2020 NFL Draft Live Blog with Tony Pauline & Andrew DiCecco: Day 1

Join Chief Draft Analyst Tony Pauline and Senior Draft Analyst Andrew DiCecco for Day 1 of the 2020 NFL Draft as they provide the latest buzz and instant pick-by-pick analysis in the PFN Live Blog.

2020 NFL Draft Latest News and Rumors

New Orleans Saints looking to move down?

(via Tony Pauline, 7:25 pm ET)

Multiple sources tell me that if the New Orleans Saints receive the right offer for the 24th selection, they will move down. The Saints hope to retrieve another selection in day two of the draft. Currently, they do not own a pick in the second round and feel they could come away with at least one – if not two – receivers who could help them.

Miami Dolphins to target running back in round one?

(via Tony Pauline, 7:25 pm ET)

Despite the fact I did not have the Miami Dolphins selecting a running back at any point during my two-round mock draft, sources tell me the team will look to address the position either with the 26th selection or at the top of round two. D’Andre Swift is the hot name for the team in round one while Jonathan Taylor heads the list with the 39th pick.

Are the Eagles planning a first-round surprise?

(via Tony Pauline, 3:30 pm ET)

Could the Philadelphia Eagles pull a big surprise tonight? I’m told the answer is yes.

The general consensus has the Eagles taking a receiver in round one. There’s even talk that the team may trade up for Henry Ruggs III of Alabama, the player I have the Eagles selecting in the first round of my final mock draft.

But sources tell me there’s no guarantee the Eagles take a receiver with the 21st selection and presently put the odds at 50/50.

Don’t be surprised if the Eagles shock their fans tonight and go defense, specifically defensive back seven, and choose a linebacker or cornerback in the first round.

Could there be more trades involving future draft picks than we typically see?

(via Tony Pauline, 2:35 pm ET)

Several people tell me that teams will be inclined to trade picks in the 2020 NFL Draft for future selections in next year’s draft, with the prime reason being the cancellation of pro-day workouts, individual workouts and official-30 visits over the past couple months. As a result, teams feel they don’t have enough information on a large number of prospects who will be available, primarily on the third day of this year’s draft.

Of course, the issue with trading picks for next year’s draft is the uncertainty of the 2020 college football season. Will the 2020 season be played? When will it be played? And how will the timing of the season affect the 2021 NFL Draft?

Bucs zeroing in on an offensive tackle in round one

(via Tony Pauline, 2:00 pm ET)

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers hope to come out of the first round with an offensive tackle; that seems like a certainty. I’m told the tackle they are pinning their hopes on at this point is Mekhi Becton of Louisville.

If they don’t come away with a tackle such as Becton, my sources say Tampa will attempt to trade out of the 14th slot.

Related | 2020 NFL Scouting Report: Louisville OT Mekhi Becton

Vikings and Jaguars join Browns as teams interested in OT Ezra Cleveland

(via Tony Pauline, 1:20 pm ET)

Since the NFL Combine, I’ve spoken at length on the Cleveland Browns’ interest in offensive tackle Ezra Cleveland, which I would categorize as very hot.

Two other teams who are hot for Cleveland in the middle of the first round are the Minnesota Vikings and Jacksonville Jaguars.

Interest from the Vikings may come as a bit of a surprise to many, but I’m told the team loves Cleveland’s athleticism and feels he’s a perfect fit for their system. If the Vikings draft Cleveland, the plan would be to use him at guard or potentially right tackle as a rookie and move Brian O’Neill to left tackle. Should they use Cleveland at right tackle, Riley Reiff would move to guard.

Related | 2020 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Boise State OT Ezra Cleveland

Jags desperate to trade Ngakoue, seeking first-round pick

(via Tony Pauline, 12:50 pm ET)

Sources tell me the Jaguars are desperately trying to trade Yannick Ngakoue today and want a first-round selection in return. Prior to the pandemic, I made mention of a possible trade to the Seattle Seahawks, who were hot for Ngakoue at the time.

While there are rumors where Ngakoue could wind up in a trade and there are even doubts that Jacksonville will move him for the price they want, I’m told that if the Jaguars do receive a first-round pick in return for the pass rusher, they will select a quarterback at some point in round one.

NFL looking to secure private planes and dedicated hotels for 2020 season

(via Tony Pauline, 7:10 am ET)

Over the next three days of broadcasting the NFL Draft, it will be interesting to see if either ESPN or NFL.com touches on plans for the 2020 NFL season and exactly what they say.

As most have heard, there have been all types of rumors on future plans for the upcoming NFL season if the current health situation remains status quo. There’s been word of the league quarantining everyone at length in order to play the season as well as numerous other ideas, some too ridiculous to mention.

Sources in the league’s front office tell me the NFL is talking with Delta Airlines on a variety of issues, including trying to assure that each franchise has two dedicated jets for their use only. These jets would be taken out of general circulation and would be used only by the franchise they are assigned to.

I would suspect these jets would come with dedicated crews who would have to be tested endlessly.

I’m also told that the league is talking to Marriott Hotels with the thought process of securing hotels that will be dedicated to teams in NFL cities.

Details are sketchy at this point, but the overriding theme is that the league is ahead of the curve in leaving no stone unturned in an attempt to ensure the season will kick off this fall.

Four tackles in the top 12, plus the Raiders’ interest in a speedy wide receiver

(via Tony Pauline, 11:00 pm ET Wednesday)

While everyone gushes over the wide receivers in this year’s draft, it’s quite possible that four offensive tackles are taken off the board before a single receiver is drafted. The New York Giants, Miami Dolphins, Arizona Cardinals and New York Jets could all take an offensive tackle before the first receiver comes off the board, quite likely to the Las Vegas Raiders (12th pick) or San Francisco 49ers (13th pick).

Speaking of the Raiders, and harkening back to the days of Al Davis, a source well-connected to the organization told me yesterday, “If Gruden gets his way, the Raiders’ pick will be Henry Ruggs.” The Raiders need pass catchers and historically love to come out of the first round with speed – and they like Ruggs’ upside.

Related | 2020 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Alabama WR Henry Ruggs III

Jets targeting offensive tackle in round one

(via Tony Pauline, 9:40 pm ET Wednesday)

From what I’m hearing, signs point to the New York Jets prioritizing offensive tackle with the 11th overall selection and adding another piece to the offensive line, specifically someone who can play right tackle.

As I was told yesterday, the Jets want an offensive tackle in the first round “if the right offensive tackle is available.” Jedrick Wills Jr. continues to pop up as the right offensive tackle for the franchise.

During the offseason, the Jets signed five blockers in free agency and actually wanted to add one more. As I initially reported from the Scouting Combine, former Philadelphia Eagles swing tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai was on the wish list for general manager Joe Douglas.

Related | 2020 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Alabama OT Jedrick Wills

And while the Jets made a strong bid for Vaitai’s services, in the end they would not match the five-year, $45 million contract that was handed to him by the Detroit Lions and included $20 million guaranteed. I was informed the Jets wanted to keep the Vaitai contract in line with the one they gave George Fant.

If the right offensive tackle is not available to the Jets at number 11, the belief is that the team will move their sights to wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, a player I’ve said they really like for weeks.

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