid testing at the combine cemented him as a 1st rounder in my eyes, and for the Raiders, coming out of the 1st round with a star WR and a stud LB is a great day for Maylock and Gruden.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars: DL Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina
Cornerback makes a lot of sense here considering the Jags just traded AJ Bouye to Denver, but Kinlaw to too talented to pass up and would give them a serious boost in the middle of the defensive line, where former 1st rounder Taven Bryan has struggled and their numbers against the run have been poor.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: WR Justin Jefferson, LSU
Philadelphia just needs receivers to get out on the field at this point, and Jefferson can play outside and in the slot and will provide the versatility they need. He cemented himself as a top 4-5 receiver in this class after his 4.33 40-yard dash.
22. Buffalo Bills: WR Tee Higgins, Clemson
Buffalo took huge strides last season mostly in part to the improved play of quarterback Josh Allen. In order for Allen to continue to develop, adding size to his wide receiver group will be a must. Higgins stands 6’4 and plays his best above the rim, and will give Allen the large target on the outside that he desperately needs.
23. New England Patriots: TE Cole Kmet, Notre Dame
The buzz on Kmet has cooled a bit lately, but he is still the top tight end in this class. If Brady is coming back to the Patriots (he is, don’t kid yourself) he needs a tight end to make this offense work. Kmet offers the Patriots a talented pass catcher who can block as well. Easy pick for New England.
24. New Orleans Saints: QB Jacob Eason, Washington
I considered Brandon Aiyuk here, but with the arm talent Jacob Eason has, and the fact that Drew Brees has 1 more season and the backup plan isn’t clear, it would be a smart move by the Saints to invest in a young, talented backup and have him learn behind one of the best to ever do it. A WR2 is a huge need for them, but that can be addressed in later rounds thanks to this incredibly deep class.
25. Minnesota Vikings: CB Jeff Gladney, TCU
Xavier Rhodes simply can’t keep up with anyone anymore, and the Vikings need some new blood in their secondary. Gladney has good speed and great ball skills, and will give them an instant upgrade on defense, especially in a division with Aaron Rodgers throwing.
26. Miami Dolphins: S Xavier McKinney, Alabama
I wanted to go with a pass rusher here, but the value doesn’t match the 26th pick, so McKinney is the pick here. A rangy safety and very intelligent player, McKinney will give a boost to their defensive backfield and a good replacement for MinkahFitzpatrick, who was moved to Pittsburgh this season.
27. Seattle Seahawks: DL Marlon Davidson, Auburn
A big guy who can play inside and outside on the defensive line, Davidson has come on throughout this draft process and cemented himself as one of the top defensive linemen in this class. A classic Seattle player, he will provide some much needed pass rush, especially if Jadeveon Clowney is on his way out.
28. Baltimore Ravens: LB Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma
Baltimore never truly replaced linebacker CJ Mosely when he left for the Jets in free agency last season. Murray is a tackling machine with great speed who can step in from day 1 and occupy that position for years to come. Baltimore is looking to reload its front 7 this offseason, and Murray is a great start to that.
29. Tennessee Titans: DE Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State
Running back could be in play here depending on how the Derrick Henry contract situation plays out, but assuming he is back, adding a high upside edge rusher to go opposite Harold Landry would be a good move for the Titans defense. Gross-Matos, Jurrell Casey, Jeffery Simmons, and Landry would give them a very talented defensive line.
30. Green Bay Packers: WR Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State
Green Bay needs to get Aaron Rodgers more weapons. They have been linked to every tight end and linebacker at the combine, but with Cole Kmet, Kenneth Murray and Patrick Queen off the board, a play making wide receiver to go opposite Devante Adams needs to be the move. People have said Aiyuk is better than his former teammate N’Keal Harry, and Harry went 32nd last year. This would be a great pickup for Green Bay.
31. San Francisco 49ers: S Grant Delpit, LSU
San Fran has 5 picks and no cap space this year, so there is a 0% chance they keep this pick, and instead they will trade down to acquire more picks. If they stay, safety is a need, and while Delpit is falling down draft boards after a disappointing junior campaign, he still has a ton of upside for the 49ers at 31st overall.
32. Kansas City Chiefs: OL Cesar Ruiz, Michigan
The defensive secondary needs some work, but the value isn’t here. Meanwhile, Patrick Mahomes is about to get a monster contract extension, so investing in the unit that protects him would be wise. Ruiz is an elite guard prospect with the intelligence of a center, and he should open up the KC run game as well.
33. Cincinnati Bengals: LB Zach Baun, Wisconsin
34. Indianapolis Colts: DE AJ Epenesa, Iowa
35. Detroit Lions: CB Kristian Fulton, LSU
36. New York Giants: OT Austin Jackson, USC
37. Los Angeles Chargers: RB Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
38. Carolina Panthers: DL Ross Blacklock, TCU
39. Miami Dolphins: RB De’Andre Swift, Georgia
40. Arizona Cardinals: WR Laviska Shenault Jr, Colorado
41. Cleveland Browns: S Antoine Winfield Jr, Minnesota
42. Jacksonville Jaguars: CB Jaylon Johnson, Utah
43. Chicago Bears: QB Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma
44. Indianapolis Colts: WR KJ Hamler, Penn State
45. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Edge Bradlee Anae, Utah
46. Denver Broncos: CB AJ Terrell, Clemson
47. Atlanta Falcons: TE Adam Trautman, Dayton
48. New York Jets: Edge Julian Okwara, Notre Dame
49. Pittsburgh Steelers: RB JK Dobbins, Ohio State
50. Chicago Bears: TE Brycen Hopkins, Purdue
51. Dallas Cowboys: S Kyle Dugger, Lenior-Rhyne
52. Los Angeles Rams: LB Jordyn Brooks, Texas Tech
53. Philadelphia Eagles: CB Noah Igbinoghene, Auburn
54. Buffalo Bills: DE Terrell Lewis, Alabama
55. Atlanta Falcons: RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, LSU
56. Miami Dolphins: CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama
57. Houston Texans: CB Cameron Dantzler, Mississippi State
58. Minnesota Vikings: DL Neville Galimore, Oklahoma
59. Seattle Seahawks: WR Denzel Mims, Baylor
60. Baltimore Ravens: WR Donovan Peoples-Jones, Michigan
61. Tennessee Titans: OL John Simpson, Clemson
62. Green Bay Packers: LB Malik Harrison, Ohio State
63. Kansas City Chiefs: RB Cam Akers, Florida State
64. Seattle Seahawks: DE Joshua Uche, Michigan
65. Cincinnati Bengals: WR Jalen Reagor, TCU
66. Washington Redskins: OT Isaiah Wilson, Georgia
67. Detroit Lions: WR Chase Claypool, Notre Dame
68. New York Jets: OL Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin
69. Carolina Panthers: S Ashtyn Davis, California
70. Miami Dolphins: WR Van Jefferson, Florida
71. Los Angeles Chargers: TE Hunter Bryant, Washington
72. Arizona Cardinals: DL Justin Madubuike, Texas A&M
73. Jacksonville Jaguars: WR KJ Hill, Ohio State
74. Cleveland Browns: LB Troy Dye, Oregon
75. Indianapolis Colts: DL Raekwon Davis, Alabama
76. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: OT Matthew Peart, UConn
77. Denver Broncos: OT Lucas Niang, TCU
78. Atlanta Falcons: CB Darnay Holmes, UCLA
79. New York Jets: TE Thaddeus Moss, LSU
80. Las Vegas Raiders: DL James Lynch, Baylor
81. Las Vegas Raiders: OL Matt Hennessey, Temple
82. Dallas Cowboys: WR Michael Pittman Jr, USC
83. Denver Broncos: DL Jordan Elliot, Missouri
84. Los Angeles Rams: OT Prince Tega-Wanogho, Auburn
85. Philadelphia Eagles: LB Willie Gay Jr, Mississippi State
86. Buffalo Bills: OL Jonah Jackson, Ohio State
87. New England Patriots: QB Jake Fromm, Georgia
88. New Orleans Saints: WR Devin Duvernay, Texas
89. Minnesota Vikings: OL Nick Harris, Washington
90. Cleveland Browns: OL Netane Muti, Frseno State
91. Las Vegas Raiders: DE Curtis Weaver, Boise State
92. Baltimore Ravens: DE Kenny Willikes, Michigan State
93. Tennessee Titans: TE Albert Okuwuegbunam, Missouri
94. Green Bay Packers: OL Llyod Cushenberry, LSU
95. Denver Broncos: LB Evan Weaver, California
96. Kansas City Chiefs: CB Troy Pride Jr, Notre Dame
Photo: (Vasha Hunt – AP Photo)