The combine highlighted the abilities of the class' top prospects and helped a handful of players climb up my board. With every pre-draft event, the board becomes clearer and clearer, but there is still plenty of time for players to rise or fall through pro day showings and interviews, and for teams to finalize their rankings and preferences. And of course, free agency, the franchise tag period and looming trade talk will also resort each franchise's needs.
Here are my predictions coming out of the combine for all 32 first-round picks of the 2020 draft.
Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
What, you thought 9-inch hands were going to keep Burrow from Cincinnati? No chance. Burrow threw for 5,671 yards and completed 76.3% of his passes at LSU. He has elite pocket presence. And now he has quieted rumors that he might not suit up for the Bengals if they were to draft him. For a team desperately looking for a star to rebuild the franchise around, this makes too much sense. He'd be the fourth QB the Bengals have taken in the top-three picks of the draft (Carson Palmer, Akili Smith and Jack Thompson). And in addition to a new quarterback, some more good news for Cincy fans: The Bengals are reportedly looking to franchise tag A.J. Green, meaning the Heisman QB will have a proven weapon on the outside.
Chase Young, DE, Ohio State
Washington is super happy it's Cincinnati picking at No. 1. Any team not in obvious need of a quarterback would probably be running to the podium to draft Young first overall, but instead, the Redskins land him at No. 2. He's the best player in the draft and one of the best pass-rushers I've ever scouted. Yes, the Redskins had 46 sacks last season (10th in the NFL), but they won't pass up the opportunity to add a pass-rusher of this caliber. Young had 16.5 sacks to lead the nation despite missing two games, and he could take a middle-of-the-road passing defense to the next level.
Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State
Any team would love to add an explosive cornerback with excellent ball skills. But a team that managed just seven interceptions and gave up a league-worst 284.4 passing yards per game in 2019? A team potentially losing Rashaan Melvin to free agency and putting Darius Slay on the trading block? That sort of team needs to do it. Okudah is perfect for what Detroit needs right now: He brings size, versatility and elite athleticism, shown by his 41-inch vertical and 11-foot-3 broad jump at the combine. Isaiah Simmons out of Clemson could be in play here too, but Okudah would be an immediate impact player for the Lions, and the fit is right.