Patrick Leslie’s Final Mock Draft

Coach Leslie is currently the Linebackers coach at Chavez High School in Texas. He has over 4 years of coaching experience in defense and special teams. He is a Scouting Academy Alumni and attends NFL and NCAA coaching clinics in the off-season.

I’m Patrick Leslie and it is time for my annual Mock Draft. First, it is important to note that 2020 will be a crazy draft in the sense that there are so many wild cards out there. The current situation will likely result in players with any medical red flags or off the field issues to be pushed down further than they likely would be in an average draft. 

General Managers and coaches will likely choose players that have minor injury histories and minimal off the field concerns. In addition, look for relationships that coaches and GMs have to play a bigger role than usual in their “information gathering” phase.  Finally, GMs may not take as much input from their scouts as usual, because they will be in a basement or office by themselves with some teams putting scouts on a teleconferencing platform. 

Without further ado this is how the draft MAY go tomorrow night:

  1. Cincinnati Bengals – QB Joe Burrow, LSU

The Bengals need a QB, Burrow is the number 1 QB on the board for most evaluators and he has the confidence needed to survive in a situation that may take some time, before it improves.  Some have suggested a trade scenario, but it would seem to rich for most teams to consider at this point. 

  1. Washington Redskins – DE Chase Young, OSU

This is also a situation that 99% of people believe will be the case.  There is always the outside chance the Redskins new staff doesn’t believe in Dwayne Haskins.  If that’s the case, they probably would go with Herbert here.  The big problem is they didn’t get to coach Haskins in OTAs and that prevents them from a true evaluation.  The bottom line is they spent a 1st rounder on him last year and Rivera is a defensive coach.  The Hall of Fame potential makes Young the logical choice. 

  1. Detroit Lions – DT Derrick Brown, Auburn

Many think Okudah is the choice here, but I think a lot of draft people are undervaluing Brown. A Division 1 coach told me the toughest guy he has had to scheme and prepare for over the past several years was none other than Brown.  He is strong as an ox and has the ability to play a true Nose in the 3 down sets and slide to a 1 tech on pass situations.  Overall, he will not be blocked and I expect Brown to have a dominant career in the NFL. 

  1. New York Giants – OT Jedrick Wills, Alabama

I think this pick will ultimately be traded to the Chargers or the Dolphins for a 2nd round pick.  Ultimately, I think the Giants end up with Wills, due to the fact the Joe Judge is looking to protect his young QB, run the football with their stud RB, and win fundamentally.  In addition, Judge is an Alabama guy, he will get the goods on Wills from his former boss Saban, and choose a safer choice rather than something outside the box.  As I mentioned earlier, coaches and GMs will choose players who they have the most intel on in this draft, due to the unique circumstances. 

  1. Miami Dolphins – QB Justin Herbert, Oregon

There is talk that they want to take a Tackle and draft a QB later.  That is what you call a “smoke screen.”  Take the QB who you believe can lead your team to a Super Bowl.  Herbert is an athlete with some serious potential.  The toughness he displayed in the Bowl Game and his leadership during the Senior Bowl week did not go unnoticed.  In addition, the concerns with Tua make Herbert a “safer” choice in this environment. 

  1. San Diego Chargers – QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama

Tua is a unique prospect and the injury concerns make me wonder whether they will take a Tackle here.  But looking at their roster, do they really want Tyrod Taylor to start at QB in their first game in LA while they are trying to sell tickets?  The Chargers need to sell tickets, Tua provides hype and hope for a franchise looking to move forward following Phillip Rivers departure.  Tua makes sense here if they are looking for someone to fill their seats and hopefully win some games. 

  1. Carolina Panthers – WR Cedee Lamb, Oklahoma

Matt Rhule is a culture builder, who will have great intel from the college coaching community on who he should choose with his first pick as an NFL coach.  His offense needs a tall outside receiver who can catch the 50/50 balls and someone who is extremely competitive.  He saw Lamb firsthand and the challenge it was to scheme and defend against him in the Big 12.  He will want a weapon for Teddy Bridgewater to succeed and a player that will bring competition to his practice field every day.  Every practice with Rhule starts with 1 vs. 1’s in the redzone.  He wants to build that 1% better everyday culture and Lamb helps him do it. 

  1. Arizona Cardinals – LB Isaiah Simmons, Clemson

Many people project an Offensive Tackle for the Cardinals here, but they fail to consider the scheme sometimes.  Most of the air raid is built around 3 step drops, which means pass protection is not needed for more than 1.6 seconds a good deal of the time.  They can run the ball, because of their splits and scheme, not because of their Offensive Line depth.  We forget not too many excellent O linemen came from Kingsbury while he was at Tech.  Instead he gets a defensive star to create turnovers and give his offense back the ball.  Simmons is a Swiss Army knife and I am intrigued as to what he will become as a pro. 

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars – CB Jeffrey Okudah, Ohio State

This is an interesting pick, a team like the Raiders could come up if Okudah falls this far an offer 2 of their 3rd round picks to take away one of their major needs.  For now, the Jaguars are looking at a rebuilding situation.  They need some DBs badly after losing Bouye and Ramsey.  Why not get the best DB on the board and see if Minshew is the real deal.  No reason to reach for any player, just take the best on one the board.  That at pick 9 would be a huge steal. 

  1. Cleveland Browns – OT Mekhi Becton, Louisville

Offensive Line – Offensive Line – Offensive Line!  Did I say O line? The Browns need to protect the Quarterback, their protection last year was awful.  But don’t worry Browns fans, Bill Callahan is an excellent O line coach and he brought in Scott Peters, who is a respected O line technique guru.  Rest assured Callahan and Peters have the goods on Becton as Dwayne Ledford was his coach this past season.  The O line community is a small one and word is out that Becton has serious potential.  If anyone can maximize his potential it’s Callahan.  He will plug and play Left Tackle for the next 10 years and hopefully Mayfield will thrive with some time to throw and with some structure.  We said it last year but look out for the Browns!

  1. New York Jets – OT Tristan Wirfs, Iowa

The Jets could go WR, but this draft is filled with WRs you can get all the way in the 4th round.  The OL class meanwhile, is not as deep.  Like Cleveland, the Jets need to protect their young QB and hope he doesn’t get hurt again, because they saw how that went.  Get a plug and play Tackle, who answered the critics with his 34-inch arms.  Iowa produces well coached O lineman and Wirfs will allow Darnold to throw the ball downfield and unleash his serious potential this season.  In the 2nd round you can pencil in a WR for Darnold.  All in all, this is a draft to make him thrive. 

  1. Las Vegas Raiders – WR Henry Ruggs, Alabama

This is all about need and culture for the Raiders.  Ruggs is a Tyreke Hill clone, but minus the off the field concerns.  Rumor has it, he is the most competitive player on the practice field at Alabama and that will not go unnoticed with the culture the Raiders are building (winners who are competitive).  The big question is, will he be a one trick pony like John Ross for the Bengals or can he be dynamic like a T.Y. Hilton or Hill.  I am guessing Mayock and Gruden believe he will thrive as a deep threat for Carr, plus Gruden loves speed!

  1. San Francisco 49ers – WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama

Back to back picks for the Crimson Tide.  If Jeudy is sitting here at 13, Lynch and company Zoom to Goodell right away.  They have a downfield weapon for Garoppolo who can take the top off a defense and run those intermediate routes that are open within their scheme.  He should thrive with an elite play-caller in Shanahan and the combo for defenses could be devastating.  I see Jeudy as an Emmanuel Sanders type player who helped put the 49ers over the top last season.  The rich get richer!

  1. Tompa Bay Buccaneers – OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia

I chose Tampa Bay, because the priority is to keep Tom Brady upright and you have to draft some linemen to keep him upright.  Keep an eye on Austin Jackson here as well, but Thomas is a bit more polished and less risk than Jackson if you are looking for a 2-year window.  He does a good job of getting to the second level in his blocks and is powerful.  He plays with heavy hands and this will allow the Bucs to run the football when necessary to the left side and he will be able to hold up better on play action passes than pure vertical sets.  Tom Brady and the Bucs might be a good fit after all. 

  1. Denver Broncos – WR Justin Jefferson, LSU

The Broncos could look to trade down a few spots, but there is a slight drop from Jefferson to the next WRs on the board.  Jefferson does something that scouts and coaches love to see; produce in big games! He produced 4 TDs and 227 yards against Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl.  Then after Clemson schemed for him, he still had 100 yards receiving against an elite college defense.  This gives Drew Lock a 2nd weapon on the outside with Sutton on the other and a chance to compete offensively with the AFC west.  If the Broncos score points, team should be playing catch up, at which point edge rushers Miller and Chubb should be hungry for sacks. 

  1. Atlanta Falcons – CB CJ Henderson, Florida

Henderson to Atlanta has been the rumor for the past few weeks.  In this scenario, he is sitting for them at 16 and they don’t even need to trade up for him.  They need to some help on the outside and he can cover.  Many feel he will go higher, but he struggles with open field tackling and in the NFL teams will eat you alive with that.  Greedy Williams was a CB last year Mel Kiper thought was going top 5.  The problem with that philosophy is that NFL coaches want corners that can tackle.  Most of the time, coordinators are scheming to have their RB go one on one with a CB on the outside.  If a CB can’t tackle, he won’t be in the game.  But Henderson does have really good coverage ability and that is at a premium in today’s NFL.  The Falcons hope their culture rubs off on Henderson and he becomes a decent tackler. 

  1. Dallas Cowboys – LB Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma

I have heard some look at Murray as a box LB, but I see him more of an OLB who can rush the passer and cover in space.  Clay Matthews was excellent at rushing the passer for Coach Mccarthy and I think this is another player who can rush the passer.  You can never have enough pass rushers.  The Cowboys also seem pretty setup offensively and their inability to step up on defense the last few games will go through the mind of Jerry Jones.  There is a need at CB, but there will be some solid ones available in the next round. 

  1. Miami Dolphins – OT Austin Jackson, USC

Jackson is a piece of clay that is extremely athletic.  The problem is he is a bit raw and struggles with inside moves.  He has excellent feet and his is a waist bender.  In addition, he is an excellent weapon on bubble screens and RB screens.  He needs a year of NFL coaching, but the Dolphins are in no rush and are happy to pick a player who is high character and has a lot of potential. 

  1. Las Vegas Raiders – CB Jaylon Johnson, Utah

There is a chance they take Terrell from Clemson here as Mayock likes his Clemson players, but Johnson does one thing that Gruden likes in his corners, he tackles!  He is an excellent tackler and he sets the tone when he does it.  I haven’t seen too many mocks having Johnson this high and I don’t get it.  The coaches I have talked to speak highly of him and he is a plug and play starter on the opposite side of Mullen for the Raiders.  There is a solid chance the Raiders trade down and still pick up Johnson here. 

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars – DT Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina

Kinlaw is a top 10 talent, the problem is that he didn’t play his best all the time.  He has the look of a stud 3 tech in a 4 down front and he would be great replacement for Campbell.  There are suggestions the Jags are looking to package their edge rusher to move up a few spots and that could happen with the Cowboys is Kinlaw is still on the board at 20.  If he has an excellent D line coach, Kinlaw could be a Pro Bowl player really quickly. 

  1. Philadelphia Eagles – DB Xavier McKinney, Alabama

Malcolm Jenkins has moved on and the Eagles need a safety who is also a leader.  McKinney has done very well in the pre-draft process.  He interviews well and has the ability to make plays on the back-end.  He can play single deep safety and cover hash to numbers for the Eagles.  Critical thing that he does as a safety more than anything; tackle. 

  1. Minnesota Vikings – WR Tee Higgins, Clemson

The Vikings need to get more dynamic.  They have a solid Defense and were able to get to the divisional playoff round last season.  But they need someone to take the top off of a defense, who can make big plays.  Cousins is an accurate thrower and their wide zone runs, setup the play action passing game.  This is their home run pick and they are hoping this will help them compete for the NFC title. 

  1. New England Patriots – DL A.J. Epenesa, Iowa

Belichick has a certain prototype he is looking for in a player an Epenesa fits the mold.  Epenesa is a 3 down lineman who can be moved along the line depending on the front.  He was a 1 ¾ gap player at Iowa which means that his job was to control more than one gap at a time, limiting his TFLs and Sacks.  It is a part of their scheme, but he thrived in it.  Belichick knows that if you put Epenesa in a situation where he can rush the passer a bit more, he will thrive.  Plus, again Kirk Ferentz and him go way back, so he will have all the intel on Epenesa he needs.

  1. New Orleans Saints – LB Patrick Queen, LSU

The Saints get their local player in Queen.  They are a talented bunch who look to make one last title run for Brees and they could use some help defensively.  Queen is a one-year starter which is concerning, but his tape is really good.  He is a 3 down LB in today’s NFL and can make plays while energizing the defense.  The Saints have the luxury of trading down if they would like here and could take Jordan Love, but this gives them one last chance at a Super Bowl under Brees.

  1. Minnesota Vikings – DL Ross Blacklock, TCU

Blacklock will help to replace Linval Joseph and gives them an explosive 1 gap penetrator on the DL.  He should be successful in making plays for the Vikings.  Their defense is very solid and gets off the field on 3rd downs, but they need more explosive plays, Blaylock can rush the passer and will do a good job making some TFLs in the run game for the Vikings again with the goal of getting into the backfield of the NFC contender’s come playoff time.

  1. Miami Dolphins – RB D’Andre Swift, Georgia

The Dolphins are looking to win a few more games this season and help their young QB develop.  They can pickup a WR in the 2nd round and get a stud RB here to speed up his development.  The best friend for a young QB is a team that can run the ball and setup play action passing reads down the field.  In addition, Swift runs behind his pads and will set a tone for the Dolphins Culture.  These 3 picks would help the Dolphins foundation.

  1. Seattle Seahawks – OT Joshua Jones, Houston

The Seahawks have a unique psychological evaluation, utilizing a “grit” test with all of their incoming players.  IF Jones passes the Grit test he could be the choice here.  They need to find a way to protect Russell Wilson better and Jones has some serious potential.  The Seahawks believe in their model and sometimes overdraft because of it, but I believe Jones fits the makeup of what they are looking for and allows them to keep their franchise QB upright.

  1. Baltimore Ravens –C/G Cesar Ruiz, Michigan

This pick is all about replacing Yanda and moving around the pieces around the best available O Lineman.  Ruiz can play Guard, but will likely stay at Center with some sort of movement along the offensive line.  He was well coached at Michigan and should be a plug and play starter.  The Ravens want to pick up right where they left off and an interior lineman gives them the best chance to do just that.  They problem is that there is no true replacement for an elite player like Yanda.

  1. Tennessee Titans – QB Jordan Love, Utah State

Do the Titans feel like Ryan Tannehill is the guy? Maybe, but if not you need a player that can come in next year and keep you competitive.  The potential is there, it is ideal that he doesn’t need to play for a year or two.  This is a good fit for Love and allows him to fix his fundamental flaws.  He has unique arm talent, and the potential is big for him but his boom or bust potential leads him to fall a bit here.

  1. Green Bay Packers – WR Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State

Aiyuk is physical with the ball in his hands.  Last season Aaron Rodgers was looking to throw and when Davonte Adams was out, he was throwing to players who weren’t creating much YAC.  Aiyuk will help open up the offense and create plays out of nothing for the Packers which is exactly what they need.  If this is the pick Aiyuk has a chance to be in the Rookie of the Year conversation, because of his production potential or a fantasy steal for you fantasy football enthusiasts.

  1. San Francisco 49ers – CB A.J. Terrell, Clemson

The 49ers are a year away from some critical free agent decisions in the secondary.  You can never have enough DBs in today’s NFL as we saw in the Super Bowl defending Pat Mahomes.  This allows their secondary to get younger and Terrell could be a starter at CB before the end of the season.  I don’t see him as a slot CB, but more of a boundary corner.  49ers get richer.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs – RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, LSU

Edwards-Helaire reminds of Maurice Jones Drew, he is a bit of a bowling ball who is shifty and makes defenders miss in space, while still being able to run over you with his pad level.  The RB in the 1st round allows him to get an extra option year at a cheap price and gives the Chiefs 5-6 years of production at the Running Back spot.  This offense would become only more dangerous with a RB that can make people miss in the open field and get some yards in their short yardage situations.  Defensive Coordinators will need as much quarantine time as possible to figure out how to defend the Chiefs if this is the pick. 

Don’t Miss Our Other NFL Draft Related Stories, and Don’t Forget to Follow @NFLDraftLounge on Twitter

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