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Cover 3: Bold predictions for 2020 NFL Draft


With the 2020 NFL Draft hours away, three writers give their bold predictions.

John Schmeelk: When you are so immersed in something like the draft for four months, it is hard to know what is bold and what isn't. The draft is unpredictable with so many possibilities. To a certain extent, almost any prediction can be bold. Don't worry, I'm not going to predict that Joe Burrow is selected first or Chase Young is selected second. BORING!

One prediction I considered is that there would be no trades in the top ten. Given the uncertainty surrounding the injuries of Tua Tagovailoa, and the reports that both the Dolphins and Chargers are high on Justin Herbert, neither team might have the motivation to move draft capital to move up one to three spots. I also don't see an obvious team outside of the top ten that would move heaven and earth for a quarterback.

But realistically, when it comes to a position as important as quarterback, a team is going to have a preference and do what they can to get the quarterback they like most. I think the Lions end up trading out of their spot at three and swap picks with the Chargers. I don't think there will be any other trade-ups for a quarterback, but that's not a bold prediction given all the rumors.

I do think the early-middle parts of the first round will be dominated by offensive linemen and wide receivers. Here's a good prediction for you. Picks 8-15 in this draft will contain no fewer than six wide receivers and offensive linemen. There will be two mini-runs on those positions during this part of the draft. Teams selecting in that range have clear needs at those positions and the talent in the draft class lines up perfectly with those needs.

Officially, my bold prediction is that by pick 15, all of these players will be off the board: Jedrick Wills Jr, Tristan Wirfs, Andrew Thomas, Andrew Thomas, Jerry Jeudy, Ceedee Lamb and Henry Ruggs. Six of those players will be taken between picks eight and fifteen. Enjoy the draft everyone! 

Dan Salomone: I try to listen to smart and thoughtful people, and Daniel Jeremiah is one of them. The lead draft analyst for NFL Network brought up a very intriguing point concerning the lack of pro days, one of the inconsequential consequences of the pandemic. But in our pretend world of sports, it does have an effect. Jeremiah, who was a scout for three different NFL teams after starting for three years at quarterback at Appalachian State, said we will see less "groupthink" in the draft. That means some prospects could come out of nowhere and get drafted higher than the media and the public thought. Of course, the opposite could also happen.

The scouting community lives in a small world. It convenes at games, bowls, all-star showcases, combines, and pro days. The latter did not take place this year as everyone was pulled off the road. Giants general manager Dave Gettleman alluded to this on his pre-draft conference call last week.

"This is like back in the late '70s when they drafted with absolutely no contact with players," he said. "I think at the end of the day, it is a little bit old school because you're not getting the personal touchpoints that we used to have. It is a little bit old school. I just think that really and truly, at the end of the day, it's really all about what the kid does between the white lines. It's not about running around in your underwear or running a 40-yard dash or doing the vertical jump or whatever. It's really about putting a lid on and playing ball. It is a little bit more old school like that. That's not all bad."

NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah's best remaining prospects from his Top 150 ranking of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Lance Medow: So is this where I'm supposed to provide my "hot take" for the draft. Given all the speculation over the last few months, read: overkill, I would say there are very few things that fall under the umbrella of "bold prediction." However, I think Utah State quarterback Jordan Love will be selected in the first round. He's been a polarizing figure with opinions varying across the board, but if we've learned anything about this league, it's that teams are always looking for an answer under center, especially one with intrigue and upside. Love had an impressive 2018 campaign, but his numbers and production dipped in 2019 when he had a new head coach and several new starters. All it takes is one team, and I think Love will be grabbed by the end of round one and I wouldn't be surprised if the Saints or Patriots submit a virtual card with his name on it.

As far as other positions go, in terms of volume, offensive linemen and wide receivers will set the tone. I wouldn't be surprised if nearly 10 O-linemen are selected in the first round. While the focus has been on the top four (Mekhi Becton, Andrew Thomas, Jedrick Wills, Tristan Wirfs), there are many other names that could be in the mix, such as Houston's Joshua Jones, Isaiah Wilson of Georgia, USC's Austin Jackson, Cesar Ruiz of Michigan, LSU's Lloyd Cushenberry and Ezra Cleveland of Boise State. I think the wide receiver total will be slightly less because of the depth at that position and teams' patience in waiting until the second and third rounds.


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