The NFL Draft is this Thursday, and this could be one of the craziest drafts we have ever seen. There should be plenty of trades occurring in the first round, and there are an abundance of fantastic receivers, quarterbacks, and linemen available. Any blockbuster trade could send the entire draft order spiraling, and most teams can’t afford any mistakes or error. In a draft that will be conducted virtually, I believe there will be plenty of unprecedented moments. Here are my predictions for the top-15 selections. I also added my prediction for what the Eagles do with their first-round pick (#21).
1. Cincinnati Bengals: QB Joe Burrow, LSU
Isn’t this the obvious choice? The Bengals need a quarterback to bring change to their offense, and Burrow proved he can excel when the lights shine the brightest in the CFB Playoffs. However, could they possibly move the pick for a bundle of picks?
2. Washington Redskins: EDGE Chase Young, OSU
Chase Young is the best player in the draft. He is an absolute terror as a pass rusher, and he will haunt opposing quarterbacks for years to come. Washington needs to trust Haskins, and they must select the best player in the draft with their pick. This reminds me of San Francisco taking Nick Bosa last year, and look how that turned out.
3. Detroit Lions: CB Jeff Okudah, OSU
The Lions traded away Darius Slay, and they need to fill that gap immediately, or they can expect their defense to be non-existent next season. The Lions are a sneaky pick, in my opinion, to make a move for a QB via trade, but Okudah here just makes too much sense.
4. New York Giants: OT Jedrick Wills, Alabama
The Giants need to take an offensive lineman here to protect their future: Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley. If the Giants expect anything to happen offensively, they need to start up front with their line. Other options include Andrew Thomas and Tristan Wirfs.
5. Miami Dolphins: QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
I still believe that Tagovailoa is the best QB in this draft, and the Dolphins should be very thankful that they can get him at #5. He is a risk due to his injury, but I believe someone like he is worth the risk. If he is able to play at full strength, the Dolphins win the draft.
6. Los Angeles Chargers: LB Isaiah Simmons, Clemson
Yes, the Chargers need a QB for the future, but I think they can survive without one for a year. They can add QBs like Cam Newton or Jameis Winston for the time being. Simmons is a defensive terror, and if he falls this far, the Chargers can’t pass him up. Plus, I’m not a huge believer in Justin Herbert.
7. Carolina Panthers: DT Derrick Brown, Auburn
Are the Panthers rebuilding or not? They seem to be moving in plenty of different directions, and I have no idea where they could go. I think Brown is the best option available here, so I would guess that’s where they go with the pick.
8. Arizona Cardinals: OT Tristan Wirfs, Iowa
The Cardinals pulled off the deal of a lifetime by trading for DeAndre Hopkins. Now, they need to protect their QB long enough for Kyler Murray to find him. Like the Giants, the name of the game is protection, and I like Wirfs here.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars: DT Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina
The Jaguars have plenty of turmoil and movement right now, and I’m going to assume that Yannick Ngakoue will be gone before the season starts. While Kinlaw isn’t a perfect replacement, Kinlaw would help the defense tremendously. With the offense moving plenty of pieces around, the Jaguars could use some stability somewhere.
10. Cleveland Browns: OT Mekhi Becton, Louisville
If the Browns would have traded Odell Beckham Jr, then this pick could have potentially been a WR. However, stop me if you’ve heard this before, the Browns are a team that needs a lineman to protect their young QB. If Baker Mayfield is ever going to bring the Browns a playoff win or two, then the Browns need to protect him.
11. New York Jets: WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma
This pick will be either CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy, and Henry Ruggs III. I think that Jeudy’s health hurts him just enough to make Lamb the option here. The Jets could take Andrew Thomas here to protect Sam Darnold, but I would like to see the Jets give Darnold a weapon instead.
12. Las Vegas Raiders: WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama
Jerry Jeudy is absolute stud offensively, and he has the talent to be a perennial star in the NFL. The Raiders are moving their franchise, and they need this pick to help christen in the new stadium. Jeudy has flash and star-potential, and he’s flashy enough to thrive in Las Vegas.
13. San Francisco 49ers: WR Henry Ruggs, Alabama
Henry Ruggs is quick, and his speed is something that has definitely caught the attention of plenty of scouts. I feel like the skill gap between him, Lamb, Jeudy is just too great to move him past them. Ruggs gives Jimmy G another weapon at his disposal, and it should make George Kittle’s role explode, if pressure is taken off him.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia
Tom Brady will need protection and time to target all of his potent weapons, and Thomas is the best lineman available. He will immediately come in and aid Brady so that he has time to carve up defenses. They could also trade back for an RB, too.
15. Denver Broncos: WR Justin Jefferson, LSU
The WR race explodes after Lamb is taken, and the Broncos don’t want to be left behind. They may reach a little bit for Jefferson, but he’s still a talented athlete that can contribute. With Melvin Gordon coming to the team, the Broncos will be greatly improved on offense.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: S Xavier McKinney, Alabama
Yes, the Eagles don’t get a WR in the first round, but they do have plenty of other options to consider with their pick. The Eagles could use some help in a plethora of areas – namely LB, secondary, and WR – and this pick won’t be a WR due to the rush above them. Maybe it’s just the frustration I’ve had about the Eagles’ secondary over recent years, but I like McKinney here with this pick. Another option would be Kenneth Murray with this pick.