1) Cincinnati Bengals
Pick: Joe Burrow, quarterback, LSU. The Bengals have to take Burrow. He has the potential to lead them for the next 15 years and to finally get Cincinnati that playoff win Andy Dalton failed to provide. Burrow excelled in his final year at LSU leading the Tigers to an undefeated college championship. Burrow completed 76.3% of his passes for 5,671 yards, 60 touchdowns and six interceptions. Free agency showed a new era may be dawning in Cincinnati and Burrow is the man to make it concrete.
Pick: Chase Young, edge rusher, Ohio State. Washington have a no-brainer of their own in Young. Ron Rivera can build a strong defensive identity with a player following in the footsteps of premium Ohio State edge defenders, Joey and Nick Bosa. A 6ft 5in wrecking-ball whose tremendous speed off the line allowed him to rack up 16.5 sacks, 21.5 tackles for a loss and seven forced fumbles across 12 games in 2019. Tua Tagovailoa could be an upgrade on Dwayne Haskins but the inability to assess the quarterback’s fitness up close makes Young the sensible pick.
3) Detroit Lions
Pick: Jeffrey Okudah, cornerback, Ohio State. The Lions need a replacement for Darius Slay after trading him to Philadelphia. Okudah can slip straight into Slay’s role as Detroit’s leader in the backfield and make an impact as the best shutdown corner entering the league.
4) New York Giants
Pick: Jedrick Wills, offensive tackle, Alabama. Offensive line is a must-upgrade for the Giants. Wills, Mekhi Becton and Tristan Wirfs all would do exactly that for head coach, Joe Judge, but Wills makes sense as Judge was once Nick Saban’s assistant in Alabama. Familiarity tips the scales in Wills’s favour without the ability to meet with prospects this year owing to lockdown.
5) Miami Dolphins
Pick: Justin Herbert, quarterback, Oregon. The Dolphins can pick from the best of the rest with Burrow off the board. Herbert gets the nod over Tagovailoa due to the latter’s fitness problems. His 6ft 6in frame and huge arm pass the eye test. Three rushing touchdowns against Wisconsin in Oregon’s Rose Bowl victory showed he can shift when needed too.