Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
The regular season is over and the top 20 picks of the 2020 NFL draft have been set.
The Raiders will hold the No. 12 and No. 19 overall selections, and they have two needs that stand out above the rest at the moment: linebacker and wide receiver.
With Alabama LB Dylan Moses electing to go back to school for another year, the only surefire first-round linebacker prospect is Isaiah Simmons, who isn’t likely to be available at No. 12. This team has desperately needed a game-changing linebacker for years, and Simmons would instantly provide that.
If Simmons isn’t available at No. 12, the obvious second choice for the Silver and Black could be CeeDee Lamb, a dynamic wide receiver out of Oklahoma with exceptional ball skills and run after catch ability.
Some fans seem dead set on the Raiders getting one of these two players, and are seemingly counting down the days until they buy a Simmons or Lamb jersey. Other pessimistic fans think that there’s no chance either guy falls to No. 12, and are already looking towards other options.
With that said, let’s take a look at the needs of 11 teams drafting before the Raiders and try to figure out if there’s a chance of drafting either of these studs.
No. 1: Cincinnati Bengals
Draft Needs — QB, LB, OL, CB
Likely selections(s): Joe Burrow
It seems like a foregone conclusion that the Bengals will take Joe Burrow. The Heisman winner is from the state of Ohio and will usher in a new era in Cincinnati. His addition might even coerce A.J. Green to re-sign.
No. 2: Washington Redskins
Draft Needs — OL, WR, CB, LB
Likely selections(s): Chase Young
I can’t imagine the Redskins taking anyone but Chase Young at No. 2. He’s easily the most talented player in the draft. They don’t have a major need on the defensive line at all, but Young is too good to pass up, and pairing him with 2019 first-round pick Montez Sweat would make Washington’s pass rush extremely dangerous
No. 3: Detroit Lions
Draft Needs — CB, EDGE, LB, OL
Likely selections(s): Jeffery Okudah, Derrick Brown, Andrew Thomas, Isaiah Simmons
It’s impossible to tell which direction the Lions will go in at this point. There’s not a clear cut No. 3 player in this draft, and this team might simply plug in whoever they feel is the best defensive prospect. That could mean Simmons, although it’s more likely that they go with Jeffery Okudah or Derrick Brown.
No. 4: New York Giants
Draft Needs — OT, EDGE, CB, WR
Likely selections(s): Andrew Thomas, Jerry Jeudy, Jeffery Okudah
Based on tendency, you’d think Dave Gettleman would go with Andrew Thomas here to give Daniel Jones his left tackle of the future. But Jerry Jeudy might be too good to pass up for a team that would benefit from more offensive firepower. This spot might also be up for grabs via trade for anyone looking to sneak past Miami and Los Angeles to grab a QB.
No. 5: Miami Dolphins
Draft Needs — QB, OL, EDGE, CB
Likely selections(s): Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, Andrew Thomas
With the Dolphins bringing Chan Gailey out of retirement to be their offensive coordinator, it seems like they expect Ryan Fitzpatrick to start at quarterback heading into next year. That won’t dissuade them from grabbing a quarterback here, however. Rather, it gives them the option to let Tagovailoa or Herbert sit for a year and grow behind Fitzmagic.
No. 6: Los Angeles Chargers
Draft Needs — OL, QB, CB, LB
Likely selections(s): Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, Andrew Thomas, Jeffery Okudah
The Chargers may simply take whichever quarterback Miami doesn’t. They know that they won’t likely be drafting this high again next season, making this the golden opportunity to find the new face of the franchise. If for some reason this team decides to wait on a quarterback, Thomas, Okudah, or even Tristan Wirfs could be worth monitoring here.
No. 7: Carolina Panthers
Draft Needs — OL, DL, QB, CB
Likely selections(s): Andrew Thomas, Tristan Wirfs, Derrick Brown, Jeffery Okudah
Carolina could take a QB here if one falls, but grabbing an offensive tackle to sure up a porous front five would be quite nice. This also could be a landing spot for Brown or Okudah if they’re available. Carolina is no threat to take Simmons or Lamb at all, as they’re basically set at both positions. Through the first seven picks, there’s a lot of hope for the Raiders.
No. 8: Arizona Cardinals
Draft Needs — OL, DL, LB, WR
Likely selections(s): Tristan Wirfs, Derrick Brown, Isaiah Simmons, Jerry Jeudy
The Cardinals need to build up their offensive line desperately, but Andrew Thomas is probably off the board at this point. If the Cardinals aren’y sold on Wirfs or one of the other top OTs available, they might grab Simmons. This could also be Jeudy’s draft floor, as the Cardinals could use another receiver with Larry Fitzgerald expected to retire. If Jeudy is already off the board, Lamb could be in play here.
No. 9: Jacksonville Jaguars
Draft Needs — LB, WR, CB, S
Likely selections(s): Isaiah Simmons, Ceedee Lamb, Grant Delpit
The Jaguars might become the Raiders arch nemesis after the draft. They upset the Silver and Black in their Oakland finale, and now look likely to steal one of their top targets at No. 9. Jacksonville’s LB problem could be solved if Telvin Smith comes back, but that’s a big if. The hope here is that the Jaguars take Delpit, or go full-on Jaguars and grab yet another defensive linemen.
No. 10: Cleveland Browns
Draft Needs — OL, S, LB, DL
Likely selections(s): Tristan Wirfs, Jedrick Willis, Grant Delpit, Isaiah Simmons
Cleveland desperately needs to improve their offensive line if they want their offense to be as dynamic as they expected heading into the 2019 season. If they aren’t big fans of Wirfs of Willis, Delpit and Simmons are the most likely options. At this point, it’s probably safe to assume that Simmons will be off the board.
No. 11: New York Jets
Draft Needs — OL, EDGE, CB, WR
Likely selections(s): Tristan Wirfs, Jedrick Willis, A.J. Epenesa, CeeDee Lamb
This is the last team standing between the Raiders and CeeDee Lamb, and sadly there’s a decent chance that they take him since Lamb is clearly the best player left on the board. But with a massive need basically everywhere on the offensive line, the Jets will likely look to improve their offensive line. This is probably the floor for Wirfs.
This won’t be the last time we do an exercise like this. Things will change as teams make trades and sign players in free agency. But at this moment, it seems that while Isaiah Simmons is unlikely to fall to No. 12, there’s a solid chance that CeeDee Lamb is there for the taking.