2020 NFL Draft: 32 surprise picks that could shake up Round 1, including Joe Burrow not going No. 1


Oregon

• Sr

• 6’6″

/ 236 lbs

Projected Team

Cincinnati

PROSPECT RNK

18th

POSITION RNK

3rd

Sure, Chase Young would represent a reasonable surprise here. But let’s be real. The Bengals want and need a quarterback. Given Tua Tagovailoa’s injuries, it’s reasonable to assume Cincinnati would actually go with Herbert if the team didn’t pick Burrow.

Ohio State

• Jr

• 6’1″

/ 205 lbs

Projected Team

Washington

PROSPECT RNK

4th

POSITION RNK

1st

The Redskins have mammoth holes in their secondary — not along their defensive line — and Ron Rivera loves long outside cornerbacks with playmaking prowess. That’s what Washington would get with Okudah.

Alabama

• Jr

• 6’0″

/ 217 lbs

Projected Team

Detroit

PROSPECT RNK

5th

POSITION RNK

2nd

Matthew Stafford will be the Lions starter in 2020. After that, we can’t be so sure. Right now, he’d represent a $19 million dead cap hit if cut in 2021, but there’s a $10 million roster bonus due next March. Detroit could move on before then to save more money. With the quarterback room set this way, Tagovailoa would be under no major pressure to play as a rookie but could assume the starting gig in his second season.

Clemson

• Jr

• 6’4″

/ 238 lbs

Projected Team

N.Y. Giants

PROSPECT RNK

3rd

POSITION RNK

1st

The Giants realistically could go in this direction on Thursday, but even with Blake Martinez signed in free agency, it’d be viewed as a surprise given the need at offensive tackle in New York.

Louisville

• Jr

• 6’7″

/ 364 lbs

Projected Team

Miami

PROSPECT RNK

13th

POSITION RNK

4th

There’s tiny speculation that, armed with three first-round picks, the Dolphins could go offensive tackle first, then move up to get their quarterback later. Both are gigantic needs in Miami.

Utah State

• Jr

• 6’4″

/ 224 lbs

Playing in a division with the Chiefs, the Chargers have seen first hand how much of a nightmare it is to play against Patrick Mahomes. While not as talented, Love has Mahomes-type style to his game.

South Carolina

• Sr

• 6’5″

/ 324 lbs

Projected Team

Carolina

PROSPECT RNK

9th

POSITION RNK

2nd

The Panthers’ run defense was brutal a season ago, and they need to address the defensive line early. Going Kinlaw over Derrick Brown would constitute a surprise.

LSU

• Soph

• 6’3″

/ 254 lbs

Projected Team

Arizona

PROSPECT RNK

14th

POSITION RNK

2nd

The Cardinals finished right in the middle of the NFL with 40 sacks last season, 19 of which came from Chandler Jones. And he’s 30. Chaisson would give Arizona a young, springy No. 2 on the edge.

Georgia

• Jr

• 6’5″

/ 315 lbs

Projected Team

Jacksonville

PROSPECT RNK

11th

POSITION RNK

3rd

The Jaguars probably realize the Cam Robinson experiment is over. Even with needs elsewhere, offensive tackle is a premium position, and Thomas is a stud run blocker with much-improved pass-protecting skills

Clemson

• Jr

• 6’4″

/ 238 lbs

Projected Team

Cleveland

PROSPECT RNK

3rd

POSITION RNK

1st

The Browns have a clear-cut need at left tackle yet even with two second-year players at linebacker, Cleveland could use a true defensive difference-maker at the linebacker or safety spot. Simmons does everything.

Ohio State

• Jr

• 6’1″

/ 205 lbs

Projected Team

N.Y. Jets

PROSPECT RNK

16th

POSITION RNK

2nd

The Jets seemingly need to go offensive tackle or wide receiver. But they have a gigantic need at cornerback, and if he falls, it might be a value over need proposition for GM Joe Douglas.

Utah State

• Jr

• 6’4″

/ 224 lbs

Projected Team

Las Vegas

PROSPECT RNK

19th

POSITION RNK

4th

Would this drop jaws on draft night? No. But Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock could look quarterback in this first round, and Love is the biggest enigma with the most boom-or-bust qualities.

Auburn

• Sr

• 6’5″

/ 326 lbs

The 49ers just traded away their best interior disruptor, but few really expect them to go defensive tackle here to immediately replace DeForest Buckner. Brown would instantly fill the void.

LSU

• Soph

• 6’3″

/ 254 lbs

Projected Team

Tampa Bay

PROSPECT RNK

14th

POSITION RNK

2nd

Yes, Shaq Barrett is in Tampa, but he’s playing on the franchise tag. Given Chaisson’s age (still 20), he’d represent the future at a key position for the Buccaneers.

LSU

• Jr

• 6’1″

/ 202 lbs

Projected Team

Denver

PROSPECT RNK

27th

POSITION RNK

4th

On draft night, if the top three receivers are gone, the Broncos would have to turn their direction to someone other than Henry Ruggs, Jerry Jeudy, or CeeDee Lamb.

Penn State

• Jr

• 6’5″

/ 266 lbs

Projected Team

Atlanta

PROSPECT RNK

20th

POSITION RNK

3rd

Even after signing Dante Fowler in free agency, the Falcons could use more outside rushing talent. This would probably represent the ceiling pick-wise for Gross-Matos. But he has the physical profile to be a mid first-round pick.

Clemson

• Jr

• 6’1″

/ 195 lbs

Projected Team

Dallas

PROSPECT RNK

25th

POSITION RNK

4th

The positional need is obvious after the Cowboys let Byron Jones walk in free agency. The prospect would be the surprise in Round 1, although there’s some building buzz for Terrell going decently early on Thursday.

Alabama

• Jr

• 6’0″

/ 217 lbs

Projected Team

Miami

PROSPECT RNK

5th

POSITION RNK

2nd

It very well could be a massive smokescreen, but there is momentum building for a Tagovailoa fall on draft night. This represents his absolute floor.

Baylor

• Sr

• 6’3″

/ 207 lbs

Projected Team

Las Vegas

PROSPECT RNK

40th

POSITION RNK

8th

We assume the Raiders will go receiver at some point early, and while they’ve been tied to the big names at the top of this class, Mims has aced his pre-draft process and has the speed Las Vegas likely covets at the receiver spot.

Iowa

• Jr

• 6’5″

/ 275 lbs

Projected Team

Jacksonville

PROSPECT RNK

34th

POSITION RNK

4th

It seems like Epenesa has dropped out of the first round, but it wouldn’t be nuts to assume a few teams have a first-round grade on him. With this pick, the Jaguars would get help on the edge for Josh Allen and someone who can comfortably kick inside.

Clemson

• Jr

• 6’1″

/ 195 lbs

Projected Team

Philadelphia

PROSPECT RNK

41st

POSITION RNK

9th

The Eagles going anything other than receiver would shock just about all of us, but let’s not forget how badly Philadelphia’s secondary was torched at times last year.

Houston

• Sr

• 6’5″

/ 319 lbs

Projected Team

Minnesota

PROSPECT RNK

17th

POSITION RNK

5th

Everyone expects the top four offensive tackles to go off the board by No. 11 overall, and Jones is seemingly the consensus OT5. The Vikings have more glaring needs at receiver and corner, but the offensive line could use an upgrade on the edge.

Utah State

• Jr

• 6’4″

/ 224 lbs

Projected Team

New England

PROSPECT RNK

19th

POSITION RNK

4th

Love would be surprising for a Bill Belichick-led Patriots team because of his tendency to turn over the football.

South Carolina

• Sr

• 6’5″

/ 324 lbs

Projected Team

New Orleans

PROSPECT RNK

31st

POSITION RNK

4th

The Saints have arguably the best roster in the NFL, yet with Sheldon Rankins playing on his fifth-year option and adequate albeit unspectacular depth at defensive tackle behind him, the Saints could be into a disruptor like Kinlaw if he slips.

Oklahoma

• Sr

• 6’2″

/ 304 lbs

Projected Team

Minnesota

PROSPECT RNK

36th

POSITION RNK

4th

The Vikings have beef on the interior of their defensive line, yet not much pass-rushing talent. Gallimore wins with first-step quickness and good hand work.

Georgia

• Jr

• 5’8″

/ 212 lbs

Projected Team

Miami

PROSPECT RNK

43rd

POSITION RNK

2nd

Heading into draft day, Swift has the most first-round buzz of any running back. However, there’s not much tying him to the Dolphins, but Miami clearly needs a bell-cow back.

TCU

• Jr

• 6’3″

/ 290 lbs

Projected Team

Seattle

PROSPECT RNK

29th

POSITION RNK

3rd

Poona Ford flashed in 2019, and Jarran Reed is a sturdy player. But Seattle could use more juice at defensive tackle, and Blacklock has first-round burst off the snap.

TCU

• Jr

• 5’11”

/ 206 lbs

Projected Team

Baltimore

PROSPECT RNK

41st

POSITION RNK

9th

The Ravens are very much in the receiver market early in this draft, yet after going Marquise Brown in Round 1 a season ago, it seems as though most believe they’d like more size at the position, so Reagor would be surprising.

Georgia

• Soph

• 6’7″

/ 350 lbs

Projected Team

Tennessee

PROSPECT RNK

59th

POSITION RNK

10th

Wilson has mounting buzz about sneaking into the first round. He’s a big, overwhelming, run-blocking specialist at right tackle, and Tennessee lost Jack Conklin in free agency.

USC

• Jr

• 6’5″

/ 322 lbs

Projected Team

Green Bay

PROSPECT RNK

54th

POSITION RNK

9th

Ricky Wagner is penciled in as the starting right tackle, so Green Bay doesn’t have a glaring need for 2020 at that position. But Jackson isn’t ready yet, so need in the future would be sensible for both parties here.

Boise State

• Jr

• 6’6″

/ 311 lbs

The 49ers have gotten unbelievable return on investment from Joe Staley after picking him in the first round of 2007. And Mike McGlinchey has been rock solid across from him at right tackle. Cleveland is a freaky athlete with clean tape. He just needs to get stronger. This would be a pick mostly with 2021 and beyond in mind.

Wisconsin

• Jr

• 5’10”

/ 226 lbs

Projected Team

Kansas City

PROSPECT RNK

31st

POSITION RNK

1st

This would provide a nice surprise at the end of Round 1, because Andy Reid has shown he can scheme running back production, and everyone assumes the Chiefs would only pick a running back here with receiving prowess. That’s not a strength of Taylor’s.





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