Expect to see some surprising picks during the 2020 NFL draft after the predraft process was abbreviated because of the coronavirus pandemic.
"The media is wronger about mock drafts this year than you guys have ever been," a general manager told Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network.
Daniel Jeremiah @MoveTheSticks
I believe we'll see less groupthink in the draft this year. At pro days, coaches & scouts (from diff teams) spend so much time around each other & they end up forming a consensus on players. Not the case this year. Some will be shocked at how high/low these guys go.
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, is a virtual lock to get selected by the Cincinnati Bengals with the first overall pick.
There are no guarantees after that. The Washington Redskins are usually projected to take Ohio State defensive end Chase Young at No. 2, followed by the Detroit Lions taking Buckeyes cornerback Jeffrey Okudah with the third choice, but those could be altered by a trade with a QB-needy organization.
Even if those selections fall into place as expected, there's no consensus starting with the New York Giants at No. 4. So the window is wide-open for some shockers, even early in Round 1.
The latest big board from Bleacher Report's Matt Miller sheds light on the other reason the draft could take some unexpected turns: there's not a ton of difference between the prospects on paper.
Miller graded Young at 99 overall, three points better than any other player, but once you get outside the first half of the opening round, the grading gets tight. The difference between Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray (No. 19; 90 grade) and TCU wide receiver Jalen Reagor (No. 49; 86 grade) isn't huge.
So there could very well be some prospects projected to land in the late second or early third rounds who end up hearing their names called during the first round.
The lack of certainty about this year's class with less time for in-person interviews and workout evaluations is the main reason Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert suggested a 10-round draft this year, an addition of three rounds, per Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.
Colbert's idea didn't come to fruition, but it showed even the teams themselves may be having a tricky time trying to hammer out exactly where to place prospects on their board.
It should make for an entertaining draft with plenty of reason for debate once things get underway April 23. The event is being held in a virtual format because of COVID-19 restrictions.