After much anticipation, this year’s edition of the NFL Draft came, despite many concerns from both fans and league executives. Now the top college prospects are now officially on league rosters, and they’re ready to take the league by storm.
Each year, the Pro Football Writers Association compiles an All-Rookie Team at the end of the NFL season. Last year’s list included budding stars Josh Jacobs and Kyler Murray, as well as defensive studs Nick Bosa and Devin White, among others.
Whether the regular season spans just a few games or the full 16, the new edition of the All-Rookie Team will certainly not disappoint. 2020’s extra-deep draft class will undoubtedly produce some sensational players on both sides of the ball.
Here, I predict how the All-Rookie Team will shape up by season’s end, with the exclusion of special teams. Sorry, kickers!
Quarterback: Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Burrow, the first overall pick in the draft, is poised to continue his college success at the NFL level. He also edges out the other top QB prospects for this spot due to his role as a Day 1 starter in Cincinnati.
Running back: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs
The first running back off the board, Edwards-Helaire will earn plenty of playing time with the Kansas City Chiefs, as he’s an instant improvement amongst the Chiefs backfield. Unlike many of his fellow draftees, he will not have to cede many reps to other established ball carriers.
Running back: Cam Akers, Los Angeles Rams
Though Cam Akers isn’t usually discussed as the top running back prospect, his situation will likely land him a spot on the All-Rookie team. Thanks to the departure of Todd Gurley earlier in the offseason, Akers should be able to sneak into the Rams’ starting running back role.
Wide Receiver: Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos
Jerry Jeudy is ready to take his game to new heights – a mile higher, to be exact. Drew Lock will be excited to test out his new weapon, Jeudy, who will lead rookies in both receptions and yards in the 2020 season.
Wide Receiver: Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings
Justin Jefferson will be depended upon to fill the void left by Steffon Diggs after the latter was traded to the Bills. Kirk Cousins will love Jefferson’s ability to make an immediate impact, and as a result, he will reward Jefferson with plenty of targets.
Tight End: Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears
Cole Kmet was the top tight end according to most scouts and insiders, and lucky for him, he landed in a tight-end-friendly spot: Chicago. Matt Nagy’s offense relies upon a solid tight end, which is why Kmet will be the best rookie of the bunch.
Center: Lloyd Cushenberry III, Denver Broncos
After captaining the National Champion LSU Tigers, Cushenberry III will presumably be the Week 1 starting center in Denver. He won’t face much competition both for his starting role in Denver and for the title of best rookie center this season.
Guard: Cesar Ruiz, New Orleans Saints
Thought drafted as a center, Cesar Ruiz will probably move over to guard in the NFL to make room for 2019 draft pick Erik McCoy. That will designate Ruiz as the most talented guard prospect, and the most likely to succeed this year too.
Guard: Robert Hunt, Miami Dolphins
Robert Hunt, the lone guard to be selected in the second round, currently grades as the best guard beside Ruiz, according to Scouts, inc. He should perform well in the AFC East, though the division has some decent defensive tackle competition.
Tackle: Jedrick Wills Jr, Cleveland Browns
Jedrick Wills Jr. is the best tackle in the draft class, and he is poised to consistently maul defensive ends. By season’s end, he will be a near-lock to make the All-Rookie squad, barring any injury.
Tackle: Tristan Wirfs, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The debate over the second-best offensive tackle spot will likely ensue beyond this season. The prime contenders: Tristan Wirfs, Mekhi Becton, and Andrew Thomas. Becton has the most upside, and Thomas could take the league by surprise, but Wirfs’ athleticism and his positioning in Tampa makes him the best bet to end 2020 on top.
Defensive Line: Chase Young, Washington Redskins
Chase Young is a once-in-a-generation prospect and will also become a once-in-a-generation NFL player. And it won’t take him very long to do so. Just ask any offensive tackle.
Defensive Line: Derrick Brown, Carolina Panthers
Derrick Brown will be the anchor that the Carolina Panthers desperately need. Although he may not be the flashiest guy on the field, his impact will surely be felt. Brown will not need much refinement to be able to dominate for the Panthers once the season begins.
Defensive Line: A.J. Epenesa, Buffalo Bills
Though A.J. Epenesa wasn’t selected in the first round, he has the talent and production to make the All-Rookie team. Lucky for him, he gets to face Dolphins’ Austin Jackson – who he torched in the Holiday Bowl – twice next year.
Defensive Line: Javon Kinlaw, San Francisco 49ers
A top defensive tackle prospect, Jason Kinlaw has the flexibility to play both tackle and end for the 49ers. He should immediately produce as a replacement for the now-Colt Deforest Buckner. The Niners’ defensive linemen seemed to continuously boost each other last season, which is perfect for a rookie like Kinlaw.
Linebacker: Isaiah Simmons, Arizona Cardinals
Behold, the future of defense in the NFL. His name: Isaiah Simmons; he was a sure-fire top ten pick in the draft and honestly should’ve gone in the top five. Simmons will put his talent on full display in the upcoming season, making the five teams who passed on him (The Bengals and Redskins get a free pass) regret their decision.
Linebacker: Patrick Queen, Baltimore Ravens
Somehow, someway, Patrick Queen was not selected until 28th overall in the draft. But don’t let that deceive you; Queen has elite athleticism, instincts, and cover skills to offer. He shapes up to be more pro-ready than Kenneth Murray and Jordyn Brooks – the linebackers selected before him.
Linebacker: Zack Baun, New Orleans Saints
Although Zack Baun fell to the third round, he will be an instant plug-and-play with the New Orleans Saints. The Saints may have found their linebacker-slash-edge-rusher of the future in Baun, whose versatility will be needed to stop NFC South offenses like Tom Brady’s Buccaneers.
Cornerback: Jeff Okudah, Detroit Lions
Jeff Okudah, the top corner in the draft, should be ready to fill in for Darius Slay in Detroit. He is arguably the best corner to come out of Ohio State in some time. Okudah projects to thrive especially under head coach Matt Patricia’s defensive-minded approach.
Cornerback: CJ Henderson, Jacksonville Jaguars
Drafted 9th overall, Henderson offers much-needed help for the depleted Jaguars secondary. The Florida product has the size and physicality to be a top corner in the NFL as soon as this season.
Safety: Xavier McKinney, New York Giants
Another surprising second-round slider, Xavier McKinney’s absence from the first round remains a mystery. What is clear, though, is that he is skilled enough to carve out his own niche in the Giants’ defense and thrive there.
Safety: Antoine Winfield Jr., Tampa Bay Buccaneers
In a draft with a lot of uncertainty surrounding the safety prospects, Winfield Jr. should become a consistent NFL player if he can stay healthy, which he fortunately did for the first time in 2019. The Buccaneers desperately need his help in their secondary if they want to make a Super Bowl run.