Tuesday, June 18, 2024

NFL Draft chaos as top 6 picks up in the air

With the NFL Draft less than two months away, you’d expect a pattern to be emerging with regard to the top six selections. However, this offseason is like no other. With a haul of free-agent quarterbacks set to hit the market, a number of teams looking for a franchise QB, and some new coaches to boot, this could be the wackiest draft in years.

With so many questions still up in the air, let’s take a rundown of the top-six, and who we think they’ll be targeting, who might trade, and if there’s anything we actually know with any certainty.

NFL Draft number 1 pick: Bengals take Joe Burrow

Despite some odd, and maybe disconcerting, statements made by Burrow over the last few weeks, the Bengals have made it clear behind the scenes that the LSU quarterback is their pick. Cincinnati has no interest in trading out of the pick, and the injury status of Tua Tagovailoa makes Burrow the only quarterback they could realistically pick.

Don’t get me wrong, Burrow’s senior year has him top of many teams board, regardless of the injury to Tua. By the injuries Tua has suffered, particularly the broken hip, has made this a no contest.

Chase Young, arguably the best player in this year’s rookie pool would be a good pick for the Bengals if not for the fact they have no quarterback with incumbent Andy Dalton looking for a trade that the team has said they will help facilitate.

So write Joe Burrow on your draft sheet in ink. This one is nailed on.

Pick 2: Washington Redskins select…

Until just a few days ago this pick was expected to be Chase Young. Young is an absolute stud that looks an even better NFL prospect than Nick Bosa who helped turn the 49ers into a Super Bowl contender. Young would likely turn that Redskins D into a much better unit overnight.

But not so quick. New head coach Ron Rivera has said the team will consider all options with the number 2 pick. Now let’s be clear, this is exactly what you would expect him to say. He wants to get maximum value from this pick. The Redskins have a lot of holes to fill, so the best way to trade the pick is to make teams think they may take Tua Tagovailoa.

Now it’s debatable whether a team will make a big run at Tagovailoa given his aforementioned injury issues. But teams have done far worse in pursuit of their next franchise quarterback. The team most likely to make a run at him seemed to be the Dolphins, but their lukewarm interview with him at the combine makes this seem doubtful.

The Chargers could also be interested, but it’s debatable that they have the ammunition to move up four spots from number 6. Of course, the Chargers are the best roster of all of these teams, so maybe a player plus picks trade might make the Redskins deal.

Of course, the Redskins could stand pat and take Tua themselves. With a new HC at the helm, a change at QB could easily be justified. Tagovailoa grades as a much better prospect than last year’s Redksins rookie Dwayne Haskins. And they’d still likely have Haskins on tap until Tua was ready to roll.

It’s an interesting storyline, but in all truth, I still think the Redskins take Chase Young who in my opinion will be the best pick of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Pick 3: Detroit Lions select…

Now the Lions need help, and a lot of it, particularly on defence. However, stories from the motor city have incumbent Matthew Stafford seeking a trade. The result of that situation likely decides whether the Lions address that horrendous defence, or take a punt on a rookie QB.

This is the pick I think has the most chance of being traded of the top six. The Lions have so many holes they would probably bite the Dolphins hand off if they came at them with one of their other first-rounders as bait. That said I think the Dolphins like where they are in terms of taking their number one need.

If the Lions keep Stafford or address the quarterback spot in free agency (Jameis Winston anyone?), this pick is probably Jeff Okudah CB from Ohio State. Isaiah Simmons LB is a possibility, by I think corner is a slightly bigger need at this point and Okudah is also the better player.

Of course, if the Redskins take Tua, the Lions will almost certainly jump on Chase Young.

Pick 4: New York Giants trade the pick to the Chargers

A trade back two-spots with the Chargers would be ideal for the Giants as neither the Chargers or Dolphins are likely to go OL at this point in the draft. If Tagovailoa is still on the board, it’s very possible that the Chargers will make that call and jump ahead of the Dolphins. It might cost them this years second-rounder, but the Chargers need a quarterback of the future desperately. Take a look at our NFL Draft trade chart for a clue to how much a draft-night trade is likely to cost.

There is a chance that the Chargers trade up to take Herbert, but I think that’s unlikely at this point in time.

Barring a last-minute trade with the Chargers, I see the Giants doing the safe thing and taking the best lineman in the draft. Addressing their biggest weakness which has been obvious for a few years, and giving another big body to protect Daniel Jones and create holes for Saquon Barkley.

NFL Draft Pick 5: The Miami Dolphins select…

Despite everything that has gone on ahead of this pick, this is the hardest one to call for me. Having traded away most of the talent on their roster, the Dolphins need a sure-fire hit with this pick. Unfortunately for them, Miami’s biggest need is a quarterback and they’re about the furthest thing from sure-fire as you can get in the NFL draft.

Tua Tagovailoa has been most pundits Dolphins pick since week 1 of the 2019 season, and that really hasn’t changed much. However, the Dolphins have noticeably cooled on Tua since his horrific hip injury. Couple that with his previous injuries and the Dolphins seem very circumspect.

Now, this could all be the standard games that teams play pre-draft, but there’s really little point. The Dolphins have done a lot of work on Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert, and Herbert definitely helped himself by winning MVP at the senior bowl.

For that reason, regardless of whether there are opportunities to trade up, I think the Dolphins sit at five and take Justin Herbert or Tua Tagolvailoa. If they both fall to five I think there will be a lot of hand-wringing in the Miami war room over which one to take, but at the end of the piece, I think they take Herbert.

This is the main reason I don’t see the Dolphins trading up in this year’s NFL draft. I think they would be happy with either Herbert or Tagovailoa. With as many holes as Miami has, trading a pick to move up one or two spots would be counter-productive. And if the first five picks move heavily against them they still have good options.

In the event that epic-craziness ensues and neither are there the Dolphins would have their pick of the best corner (Jeff Okudah), best OL (Jedrick Wills), or best WR(CeeDee Lamb). That being the case I would expect them to take Okudah to pair with Howard, and use either their second or third first-rounder on Jordan Love or Jacob Eason.

I’m not expecting that though, and the Dolphins walk away with Justin Herbert.

Pick 6: The New York Giants select…Jedrick Wills

The Giants make the pick they would otherwise make at number four, but pick up either a second or third, round pick in the bargain. A nice night for the g-men. Of course, there is an argument that the Giants should stick at four and take Tua Tagovailoa themselves, but Gettleman isn’t ready to admit to a mistake on Daniel Jones at this moment in time.

That said with Gettleman you never really know as his recent words showed. Jones may prove to be a franchise quarterback but there were enough warning signs in the latter half of the season to suggest he may be a bit of a rollercoaster. This would be the perfect opportunity to upgrade on Jones, but I don’t see the Giants doing it.

To recap the first six picks in the 2020 NFL Draft, we have:

1: Bengals – Joe Burrow (QB)
2: Redskins – Chase Young (EDGE)
3: Lions – Jeff Okudah (CB)
4: Chargers (via NY Giants) – Tua Tagolvailoa (QB)
5: Dolphins – Justin Herbert (QB)
6: Giants (via LA Chargers) – Jedrick Wills (OL)

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