Just five weeks away, the 2020 NFL Draft is slated to run from April 23 to 25 in Las Vegas. Following Baker Mayfield in 2018 and Kyler Murray in 2019, Joe Burrow will likely make it a three-peat as the third straight quarterback taken first overall.
Few first-round picks have been such a prohibitive favorite at the top. Murray was chalk with -500 odds last year, while Mayfield was a longshot with a +500 price the year prior. A quarterback has been selected first overall during seven of the last 10 drafts. Defensive ends Jadeveon Clowney and Myles Garrett, plus offensive tackle Eric Fisher, were the exceptions.
Joe Burrow, QB LSU Tigers (-2200)
Burrow went from being ordinary to extraordinary during the 2019 NCAA season. After seeing limited playing time during his freshman and sophomore seasons at Ohio State, Burrow transferred to LSU in 2018. Not a harbinger of things to come, Burrow posted 2,894 passing yards, with 16 touchdowns and 5 interceptions during his first year in Louisiana. Burrow finished the season strong with four touchdown passes during the Tigers' 40-32 Fiesta Bowl win over the UFC Knights.
Burrow followed that up with one of greatest single seasons in college football history. Burrow claimed the Heisman Trophy, with the largest winning margin in history, as he posted 5,671 passing yards with 60 touchdowns and 6 interceptions over 15 games. Burrow added an exclamation point with five touchdown passes and a rushing score en route to being named the MVP during the Tigers' 42-25 National Championship win over Clemson. Expect that success to carry over to the NFL.
Chase Young, DE Ohio State Buckeyes (+1200)
Well off the pace, Ohio State defensive end Chase Young is the second favorite to be selected first in the draft. Young improved his numbers each year and finished with 30.5 sacks over 34 games during three seasons with the Buckeyes. Young capped off his career with 16.5 sacks and seven forced fumbles over 12 starts last season. Billed by many as a “generational player” Young is unlucky to be the top pick of the 2020 NFL Draft with a talent like Burrow ahead of him.
Tua Tagovailoa, QB Alabama Crimson Tide (+1900)
One has to wonder how close this race would be if Tua Tagovailoa didn’t suffer a gruesome season-ending injury last year. Stepping in as the starter during his sophomore season in 2018, Tagovailoa posted 3,966 passing yards with 43 touchdowns and 6 interceptions over 15 games. Prior to his injury, Tagovailoa had 2,849 passing yards with 33 touchdowns and 3 interceptions over nine starts last season. Several teams are looking at Tagovailoa, who may be selected with the fifth overall pick by Miami.
Andrew Thomas, OT Georgia Bulldogs (+2700)
Playing against top players in the competitive SEC, Andrew Thomas had a stellar career as a three-year starter in Georgia. Thomas helped D’Andre Swift rack up 2,267 yards and 17 touchdowns over the last two years. Prior to that, Thomas paved the way for Nick Chub and Sony Michel, who posted a combined 2,572 yards and 31 touchdowns during the 2017 season. While he is a top run-blocking talent who is NFL ready, it would be a big reach to take Thomas first overall.
It will be shocking if Burrow isn’t picked first by the Bengals. The last time Cincinnati had the first overall pick they selected Heisman trophy winner Carson Palmer during the 2003 NFL Draft. Expect the same scenario 18 years later. The biggest decision bettors need to make is whether a $2200 investment is worth the paltry $100 profit.
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