During a time when the sports world has suddenly come to a halt, the NFL is soaking up all of the attention. After an eventful free agency period, the NFL Draft is up next, still scheduled for April 23-25 but without the massive crowds and big fanfare that we are all used to.
However, nothing else has changed in regards to this year’s NFL Draft. There are still seven rounds, all 32 teams will have multiple selections across all three days, and with this being one of the deepest draft classes in a long time, many players who are drafted will make an immediate impact this fall.
Today, Allstar Gambling is looking with Setting The Edge at the top 10 teams in the first round: what their needs are, who might be available for them, and who I think their selection will be on draft day. We’ll also mention any moderate-to-high likelihoods of that particular team trading their pick on draft day.
1. Cincinnati Bengals
At 2-14, the Bengals earned their spot atop this year’s draft. And as you would expect, there are many areas of need they’ll need to address with their seven picks.
An offensive lineman for Cincinnati seems like a guarantee at some point, given their 26th-ranked offensive line last season. You can also expect them to target wide receivers and a tight end to bolster their offensive firepower.
But those needs will be met after the Bengals almost assuredly take a franchise quarterback with the first overall pick. A quarterback, by the way, who also happens to be an Ohio native. Joe Burrow, last fall’s Heisman Trophy winner, is widely expected to be taken first overall by the Bengals.
Burrow put together a historic season for LSU, leading them to a national championship in the process. His accuracy, efficiency, and poise are praised by scouts, and he is a more-than-capable runner as well.
According to FanDuel SportsBook, Burrow is -3500 to be the first overall pick. Unless the Bengals are fooling everyone, Burrow will wear the stripes for the Bengals this fall as their new QB.
2. Washington Redskins
The Redskins have their pick of the litter after Burrow comes off of the board, and they could go in several different directions. Finding a franchise tackle seems important for this 3-13 squad, given that veteran Trent Williams is still asking for a trade.
Like Cincinnati, Washington is also looking for more weapons to help out second-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins. Finally, drafting an edge rusher will be considered, especially with Ryan Kerrigan entering the last year of his contract.
Although it’s not as much of a slam dunk as Burrow to the Bengals, the general consensus is that Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young will be the pick here. Young is considered by many to be the best overall prospect in this draft class, with an unmatched combination of size and speed. Washington could take Young, pair him with last year’s first-rounder Montez Sweat, and form one of the league’s top pass-rushing tandems.
Young is the favorite at -380 to be the second overall pick; however, there’s no guarantee the Redskins select him. With new coach Ron Rivera at the helm, there’s a chance they are not sold on Haskins as their QB of the future. If that’s the case, either Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert could make sense with this pick and make for the first shocker of the evening.
3. Detroit Lions
It’s a good thing the Lions, who went 3-12-1 last season, has nine picks to work with. Detroit has many critical areas of need to address, the first of which being cornerback after their trade of Darius Slay to the Eagles.
Upgrading the defensive line will also be important for a team that ranked dead last in pass defense in 2019 said Setting The Edge. You can also expect them to consider the offensive line to upgrade a unit that finished in the bottom half of the league, as well as a wide receiver, with all three of their top receivers due to hit free agency next year.
Many people feel the draft drama will begin with this pick, assuming Burrow and Young are the top-two selections. There are several directions Detroit could go, but the likeliest selection is cornerback Jeff Okudah.
The Ohio State star wowed teams in interviews at the NFL Scouting Combine and has ideal size, twitch and competitiveness for his position. With Slay’s departure, Okudah could start from day one and become the number one cornerback for the Lions immediately.
Okudah is the likely pick for the Lions at No. 3; however, sports betting odds have him at +195 and Tagovailoa at -110 to be the third overall pick. That’s because there is lots of speculation that Detroit could trade down a couple picks with Miami or Los Angeles and still end up with Okudah. So while Okudah seems like the pick for the Lions, where they select him will be the bigger question.
4. New York Giants
The Giants have their franchise quarterback in place after taking Daniel Jones in last year’s draft, but after a 4-12 season, they will look for another piece to add to their re-build. New York has 10 picks and a bevy of needs, perhaps none more prevalent than an offensive tackle and an edge rusher.
Finding protection on the offensive line is critical for Jones’ development under center, while improving a lackluster pass rush will certainly be addressed at some point. They also need improvement at safety and maybe even at linebacker.
This is the first pick that seems to be a question mark in the draft. New York is in a logical position to trade down, but general manager Dave Gettleman has never traded his first selection in a draft. Assuming they stay at four, they’ll have their pick of any of the stud tackles that are available.
The best of which is considered to be Alabama’s Jedrick Wills, who lined up at right tackle for the Crimson Tide and has all the necessary tools to start at either tackle spot. However, if they want to address defense, the linebacker and safety hybrid Isaiah Simmons from Clemson is a fascinating option for a team desperate for playmakers on defense.
Currently, FanDuel has Simmons at +170 as the favorite to be New York’s selection, with Wills at +380. But the Giants are a team who would benefit greatly from Washington taking a QB and Detroit trading down, which would likely leave Young available to them at number four.
5. Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins made a clear effort to tank last season but caught fire at the end of the year to end up with a 5-11 record. They have a whopping 14 picks, including three first-rounders, giving them plenty of chances to fill areas of need while also supplying them with ammunition for any potential trades.
Of course, the biggest need for Miami is finding a franchise quarterback. But they could also use help along the offensive line, at safety, and at edge rusher.
The consensus seems to be that Miami will select their franchise quarterback early in the draft, with the likeliest option being Tua Tagovailoa. The Alabama gun-slinger was one of the nation’s most efficient and accurate passers, and can also run if need be. Although he is coming off of a major hip injury that cut his junior season short, Tua is now healthy and ready to be an impact player right away.
Miami would love to have Tagovailoa fall to No. 5, but trading up a couple of spots to select him seems likely as well. Should they miss out on him altogether, the Dolphins could select Herbert or one of the offensive linemen to address a line that was ranked as the worst in football last season.
6. Los Angeles Chargers
After a 5-11 season and Philip Rivers departing in free agency, the Chargers join the group of other quarterback-needy teams heading into the draft. But quarterback isn’t the only need for Los Angeles. They could still use a left tackle to play opposite of new acquisition Bryan Bulaga, and will also aim to address edge rusher and tight end, with Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, and Hunter Henry all set to hit free agency after the season.
But above all else, Los Angeles will look for their next franchise signal-caller, with the most likely option being Herbert. Herbert has great size, mobility and arm strength, and is lauded for his exceptional work ethic as well. Even with questions about whether he can be a day one starter, he can sit and learn behind veteran Tyrod Taylor to start his career before eventually taking over.
Of course, if the Chargers love Tagovailoa more than Herbert, expect them to be aggressive in partnering with either the Lions or Giants for a trade. Additionally, there is also a non-zero chance that Utah State’s Jordan Love could go before Herbert as well. Either way, the Chargers seem poised to find a quarterback early in the draft.
7. Carolina Panthers
After a disappointing 5-11 season, the new-look Panthers will be led by first-year head coach Matt Rhule and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, replacing the fired Ron Rivera and the released Cam Newton. Carolina must now look to replace linebacker Luke Kuechly and cornerback James Bradberry, who retired and left via free agency, respectively. Expect them to target both cornerback and linebacker, and perhaps even along the defensive line, where they could use another starter or two.
At this point, the top two players on the board could be Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons and Auburn’s Derrick Brown. As mentioned earlier, Simmons is the most versatile player in the draft, who, if picked here, would stay in the Carolinas and give Rhule a new defensive captain to replace Kuechly.
There’s also Brown, the draft’s best defensive tackle, who is considered a three-down player and an immediate difference-maker. Either pick would give Carolina the potential star on defense that they desperately need.
Given the bevy of defensive talent that may fall to them here at number seven, it’s unlikely the Panthers will trade out of this spot. So a game-changer like Simmons or Brown seems like the plan for them.
8. Arizona Cardinals
After selecting Kyler Murray first overall last year, the Cardinals finished at 5-10-1 while flashing some potential. With their athletic QB and the recent acquisition of DeAndre Hopkins as their top receiver, Arizona has two critical needs and a major dilemma. Do they use this pick on an offensive lineman to protect their young QB, or do they select a defensive lineman to add to a unit that allowed the most yards in football last year?
If the Cardinals stick at No. 8, they’ll still have a couple of the draft’s top offensive tackles available like Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs or Louisville’s Mekhi Becton. But it may be hard to pass up Brown if he’s available here. With his ability to rush the passer as well as defend the run, the idea of Brown blowing up other teams’ offensive lines may be too tantalizing for the Cardinals to pass up.
Arizona seems likely to stand pat at number eight, but one possible trade-down option is moving down a spot or two to accumulate more picks while still ending up with a very good offensive tackle. Regardless, the Cardinals have plenty of options with their pick.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars look to be in rebuild mode after a 6-10 campaign. Gone are cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye, as are defensive linemen Calais Campbell and Marcell Dareus. And pass-rusher Yannick Ngakoue, who was given the franchise tag, has demanded a trade.
So needless to say, defense is a priority for Jacksonville. Expect them to use some of their 12 picks to address the cornerback position as well as the defensive line. They could also upgrade a below-average offensive line, and perhaps even look at quarterback with Gardner Minshew currently under center.
This is a team that would love an interior disruptor like Brown to fall to them. However, should he be off of the board, South Carolina’s Javon Kinlaw could be a possible selection.
Kinlaw has a massive build and has shown a solid ability to rush the passer. Pairing him with last year’s first-rounder, Josh Allen, may present an opportunity that Jacksonville doesn’t want to pass up.
Addressing cornerback seems like a likely option for the Jaguars with the 20th overall selection, but Kinlaw or an offensive tackle here seems to be the play. However, if a QB like Herbert falls and finds himself available here at number nine, the Jags will face a very difficult decision.
10. Cleveland Browns
It was another year of failing to meet expectations for the 6-10 Browns. Even after signing right tackle Jack Conklin in free agency, Cleveland still has a glaring need at left tackle if they want to protect Baker Mayfield.
In addition, the players Cleveland brought in at safety and linebacker are all on one-year deals, so finding long-term replacements at those positions will be addressed. Improving the defensive line is also a need facing the Browns heading into the draft.
Among all of those needs, offensive tackle seems to be the biggest, and at pick No. 10, Cleveland is in a position to nab one of the top four tackles available. One of those options is Mekhi Becton, who was a dominant run-blocker at Louisville and has a surprising amount of speed and athleticism given his size. Cleveland should prioritize protecting their QB above all else, and Becton gives them the ability to do so.
If Becton isn’t the pick, perhaps Wirfs or even Georgia’s Andrew Thomas could be an option. And with many teams right behind them who could use offensive line help, a trade-down scenario doesn’t seem very likely for the Browns.
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