While the 2019 NFL draft is still fresh on everyone’s mind, the focus is slowly shifting forward to rookie minicamp and organized team activities. For SB Nation’s draft czar Dan Kadar, it is shifting to a point even further down the line — at least for those not working in an NFL college scouting department: the 2020 draft. Just two days after this year’s edition had ended, Dan already published his first mock draft for next year.
Based on current odds, he gave the New England Patriots the 32nd selection — and a defensive tackle from Purdue with it:
32. New England Patriots: Lorenzo Neal, DT, Purdue
New England’s defensive group could use some young talent next offseason, and Neal could develop into a first-round player with another strong season at Purdue.
Of course, a mock draft before the college football season even started is a shot in the dark. Our colleagues at Field Gulls showed as much last year when they compared a mock draft made after the 2017 draft to the actual 2018 draft. And while some of the players listed did actually come off the board in the first round, a big chunk did either a) not declare for the draft, or b) go in one of the later rounds.
Meanwhile, some 2018 first-round picks were not even on the radar: first-overall Baker Mayfield, or example, was not mentioned in any of the four mocks Field Gulls analyzed. Kadar’s recent mock draft should therefore be taken with a big grain of salt. Nobody knows yet how the college football season will play out, and whether or not senior defensive tackle Lorenzo Neal will actually be available and on the Patriots radar.
However, there is one positive that comes from a 2020 mock draft: it highlights some players that might very well be worth taking a look at during the upcoming season. Neal, for example, has both the experience and the size that should already put him on New England’s scouting radar at this point in time.