2020 NFL Mock Draft with a twist: Quarterbacks Justin Herbert, Joe Burrow lead seniors-only projection
Here is how the NFL Draft might look if only seniors were allowed to take part
The NFL Draft is a magical place that brings fans together and inspires hope for the hopeless. What would it look like if juniors and redshirt sophomores were not eligible to be selected? In short, a lot different. The familiar names -- Chase Young, Jerry Jeudy, Tua Tagovailoa -- are gone.
It is the seniors' day in this 2020 NFL Draft projection. A record 111 underclassmen entered the 2019 NFL Draft. For some context, Kentucky defensive end Josh Allen (No. 7 overall to the Jaguars) was the only senior to be selected in the top 10. Thirteen of the 32 first round picks were seniors. All but three of those were either offensive or defensive linemen; the others were defensive backs.
Check out this seniors only projection.
Before you get angry at the draft order, please know that it's based on the current SportsLine Super Bowl odds projections and has nothing to do with us hating your favorite team.
Round 1 - Pick 1
Oregon • Sr • 6'6" / 237 lbs
Sound the alarm! The Dolphins take a quarterback! Quarterback is far from their biggest issue right now. I still believe Josh Rosen could be the long-term answer there but their willingness to play him behind that porous offensive line gives me pause. Playing on that team will either lead to injury or shatter his confidence.
Round 1 - Pick 2
LSU • Sr • 6'0" / 200 lbs
The Redskins have a lot of needs. It would be wise to replace Trent Williams but it is too early to take a prospect at that position. Fulton can upgrade a cornerback group that includes 31 year old Josh Norman and Aaron Colvin, who was outright released by the Texans in the middle of the season.
Round 1 - Pick 3
Joe Burrow QB
LSU • Sr • 6'4" / 216 lbs
Andy Dalton is not the reason for this team's struggles. At his age, he is not a part of the long-term plan and that is all that can be considered right now. It is unclear where Ryan Finley fits into that plan, but the Bengals have an opportunity to bring Athens native Joe Burrow back to Ohio.
Round 1 - Pick 4
Lucas Niang OL
TCU • Sr • 6'7" / 328 lbs
Niang struggled against Texas last season but he has looked solid otherwise. The Cardinals need to supplement their protection for Kyler Murray.
Round 1 - Pick 5
Trevon Diggs CB
Alabama • Sr • 6'2" / 207 lbs
The Jets gave Trumaine Johnson $45 million guaranteed over five years and then benched him. They need cornerback help.
Round 1 - Pick 6
Auburn • Sr • 6'5" / 318 lbs
Vic Fangio had Eddie Goldman, Roy Robertson-Harris and Akiem Hicks in Chicago. Adam Gotsis, Shelby Harris and Derek Wolfe do not inspire the same level of fear. By adding Brown, they take some eyes off those talented pass rushers.
Round 1 - Pick 7
Bryce Hall CB
Virginia • Sr • 6'1" / 200 lbs
The Raiders have taken their shots at the cornerback position in the first round but they have not come without risk. Jon Gruden has drawn the ire of media members but he does not get the credit he deserves. Oakland is exceeding expectations considering the talent and experience on that roster.
Round 1 - Pick 8
Notre Dame • Sr • 6'4" / 248 lbs
Few teams have been bit by the injury bug as hard as the Falcons over the past few years. Okwara allows them to bolster their pass rush.
Round 1 - Pick 9
Vanderbilt • Sr • 6'4" / 260 lbs
Titans fans are probably already upset with me continuously trying to give them a tight end, but I have good intentions. Delanie Walker is a great player when he is healthy but he is also 35. The other tight ends on the roster have a combined four receptions this year. I offered an olive branch with one of Nashville's own.
Round 1 - Pick 10
Wake Forest • Sr • 5'10" / 190 lbs
The Giants have been trying to get rid of Janoris Jenkins for two seasons. He played last week against the Redskins but it was fools' gold. They need a long-term upgrade at the position. Bassey and Deandre Baker can be a solid duo for awhile.
Round 1 - Pick 11
Javon Kinlaw DL
South Carolina • Sr • 6'6" / 310 lbs
Kinlaw is an animal. Tampa Bay has really altered their defense with some key pieces leaving town. They add some physicality up front to a team exceeding expectations under Bruce Arians.
Round 1 - Pick 12
A.J. Green CB
Oklahoma State • Sr • 6'1" / 190 lbs
Green has great size and ball skills. The relationship between Jalen Ramsey and the Jaguars is irreparable so they need a replacement.
Round 1 - Pick 13
LSU • Sr • 6'2" / 308 lbs
Indianapolis has added a lot of undersized linebackers which is a good strategy in today's NFL but they need some big bodies in front of them to occupy blockers. Lawrence will be able to free up that group.
From Pittsburgh Steelers
Round 1 - Pick 14
Matt Peart OL
Connecticut • Sr • 6'7" / 303 lbs
The Jamaican born lineman has a lot of upside. He is really athletic and looks quick in pass protection. He needs to improve upon his run blocking. Miami allowed one starting offensive tackle to walk in free agency and traded the other to Houston. They need help.
Round 1 - Pick 15
Kenny Willekes EDGE
Michigan State • Sr • 6'4" / 260 lbs
Willekes may not even need to rent a U-Haul for this move. He can grab a couple of buddies with trucks and transport his sack production and endless motor to the Motor City.
Round 1 - Pick 16
Vanderbilt • Sr • 5'10" / 218 lbs
The Bills have Devin Singletary but they are also still feeding Frank Gore. Vaughn is a home-run hitter capable of catching passes, which is important in a Josh Allen-led offense.
Round 1 - Pick 17
Alabama • Sr • 6'7" / 312 lbs
The Panthers are aging and injury-prone along that defensive front. They add some additional insurance coverage with Davis. If nothing else, he can learn from those established veterans until it is time for him to fill their shoes.
Round 1 - Pick 19
Auburn • Sr • 6'7" / 305 lbs
Few offensive tackle prospects possess the amount of upside as the Auburn lineman. He is really athletic for the position. Admittedly, there is still more for me to learn about him.
Round 1 - Pick 20
Florida • Sr • 6'4" / 246 lbs
The Ravens tried to mask the loss of C.J. Mosley and Za'Darius Smith but it has shown early in the season when they weren't playing Miami. They still have a few promising players in that group but Zuniga can replace Pernell McPhee.
Round 1 - Pick 21
Trey Adams OL
Washington • Sr • 6'8" / 314 lbs
Adams was a likely first-round pick at one point but he has battled back and knee injuries over the past two seasons, which is scary. If he can regain form, then he would be a great replacement for one of those offensive tackles.
Round 1 - Pick 22
Oregon • Sr • 6'5" / 309 lbs
Throckmorton has the size and frame to play interior offensive line or offensive tackle. The 49ers have had some injuries along that unit so adding a little versatility would serve them well.
Round 1 - Pick 23
Texas • Sr • 6'0" / 205 lbs
Harrison Smith has served Minnesota well but they could add some salary cap space back by getting younger at the position.
Round 1 - Pick 24
Alabama • Sr • 6'3" / 259 lbs
There was some speculation that K.J. Wright would not return to Seattle this season. After losing so much pass rush over the past few years, they add a piece back with Jennings, who has three sacks this season.
Round 1 - Pick 25
Ohio State • Sr • 6'3" / 240 lbs
The Eagles just traded for Duke Riley from the Falcons but that will not answer the question. Harrison has been all over the field for the Buckeyes and that should energize the Eagles defense.
Round 1 - Pick 26
Notre Dame • Sr • 6'4" / 265 lbs
Dante Fowler Jr. has shown some improvement this season but Los Angeles can continue building out that position with Kareem, who already has 3.5 sacks this season.
Round 1 - Pick 27
Zack Moss RB
Utah • Sr • 5'10" / 222 lbs
Zack Moss plays a style of football that exemplifies that Green Bay community. He is a physical player with a second gear. There are several examples of him truck sticking a player on the goal line. The Packers could have used that this past week.
From Chicago Bears
Round 1 - Pick 28
Jalen Hurts QB
Oklahoma • Sr • 6'2" / 218 lbs
Hurts is a proven leader capable of impacting the game in both the air and on the ground. Ushering in the Las Vegas era with a new quarterback -- especially one that has a real chance to win the Heisman -- will put butts in seats.
Round 1 - Pick 29
Zack Baun LB
Wisconsin • Sr • 6'3" / 235 lbs
New Orleans' defense has fought in the absence of Drew Brees and kept that team's playoff hopes alive. The addition of Baun to that linebacker room will only make them stronger.
Round 1 - Pick 30
Auburn • Sr • 6'3" / 278 lbs
Kansas City has tried to upgrade their defense with big additions like Tyrann Mathieu and Frank Clark. They could add some depth in nothing else at the defensive end position with Davidson.
Round 1 - Pick 31
California • Sr • 6'1" / 200 lbs
The Cowboys will need to address their secondary this offseason due to expiring contracts or simply a need to upgrade. Davis has gained steam in that first round consideration.
Round 1 - Pick 32
Oregon • Sr • 6'5" / 250 lbs
The tight end position is important to New England's offense. It just so happens that the best player remaining on the board is a tight end.
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