The Kansas City Chiefs are Super Bowl champions, and the 2019 NFL season is officially over.
With just a few weeks before the NFL scouting combine begins in Indianapolis and a month and a half before free agency kicks off when the new league year opens March 18, it’s time to turn our attention to offseason activities.
Here are The Baltimore Sun’s projections for each pick in the first two rounds in the 2020 NFL draft, which begins April 23 in Las Vegas:
1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
The question isn’t whether Burrow will end up in Cincinnati. It’s whether he can meet the high expectations that come with being the No. 1 pick after one standout college season. If he can, he’ll follow Cardinals quarterback and 2019 No. 1 pick Kyler Murray as Offensive Rookie of the Year.
2. Washington Redskins: Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
Despite limited production in his final few college games, Young is considered one of the best pass-rushing prospects in years. A defensive line featuring Young, Montez Sweat, Jonathan Allen and Da'Ron Payne is a solid foundation for a rebuilding team.
3. Detroit Lions: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State
The draft pivots here. Okudah can help transform a woeful defense, but the Lions might be enamored by a loaded wide receiver class or tempted by versatile Clemson defender Isaiah Simmons. It’s also a prime spot for a team looking to trade up for a quarterback.
4. New York Giants: Jedrick Wills Jr., OL, Alabama
A defensive playmaker is the Giants’ biggest need, so Simmons could be an option here. However, tackles Mike Remmers and Nate Solder allowed more combined pressures than any pair in the NFL, per scouting website Pro Football Focus. Wills is an explosive, freaky athlete who can help protect quarterback Daniel Jones and pave the way for running back Saquon Barkley.
5. Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross recently expressed concern over Tagovailoa’s health after the Bama star suffered a season-ending hip injury. Is it a classic misdirection during draft season, or real worry? The next few months will be important for Tagovailoa’s draft stock.
6. Los Angeles Chargers: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
There are major concerns about Herbert’s lack of aggressiveness and inability to anticipate throws. But his athletic traits and hard-working attitude have helped him rise up draft boards, and the Chargers are desperate for the jolt that a young quarterback provides as they move into a new stadium.
7. Carolina Panthers: Isaiah Simmons, LB/S, Clemson
The Panthers might need a quarterback, too, but taking Jordan Love, Jake Fromm or Jacob Eason this high, with so many good players available, seems reckless. Simmons can line up just about anywhere and make his presence felt in the middle of the field.
8. Arizona Cardinals: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
An offensive lineman might be a more responsible pick, but Kliff Kingsbury’s offense needs more playmakers opposite aging star Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk. Lamb, a yards-after-catch monster, can reunite with his old college quarterback Murray.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
Brown can move the line of scrimmage and rush the passer. That’s the kind of force the Jaguars need in the middle of a defense that was fourth-worst in Football Outsider’s DVOA efficiency rankings.
10. Cleveland Browns: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
Thomas has played well since he was a freshman and has shown the strength to be a dominant run blocker and powerful pass protector. He’ll help an offensive line that struggled to protect Baker Mayfield in 2019, particularly at the tackle spot.
11. New York Jets: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
Regardless of what coach Adam Gase thinks of Le’Veon Bell, the Jets need to improve an offensive line that couldn’t open enough holes for the patient running back and failed to give quarterback Sam Darnold enough time to throw. Wirfs could end up playing guard at the next level, but he’s the type of tone-setter the Jets need up front.
12. Las Vegas Raiders: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
It would be a little surprising to see Jeudy fall this far, considering how polished of a prospect he is. He has had some issues with drops, but he can be a true impact player on his first NFL snap.
13. Indianapolis Colts: Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado
How much do the Colts like the quarterback prospects behind Burrow, Tagovailoa and Herbert? We’ll find out here. Shenault is considered unpolished, but his combination of size, speed and athleticism is off the charts, and would complement deep threat T.Y. Hilton well.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
It seems likely that quarterback Jameis Winston will return, which means the Bucs can concentrate on upgrades elsewhere. Kinlaw and Vita Vea would be a formidable tandem in the middle of the defense, and he can add some pass-rushing prowess to a unit that struggled to generate pressure outside of pending free agent Shaq Barrett.
15. Denver Broncos: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
Courtland Sutton turned into a Pro Bowl receiver in his second year, and the Broncos need someone to help lighten his load. Ruggs is the fastest receiver in the draft and a home-run threat, scoring touchdowns on 24 of his 98 career catches.
16. Atlanta Falcons: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
Diggs isn’t as refined as some of the other corners in this draft, but his athleticism and size (6-feet-2, 202 pounds) stand out. The Falcons need to upgrade one of the league’s worst pass defenses.
17. Dallas Cowboys: Grant Delpit, S, LSU
The Cowboys defense has plenty of talent, especially at linebacker, but star cornerback Byron Jones is a free agent and safety Jeff Heath has struggled. Delpit’s athleticism and instincts would help improve a pass defense that ranked 23rd in DVOA.
18. Miami Dolphins (via Steelers): A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa
The Dolphins need help everywhere, and edge rusher is a good place to start for a team that ranked second to last in ESPN’s Pass Rush Win Rate (28%), which measures how often a pass-rusher is able to beat his block within 2.5 seconds. Epenesa can play inside and outside and also is stout against the run.
19. Las Vegas Raiders (via Bears): Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
With the need for a receiver already addressed, the Raiders can turn their attention toward a defense that was second worst in DVOA. Fulton lacks the eye-popping athletic traits you normally see in first-round defensive backs, but he proved himself to be a reliable part of a championship-winning team and would immediately be the Raiders’ best corner.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Rams): Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
Some analysts think McKinney is the best safety in this draft, and it’s easy to see why because of his range, tackling and blitzing ability. He’s also versatile, sometimes playing nickel linebacker in the Tide’s scheme. The Jaguars secondary could use a talented chess piece like him.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
Henderson disappointed in 2019 compared with his strong 2018 season, especially when it came to missed tackles, but he’s among the most athletic defensive backs in this class. Rasul Douglas, Avonte Maddox, Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills all finished the 2019 season with PFF grades below 60.0, so the Eagles could use a fresh face at corner.
22. Buffalo Bills: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
What better gift for third-year quarterback Josh Allen than a receiver who catches nearly everything thrown his way? Higgins routinely hauls in passes thrown away from his body, and his size (6-3, 205 pounds) is just what a shorter receiving corps needs.
23. New England Patriots: Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
You might have heard: Tom Brady isn’t retiring. But the 43-year-old quarterback won’t make it back to a Super Bowl anytime soon if the Patriots don’t surround him with more weapons. Aiyuk has the speed to take the top off the defense, can make people miss after the catch and offers value on special teams as a kick returner. Sounds like a future Patriot.
24. New Orleans Saints: Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
Michael Thomas, the Offensive Player of the Year, could use a running mate. Reagor, at 5-10, 196 pounds with speed to burn, compares favorably with Brandin Cooks, who formed a dynamic duo with Thomas in 2016 in New Orleans.
25. Minnesota Vikings: Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah
The Vikings have three starters in their secondary hitting free agency this offseason, and the cornerback group was the Achilles heel of an otherwise stout defense. Johnson was a shutdown corner in college and has an enticing combination of size and speed.
26. Miami Dolphins (via Texans): Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
Some analysts view Becton as the best offensive lineman in this draft because of his freakish athleticism at 6-7 and 365 pounds. But he’s still considered a somewhat raw prospect with much to improve. With their treasure trove of picks, the Dolphins can take a chance on a high-upside player.
27. Seattle Seahawks: K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
The Seahawks hope to re-sign Jadeveon Clowney, but that’s not a given. Outside of Clowney’s production, Seattle got only 27 quarterback pressures combined from their other pass rushers, per PFF. Chaisson still needs to refine his game, but his speed and first step make him an intriguing stand-up rusher who could flourish in Seattle’s defense.
28. Baltimore Ravens: Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State
Even if Matthew Judon re-signs, the Ravens need to find somebody else who can generate a pass rush without a blitz. Gross-Matos is not a finished product quite yet, but he’s long (6-5) and lean (264 pounds), has a strong burst off the line of scrimmage and can set a strong edge in run defense.
29. Tennessee Titans: Julian Okwara, EDGE, Notre Dame
The Titans defense had no trouble stopping the Ravens’ league-leading attack in the playoffs, but that was largely thanks to the brilliant play of their linebackers, secondary and interior linemen. Okwara’s stock could rise even higher depending on his combine performance, though his lack of production in college raises some red flags.
30. Green Bay Packers: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Davante Adams has become one of the NFL’s elite receivers, but he doesn’t have much help. Jefferson doesn’t have the kind of athleticism that jumps off the page, but he’s a solid route runner, strong after the catch and can play in the slot or out wide.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Ashtyn Davis, S, California
The Niners could have a hole at free safety with starter Jimmie Ward entering free agency. Davis is an intriguing prospect who can play in the slot or as a deep safety, cover the middle of the field as a robber and attack as a blitzer. That kind of versatility and athleticism is worth a late first-round pick.
32. Kansas City Chiefs: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
Whether Pro Bowl defensive tackle Chris Jones returns is the biggest question mark for the Super Bowl champions. Aside from that, the defense could use upgrades at cornerback and linebacker, and Murray offers tremendous upside as a sideline-to-sideline athlete who can cover receivers and make plays in run defense.
33. Cincinnati Bengals: Josh Jones, OT, Houston
34. Indianapolis Colts (via Redskins): Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia
35. Detroit Lions: Terrell Lewis, EDGE, Alabama
36. New York Giants: Darrell Taylor Jr., EDGE, Tennessee
37. Los Angeles Chargers: Austin Jackson, OT, USC
38. Carolina Panthers: Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma
39. Miami Dolphins: D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
40. Arizona Cardinals: Zack Baun, LB, Wisconsin
41. Cleveland Browns: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
42. Jacksonville Jaguars: Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
43. Chicago Bears (via Raiders): Hunter Bryant, TE, Washington
44. Indianapolis Colts: Marlon Davidson, DT, Auburn
45. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
46. Denver Broncos: Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
47. Atlanta Falcons: Bradlee Anae, EDGE, Utah
48. New York Jets: Curtis Weaver, EDGE, Boise State
49. Pittsburgh Steelers: Josh Uche, EDGE, Michigan
50. Chicago Bears: Netane Futi, G, Fresno State
51. Dallas Cowboys: Neville Gallimore, DT, Oklahoma
52. Los Angeles Rams: Jonah Jackson, G, Ohio State
53. Philadelphia Eagles: K.J. Hamler, WR, Penn State
54. Buffalo Bills: Khalid Kareem, EDGE, Notre Dame
55. Atlanta Falcons (via Patriots): Tyler Biadasz, G/C, Wisconsin
56. Miami Dolphins (via Saints): Lucas Niang, OT, TCU
57. Houston Texans: Cameron Dantzler, CB, Mississippi State
58. Minnesota Vikings: Michael Pittman Jr., WR, USC
59. Seattle Seahawks: Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU
60. Baltimore Ravens: Jauan Jennings, WR, Tennessee
61. Tennessee Titans: Zack Moss, RB, Utah
62. Green Bay Packers: Troy Dye, LB, Oregon
63. Seattle Seahawks (via 49ers): Calvin Throckmorton, G, Oregon
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64. Kansas City Chiefs: A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson