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Louisville’s Mekhi Becton, Houston’s Josh Jones named as potential surprise first-round picks in 2020 NFL draft

How many people really thought Boston College’s Chris Lindstrom, TCU’s L.J. Collier and Alabama State’s Tytus Howard would be drafted in the first round last year?

There’s always a few head-scratchers in the opening round.

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That’s not necessarily saying those players were bad picks. Rather, those were players for whom most draft analysts thought would go a round (or two) lower.

The Yahoo Sports lead NFL draft analyst has two potential under-the-radar, first-round players for the 2020 NFL draft, and both are offensive tackles: Louisville’s Mekhi Becton and Houston’s Josh Jones.

“I recently mocked Mekhi Becton No. 10 overall. I don’t read a lot of mocks, but I suspect that’s higher than others have him,” Eric Edholm tells Fanspeak. “Houston’s Josh Jones could rise into the 20s. It’s a good OT class, but top-heavy.”

Fanspeak currently ranks Jones as the No. 26 prospect Becton as the No. 52 overall prospect.

Jones is probably the top offensive lineman at the Senior Bowl, and he had a good day during opening practices, says Steve Shoup, Fanspeak co-owner and creator of On The Clock draft simulator. You can read Shoup’s Senior Bowl reports here.

Time may show that Lindstrom, Collier and Howard were worthy of being selected in the first round. And, to be fair, injuries derailed their seasons.

Howard got the most playing time out of the group, playing and starting in eight games. He finished with 538 total snaps and played in 45.8 percent of all offensive snaps for the Houston Texans this year, according to Football Outsiders. He likely would have started more games but suffered through various injuries throughout the season.

Likewise, Lindstrom broke his foot in Atlanta’s first game and went on to miss the next 11 games. He still managed to pick up 337 total snaps and play in 26.5 percent of offensive plays, and he played well once he returned. Collier, meanwhile, was limited to 11 games for Seattle after suffering a severe ankle sprain in training camp, finishing with 156 total snaps and participating in 14.2 percent of defensive plays.



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