by Alan Seslowsky
The 2020 draft process has been the most unique to date. The limit on direct access to player metrics and medicals due to the global pandemic has forced NFL teams to prepare in non-traditional ways. Teams need to parse through information, connect the dots, and form value on players. Predicting what will happen, for analysts, will be even tougher. Below are a few thoughts and scenarios that could unfold over the draft weekend.
Detroit and New England Make a Trade For the 3rd Overall Pick
The most likely scenario Thursday night will be that Joe Burrow and Chase Young go off the board at pick one and two respectively. The draft gets interesting when Detroit is on the clock. Most mocks have The Lions taking defensive back Jeff Okudah out of Ohio State. Detroit would love to trade the pick to either Miami or The L.A. Chargers, (pick five and six respectively) in order to ensure Detroit can still have a good chance to land Okudah or another top defender while picking up additional draft capital. RosterWatch podcast #238 guest, Mike Band, put forward the scenario of the Patriots trading up to pick three to take QB Justin Herbert. In Band’s scenario, New England gives Detroit pick 23 overall and Stephon Gilmore. Wow!
Tank For Herbert?
For the last 18 months, one of the most common narratives was that the Miami Dolphins were “tanking” the 2019 season for the right to draft Tua Tagovailoa with the first overall pick in 2020. The landscape has completely changed. Tua is now an elevated perceived injury risk, Justin Herbert’s pre-draft process was positive, and Miami has the 5th overall pick. If Miami leans toward being more risk-averse, there is a world where you can talk yourself into Justin Herbert as a better long term fit for the team than Tua. Inevitably, Tua vs. Herbert will be an interesting case study for the next half-decade if this comes to be the case. The classic upside versus safety draft pick.
Arizona Has Options
When the Cardinals pick at eight overall they will have great options on the board. There will be top offensive and defensive prospects available. RosterWatch believes they will lean to the offensive side of the ball but the real debate is what position? They can sure up the offensive line or add an elite WR prospect. No team played more “10-Personal” (four WRs) than Arizona in 2019. Another narrative is the familiarity QB Kyler Murray has with his former teammate CeeDee Lamb. There will be less opportunity for QBs and WRs to develop chemistry this offseason. The past experience these two have playing together may be a factor if the Cardinals decide to draft a top WR prospect. Adding strength to strength is an under-rated tactic that successful NFL teams use. The fantasy excitement would bubble over should Lamb land in Arizona. The more probable scenario is they add a right tackle or trade down. Tampa Bay could be a viable trade partner if The Bucs decide to add a tackle to protect Tom Brady.