Though it’s mostly a foregone conclusion that former LSU quarterback Joe Burrow will go No. 1 overall in April after winning the national championship and putting together one of the best seasons in college football history, the rest of the first round of the NFL draft is still a mystery.
To most of us at least. To ESPN football analyst Mel Kiper, Jr., not so much.
Mid-January to late April is Kiper’s time to shine as he’s one of the most-read draft handicappers in the business. Given that, it’s no surprise that he just released his first mock draft of the year. No surprise at the top of the draft as Kiper has Burrow going to the Bengals first overall as “the clear No. 1 quarterback in this class.”
Largely considered to be the top prospect in the 2020 class prior to the NCAA season, injured Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa is the next quarterback off of Kiper’s board at No. 5 to the Miami Dolphins.
Though Kiper notes Tagovailoa still needs to pass medical checks on his injured hip, he believes its worth if for Miami to gamble on a potential franchise quarterback considering they have two more first-round picks as well as two second-rounders.
The next quarterback off the board in Kiper’s draft is Justin Herbert at No. 6 to the Chargers. LA is expected to move on from longtime quarterback Philip Rivers and the team needs to make a splash in order to help attract fans to their new stadium. “It could be time to start fresh with the 6-foot-6 Herbert, who has the highest ceiling of any of the quarterbacks in this class,” Kiper says. “His inconsistency can be maddening and his decision-making must improve, but you can’t doubt his talent, and a team in the top 10 could fall in love.”
Later in his mock, Kiper has Utah State quarterback Jordan Love going to the New Orleans Saints at No. 24 as the only other first-round QB.
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