NFL Draft 2020: Latest Order and Predictions for 1st-Round Prospects

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistDecember 27, 2019

FILE - In this Nov. 30, 2019, file photo, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (9) scrambles during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Texas A&M, in Baton Rouge, La. LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is The Associated Press college football player of the year in a landslide vote.  Burrow, who has led the top-ranked Tigers to an unbeaten season and their first College Football Playoff appearance, received 50 of 53 first-place votes from AP Top 25 poll voters and a total of 156 points.  (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)
Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

Fluidity is the word of the day when it comes to the selection order for the 2020 NFL draft.

We know the Cincinnati Bengals will be first to the podium and probably welcoming LSU quarterback Joe Burrow into the fold when they get there.

We don't know much beyond that, as the results of the upcoming Week 17 slate are still needed to solidify the draft positions.

Still, it's as good of a time as any to take stock of where every team would be selecting if the season ended todaybear in mind, spots 21 through 32 will be determined by postseason playbefore examining the potential fit of top prospects with their potential employers.


2020 NFL Draft Order

1. Cincinnati Bengals

2. Washington Redskins

3. Detroit Lions

4. New York Giants

5. Miami Dolphins

6. Jacksonville Jaguars

7. Los Angeles Chargers

8. Carolina Panthers

9. Arizona Cardinals

10. New York Jets

11. Denver Broncos

12. Cleveland Browns

13. Atlanta Falcons

14. Oakland Raiders

15. Dallas Cowboys

16. Oakland Raiders (via Chicago Bears)

17. Indianapolis Colts

18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

19. Miami Dolphins (via Pittsburgh Steelers)

20. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Los Angeles Rams)

21. Philadelphia Eagles

22. Tennessee Titans

23. Buffalo Bills

24. Minnesota Vikings

25. Miami Dolphins (via Houston Texans)

26. Seattle Seahawks

27. Kansas City Chiefs

28. Green Bay Packers

29. New England Patriots

30. San Francisco 49ers

31. New Orleans Saints

32. Baltimore Ravens


Examining Fits of Possible Top-Three Picks

Joe Burrow to Cincinnati Bengals

There might have been a fascinating debate about the No. 1 slot if Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa hadn't dislocated his hip. But with the injury clouding over his NFL outlook, Burrow stands alone at the top—just as he did at the Heisman Trophy ceremony.

The breakout star of the 2019 college football campaign, the 23-year-old never provided the Tigers with fewer than two touchdowns in a game. He supplied four or more scores seven different times, which is a wild stat when paired with the fact he threw just six interceptions all season.

Burrow is an ideal fit for a Bengals franchise in desperate need of a major upgrade at the position. Andy Dalton could be playing his final game for the team on Sunday. Rookie fourth-rounder Ryan Finley got a brief opportunity to show what he could do, and the answer was not much: 47.1 percent passing with two touchdowns and two interceptions over three games.

Burrow's accuracy, athleticism and leadership would all be welcome additions to Cincinnati's locker room. He would have a decent amount of playmakers to spread the ball around to, even if AJ Green departs in free agency.

The LSU product and running back Joe Mixon should bring out the best in one another, and a change at quarterback might allow head coach Zac Taylor to show what he learned as an assistant under Sean McVay.

It's worth noting, though, that Burrow's chance at success (and Cincinnati's as a team) will hinge heavily on fixing all the leaks along the offensive line. If the freshman-to-be doesn't have the necessary time to throw, it won't matter how much talent he brings to the table.


Chase Young to Washington Redskins

The Redskins encountered a slew of problems this season, and defensive line play probably wasn't the biggest of their concerns. But when a potential once-in-a-generation prospect lands in your lap, you thank the football gods, grab said prospect and sort out the rest later.

Chase Young defines the term "special." His sack count sits at 27 since the start of last season. He has seven forced fumbles over the same stretch. ESPN's Todd McShay recently described him as "the best edge-rushing prospect I've seen since Von Miller entered the draft."

The Redskins can't miss out on this opportunity, even if they have bigger fish to fry than strengthening a defensive line. Perhaps by joining Young with first-round picks Montez Sweat, Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne, plus Pro Bowl alternate Matt Ioannidis, Washington could construct a defensive foundation similar to the one that catapulted the San Francisco 49ers to the top of the NFC.

The Redskins could also encounter a series of changes this offseason. Their coaching staff might undergo an overhaul, and perhaps the front office could be transformed. The secondary needs strengthening. An inside linebacker could be on the shopping list, and a Trent Williams replacement looms somewhere near the top of it.

But those are discussions for a different day (along with more chats about whether a change to a 4-3 defense is necessary). For now, the Redskins should celebrate the possible arrival of an elite defensive talent, who just might juice the rest of this talented-but-disappointing unit.


Jerry Jeudy to Detroit Lions

Prospect scouting can be a nuanced art. But sometimes it's as easy as turning on the tape and being blown away by what you see.

Studying Jerry Jeudy is that kind of experience. He's the best receiver in a stacked core of Crimson Tide pass-catchers and the top wideout in a draft class loaded with them.

This season, he has 71 receptions for 959 yards and nine touchdowns. That's actually a step down from 2018 when he turned his 68 catches into 1,315 yards and 14 scores. But even numbers as strong as this only tell so much of the story. Watch him in action, and it's hard to come away from that experience with anything other than hyperbolic-sounding praise.

"I said in May that he's the most talented receiver to enter the NFL since the duo of Julio Jones and A.J. Green went in Round 1 in 2011," ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. wrote. "The Biletnikoff Award winner can run every route and has elite ball skills, and he runs by SEC defensive backs every week."

Jeudy would be the gift that keeps on giving for Matthew Stafford.

In the short term, the Alabama product would give the Lions a loaded group of pass-catchers alongside Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr. and rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson; in the long term, he would provide insurance at the position with Golladay and Jones both slated for 2021 free agency.

Detroit's skill positions could be electric, especially if Kerryon Johnson can stay healthy. Developing sustainable success, though, would also require improvements across the defense and finding the right strategy for their long-term solutions at offensive tackle.