2020 NFL Mock Draft
Last Updated: April 22, 2020, 11:44 p.m. CDT
Lou Pickney, DraftKing.com
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2020 NFL Mock Draft
1. Cincinnati Bengals - Joe Burrow, QB, LSU (6-4 215)
This has been a foregone conclusion for some time now. With a 2019 season for the ages capped off with a BCS National Championship, this would bring Burrow back to his native state of Ohio.
It's criminal that Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence wasn't draft-eligible because of the restraint of trade that exists between the NFL and the NCAA. But it did make the decision here easier for the Bengals.
2. Washington Redskins - Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio St. (6-5 265) *
Passing up on Young means the Redskins risking the Giants trading up to get him at #3, and thus then having to play against Young twice a season for years.
There have reportedly been some big offers made for this selection, but it would qualify as a major surprise if the Redskins were to trade this pick.
3. Detroit Lions - Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn (6-5 325)
This anticipates a trade-down by Detroit. The thought here was either Brown or Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah, but I felt like there was a late nudge away from Okudah. We'll see.
Brown has great interior pass-rush ability, which would make him a nice fit with Detroit. Or nearly any other team, for that matter.
4. New York Giants - Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama (6-4 315) *
This is where the intrigue ramps up. The thought all along had been teams wanting a quarterback trading up, but that doesn't seem to be it. Not this high up, anyway. Instead, it's offensive tackles who will apparently be in high demand early on night one if late indications are accurate.
Not every offensive lineman is the same. I've had Wills here for the stretch run, but there was a late shift toward Iowa OT Tristan Wirfs. Both can play right offensive tackle, which would best fill the perceived need for the Giants.
5. Miami Dolphins - Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia (6-5 315) *
Miami wanting to trade up has been no secret, not unlike Atlanta further down the board. The presumption had been the Dolphins moving up to get a quarterback.
But then late word suggested that Miami would be moving up not for a QB but instead an offensive tackle. And in an era where there are relatively few plug-and-play left offensive tackles coming out of college, Thomas fits the bill.
6. Los Angeles Chargers - Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville (6-6 355) *
Not much leaks from the Chargers. But there seems to be a firm belief the team will be giving Tyrod Taylor every opportunity at QB this season.
If this was a swerve, it was a well-executed one.
Becton is incredibly agile/quick for a man of his size. This could be a trade-back opportunity as well.
7. Carolina Panthers - Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio St. (6-1 200) *
Trade-back candidate here with the Panthers. Their inclination to move back might be predicated on who is on the board here. Okudah would fill a need, as would Florida CB C.J. Henderson (who jumped Okudah on some CB lists) or Auburn DT Derrick Brown.
8. Arizona Cardinals - Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa (6-5 320) *
All sorts of choices here for Arizona. Right offensive tackle is a need, which makes Wirfs a great fit. The same would be true for Jedrick Wills if he's there.
You could sell me on Clemson OLB/S Isaiah Simmons here as well for the Cardinals. Also, there are some who feel a draft-night trade will hoist someone in the top ten to get Simmons.
This would seem to be a reasonable potential spot for Atlanta to target for a trade-up, certainly more doable than #2 or #5 overall.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars - Javon Kinlaw, DT, S. Carolina (6-5 325)
The Jaguars have flexibility here with two first-round selections and a potential major trade to make with discontent but very skilled EDGE Yannick Ngakoue. The Jaguars have followed a recent trend of teams trading star players for first-round picks as a ramp-up to a rebuild.
Going to deadline, it was rumored that the Raiders were trying to acquire Ngakoue. Las Vegas has two 2020 first-rounders, but it was said the Raiders offered the #19 (acquired from Chicago) but the Jaguars wanted the #12.
And not to gloss over Kinlaw, who is a huge/athletic defensive linemen with great interior pass rush talent. That is a strength for Kinlaw, who has a tremendous motor to match. And the Jags need to find a replacement for Calais Campbell.
10. Cleveland Browns - Isaiah Simmons, OLB/S, Clemson (6-4 240) *
A physical marvel, Simmons has the instincts of a strong safety melded with the pass-rush skill of a top-flight edge blitzer.
With 25.5 tackles for loss over his final two seasons, Simmons is a threat to get into the backfield. And that last part is key. If you're using a Top 10 draft pick in 2020 on a linebacker, he'd best be able to impact opposing passing attacks.
Offensive tackle might also be a consideration here, depending on who remains on the board after the first nine selections.
11. New York Jets - CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma (6-2 200) *
Offensive tackle could be a target here. But if there is a major run on the position early, as this mock projects, that might have to wait until day two.
Entirely reasonable to envision the Jets trading up a couple of spots to secure a wide receiver. And if the Jets have other plans and aren't looking wide receiver here, they could make an excellent trade partner for a team wanting to move up for a wideout.
12. Las Vegas Raiders - Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama (6-0 215) *
The Raiders have flexibility with Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota under contract.
Bit of a win-win scenario: if the Raiders want Tagovailoa and he falls to them, or in striking distance with a trade-up, then it frees up the team to possibly trade Carr.
If not? "Derek! Hey pal, we were with you all along!"
I hear a lot of things about a lot of people in Nashville, and I've never heard anything bad about Mariota as a person. Here's hoping the best for him going forward.
Also, Mariota never got the credit he deserved for leading the Titans back from down 18 in the second half on the road at Kansas City in the 2017 playoffs.
13. San Francisco 49ers (via Indianapolis) - Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama (6-1 195) *
If the 49ers want to add a blue-chip WR prospect, they should be in good position to do so here. This is a deep draft at WR and there will be options at #31 (and beyond).
But Jeudy is one of the top WR prospects in the draft. And while DT is an obvious need, that's a position I envision the 49ers more likely to target at #31 or beyond.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Josh Jones, OT, Houston (6-5 320)
This reflects the idea that the Bucs might trade back and aim for Jones a bit further down the board, though with Tom Brady signing with Tampa Bay the team's priorities suddenly shifted dramatically.
I've been doing this for 17 years, and Brady is older than I am. I don't know how he does it. But protecting him has to be a top priority for the Bucs.
Don't count out the possibility of a running back here. I gave serious consideration to projecting Georgia RB D'Andre Swift at this spot. A young, talented RB with great receiving skill would seem to set up the Bucs offense for success.
15. Denver Broncos - Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama (5-11 190) *
It would be a surprise for Ruggs to still be on the board by this point, and I anticipate the Broncos trying to trade up. Ruggs' ultra high-end speed makes him an especially valuable prospect.
16. Atlanta Falcons - C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida (6-1 205) *
Quite unlikely that Henderson will drop this far. Atlanta hasn't exactly been subtle about wanting to trade up, whether it's for a top DT prospect or an elite corner prospect like Henderson or Okudah.
17. Dallas Cowboys - Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn St. (6-4 265) *
I gave considerable thought to K'Lavon Chaisson here, a promising EDGE prospect who has the capacity to develop into a top-flight prospect. But I get the feeling the Cowboys want something more immediate as far as adding to their pass rush goes.
This is possible trade-back territory for Dallas, particularly if there are several wide receivers and defensive backs they like in this range.
18. Miami Dolphins (via Pittsburgh) - Jordan Love, QB, Utah St. (6'4" 225)
It would be something if the Dolphins can draft a high-end left offensive tackle and then land a quarterback they like here. You might see Miami move up to secure Love if he's in fact their target.
19. Las Vegas Raiders (via Chicago) - Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah *
This presumes the Raiders won't go for a cornerback at #12. Entirely possible this pick will be traded (see above for the Yannick Ngakoue trade negotiation info leak out of Las Vegas) but Johnson is a name that really lit up down the stretch as a likely first-round selection.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars (via L.A. Rams) - Patrick Queen, LB, LSU (6-0 230)*
This is a long-shot. Myles Jack is moving to OLB while the Jaguars signed former Browns ILB Joe Schobert to a lucrative five-year deal this off-season.
More likely? Another team moves up to this spot to land Queen here.
21. Philadelphia Eagles - Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU (6-1 200) *
This seems like a nice fit, with Jefferson having good size and outstanding speed that allows him to be utilized in a variety of ways. Wide receiver is a need position for the Eagles.
22. Minnesota Vikings (via Buffalo) - Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU (6-0 195)
The Vikings are in the market for a cornerback. Jaguars might consider Fulton if he's there two picks above. Minnesota has another pick at #25, which creates some strategic options.
This is the point in the draft where I think things will get very interesting. With the pandemic stopping most college pro days from happening, there wasn't as much in-person interaction between team staffers and scouts and the like compared with usual.
So while most evaluators have Jeff Okudah and C.J. Henderson as their top two corners, you will likely have considerably differening opinions beyond that, more than you might have in a typical pre-draft process. Or at least that's the perception by some.
One would also think on-field play will hold a much stronger influence than usual with the pandemic making in-person meetings challenging and travel decidedly difficult.
At least the combine happened before things shut down, so teams aren't operating in the blind on this. But from all indications there are unique challenges and elements in play this year.
23. New England Patriots - Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon (6-6 235)
They likely would need to trade up to do this, but maybe not. It seems strange for Herbert to be so low, but the late shift for MIA and SD going OT and not QB had a cascading effect in my final mock.
Alternately, the Pats could start a run on the next wave of wide receivers. Granted, as I noted above, what constitutes a second wave and beyond is likely going to be much more disparate than the norm.
24. New Orleans Saints - Kenneth Murray, ILB, Oklahoma (6-2 235) *
As you'd imagine from an ILB receiving first-round consideration, Murray is remarkably fast and covers sideline-to-sideline very well. If anything, Murray is sometimes guilty of over-pursuit.
25. Minnesota Vikings - Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona St. (6-0 205)
This is the second of Minnesota's two 2020 first-round selections. Late surge made the difference. Betting lines were trending toward Aiyuk as a first-rounder as well. Not necessarily "smart money", but I wouldn't look to the books now if I hadn't found value in doing so for past drafts.
26. Miami Dolphins (via Houston) - D'Andre Swift, RB, Georgia (5-10 210) *
The Dolphins need a top-flight running back, and Swift is an especially appealing prospect since he's so effective on screen passes.
There will be good running backs available on day two, of course, but I could see Swift being a viable option here for the Dolphins.
27. Seattle Seahawks - A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson *
Terrell is a name that has had a late push up boards, with at least some thinking Terrell is a near-lock to go on night one.
I wouldn't go that far (likely isn't a lock), but Terrell would fill a need position for Seattle and they might not have to trade up to get him.
28. Baltimore Ravens - Zack Baun, LB, Wisconsin
While he might not be a prototype EDGE, Baun doesn't necessarily need to be, not with his sideline-to-sideline coverage range. Baun had 19.5 TFLs, including 12.5 sacks, in 2019 at Wisconsin.
Most of the teams drafting here late in round one should be open to trading back. The fifth-year option for first-rounders adds extra appeal, which is in part why you see it happen so much.
29. Tennessee Titans - Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise St. (6-6 310) *
Lots of late chatter about Cleveland (not the Browns) and that there's an anticipated stopper for him late in round one. I realize that Cleveland played left tackle in Boise, and the Titans have a great blindside OT with Taylor Lewan.
But there's no reason to think Cleveland would have trouble adjusting to the right side if asked. And there is a vacancy there with Jack Conklin leaving in free agency.
The Titans are highly unpredictable with their approach, and you can see the Bill Belichick influence on Titans GM Jon Robinson to that end.
30. Green Bay Packers - Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor (6-3 205)
Mims would fill a need spot for the Packers. Entirely possible that Mims will be gone by the time selection #30 hits, but again I have to note how much anticipated variance is in play with some of these late first-round projections.
31. San Francisco 49ers - Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU (6-3 290) *
This is the second of two first-rounders for San Francisco. Blacklock would fill a need with the 49ers having traded DT DeForest Buckner to the Colts earlier this year.
Blacklock fits the trend of late risers who end up going in round one. He's skilled at interior pass rushing, a trait that is more in demand than ever in the NFL.
32. Kansas City Chiefs - Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin (5-10 225)
In this scenario both Taylor and Ohio State RB J.K. Dobbins would be on the board.
Lost to some in the excitement of the Chiefs' run to the Super Bowl is that they did so without Kareem Hunt, their star RB who was released in November 2018 due to non-football related reasons.
And while Damien Williams (4.5 yards per carry) and Shady McCoy (4.6 ypc) were very effective as a one-two punch on the ground last season, neither cracked 500 yards rushing on the year. Williams will be back for 2020, but McCoy is a free agent and not expected to sign a new deal with the club.
Adding a blue-chip RB prospect would make an already potent Chiefs offense that much more dangerous.
* indicates player who had NCAA eligibility remaining for 2020