Today, I will be unveiling my first article for NFLDraftLounge.com, as I bring forward my Mock Draft 1.0.
Damien Williams scored two touchdowns, Patrick Mahomes proclaimed that he is “going to Disney World”, and the Kansas City Chiefs have ended a 50 year Super Bowl Drought in a 31-20 victory over the San Francisco 49ers. With that said, it is officially draft season for all 32 NFL teams.
Naturally, with three months left until Commissioner Goodell officially puts the Bengals on the clock, this mock draft will be laughably inaccurate at the end of the day, so let’s have some fun and get a little weird. Here we go.
1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
There really isn’t that much to be said here. Over the course of this draft season, mock draft writers will continue to look for clever ways to make this pick interesting. The Bengals need a Quarterback, while Burrow just lit the entire college football world on fire with one of the best seasons we have ever seen from a collegiate player. As far as we know, this card is already written.
2. Washington Redskins: Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
Another slam dunk pick at the top of the draft. The San Francisco 49ers proved this year that you can never have too much pass rush, and Washington should follow that philosophy. Offensive line might be a more pressing need, but Young is the best player in the class and will transform Ron Rivera’s defense from day 1.
3. Detroit Lions: Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
There is talk of Detroit potentially using this selection to draft Matthew Stafford’s successor. I am more inclined to believe that this is bait to draw a quarterback-needy team into a trade up scenario. If Detroit stays put, the pick should absolutely be used to improve the 31st ranked defense they trotted out weekly in 2019. Okudah is a sticky corner with all pro potential that would fit perfectly across from Darius Slay.
4. New York Giants: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
After landing their quarterback of the future last year, the Giants have numerous options for the selection at #4 this year. The team could opt to take one of the top offensive tackles in the class or add a top tier weapon for Daniel Jones, but when a player with this level of versatility falls into your lap, you must take the gift in my opinion. New York’s defense was horrible last year, and Simmons could fill virtually any role they need him to from day one.
5. Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
The worst kept secret in the NFL draft all the way back in the 2019 draft season was the Dolphins infatuation with Alabama signal caller Tua Tagovailoa. After over a year of speculation, the Dolphins end up with their franchise signal caller without having to trade up to do so. Tua has significant concerns about his ability to stay healthy, but he has all the traits of a high-end starting quarterback at the NFL level.
6. Los Angeles Chargers: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
Not Justin Herbert? Not Jordan Love? That’s right. The Chargers have publicly announced that they are moving on from Philip Rivers, but I fully expect the team to address this with an established free agent in hopes of making a run at the postseason next year. Whoever that player is (Tom Brady?) must be protected, so the Chargers use this pick to take Wills and solidify one of their tackle positions with the best prospect in the class.
7. Carolina Panthers: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
The Panthers are another team who could be looking for a new quarterback in 2020, but I am in the camp that believes they will look to give Cam Newton a shot with Joe Brady calling the plays. With two tackles drafted last year, the Panthers opt to allow them to develop for another year and address their interior defense with this pick. Brown is a disruptive force that will be a huge compliment to Brian Burns on the line.
8. Arizona Cardinals: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
Kyler Murray has established himself as the future for Kliff Kingsbury and the Arizona Cardinals, so now they must protect their investment. Wirfs is an incredible athlete with a mean streak who has the upside to be one of the premiere right tackles in this league for years to come. Some prefer him on the interior, but if I am taking him I am plugging him at RT and not looking back.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Ceedee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
The Jaguars are sitting at #9 praying that the teams in front of them shy away from Isaiah Simmons due to him not having a definitive position, but that is not the case here. However, their consolation prize is a #1 wide receiver with incredible body control and excellent YAC ability. Lamb will be an excellent complementary piece alongside D.J. Chark and DeDe Westbrook, making Gardner Minshew a very happy man.
10. Cleveland Browns: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
After an abysmal season from Baker Mayfield due in large part to his offensive line struggling mightily, the Browns have no real choice but to address the tackle position with this pick. Becton is massive at 6’7” 369 lbs, and although he needs some refinement with his consistency, he will be a menace for edge rushers across the league for years to come.
11. New York Jets: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
The Jets managed to sneak their way to seven wins in 2019 despite a severe lack of offensive firepower. Their defense has solid pieces in place, so this selection needs to be used to help out Sam Darnold. Wide receiver could be in play here, but with a loaded class coming into the draft this year, the Jets opt to end Thomas’s slide here, adding an absolute stud to protect Darnold’s blindside for the next decade.
12. Oakland Raiders: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
The Raiders have been looking for a true #1 wide receiver for several years, and their latest failed attempt with Antonio Brown was a flop that nobody expected. Jeudy has been a top three receiver in college football for two years now, and his combination of speed and route running nuance give him insane potential at the next level. Adding JJ to an offense with Josh Jacobs and Darren Waller will be excellent for Derek Carr.
13. Indianapolis Colts: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
Justin Herbert’s slide out of the top ten is probably not extremely likely, but the Colts will benefit from the board here. Jacoby Brissett is not the quarterback that is going to move this team forward towards Super Bowl contention, and while Herbert does have concerns with his accuracy and overall consistency when the play breaks down, the weapons on offense in Indianapolis should be great for his development in the early years.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
This pick is going to be one of the most difficult to figure out throughout the entire draft process. They have needs in the secondary after swinging and missing several times in the last few years, and they could use a few offensive line pieces as well. With the top four tackles already taken and it being a bit too early for the remaining defensive backs, the Buccaneers opt to improve their front seven with Kinlaw, who will be an excellent piece next to Vita Vea.
15. Denver Broncos: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
The Broncos are a more talented team than many have given them credit for. The late season emergence of Drew Lock has given them reason to believe that they are on the cusp of being a playoff contender. They need help on the offensive line, but it will best be addressed in the later rounds. Adding a speed demon on the outside like Ruggs will maximize Lock’s skillset. It would also allow Courtland Sutton to see more 1-on-1 looks to take advantage of.
16. Atlanta Falcons: A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa
Vic Beasley is set to be a free agent after the season. And the Atlanta Falcons have just announced that they will not be negotiating with him for a return in 2020. As a result, the Falcons need more edge rushers to help out Takkarist McKinley. With some of the most powerful hands in the entire class, Epenesa is going to be an excellent power rusher to add to the defense in Atlanta.
17. Dallas Cowboys: Grant Delpit, S, LSU
The outcry from Cowboys fans during the 2019 NFL draft when Trysten Hill was selected over the likes of Juan Thornhill, Taylor Rapp, and Nasir Adderley was overwhelming. Dallas has lacked a true playmaker in the backend of their secondary since Ken Hamlin in the late 2000’s. Delpit’s play declined in 2019 and there are questions about his tackling, but he is the definition of a playmaker and will be a huge get for Mike Nolan in his first year as DC in Big D.
18. Miami Dolphins: K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
Mock drafting for the Dolphins after five is one of the most intriguing things about this class, as the possibilities are endless. This team has needs all over the field, but we will start with their pass rush situation. 2017 first round pick Charles Harris has been a bust so far, and recently signed Taco Charlton is an average player right now. Chaisson has all the tools to be a stud, despite his lack of overall production at LSU.
19. Oakland Raiders: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
After adding Jeudy to their receiving corps at 12, I expect this pick to be between a linebacker or cornerback. Kenneth Murray strikes me as a “Raiders” type of player. But the value for Fulton is too much to pass up here at 19. Fulton is one of the best cover corners in this class, which will be huge for a defense that ranked 25th in passing defense a season ago.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
The Jaguars missed out on Simmons at the top of the draft, but they double dip into the Oklahoma well and take the second best linebacker in the class. Murray is a tenacious, rangy linebacker who needs to work on his anticipation and instincts, but has all the traits of a starting linebacker and potential field general with some fine tuning.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado
I have a friend in the draft community who is convinced that this pick is guaranteed to be a player in the trenches. Recent trends would suggest that he should be trusted, but I just can’t justify a selection in that area with the massive needs on the outside. Shenault never was the most productive receiver in the country, but he also should be much better in the pros with an improved quarterback situation. He has incredible ability after the catch, and is a perfect fit for Carson Wentz.
22. Buffalo Bills: Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State
The Bills may be looking at a trade up situation to ensure they lock down Laviska Shenault in real life, but I am avoiding trades in this one, and Buffalo just got sniped. They still need a receiver, but I don’t love any of the fits at this juncture. With Shaq Lawson set to be a free agent and Jerry Hughes getting older, pass rush is a huge need for this team. YGM is a raw player with huge upside, and should develop nicely alongside Hughes.
23. New England Patriots: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
Tom Brady is a free agent for the first time in his career. And I get the sneaking suspicion that he will be moving on to another team in 2020. If that is the case, the Patriots will be looking at Jarrett Stidham as their starting QB going forward, which is less than ideal. Love has all the physical tools in the world. And there is no better coach to fix his overall consistency and mental lapses than Bill Belicheck.
24. New Orleans Saints: Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
The Saints remain one of the most talented teams in the league despite their early playoff exit in 2019. One thing that is a glaring issue on this roster is the lack of help for Michael Thomas in the receiving corps. Jalen Reagor would add a level of speed to this offense that would make it even more difficult to cover MT13. Reagor could develop into one of the most dangerous number 2’s in the league on this elite offense.
25. Minnesota Vikings: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
The Vikings love their first round cornerbacks. And the stunning decline of Xavier Rhodes coupled with Trae Waynes impending free agency makes the position one of their greatest needs. Twenty five is a bit of a slide for Diggs, but it all works out as he joins his brother, star wide receiver Stefon Diggs, in Minnesota.
26. Miami Dolphins: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
The Dolphins continue to improve their defense with the third of their first round picks in 2020. McKinney has risen up draft boards, jumping over Grant Delpit for safety 1 in this class in the eyes of many. He is a do it all safety that will be a huge piece on the back end in Miami. It isn’t the most pressing need, but he is the best player available at this point.
27. Seattle Seahawks: Josh Jones, OT, Houston
Instead of going with a typical “Seahawks” pick here and giving them Lucas Niang or Austin Jackson, I have instead given the Seahawks an actual valuable pick here in the first round. Jones is an absolute menace as a run blocker. And he’s shown promise as a pass blocker throughout his time at Houston. He dominated the Senior Bowl this year, cementing his spot in the first round. He is an excellent fit for Seattle.
28. Baltimore Ravens: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
As seen in the 2019 Divisional playoffs, the Ravens have a big need at the wide receiver position. Marquise Brown had a good rookie year, and Miles Boykin has potential, but that’s really all they have right now. Getting a big bodied receiver with excellent 50/50 ball ability like Higgins would be huge for the reigning MVP and this Ravens offense.
29. Tennessee Titans: Terrell Lewis, EDGE, Alabama
The Titans were the story of the league this season. Starting 2-4, they turned their fortunes around en route to an AFC Championship appearance. However, they struggled to get true edge pressure this season outside of Harold Landry. Adding a player like Lewis might be a bit of a reach here with his injury risk. But he has great physical tools and could be great on the other side of Landry.
30. Green Bay Packers: Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
The Packers have Davante Adams, and not much more in the receiving corps to help out Aaron Rodgers. Their second leading receiver this year was Allen Lazard with 477 yards. They need help, and Brandon Aiyuk can provide that help immediately. Great with the ball in hand, great speed, and great size all suggest that Aiyuk will go in the first round, and who better to give him at QB than the future Hall of Famer in Rodgers.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Lloyd Cushenberry III, IOL, LSU
As strong as the 49ers rushing attack was in 2019, they still have a couple of holes to fill on the interior of their line. Cushenberry is a beast in the middle of the line, and would be an excellent fit in Kyle Shanahan’s scheme. They could be even more dangerous in 2020 with Cushenberry manning the middle of their offensive line.
32. Kansas City Chiefs: D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
To end this mock draft, this might be the best, and most terrifying selection of the entire first round. The Chiefs have been able to find success running the football recently with Damien Williams, including a strong 104-yard performance in Super Bowl 54. Defensive back is likely a more pressing need here, but the thought of a back like Swift in this offense is a thought that Chiefs fans everywhere will be ecstatic to think. This offense would be absolutely unstoppable.
Thank you for taking the time to read my first mock draft of the 2020 draft cycle. Let me know what you thought about it, and happy draft season!