Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press
Underestimated The NFL the draft prospect has a long ranking among the biggest head-scratchers behind.
How will 31 players – four of them quarterbacks – be recruited ahead of Lamar Jackson’s MVP in 2018? How could nine different teams let Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes escape from them in 2017?
And what in the world Tom Brady, the six-time Super Bowl champion and arguably the league’s greatest midfielder, survived until the 199th election of the 2000 draft?
The team doesn’t always do it right, because history shows us repeatedly.
After our latest mock draft below, we will highlight three prospects that already seemed to be a bargain when the draft opened on April 23.
2020 NFL Mock Draft
1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
2. Washington Redskins: Chase Young, Edge, Ohio State
3. Detroit Lions: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State
4. New York Giants: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
5. Miami Dolphins: Old Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
6. Los Angeles Chargers: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
7. Carolina Panthers: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
8. Arizona Cardinals: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
10. Cleveland Browns: Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama
11. New York Jets: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
12. Las Vegas Raiders: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
13. San Francisco 49ers (via Indianapolis Colts): Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
15. Denver Broncos: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
16. Atlanta Falcons: K’Lavon Chaisson, Edge, LSU
17. Dallas Cowboys: CJ Henderson, CB, Florida
18. Miami Dolphins (via Pittsburgh Steelers): CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
19. Las Vegas Raiders (via Chicago Bears): Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
20. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Los Angeles Rams): Austin Jackson, OT, USC
21. Philadelphia Eagles: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
22. Minnesota Vikings (via Buffalo Bills): Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
23. New England Patriot: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
24. New Orleans Saints: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
25. Minnesota Vikings: Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
26. Miami Dolphins (via Houston Texas): D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
27. Seattle Seahawks: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
28. Baltimore Ravens: Yetur Gross-Matos, Edge, Penn State
29. Tennessee Titans: Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
30. Green Bay Packers: Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
31. San Francisco 49ers: A.J. Epenesa, Edge, Iowa
32. Kansas City Head: Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
The Most Underrated Prospect of the First Half
Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
The LSU linebacker factory continues to roll, because Patrick Queen seems ready to follow in the footsteps of Devin White, Kwon Alexander and Deion Jones.
Because his position has been stacked, the 20-year-old only became a full-time starter during his last season with the Tigers. During that time, he recorded 85 tackles and added three sacks, two pass passes and interception. Obviously, we’re looking at fast learners here.
“He plays fast, physically and with impressive field confidence for a one-year starter,” NFL.com Lance Zierlein writes “His ability to diagnose and flow both is very fast, and he operates with excellent body control and balance to devour runners as open field handlers … He is an early starter with a sky-high ceiling.”
Ratu looks close to contributors that should not be missed, and there is a possibility he starred sooner than later. That’s an incredible value beyond the top 20 choices.
Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
“You can argue that he is the best pure runner in this class.”
The 21-year-old has a question mark going forward, but it’s almost like the biggest worry is he’s too good in Wisconsin.
Winner of the first-to-back Doak Walker Award in more than a decade, Taylor got dinged for mileage and his number chance was slightly increased by Badgers schemes and offensive lines.
No matter how you slice it, running 926 for three years for 6,174 yards and 50 goals is almost certainly the work of a superstar.
If you are investing in the choice of the first round in this position, shouldn’t it be in the “best pure runner” in the draft? He needs to work on the safety of the ball, but if he cleans it, the concern over the remaining non-workload is his work in the passing matches, and he is taking a big step there this season.
If Taylor is almost as productive as in Wisconsin, he will make everyone wonder how he is not a big five choice.
A.J. Epenesa, Edge, Iowa
There are more, stronger defense lines in this draft than A.J. Epenesis. Faster and more explosive too. Some of them have combined performances that are better than the previous Hawkeye.
But shifting the conversation to physical characteristics is the only reason the 21-year-old can be underestimated. Back in September, when the focus was on football, scouts looked at him and wondered if they were watching J.J. Watt.
Epenesa recorded 10.5 sacks as a part-time player in 2018. He did need time to be able to roll in 2019, but he finished the year with a dead sprint with eight sacks and four forced fumbles during his last five contests. That is the kind of talent he has, but some have forgotten him because he did not burn the world to the union.
“He has legitimate hurried steps and a plan that will work at the next level as long as he continues to improve,” the former NFL defender Stephen White write for SB Nation. “If he goes into the first round, it is most likely because the team that brought him largely ignored the testing matters and focused on the film.”
If the team wants to invest initial picks in physical specimens that are not polished, one must be happy to take Epenesa as a superior soccer player and somehow ignore the prospect.