After the Cincinnati Bengals’ likely first selection of Joe Burrow, the rest of the 2020 NFL draft seems as unpredictable as ever.
The NFL draft has always been one of the more unpredictable events in the football landscape and there should be no exception this year. After the Cincinnati Bengals’ first overall selection, fans could be in store for a three-day span of unexpected picks.
In most years, there are usually a couple of surprises in the first round. A player that nearly every mock draft had going in the top 10 falls down into the 20s or a top prospect invited to the green room doesn’t hear his name called on day one at all. At least one team reaches for a quarterback and another franchise or two picks a player that wasn’t expected to go until round two.
Due to the circumstances surrounding this year’s virtual draft, however, it leaves the possibility for even more surprises than fans have grown accustomed to.
NFL draft expert Daniel Jeremiah believes the lack of pro days and pre-draft meetings will cause a lack of consensus between organizations.
How much this will shake up draft boards remains to be seen, but in another tweet, Ian Rapoport reported that a GM told him that the media is “wronger” about mock drafts in this iteration of the event than they have been in the past.
Point being, there could be players available on day two that nobody was expecting or targets for pick 33 could be long gone.
Another thing to note is how fluid draft rankings are in typical years. Boards seem to undergo drastic shifts after the Senior Bowl, the scouting combine, and once more after the pro day/player meeting process.
However, things have stayed pretty stagnant due to so much of the process being canceled. There’s just no way to know whats going on in the virtual meetings and which prospects are helping, or hurting, their stock the most.
It’s difficult to tell how much the disrupted pre-draft process will affect the Bengals in particular. On one hand, they are notorious for having a small scouting department and relying on their coaches to help in the process. So, getting an idea of how others view prospects at pro-days could have been a valuable thing for them.
On the other hand, they’ve never been the type of team to follow the crowd. They aren’t afraid to pull the trigger on a guy they believe in, even if it’s earlier than most people expect a player to go. Such an example can be found just last year when they took Drew Sample in the second round, while in most expert’s eyes, he had a fourth-round grade.
Taking all of this into consideration, there is a heightened chance that the Bengals come away with a draft class that nobody is predicting. Whatever the case may be, fans should buckle up come April 23.
With the first pick in every round, a veteran quarterback potentially on the trade block, and an unprecedented pre-draft process, everything is on the table. The Cincinnati Bengals could look drastically different by this time next week.