Courtesy of Stephen Langsam
2020 NFL DRAFT: Where will the Golden Bears go?
The 2020 NFL Draft is almost upon us, and what a strange draft it will be. There will be no party in Las Vegas as anticipated because of the COVID-19 outbreak, instead all the NFL clubs will be livestreaming their picks from their headquarters and broadcasting the picks to ABC, ESPN and NFL Network starting tonight at 5pm PST. The draft then picks up Friday for rounds two and three and 4pm PST, and 9am PST Saturday.
Now on to the players! Everyone associated with the NFL and college football has been talking about the list of the QBs for this years’ draft that include the list of, but not limited to likely first overall pick Joe Burrow from LSU, other first round picks in Oregon’s Justin Herbert, and Alabama’s Tua Tagoviloa, and the other likely day two selections in Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts, and Utah State’s Jordan Love. But I want to share what’s going to happen with our local guys from Cal Berkeley! I will give my brief take on where I think the six guys from Berkeley whom are reporting for the draft are going and when. I will also breakdown the potential first round picks for the 49ers and Raiders.
First things first, who is coming out of Justin Wilcox’ Golden Bears program this year? That would be LB/DE Evan Weaver, S/KR Ashtyn Davis, S Jaylinn Hawkins, CB Traveon Beck, WR Jordan Duncan, and K Greg Thomas.
Now where I think they will be getting drafted.
Davis projects to be the highest Golden Bear drafted in the 2020 NFL Draft, and I see him to be a day two candidate going in the middle of the second round to early third round. Teams that need a safety include the San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders, Denver Broncos, Cleveland Browns, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons, New York Giants, and the Minnesota Vikings. Likely landing spot picks 45-47 as Tampa Bay, Denver and Atlanta all draft in a row there.
Next up is Weaver the first Cal Bear to be a Consensus First-Team All-American since 2006, who looks to be a fringe day two candidate, or early day three candidate going late in the third or early fourth round. Teams that are looking to get a LB/DE include the San Francisco 49ers, Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills, Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, San Diego Chargers, Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets, Carolina Panthers, Baltimore Ravens, Washington Redskins, Seattle Seahawks, Pittsburgh Steelers, Houston Texans, Tennessee Titans, and the Minnesota Vikings. So that’s basically every team right? Pretty much. Weaver showed the ability to get the job done in college, but moving that skill to the NFL might not translate as quickly as team might hope. Then again … maybe it will? Likely landing spot picks 89-93 as the Vikings, Texans, Raiders, Ravens and Titans pick all in a row there.
Third off the board from Berkeley is Hawkins the last of the trio to compete at the NFL combine. Like Davis, he plays in the secondary and the same teams will be in the hunt for a safety, but he will go later in the draft. Likely landing spot picks 216-219 as the Redskins, 49ers, Giants and Vikings have picks all in a row.
Thomas is in an interesting position to be selected late in the sixth round or early in the seventh. Several teams could use new kickers, or at least have someone fight for the spot this year. Those teams include the Indianapolis Colts, Buccaneers, Jets, Panthers and even the Raiders. While Thomas was only 23-34 in his career at Cal in field goal attempts, he was 6-8 from outside of 40+ yards this season, which is a respectable figure for teams looking for a leg. Likely landing spot picks 211 to New York Jets, 221 to Carolina, 241 to Tampa Bay.
Beck is my last flier for Cal to be drafted this year. The defensive back would be a seventh pick if selected in the draft, unlike Davis and Hawkins, Beck would not ideally line up as a safety, but can play solid zone coverage in the secondary. Likely landing spot picks 234-238 as the Los Angeles Rams, Lions, Green Bay Packers, Titans and Giants make selections.
Duncan seems to be the odd man out in this draft for the Golden Bears. With such rich talent smattered all over the board with the WR’s I could see the Cal wide out being signed as an undrafted free agent. Teams looking for a WR include the 49ers, Raiders, Chicago Bears, Bengals, Broncos, Browns, Cowboys, Eagles, Giants, Jets, Lions, Packers, Patriots, Ravens, Redskins, Saints, Seahawks, Steelers, Texans, and the Vikings. If Duncan were to be drafted, it would be with a supplemental pick in the seventh round. (Un)likely landing spot picks 247-255 as the Broncos, Giants, Texans, and Vikings all have two picks each late.
So now to our local and not so local teams, the 49ers and Raiders.
The 49ers and Raiders both have two first round selections tonight. The 49ers select at 13, 31, 156, 176, 210, 217, 245. While the Raiders select at 12, 19, 80, 81, 91, 121, 159.
The 49ers and the Raiders have both been linked to CeeDee Lamb and Jerry Jeudy with the first sets of first round picks at 12-13. But a few other teams have been linked to these guys too, including the Jets who select at 11, just in front of both the Raiders and 49ers. I still see the Raiders drafting Lamb, who looks like a replacement for Amari Cooper and Antonio Brown. The 49ers then would select Jeudy if he were still available, or go for speed reciever Henry Ruggs.
The Raiders second pick gets a little more murky, I’ve seen them being tagged with going after a QB like Jordan Love, but I think the needs on the defensive side are more pressing than adding a third QB to the room. A cornerback or safety makes the most sense to me, add a guy from LSU like CB Kristian Fulton, or Alabama’s Xavier McKinney and you’ve got a guy who can step in on day one and contribute.
The 49ers second pick has to be a guy who can work the line, either offense or defense. The loss of Deforest Buckner, and the looming departure of Joe Staley are imminent. The offensive tackle from Houston Josh Jones makes sense here, or edge rusher A.J. Epenesa from Iowa or defensive lineman Ross Blacklock from TCU.
That’s all folks! Tune into the 2020 NFL Draft tonight and this weekend and cross your fingers your team gets who you want! Remember be safe, wash your hands, and don’t high five your TV.