2020 NFL Mock Draft
Last Updated: September 26, 2019
Lou Pickney, DraftKing.com
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Note: this draft order is based on the inverted list of Super Bowl odds, slightly modified toward the back-end to more accurately reflect draft slotting for playoff teams.
2020 NFL Mock Draft
1. Miami Dolphins - Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama (6-1 220) *
Clearly, the Dolphins are looking to 2020 and beyond. I wonder if this might become more of a trend, not tanking but unloading talent and stockpiling picks, all while looking to the future.
If the Dolphins end up with the #1 overall pick, you'd have to think they'll be looking for a quarterback. And if Tagovailoa opts to leave Tuscaloosa after this season, he seems as likely as anyone at this point to be selected by the Dolphins.
Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence is not an option here, as he won't be draft eligible until 2021 at the soonest. Or able to profit from *his own likeness* during that time without losing NCAA eligibility.
That last part is key. Forget the schools paying players; Title IX and several other considerations would make that untenable.
But alumni/booster cash going to prospects would mean less money going to the universities. And that's the big reason why this exploitative system has been defended so aggressively by the NCAA, on behalf of its member institutions.
Tim Tebow can stick it. Things need to change. And they will.
2. Washington Redskins - Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia (6-5 320) *
This might prove to be entirely too high for Thomas to be projected. It's tough for teams to find NFL-ready offensive linemen because of the way the college game has changed.
But you'd think the Redskins, a team that likely will be ushering in a new era for 2020 (unless things change quickly in DC), would be well-served to trade down from this spot with QB-hungry teams desperate to trade up.
3. Cincinnati Bengals - Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon (6-6 240)
I have some friends who are Bengals fans, and to say they're not happy with the status quo would be an understatement. Zero playoff wins since 1990. But as long as owner Mike Brown, 84, remains in charge, it's hard to envision any meaningful change happening.
Herbert looked to be a top QB prospect for the 2019 draft, and he remains highly-touted for 2020.
4. New York Jets - Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama (6-1 190) *
Jeudy came into the 2019 season among the top wide receiver prospects with 2020 eligibility, and thus far he has done nothing to dissuade me from that line of thinking.
There is some risk with using such a high draft selection on a wide receiver, but Jeudy is a special talent who, at least at this point, warrants consideration here.
5. Las Vegas Raiders - Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio St. (6-1 200) *
Plenty of options here for the Raiders, and it feels odd writing Las Vegas before it. Though, in my lifetime, it has gone from Oakland to Los Angeles to Oakland to now Las Vegas.
It's still very early, but to this point Okudah looks to be the leader among the 2020 draft-eligibles cornerbacks. Okudah has great size and has shown an aptitude for being able to handle opposing WRs out wide as easily as a speedy slot receiver.
6. Arizona Cardinals - Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn (6-4 325)
There is a premium placed in the modern NFL for interior defensive linemen with exceptional pass rush skill. Brown fits the bill with that, with a quickness you wouldn't normally expect from a 325-pound man.
Brown's versatility is also a plus.
7. Denver Broncos - Grant Delpit, S, LSU (6-3 205) *
The one knock on Delpit is his tackling. Normally I dislike leading with the negative, but I did here because the rest of his game is overall very strong.
You can use Delpit all over the place on the field. Strong safety, free safety, slot DB, pretend DB who is instead going to bring it with a perfectly-timed blitz, etc. High football IQ from all indications, great read-and-react.
Combine that with his great size and speed, and you have an elite prospect.
8. New York Giants - Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio St. (6-5 265) *
Admittedly, this feels like a low projection for Young, particularly with his tremendous pass-rushing ability.
Great size/speed combo for the spot, and while there are refinements to his game that need to happen for the next level, Young could easily end up being the first DE/OLB drafted in 2020.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Lucas Niang, OT, TCU (6-6 335)
While this mock has Niang as the second offensive lineman drafted in 2020, he could end up going ahead of Georgia OT Andrew Thomas.
He has remarkable size/athleticism for the position, and while Niang isn't as adept at running blocking and has fundamentals that could use improvement, he's outstanding against EDGE rushers. That last part will get you paid in the modern NFL.
10. Miami Dolphins (via Pittsburgh) - A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa (6-6 280)
With three 2020 first-round draft picks in their possession, the Dolphins have considerable latitude when it comes to the players they target.
But if they have a quarterback prospect by this point, it would be easy enough to target another key spot: EDGE pass rusher. Epenesa is young as a true junior, and while he's not the freak athlete that many others at this position are, he gives full effort at all times.
Epenesa is also solid against the run. And while pass rushing is of top interest, the fact that Epenesa is effective at both certainly helps his case.
11. Tennessee Titans - Isaiah Simmons, OLB/S, Clemson (6-4 230) *
It's not often that you see me give an OLB/S designation on here, but Simmons isn't your typical NFL prospect.
As part of Clemson's very successful defense, Simmons can do a multitude of things at a high level. A great tackler who can cover long distances especially quickly. Effective man coverage against slot receivers. Remarkably strong.
Of course, translating that to the pro game might present some challenges. But in the right system that best utilizes his special skills, and with continued improvement, Simmons could prove to be a major disruptive force in the NFL.
12. Carolina Panthers - Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU (5-11 195)
With exceptional change of direction ability, Fulton is able to blanket opposing receivers in man coverage quite effectively.
Some evaluators believe Fulton would better translate his talent to the next level with additional size added to his frame, but it's his quickness that helps him to be particularly effective in that role.
(More explanations are coming soon. -Lou 12:08 a.m. CDT 9/26/2019)
13. Jacksonville Jaguars - CJ Henderson, CB, Florida (6-1 200) *
14. Atlanta Falcons - Julian Okwara, EDGE, Notre Dame (6-5 240)
15. Indianapolis Colts - Raekwon Davis, DT, Alabama (6-6 315)
16. Cleveland Browns - Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa * (6-5 320)
17. Buffalo Bills - Terrell Lewis, EDGE, Alabama (6-5 250) *
18. Detroit Lions - Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado * (6-2 220)
19. Seattle Seahawks - Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia (6-2 200)
20. Los Angeles Chargers - CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma (6-2 190) *
21. Miami Dolphins (via Houston) - Tyler Biadasz, C, Wisconsin (6-3 320) *
22. San Francisco 49ers - Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama (6-0 190) *
23. Philadelphia Eagles - Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State (6-5 265) *
24. Baltimore Ravens - Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford (6-1 190) *
25. Minnesota Vikings - Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia (6-2 220) *
26. Las Vegas Raiders (via Chicago) - Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson (6-4 215) *
27. New Orleans Saints - Troy Dye, ILB, Oregon (6-4 225)
28. Green Bay Packers - Malik Harrison, ILB, Ohio St. (6-3 245)
29. Dallas Cowboys - Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama (6-1 195) *
30. Los Angeles Rams - Curtis Weaver, EDGE, Boise St. (6-3 265) *
31. Kansas City Chiefs - Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama ! (6-1 200)
32. New England Patriots - Walker Little, OT, Stanford (6-7 310) *
* indicates player who has NCAA eligibility remaining for 2020