Now that the draft is upon us and free agency has — for the most part — played out, we all have a better sense of team needs. With that, I’ve given myself the liberty to add some definition to my original draft predictions. In fact, I surprised myself so much that a decided to develop a rapid-fire second round section at no additional charge to my readers!
If you’ve been keeping up with the pre-draft process, you likely know that the wide receiver group is probably the deepest position in this year’s class, and it has the potential to shatter some records. There have never been more than seven wide receivers taken in the first round (2004) or 12 in the first two rounds (2014).
Draft season is upon us, and I have plenty of thoughts. So without further ado, here’s my first attempt at a mock draft.
1. Cincinnati Bengals: QB Joe Burrow (LSU)
Don’t make this harder than it has to be. Burrow isn’t the top player on my unofficial big board, and there are mixed reports on whether he wants to go to Cincinnati, but he had a historic collegiate season and is the top available quarterback for a QB-needy team.
Anthony Rendon is gone, and that leaves a gaping hole at the hot corner for the defending World Series champions. As I mentioned in mySpring Training primer, the ideal scenario was for top prospect Carter Kieboom to take over the starting job. Whether it was his job to lose or if it was simply his to compete for has come into question recently, but either way, Kieboom starting early in 2020 was undeniably the organization’s preference. If it wasn’t, they would’ve pursued a third baseman — Nolan Arenado, Kris Bryant, Josh Donaldson, Mike Moustakas, Eduardo Escobar; the list goes on — much more seriously this offseason.
As time passes, it looks increasingly likely that Kieboom starts the season in the minor leagues. There’s still a chance that he wins the third base job, but he hasn’t done himself any favors offensively — he was 1–12 (.083 average) this spring before going 2–2 off the bench yesterday — or defensively — he has two errors (and a third that could’ve gone against him) on only 13 official chances. Nonetheless, he still has a chance to improve before Opening Day — and get off the bench. For the sake of this exercise, however, I’ll assume he doesn’t crack the initial 26-man roster.