It’s Draft Day, Folks!
Tonight is the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. With teams and personnel working from home during the Covid-19 outbreak, Draft rumors are in overdrive. It’s time for me to release my final mock draft of the season, and I can’t be more excited about it. I hope you all enjoy!
1. Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
We can go ahead and write this one in permanent marker. Joe Burrow is the clear number one pick for the Bengals. The next task for Cincinnati will be surrounding Burrow with weapons on offense, which isn’t going to happen overnight. It won’t be a quick turnaround for the Bengals, but drafting Joe Burrow here is the right decision.
2. Washington Redskins
Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
Joe Burrow might be the clear number one pick, but Chase Young is the best overall draft prospect in this class. By adding Young to their roster, the Washington Redskins can revamp their defense as they try to narrow the gap in an emerging division.
3. Detroit Lions
Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
With head coach Matt Patricia on the hot seat, the Lions have to find players that can contribute at a high level on day one. Jeffrey Okudah is able to hold his own on the outside in man coverage. This would be a huge talent upgrade for Detroit.
4. New York Giants
Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
In my opinion, the New York Giants should legitimately look at moving back in the 2020 NFL Draft. However, I’ve chosen not to include trades in this mock draft. Instead, I have them taking one of my favorite prospects in Isaiah Simmons. As a Swiss Army knife, Simmons can do it all. I have him projected as a linebacker, but he’s just as capable of contributing in the secondary, too.
5. Miami Dolphins
Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
Let’s just assume that the Miami Dolphins aren’t sold on Tua Tagovailoa. The franchise could opt to roll with Ryan Fitzpatrick for the 2020 season, or more likely, explore drafting a quarterback with a later draft pick.
Mekhi Becton is the real deal. He has the athleticism and ability to play the position at the next level. There is some concern about a flagged drug test that popped up at the NFL Combine, but given the NFL’s new CBA, this should be a non-issue.
6. Los Angeles Chargers
Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
The Chargers have officially moved on from longtime quarterback Philip Rivers. Lucky for them, they’re in a great position here to find their quarterback of the future.
In this particular mock draft, I decided to see what would happen if Justin Herbert was drafted before Tua Tagovailoa. Let me start off by saying that I don’t think it’s beyond the realms of possibility. Justin Herbert is a dual-threat quarterback that will be able to open up the offense for the Chargers.
7. Carolina Panthers
CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
The Panthers now have their quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater and have locked down Christian McCaffrey long-term. As head coach Matt Rhule and offensive coordinator Joe Brady continue to overhaul Carolina’s offensive, they’ll need to add an additional weapon or two.
CeeDee Lamb is the top receiver on my draft board and has the skillset to be a franchise piece for the Panthers.
8. Las Vegas Raiders (Via Arizona Cardinals)
Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
Las Vegas Raiders send 12th overall pick and pair of 3rd round picks in exchange for Arizona’s 8th overall pick.
This is the first trade in my mock draft, so let me explain why I think it’s likely. Arizona sent their second round draft pick to Houston to acquire DeAndre Hopkins. With CeeDee Lamb coming off the board at seven, we could likely see a run on receivers here. Jon Gruden and the Raiders need to find speed on the outside. This trade is a win-win.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars
Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
The Jaguars have recently released oft-injured receiver Marqise Lee. With Lamb and Ruggs off the board, Jacksonville should take a serious look at Jerry Jeudy. This would provide Gardner Minshew with a safety net as he continues to improve at quarterback.
10. Cleveland Browns
Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama
Cleveland has to find a way to protect Baker Mayfield, especially if they want to improve upon their 6-10 record and attempt to sniff the playoffs. Jedrick Wills would be an excellent selection for the Browns here. He has the ability to play either tackle position and was responsible for protecting Tua Tagovailoa at Alabama.
11. New York Jets
Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
The Jets have built a nice core on offense, albeit quietly. However, New York has to address their left tackle position. Tristan Wirfs is nice value here and a solid plug-and-play piece that can start for the Jets today.
12. Arizona Cardinals (Via Las Vegas Raiders)
Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
After moving back from the eighth overall pick, I have the Cardinals beefing up their offensive line and selecting Andrew Thomas. A few months ago, I had Thomas as the top offensive lineman in this draft, and while he’s slipped some, he’s still a phenomenal prospect that head coach Kliff Kingsbury can absolutely use.
13. San Francisco 49ers (Via Indianapolis Colts)
C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
The 49ers and head coach Kyle Shanahan took a giant leap forward in 2019. To get back to the Super Bowl, San Francisco should find depth in the secondary. In addition, the 49ers can let Henderson come into his own this season before taking over for Richard Sherman, who would then be an unrestricted free agent.
14. Philadelphia Eagles (Via Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Philadelphia Eagles send 21st overall pick, a 2nd, and a 4th round pick in exchange for Tampa Bay’s 14th overall and a 5th round pick.
The top three wide receivers are off the board, which means that the Philadelphia Eagles can’t afford to wait until the 21st pick to select a wideout. I have Justin Jefferson a little lower on my draft board than fourteen, but moving up seven spots to draft him isn’t overly excessive.
15. Jacksonville Jaguars (Via Denver Broncos)
Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
Jacksonville Jaguars send 20th overall pick, a 3rd, and a 4th round pick in exchange for Denver’s 15th overall pick.
The top four receivers are off the board, and with cornerback depth still available on the board the Broncos can afford entertain trade offers. I didn’t intend for Tua Tagovailoa to fall down the board this far, and I believe that it’s highly unlikely that he does, but it was difficult to find allot for him to fit into.
16. Atlanta Falcons
Derrick Brown, IDL, Auburn
Much like Tua Tagovailoa above, I didn’t intend for Derrick Brown to fall this far either. However, the Falcons would be getting a top five prospect in this draft class and one hell of a defensive tackle. Atlanta will likely have to move up to draft him, but expect them to sprint to the podium if he’s still on the board.
17. Dallas Cowboys
K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
Dallas has Xavier McKinney on the board, but I have them upgrading their front seven on defense instead. Chaisson is an excellent EDGE rusher that new head coach Mike McCarthy can use to build up his 4-3 defense.
18. Miami Dolphins (Via Pittsburgh Steelers)
Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
With the Dolphins passing on Tagovailoa, I think they might as well go all in on addressing other needs. Xavier McKinney is the top safety on my board and arguably the only one available in this round that can see significant playing time next season.
19. Las Vegas Raiders (Via Chicago Bears)
Javon Kinlaw, IDL, South Carolina
Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden have built a solid core of players as they rebuild the Raiders. Adding Javon Kinlaw just improves an already stout defensive front.
20. Denver Broncos (Via Jacksonville Jaguars)
A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson
After having the Broncos move back from the 15th position, they sell have the same prospects on their draft board at corner. I really do like A.J. Terrell’s upside. Grabbing him here at 20 might be a little too early, but I have Denver drafting more for need rather than best available.
21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Josh Jones, OT, Houston
Tampa Bay has their quarterback in Tom Brady, as well as acquiring Rob Gronkowski from the New England Patriots, so the Buccaneers have to find someone to protect Brady. The Bucs don’t have a terrible line, but they do need depth and talent upgrades, which is what Josh Jones provides, especially after moving back from fourteen.
22. Minnesota Vikings (Via Buffalo Bills)
Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah
Minnesota has a few options here, especially with the 25th overall pick in their pocket, too. I have them drafting for need and selecting Jaylon Johnson to contribute in a young secondary.
23. New England Patriots
Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
I’ve been a big advocate for the Patriots not drafting a quarterback in the first round, but I do believe that the value here is too good to pass up. Jordan Love had a fantastic sophomore season, but regressed quite a bit in 2019. This is a perfect system for him to develop in, and the coaching staff has shown that they can win with other quarterbacks not named Tom Brady.
24. New Orleans Saints
Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
New Orleans has a need at linebacker and Patrick Queen just happens to be on the board. There is a wide gap in talent from Isaiah Simmons to Patrick Queen, but I still believe that both can contribute at a high rate.
25. Minnesota Vikings
Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
If you were wondering when the next receiver would come off the board, it’s right here to the Vikings. Offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak should have a field day with Mims as he incorporates him into Minnesota’s offense.
26. Miami Dolphins (Via Houston Texans)
D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
With Tom Brady in Tampa Bay, the division is wide open. A strong draft could go a long ways in getting Miami back on track. I’m a fan of D’Andre Swift, but I’m not sold on him as a first round pick. With the being said, the Dolphins need to find someone reliable on the ground.
27. Seattle Seahawks
Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State
Whether the Seahawks are able to re-sign Jadeveon Clowney or now, it’s not a bad idea to bring in some depth in the pass rush department. Seattle has other needs, but defense wins champions. Plain and simple.
28. Baltimore Ravens
Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
Baltimore likely needs to find an extra weapon or two for Lamar Jackson to rely on, but I believe that their defensive needs are more important here. He may not have a Hall of Fame career, but I do believe that Kenneth Murray will be in the NFL for quite a while.
29. Indianapolis Colts (Via Tennessee Titans)
Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
Indianapolis Colts send a 2nd and 3rd round pick in exchange for Tennessee’s 29th overall pick.
The Colts found their next quarterback in Philip Rivers. I’m not sure how much he has left in the tank, if any, but I do know that he needs talent at receiver to be successful. This move would go a long ways in freeing up T.Y. Hilton, too.
30. Green Bay Packers
Neville Gallimore, IDL, Oklahoma
Indianapolis leaping the Packers to select a talent at receiver, which is also a need for Green Bay could be a huge blow. Instead, I actually think it helps them out. Green Bay would be able to address their defensive front, and in a talent heavy receiver class, the Packers can circle back to find a wideout in a later round.
31. San Francisco 49ers
Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise State
I had the 49ers addressing their secondary earlier in this mock draft, so I’ve circled back and given them depth on the offensive line. Some question whether or not Ezra Cleveland should come off the board this high, but I think it’s possible if we see a run on offensive lineman in the first round.
32. Kansas City Chiefs
Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
Kansas City has a monstrous offense, but were a disaster on defense in 2019. If they want to find themselves back in the Super Bowl, they’ll have to address this glaring hole.