These draft picks represent the consensus draft needs of every NFL team heading into the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
With the 2020 NFL Draft less than a month away, experts across the football spectrum are making prognostications and predictions regarding the first round selections. While there are seven rounds in the draft, there is nothing like the first-round pick to inflate a fan base’s pride in their team. And while plenty of talented, franchise-altering athletes can be found past pick number 32, the first round is where offseason dreams are created.
While those dreams can be shattered by the end of week one of the regular season, the first-round pick in any year’s draft becomes a sort of psychological hero of a team’s fans heading into the season. Millions of dollars every year are dedicated to scouting these players, predicting their success, watching hours of their game footage, all to see if they can become that x-factor that elevates a roster.
Every general manager has a different philosophy when it comes to using draft picks. Some general managers prefer trading their early-round selections back for more draft picks in the middle and later rounds. Some general managers prefer to use first-round picks as trade fodder, using them to acquire veterans with a proven track record. Still, others attempt to acquire as many first-round picks as possible, getting as many pulls from the elite-prospect well as they can get.
Other general managers will attempt to give order to the chaos of the first round by determining “draft value”, where each pick is assigned a value and then traded for two or more picks of greater value, to accrue more value for their team in the draft. They then use this value and make all sorts of rules about which positions are worth taking at what draft value, excluding positions too early in the draft while also elevating more valuable positions to a higher draft pick.
These draft philosophies can be confusing and most general managers do not subscribe to one philosophy at all times, preferring to stay flexible. And while every NFL team in the 2020 NFL Draft has multiple positions that need attending to this offseason, there is also one position that every fan, scout and general manager will agree needs to be addressed in the draft.
In this mock draft, we will explore the general consensus needs for each NFL team and predict which player they will draft this April. To determine each team’s greatest need, we will be using an article from NFL.com that breaks down the top five needs for each NFL team. Then we will choose which position is the most important, based on positional value. Then we will use the latest Big Board from Pro Football Focus to determine which player will be going to each NFL team and then describe the role they can expect to take over once with the team.
Using this method, we can avoid any subjective questions about which player should be selected by each team. Instead, we will allow each team to take the first, best-ranked player at their position of need. While this model is a little rigid and won’t mirror what happens this year, there is a good chance that many teams follow a similar draft style when they are making their picks in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Most scouting departments in the NFL create a Big Board of their own. This handy tool allows them to avoid tunnel vision on a single prospect when it is their turn to pick, allowing them to select the best player still available by their subjective analysis. Unless your team is rebuilding the roster, most general managers prefer to build and sustain their team over multiple drafts by getting the most value from their draft picks. Using the model in this mock draft, we will attempt to do the same thing for every team drafting in the first round.
For more analysis of the 2020 NFL Draft, make sure to check back with NFL Mocks. We are releasing new content every day leading up to and after the draft in regards to all this Draft related.