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Predicting the Booms and Busts of the First 10 Picks of the NFL 2020 Draft

New York, 2017. NFL Wall (Photo Credit: HENCE THE BOOM/Unsplash)

I would like to preface this article by acknowledging that the future of the NFL world is unpredictable. Nonetheless, I’ve decided to write this article for the enjoyment of sports fans that follow football. I’d also like to say those that I deemed a bust are only my opinion to which I’m entitled to, and I have no hopes for any of these players to fail in the NFL.

Legend: 

TD= Touchdowns, INT= Interceptions, PSSR RT= Passer Rating, CMP RT= Completion Rate, TKFL= Tackles For A Loss, TKS= Tackles, FF= Forced Fumbles, SKS= Sacks, and PD= Pass Deflections

Player: Joe Burrow (QB, LSU) Round 1 PK 1

Prediction: Boom

Of course, we all know that Joe Burrow (QB LSU) had a fantastic senior year with throwing sixty TDs, PSSR RT of 202, CMP rate of seventy-six percent, and throwing for over 5,600 yards with only six INTs. Armed with these stats, Burrow landed the first pick in the 2020 NFL Draft with the Cincinnati Bengals. Burrow exemplifies great precision and skill with his throwing ability and can be mobile while pressure increases in the pocket.

The biggest concern would be his experience, given the Bengals only drafted him because he only had one productive year in college. It goes to shows the organization believes he will produce numbers even at a higher level. I believe while he will be a boom, but he will require some time to ground himself in the NFL.

Hopefully, he will be able to sync well with star Bengals WR A.J Green and hook up long balls to the speedster John Ross to progress in the depth chart. I’m excited to see how the Heisman winner develops during his time in the NFL. 

Player: Chase Young  (DE, Ohio State) Round 1 Pk 2

Prediction: Boom 

As an edge rusher at perennial Ohio State, Young produced the most his productive performance, recording a whopping sixteen and a half sacks, twenty-one TKFL, seven FF, and combined total forty-zix TKL in his senior year. Previous years had not been as productive, but he proved to be an essential part of his team’s defense in 2019.

Some, including me, would say that he was one of the biggest reasons why Ohio State’s defense was so dominant. Young will be able to take charge of Washington’s insecure defense and begin to tighten loose screws as a leader and dominant pass rusher.

He will become, I believe, one of the best pass rushers in the league by 2021 with his size, strength, speed, and skill.

His only weakness is sometimes Young tends to not use the full amount of power and skill he needs on the field to be the best defensive player out there. Regardless, Young will have a quite productive career in the NFL and give the Washington defense the boost they need to take their defense to the next level. 

Player: Jeff Okudah (CB, Ohio State) Round 1 PK 3

Prediction: Bust 

While being a great all-around cornerback in college, coming into the NFL with eighty-three Solo TKL, eighteen PD, and three INT, Okudah will have a hard time handling the elite wide receivers that the NFC North has to offer: Adam Thielen (WR, Minnesota Vikings), Devante Adams (WR Green Bay Packers), etc.

That being said, it will be good for the young buck to learn and be able to progress skill-wise while being matched with guys like them.

Needless to say, Okudah lacks any pressing weaknesses, and his talent is undeniable. However, playing as a cornerback in this league requires the player to stand out amongst peers. Therefore, Okudah will not produce significant stars in the future because of the higher caliber division that the Detroit Lions happen to be in at the moment.

I hope Okudah will prove me wrong by becoming a pro bowler in the future through the advice from star cornerback Darius Slay. 

Player: Andrew Thomas (OT, Georgia) Round 1 PK 4

Prediction: Boom 

Thomas allowed just five sacks and only one in his last year in 2019. This makes him one of the most desired players at the 2020 draft for his position. Thomas has excellent ability and is a massive being that can stop almost anyone from penetrating the pocket. Being built at 315 lbs Thomas, nonetheless, possesses quick feet and agility.

Thomas will become a starter when the 2020-2021 NFL season kicks off due to his skillset and the desperate need to have for a good O-Line from the NY Giants. NY Giants quarterback Daniel Jones was sacked thirty-eight times which increased the need and desire for a solid young O Lineman like Thomas.

I believe Thomas will be able to thrive and eventually become one of the hardest OT too top. Also, Thomas will become an All-Pro OT, and that the NY Giants made the best choice for their pick and will reap the benefits. 

Player: Tua Tagovailoa (QB, Alabama) Round 1 PK 5

Prediction: Boom 

Tagovailoa coming in as the top five picks in the draft is no surprise to anyone. Tagovailoa was one of the most hailed QBs coming into the draft and for a good reason. During his college career, he racked up 7,000+ yards passing, eighty-seven TDS, eleven INTS, almost seventy percent COMP, and a PSSR RTG of 199.

Tagovailoa is a very capable QB that has mobility, vision, and excellent arm accuracy. His throws are easy for his receivers to be able to catch.

Tagovailoa steps up to the plate when faced with adversity and makes big-time plays in big-time games. The left-handed QB has proven time and time again that he can compete with just about anybody on the field.

I feel the Dolphins chose well due to the fact that they have struggled in the QB position for a number of years. They were unable to access the abilities of star college quarterback Josh Rosen, and when turning to veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick there was a lot left to be desired still.

I feel Tagovailoa will bring a new mindset to the Dolphins QB room. Hopefully, he will make the changes and the plays necessary to make the Dolphins a playoff contender.

Tagovailoa will boom in the 2020-2021 NFL season and will hopefully get the Dolphins back up on their feet after being one of the worst teams in the 2019 NFL season.

With the addition of Matt Breida (RB) and the talent star WR Devante Parker Tagovailoa, he can throw to a solid safety valve. My only concern is that Tagovailoa is dealing with a serious hip injury, but I am confident he will be in ideal shape at the beginning of next season.  

Player: Justin Herbert (QB, Oregon) Round 1 PK 6

Prediction: Bust/Boom 

Justin Herbert being drafted by the Chargers in the first round was no surprise since their longtime QB Phillip Rivers parted ways with them in the offseason. The Chargers needed to draft a new franchise QB, so they went with Herbert. Proving his talent, Herbert came into the NFL with a total of 10000+ passing yards, sixty-four percent COMP RT, ninety-five TDS, twenty-three INTS, and a 153 PSSR RT.

Even though his numbers are a sight to see, I believe he will be a bust because he is a rookie. However, I think he will grow into a phenomenal QB for the Chargers with his great ball skills, vision, and talent that he brings to the table. I think he will be a bust in his rookie season due to the lack of threats he has on the offensive side of the ball and the fact that Herbert isn’t a very commanding leader, something Rivers was all the time, which is key especially as a rookie to lead your team to success.

As he progresses throughout his NFL career, I think Herbert will come into his own and be able to maximize the strengths he has on offense, such as RB Austin Ekeler and WR Keenan Allen. 

Player: Derrick Brown (DT, Auburn) Round 1 PK 7 

Prediction: Bust

Derrick Brown was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the 2020 NFL Draft. He is a big DT with great agility and strength that helps him become a dominating force on the defensive side of the ball.

He is great at the point of attack and can fit into multiple different scheme fits, which helps the defense be more versatile.

His stats are nothing to laugh at with a total of 170 TKL, twelve and a half SKS, thirty-three TKFL, eight PD, and five FF. I think he will be a bust because, throughout his college career, I feel that he didn’t produce as much as others in his position and fulfilling his potential.

Now, Brown has shown that he is an NFL caliber player, but in the NFL, players have to be consistent, and I don’t see that with Brown, which is why I believe he will be a bust.

Hopefully, though he will become a big part of the Carolina D-Line for right now, I don’t think that he will produce as much as everyone expects him to produce. 

Player: Isaiah Simmons (LB, Clemson) Round 1 PK 8 

Prediction: Boom 

Isaiah being picked at eight in the Draft honestly kinda had me surprised he hadn’t gone sooner. He is a very talented athlete according to his unbelievable stats from his very successful college career with 240 total tackles, which comprised of twenty-eight and a half TKFL, 148 SOLO TKL, and ninety ASST TKL, six FF, seventeen PD, eleven SK, one TD, and an INT.

The Cardinals will get the most bang for their buck with the linebacker out of Clemson, and I feel he is going to add some real talent to a defensive roster that is lacking in a lot of areas. Simmons is a punishing player that makes whoever has the ball pay.

He is quick, agile, and his football IQ is through the roof. He can tackle pretty much anyone that has the ball, and his vision as to where the ball is going is on a whole new level. I believe that Simmons is going to become a pro bowler and make a real difference this upcoming season for the Cardinals this year that had one of the weakest defenses in the league last year. 

Player: C.J Henderson (CB, Florida) Round 1 PK 9 

Prediction: Boom 

Henderson came into the draft boasting a total of ninety-three TKS, four SK, six INT, two TDS, twenty PDS, and two FF. Henderson brings with relatively good stats due to great ball tracking and unmatchable skills while covering receivers. Henderson possesses great vision and instincts when it comes to where the ball is going next.

Henderson also can break up passes like any other elite DB in the NFL right now. His biggest weakness is his tackling, which he has to work on by getting stronger, but I don’t think that this will be a real setback, if one at all, for Henderson.

The Jacksonville Jaguars selected him to help out with their secondary, which was lacking last year. Hopefully, with the addition of Henderson and the already elite DB A.J Bouye, their secondary will get on a whole new level.

The reason why I think that Henderson will boom in the NFL is that I feel that he will start right away and get a lot of playing time on the field that will give him time to show off his skills and put up crazy stats. It will also give him time to get stronger and get the tackle stat up to par with others in the NFL. 

Player: Jedrick Wills (OT, Alabama) Round 1 PK 10 

Prediction: Boom

For about two seasons, Wills has been one of the most aggressive and capable players at his position; he became a starter at Alabama for two seasons and allowed one sack for a total of thirty-nine games, which is crazy in my opinion. The Browns selected him with the tenth pick to help guard QB, Baker Mayfield.

The Browns had given up forty-one sacks last year, which no QB should ever have to endure. Since Wills is an excellent OT with great speed, agility, and aggressiveness, Wills should be effective in getting that stat down. He is a little nastier to him than his peers, which is always good to see in an offensive line.

Wills is great with his hands and uses his size as an advantage against experienced pass rushers. With him having played at Alabama, he has gotten used to protecting his QB against some of the strongest in the nation.

I believe that he will become an All-Pro OT in the future with appearances in the pro bowl as well. His biggest weakness is reacting later than usual to an edge pass rush, but given that he’s only allowed one sack in thirty-nine games, I don’t see it as a continuous problem that will plague him in the future. 


Sources:

https://www.sports-reference.com

https://walterfootball.com/index.php

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