Last week, I kicked off my first look at public expectations for the 2020 NFL Draft and this week, I'm back in the saddle.
In just the short time that has passed between these Twitter polls, we've already had reports from insiders and national NFL reporters that have shifted the draft landscape. I asked questions specifically with changing situations in mind — it will be interesting to come back to these in a week and see if the rumors have become all the more likely.
I asked these five questions about the 2020 draft. Here are there answers, and what I think of them.
This is a fascinating spread relative to the recent news regarding C.J. Henderson. ProFootballTalk’s Peter King reported a general manager told him 40% of GMs will have Henderson graded above Jeffrey Okudah outright. ESPN’s Mel Kiper has Okudah, Henderson and then the rest of the cornerback class. Henderson is at worst CB2 and at best CB1. His range is that limited.
Where does CB2 go? If we’re arguing it's after 9.5, we’re likely arguing Detroit trades back from No. 3. Even if the Lions do trade back, they could grab Okudah at No. 5 which makes Henderson an option on the board for the Panthers (No. 7) and Jaguars (No. 9) — Jacksonville particularly stands out as a team that's likely to love Henderson's length, press ability and ball skills that has a massive hole at starting corner.
But 9.5 is still an aggressive line to set. Henderson's line is set at 16.5 on BetOnline and appropriately so. It's extremely difficult to see Henderson getting past Dan Quinn and the Falcons. Henderson's odds of going top nine are better than the 1-in-4 odds that are currently presented.
In a continuation of the conversation opened by Henderson as CB2, the advanced divining necessary to discern CB3 is beyond my skill set. As such, I possed the question to the masses and the feedback wasn't great. Trevon Diggs and Kristian Fulton were mentioned and I can say with confidence that neither is going to be CB3. There isn't nearly enough talk on them as potential first-round selections; while I get the argument for Diggs, I don't get it for Fulton.
The consensus here is Jeff Gladney with just a hair of the majority of the vote. However, I remain unconvinced. While draft media likes Gladney, it's tough to find him at CB3 in a lot of insider mocks. The closer we get to draft day, the more we begin to realize that if he's going in Round 1, he's CB4 at best.
I like the runner-up as my favorite bet for CB3: A.J. Terrell. He has great film across the board, big-school pedigree — the references that come with that — and a healthy amount of buzz coming into this week. Terrell at Nos. 16. 19 (Las Vegas) or 20 (Jacksonville) is all on the table.
This answer was fairly even, and once again I disagree with the consensus here — but at least I have more people on my side.
I set this line right between the Steelers' first pick and the Bears' second pick. Both are teams that could potentially grab tight ends and missing first-round selections. While this tight end class is poor, it only takes one player to sneak in front of the 50th pick.
When we look at teams with the potential, there’s Pittsburgh and Chicago but also Dallas, Indianapolis, Green Bay, New England, Washington and Tennessee. Sure, the Packers have Jace Sternberger, Titans have Jonnu Smith and Cowboys have Blake Jarwin — all young players who will hopefully lock down an impact starting role but are far from certain.
Cole Kmet has the best chance as a top-50 tight end. He got a Round 2 grade from the advisory committee and tested quality across the board. Kmet is also a good fit for the Colts, Patriots and Redskins, who will ask him to put his hand in the dirt and play in-line much like he did at Notre Dame.
The 2015 draft was the only year in this century a tight end didn't go in the top 50. The class isn't great, but I'm playing the odds here.
However, the distinction between Lamb and Jeudy isn't nearly as strong in sportsbooks. Jeudy is slightly favored over Lamb to be the first receiver off the board, but that's just as likely to flip-flop as it is to stay steady over the next couple days. The value is on Lamb from a betting perspective.
But for my money, I continue to think we're undervaluing Ruggs. All we hear during the offseason is how speed is king in the NFL, how everyone wants to get faster, how every team needs a field-stretcher at wide receiver and Ruggs is that player and more. He has better route running, hands and physicality than most field stretchers that come out of college. Remember, it only takes one and the draft is always weird. Ruggs projects as that sort of player that will surprise on draft night.
I think some people are falling for smoke here. The Lions are doing their best to drum up trade interest for No. 3 because trading back gets them an extra pick and likely keeps one of Okudah, Isaiah Simmons and Derrick Brown on the board.
The first problem is that everyone knows Detroit doesn’t have a lot of leverage. The Lions want to move back, so teams don't need to pry the pick from them with capital; they can under-sell and slow-play Detroit to try and keep the cost down. The second problem is that there aren't many teams with much reason to trade up.
If teams are looking for a trade-up with the Lions, it's not about getting ahead of the Giants at No. 4 so much as it is getting ahead of the Dolphins at No. 5. But if a team is far out of the top 10 and looking for a quarterback over Miami, Detroit won't be interested because they would be losing out on the top defenders. The Jaguars at No. 9 and Chargers at No. 6 are the only two who could realistically 1) want to move up for a QB and 2) have picks the Lions are interested in.
The third team here is the Dolphins, in the event they want to protect themselves from the Chargers or the Jaguars. I don't think Jacksonville is a legitimate threat. It has so many holes on defense and going to see what they have with Gardner Minshew under center.
Los Angeles would much rather site and retain its picks, taking whatever QB falls to develop under Tyrod Taylor than use those picks to secure one particular player. This only works if the Chargers don't have at least two grades between Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert and Jordan Love that would warrant a top-six pick; they need to have only one to be spurred into a trade-up.
I get that there's a lot of buzz but I can't figure out the logic behind it. When it's all said and done, Detroit has to make a pick at No. 3.