The 2020 NFL Draft is only a few days away and even with general managers isolating themselves at home and draft boards not yet finalized, plenty of rumors are getting out that could shake up the NFL Draft.
Of course, this is a special time of the offseason when NFL teams love to create smokescreens. It happens this time every year as specific information and misleading reports are put out to try and sway what others around the league are thinking. Determining which news to believe in and what to completely ignore isn’t always easy, but we’re here to help sort it out.
Let’s dive into the hottest NFL Draft rumors in the lead up to the 2020 NFL Draft and determine which information we’re buying and which reports we’re selling.
Detroit Lions could target Derrick Brown with No. 3 pick?
The Lions would absolutely love to trade down from the No. 3 overall pick. They’ve made it no secret that sliding down is their preference and they’ve even been engaged in talks to that end. If the Lions can’t find the right offer to slide down, which feels increasingly likely, they’ll have to be happy to just take the defensive player they value most. Many have assumed for months it would be cornerback Jeffrey Okudah, but Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reports that could be changing.
Detroit’s coaching staff loves Derrick Brown, which is understandable. While he didn’t excel at the NFL Combine, he recorded 33 tackles for loss during his collegiate career and is a disruptive force on the interior defensive line. This is a deep cornerback class, which could allow the Lions to address the position with their second-round pick. Don’t be surprised if Detroit passes on Okudah with the third pick.
New York Giants are heavily scouting Justin Herbert
Just a year after reaching for Daniel Jones with the No. 6 pick, the Giants have done extensive research on Herbert. Between FaceTime conversations with the former Oregon Ducks star to talking to his old coaches and evaluating his film, general manager Dave Gettleman seems to be very interested. In fact, Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson shared that Herbert is the No.1 quarterback on New York’s board. Does this hint that the Giants could possibly take Herbert?
No. In fact, this might be one of the worst misinformation leaks in recent years. Gettleman would love to convince the Miami Dolphins or Los Angeles Chargers that they need to trade up for the No. 4 pick, but no team is buying this rumor. The Giants desperately need to address the offensive line to protect Jones and there is no risk of them taking Herbert. Miami and Los Angeles will likely stay put and let the quarterbacks fall to them.
Miami Dolphins may pass on a quarterback with No. 5 overall selection?
Everyone has talked about the Dolphins drafting a franchise quarterback with their top pick for over a year. Now, Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline hints that they could pass on a signal-caller with the No. 5 selection and grab a top defender or offensive lineman. It would provide a major shake-up for the 2020 NFL Draft and there is an understandable case to be made for it.
However, we’re not buying the rumor. In part, because owner Stephen Ross will have a say on the team’s decision and he’ll want a new face of the franchise that the team can promote and market. Secondly, there’s far too much risk for Miami in hoping that Jordan Love falls to the No. 18 overall pick. Even if Love made it to their pick, he’s a polarizing prospect with serious risk of failing as a starter. Tua Tagovailoa comes with medical concerns and Justin Herbert is unlikely to become a top-10 quarterback, but both are far better than risking it on Love.
San Francisco 49ers to trade at least one of their first-round selections?
The 49ers shocked many around the NFL when they traded DeForest Bucker for the No. 13 overall pick. It’s rare to see a team move on from an All-Pro defender, but credit to San Francisco for taking advantage of its depth. Given the 49ers lack any draft capital from the second through the fourth round, two first-round picks could prove crucial on draft night.
The 49ers are open to moving either or both of their first-round picks in the 2020 NFL Draft, per ESPN. San Francisco could come away with a haul if a top quarterback falls to No. 13 and a team like the New England Patriots wants to move up. Given the offensive talent that could be available, we think San Francisco will stay put. However, it’s a near certainty that they will trade down from the No. 31 spot.
Atlanta Falcons could jump up for a top-five pick
The Falcons want to move up for an impact defender – we know this. Teams across the league expect general manager Thomas Dimitroff to make a huge move early in the 2020 NFL Draft. It’s only a question of how far they jump up. On Monday, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported the Falcons could even target a top-five pick to land their defensive star. Such a move for a player like Chase Young would be monumental, but if Young is gone, we’re not buying the rumor.
There isn’t enough difference in talent and potential impact between the likes of Okudah, Isaiah Simmons and C.J. Henderson that would justify the cost. Atlanta would either need to give up a majority of its draft or a 2021 first-round pick to move from No. 16 overall into a top-four pick. Simmons can be landed bottom half of the top-10 selections, which is also a cheaper range to move into. We fully believe the Falcons will trade up, but we’re not convinced that they’ll go into the top five.
Green Bay Packers to draft a quarterback with first-round pick?
Aaron Rodgers is not the MVP-caliber quarterback he used to be and he’s at the same age Brett Favre was when Green Bay selected Rodgers. The 2020 NFL Draft also offers some intriguing talent at the position, especially if Tagovailoa or Love falls to the No. 30 selection. So, is now the year when the Packers invest in their future and draft an heir to Rodgers? No, at least not with a first-round selection.
While general manager Brian Gutekunst is open to drafting a quarterback early, this is also a team with plenty of more pressing areas to address. Green Bay needs more help at receiver, must find a right tackle and desperately needs more talent across its entire defense. Failing to take advantage of the impressive crop of players at those positions isn’t a move this team can afford to make. We might see the Packers take a quarterback in the second round, but that feels like the earliest they will realistically make the move.
New England Patriots will trade All-Pro guard Joe Thuney this week?
Few expected the Patriots to place the franchise tag on Joe Thuney this offseason. Limited by a lack of cap space, it seemed inevitable that New England would let him depart in free agency and take the third-round compensatory pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Instead, the Patriots kept him under the tag and he immediately signed it. But Thuney’s time in New England could be near its end.
Contract talks between the Patriots and their All-Pro guard haven’t gone well. It’s not all that surprising given the leverage Thuney holds in negotiations. Bill Belichick is never one to overpay a player or lose a leverage battle, leading to Thuney become a likely trade candidate during the NFL Draft this week. If another team offers up a third-round pick to the Patriots, we’d expect they pull the trigger.
Chiefs could trade up for top wide receiver?
Coming off a Super Bowl title and with the league’s best quarterback leading them into the future, the Chiefs understandably feel confident. Kansas City can run it back with the same squad and will be considered the favorites to repeat as the NFL’s champion. The 2020 NFL Draft can be icing on the cake for them with an opportunity to load up on even more talent, especially with Peter King’s latest report that the Chiefs could trade up for Henry Ruggs if he falls into the 20s.
It sounds like the dream scenario, adding a potential Tyreek Hill clone alongside him and letting things fly on offense. It’s even fun to think about the possibilities of historic greatness that Andy Reid’s passing attack would achieve with Ruggs. None of this is going to happen. Ruggs is unlikely to make it out of the top-15 picks and there’s no chance the Philadelphia Eagles let him slip by the No. 21 pick. It would also cost the Chiefs their second-round pick and a Day 3 pick to move up. This team needs as many talented players on cheap contracts as possible, making a trade down far likelier than a trade up.