The 2020 NFL Combine has officially kicked off in Indianapolis, with the top prospects in the country competing to prove they are worthy of selection. Some players come into the draft knowing they will be a first round pick, and they’re competing for how high they might go. Others are looking to prove they should not go undrafted. And Joe Burrow is just looking to maintain his spot atop most mock drafts.
NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah is making the rounds to help NFL media preview the Combine, and on Monday he chatted with NBC Sports columnist Peter King. In King’s weekly Football Morning In America column, Jeremiah offered his thoughts on the various prospects, and then offered up a helpful comparison. He provided a top ten mock draft and then compared that with his top ten big board.
A mock draft projects out who teams will look at based on their individual needs, while a big board simply looks at the best overall players regardless of the draft order. We know the Cincinnati Bengals are all but certain to draft Burrow, but a No. 1 pick quarterback is often not the best overall player. In this case, Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young is Jeremiah’s No. 1 guy. Washington could listen to trade offers, but Jeremiah thinks it would be foolish to do so — comparing Young favorably to Nick Bosa, last year’s defensive rookie of the year by a long shot.
This shows the value of having a “franchise quarterback” in place even with a high draft pick. It remains to be seen if Dwayne Haskins and Daniel Jones are legit franchise QBs for Washington and the New York Giants, but for the time being they give those two franchises a chance to skip on a quarterback with high first round picks. That also means if they turn out to not be the guy to build around, both franchises could be set back by several years.
We’ve regularly heard how deep this class is with receivers. Jeremiah’s big board features two receivers in the top ten: Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb and Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy. Jeremiah told King he has 27 receivers with a grade in the top three rounds, a year removed from 12 receivers going in the top 52 spots. We could see record numbers of first and second round receivers, which makes for some interesting fantasy football draft decisions come August.
As noted by King, A.J. Brown, Terry McLaurin, Deebo Samuel, A.J. Brown, Mecole Hardman, and DK Metcalf all broke out in 2019 with varying degrees of success. The NFL continues developing into more and more of a passing league. It will be interesting to see how aggressive fantasy owners are in going after rookie receivers in 2020 drafts given how well youngsters performed last year. It might end up being an over-correction that affords patient owners a chance to get some quality veterans on the cheap.
Daniel Jeremiah pre-Combine mock draft/big board
|No||Mock Draft||Big Board|
|No||Mock Draft||Big Board|
|1||Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU||Chase Young, Edge, Ohio State|
|2||Washington: Chase Young, Edge, Ohio State||Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn|
|3||Lions: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State||Joe Burrow, QB, LSU|
|4||Giants: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville||Isaiah Simmons, S/LB, Clemson|
|5||Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama||Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State|
|6||Chargers: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama||Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama|
|7||Panthers: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn||Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina|
|8||Cardinals: Tristan Wirfs, OG, Iowa||CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma|
|9||Jaguars: Isaiah Simmons, S/LB, Clemson||Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama|
|10||Browns: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia||Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville|