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Sports Corner

By: Robert Bishop

Back again, and the latest rumors surrounding the top of the NFL Draft have defensive lineman Chase Young linked to the Washington Redskins, owners of the second overall pick. By all accounts, Washington selecting Young with the second overall selection would be perfectly reasonable—Young is more than worthy of the honor—though the timing of the rumor is curious. It is far more likely Washington is looking to increase the trade winds surrounding the pick, hoping to get a team to offer a massive haul in trade to move up to the two slot in the draft to select a quarterback. Young could still end up in Washington, albeit with a pick other than the second overall.

As the draft nears, it feels more and more inevitable that the Miami Dolphins will be the team moving up to the two slot to add quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. The Dolphins are loaded with draft capital, which gives Miami a massive advantage over the quarterback-needy teams. This is Miami’s chance to add a potential franchise quarterback. The Dolphins have spent the off-season upgrading its roster, setting Miami up to be too good to be among the worst teams in the NFL next season. Unless the Dolphins are simply out on Tagovailoa being a potential long-term solution at quarterback, Miami’s best-case scenario has the franchise exiting the draft with Tagovailoa.

Provided Tagovailoa goes anywhere between two and five, the Los Angeles Chargers will have a difficult decision to make. The franchise seems committed to veteran Tyrod Taylor at quarterback in the short-term, though the Chargers should be looking to add a long-term option at the position. L.A. picks at sixth overall, and with Tagovailoa likely off the board, the Chargers are likely going to be weighing the selection of Justin Herbert. Herbert has been gaining momentum in recent days, and it is possible the Chargers are smitten enough to select him at sixth overall. The Chargers would likely be better off adding a win-now piece (offensive tackle, wide receiver), but nothing is off the table given the unprecedented off-season circumstances.

Los Angeles passing on the two top offensive tackles in the draft would be a massive win for two other teams in the top ten: Arizona and Jacksonville. With the Cardinals acquiring DeAndre Hopkins earlier this off-season, Arizona is no longer in desperate need of a target for quarterback Kyler Murray. Now, Arizona can look to upgrade Murray’s blocking unit, with Tristan Wirfs, Josh Jones, and Andrew Thomas likely in the running to go to Arizona at eighth overall. Jacksonville selects at nine, and would be ecstatic to add either tackle Arizona leaves on the board. The Jaguars could also be hoping either of the draft’s top receivers—Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, and Henry Ruggs III—slide to ninth overall. Cleveland at ten will also be in the market for a tackle.

Perhaps the best fit in the top ten, aside from Joe Burrow to the Cincinnati Bengals at the top of the draft, is linebacker/safety Isaiah Simmons to the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers shocking lost Luke Keuchly to retirement this off-season, and having the opportunity to add a versatile play-maker of Simmons’ caliber in the draft is an unexpected panacea. There’s a chance Simmons goes in the top five, but Carolina has to be holding out hope he is on the board when the team’s turn on the clock comes at seven. There’s no great fit for Carolina provided Simmons is off the board. It’s unlikely to be a winning season for the Panthers in 2020 no matter the selection, but adding Simmons to the roster will expedite the team’s return to contention.

Las Vegas and San Francisco select back-to-back at twelve and thirteen, and both franchises are likely cheering for the high-upside crop of receivers to slide out of the top ten. There are plenty of scenarios where the top three receivers are all off the board for the Raiders and 49ers, but there is also a chance for the two teams to add an instant game-changer to its offense. The Raiders have had a strong off-season, though an upgrade at receiver remains a must. The 49ers remain loaded on defense, but the offense needs an infusion of play-makers, and adding a high-upside receiver opposite Deebo Samuel would be a huge move. The Draft is currently scheduled to begin on schedule on April 23.