Inside the battles to replace Joe Burrow, Chase Young and other top NFL draft picks

    Bill Connelly is a staff writer for

The NFL draft offers an introduction of sorts for a new crop of star athletes, but it’s also a goodbye for the fans and schools these players leave behind. And now it’s up to their college coaches to find new stars to replace them.

Let’s look at some of the schools that will have first-round holes to fill in 2020, and who’s involved in the battles to fill them.


Draft pick: QB Joe Burrow
Replacement: Myles Brennan

Thanks to copious garbage-time opportunities, Brennan took 128 snaps and attempted 40 passes as Burrow’s backup last year (he completed 24 of them for 353 yards, one touchdown and one interception). If there was any possible chance of a battle between Brennan and redshirt freshman Peter Parrish for the job, that ended when Parrish was suspended this spring. This is Brennan’s job, barring injury.

Draft pick: WR Justin Jefferson
Replacement: Racey McMath vs. Trey Palmer vs. Jontre Kirklin

The LSU receiving corps loses a lot (more than 2,900 combined receiving yards and 25 TDs, much of which came from Jefferson) and returns a lot (more than 3,000 yards and 36 TDs). The Tigers get Biletnikoff winner Ja’Marr Chase and junior Terrace Marshall Jr. back, but between McMath, Palmer, Kirklin and maybe Jaray Jenkins, it would be helpful if a third veteran option emerged. Blue-chip freshmen Arik Gilbert (part-WR, part-TE) and Kayshon Boutte could get a look, too.

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