NFL Draft 2020: Where Burrow, Tua and QBs are Being Selected in Expert Mocks

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistFebruary 26, 2020

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JANUARY 13: Joe Burrow #9 of the LSU Tigers drops back to pass during the fourth quarter of the College Football Playoff National Championship game against the Clemson Tigers at the Mercedes Benz Superdome on January 13, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The LSU Tigers topped the Clemson Tigers, 42-25. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
Alika Jenner/Getty Images

The NFL draft is bigger than one position, but the quarterback class is often what reverberates the loudest from football's incoming rookie crop.

With a trio of signal-callers slated for the top 10 in most mock drafts and perhaps as many as five passers capable of entering the opening round, the 2020 quarterback group looks loaded.

That's why we've decided to rely on draft experts to gauge the temperature on this quarterback class. Below, we'll break down how Bleacher Report's Matt Miller, ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. and NFL.com's Bucky Brooks think the first round will play out at this position on April 23.


Burrow Locked In at No. 1

While you might find a contrarian here or there willing to take an imaginative leap at the top, these experts all agree the Cincinnati Bengals will grab Joe Burrow with the first overall pick.

This should surprise exactly no one. The 23-year-old just engineered perhaps the greatest season ever by a college quarterback, earning himself the Heisman Trophy and his team the national title.

He's been a clear choice at No. 1 for months, and the volume is loud enough that he was asked at the NFL Scouting Combine how the Ohio native would respond to being selected by the Bengals.

"I'm not going to not play," Burrow told reporters. "I'm a ballplayer. Whoever takes me, I'm going to go show up."

Maybe that's not the most fervent endorsement we've ever heard, but it should be enough to assuage any worries on behalf of the Bengals.


Split Opinions on Tua

So much for Tua Tagovailoa's hip injury hurting his draft stock. All of these experts predict he'll land in the top five, though there isn't a consensus on where.

Miller and Brooks hold the popular opinion of Tagovailoa finding his way to the Miami Dolphins at the No. 5 pick. But Kiper has him coming off the board even earlier at No. 3, either to the Detroit Lions or perhaps a  trade partner.

"Could the Chargers or Raiders or Jaguars move up to jump the Dolphins at No. 5 and get their guy?" Kiper wrote. "Everything is in play here, and since I'm not going to project trades, I'll stick with Tagovailoa at No. 3."

The Lions have denied shopping Matthew Stafford, which could mean they aren't or they haven't found the right return yet. Either way, they seem a long shot for Tagovailoa as long as the 32-year-old is around.

If Tagovailoa proves he's healthy during the predraft circuit, though, it isn't hard to imagine someone moving up into the third spot to select him.


Justin Herbert Gone By No. 6

Three out of three draft experts agree that Justin Herbert won't be waiting too long to hear his name called.

However, it all depends on where Tagovailoa lands. Miller and Brooks both have Herbert joining the Philip Rivers-less Chargers at No. 6, one pick after they have the Dolphins getting Tagovailoa.

Kiper, on the other hand, has the Oregon Duck going to Miami at No. 5 since Tagovailoa is already off his board by that point.

Herbert is by no means a perfect prospect, but as Miller noted, the 21-year-old checks enough boxes to be regarded the third-best passer in this class:

"Herbert is what you picture a modern-day quarterback to play like. He's big (6'6", 227 lbs), strong-armed, mobile and isn't afraid to pull the ball down and run for yards when plays break down. On the flip side, there are some concerns with spotty accuracy (passes tend to sail high) and his inexperience getting through progressions in the Oregon offense."

As long as the quarterbacks in front of him don't slip, Herbert looks like a clear early selection.


Rest of the Round Is Unpredictable

Some mock drafts may not have more than those three quarterbacks cracking the first round. These three expert projections do, though they differ on how many passers will go and where they will land.

Kiper has the fewest of the bunch with only one more passer in his opening round: Washington's Jacob Eason at No. 23 to the Patriots. As the ESPN scribe notes, New England doesn't know if 42-year-old Tom Brady will return next season, and even if he does, the franchise needs a long-term replacement sooner than later.

But would Eason be the pick? While both Miller and Brooks have him as a first-rounder—at No. 14 to the Buccaneers and No. 30 to the Packers, respectively—each has Utah State's Jordan Love mocked higher. Miller pegs him to the Colts at No. 13, while Brooks has Love landing with the Raiders at No. 12.

"After watching their division rivals hoist the Lombardi Trophy due to a draft-day quarterback gamble that changed the course of the franchise, the Raiders could roll the dice on an ultratalented prospect with MVP potential," Brooks wrote.

It's impossible to know which (if any) of these predictions will prove correct, but if three of the first six picks are quarterbacks, it seems unlikely the position would be neglected for the remainder of the round.