Now that the deadline has passed for underclassmen to declare for the 2020 NFL draft, we have a clearer picture of how the first round may play out.
A majority of the players who announced their intentions before the deadline came from the Clemson Tigers and LSU Tigers. In addition to projected No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow, as many as five participants from the College Football Playoff National Championship could be chosen in the first round.
Clemson's Isaiah Simmons has the potential to be the first linebacker off the board, while Grant Delpit could join the long list of LSU defensive backs taken in the opening round.
2020 NFL 1st-Round Mock Draft
1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
2. Washington Redskins: Chase Young, DE, Ohio State
3. Detroit Lions: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State
4. New York Giants: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
5. Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
6. Los Angeles Chargers: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
7. Carolina Panthers: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
8. Arizona Cardinals: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
10. Cleveland Browns: A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa
11. New York Jets: Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama
12. Oakland Raiders: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
13. Indianapolis Colts: Grant Delpit, S, LSU
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: CJ Henderson, CB, Florida
15. Denver Broncos: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
16. Atlanta Falcons: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
17. Dallas Cowboys: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
18. Miami Dolphins (from Pittsburgh): Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
19. Oakland Raiders (from Chicago): Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado
20. Jacksonville Jaguars (from Los Angeles Rams): Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
21. Philadelphia Eagles: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
22. Buffalo Bills: Curtis Weaver, DE, Boise State
23. New England Patriots: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
24. New Orleans Saints: Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State
25. Minnesota Vikings: Raekwon Davis, DT, Alabama
26. Miami Dolphins (from Houston): Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia
27. Seattle Seahawks: Austin Jackson, OT, USC
28. Baltimore Ravens: Julian Okwara, EDGE, Notre Dame
29. Tennessee Titans: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
30. Green Bay Packers: Tyler Biadasz, C, Wisconsin
31. Kansas City Chiefs: D'Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
32. San Francisco 49ers: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
Positions 29-32 will be determined by the remaining NFL playoff games.
Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
Luke Kuechly's retirement could play a role in the Carolina Panthers' draft strategy.
With quarterbacks Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert possibly off the board at No. 7, first-year head coach Matt Rhule could turn to Simmons to be the anchor of the defense.
The junior from Clemson is one of the most versatile players in the draft, as Draft Network's Jordan Reid pointed out during the first few drives of the CFP National Championship:
Simmons finished as the third FBS player since 2005 with more than 100 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, eight sacks and two interceptions in a single season, per Clemson assistant athletic director for football communications Ross Taylor:
The linebacker earned career highs in tackles, sacks, interceptions and passes defended as he helped the Tigers return to the title clash. In the final three games of his collegiate career, Simmons racked up 20 tackles, three passes defended, two interceptions and a sack.
If the Panthers spend the No. 7 pick on him, they could have another generational defensive player at their disposal.
Kuechly left a high standard to fill, as he produced 1,052 tackles, 18 interceptions and 12 sacks in his eight-year career.
If Simmons somehow drops past what seems to be a natural fit with Carolina, the Arizona Cardinals or Jacksonville Jaguars could use him. No matter where he lands, Simmons is expected to have a Kuechly-like impact on his NFL suitor because of how tenacious he plays.
Grant Delpit, S, LSU
Delpit could end up as a solid addition for a team with a secondary need in the middle of the first round.
The Oakland Raiders might take him if they view Delpit as the best player available, but they selected Johnathan Abram at safety in the first round last year.
The Indianapolis Colts might be a good fit for the Jim Thorpe Award winner; his arrival would bolster their secondary around cornerbacks Pierre Desir and Kenny Moore II. Adding Delpit to a defensive backfield that also includes 2017 first-round pick Malik Hooker and 2019 second-round pick Rock Ya-Sin would give the Colts a young foundation to thrive with for years to come.
Delpit was effective in his final few games for the national champion, as he made 10 tackles and did not miss one in the SEC Championship and College Football Playoff, per Pro Football Focus College Football:
In the championship game, he was part of a LSU secondary that limited Clemson duo Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross to eight catches.
Delpit is in line to be the seventh LSU defensive back selected in the NFL draft in the past five years, and he could be the first taken in the first round since Jamal Adams and Tre'Davious White went No. 6 and No. 27, respectively, in 2017.