More offensive linemen will be drafted than wide receivers in the first round.
Dan Salomone: Fact -- The great depth of this year's wide receiver class actually works against it in this case. Many teams might be willing to wait a round or two to take a receiver because they think they can find a plug and play starter in the second or third rounds. The talent runs that deep. The group also has a variety of different receivers, big and small, slot and outside, that can appeal to different teams with different needs. Daniel Jeremiah has 18 wide receivers in his top 100 players, for example.
The offensive tackle class is also deep by that position group's standards, but nowhere near what we are talking about when it comes to the wide receiver class. Once you get past the first 8-10 players, according to most analysts, you are looking at players that need serious development to become starters. Players 5-10 on the tackle list might need some time to develop, too, and could struggle as immediate starters. It also isn't a particularly good interior offensive line group according to most experts. There might only be 3-4 interior offensive lineman selected in the first two rounds.
In the reporters' mock draft we conducted on the Giants Huddle Podcast, nine offensive linemen (seven tackles and two centers) went in the first round, and only five wide receivers. I think it will be closer on draft night, but I still think more offensive linemen will go. Offensive tackle might be the scarcest position in football and teams are looking to fill a need there.
Lance Medow: Fact -- There's a great deal of depth at wide receiver in this year's draft class and many believe we could see a new record set for the number of receivers taken in the first three rounds, but that doesn't mean there will be a run on wideouts in the first round. If anything, you can be a bit more patient if you're looking for a playmaker at that position. The offensive line group has many attractive options, but considering tackle, specifically left tackle, is a premium position and there's always an urgency to protect the quarterback in the NFL, I think we'll see more offensive linemen than wide receivers selected in round one. Alabama's Jedrick Wills, Tristan Wirfs of Iowa, Louisville's Mekhi Becton, Andrew Thomas of Georgia, Houston's Joshua Jones, Austin Jackson of USC, Boise State's Ezra Cleveland, Isaiah Wilson of Georgia and Michigan's Cesar Ruiz are all candidates to be taken in the first round. That's nearly 10 offensive linemen.
NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah updated his ranking of the top 50 prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Offensive line is the hardest position to predict success at the NFL level.
Dan Salomone: Fiction -- I still think it's quarterback. The field is narrowing as NFL offenses more resemble college offenses, but there is still enough that changes, which makes predicting success very difficult. Offensive linemen (offensive tackles, specifically) might be scarce coming out of college due to the scheme they are asked to play, but research by PFF indicates that their analytics in breaking down specific parts of offensive line play (like pressures allowed on true pass sets) is fairly indicative of success in the pros. Scarcity drives teams to overdraft tackles that need to develop significantly in the NFL to be worth their draft grade, which makes it seem like success is difficult to predict. I think cornerback is more difficult to predict in the pros because some players at that position are a bit scheme-dependent based on their skillsets. How you use them can dictate their success in the pros.
Lance Medow: Fiction -- There are 32 teams in the NFL, but there are not 32 franchise quarterbacks associated with each franchise. That's all you need to know. Quarterback is by far the hardest position to predict because unlike any other position in the league, the signal caller is most impacted by his environment. If the offensive line struggles, the team doesn't have a strong run game, wide receivers drop passes, the defense has its ups and downs, those are additional challenges the quarterback must overcome. You can see all the talent and upside in a quarterback prospect, but can you accurately predict how the environment will change? That's the big unknown, which makes it difficult to determine future success.
With the new format based on current circumstances, you will see fewer trades in the draft.
Dan Salomone: Fact -- Trades are going to be less frequent. A lot of trades will have to be discussed ahead of time with basic parameters in place before they are executed on draft night. It will be difficult to cook up a deal when a team is on the clock, especially with the reduced time between picks deeper in the draft. It will also be more difficult to evaluate trades on the fly with members of the front office in different places. Taking calls with multiple offers from different teams at the same time might also be near impossible. I would expect fewer trades as a result of these challenges.
Lance Medow: Fiction -- Yes, the country is dealing with very difficult circumstances, but we didn't all of a sudden return to the stone age. There's more than enough technology available for every single team to communicate with each other and the league, and there will be test runs before the actual draft. If there are fewer trades, I think it will be more of a reflection on teams not willing to take as many risks because of the limited intel on players due to the cancellation of pro days and the closure of team facilities. I don't think it will have much to do with the format of the draft. As long as you have a functioning phone, you should be able to communicate with a fellow GM to orchestrate a trade.
View photos of every player projected to the Giants in mock drafts one week ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft.
"Versatility" has been the biggest theme of the 2020 draft cycle.
Dan Salomone: Fiction -- It is for one of the key defensive players at the top of the class in Isaiah Simmons, but not for some of the other top players in the draft. Jeffrey Okudah is a great cover cornerback. Derrick Brown is a disruptive defensive tackle. Chase Young is a dynamic pass rusher. The offensive tackles are known for their ability to be dominant at their one position. Versatility is certainly nice, especially as you get deeper in the class and players are going to have to be able to excel at special teams, but at the top it is a player's elite skill at the most important thing they are asked to do at their position that is still most important.
Lance Medow: Fiction -- There's versatility in every single draft class, so I don't think this class is any different. I think the "unknown" is a more fitting theme of the 2020 draft cycle because we're in uncharted territory this year. The process has completely changed with most everything being conducted virtually. Teams are making decisions without pro days, without access to medical re-checks and without in-person meetings and workouts. This is the land of the unknown. Even under normal circumstances, the draft is a guessing game and inexact science, but this year that is elevated. How much more will the regular season film dictate decisions? How much will teams continue to second-guess themselves over unanswered questions? This draft has a mysterious feel.