NFL scouts, coaches and executives have been carefully shaping their opinions of the 2020 NFL Draft class over the last few months.
While some prospects have been highly touted during the duration of the pre-draft process like Ohio State pass rusher Chase Young and LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, others have seen their draft stock fluctuate dramatically for a variety of reasons, including injury history, character concerns or the level of college competition they faced.
But draft experts and NFL decision-makers err on picks all the time, inflating a certain prospect's ability while underestimating another's true value. So before the Cincinnati Bengals kick off Round 1 tonight, we have one final question:
Who's the one player everyone has been wrong about -- for better or worse?
(Round 1 of the 2020 NFL Draft begins at 8 p.m. ET on April 23, Rounds 2-3 will be held on April 24 beginning at 7 p.m. ET and Rounds 4-7 will be held on April 25 beginning at 12 p.m. ET. Tune in to NFL Network, ABC, ESPN and ESPN Deportes for live coverage. The draft will also be streamed live via the NFL app and ESPN app.)
DEANGELO HALL: There are a two players I think teams are wrong about. I'll start with QB Tua Tagovailoa. I recently spoke to Titans team doctor Thomas Byrd about my own hip injury I had my rookie season. I had a similar injury to Tua's except my hip didn't dislocate. The injury forced me to miss seven games my rookie season, but even to this day, it has never bothered me. I get that scouts, coaches and team execs are concerned that Tua's hip is going to make him the next Bo Jackson. But having had a similar injury myself, I don't think he should be fazed at all by his hip. That's why I think Tua SHOULD be the No. 1 quarterback taken off the board.
The second guy who has been underrated this spring is USC receiver Michael Pittman Jr. Anyone who doesn't think Pittman is a first-round pick is wrong. This kid is a beast -- 101 catches for 1,275 yards and 11 TDs in 13 starts last season -- and has the pedigree. Thanks to his family's history in the NFL, Pittman Jr. knows what it takes to make an impact and conducts himself as a pro.
DAVID CARR: Joe Burrow has had an incredible two years at LSU, bookending his college career with a Heisman Trophy and national championship. I'm not trying to take anything away from what he's accomplished, but for me, he is not a franchise-changing quarterback. He has an average arm and above average accuracy, intangibles and good study habits (I'm told), but there is nothing dynamic about him. He will probably be the first overall pick to the Cincinnati Bengals, but there are 30 really good football players I would take ahead of him.
BRIAN BALDINGER: Everyone is talking about the offensive players in this draft, but I'm looking to the defense. TCU cornerback Jeff Gladney's stock is down because he is 5-foot-10, but there is nothing he can't do. And he's been doing it for years. He can win at all three levels and had no fear about going up against the best in the Big 12 every week. He is the second-best cornerback in this class behind Ohio State's Jeff Okudah.
JAMES JONES: Although some draft experts have LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson slotted late in the first round, he's often the fourth or even fifth wideout off the board. That's nonsense! He is the third-best player at his position right now -- behind Jerry Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb -- but there's a very good chance he could have the biggest impact on a team from this entire WR class.
NATE BURLESON: Tua Tagovailoa has been the center of attention leading up to the draft, and I believe the injuries are causing teams to question whether he's worth a high pick. There should be no debate about Tua being the second quarterback off the board. The team that takes Tua will be getting a soon-to-be Pro Bowler.