College football 2020: 10 questions that remain unanswered without spring football

The spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States wiped out spring football and left serious logistical questions about the 2020 season.

Those ongoing concerns prompted ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit to say he would be “shocked” if college football is played this season. Whether that spread slows in the next few months will determine whether that grim prediction holds.

We’re hoping for the best. That said, the absence of spring football left some of the top teams in the FBS with unanswered questions on the field.

Sporting News looks at 10 of those questions and what we didn’t get to see in the spring:

How will LSU look without its ‘Joes?’

LSU won the national championship last season with a historic season from Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow — who passed for 5,671 yards and 60 touchdowns last season. Burrow is gone, and so is passing game coordinator Joe Brady, who helped install an offense that was for the most part unstoppable in 2019.

Offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger is back, and Ed Orgeron brought in longtime NFL offensive coordinator Scott Linehan to keep the good times rolling. Myles Brennan — a redshirt junior and highly touted recruit — has thrown 70 passes in his career. Can he have the same one-year breakout as Burrow? LSU will be counting on it, and it didn’t have the spring evaluation to see if it’s worth looking in the transfer portal again.

Will Bryce Young have a shot to start at Bama?

With Tua Tagovailoa’s exit to the NFL, Mac Jones seemingly has the edge for the starting position at Alabama after passing for 1,172 yards, 13 touchdowns and two interceptions in four starts in place of Tagovailoa last season.

Yet Bryce Young, a five-star freshman from Mater Dei High School with big-time talent, will have a chance to win that job in fall camp. That competition didn’t get to materialize in spring practice; Alabama postponed theirs on the day it was supposed to start.

Jalen Hurts took over the starting job as a freshman after one game — which also was against USC — in 2016. Young will have a chance to contribute, too, but we won’t know the starter until the first snap against the Trojans on Sept. 5 to find out.

What will Georgia’s offensive renovation look like?

LSU and Alabama have undergone philosophical shifts, moving away from the methodical ground-and-pound to more wide-open offenses.

Now, it’s Georgia’s turn under Kirby Smart. The Bulldogs lost Jake Fromm to the NFL and replaced him with Wake Forest graduate transfer Jamie Newton. Todd Monken is the new offensive coordinator. Georgia has talented skill position players such as Zamir White, George Pickens and Dominick Blaylock with which to work, but also lost several key cogs along the offensive front. Moreover, offensive shifts like that take time.

Georgia opens with Virginia on Sept. 7 and travels to Alabama 12 days later.

Who are Ohio State’s new offensive studs?

Ohio State returns Justin Fields at quarterback, but the Buckeyes have some questions among skill-position players.

J.K. Dobbins is gone to the NFL, and Master Teague suffered a leg injury in spring practice that put his season in doubt. Oklahoma transfer Trey Sermon will help, but Marcus Crawley and Steele Chambers will have their chances.

The Buckeyes also lost three of their top five receivers, although Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson return. Wilson has All-American potential, and the addition of five-star freshman Julian Fleming means Fields will have more than enough talent to throw to.

Ohio State is a good bet to lead the nation in scoring in 2020.

Who is the right QB for Michigan?

Who will Michigan put under center to try to break the Buckeyes’ stranglehold in “The Game”? That’s the question for Jim Harbaugh, and he has two talented-but-inexperienced quarterbacks in Dylan McCaffrey and Joe Milton.

McCaffrey has been used in packages the last two seasons, and Milton has been used in mop-up work. McCaffrey would seemingly have the edge based on experience, but Harbaugh might be willing to take a chance on Milton if he’s better in fall camp. The spring was important for this competition.

Jake Rudock, Wilton Speight and Shea Patterson had their moments under Harbaugh the last five seasons, but the next quarterback needs to be more of a game-changer if Michigan wants to break that drought against the Buckeyes.

Can Miami or FSU get back on track?

Miami and Florida State will have new looks in 2020 after both teams had losing seasons in 2019.

The Hurricanes’ last appearance was an embarrassing 14-0 loss to Louisiana Tech in the Independence Bowl. To Miami coach Manny Diaz’s credit, he addressed the problem. The Hurricanes hired Rhett Lashlee as their new offensive coordinator, and Houston transfer quarterback D’Eriq King is eligible to play right away.

Florida State, meanwhile, has a new coach in Mike Norvell, who did a great job of sending skill-position talent to the NFL at Memphis.

That really is the talking point for both schools. The Seminoles ranked 73rd in the FBS with 27.9 points per game. The Hurricanes ranked 90th with 25.7 points per game.

Clemson ranked fourth with 43.9 ppg. That’s how far behind Miami and Florida State are.

Is Spencer Rattler the next big thing for Oklahoma?

Fans who tuned out of LSU’s 63-28 blowout win against Oklahoma in the College Football Playoff semifinals last year might have missed a cameo by Spencer Rattler.

Rattler still has to beat out Tanner Mordecai for the starting job, but do the Sooners have enough skill-position talent returning to be the same dynamic offense in the Big 12? Rattler has the advantage of sitting behind Jalen Hurts and learning for a year, and that could lead to the same high-yield production under center for the Sooners.

Rattler, however, faces a little more pressure than Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray and Hurts from the standpoint that the Sooners are 0-4 in the College Football Playoff. Is Rattler the quarterback who can get the Big 12 favorites to the championship game?

Will Joe Moorhead’s offense catch on at Oregon?

Oregon lost Justin Herbert, but the addition of offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead could work wonders for the new quarterback in 2020.

Redshirt sophomore Tyler Shough is the favorite to win the job, but Jay Butterfield and Cale Millen will get their chances. Robby Ashford also arrives, but he comes with the added wrinkle of being a star baseball player who could get picked in the 2020 MLB Draft.

Moorhead’s intricate offense is quarterback-friendly, and was at its best with Trace McSorley at Penn State. That took a half-season to materialize, but the Ducks are expected to compete for the Playoff now after an impressive Rose Bowl win. Oregon has the defense under coach Mario Cristobal, too.

The new quarterback also has the task of facing FCS powerhouse North Dakota State and Ohio State in the first two weeks. A full spring would have helped get ready for that.

Is USC a Pac-12 contender?

USC is in a pivotal season under Clay Helton in his fifth full season, but the good news is that Graham Harrell is back as offensive coordinator.

That should lead to another big season for quarterback Kedon Slovis, who had 3,502 passing yards, 30 touchdowns and nine interceptions last season. Michael Pittman is gone, but Amon-Ra St. Brown and Tyler Vaughn form one of the best receiving tandems in the FBS. USC must replace both starting tackles, too, and a more-consistent running game is needed.

The Trojans are all over the board in preseason top 25 lists, and the opener against Alabama is the ultimate test. Remember, the Crimson Tide destroyed the Trojans 52-6 the last time they met in Jerry World.

Where is Zachary Evans going?

The spread of the coronavirus also has an impact on recruiting, and five-star running back Zachary Evans comes into focus now.

He had a bizarre recruitment that led to him being released from his letter-of-intent from Georgia. Evans can’t sign another LOI, but he can play for another school in 2020 without sitting out a year.

The trick is finding a school when campus visits are no longer permitted. There are a handful of SEC schools still in the mix for Evans, and it will be interesting to see where he lands.

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Bengals release veteran cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick

The Cincinnati Bengals’ remade secondary won’t include Dre Kirkpatrick.

The team informed the cornerback of his release, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.

Tyler Dragon of the Cincinnati Enquirer first reported the news. The team later confirmed the release.

"Dre was a part of the Bengals’ organization for many years, and displayed passion, energy and competitiveness both on and off the field," Bengals head coach Zac Taylor said in a statement. "We appreciate his many contributions to our team and community over the years, and wish him the best moving forward."

#Bengals CB Dre Kirkpatrick said goodbye to teammates on Instagram, and the team has informed him of his release. A quality starting CB on the market. pic.twitter.com/x3E0XPyXXu

A first-round pick in 2012, Kirkpatrick has been a mainstay in the Bengals secondary for the past eight seasons. He compiled 65 passes defended and 10 INTs with 302 tackles.

The 30-year-old played six games in 2019 before going on injured reserve with a knee injury.

The Bengals spent heavily this offseason to reshape the secondary, signing corners Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander from Minnesota and adding safety Vonn Bell from New Orleans. With Kirkpatrick’s release, Cincy is set to deploy Waynes and William Jackson on the outside with Alexander in the slot.

With the additions, Kirkpatrick’s bulky contract became expendable. The Bengals will save $8.29 million with the release with $2.8 million in dead money, per Over The Cap.

Kirkpatrick might not be a run-stopper but remains a solid cover corner who should draw interest on the open market.

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John Smoltz is a garbage ping pong player — but he has plenty of time to improve

John Smoltz could start. John Smoltz could close.

But apparently he cannot place a long-range ping pong serve anywhere near his target. He’s comically bad at it.

His daughter, Carly Smoltz, exposed him on Twitter on Sunday with a 41 second video of him hitting just about everything but her side of the table. He struck furniture and he struck wall. When he finally struck her end of the table, she slammed the ball right by him.

“I think even John Smoltz could do better than this,” Carly joked in her post.

John Smoltz posted a .159 lifetime batting average in 21 MLB seasons, offering occasional pop from the right side but rarely squaring up the ball.

His ping pong contact also appears to be questionable, though he’ll no doubt have plenty of time to work on that in the coming weeks with the U.S. largely stuck inside to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Sport-starved fans are eagerly awaiting his development with the paddle.

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How 2019 NFL first-round draft picks fared, what’s in store in 2020

The 2020 NFL draft is less than a month away. With that in mind, we wanted to look back to last season’s draft and assess how each first-rounder played.

In addition, we will look ahead at expectations for 2020. Will Kyler Murray and Daniel Jones take the next step for the Arizona Cardinals and New York Giants, respectively? How about Josh Jacobs? Will the running back continue to thrill Raiders fans in Las Vegas and fantasy football managers alike?

NFL Nation reporters assess how every first-round pick did in their first season and then project what 2020 will bring on this scale:

  • He’s a star

  • On his way

  • He’s a starter

  • Has lot to prove

1. Arizona Cardinals

Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

Analysis: Murray lived up to the hype and expectations by winning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. His numbers weren’t jaw-dropping (3,722 yards passing, 20 touchdowns, 12 interceptions), but he steadily improved. What stood out most was Murray’s ability to learn and adapt. Instead of taking unnecessary sacks, he started to throw the ball away. When he was losing unnecessary yards, he just sat down. He showed a maturity beyond his years. Next season, Murray is expected to take the proverbial Year 2 leap. He’ll have an even better command of the offense and how to handle the rigors of an NFL season. That could prove dangerous for the competition.

Rating: He’s a star. — Josh Weinfuss

2. San Francisco 49ers

Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State

Analysis: Bosa was the difference-maker the Niners hoped he would be, transforming their defense by showing off the strength and technique that made him one of the most polished pass-rushing prospects to enter the draft in a long time. Bosa was named the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year after recording nine sacks and 60 quarterback pressures, second most among all NFL players. The key for Bosa has been and remains staying healthy, something he did in 2019. If he can do the same in 2020, he should only continue to improve, though he will have a bigger challenge without DeForest Buckner lining up next to him.

Rating: He’s a star. — Nick Wagoner

3. New York Jets

Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama

Analysis: It was a nondescript rookie year for Williams, who failed to live up to his collegiate reputation as a disruptive interior force. He finished with 2.5 sacks, six quarterback hits and four tackles for loss. He played only 47% of the defensive snaps, but that actually ranked second among the team’s defensive linemen. It was a learning year for Williams, who has tremendous upside. Not many 300-pounders possess his quickness and athleticism, but he needs to get stronger and do a better job of reading blocking schemes. The physical talent is there; now it’s on him to put it all together.

Rating: He’s a starter. — Rich Cimini

4. Las Vegas Raiders

Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson

Analysis: Did the Raiders reach for Ferrell at No. 4 overall? Perhaps — when you consider his relative lack of production, including 4.5 sacks, as compared to fourth-rounder Maxx Crosby’s 10 sacks. But he would not have been available at No. 24, when the Raiders next picked, and Ferrell did so much more for the Raiders’ D-line with his versatility than any stat sheet would show. In fact, he played much of the first half of the season out of position in the interior. With the free-agent acquisition of pass-rushing tackle Maliek Collins and further development by Maurice Hurst inside, Ferrell can focus solely on the edge going forward as a foundation piece.

Rating: He’s a starter. — Paul Gutierrez

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Devin White, ILB, LSU

Analysis: Had it not been for a severe bout of tonsillitis that forced him to stay in the hospital overnight in Week 1 and a sprained MCL in Week 2, White could have been the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year. In Weeks 9 to 17, he recorded 2.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, an interception and two defensive touchdowns. He forced six turnovers over the final five games of the season. The Bucs are absolutely in love with White’s work ethic and leadership, believing he can help change their losing culture. Few people possess the ability or will to run at 21.8 mph after Chris Carson for 50-plus yards to make a touchdown-saving tackle. White has it all, and he could have a Luke Kuechly-like impact on this franchise for many years to come.

Rating: He’s a star. — Jenna Laine

6. New York Giants

Daniel Jones, QB, Duke

Analysis: Here’s what we know with certainty about Jones: He is at least an average starter. That is something considering that draft busts at quarterback, even in the first round, aren’t uncommon. Jones flashed enough to provide hope he can become much more than an average starter. He threw 24 touchdown passes with 12 interceptions in 12 starts. It’s simply a matter of whether Jones can cut down on the turnovers (23). Some of that can be attributed to rookie mistakes, but there are NFL talent evaluators who believe it’s an innate trait and his weakness. He should only get better in Year 2.

Rating: He’s a starter. — Jordan Raanan

7. Jacksonville Jaguars

Josh Allen, DE, Kentucky

Analysis: Allen led the Jaguars with 10.5 sacks and made the Pro Bowl. He slipped to No. 7, and the Jaguars subsequently altered their plan to take tight end T.J. Hockenson. Allen might be the Jaguars’ most important defensive player in 2020 — because the team traded defensive end Calais Campbell, and there’s no guarantee defensive end Yannick Ngakoue will sign his franchise tender or even be on the team. Allen is going to have to carry the pass rush.

Rating: He’s a star. — Michael DiRocco

8. Detroit Lions

T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa

Analysis: Hockenson was having a decent 2019 season (32 catches, 367 yards, two touchdowns) before going on injured reserve Dec. 2. They aren’t big numbers, but the flashes of potential were there. There’s reason to believe as long as he has recovered from his right ankle injury that he’ll grow in Year 2. His receiving skills were obvious, and his blocking was coming along before he was hurt. As the team’s likely No. 1 tight end, he’ll need to be a big part of the offense in 2020 for it to be successful.

Rating: He’s a starter. — Michael Rothstein

9. Buffalo Bills

Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

Analysis: Oliver took a midseason demotion in stride and turned in the fifth-best pass rush win rate among all eligible defensive tackles last season. He should be the focal point of the Bills’ defensive line next season, when teams will not only have to contain him but also new teammate Quinton Jefferson — who owned the NFL’s fourth-best pass rush win rate in 2019.

Rating: He’s a star. — Marcel Louis-Jacques

10. Pittsburgh Steelers (from Denver Broncos)

Devin Bush, ILB, Michigan

Analysis: The Steelers traded up to draft Bush last year, and despite some expected growing pains, he turned in a solid season with two interceptions and four fumble recoveries — including a scoop-and-score against the Chargers. He played 82% of the defensive snaps last year, and he has the added benefit of learning from Ryan Shazier. Coming off a season in which he earned the team’s newcomer award, Bush’s performance gave the Steelers enough confidence to release veteran inside linebacker Mark Barron. The position is a thin one for the Steelers, but Bush is the star of the group.

Rating: He’s a starter. — Brooke Pryor

11. Cincinnati Bengals

Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama

Analysis: Williams didn’t see the field in 2019 after surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder. He was eventually cleared to return to practice toward the end of the season. Given the Bengals’ record, there was no sense in pushing him back early. In his first full season in 2020, Williams will be asked to be the team’s starting left tackle. Offensive line coach Jim Turner has high hopes for the former Alabama standout. Williams is expected to be a cornerstone of that offensive line for years to come.

Rating: Has a lot to prove. — Ben Baby

12. Green Bay Packers

Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan

Analysis: The Packers didn’t need much from Gary because of how well the Smiths — Za’Darius and Preston — performed last season. It allowed them to bring Gary along slowly, and he played 22% of the snaps despite being healthy. Speaking of health, his recurring shoulder injury from college wasn’t an issue, so that’s a plus. But the biggest question about him coming out of Michigan — why he wasn’t more productive despite off-the-charts athletic skills — remains a question in the NFL. He played more with his hand on the ground in college, but the Packers tried to convert him to a stand-up edge rusher. They’ve said they remain committed to that, although it’s worth wondering if we might see him play more inside in Year 2.

Rating: Has a lot to prove. — Rob Demovsky

13. Miami Dolphins

Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

Analysis: Wilkins didn’t make many eye-popping plays or impress with a big sack number, but the Dolphins are happy with how he is progressing as a pro. Wilkins led all interior defensive linemen in tackles as a first-year starter in 2019, and he has a defensive tackle spot locked down for the foreseeable future in coach Brian Flores’ multiple defense. Wilkins needs to take a step forward in the pass rush and in his run-stopping ability. That means forcing more double-teams, making more explosive plays and becoming a greater focal point for offenses to stress about going into games.

Rating: He’s a starter. — Cameron Wolfe

14. Atlanta Falcons

Chris Lindstrom, G, Boston College

Analysis: Lindstrom’s growth was stunted last season when he suffered a broken foot In the season opener, causing him to miss 11 games. When he returned for the final four contests, he showed signs of being the star right guard the Falcons expect. Former Atlanta tight end Austin Hooper told ESPN he expects Lindstrom to be the best offensive lineman in the league one day. The Falcons need Lindstrom to be a consistent force on the offensive line in a critical must-win year for coach Dan Quinn.

Rating: On his way. — Vaughn McClure

15. Washington Redskins

Dwayne Haskins., QB, Ohio State

Analysis: He will almost assuredly start this season, unless losing the offseason puts him too far behind Kyle Allen’s knowledge of the offense. But the plan for now is to start Haskins. The Redskins were excited by how Haskins finished last season, saying some of it stemmed from receiving more intense attention from the coaching staff. He posted a combined 73.0 total QBR in his final two starts and didn’t look as lost as he had earlier in the campaign. But the Redskins have not promised him anything. While they often praise his talent, they want to learn more about his leadership and work ethic.

Rating: Has a lot to prove. — John Keim

16. Carolina Panthers

Brian Burns, DE, Florida State

Analysis: His rookie season was hampered by a right wrist injury suffered — this is true — when he banged his fist on the turf after narrowly failing to block a punt during a game early in the season. He was hindered by having to wear a protective device, but Burns still had 7.5 sacks. He was signed by the former staff to be an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, but as the season went along, he also played end in a 4-3 — as he did at Florida State. With veterans Mario Addison and Bruce Irvin gone in free agency, Burns will get a chance to become a full-time starter and a legitimate pass-rushing star.

Rating: On his way. — David Newton

17. New York Giants (from Cleveland Browns)

Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

Analysis: Lawrence had a strong rookie season in the middle of the Giants’ defense. He had 38 tackles, 2.5 sacks and nine quarterback hits. Pro Football Focus had him rated as the 19th-best interior defensive linemen, tops of all rookies. Lawrence should only get better this season. Playing alongside Leonard Williams on a strong defensive line should only help. Lawrence’s ceiling will be determined by his ability to get after the quarterback. It was pedestrian as a rookie. His 5.3% quarterback pressure rate tied him for 43rd among all interior linemen, per Next Gen Stats.

Rating: On his way. — Jordan Raanan

18. Minnesota Vikings

Garrett Bradbury, C, NC State

Analysis: Bradbury had the type of season you’d expect from a rookie facing the likes of Grady Jarrett, Akiem Hicks and Kenny Clark. Pass blocking was a struggle at times (26 total pressures allowed, including four sacks) for the young center, who was drafted with the intention of filling an immediate need. Minnesota knew there would be ups and downs for Bradbury, who was long considered slightly undersized for the position — even in a zone-blocking scheme — throughout the draft process. But that’s why the outlook for him in 2020 and beyond is promising. Another year to develop in an NFL weight-training program and the experience gained calling 18 games as a rookie will help him as his career progresses. Bradbury is still a work in progress, but he is headed in the right direction.

Rating: On his way. — Courtney Cronin

19. Tennessee Titans

Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State

Analysis: Simply having Simmons playing as a rookie was a win for the Titans after he tore his ACL during training before the draft. Simmons had an impact from the moment he took the field with his first career sack in Week 7 against the Chargers. He finished with two sacks and 32 tackles, including four tackles for loss, but Simmons’ impact went beyond the stat sheet. Simmons’ ability to collapse the pocket from the interior and impact the quarterback helped create turnovers. The departure of defensive lineman Jurrell Casey will lead to a bigger role for Simmons this season.

Ranking: On his way. — Turron Davenport

20. Denver Broncos (from Pittsburgh Steelers)

Noah Fant, TE, Iowa

Analysis: After a rather rocky start, including a three-drop game against the Chiefs in early October, Fant flashed plenty of potential with two of the Broncos’ five 100-yard receiving games in 2019. His speed makes him a difficult matchup, especially in catch-and-run situations. His development into a potential Pro Bowl-level player will hinge on his ability to expand his route tree. At the moment, he doesn’t show top explosiveness and flexibility in his hips when he comes in and out of breaks, so his impact in the middle of the field, against zone defenses, is muted at times. If he can expand his ability to get in and out his breaks a little better, with a little more pop, he will become a more involved player in the team’s passing attack. Fant works hard, and his ability to bounce back from his early difficulties shows resiliency.

Rating: He’s a starter. — Jeff Legwold

21. Green Bay Packers (from Seattle Seahawks)

Darnell Savage, S, Maryland

Analysis: A strong start got slowed by an ankle injury that kept Savage out of two games, but there’s no reason to think he can’t ascend to the star category. He picked off two passes and forced a pair of fumbles on the way to making the Pro Football Writers of America All-Rookie Team. If the Packers were to redraft the first round from last year, it’s a good bet general manager Brian Gutekunst would once again trade up from No. 30 to take him.

Rating: On his way. — Rob Demovsky

22. Philadelphia Eagles (from Baltimore Ravens)

Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State

Analysis: Dillard was up and down during his four starts in 2019, showing off good feet and technique in pass protection — but also the need to get stronger and, some believe, nastier. There were people in the building in favor of keeping Jason Peters for another year to protect quarterback Carson Wentz’s blindside while Dillard develops, but the call was made to allow Peters to test free agency and hand the keys to Dillard. There’s a leap of faith involved that might not have been made if Dillard wasn’t a first-round pick. But he has the ability to become a high-end player if he can put it all together, and he should be a capable starter in the meanwhile, given his natural gifts.

Rating: He’s a starter. — Tim McManus

23. Houston Texans

Tytus Howard, OT, Alabama State

Analysis: After spending training camp and Week 2 at guard, Howard started at right tackle in Week 3. He impressed in seven starts at right tackle before partially tearing his MCL and ending the season on injured reserve. Howard is spending this offseason rehabbing. Texans coach Bill O’Brien said at the combine he thought Howard would “be able to do some things in the offseason program.” Regardless of whether there is a spring program this year, Howard should be ready to go for training camp, and he is expected to be Houston’s starting right tackle across from Laremy Tunsil in 2020.

Rating: He’s a starter. — Sarah Barshop

24. Las Vegas Raiders (from Chicago Bears)

Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

Analysis: Many see the elusive, yet powerful, running back as having been robbed of the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year award. All he did was carry the Raiders’ offense (on a broken shoulder, nonetheless) to 1,150 rushing yards and seven touchdowns in 13 games. Alas, he did miss three of the Raiders’ last four games with that shoulder injury, which occurred on the first play of a Week 7 game at Green Bay. Jacobs averaged 4.8 yards per carry and showed a Marcus Allen-like leap at the goal line, and he will be more of a threat in the Raiders’ passing game in 2020.

Rating: He’s a star. — Paul Gutierrez

25. Baltimore Ravens (from Philadelphia Eagles)

Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma

Analysis: “Hollywood” Brown flashed star potential despite being less than a year removed from foot surgery. He made a splash in his NFL debut, becoming the first player in league history with multiple 40-yard touchdowns in his first game. Brown finished with 584 yards receiving and seven touchdown catches. He was the fastest target for quarterback Lamar Jackson last season, reaching 20 mph on three catches. The Ravens expect an even more explosive second season from Brown, who had a screw removed from his foot and should be fully recovered by the start of the season. “This year, he’s going to be dangerous,” Jackson said.

Rating: He’s a starter. — Jamison Hensley

26. Washington Redskins (from Indianapolis Colts)

Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State

Analysis: Sweat displayed his speed and length, but he has a bit to learn about rushing the passer. However, he performed well versus the run and improved as the season unfolded. Under first-year Redskins coach Ron Rivera, Sweat will move to a 4-3 defensive end in Washington’s base package, which will keep him from dropping like he had to at times in a 3-4. And he could be a bookend with Chase Young if the Redskins select him at No. 2. Don’t be surprised if Sweat ends up having a strong season.

Rating: He’s a starter. — John Keim

27. Oakland Raiders (from Dallas Cowboys)

Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State

Analysis: Abram played in only one game, having suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in the opener against the Rams. Known as an intimidating hitter as a safety, the biggest blow he delivered came inadvertently against one of his own teammates in cornerback Gareon Conley, who had to be taken off the field on a stretcher. The Raiders are depending heavily on Abram to be a foundation piece. “I don’t like Abram; I love Abram,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden said. “I think Raiders fans are going to love him, but he’s got to be on the grass. The most important ability is availability.”

Rating: Has a lot to prove. — Paul Gutierrez

28. Los Angeles Chargers

Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame

Analysis: Tillery struggled in his rookie season, playing 15 games — but starting only three — while being on the field for just over one-third of the snaps. Tillery hit a low point in Week 14 when he was a healthy scratch. He finished the season with two sacks. Tillery must prove in 2020 that he has the playmaking ability that prompted the Chargers to select him in the first round. If he is able to do that on a consistent basis, he should see increased playing time.

Rating: Has a lot to prove. — Lindsey Thiry

29. Seattle Seahawks (from Kansas City Chiefs)

L.J. Collier, DE, TCU

Analysis: Collier needed all the offseason reps he could get after only one year as a full-time starter in college, so it was a significant setback when he sprained his ankle early in training camp. He missed the season opener, then produced next to nothing when he returned: three tackles in 142 snaps over 11 games. He was a healthy scratch six times, including both playoff games. The Seahawks need Collier to take the kind of second-year jump they just saw from Rasheem Green, who had four sacks after a nondescript rookie campaign. Quinton Jefferson’s departure should open the door for Collier to see more playing time as an early-down end who can move inside in passing situations.

Rating: Has a lot to prove. — Brady Henderson

30. New York Giants (from Seattle Seahawks)

DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia

Analysis: Baker’s rookie season was rocky, to say the least. At one point, he got called out in a team meeting, and his seven touchdowns allowed as the nearest defender was tied for fourth in the NFL, per Next Gen Stats. There are questions about Baker’s desire to be great. Sleeping in meetings was not uncommon. But considering he improved on the field as the season progressed, he should be better with experience. How much? It helps that new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham had his cornerbacks in press coverage for more than 50% of the snaps last season. That plays to Baker’s strengths. He was in press coverage 26.7% of the time his rookie year.

Rating: Has a lot to prove. — Jordan Raanan

31. Atlanta Falcons (from Los Angeles Rams)

Kaleb McGary, OT, Washington

Analysis: McGary’s career got off to a bit of a rough start, as a minor heart issue — something he had dealt with in the past — resurfaced. After a procedure, McGary went on to have a rather solid rookie season at right tackle. He has a nasty edge to him that really shows up when he is blocking downfield in the run game. McGary has to polish his hands and footwork in order to deal with speed rushers. The Falcons need him and draft-class partner Chris Lindstrom to hold up strong on the right side of the line to protect Matt Ryan and open holes in the run game.

Rating: He’s a starter. — Vaughn McClure

32. New England Patriots

N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State

Analysis: Because Harry missed the first half of the season on injured reserve, and then was put in the challenging spot of having to integrate into the Tom Brady-led complex offense, his impact was limited. But Brady himself has said that he thinks Harry has a bright future ahead of him. So if Harry is healthy, he has a chance to become a starting-caliber target in the Patriots’ offense, as he has a rapport with projected starting quarterback Jarrett Stidham from their time as roommates as rookies.

Rating: Has a lot to prove. — Mike Reiss

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