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10 predictions about the 1st round of the 2020 NFL draft

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You can’t predict what will happen, but these moves do make sense

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Los Angeles Rams Owner Stan Kroenke Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

I keep saying it in every article because unfortunately it is true and it is draft day: the LA Rams don’t have a first round pick today. They are too far away from the first round for us to assume they’ll be making a draft pick today. Trades are a small maybe but very small.

That doesn’t mean today won’t have a huge impact on the Rams future and the power dynamics in the NFC West, NFC, and NFL though. Or that we don’t have things to discuss.

Or maybe just pass the time. Which is what I’ll quickly do with 10 draft predictions, ordered from most likely to what would be the biggest shock.

1. The Bengals will select Joe Burrow

He’s so good as a prospect that even in a draft like this one the Bengals won’t entertain what could be some stunning trade offers. Be happy that Washington, Detroit, or New York didn’t get the number one pick because even if they aren’t division rivals, Burrow seems so much better off in the AFC than in the crowded NFC. He could immediately be a top-5 QB in his conference, which is saying more about the conference than him maybe.

2. Chase Young will play for the team in Washington, D.C.

I really do not think this is what I would do. I really think I would trade down. But it seems difficult to criticize a team for drafting an elite pass rushing prospect. Teams don’t want to risk passing on a player like Young, getting a bust, and then seeing him turn into a Hall of Famer. That’s a real consideration. Some would rather draft Young and see him bust then pass on Young and know they’ll always be criticized twofold if they’re wrong. Then again, the Texans passed on Reggie Bush and that turned into the right decision.

3. The NFL will air tweets of people “booing” Roger Goodell

This is apparently an important moment to people and so they say they’re gonna do “something” to resemble booing Goodell. My guess would be “Roger Goodell Reads Mean Tweets” or something.

4. Isaiah Simmons will go in the top five

A lot of my mock drafts don’t have Simmons in the top five just because of positional value. My overall prediction is that a team won’t be able to resist adding Simmons. He’s perhaps the first linebacker prospect and the first safety prospect who would draw real first overall pick consideration if not for it being such a crazy-strong year with 1-2.

(Four linebackers have gone first, the most recent being Aundray Bruce in 1988. A safety has never gone first.)

5. Clyde Edwards-Helaire will be a first round pick and the first running back selected

This seems to be a belief that most people, including myself, have only held for the last 24 hours or less.

6. A team will get 17 minutes and 36 seconds to make a choice because the NFL “forgives” a technical error

I think we’re all anticipating the usual draft stuff — trades, shocking picks, regular reaction picks — but this year is something different because of the remote and virtual aspect of the event. Beyond potential broadcast issues, of which I expect a few, there’s all the moving parts that must get teams from point A to point B during all 32 picks.

32 picks, 32 teams (not all picking but all participating in one way or another), but hundreds of employees when you add up all that goes into one day of an NFL draft. Spread all over the country in their own locations and what happens when one Christmas light in the bunch goes out?

It’s entirely possible that tonight is smooth as jazz but I guarantee a large portion of the audience is tuning in to witness a potential crash.

7. Three interior offensive linemen will go in the first round

I think this and running back could be hotter positions in the draft than we know. Names like Cesar Ruiz, Lloyd Cushenberry, Tyler Biadasz, Robert Hunt, Matt Hennessy, Nick Harris could all go higher than expected. I think it would be a minor surprise to see three interior linemen in this class go in the first but I think it’s a position a lot of teams are concerned about.

8. There will be six trades and two franchise tagged players will be dealt

I’ll say that the Dolphins, Broncos, Vikings, and Packers trade up. The Lions, 49ers, Patriots, Raiders trade down. Trent Williams and Yannick Ngakoue are traded for draft picks.

9. We see the strangest first round draft pick since maybe Sebastian Janikowski in 2000

I don’t know if Janikowski is the strangest first rounder of the last 20 years but he was the first to come to mind, so that counts for something. I don’t know that a kicker goes in the first but given all the strings in this web tonight, I could see a “woah wait what?” pick. And it could be the Raiders.

10. The first round doesn’t get completed tonight

And the least likeliest prediction, which means I had to think of something that would be really wild, which is that the glitches are such that the NFL postpones the first round until Friday, moving up the start time of round two until they are able to get the issues fixed. Can you imagine if the league had to put that big of a curve in their plans? What advantages or disadvantages would a major technical issue have for teams?

I do expect things to go fairly smoothly. But tell me what about 2020 has been predictable to you so far.