What should a team do if it misses out on the marquee first-round talents in the 2020 NFL Draft like Chase Young, Jerry Jeudy, Cee Dee Lamb or Isaiah Simmons?
They need to reorganize the board and look for a comparable "Plan B," a lesser but similar player, on Day 2 of the draft.
In this article, we've identified the Plan Bs for some of the most sought after prospects and even provided a viable Day 3 option.
Chase Young Plan B: Curtis Weaver, Boise State
Weaver is a first-round prospect on my. No. 16 overall, actually. In his three years at Boise State, Weaver had 34 sacks and 47.5 tackles for loss. Sure, the Mountain West doesn't provide the best competition in college, but he was about as dominant as one can possibly be at that "level."
He has good burst off the snap, but more importantly, his ability to flatten around the corner en route to the quarterback is outstanding, and he leans on a small collection of effective pass-rushing moves. Plus, at 6-foot-2 and 265 pounds, Weaver naturally has a low center of gravity and sets a sturdy edge. While of course not the prospect of Young's caliber, he brings a lot of the same strengths to the field.
Day 3 option: Derrek Tuszka, North Dakota State
Tuska was kind of the Young of the FCS level with 29 sacks and 43.5 tackles for loss in his final there seasons. He has a loaded toolbox of pass-rushing moves and tested through the roof at the combine with a three-cone time in the 97th percentile at the edge-rusher position over the past 21 years.
At 6-4 and 251 pounds, Tuszka doesn't have the pure power of Young or Weaver, and he'll have to adjust to a sizable leap in competition in the NFL but is one of the most polished, athletic outside pass rushers in this class who'll likely be available on the third day.
Isaiah Simmons Plan B: Jeremy Chinn, Southern Illinois
Simmons is a 6-3, 238-pound chess piece with 4.39 speed, crazy long arms, and a productive Clemson career in which he excelled playing free safety, linebacker, and slot corner. Oh and he wreaked havoc as a blitzer.
Chinn provides a pretty similar size and athletic profile, and [whispers] he might be more comfortable changing directions in coverage. He's 6-3, and 221 pounds with 4.45 speed, a 41-inch vertical, and a broad jump in the 98th-percentile at the safety position. Dude's a legitimate freak athletically. And he'll probably be on the board when the second round begins.
Chinn's tackling radius is enormous, and he explodes out of his breaks, whether that be on an outside run play or when following a dig route from a tight end. Across 38 games, Chinn had the following seasonal averages at Southern Illinois: 60 tackles, 3.25 interceptions, and 7.75 pass breakups.
Day 3 option: Cam Brown, Penn State
This is mostly a size comparison, although there are flashes from Brown that slightly resemble Simmons. The Penn State linebacker measured in at 6-5 and 233 pounds with tentacle-like 34-inch arms. His vertical placed in the 69th percentile at the combine. His broad jump, 84th.
He's a long, explosive athlete, but his play-recognition skills are raw right now. If he learns to read his keys quicker and consistently tap into his physical gifts -- at times he plays high, which slows down his movement -- Brown can be a rangy second-level defender, and you probably don't have to spend more than a fourth-or-fifth-round pick on him.
Jerry Jeudy Plan B: Van Jefferson, Florida
Jeudy's trump card is his laser-like route-running precision. It'll allow him to separate instantly in the NFL. If your team can't pick him in the top half of Round 1 but wants a sharp route-runner, the target should shift to Jefferson on the second day of the draft.
While never crazy productive at Ole Miss or Florida (after transferring there), he demonstrated NFL veteran-like releases against press and stunning route-running abilities during his entire collegiate career. Jefferson's dad, Shawn, played in the league and is a long-time wide receiver coach (currently with the Jets).
From dazzling footwork and hand use at the line, to ultimate salesmanship at the top his route stem before changing directions, Jefferson has the advanced route-running savvy to get open in the NFL.
Day 3 option: Aaron Parker, Rhode Island
Going core of the Earth deep here because Parker's teammate, Isaiah Coulter, actually has more buzz heading into the draft. While Coulter provides more dynamic downfield speed (4.45 vs. 4.57), Parker is more fluid making breaks in his routes, and can run more of them efficiently. There's some wiggle after the catch and high-point flashes too. But on the third day of the draft, Parker's natural twitch and flexibility should allow him to overachieve in the NFL.
Jeffrey Okudah Plan B: A.J. Terrell, Clemson
The last we saw of Terrell on a football field, he was getting torched by the legendary duo of Joe Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase in the national title game. But don't let that cloud your overall view of him. For the the past three seasons at Clemson, Terrell has been a lockdown outside cornerback, and don't forget the job he did on Tua Tagovailoa and the Alabama receiver group in the national title game the previous season.
While not being targeted very often due to his length and mirroring abilities, Terrell had 13 pass breakups during his time with the Tigers to go along with six interceptions. He's probably best in off coverage or zone but does have experience on an island and will be available on Day 2.
Day 3 option: Harrison Hand, Temple
Hand is a click-and-close specialist who breaks on the football in a hurry. There's no hesitancy in his game, and while he needs to get better stifling receivers in press man, the footwork is there for him to stick like glue to the wideout he's covering down the field. He doesn't have ideal outside cornerback length, but Hand has starting on-field characteristics.
Last year for the Owls, Hand defended five passes and snagged three interceptions to go along with 57 tackles. His active nature is a big positive to his game.
CeeDee Lamb Plan B: Joe Reed, Virginia
Lamb is the most complete receiver in this class, my No. 1 wideout. And a big reason why I have him ahead of Jeudy and Co. is his phenomenal yards-after-the-catch prowess. That's the idea I'm zeroing in on with the backup plans for him.
I have no idea where Reed will ultimately land, and it very well could be on the third day. But I'll plug him in here as Lamb's Plan B because his outstanding combine could squeeze him into the back end of the third round.
At 6-0 and 224, he's built like a boulder of a running back, and he plays like one. From his ability to absorb contact to surprising cuts that leave defenders whiffing at air, Reed is downright freaky after the catch.
Day 3 option: Jauan Jennings, Tennessee
Jennings isn't going to separate like many of the other receivers in this class. And at 6-3 and 215 pounds, it'd be easy to assume he's a rebounding specialist. While he flashes there, that's not his game. Jennings is unfathomably good after the catch. He entered the Tennessee program as a dual-threat quarterback recruit, and with the ball in his hands, he looks like a dynamic scrambler. Jennings is deceptively agile in space, and most importantly, is like corralling a bull in the open field because of his size and tremendous contact balance.
Jonathan Taylor Plan B: A.J. Dillon, Boston College
I don't know what it is -- maybe the COVID-19 outbreak? -- but we haven't really appreciated the combine efforts put forth by Taylor and Dillon in February.
Taylor ran 4.39 at 5-10 and 226 pounds along with a 7.01 three-cone -- both absurd -- and Dillon cruised to a 4.53 time in the 40 at the size of a middle linebacker and had the longest broad and vertical jumps of any running in this class. Bananas.
Anyway, Dillon isn't going to hit dingers like Taylor will in the NFL, but the Boston College star has unreal contact balance -- it's almost as if he can't feel contact sometimes -- and his lateral cutting skills are just good enough that he can make one defender miss on a given play.
Day 3 option: Rico Dowdle, South Carolina
When measuring buzz, Dowdle probably wouldn't even be on the draft radar. But the 5-11, 213-pound back has some juice. He ran 4.54 and had a vertical and broad in the 86th and 92nd percentiles respectively. And on film, he's surprisingly agile and powerful through contact.
He was productive all four years at South Carolina and finished his career there with a 5.1 yards-per-carry average. Dowdle runs hard and has NFL-caliber athletic traits. Grab him on Day 3.
Tristan Wirfs Plan B: Ben Bartch, St. John's
Bartch's film is a joy to watch. Yes, he was stymieing Division III pass rushers, but his combination of clean footwork, hand use, and balance make me think he'll be able to stick at tackle in the NFL, a rarity for a small-school offensive lineman.
At 6-6 and 309 pounds, he has an NFL tackle frame yet short-ish arms. I love Bartch's ability to recover against inside counters and the calmness at which he plays the position.
Day 3 option: Saahdiq Charles, LSU
This is a little bit of a stretch, because a big element of Wirfs' game is his overwhelming strength, and Charles needs to get considerably more powerful to deal with NFL edge rushers. However, the truly dominant aspect of Wirfs' game is his elite athleticism, and Charles glides in pass protection. His balance needs to improve when dealing with legitimate pass-rushing moves. He's a moldable ball of clay with a 6-4, 321-pound frame and long, 34-inch arms.
Derrick Brown Plan B: Leki Fotu, Utah
Like Brown, Fotu is stupid strong at the point of attack and really gets after it across the line of scrimmage as a run defender. As rookies, both Brown and Fotu will drive back NFL offensive linemen with their bull rushes. And also like Brown, Fotu is a mountain on the field at 6-5 and 330 pounds.
Brown is more disruptive in general, but Fotu might actually be a tad more explosive up the field. If your club misses on Brown in Round 1, Fotu should be the specific nose tackle prospect in mind on Day 2, and he could be available later in the draft.
Day 3 option: Rashard Lawrence, LSU
Lawrence isn't going to give you much pass-rush ability, but the long-time stud on the interior of LSU's line is a polished run defender with quality strength to stack then shed blockers in the trenches. Run-halting nose tackles are becoming more one-down players than two-down defenders, but Lawrence can give you a sizable portion of what you'd get with Brown as a run-stuffer on the third day of the draft.