On Saturday, I listed some prospects that could shock everyone and sneak their way into the first round. For every player that sneaks their way into the first round, a once surefire lock to be selected in the top-32 doesn’t hear their name called until the second day of the NFL Draft.
In 2019, Greedy Williams and Byron Murphy were two of the draft’s top CBs and expected first rounders. Additionally, D.K. Metcalf was viewed as the second best receiver. However, all three, Williams, Murphy, and Metcalf, fell to the second round.
With the draft just two days away, here’s a list of five future draftees that are regarded as first round picks, but are in danger of seeing an unexpected draft day slide.
1. Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
I’m not a believer in Jordan Love being a first round talent. He is my fourth-ranked QB in the class. I’m prepared to see him go on the first night of the draft, but I’m not sure where he would fit.
If the Dolphins and Chargers take Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert, Jordan Love’s next available landing spot will most likely be in the 20s when the New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints are on the clock.
Despite losing Brady, the Patriots still have a talented team and may choose to spend their first round pick on a player who can make an immediate impact, like an edge rusher or linebacker. Perhaps, New England is content with moving a Day 3 pick to acquire a veteran like Andy Dalton.
The same goes for New Orleans. The Saints were able to get Drew Brees back on a two-year deal and added Emmanuel Sanders and Malcolm Jenkins in free agency. They may decide to go after Patrick Queen or Kenneth Murray and gear up for another playoff run. Should this be the case, Jordan Love could fall out of the top-32 on Thursday night.
2. Josh Jones, OT, Houston
Jones is one of the top tackles in this class, widely regarded as the best OT after the top four tackles (Wills, Wirfs, Becton, Thomas). Many believe Jones will be selected in the 15-25 range.
That being said, with the Browns having interest in Boise State’s Ezra Cleveland and Georgia’s Isaiah Wilson making a push for the first round, Jones could see himself drop to the seventh OT off the board and be in serious danger of falling out of the first round.
3. Zack Baun, LB, Wisconsin
Baun is a dynamic linebacker who some teams view as an edge rusher. He’s most likely to be taken in the late 20s where teams like the Miami Dolphins, Seattle Seahawks, Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans are picking.
Baun seems like a lock for the top-32, but with players like A.J. Epenesa, Yetur Gross-Matos and Kenneth Murray potentially on the board towards the end of the first round, he has a chance to slip into the second.
4. A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa
A.J. Epenesa and Zack Baun are in similar situations. However, Epenesa has been a projected first round pick since the 2019 NFL Draft ended.
The rise of players like K’Lavon Chaisson and a poor performance at the combine has dropped Epenesa’s stock significantly during the pre-draft process. His tape warrants a first round selection, but his combine could see him plummet into Day 2.
5. Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
After Jeff Okudah and C.J. Henderson come off the board, there are a few players vying to be the third CB off the board. TCU’s Jeff Gladney is my second-ranked CB and an expected first round pick.
However, with LSU’s Kristian Fulton, Alabama’s Trevon Diggs and Clemson’s A.J. Terrell gaining traction as first round picks, there’s a chance that Gladney may fall out of the first round. This is a scenario that would shock many.