First-Round Fury

The NFL Draft is going digital due to COVID-19, but that’s not stopping Summit writer Nick Coppo from predicting the first-round picks.

Nick Coppo, Staff Writer

1. Bengals: Joe Burrow QB, LSU



This has been the pick for months and barring a bad Wi-Fi connection on draft night, the Bengals will make Burrow their franchise centerpiece. 




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    2. Redskins: Chase Young EDGE, Ohio State

Possibly the most gifted pass-rushing talent of the decade will have new defensive-minded head coach Ron Rivera salivating.




3. Lions: Jeffrey Okudah CB, Ohio State

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Okudah is a blue-chip talent and the Lions are desperate for corners after the loss of Darius Slay. A man coverage corner with the ability to erase an opponent’s No. 1 receiver. If they choose to stand pat with this pick, he’ll be their guy.




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4. Chargers (via NYG): Tua Tagovailoa QB, Alabama


This makes sense for both parties. The Chargers jump Miami to snag their QB of the future while the Giants can move back and still have their pick of the OT’s. Tyrod Taylor may be the starter this season in Los Angeles but he is not the long term option. Tagovailoa is just the type of player to ignite a franchise desperate for city approval. New uniforms, new quarterback. Make. It. Happen.


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5. Dolphins: Justin Herbert QB, Oregon

This may have been the pick here even if L.A. hadn’t snagged Tua as Herbert can start right away for Miami. He’s everything you could want out of a QB, a strong arm, good athleticism and a great feel for the game. Herbert will be the man in South Beach.



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6. Giants (via LAC): Jedrick Wills OT, Alabama



Remember what happened last time the Giants picked at No.6? No surprises here, however. Wills is an imposing force in the offensive line that Giants GM Dave Gettleman won’t be able to resist on draft night. He can anchor the left side for New York and help keep Daniel Jones upright for years to come.



7. Raiders (via CAR): Isaiah Simmons LB/S, Clemson

Vegas (Weird right?) has the draft capital to make this move and the Raiders need a difference-maker as they ranked dead last in defensive efficiency last season. Simmons can play basically anywhere on the field and an athlete such as this just does not come along very often. 





8. Cardinals: Tristan Wirfs OT, Iowa

Arizona loves to get their lineman out in space and nobody does that better than Wirfs. He fits into exactly what head coach Kliff Kingsbury wants to do on offense and is a physical freak of nature on top of that.

9. Jaguars: Derrick Brown DT, Auburn

Remember that vaunted Jags defense? Well most of them are gone and the ones that have stayed don’t want to be there. Brown can help a defense that was laughably bad against the run last season with his sheer power and nose for the football.


10. Falcons (via CLE): C.J. Henderson CB, Florida

Atlanta is rumored to be trading up to get their guy and the Browns are willing to trade back if the draft falls this way. Henderson can come in and start Week 1 for an Atlanta team that desperately needs help in the secondary. He excels in man coverage and at 6 foot 1 inch and elite speed, he can physically match up with any receiver in the league. 




11. Jets: Andrew Thomas OT, Georgia

The Jets cannot (I repeat) CANNOT afford to miss on this pick and Thomas is probably the safest option among the offensive tackles. He is technically sound and will use his strong lower body to keep defenders away from Sam Darnold.

12. Panthers (via LV): Javon Kinlaw DT, South Carolina

Well didn’t this work out swimmingly? Carolina trades back and is still able to get a guy they would’ve targeted at pick No.7. With the highest motor of anyone in the draft, Kinlaw will wear down opposing linemen and be a much-needed force in the middle of the defense for new head coach Matt Rhule.


13. Patriots: Jordan Love QB, Utah State

*Insert Joker, “Here… we… go” gif.* The Patriots now suddenly have a glaring hole at QB after the departure of that guy Tom Brady and Love could be that guy. He isn’t polished by any means, but if history has told us anything, the Patriots know how to properly develop their quarterbacks.

14. Buccaneers: Mekhi Becton OT, Louisville

Speaking of Tom Brady, Tampa Bay just signed the 42-year-old QB and will have to prioritize protecting him. Becton is a physical anomaly at his position and will be tasked with keeping Brady’s new jersey free of grass stains.


15. Eagles (via DEN): CeeDee Lamb WR, Oklahoma

Philly straight up did not address their wide receiver need in free agency and GM Howie Roseman is a notorious draft-day trader. Lamb has fantastic ball skills and a knack for YAC. Philly probably never envisioned Lamb falling this far and they will jump at the chance to get a true No.1 WR. 

16. Browns (via ATL): Xavier McKinney S, Alabama

McKinney is a hard-hitting safety that will definitely help out a unit that severely underperformed expectations in 2019. With many weapons on offense to work with, Cleveland will turn to the defensive side of the ball and grab the best safety in the draft.

17. Cowboys: Henry Ruggs III WR, Alabama

As you can see, I have the consensus top three wide receivers falling a bit due to trade-ups and needs at other positions. The fastest player in the draft usually isn’t available this late and Ruggs would be a dream pick for the Cowboys as a corps of Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and Henry Ruggs III would keep defensive coordinators tossing and turning in their sleep.

18. Dolphins: Jerry Jeudy WR, Alabama

They’ve drafted their QB of the future and will now have to surround him with weapons. Jeudy is simply too talented for Miami to pass on him at this spot and his route running and ability to separate from defenders will be valuable in an offense trying to get a young QB comfortable. 


19. Panthers (via LV): Kenneth Murray LB, Oklahoma

After Luke Keuchly retired, a hole needed to be filled at middle-linebacker. Murray has incredible speed for his position and gives 110% on every down that can help a defense that was atrocious against the run last season. Similar to Keuchly, Murray is also wicked smart and can anchor the middle of their defense for a long time.

20. Jaguars: K’Lavon Chaisson EDGE, LSU

With disgruntled edge-rusher Yannick Ngakoue likely on his way out, Jacksonville has a hole at that position which can be filled nicely by Chaisson. After drafting Josh Allen in round one last year, pairing him with Chaisson can be a deadly duo as they attempt to rebuild that great defense.

21. Broncos (via PHI): A.J. Terrell CB, Clemson

After trading down, Denver still finds itself with a lot of options. Terrell makes the most sense however as they are lacking a starting-caliber cornerback opposite newly signed A.J. Bouye. His elite athleticism and ability to cover one-on-one will be too much for defensive-minded head coach Vic Fangio to pass up on.


22. Vikings: Jeff Gladney CB, TCU

From one purple team to another as Minnesota often covets corners that can tackle and Gladney is the most willing tackler in this cornerback class. He’s also effective in coverage however and will help out a secondary that was gouged repeatedly last season.


23. 49ers (via NE): Justin Jefferson WR, LSU

Jefferson was a break-out player last season catching passes from Joe Burrow and he will fit nicely in a receiving corps lacking that star power. Jefferson might have the most reliable hands out of any receiver in the draft and could quickly become one of QB Jimmy Garoppolo’s favorite targets.

24.Saints: Jalen Reagor WR, TCU

I know, I know, I know they signed Emmanuel Sanders but Reagor would be a top 15 pick pretty much any other year and New Orleans would be remiss to pass on his talent. He has great speed and lateral quickness which is something that offense desperately needs. 


25. Vikings: Yetur Gross-Matos EDGE, Penn State

It is unclear whether edge-rusher Everson Griffin will return to Minnesota but it is looking unlikely. In comes Gross-Matos who is a perfect fit in their 4-3 defensive scheme and will help the defense regain their elite status.


26. Dolphins: Josh Jones OT, Houston

If Miami leaves the first round without an OT, they would be making a huge mistake. Standing at 6 foot 5 inches with above-average athleticism, Jones can protect the blindside in South Beach for years to come.


27.Seahawks: Isaiah Wilson OT, Georgia

It seems as if Seattle always needs help at offensive line and this year is no different. Wilson is massive standing at 6 feet 7 inches and weighing 340 lbs. He would likely play at right tackle and be tasked with keeping QB Russell Wilson (no relation) upright.

28.Ravens: Patrick Queen LB, LSU

We saw what happened when Baltimore got embarrassed on the ground by Derrick Henry and the Titans in last year’s playoffs. They’re not going to let that happen again. Queen is a smart guy with great athleticism who always knows where to be on the field which is something that defensive coordinator Don Martindale will highly covet.

29. Titans: A.J. Epenesa EDGE, Iowa

A perfect fit for this defense as Epenesa offers great pass-rushing chops from the inside and outside using his strength and quick hands to beat offensive linemen at the line of scrimmage. He would start alongside last year’s first round pick Jeffery Simmons and improve upon an already strong defensive unit.

30. Packers: Brandon Aiyuk WR, Arizona State

Aaron Rodgers is in the back-half of his career and Green Bay will need to prioritize equipping him with weapons in order to be successful. Aiyuk has a unique combo of size and speed that could help the Packers get over the hump in 2020.



31. Browns (via SF): Ezra Cleveland OT, Boise State

Similar to Miami, Cleveland simply cannot come out of round one without an offensive tackle and they will trade up to make that happen. There are rumors swirling about them trading for OT Trent Williams, but with none of that final as of yet, I have them going up to get the best offensive lineman on the board at a position of need.

32. Chiefs: Kristian Fulton CB, LSU

Fulton excels in man coverage and will strengthen a defensive unit that played fantastic football during their Super Bowl run last season. He’s too talented to not be a first-round pick and as many coaches preach, “You can never have too many corners.”