If you’ve gone cross-eyed from looking at your 165th mock draft this month, I wouldn’t be surprised. As we all await what is sure to be a bizarre and fascinating NFL Draft next weekend, mock drafts have been rolling out ad nauseam.
Most mock drafts are mocked once the draft is 10 picks deep, and this will, perhaps more than any other, will be no exception.
I had a GM tell me, “The media is wronger about mock drafts this year than you guys have ever been.” Point being, players are going to be taken in places no one expects. https://t.co/oyDHSndqkl
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 17, 2020
Putting aside Ian’s use of the word “wronger,” the thoughts of Daniel Jeremiah and Ian above have some merit. The group-think that normally occurs when all these guys are huddled together for weeks on end, talking about the same players, convincing each other of their own thinking of said player (whether subconscious or not), can sometimes result in many teams’ boards being similar.
But if Ian and Jeremiah are correct, the social distancing that has gripped everyone due to the coronavirus could mean we see some things we weren’t expecting in this draft, which would also mean many of the mocks that are out there may be even more wrong than usual.
SB Nation’s mock draft database has compiled nearly all the mock drafts that are out in the world right now, and in nearly nine out of 10 mock of them, they predict Washington will take Ohio State edge rushing phenom Chase Young with the No. 2 overall pick. For the Giants, they’re a little more split with the No. 4 pick, with 35% of the mocks giving them LB/S Isiah Clemons of Clemson, 26% going with Iowa OT Tristan Wirfs and 11.4% saying OT Mekhi Bekton of Louisville. Finally, 34% of the mocks have the Cowboys taking edge rusher K’Lavon Chaisson, 15% saying Florida CB CJ Henderson and 9% going with safety Xavier McKinney of Alabama.
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All these picks make sense, as they fit needs and assume none of these teams move off their spots.
But on Draft Day, teams are going to move and they are going to be calling Washington and/or New York to try and grab the QB of their dreams, and Dallas is always a wild card to do something flashy.
So if it’s gonna get crazy, here are two scenarios involving two of the Eagles’ division rivals that could really shake things up and, in the process, make life more difficult for the Birds, too.
Washington Trades Down, Selects CeeDee Lamb
It’s going to be really hard for Washington head coach Ron Rivera, a defense-first guy, not to take Chase Young at No. 2. Young is likely to be a Pro Bowl defensive end for the next decade, and guys like that don’t grow on trees. However, Washington could very well trade out of the No. 2 spot with the Dolphins at No. 5, the Chargers at No. 6, the Carolina Panthers at No. 7, or the Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 9. All of those teams need a franchise QB and Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert aren’t going to last for very long.
So what if Washington trades down and another team snags Chase Young before they get a chance to? One of the things Washington needs as much as a stud defensive player is a stud offensive weapon for Dwayne Haskins. Sure, they have Terry McLaurin, but CeeDee Lamb would be a heck of a selection if Washington ends up picking 7th or 9th.
If Washington drafted Lamb, that would mean teams like the Jets, Raiders, 49ers and Broncos, all of whom are expected to target one of the top three receivers in the draft, have one fewer receiver to draft. That would also likely mean fewer options for the Eagles at No. 21.
Dallas Selects Justin Jefferson
The Cowboys will likely take a defensive player with their first round pick, especially if they stay at No. 17 overall. But what if the board falls a certain way and the defensive players they really like are gone? With Amari Cooper back and Michael Gallup an emerging No. 2, there isn’t quite the urgency for Dallas to go wide receiver in the first round, but they do need a slot receiver to replace the departed Randall Cobb.
Justin Jefferson is likely to still be there at 17, and could still be there at 18 or 19 if Dallas trades down a couple spots. A move like that would be beneficial for Jerry Jones for a couple reasons.
First, Jefferson is a playmaker and will make any offense he’s in better. But imagine him, Cooper and Gallup together in the same offense. Imagine how much better he would make Dak Prescott. Second, and perhaps most important, it would take away a player the Eagles are believed to covet, leaving them with the possibility of having to reach for a wide receiver at 21 they may not love, or trade down to get someone else.
Maybe the Eagles prefer Denzel Mims to Jefferson, in which case, this wouldn’t be as big a deal. But with virtually every mock draft putting Jefferson in an Eagles uniform, watching Dallas snag him a few spots before Philly picks would be a real kick in the pants.
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Neither of these scenarios are likely, but this is shaping up to be a draft like no other, with teams more likely to go their own way than ever before. Crazy stuff could happen.