With everything in the world at a sudden standstill due to the COVID-19 crisis, sports have taken a steep step back in terms of priority, and rightfully so. Still, the NFL announced they would still be holding the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft on Thursday, April 26th.
Teams will still select their players as they would in any normal year, there just won’t be a huge audience to watch in 2020, so the show must go on, which means I as a writer, still have a job to do. So without any further ado, here is my final mock draft as are officially at draft day!
PICK 1- Bengals- Joe Burrow QB LSU
I would like to take this chance to silence any whispers that the Bengals are going to trade this pick away. It is not happening. Burrow might as well buy property in Cincinnati, because that is where he is going, unfortunately. I still stand by this pick, and I still hate it just as much. I would love to see the Bengals make a trade with the Dolphins to send Burrow to Miami, but it just isn’t going to go down like that.
PICK 2- Redskins- Chase Young EDGE Ohio State
Chase Young is probably the best player in this draft, and Ron Rivera is going to bring him to Washington. Washington currently has an abundance of talented pass rushers, but Young is better than all of them already. I could see the Redskins trading a player or two to move back into the 1st round to draft a wide receiver or maybe an offensive lineman, but I believe Young is a lock here.
PICK 3- Lions- Jeffrey Okudah DB Ohio State
Even with the addition of Duron Harmon from New England, the Lions desperately need to draft a corner to replace Darius Slay. Okudah is by far the best defensive back prospect in this draft. With lightning speed and excellent ball skills, Okudah will fit in nicely in Matt Patricia’s defense. Okudah makes the most sense for the Lions, however, they do have other needs, so I could see them trading down to try and pick up multiple picks.
PICK 4- Giants- Isaiah Simmons LB Clemson
The Giants added MLB Blake Martinez into their linebacker corps in free agency, and while Martinez will help stop the run and quarterback the defense, adding Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons will make the Giants’ defense legit. Safety turned inside linebacker, Simmons will excel in pass coverage and when need-be, destroy opposing offense’s backfields. The Giants desperately need offensive line help, but Simmons is the best player available at 4, and he is way too good to pass on.
PICK 5- Dolphins- Tua Tagovailoa QB Alabama
Miami is the best bad team in the NFL. While they don’t win a lot of games, they sure do play hard. A franchise quarterback would definitely change that. Tua Tagovailoa is the answer to all of Miami’s problems. Tagovailoa has a great arm, excellent decision making, and is an outstanding leader. Miami is going to need to give Tua some weapons at WR and running back later in the draft, and an offensive line is definitely a necessity, but drafting Tua sets Miami up very well for the future.
PICK 6- Chargers- Mekhi Becton T Louisville
Becton is probably the best tackle in this draft class, and the Chargers need a huge upgrade at offensive line. Adding Becton might help Tyrod Taylor protect the football and win some games for LA. I could also see the Chargers taking Justin Herbert, but I think Beeton is a safer pick.
PICK 7- Panthers- Derrick Brown DT Auburn
Carolina lost Luke Keuchly, Dontari Poe, and Gerald McCoy to retirement and free agency this year, and with Simmons off the board, they add Derrick Brown right into the middle of their defensive line. Brown is the best tackle on the board in this class, and he will help rebuild the Panther’s defensive line.
PICK 8- Cardinals- Jedrick Wills T Alabama
I thought for a while that the Cardinals would draft a wide receiver with the 8th pick this year…but then they traded for Deandre Hopkins. With a stacked WR core for their franchise quarterback, the Cardinals take the next best tackle off the board to try and keep Kyler Murray’s jersey clean. Wills will be an immediate impact starter and protect Murray’s blindside for a long time in Arizona.
PICK 9- Jaguars- CJ Henderson DB Florida
The Jaguars lost Jalen Ramsey AND A.J. Bouye this season, and there is no doubt in my mind that they will draft the best available defensive back with their first pick. Henderson is fast and strong and is able to make quick reads on opposing quarterbacks.
PICK 10- Browns- Tristan Wirfs T Iowa
The Browns miss out on the 2 best tackles in this draft, but luckily for them, there’s more than a few of them. Wirfs will start alongside newly acquired Jack Conklin and protect Baker Mayfield this season. Wirfs is no doubt the best move for Cleveland at this point in the draft, their other needs can be addressed later in the draft.
PICK 11- Jets- Andrew Thomas T Georgia
At this point, the 3 best offensive tackles are off the board and the Jets desperately need offensive line help. They’re going to make a reach with this pick and try and fill a need rather than taking the best player available. A wide receiver would make a lot of sense, but I believe the Jets are devoted to putting a wall in front of Sam Darnold.
PICK 12- Raiders- Ceedee Lamb WR Oklahoma
I originally had the Raiders taking Jerry Jeudy at 12, but I now believe they will go with the speedster out of Oklahoma. Lamb will come in and immediately improve a lackluster Raider’s receiving core. What better way to attract new fans in a new city than a superstar at WR? I’m sure Derrick Carr would be thrilled to have a new target to throw to after being teased with Antonio Brown.
PICK 13- 49ers- Javon Kinlaw DT South Carolina
As a Packers fan, I dislike the 49ers quite a bit at the moment and seeing them snag ANOTHER stud defensive lineman does not make me happy. Unfortunately, they probably will land a high-value defensive tackle to replace Deforrest Buckner. I would be surprised to see any kind of regression in San Francisco this year, especially after adding another 1st round pick to their defense.
PICK 14- Buccaneers- Kristian Fulton DB LSU
Tampa Bay has a pretty decent roster already. With Tom Brady at the helm, the offense should be able to take care of the football, and the defense was already decent last year. There was, however, a glaring need in the secondary. Adding a playmaking corner like Fulton would immediately bolster the Buccaneer’s defensive backfield and increase the chances of Tampa being a team in contention this season.
PICK 15- Broncos- Jerry Jeudy WR Alabama
It finally appears that John Elway has found his franchise quarterback. Drew Lock was very good last year, and now its time for Elway and the Broncos to surround him with some young receiver talent. Jeudy is the most complete receiver in this draft and he will pair well with Courtland Sutton. With an AFC West division that is on the rise, the Broncos should look to add a playmaker to their young offense in the first round.
PICK 16- Falcons- K’LAvon Chaisson OLB LSU
The Atlanta Falcons already have a few guys on defense to build around, but there are a lot of holes on that side of the ball. Chaisson was excellent at LSU, and his speed and lust for getting after the quarterback will add some much-needed fire to a lackluster Atlanta pass rush. Chaisson would be an immediate starter in Dan Quinn’s defense and would help the Falcons compete in a stacked NFC South Division that features not one, but two HOF quarterbacks.
PICK 17- Cowboys- Trevon Diggs DB Alabama
If there’s a team that I like less than the 49ers, it is the Cowboys. That being said, they make a smart move here. Alabama is known for its great defensive backs, and Trevon Diggs is no exception. Diggs will come in and immediately replace Byron Jones, who the Cowboys stupidly lost in free agency. Dallas does not make a lot of great moves, but Diggs will be an immediate impact starter and he might even help them get 3 interceptions next season instead of 2.
PICK 18- Dolphins- AJ Epenesa EDGE Iowa
Epenesa is likely the 2nd-best pass rusher in this draft. The Dolphins added Kyle Van Noy and Byron Jones to their defense in free agency, and here they add their new premier pass rusher. Epenesa registered an impressive 11.5 sacks and 4 forced fumbles in 2019. He will immediately come in and make a difference in Miami’s defensive line. I really like this pick and I hope Epenesa becomes a building block in a Miami team that is finally turning around.
PICK 19- Packers (FROM RAIDERS)- Jordan Love QB Utah
YES. Green Bay finally decided to bring in the heir to the throne of the quarterback of the Green Bay Packers. It’s not a threat to Aaron Rodgers, hopefully, but it’s an insurance policy for the future in Green Bay. This probably won’t happen, but I would love to see Jordan Love sit behind Aaron Rodgers for a few seasons and hone the raw talent that all the scouts are raving about. Love is an exceptional athlete, with a great arm, very similar to how Aaron Rodgers was coming out of college.
PICK 20- Jaguars- Grant Delpit S SLU
The Jaguars do need to address the whole left by the departure of Calais Campbell at some point in this draft, but here they will take the best player available and land an excellent safety. Delpit is a big hitter and has a big enough frame to win one-on-one match-ups with NFL wideouts. Delpit will help to rebuild the empty Jaguars secondary as an immediate impact starter.
PICK 21- Eagles- Laviska Shenault Jr WR Colorado
The Eagles addressed their main issue, their secondary, in free agency. In the draft, they need to bring in a perimeter threat for Carson Wentz to throw to. Shenault is a guy who can do it all. At Colorado, he played every wide receiver spot and excelled in all of them. Bringing in a jack-of-all-trades receiver would help Wentz and the Eagles get back to the playoffs, which should be easy, considering how weak the NFC East is.
PICK 22- Vikings- Jeff Gladney DB TCU
The Vikings have to draft a receiver to replace Stephon Diggs but they have two picks in the first round and Gladney is the best defensive back left on the board at this point. TCU has consistently put out adequate corners and safeties for a while now, and Gladney fits their mold. Fast with excellent man coverage ability, Gladney will come in and immediately fill the space left by Xavier Rhodes. The Vikings have to address their secondary in this draft, or Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford are going to have field days.
PICK 23- Patriots- Yetur Gross-Matos EDGE Penn State
I know, I know, you’re expecting to see Justin Herbert go here, but I don’t buy Herbert as an NFL quarterback and I don’t think Bill Belichek does either. The Patriots lost Kyle Van Noy to the Dolphins in free agency and should look to upgrade their pass rush. Gross-Matos is slightly underrated in this draft for his ability and I think he is exactly the kind of player that Belichek loves to coach. Gross-Matos could come in and immediately start for a Patriot’s defense that will be relied on much more heavily after the departure of Tom Brady.
PICK 24- Saints- D’Andre Swift RB Georgia
I think the Saints severely underestimated the size of the role Mark Ingram played in their rushing attack. They tried filling the gap with Latavius Murray, but I think we can all agree that it didn’t work all that great. I could totally see the Saints taking Herbert here with conviction, but If they decide to address an immediate roster hole, Swift is definitely their guy. Swift is a hard-nosed runner with great speed and hesitation. He’s probably not as violent of a runner as Mark Ingram was, but he will complement Alvin Kamara nicely, and if the Saints decide to move off of Kamara in next year’s free agency, Swift could be an every-down back.
PICK 25- Vikings- Tee Higgins WR Clemson
Taking Higgins makes this a great first round for the Vikings, who address both of their urgent needs on the roster. They’ll still be limited, because, well, Kirk Cousins, but they definitely will continue to be a tough-out for most teams. Higgins will pair nicely with Adam Thielen and continue the trend of Kirk Cousins having 2 studs to throw to. This is a win for Minnesota, gross.
PICK 26- Dolphins- Jonathan Taylor RB Wisconsin
The Miami Dolphins have already brought in their franchise quarterback in Tua Tagovailoa and strengthened their defensive line with Epenesa, so here they add a home run hitter to their backfield. Despite any running back prospect rankings, Taylor is the best running back in the 2020 draft class. His combination of speed and athleticism makes him an every-down ball carrier with the ability to make plays in the passing game as well. I can’t think of a better way to ease Tua into the NFL, than a running back to share the load with.
PICK 27- Seahawks- Xavier McKinney S Alabama
Let’s see the Seahawks have lost Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas, and now Quandre Diggs in the last 3 seasons. Seattle takes the best available player here and fills a vital role in their secondary. This draft is not full of safety prospects but McKinney is definitely one of them. He will fit nicely within Pete Carroll’s defense and add some much-needed help to an average Seattle secondary.
PICK 28- Ravens- J.K. Dobbins- RB Ohio State
How do you make the best rushing attack in football better? Adding another amazing running back. Dobbins would be an excellent addition to an already monstrous running back core. He also would be mentored by one of the most violent runners in today’s game in Mark Ingram. Ingram won’t be great forever, and it would be smart to keep an exceptional running back talent behind Lamar Jackson, who is still developing as a passer.
PICK 29- Titans- Julian Okwara EDGE Notre Dame
The Titans have a lot of young talent on their defense and Okwara will fit right in. With the loss of Jurrell Casey, the Titans have a glaring hole at pass rusher. Okwara will take some time to develop, but he has a huge upside and is a pretty good selection for the Titans at this point in the draft. If the Titans hadn’t already signed Ryan Tannehill to a long term contract, I could see Justin Herbert coming off the board here, but I believe that ship has sailed.
PICK 30- Raiders (From Packers) – Neville Gallimore DT Oklahoma
The Raiders traded back earlier in the round, and likely picked up some capital in later rounds, so there isn’t too much pressure to nail this pick. Fortunately for them, Gallimore is exactly what they’re looking for. Gallimore is the kind of high-motor player that Jon Gruden loves to have on his team. He doesn’t take plays off and he can come in and start immediately in Gruden’s defense. Gallimore will need to develop but shows a lot of promise.
PICK 31- 49ers- Justin Jefferson WR LSU
I hate this pick. Why? Because I want Justin Jefferson to come to Green Bay in the second round, but unfortunately that is just not how the world works. Jefferson is everything you want in a wide receiver. He’s tall, he’s fast, and he has great hands, he will be great in San Francisco or wherever he goes. Good for the 49ers, bad for me. Gross, again.
PICK 32- Chiefs- Patrick Queen LB LSU
Kansas City will need to overcome the looming threat of the Super Bowl Slump. A great way to ensure that they return to the promised land is to add an athletic linebacker into the middle of their defense. Queen could come in and immediately improve the middle of the Chief’s defense and he’s my sneaky pick to win DROY in the AFC. It’s a great pick for the Chiefs, considering its the last pick in the first round.
Featured Image Credit: Kyusung Gong/Associated Press
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