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2020 NFL draft: The best landing spots for the top offensive players

Now that it’s officially April, the countdown for the NFL draft begins in earnest before the first rounds starts April 23.

Instead of a mock draft, The Baltimore Sun is taking a look at which offensive prospects are the best fits for teams looking to upgrade at the skill positions.

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Here are the best landing spots for some of this year’s top players:

Note: This list attempts to be as close to the player’s projected draft slot as possible. For example, the Dolphins would be a good fit for Joe Burrow, but it’s unlikely Miami can trade up to No. 1 to pick him.

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Cincinnati Bengals (No. 1 overall): Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

The Bengals still have plenty of work to do to rebuild their roster, but as far as landing spots for the No. 1 overall pick, Cincinnati could be a lot worse. The Bengals put the franchise tag on wide receiver A.J. Green and spent plenty of money to upgrade their defense in free agency, signing defensive tackle D.J. Reader, cornerbacks Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander and safety Vonn Bell. Burrow needs more protection, but 2019 first-round pick Jonah Williams returns after a season-ending injury and Cincy has plenty of draft picks to reshape its offensive line.

Miami Dolphins (No. 5 overall): Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

Like the Bengals, the Dolphins also handed out plenty of cash in free agency to rebuild their defense, including giving Bryron Jones the most guaranteed money ($54.5 million) for a cornerback in league history. The offensive line still needs work, and Miami could use a playmaker or two at running back and wide receiver, but second-year coach Brian Flores is clearly building a winning program. Tagovailoa will have a chance to compete in a Tom Brady-less division immediately.

Los Angeles Chargers (No. 6 overall): Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

Tyrod Taylor wants a chance to start for the Chargers, and he might get his wish. After serving as the bridge to Baker Mayfield in Cleveland, Taylor could have the same role in L.A., allowing Herbert, a raw, athletic prospect, to study on the sideline before taking the reins. The Chargers have one of the league’s best defenses, and the additions of Bryan Bulaga and Trai Turner help shore up the offensive line. Tight end Hunter Henry, wide receiver Mike Williams and running back Austin Ekeler form a solid core at the skill positions.

New York Jets (No. 11 overall): CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

Quincy Enunwa, Breshad Perriman and Jamison Crowder are solid players, but none offer the playmaking potential of a receiver such as Lamb. The former Sooners standout can be the No. 1 option from Day One, and in a big market like New York, he has a chance to become a superstar — as long as Sam Darnold has time to throw.

Las Vegas Raiders (No. 12 overall): Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

A rookie receiver could do worse than having Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota at quarterback. Next to Tyrell Williams and Hunter Renfrow, Jeudy can thrive on the outside or in the slot for a team that has playoff aspirations after a disappointing first season under Jon Gruden.

San Francisco 49ers (No. 13 overall): Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

Outside of Sean Payton and Andy Reid, there might not be a better coach who can scheme open his receivers than Kyle Shanahan. Ruggs has game-breaking speed and can wreak havoc as a deep threat or catch-and-run weapon in a play-action heavy offense.

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Denver Broncos (No. 15 overall): Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU

It’s no secret that the Broncos need another receiver next to Courtland Sutton. Whether Drew Lock can take advantage of a deep threat such as Reagor remains to be seen, but with the former Horned Frogs star added to the mix, there would be enough pieces around the second-year quarterback for Denver to be competitive again.

Philadelphia Eagles (No. 21 overall): Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU

Learning the tricks of the trade from DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffrey would be a nice benefit of landing in Philadelphia for Jefferson, who rose from a three-star recruit into a star. He’d also get to catch passes from Carson Wentz and take the starting slot role for a likely playoff team.

Minnesota Vikings (No. 22 overall): Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State

With Stefon Diggs shipped off the Buffalo, there’s suddenly a starting receiver spot open in Minnesota. Aiyuk is elite at gaining yards after the catch and has the size and speed to be an instant contributor for a contending team.

New England Patriots (No. 23 overall): Jordan Love, QB, Utah State

It sounds as if the Patriots are content to give Jarett Stidham a chance to be the starting quarterback, but Love could provide immediate competition. Coach Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels never got to see Jimmy Garoppolo become the starter in New England, but they can help Love turn his athleticism and talent into production.

Miami Dolphins (No. 26 overall): D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia

Swift would likely want to see a better line in front of him than the one the Dolphins currently have, but his vision and agility would be a welcome addition for a team lacking talent in the backfield.

Baltimore Ravens (No. 28 overall): Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado

Considered a boom-or-bust prospect because of his injury history, Shenault could fall to the Ravens late in the first round. His ability to break tackles and stretch the field vertically would be a nice addition for the Ravens, who can get creative with how they line up and use a player who excelled as a direct-snap runner in college.

Green Bay Packers (No. 30 overall): K.J. Hamler, WR, Penn State

Hamler’s speed would be a nice complement to the size and strength of Davante Adams and Devin Funchess. He could thrive in the slot, and his ability to separate and make people miss after the catch could be a big help for an aging Aaron Rodgers.

Kansas City Chiefs (No. 32 overall): J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio State

With a hard-nosed running style, Dobbins can be an effective complement next to speedy tailback Damien Williams. He’s tough, productive and is effective at catching screens and picking up blitzers — just what the Chiefs need beside Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes.

Cincinnati Bengals (No. 33 overall): Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame

With injury-hampered Tyler Eifert off to Jacksonville, the Bengals can bring in the next best Notre Dame tight end. Kmet has the size (6-feet-6, 262 pounds) and athleticism to become a dangerous red-zone target for presumptive No. 1 pick Joe Burrow.

Indianapolis Colts (No. 34 overall): Jacob Eason, QB, Washington

Eason has the athleticism and arm strength teams covet, but he might not be ready to play right away. Going to a team like the Colts, which signed veteran Philip Rivers to a one-year deal, allows Eason to settle in and hone his high-end traits on the practice field.

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New York Giants (No. 36 overall): Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor

Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate and Darius Slayton form a solid receiving trio for Daniel Jones, but they all need to prove they can stay healthy first. Mims is one of the draft’s biggest risers with an enticing combination of size and speed and a wide catch radius.

Houston Texans (No. 40 overall): Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

After trading DeAndre Hopkins, the Texans need an outside receiver who can win one-on-one and make contested catches. Enter Higgins, who was an effective “above the rim” player who has some of the best ball skills in this loaded receiver class.

Cleveland Browns (No. 41 overall): Bryan Edwards, WR, South Carolina

You might think a team with Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry is set at receiver, but there isn’t much depth behind the former LSU stars. Edwards is one of the draft’s best-kept secrets, with a physical style of play both running routes and breaking tackles after the catch.

Jacksonville Jaguars (No. 42 overall): Hunter Bryant, TE, Washington

Tyler Eifert provides good value if he can stay healthy, but that’s a big if. Bryant is more receiver than tight end, but has good hands and above-average speed and can become a matchup nightmare against linebackers and safeties over the middle.

Chicago Bears (No. 43 overall): Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia

The Mitchell Trubisky experiment didn’t work out in Chicago, so it’s time to take a chance on the exact opposite player. While he lacks athleticism and arm strength, Fromm is one of the best decision-makers in this class, with scouts and evaluators raving about his intelligence and game management.

Indianapolis Colts (No. 44 overall): Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame

T.Y. Hilton remains one of the league’s best deep threats, so let’s give Philip Rivers a big target to work with on the outside. Claypool offers 4.42-second 40-yard speed in a 6-foot-4, 238-pound package.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (No. 45 overall): Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU

Edwards-Helaire protects the ball, can make people miss in tight spaces and runs good routes out of the backfield. Sounds like the kind of running back you want next to Tom Brady.

Atlanta Falcons (No. 47 overall): Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin

Todd Gurley got a one-year deal from the Falcons, but he isn’t considered the long-term solution. Taylor has the size, speed and physicality to become a productive every-down back after a record-setting college career.

Dallas Cowboys (No. 51 overall): Michael Pittman Jr., WR, USC

The Cowboys find themselves needing a third receiver behind Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. Pittman proved to be one of the best deep threats in the nation, is a polished route runner and can make contested catches.

Los Angeles Rams (No. 52 overall): Cam Akers, RB, Florida State

Akers is one of the most physically impressive running backs in the class, with a 4.47 40-yard dash, 20 bench press reps and a 35.5-inch vertical jump at the combine. His elusiveness and vision make him an ideal candidate to lead the way in the Rams’ smashmouth offense.

Buffalo Bills (No. 54 overall): A.J. Dillon, RB, Boston College

Devin Singletary emerged as a solid player as a rookie, but the Bills could use a change of pace with more punch than the ageless Frank Gore. Dillon is more athletic than he should be for his size (6 feet, 247 pounds) and can wear down defenses with his bruising style.

Seattle Seahawks (No. 59 overall): Zack Moss, RB, Utah

The term “violent runner” is often overused, but there’s no better description for Moss. While he lacks top-end speed, he’s quick between the tackles and can absorb contact before delivering punishment of his own. He could become a fan-favorite in Seattle.

Tennessee Titans (No. 61 overall): Eno Benjamin, RB, Arizona State

Derrick Henry is the man for now, but he’s only signed for one more year on the franchise tag. Benjamin is an elusive, tough runner who can offer value as a pass-catcher out of the backfield and provide a change of pace while Henry gets a breather.

Washington Redskins (No. 66 overall): Albert Okwuegbunam, TE, Missouri

Albert “O” is as raw as they come in terms of route running and getting off the line, but his athletic traits make him a tantalizing prospect. His speed and ability to win jump balls could make him one of the league’s best pass-catching tight ends.

Arizona Cardinals (No. 72 overall): Harrison Bryant, TE, Florida Atlantic

Bryant is considered the most well-rounded tight end in this class, with above-average ability to block, catch passes and pick up yards after the catch. He can be a valuable chess piece in Kliff Kingsbury’s up-tempo offense.

New England Patriots (No. 87 overall): Devin Asiasi, TE, UCLA

The Patriots haven’t been able to find a suitable replacement for Rob Gronkowski. That could change in this draft, as Asiasi has the athleticism and speed to attack defenses with the potential to improve as a blocker.

New Orleans Saints (No. 88 overall): Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma

Imagining what Sean Payton could do with Hurts in a Taysom Hill-like role is a fun thought exercise. The Saints’ future at the position beyond Drew Brees is murky, so it’s time to invest in the future. Hurts could learn from one of the most productive quarterback-coach tandems in history and provide value as an athlete in the interim.

New England Patriots (No. 98 overall): Devin Duvernay, WR, Texas

There might be more polished receivers still available, such as Florida’s Van Jefferson and Minnesota’s Tyler Johnson, but Duvernay’s traits are worth taking a chance on at the end of the third round. In addition to his blazing speed, the former track star has great hands and the strength to shed tacklers after the catch. That’s the kind of package that can thrive in today’s NFL.

Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 102 overall): James Morgan, FIU, QB

Chances are the Steelers won’t use one of their first two picks on a quarterback, but after what Mason Rudolph and Devlin “Duck” Hodges showed in 2019, maybe they should. Morgan’s arm strength and easy throwing motion give him a shot, but his lack of mobility might doom his pro potential. Still, he’s big (6-4, 229 pounds) and tough and just might carve out a place for himself as a reliable backup.

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