For the first half of the 2019 NFL season, it appeared that the Miami Dolphins roster was built with the intention of going 0-16, earning the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and having their pick of what quarterback they wanted to select with the top pick.
That plan - at least for the time being - went out the window when the Dolphins earned their first win of 2019 in Week 9, defeating the division-rival New York Jets 26-18. They're now slotted to pick No. 4 if the season ended today.
Let's dive into a fresh projection of the Top 10 selections in the 2020 draft based on current midseason records and a blend of team need and best player available.
1. Cincinnati Bengals: Tua Tagovailoa - Quarterback, Alabama
The guess here is that the Bengals have enough talent on their roster that they won't ultimately be picking No. 1 overall next April. But barring a Gardner Minshew II-type run out of Ryan Finley - and even that may not be enough - the Bengals will almost certainly seek Andy Dalton's successor with their top pick in 2020.
Durability questions for Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa could force whoever is drafting at No. 1 to seriously weigh other options - LSU quarterback Joe Burrows, specifically - but Tagovailoa is still the favorite to be selected with the top overall pick.
Tagovailoa comes from a program in Alabama where he's been expected to win every game he ever has played in at the college level. He's come pretty close, and Bleacher Report's Matt Miller says that he's both the most accurate and ready to start on day one quarterback prospect expected to enter the 2020 NFL Draft.
Wide receiver A.J. Green has yet to play in 2019, but the Bengals held off on trading him prior to the trade deadline, despite him being 31 and on the cusp of free agency. That makes you think the Bengals may attempt to re-sign the seven-time Pro Bowler this offseason, keeping him in a core of weapons that also should include Joe Mixon, Tyler Eifert, Tyler Boyd and John Ross III. Whether it's Tua or another prospect, the Bengals offense looks to be set up relatively well for a first-year quarterback.
2. Washington Redskins: Joe Burrow - Quarterback, LSU
The Hesiman Trophy-caliber QB has shot up most mock drafts, already surpassing Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert and Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm. Whether this is the right way to evaluate a prospect or not, if Burrow leads No. 1 LSU to a victory over No. 2 Alabama in Tuscaloosa, his draft stock is likely to reach a fever pitch.
So don't rule out the possibility that Burrow - who has tossed 30 touchdowns in 2019 - could be the top overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
In this scenario, the Redskins may ultimately choose to proceed with Dwayne Haskins, who, once upon a time, Burrow was teammates with at Ohio State.
However, while there was some thought Haskins wouldn't be ready to start in his rookie year, it's not every year you end up with a top-five pick. If, after a year of having Haskins in their building, the Redskins and/or a new coaching staff is any less convinced he can lead them to a Super Bowl, they would find themselves in position to pivot. The Arizona Cardinals did this in the 2019 NFL Draft, selecting Kyler Murray with the No. 1 overall pick even after using their 2018 first round pick on Josh Rosen.
If the Redskins land the No. 2 pick and are convinced that Haskins is their franchise quarterback, they would find themselves in a great position to trade down and still draft a potential Pro-Bowl caliber player.
3. New York Jets: Chase Young - Defensive End, Ohio State
Since the start of the 2018 season, Young has 23.5 sacks for Ohio State. Quarterback is the most important position, so he almost certainly won't be the No. 1 overall pick, but he seems to have that type of talent.
With 15.5 tackles for a loss in 2019, Young could prove to be a Nick Bosa-type injection into a Jets defense that is already strong against the run, but has struggled to defend the pass in 2019.
The Jets 2019 season has been an unmitigated disaster to this point, and barring a second-half surge, it could result in the firing of head coach Adam Gase after just one season. But there's no indication that the Jets don't plan to proceed with Sam Darnold as their quarterback, which leaves them the flexibility to take whoever they think is the best overall player on the board at the time of their selection.
4. Miami Dolphins: Justin Herbert - Quarterback, Oregon
If the goal of the Dolphins roster tear-down was to assure they had the top overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and could have their pick of all quarterback prospects, they're currently in a disastrous position.
Given that they haven't had a consistently productive starting quarterback since Dan Marino retired in 1999, attempting to bottom-out probably wasn't a bad strategy. But who would have thought that a 1-7 record would only put them on pace to have the No. 4 pick?
Even after their Week 9 win, it's entirely possible the Dolphins lose out and end up securing the No. 1 overall pick. But they no longer control their own destiny, which is scary.
In four seasons as Oregon's starting quarterback, Herbert has tossed 87 touchdowns and been picked off only 19 times. There are criticisms of Herbert's pocket presence, but he's 6'6 and 238 pounds, so naturally there are some that are very keen on what type of quarterback he'll be at the next level.
Of course, this isn't about Herbert specifically for the Dolphins. Their goal was to assure they would land the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, which would allow them to pick Herbert or any other quarterback they wanted. The Dolphins have enough draft capital that it's reasonable to think they could move up a pick or two, but if they don't have the No. 1 pick, it's possible their desired prospect ends up in another uniform.
5. Atlanta Falcons: Jeffrey Okudah - Cornerback, Ohio State
Despite head coach Dan Quinn's defensive background, the 1-7 Falcons have the 24th ranked defense in the NFL. That obviously reflects poorly on Quinn, who seems likely to be let go at the conclusion of a disappointing 2019 season.
Whoever the head coach of the Falcons is in 2019 will inherit a defense that's the No. 23 ranked unit against the pass in 2019. Pairing Okubah, the top cornerback prospect expected to be on the board in in the 2020 NFL Draft, across from Desmond Trufant would be a good first step in fixing the Falcons defense.
Though he's on pace for a career-high in interceptions, former NFL MVP Matt Ryan threw for just shy of 5,000 yards in 2018 and will play next season at age 35. There's no indication that the Falcons would consider drafting a quarterback this high, and given the investments they already have at wide receiver, it seems overwhelmingly likely they will target a defensive player with their first-round pick.
6. New York Giants: Andrew Thomas - Offensive Tackle, Georgia
While there's a potential out in left tackle Nate Solder's contract after the 2019 season, don't expect them to take it. Beyond having to take on $13 million in dead cap money, starting-caliber tackles in the NFL are too hard of a commodity to find.
That doesn't, however, mean that the Giants should pass up on Thomas if he falls to them. He's pretty universally viewed as the best offensive lineman expected to be available in the 2020 NFL Draft, and could protect 2019 first-round pick Daniel Jones for the foreseeable future.
If they draft Thomas, they could have him begin his career at right tackle if Solder is still at left tackle, similar to what the Philadelphia Eagles did when they drafted Lane Johnson with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, but had future Hall of Fame left tackle Jason Peters penciled in at the blind-side. Solder isn't Peters, but you get the point. The Cleveland Browns were connected to Solder prior to the trade deadline, so trading Solder to a tackle-needy team this offseason to clear the way for Thomas could also be a possibility.
7. Cleveland Browns: Tristan Wirfs - Offensive Tackle, Iowa
While the first half of the Browns 2019 season has been an unmitigated disaster, the combined record of the opponents that they've played so far this year is 42-26. The second half of their schedule looks significantly softer - the combined record of their second half opponents is 20-28-1 - meaning there's a very real chance they don't ultimately end up with a top 10 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
That said, wherever they do ultimately pick, the Browns unquestionably need to find a way to add an impact offensive lineman. With Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, David Njoku, Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, the Browns possess tremendous skill position talent around Baker Mayfield. They don't have the offensive line talent to match, which has contributed to Baker Mayfield taking 23 sacks and throwing 12 interceptions in the first eight games of the Browns 2019 campaign.
The perfect scenario for the Browns - in the event they ultimately end up picking in this range - would be to get in position to select Thomas. If not him, though, Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs, Alabama offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood or USC offensive tackle Austin Jackson are all potential first-round picks.
8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Grant Delpit - Safety, LSU
This offseason, Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht will have the unenviable task of deciding how to proceed with quarterback Jameis Winston, who his front office selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Winston, whose rookie deal will conclude after the 2019 season, has been the definition of mixed bag in his fifth NFL season. He's been picked off 12 times in 2019, though 10 of those interceptions have come in three games. In the Buccaneers other five games, Winston has averaged over 300 passing yards per game, while throwing 12 touchdowns and just two interceptions.
So, at the conclusion of this season, the Buccaneers will have to weigh how much it would cost to retain Winston for another season (would he re-sign on a one-year deal if the Buccaneers weren't interested in placing the franchise tag on him?) and whether they'll be in position to draft or sign a better quarterback than him.
For now, we'll operate under the assumption that they will elect to proceed with Winston for at least another year. In that event, they have the 31st-ranked pass defense in the NFL, so bolstering their secondary would seemingly be priority No. 1. LSU safety Grant Delpit - who has been called "an animal when playing forward" - fits the bill of someone who would immediately help to fix the Buccaneers secondary.
9. Denver Broncos: Jerry Jeudy - Wide Receiver, Alabama
Jeudy broke out in 2018 - his sophomore season - as he hauled in 68 passes for 1,315 yards and 14 touchdowns for Alabama. Thus far in 2018, he's had another dominant season, with 52 catches for 682 yards and eight touchdowns through eight games.
Jeudy isn't going to be the first offensive piece from Alabama to come off the board in the 2020 NFL Draft, but he's the early favorite to be the first offensive skill position player to be selected.
Given president of football operations John Elway's recent track record of falling in love with very tall quarterbacks, it wouldn't be shocking if the team selected Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert if he's still on the board when it comes time for them to make their pick. That said, the Broncos likely would need to move up a few picks to land Hebert, and they did use their second round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft on former Missouri quarterback Drew Lock, who is 6'4 for those of you scoring at home.
If the Broncos feel comfortable moving forward with Lock - or uncomfortable with any quarterbacks on the board when they're up to pick - Jeudy could be added onto a budding offensive core that already includes running back Phillip Lindsay and wide receiver Courtland Sutton.
Also worth noting: selecting Jeudy may keep him from ending up with a division rival. More on that in a minute.
10. Oakland Raiders: CeeDee Lamb - Wide Receiver, Oklahoma
After arguably the most tumultuous preseason in NFL history concluded with them releasing Antonio Brown just days before their first game of the regular season, the Raiders have been one of the surprises of the first half of the 2019 season, as they are 4-4. That actually puts them on track for their first round pick to be pick No. 16, though they obtained this pick from the 3-5 Chicago Bears in the September 2018 Khalil Mack trade.
While Jon Gruden and company will be hard-pressed to ever equal the production of the aforementioned Mack, they used the first of two first-round picks obtained in the Mack trade to select running back Josh Jacobs with the No. 24 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Jacobs has averaged nearly five yards per carry in his rookie season, which along with the emergence of tight end Darren Waller, has allowed Derek Carr to have a bounce-back 2019 campaign.
Still, the reason that the Raiders waited so long to release Brown was because he's one of the better wide receivers in NFL history, and the hope was he would bolster an otherwise lackluster wide receiving corps. Tyrell Williams and Hunter Renfrow certainly factor into the team's plans moving forward, but they lack a No. 1 (and probably even a No. 2) wide receiver.
Lamb isn't Brown, but he's had success with each of Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray and Jalen Hurts throwing the ball to him at Oklahoma. He's played under Lincoln Riley, who is one of the most respected offensive coaches at any level of football. And he has 147 receptions for 2,781 yards and 29 touchdowns in 35 career college games, making him an interesting target at No. 10 if the aforementioned Judy is off the board.