Home Sports Patriots land QB via trade, Dolphins surprise in the top 5

Patriots land QB via trade, Dolphins surprise in the top 5



USA TODAY Sports, Mackenzie Salmon, spoke with NFL hopeful Isaiah Simmons about how his defensive versatility will take him to the next level.


The 2020 NFL Draft is almost here. Hopefully this will bring relief to event hungry sports fans who often suggest that your team’s future has become brighter while its “Draft-A-Thon” element provides bona fide relief to organizations helping fight the coronavirus pandemic and its devastating consequences.

Even though it is unlikely that there will be a drama around the first two choices, overall, this project seems guaranteed to be one of the most unforgettable – what happens when the Giants Wi-Fi GM Dave Gettleman crashes and “computer people” need to go into action? – “Player selection meetings” never organized by the league.

Here is my last move to project its result:

1. Cincinnati Bengals – Joe Burrow, QB, LSU: Basically, a fait accompli since the record winner of the Heisman Trophy led the Bayou Bengals to a national championship in January. Burrow – he’s from Athens, Ohio – would really earn “Geauxt” status if he could also drive these Bengals to the promised land. But given the talent that Cincinnati retained and recruited in an unusually active (for them) free agent period – not to mention the alleged presence of veteran QB Andy Dalton as a mentor – perhaps a possible breakthrough of Lombardi is not that far-fetched. Elite from top to bottom with his ability to dissect defenses and endowed with the precision and intelligence to instantly exploit schematic weaknesses, maybe Burrow is the man who can finally make the Queen City the City- King.

2. Washington Redskins – Chase Young, DE, Ohio State: As far as non-quarterbacks are concerned, probably couldn’t find a much better cornerstone for a reconstruction effort than Young, widely regarded as the best overall prospect for this project. Following a record of 16 and a half years of Buckeyes bags in 2019, he could intervene to anchor a defensive front returning to a 4-3 base while raising an already flush unit of talent in the first round (Ryan Kerrigan, Montez Sweat, Jonathan Allen and Da’Ron Payne). Often mentioned in the same breath as OSU brothers Nick Bosa, Young could have a similar impact on Washington’s defense as Bosa did on San Francisco a year ago.

3. Detroit Lions – Jeff Okudah, BC, Ohio State: The best defenses Matt Matt was involved with in New England had elite corners – Ty Law, Asante Samuel, Stephon Gilmore. Okudah could bring similar capabilities to Motown, perhaps unlocking the potential for a unit that quietly ranks in the top 10 in 2018.

4. New York Giants – Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama: Its ridiculously solid base sits atop clever feet. And this team desperately needs a fundamental piece to protect QB Daniel Jones and provide daylight to RB Saquon Barkley.

5. Miami Dolphins – Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia: Surprise. Maybe the Ends pick a guy here who could become the quarterback of their franchise … and maybe they choose a bodyguard for their future face of the franchise – every time he arrives. As for Thomas, he clearly has the means to significantly improve what was arguably the worst front in the league five years ago.

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6. Los Angeles Shippers – Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama: Its landing point could be the most compelling subplot of this project. It’s hard to imagine a better destination than a Hollywood team looking for the power of the stars – and a team that wants a mobile quarterback to guide a relatively balanced attack. The presence of veteran QB Tyrod Taylor would allow Tagovailoa to settle mentally and, more importantly, physically.

7. Carolina Panthers – Isaiah Simmons, LB / S, Clemson: New coach Matt Rhule’s diet will focus on speed. Simmons also brings exceptional versatility – he played more than 100 five-position snaps last year – but could be the ideal candidate to replace the production lost after LB Luke Kuechly’s surprise retirement.

8. Arizona Cardinals – Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa: Whether deployed on board or indoors – the athletic show that Wirfs hosted on the combine suggests he will be great at tackling – Cards could use a pad that can keep QB Kyler Murray in position vertical while improving the effectiveness of the air raid attack.

9. Jacksonville Jaguars – Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn: They could not stop the race before separating from DL Calais Campbell and Marcell Dareus. Brown could instantly re-solidify the front while helping to free Josh Allen and Yannick Ngakoue from the corners, assuming the latter stays in Duval County.

10. Cleveland Browns – Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville: It doesn’t help that he has a drug test on the combine. But it helps that Cleveland still desperately needs the long-awaited successor to Joe Thomas on the blind side … assuming, of course, that no deal for Trent Williams comes about first. The 6-7, 364 pound Becton, which is also incredibly agile, is arguably the most impressive physical specimen in this project.

11. New York Jets – CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma: They would surely prefer one of the best tackle prospects to protect QB Sam Darnold. The big blockers have disappeared in this scenario, making it more likely that the Jets will break the seal on a touted class of receivers. Lamb averaged 21.4 yards per catch in 2019 and scored 14 touchdowns, making him the type of red zone this offense hasn’t had since WR Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker combined for 26 scores. in 2015.

12. Las Vegas Raiders – Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama: It covers all courses, has a speed of 4.4 and accumulates points (26 TD grapples since 2018). Perhaps the perfect guy to galvanize a solid group of no. 1 receiver catchers.

13. New England Patriots (from the Indianapolis Colts via San Francisco 49ers) – Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon: The Niners, who got this choice from Indy in the DeForest Buckner affair, need choices mid-round. The Patriots are tied with them, even more after facing TE Rob Gronkowski on Tuesday, but may well need quarterback options beyond Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer. Thus, the teams that developed the Jimmy Garoppolo exchange meet again, allowing New England to add another intelligent and physically gifted passerby.

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina: Even with Gronk joining the fold, QB Tom Brady could be rooted for a tackle, a catch-up or a slot receiver here. The Bucs could also use a defensive back aid. But Kinlaw is too good to pass up a promising defense that still allowed the fourth highest number of points in the league last season.

15. Denver Broncos – Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama: What better way to supercharge a thriving attack than by injecting a player with a speed less than 4.340 who has reached the end zone for the crimson tide one in four times he has touched the ball?


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16. Atlanta Falcons – C.J. Henderson, BC, Florida:GM Thomas Dimitroff’s apparent desire to climb the ranks is one of the hottest rumors in this year’s draft. But if he can land Henderson and his top cover skills there, no need to trade.

17. Dallas Cowboys – K’Lavon Chaisson, DE / OLB, LSU: DeMarcus Lawrence is the first sack man back from this defense… and he had five skinny in 2019. Chaisson may not be ready to contribute to every down, but he could have an instant impact as a specialist in the pass rush.

18. Dolphins (Pittsburgh Steelers) – Jordan Love, QB, State of Utah: His skill set is probably the most impressive among this year’s QB crop. For Love, the problems are consistency and decision making… ironically, the problems shared with current Miami QBs Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen. Giving Love a year to grow while Miami continues to invest in caps and high picks on its list could be a winning equation. What if it doesn’t work? Welp, the Dolphins have two more firsts in 2021.

19. Raiders (of the Chicago Bears) – A.J. Terrell, BC, Clemson: General Manager Mike Mayock is still catching up with his young defense, who could still use corner assistance. Pairing Terrell with former teammate Trayvon Mullen seems like a good match.

20. Jaguars (of the Los Angeles Rams) – Trevon Diggs, BC, Alabama: In one of the selections won last fall for Jalen Ramsey, the Jags are starting to restock on the corner themselves. Stefon Diggs’ younger brother has a good size (6-1, 205) and ball skills … much like Ramsey.

21. Philadelphia Eagles – Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama: Just as Philly fans want a receiver, this team might be wise to target a player who projects themselves as a younger version of Malcolm Jenkins first. McKinney’s leadership and versatility could fill a void.

22. Minnesota Vikings (from Buffalo Bills) – Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU: If WR Ja’Marr Chase is # 1 at LSU, Jefferson was 1A… and would fit in well with Diggs to take on a similar role alongside Adam Thielen. Jefferson’s ability to operate from the slot could make him a high volume option for QB Kirk Cousins.

23. 49ers (of the Patriots) – Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU: He’s not Buckner’s caliber – few players are – but his explosiveness would restore Line D, the strength of this club on its way to Super Bowl LIV. Unlikely to face double teams, Blacklock could flash as a rookie playing with so many exceptional pass precipitators.

24. New Orleans Saints – Patrick Queen, LB, LSU: The prototype of the modern NFL linebacker, it would add a remote presence to the second level of defense that is not lacking otherwise.

25. Vikings – Jaylon Johnson, BC, Utah: A tough child that Minnesota needs to rebuild the depth of its corner after losing Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander.

26. Dolphins (Houston Texans) – Kenneth Murray, LB Oklahoma: An alpha character who can really move should give a boost to a defense that made the most points in the league last year.

27. Seattle Seahawks – Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State: Whether Jadeveon Clowney returns or not, this pass rush (28 bags weak in NFC in 2019) needs more juice, and Gross-Matos seems able to take the “LEO” position of Pete Carroll.

28. Baltimore crows – Marlon Davidson, DE, Auburn: Their deal for Michael Brockers failed, but Davidson could be more than a consolation prize for a defense that was wound up in the playoffs. Davidson couldn’t ask for a better Day 1 mentor than Calais Campbell.

29. Tennessee Titans – Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame: Class of a weak positional group, Kmet should extend the strong, tight line of Fighting Irish. It presents itself as a more productive and versatile option than Jonnu Smith.

30. Green Bay Packers – Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State: Excellent with the ball in his hands (18.3 yards per catch last year for the Sun Devils), he could be the optimal player to complete QB’s best target Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams, especially when the triple Bowler Pro is doubled.

31. 49ers – Cesar Ruiz, C, Michigan: NFC champions may be wise to reinvest in their inner O line with a kingpin like Ruiz before tapping into a buyer’s receiver market to replace Emmanuel Sanders with their new selections.

32. Kansas City Chiefs – A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa: DC Steve Spagnuolo wants to run these NASCAR packages from his front, and Epenesa could provide Justin Tuck level impact while filming with Frank Clark and Chris Jones.


Follow Nate Davis of USA TODAY Sports on Twitter @ByNateDavis

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