By News Team
Last Updated: 22nd April 2020
The NFL Draft takes centre stage in the American sporting calendar this week, with the draft taking place Thursday night U.S. time, or Friday morning in the UK.
Teams will be relying a lot on tape and second-hand information, so expect plenty of shocks. We take a look at five things to watch out for in the 2020 NFL Draft.
How many QBs go in Round 1?
With it seemingly a formality that LSU QB Joe Burrow goes No.1 to Cincinnati, there remains plenty of discussion as to how many others will join him in finding out their new employers on Thursday night.
Depending on who you listen to, Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa is either a Top-5 prospect or undraftable due to a season-ending hip injury. Oregon’s Justin Herbert and Utah State’s Jordan Love also have fans and if they go early, some teams may have to reach for a quarterback. Jalen Hurts is another QB with question marks but an impressive CV, while Georgia’s Jake Fromm and Washington’s Jacob Eason both have the pedigree to impress. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see a team reach for one of these.
The over/under for QBs picked sits at 4.5. This could offer good value as franchises decide their direction for the next five years.
First Wide Receiver taken?
This year is widely regarded as one of the most stacked wideout classes in a while. CeeDee Lamb was excellent at Oklahoma, Jerry Jeudy looks ready-made for the NFL, while Justin Jefferson had four touchdowns in the CFB Playoff semi-final.
That doesn’t even cover half the impressive names entering this draft. While Jeudy may be more polished, Lamb could get the nod first, with an impressive 31 touchdowns in three years as a Sooner.
Where does Isaiah Simmons go?
Clemson standout Isaiah Simmons has quite the resume. National Champion, All-American, ACC DPOY, Butkus Award for best linebacker in the nation… However, that doesn’t tell half the story about Simmons.
He has lined up at defensive end, cornerback and safety as well as linebacker in his short career so far. His 40-yard dash time led all linebackers at the combine, and he could have a future at a number of positions. This swiss-army-knife-style player is becoming increasingly coveted and with his athleticism Simmons should stand out at the next level.
He could go as high as the top five, but it seems unlikely he goes outside the top ten. The over/under on his position taken is 6.5. If the Chargers don’t like a QB, they could plump for Simmons and pair him with fellow athletic freak Derwin James as interchangeable, diverse defence pillars for the next decade.
LSU and Alabama dominance again?
College Football, Clemson aside, has been dominated by the SEC for a long time, with Alabama and LSU frequently compiling great teams with plenty of draftable prospects.
Both starting QBs should go in the first five picks, Jedrick Wills has a real shot at being the first tackle drafted, while wideouts Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III and Justin Jefferson should all get drafted within quick succession. That already makes it six without even starting a defensive conversation. Patrick Queen, Xavier McKinney, K’Lavon Chaisson, Terrell Lewis, Kristian Fulton and Grant Delpit all have real chances of going first round, so this could be a very safe bet.
Resurgence of the Running Back?
The last five drafts have seen less than ten running backs taken in the first round, but increasingly the game is seeing the importance a do-it-all back can have on a franchise. Saquon Barkley has revitalised the Giants, Christian McCaffrey has reinvented the position, Ezekiel Elliott has bought the swagger back to Dallas, while plenty of others have been roaring successes.
If you can get great production out of a guy on a rookie contract, your window for championships becomes that much bigger. Georgia RB D’Andre Swift will look to follow in the footsteps of alumni Nick Chubb, Todd Gurley and Sony Michel as starters in NFL backfields, while J.K. Dobbins, Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Jonathan Taylor all have legitimate shots at making the first round.