Race for No. 1 pick in 2020 NFL Draft: Big Apple battle looms large, Bengals seek first win and more
The Jets and Giants are playing for more than bragging rights
The "Battle of the Big Apple" doesn't matter with regard to league standings, as the two teams are a combined 3-14 entering Sunday's game at MetLife Stadium. But while the outcome of Sunday's game will give one fan base bragging rights over the other, it may also help determine which team gets a higher first round pick in this year's draft.
Both teams will likely us their first-round picks to address their shaky offensive lines while helping add protection for young quarterbacks Daniel Jones and Sam Darnold. In , CBS NFL Draft analyst Ryan Wilson has the Jets taking Georgia lineman Andrew Thomas with the third overall pick, on the offensive line. He has the Giants, with the sixth overall pick, taking Iowa junior lineman Tristan Wirfs. I'm also thinking the Giants, if they somehow fall to the second or third overall spot, would seriously consider drafting Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young, who has a whopping 13.5 sacks, 15.5 tackles for loss and five forced fumbles through eight games.
While the Giants' two wins for now put them out of the immediate running to land the first or second pick, the Jets could very well find themselves with one of those picks. That would put them in a very desirable position, for several reasons. While having an early pick would allow them to take a much needed blue-chip prospect, they would also likely have the ability to trade out of their pick while acquiring multiple draft picks from the Dolphins, assuming Miami is unable to land the first or second spot.
Here's the current top of the draft order in 2020 as well as a few other games that could have a big impact on how it shakes out.
2020 Draft order: Top 10
- Cincinnati Bengals (0-8)
- Washington Redskins (1-8)
- New York Jets (1-7)
- Miami Dolphins (1-7)
- Atlanta Falcons (1-7)
- New York Giants (2-7)
- Cleveland Browns (2-6)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-6)
- Denver Broncos (3-6)
- Oakland Raiders via Chicago Bears (3-5)
Baltimore at Cincinnati
The winless Bengals, who would have the first overall pick if the draft took place this week, have decided to hand the starting reins to rookie quarterback Ryan Finley, who will try to convince head coach Zac Tyalor that he can be the team's longterm solution moving forward. While he is still in pursuit of his first win as an NFL had coach, Taylor is also trying to determine what to do at the quarterback position moving forward.
"Our objective is to win the next game," Taylor said during the Bengals' bye week, via the team's official website. "We need to see a rookie. It takes more than one game to figure out what we have there. We'll give him a chance to do that."
If Finley can convince the Bengals that he's their guy, Cincinnati may chose to address other needs with their first-round pick. I'd expect them to select either Thomas or Young. But if not, the Bengals will be taking either Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa or LSU's Joe Burrow.
Miami at Indianapolis
The Dolphins, as mentioned above, no longer control their destiny with regard to landing the first overall pick. But armed with three first round picks, it's certainly plausible to think that Miami, if they finish the season without a top-two pick, would offer a package of draft picks to one of the teams ahead of them for the chance to draft either Tagovailoa or Burrow. While the Dolphins' players and coaching staff are certainly trying to win, Miami has not lost sight of their likely mission to acquire one of the top two quarterbacks in this year's draft.
Atlanta at New Orleans
1 p.m. (Fox, stream on fuboTV, try for free)
The Falcons, fresh off their bye week, are just 1-7 this year heading into Sunday's game against the heavily favored Saints. While unlikely, it can't be ruled out that the Falcons would possibly consider drafting a quarterback if they land one of the top two picks in the draft, as Matt Ryan will be 35 next season coming off a season that has seen him miss significant time with an ankle injury.
The better bet is Atlanta addressing their defense with their first round pick. Wilson has them taking Clemson's Isaiah Simmons, a versatile defender who has excelled at both safety as well as at linebacker during his time with the Tigers.
Buffalo at Cleveland
Yes, the Browns are officially part of the conversation to land one of the top picks in the draft, a place not many people thought they'd be this season. But after a 2-6 start -- and facing a 6-2 team this Sunday -- Cleveland will likely be in position to draft a player that can immediately help address some of their biggest needs.
While Thomas or Wirfs would help address their massive needs on the offensive line, Ryan has the Browns selecting Auburn defensive lineman Derrick Brown with their first round pick. Cleveland is currently 30th against the run and 29th in yards per carry allowed. The Browns' lack of success against the run could motivate them to select Brown, who has four sacks, seven tackles for loss and two forced fumbles for the Tigers this season.
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