The 2020 NFL Draft is loaded with talent. This is a pivotal draft for many of the teams across the league. Here is my first mock draft of round 1 for the 2020 NFL draft
The 2020 NFL draft is a loaded draft class with talent all across the board to help improve teams. This is a pivotal draft for teams like the Raiders, Dolphins, and Jaguars who all showed some glimmer of hope last season and each has multiple first-round picks. This is also a year where teams have high draft picks and teams that can compete but just need a few extra pieces like the Lions, Chargers, and Cardinals, all in the top 10. The question is which direction will these teams go in and will they follow in their previous draft woes…cough cough Lions. For this mock, we will go as if there will be zero trades, let us take a look at how I think the draft could shake out.
Pick #1 Cincinnati Bengals – Joe Burrow QB LSU
The Andy Dalton experiment is over in Cincinnati and we all know it. Kudos to Andy Dalton because he was a very capable quarterback and brought the team to the playoffs but was never able to take the next step. Joe Burrow is coming off of one of the best quarterback seasons in NCAA history. He became the only player in FBS history to eclipse the 6,000 yards of total offense mark and the first player in SEC history to throw for over 5,000 yards and had a completion percentage of 76.3%. This is a no brainer selection for the Bengals first overall in the 2020 NFL draft.
Pick #2 Washington Redskins – Chase Young Edge Ohio St.
To many Chase Young is the best prospect in the 2020 NFL draft, and they may be right. The Redskins will be salivating at the fact Young is available. He has a great blend of size, athleticism but most of all technique. Young is built specifically for the defensive end position in a 4-3 base defense. Luckily for the Redskins new head Coach, Ron Rivera is making that switch. The front four of interchangeable parts including Chase Young, Montez Sweat, Jonathan Allen, Da’Ron Payne, and Matt Ioannidis make for a formidable front line, the pick is easy.
Pick #3 Detroit Lions – Jeffrey Okudah Cornerback Ohio St.
Jeffrey Okudah is one of the better cornerback prospects I have seen in recent memory. He has great size for the position checking in at 6’1 and 200 lbs and is exceptional in man coverage. Okudah has very smooth hips and transitions excellent to go along with super quick feet and has the skill set to mirror any receiver. The Lions have been trying to find another lockdown corner to play across from Darius Slay for years now and Okudah is an excellent bet for that.
Pick #4 New York Giants – Jedrick Wills Offensive Tackle Alabama
The Giants went and landed their franchise quarterback in 2019 with the selection of Daniel Jones, now they need to keep him upright. Jedrick Wills was one of the best tackles in college football last year and he should be able to win the job week on with the Giants. He would provide a boost to the value of the team’s previous 1st round selections, Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley.
Pick #5 Miami Dolphins – Tua Tagovailoa Quarterback Alabama
Tua Tagovailoa was to many the top overall draft prospect for the 2020 NFL draft going into the 2019 NCAA season. His ability to make plays while limiting his turnovers are huge. In 32 games he has 87 touchdowns to just 11 interceptions. As much as I love to watch Ryan Fitzpatrick the Dolphins need to look to the future. Tua can give them a great building block as a future playmaker going forward.
Pick #6 Los Angeles Chargers – Justin Herbert Quarterback Oregon
The Chargers are at a crossroads as a franchise. Long time starting quarterback Phillip Rivers is now a free agent and the Chargers need to find a new signal-caller. Justin Herbert had an excellent senior bowl and was once a highly-touted prospect. Herbert has the tools to be a successful NFL quarterback but may need a season of grooming. Either way, he is the best choice left at quarterback and the Chargers should be pleased with him.
Pick #7 Carolina Panthers – Derrick Brown Interior Defensive Line Auburn
The Panthers have most likely lost Cam Newton, possibly James Bradberry, Luke Kuechly retired and they have a new head coach. At this point, the Panthers just go the best player available which just so happens to be an area of need. Brown has averaged 53 tackles, 10.5 tackles for a loss and 4 sacks over the past three seasons for the Tigers. Derrick Brown is the most complete interior defensive lineman in the 2020 NFL draft and should fill in nicely on the line for the Panthers.
Pick #8 Arizona Cardinals – Mekhi Becton Offensive Tackle Louisville
The Cardinals have a lot of weapons at their disposal and this season’s offensive rookie of the Year in Kyler Murray. I know a lot of people would love to see the Cardinals add another top-tier receiver here but they need to protect their franchise quarterback. Becton is a massive man at 6’7 and 369 lbs and has incredibly nimble feet and great strength. Becton is not the flashiest pick but is the smart pick for the Cardinals.
Pick #9 Jacksonville Jaguars – Isaiah Simmons Linebacker Clemson
The Jaguars had one of the strongest team defenses two years ago. Since then Jalen Ramsey has been traded, Telvin Smith has gone into temporary retirement, and Myles Jack is…well Myles Jack. Myles Jack has underwhelmed for most of his career and now the Jaguars are deploying one of the worst linebacker corps. Isaiah Simmons is what some call a unicorn. His tackling ability mixed with his coverage skills makes him an excellent option at linebacker that can also play safety in a pinch.
Pick #10 Cleveland Browns – Andrew Thomas Offensive Tackle Georgia
It was obvious that the Browns need help on their offensive line after last season. They traded their best offensive lineman in a trade to get Odell Beckham Jr. and it proved to be disastrous for Baker Mayfield‘s development. Luckily for the Browns, there is a slew of good offensive tackles in the 2020 NFL draft and one should fall to them. Baker Mayfield will be smiling ear to ear after the Browns grab a big experienced SEC tackle.
Pick #11 New York Jets – Tristan Wirfs Offensive Tackles/Guard Iowa
The Jets are another team in need of serious improvement across their offensive line. The Jets need both guard help and tackle help if they expect Sam Darnold to be able to take the next step. Tristan Wirfs played tackle in college and should have the opportunity to compete for the position with the Jets but most likely will play guard. Wirfs is an undersized tackle for the NFL but would be a beast of an interior lineman. Either way, he fills a position of need for the Jets.
Pick #12 Oakland Raiders – CeeDee Lamb Wide Receiver Oklahoma
It may be a bit of a stretch to see Lamb drop this low, he is that talented. I do believe though that the teams with need along the offensive line are more glaring needs than wide receiver. Lamb is a surgeon at every level of the field and the Raiders are in need of a number one receiver. CeeDee Lamb should be able to produce right away and could turn into a star.
Pick #13 Indianapolis Colts – Jerry Jeudy Wide Receiver Alabama
Jerry Jeudy is an amazing route runner and does a great job creating separation, the best of any prospect in the 2020 NFL draft. He has all the traits nuances needed to succeed at the next level. The Colts have T.Y. Hilton and he still is productive but has missed time recently. The Colts spent an early pick last season on Parris Campbell and he and Jeudy would make an excellent tandem moving forward.
Pick #14 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Javon Kinlaw Defensive Tackle South Carolina
The only resemblance of a pass rush that the Buccaneers had last season was when Jason Pierre-Paul came back. They lacked a true pass rush on the interior and is a huge need for them. Vita Vea is a solid starter in the middle but he lacks the elite interior pass rush traits that Kinalw possesses. The two could potentially work seamlessly next to each and form a strong interior on the line. This would be a great pickup for the Buccaneers.
Pick #15 Denver Broncos – Henry Ruggs III Wide Receiver Alabama
The Denver Broncos made a great selection when they picked Courtland Sutton in 2018. He made a huge leap last season and looks like a legitimate number one receiver. Outside of Sutton though the Broncos have few options at wide receiver and would be very smart to add one here. Henry Ruggs III has blazing speed. He is impossible to press as he has great footwork at the line and if he gets a step he is gone. His speed would be a nice complement to Sutton’s contested catchability and would form a nice core to go along with quarterback Drew Lock.
Pick #16 Atlanta Falcons – K’Lavon Chaisson Edge LSU
K’Lavon Chaisson is an edge rusher with a super high ceiling. He is super athletic and is a three-down presence, not only a situational pass rusher. He finished 2019 with 60 total tackles in 13 games off the edge to go with 6.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for a loss. The Falcons are letting Vic Beasley walk and Takkarist McKinley has not lived up to expectations. Edge rusher is the biggest need for the Falcons and Chaisson has the highest ceiling after Chase Young.
Pick #17 Dallas Cowboys – Xavier McKinney Safety Alabama
Most people think that Grant Delpit is the top safety in the 2020 NFL draft but his poor tackling drops him below McKinney for me. Anybody who follows my writing knows that I think the Cowboys are ridiculous for not signing a safety last offseason. The duo of Xavier Woods and Jeff Heath just is not working. Safety is the biggest need for the Cowboys and Xavier McKinney is the top one in the draft.
Pick #18 Miami Dolphins – A.J. Epenesa Edge Iowa
With the second selection in the first round for the Dolphins, they make another grand slam pick. After taking Tua on the 5th overall they land the drafts most consistent pass rusher in A.J. Epenesa. The spot for a top edge rusher, after Chase Young, is between Chaisson and Epenesa and it is tough to project who goes first. With these two selections, the Dolphins already seem to be transforming their squad.
Pick #19 Oakland Raiders – Kristian Fulton Cornerback LSU
The Raiders traded former 1st round pick, Gareon Conley, to the Texans last season and have a hole to fill with Daryl Worley a pending free agent. Kristian Fulton is to me the second-best cornerback in the draft after Jeffrey Okudah and provides excellent man to man coverage. Last season the Raiders selected Trayveon Mullen and he and Fulton should be able to form a nice tandem moving forward.
Pick #20 Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevon Diggs Cornerback Alabama
As mentioned earlier the Jaguars traded away lockdown corner Jalen Ramsey to the Rams for this pick plus more. Here the Jaguars attempt to find Ramsey’s replacement by selecting Trevon Diggs. Diggs is a big physical corner at 6’2 and 207 lbs. and though he works better in zone coverage his physicality can give receivers some serious trouble.
Pick #21 Philadelphia Eagles – Jalen Reagor Wide Receiver TCU
Carson Wentz is the butt of serious criticism from analysts but the blame is not on him. The Eagles have failed to provide him with adequate weapons though. Jalen Reagor is a serious speedster that is electric with the ball in his hands. Reagor can be the playmaker that Wentz needs and provide some pop to the Eagles offense.
Pick #22 Buffalo Bills – Tee Higgins Wide Receiver Clemson
The Bills made a serious leap last season and have a real shot to take over the AFC East with the pending departure of Tom Brady. One thing they did lack is a receiving presence outside of John Brown, especially in the red zone. That is an are where Higgins thrives where he is superb at back shoulder fades and corner routes. Higgins has strong hands and would be a nice big-bodied target for Josh Allen.
Pick #23 New England Patriots – Josh Jones Offensive Tackle Houston
The Patriots are allowing Tom Brady to explore free agency which made me think about going quarterback here. Instead, they draft Josh Jones, offensive tackle out of Houston to add to the offensive line. Tom Brady has almost always had a top of the line offensive line but it was an area of concern last year. Jones has a serious hype train after senior bowl and this would be a nice landing spot for him.
Pick #24 New Orleans Saints – Justin Jefferson Wide Receiver LSU
The Saints have one of the most complete teams but they need to add some receiver help to alleviate Michael Thomas of all the attention he gets. Jefferson is a nice hometown option having played at LSU and is coming off of a great season where he posted 1,540 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns. He would be a smart addition for the Saints.
Pick #26 Minnesota Vikings – C.J. Henderson Cornerback Florida
The Vikings may be losing two of their starting cornerbacks this season to free agency and may also cut Xavier Rhodes to free up cap space. This makes cornerback a 100% need in the first round for the team. C.J. Henderson has great size and athleticism for the position and showed good poise as a junior. He came up with 11 passes defended in nine games and can easily step in as a starter for Minnesota.
Pick #26 Miami Dolphins – D’Andre Swift Running Back Georgia
The Dolphins complete their team rebuild virtually in the first round if the 2020 NFL draft. They selected the number two quarterback prospect, the number two edge rusher and the top running back. D’Andre Swift is super elusive and has elite athleticism and can be a real difference-maker for the Dolphins. Swift will be a three-down back and could provide some serious numbers year one with the Dolphins.
Pick #27 Seattle Seahawks – Yetur Gross-Matos Edge Penn St.
The Seahawks could easily lose Jadeveon Clowney to free agency and Ziggy Ansah will likely be gone after being injured, again, for most of the season. Last year’s first-round pick L.J. Collier barely saw the field as he was injured himself. Yetur Gross-Matos is likely the next best player off the edge after young, Chaisson and Epenesa. He is not the most prolific pass rusher but he is a true edge setter and run defender. Gross-Matos did average 8.5 sacks over the last two seasons but his run defense is eye-popping.
Pick #28 Baltimore Ravens – Kenneth Murray Linebacker Oklahoma
The Ravens were completely void of any good middle linebacker play last season. Patrick Onwuasor had serious hype before the season but saw his snap percentage drop as the season went on. Murray has a great ability at blitzing as an inside linebacker and is very good in coverage. Murray should be an every-down linebacker and could be the Ravens best linebacker for week one.
Pick #29 Tennessee Titans – Jonathan Taylor Running Back Wisconsin
The Tennessee Titans currently employ the defending rushing champion in Derrick Henry. The problem is Henry may be too expensive to retain. Jonathan Taylor is the same type of polarizing runner that Henry is. He may not have the sheer size that Henry has but his mix of power and elusiveness is a perfect fit for the Titans scheme. Taylor has shown an ability to carry a heavy workload and could step right into Henry’s role.
Pick #30 Green Bay Packers – Laviska Shenault Wide Receiver Colorado
Finally, the Green Bay Packers go and get a running mate for Davante Adams and Aaron Rodgers. The Packers have failed to add significant receiver depth since they released Jordy Nelson. Shenault is an athletic masterpiece of a player. He is not the most refined receiver and needs a little more polish but his athletic traits may be the best in the draft. Green Bay would be wise to find ways to get the ball in his hands much like the way the 49ers use Deebo Samuel.
Pick #31 San Francisco 49ers – Bryce Hall Cornerback Virginia
Bryce Hall was regarded as one of the top cornerback prospects going into the 2019 NFL draft. This was after he posted 62 total tackles and an NCAA leading 21 passes defended in 13 games. He decided to go back to school and his season was cut short due to ankle surgery. Hall is expected to make a full recovery though and is still regarded as a highly touted cornerback prospect. He excels in zone coverage and the 49ers ran some of the most zone coverage of any team in the NFL in 2019.
Pick #32 Kansas City Chiefs – Patrick Queen Linebacker LSU
Patrick Queen is one of the most athletic linebacker prospects in the class. His sideline to sideline speed should be highly coveted and enough to land him at the end of the 1st round. The Chiefs are coming off of a Super Bowl victory but if there is one glaring weakness on the team it is the linebacker corps. They do not roster one linebacker who is capable of showing any bit of knowledge in coverage. Queen can come in and instantly be the best linebacker on the Chiefs team.
It is only February and this will likely change quite a bit leading up to the draft. As of now though this is how I see each NFL team drafting based on what they need on their rosters.
Follow me on Twitter @JoeyTheToothIDP and look for all of my written content on idpguys.org and dynastyfootballdigest.com. Be sure to tune into the @F3Pod podcast where @Lanny1925, @BiddyCentFF and I will be breaking down player profiles leading up to the draft.