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  • Iestyn Withers

NFL Draft 2020 Preview: Day 2 Reset

Day 1 of this year's NFL draft is in the books and opinions are already flooding the internet. All in all, the opening round of the 2020 draft had an air of predictability about it and besides a couple of "I didn't see that coming" moments, expert analysts were pretty spot on with their mock selections. Heading into the second day of the draft we are now able to make even more informed choices about what teams might look to do, whilst also considering potential shocks. Some needs have been filled, some haven't. Some upgrades have been secured, some haven't. What can the teams look to do in the second-round to ensure that they can consider the 2020 draft a success when looking back? *Mock selections are informed by mock drafts prior to the first round of the 2020 draft and supplemented with opinion following the first round. Pick 33 - Cincinnati Bengals: Tee Higgins WR Clemson The Bengals secured their man at number one when they selected LSU quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow. The question surrounding their pick to open round two is whether they look to protect or support Burrow. Having drafted left tackle Jonah Williams last year, the Bengals may be reluctant to pick up another here and risk a quality wide receiver slipping from their grasp. That said, Ezra Cleveland is the consensus top offensive tackle left on the board and the Bengals may well go for the Boise State man. However, with veteran wide receiver AJ Green on a one-year deal it may be more prudent to select a wide receive prospect that Burrow can gel with and develop alongside in the coming years. Despite numerous wide-outs coming off the board in round one, Tee Higgins, Baylor's Denzel Mims and USC's Michael Pittman Jr are all still available. Higgins has a bit of an injury history but can use his body well to get open downfield - a vlauable weapon for the Bengals new rookie QB. Pick 34 - Indianapolis Colts: Denzel Mims WR Baylor Having dealt away their chance to draft yesterday with the trade for DeForest Buckner, the Colts could use their first pick of the 2020 draft to add another offensive weapon for new QB Philip Rivers. It is no secret that the Colts are operating under a "win now" mentality, and a wide-out seems the most logical route to go with the 34th pick in terms of potential immediate impact. Much like the Bengals before them, the Colts will likely choose between Higgins, Pittman Jr and Mims, but the combination of Mims height and deep threat would mesh well with the Colts current corps of TY Hilton and Parris Campbell. Pick 35: Detriot Lions: Yetur Gross-Matos EDGE Penn State The Lions have a slew of options at 35 and the mock of Gross Matos here isn't an overly confident one. Having grabbed their preferred man Jeff Okudah at 3, the Lions will likely be looking at offensive tackles and edge rushers in the early second round. If this is the case, the best all-round edge rusher on the board is Penn State's Gross Matos. Perhaps a shock to drop from the first round, the Lions ranked 29th in sacks last year and need to improve on this to have any impact in 2020. If edge is the preferred option here, AJ Epenesa, Terrell Lewis and Josh Uche are all alternative options. The Lions could also choose to upgrade their protection of QB Matt Stafford and if they don't take an offensive tackle here they are unlikely to find a starter later on in the draft. Despite the high number of tackles going on Day 1, the Lions can still choose between Boise State's Ezra Cleveland, Houston's Josh Jones and St John's Ben Bartch. Pick 36: New York Giants: Zack Baun LB Wisconsin Another team that have numerous holes to fill and thus numerous draft routes to go down. The Giants may be best served to improve defence after going O-Line with Andrew Thomas on Day 1. As with many teams in the draft, the Giants need help on pass rush and they may be tempted by AJ Epenesa and Yetur Gross Matos if they are still available. They may also choose to improve their secondary with high-level corners Kristian Fulton and Trevon Diggs still available, as well as the best safety in the draft Xavier McKinney. A good fit for the Giants however would be Zack Baun out of Wisconsin. Only trailing number 2 pick Chase Young for amount of sacks in The Big Ten last season, Baun will likely be used as an off the ball linebacker in the NFL but also has edge rushing credentials. Pick 37: New England Patriots: Cole Kmet TE Notre Dame It would be surprising if Kmet isn't the target for New England at 37. Despite not being the best player available at this spot - the Pats could go running back or defensive secondary - the Notre Dame tight-end is a big 6"6 target with decent speed and reliable hands. If the Patriots are going to go with Jarrett Stidham at QB this year, Kmet is the kind of target the second year signal caller needs. Pick 38: Carolina Panthers: Kristian Fulton CB LSU After selecting big defensive tackle Derrick Brown at 7, the Panthers now need to look at improving their defensive backfield, particularly at cornerback with only Donte Jackson a certain starter. Experts all have Kristian Fulton as the best available corner in the draft for Day 2 and the LSU man is an instant plug and play guy in whatever scheme Carolina runs. Fulton, one of the best players available in any poistion following Day 1, falls right into the Panthers’ lap here and after losing James Bradberry in free agency, Carolina finds their immediate replacement. Pick 39: Miami Dolphins: Xavier McKinney S Alabama A consensus first-round pick for the Dolphins in most first-round mocks, Miami will be jumping for joy if McKinney falls to them at 39. Realistically, this could well happen with teams filling needs or selecting the best available players at other positions. That said, the Dolphins also need a running back - especially if Tua is going to be starting from the offset - and this likely leads to the selection of Georgia's D'Andre Swift. With a low centre of gravity and powerful lower body, Swift can take a large amount of carries a game whilst remaining productive. The decision likely comes from whether Miami feel they can get the same value at safety that they can get at running back in the middle rounds. Pick 40: Houston Texans: Ross Blacklock DT TCU The Texans didn't have a pick in the first round and they may well be tempted to go the best player available route come pick 40. However, cooler heads may prevail and Houston could look to fill a defensive need here. Where that need is exactly is up for argument, but it will likely be a toss up between corner, edge and defensive tackle. Utah Jaylon Johnson may be available as the best remaining corner whilst Josh Uche has explosive athleticism from the edge despite being undersized. With all that said, D-lineman Blacklock had a private workout with Houston before the COVID-19 pandemic stopped top-30 visits and private workouts, so there is definitely confirmed interest there. Pick 41: Cleveland Browns: Grant Delpit S LSU The Browns addressed their primary offensive needs by drafting Jedrick Wills at number 10 on Day 1, now Cleveland must address a defensive need. This need is at safety. Karl Joseph and Andrew Sendejo are very much short-term fixes and it would behove the Browns to add a long-term option at pick 41. The choice is likely a straight shootout between Xavier McKinney and Grant Delpit if both are available, and despite Delpit's tackling deficiencies in 2019 - the Brows drafted CB Greedy Williams last year who had similar concerns - Delpit is a rangy playmaker that Cleveland needs. Pick 42: Jacksonville Jaguars: Michael Pittman Jr WR USC The Jags could easily make it back to back safety picks by drafting Antonie Winfield Jr or Jeremy Chinn here, but after signing two defensive players in round 1 they may look to add further support to their Gardner Minshew run offence. If Mims and Higgins are off the board, the next best wide-out is Pittman Jr from the USC Trojans. Arguably one of the more pro-ready receivers in the class, Pittman has a lower ceiling than other prospects but can be impactful immediately. Pick 43: Chicago Bears: Ezra Cleveland OT Boise State Another team that could select a safety here, the Chicago Bears should instead be looking at investing in protection for whoever they intend to start at QB next year. Ranking 20th in pass protection last season, Ezra Cleveland or Josh Jones would be a definite upgrade on the existing tackles the Bears have in the form of Bobby Massie and Charles Leno Jr. Cleveland seems a better fit than Jones and would arguably be a steal if he drops to 43. Pick 44: Indianapolis Colts: Trevon Diggs CB Alabama The two Colts picks in round two could easily be switched round, but having gone receiver at 34 they go corner here. With Kristian Fulton off the board, 'Bama's Trevon Diggs fills a need for the Colts and adds an elite combination of size and length here. With a high upside, Diggs could slot into the Colts system from day one but also grow to be more valuable than his pick suggests. Pick 45: Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jonathan Taylor RB Wisconsin The Bucs have the potential to go in numerous directions from the 45 spot, and whilst a safety like Jeremy Chinn or defensive tackle like Justin Madubuike could be useful assets, drafting Jonathan Taylor adds another dimension to the Tom Brady run offence. Despite having a massive workload at college - bringing durability concerns with it - Taylor has the size and power to break tackles, as well as the speed to get away from them. Having rushed for 6,000 yards in 3 years at college, if Taylor is fully healthy he could be an explosive and integral cog to Tampa Bay outscoring opponents. 46: Denver Broncos: Josh Jones OT Houston It is highly likely that Denver uses pick 46 to draft an offensive lineman. Whether a tackle or someone to play on the interior, Melvin Gordon needs run blocking and Drew Lock needs pass protection. If Josh Jones slips to 46 it would hard for Denver to ignore, but the likes of Netane Muti and Lloyd Cushenberry III would add some high-level power to their offensive blocking. With 44 bench press reps at the Combine, Muti showcased his power and strength but Josh Jones remains the better choice here. 47: Atlanta Falcons: AJ Epenesa EDGE Iowa The Falcons drafter a cornerback in the first round and could now use some additional defensive help on the pass rush front. The former Hawkeye, Epenesa combats his athleticism deficiencies by winning with a blend of power, length, technique and heavy hands. With thhe versatility to rush from the inside as well, Epenesa closed the season with eight sacks and four forced fumbles over his final five game at Iowa. If Gross-Matos is gone, there's no debate that Epenesa is the next best available player in the position. 48: New York Jets: Laviska Shenault WR Colorado QB Sam Darnold got a shiny new toy to protect him in the form of Mekhi Becton in the first round, now they need to address their needs at wide receiver. Much of the debate going into round one centred around tackle versus receiver and now that's done Shenault fits in the mould in round two. As with any other wide-out selection there could be a handful of players to choose from. That said, whilst Tee Higgins or Michael Pittman Jr would be good alternatives, Shenault is a better prospect for the Jets than the likes of Chase Claypool and KJ Hamler. 49: Pittsburgh Steelers: Jacob Eason QB Washington It would be a lot less surprising to see Ben Roethlisberger get the Aaron Rodgers treatment come round two, with Eason coming in as heir apparent. Coming off an injury-hit season - in which Mason Rudolph proved he was not the answer - the Steelers might be well served to plan for the future with this pick. That said, Pittsburgh could love to add an impactful player on either side of the ball which could see Texas A&M defensive tackle Justin Madubuike or Ohio State running back JK Dobbins coming to the Steel City. 50: Chicago Bears: Julian Okwara EDGE Notre Dame Another team with numerous needs and holes to fill, having already addressed offensive tackle with the earlier pick the Bears will be choosing between interior offensive line, wide-out and edge rusher here. Unless the Bears are huge fans of Chase Claypool or KJ Hamler, the likelihood is that any viable receiver option will be off the board by 50. Lloyd Cushenberry III out of LSU could defintely be a useful addition in an attempt to bolster the interior offensive line, though the positional value suggests a edge rusher is a better pick here. Alabama's Terell Lewis could be the man, but Notre Dame's Julian Okwara brings a combination of frightening athleticism and explosiveness - as well as great character. 51: Dallas Cowboys: Jaylon Johnson CB Utah Despite being a potential first round pick up, Jaylon Johnson's slides to pick 51 before landing happily in the Cowboys lap. Having made a splash when CeeDee Lamb unexpectedly fell to them in the first round, the Cowboys need to address the loss of Byron Jones here and Johnson is the man. If Johnson has already been taken - as have Fulton and Diggs - the Cowboys may have to reach for a corner with Cameron Dantzler most likely. 52: Los Angeles Rams: Willie Gay Jr LB Mississippi State Having lost Cory Littleton to the Raiders in free agency, the Rams should use their first pick of this draft on a replacement. Whilst character question marks have seemed to plague Gay, his athleticism cannot be argued. Running a 4.46-second 40 at the combine with a 39.5-inch vertical jump and 11-4 broad jump, Gay brings an explosive physicality to the linebacker position that could be hugely impactful in the NFL. Whilst the Rams could go in a different direction with their pick, linebacker should be a priority. 53: Philadelphia Eagles: Jeremy Chinn S Southern Illinois The Eagles are looking at a cash-strapped future, so hitting on these picks will be vital for their future. They drafted TCU receiver Jalen Reagor in the first round and should look for defensive recruits in the second. Cam Dantzler could be an option at corner but the Eagles will find it difficult to ignore the likes of safeties Jeremy Chinn and Antoine Winfield Jr if they fall this low. Built more like a linebacker than safety, Chinn is physical as a run defender, but showed off his elite athleticism at the combine as well. 54: Buffalo Bills: Terrell Lewis EDGE Alabama The Bills had no picks in the first round and whilst their defensive front is strong on the interior with 2019 first-round pick Ed Oliver and Star Lotulelei, they could add to the edge with their first pick in the 2020 draft. It is highly unlikely that either of Epenesa or Gross-Matos falls to pick 54, thus leaving Buffalo to pick the next best available player in the position. The overall consensus seems to be that Terrell Lewis would fit that description, although Boise State's Curtis Weaver is an alternative option. 55: Baltimore Ravens: Lloyd Cushenberry III C/OG LSU Having drafted LSU linebacker Patrick Queen on the first-round, the Ravens could ave a toss up between a few LSU products at pick 55. Switching gears to the offence a strong run-blocking interior lineman would be a prudent move to protect 2019 MVP Lamar Jackson. Lloyd Cushenberry can play centre or guard and has shown prowess in the run game at LSU, whilst fellow LSU interior offensive lineman Damien Lewis has a strong case to be considered. Ruining the LSU party, Fresno State guard Netane Muti could be a third option. 56: Miami Dolphins: D'Andre Swift RB Georgia Pick 56 will be the fifth pick for the Dolphins in the 2020 draft and having filled many needs it would be sensible to take a running back here. If the draft runs similarly to the predicted picks above, the Dolphins could find themselves picking up their preferred running back option D'Andre Swift. Whether Swift falls this low is likely a 50/50 possibility, and if he has been taken then JK Dobbins from Ohio State will be the next man up. Either way, if Miami can add Swift or Dobbins it should have an immediate positive impact on their offensive proficiency. 57: Los Angeles Rams: JK Dobbins RB Ohio State Having gone linebacker earlier in the round, the Rams now need to decide whether to bring in another defensive player or replace Todd Gurley at running back. With Swift going a pick earlier, the Rams may feel pressured into taking the next best running back available to avoid picking up a weaker prospect in the middle rounds. If the Rams are not sold on Dobbins, Curtis Weaver would be a decent pick-up at edge whilst defesive tackles Neville Gallimore and Justin Madubuike may both be available. 58: Minnesota Vikings: Neville Gallimore DT Oklahoma With both Josh Jones and Ezra Cleveland off the board, the Vikings may be hesitant to reach for an offensive tackle at 58. Instead the Vikings can look to the D-Line and Oklahoma's Neville Gallimore. Combining freakish athleticism - running a 4.79 40 at 304 pounds - Gallimore explodes off the ball and has outstanding short-term agility for his size. Very much a work in progress, Gallimore can be somewhat impactful from the offset but with the right coaching could be a dangerous force in the future. 59: Seattle Seahawks: Netane Muti OG Fresno State The Seahawks added Texas Tech outside linebacker Jordyn Brooks in the first round,and with two picks here at the end of the second round, Seattle can improve the interior lines of both their offence and defence. Having slipped to this point in the round, either Fresno States Netane Muti or LSU's Damien Lewis would be great pick ups, as would Ohio State's Jonah Jackson. This would then leave space to draft a defensive tackle at pick 64. 60: Baltimore Raves: Robert Hunt OL Louisiana Hunt was a four-year starter at right tackle at Louisiana, but he’ll likely be moved inside to compete in the NFL. With the retirement of Marshal Yanda, the team has a need at guard and Hunt seems to fit the bill. The Ravens may miss out on Hunt if Seattle chooses to go that route, in which case Muti or Lewis would be useful additions. That said, if the Ravens do select Cushenberry at the earlier pick they may not want to get a second offensive lineman. If that is indeed the case, look out for a tight end to be a possibility here. 61: Tennessee Titans: Malik Harrison LB Ohio State Put frankly, if Malik Harrison drops to 61 the Titans will be rushing that card up to the podium.... wait, this is a virtual draft... they will be hammering the phone line vociferously to dial the pick in. Harriosn performed well at the combine with a 6.83-second three-cone drill and 10.2 broad jump, and at 6"2, 247 pounds Harrison is one of the bigger linebackers in the draft whilst still being dynamic. This Titans team is already strong and addition like this would only further cement that. 62: Green Bay Packers: KJ Hamler WR Penn State Having shocked everyone by trading up to get Jordan Love in the first, the Packers may well resort to what was their presumed tactic of bringing in a receiver. Likely having to choose between KJ Hamler and Chase Claypool in a best case scenario, Hamler has elite quickness, acceleration and elusiveness in the open field that can be immediately impactful. 63: Kansas City Chiefs: Bryce Hall CB Virginia The likes of Cam Dantzler and Bryce Hall dropping to the end of the second round would have the Chiefs front office feeling very happy. With Bashaud Breeland back on a one-year deal and many other corners gone during free agency, both of these prospects could have an immediate impact. Bryce Hall seems like a better fit here and is a physical corner with outstanding size, length and ball skills. He will need to work on his coverage but has the potential to succeed - especially in a winning team. 64: Seattle Seahawks: Justin Madubuike DT Texas A&M Though it is unlikely Madubuike falls this far, stranger things have happened in previous drafts. With a high focus on wide receivers and defensive players for the secondary, a defensive tackle or two may start to fall down boards. The Seahawks would be very happy would Madubuike, though Alabama's Raekwon Davis would be a valuable pick up two. If the defensive tackle class is looking bare come the final pick of the second round, Florida running back Cam Akers could also be a potential selection.

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