Draft season is in full swing. We’re past the combine, and the rumor mill is already on full throttle. We all know how much free agency is destined to alter the landscape of the draft. However, there is a little bit of time before the league year turns over. Therefore, it’s a good time to produce our first mock draft of the year.
Hope you enjoy.
#1 Cincinnati Bengals – QB Joe Burrow, LSU
The unanimous #1 pick in every mock draft around the globe. There simply isn’t anything you need me to add to this. I don’t believe we are headed to an Elway/Manning situation. There, I added something.
Miami receives: #2
Washington receives: #5, #18, #39, 2021 5th round pick
#2 Miami (F/WAS) – QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
Tua Tagovailoa is going to be the second pick in the 2020 draft. His medical allegedly came back clean at the combine. Washington is now in a position of control, and they’re already yielding it.
If you want to draft Tua, you have to go up to two to secure him. Washington could not be sufficiently enticed by any of the offers and simply draft Chase Young. They could trade the pick to the highest bidder, or they could draft Tua themselves. Those are the three options I laid out last week.
However, it seems as if we can cross off Washington draft Chase Young. We couldn’t get out of Indy without a story leaking that Washington wants to bring in Tua to compete with Dwayne Haskins.
“Rivera told Tagovailoa he wants to bring him to Washington to compete with second-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins during their meeting at the NFL combine, a source told the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
“They felt like Dwayne was not the guy right now,” the source said. https://t.co/1hIz8hDAa3
— Burgundy Blog (@BurgundyBlog) March 1, 2020
It’s entirely plausible Washington takes Tua. The fact this was leaked to the South Florida Sun Sentinel is fishy (pun intended). Washington is already cooking up a market place for the second pick of the draft, and they know their prime trading target.
As for the trade, I discussed the math last week. It falls in line with recent draft trades for quarterbacks when using the Chase Stuart draft chart.
You don’t really need me to explain Miami’s interest in Tua to you. #TankForTua was all we heard until his hip injury. If Miami really, really wants him, they’re better positioned than any other team to go get him.
The one thing I can add, however, is that new offensive coordinator Chan Gailey was running the spread offense in the NFL before it was cool. I think he probably likes the idea of coaching Tua.
#3 Detroit Lions – Edge Chase Young, Ohio State
The Lions will turn in their draft card for Young in a nano second if he falls to them.
#4 New York Giants – CB Jeffrey Okudah, Ohio State
I just.. I just. I don’t have faith in Gettleman to actually make the right pick here. However, he has displayed a “best player available” draft strategy over the years. You can take exception with who it is he has deemed as the best player while on the clock, but the pattern is there. Okudah is the best player available, although it’s easy to see Gettleman falling in love with some hog mollie here or Isaiah Simmons. Point being, this pick is likely down to one of Okudah, Simmons, Jedrick Wills, or Tristan Wirfs.
Nevertheless, corner is an enormous need for this need. They took DeAndre Baker in the first round last year, but have jettisoned Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple.
#5 Washington (F/Miami) – OT Jedrick Wills, Alabama
Washington already would have been wise to upgrade Haskins’ protection, but now Trent Williams’ trade request has gone public. It’s possible Williams isn’t dealt, but at a minimum the odds he finds a new home in 2020 have increased.
#6 Los Angeles Chargers – QB Justin Herbert, Oregon
Another top six quarterback pick, another selection where you don’t need me to provide any further context. If the Chargers brass identifies Herbert as “their guy” there is no chance they pass on him.
#7 Carolina Panthers – DI Derrick Brown, Auburn
In light of the Russell Okung for Trai Turner swap, I am going with Brown here like the rest of the known universe. Prior to the trade, I believed Carolina would grab one of the elite offensive tackles. Now, it seems more likely they will target another position, and approximately 700% of their defensive front seven is about to hit the open market.
#8 Arizona Cardinals – WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma
And here I go immediately undermining my own draft strategy theory from the Carolina blurb. I understand the rational that in top heavy tackle class and loaded wide receiver class that Arizona may be wise to grab one of the top tier tackles here and take a receiver in the second round.
I just don’t believe they have it in themselves to pass on CeeDee Lamb. I know it’s a lot of narravite – “Oh, reunite Kyler with CeeDee!” – but it still makes sense. If Kliff Kingsbury excommunicated Josh Rosen after one season because Kyler Murray was the perfect fit for his offensive system, then wouldn’t the same logic apply to Lamb? If Kingsbury wants to run four and five wide receiver sets more than anyone else than can they resist adding Lamb to a future grouping of Christian Kirk, Andy Isabella, Hakeem Butler, and KeeSean Johnson? If your response to that last sentence is, “who knows if anyone not named Kirk is even good,” then isn’t that more reason to draft another wideout?
For what it’s worth, when you read about the 50 sacks Arizona allowed last year each time you see an offensive tackle mocked here, bare in mind that Kyler Murray “was at fault for the most sacks of any quarterback in the NFL this past season, so the pass protection wasn’t as bad as it might seem – and it was much improved over last season – but the Cardinals were one of the worst run-blocking teams in the NFL by PFF grade.”
You can fix a chunk of the sacks issue by fixing Kyler. Don’t pass on CeeDee Lamb to upgrade your run blocking.
#9 Jacksonville Jaguars – S/LB Isaiah Simmons, Clemson
In 2016 Jalen Ramsey fell to Jacksonville at 5. Last year, Josh Allen fell to them at 7. Now Simmons gets to them at 9. Maybe the Jags are rigging the draft somehow?
#10 Cleveland Browns – OT Tristan Wirfs, Iowa
Oh how novel, a mock draft that has the Browns taking an offensive tackle. Yea, I know. Once again, nothing to add here. This is a monstrous need for Cleveland and Wirfs just obliterated the combine.
#11 New York Jets – WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama
Copy paste most of what I said for Arizona here. If New York takes their favorite of the remaining offensive tackles and goes after receiver in round two you can’t really blame them. However, Jeudy is the best player on the board and presents significantly less risk. Oh, and this hits a different monstrous need (assuming Robby Anderson leaves town).
#12 Las Vegas Raiders – QB Jordan Love, Utah State
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; people are really underestimating the possibility that Las Vegas takes a quarterback in the first round. If they were so happy with Derek Carr, then why the interest in Brady? It doesn’t seem they will move heaven and earth to get Brady in the building, but the fact they’re at a minimum window shopping says a lot.
In 2021 Vegas can easily move on from Carr’s contract. I’ve said this before as well and I will never stop saying it; if you watched Gruden over the years on the draft broadcasts he did, there is not a single quarterback prospect in human history Gruden doesn’t believe will become a Hall of Famer. Giving Gruden the tools of Jordan Love with the ability to groom him behind the scenes before taking over in 2021 might be a proposition he cannot resist.
#13 Indianapolis Colts – DI Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina
Chris Ballard is one of the best executives in football. During his tenure there is some pattern of him taking the best player available. When it aligns with a need, that’s too easy. At this point Kinlaw is the best on the board and addresses the Colts’ need to upgrade the interior of their defensive line.
#14 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – S Grant Delpit, LSU
The Bucs have sunk a ton of draft capital into the secondary lately, and still can’t defend the pass. Most of the resources went to the corner position, and safety is a bigger issue for Tampa Bay. With Xavier McKinney posting a poor 40 at the combine, albeit in the midsts of getting injured, Delpit is likely the top safety on most team’s board without any competition. With this pick, Tampa can address a huge need with the top player at his position in the draft.
#15 Denver Broncos – WR Henry Ruggs III, Alabama
The A.J. Bouye trade likely takes corner off the table here, even if (when) Chris Harris leaves in free agency. Enter Ruggs to add a killer speed element opposite Courtland Sutton. We don’t need to over think this one.
#16 Atlanta Falcons – Edge A.J. Epenesa, Iowa
Another incredibly common draft projection. Atlanta needs help on the edge and Dan Quinn may envision Epenesa as his Michael Bennett.
#17 Dallas Cowboys – CB C.J. Henderson, Florida
I’d be shocked if Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper are not Cowboys next year, and if Byron Jones were. That leaves an enormous hole at corner back. Henderson just blew up the combine and likely put himself in pole position to be the second corner off the board. He has the movement skills to be a lockdown corner.
#18 Washington (F/MIA/PIT) – WR Tee Higgins, Clemson
Man, right in front of Mayock. He’s going to be mad when he has to go two consecutive first rounders without taking someone from Clemson. Anyway, now that Washington drafted protection for Haskins, they get him another weapon. This pick hits a need, is the appropriate value, and Higgins size and play style compliment the speed threat of Terry McLaurin.
#19 Las Vegas Raiders (F/CHI) – WR Justin Jefferson, LSU
Mayock and Gruden will have to settle for a different receive from the College Football Title game. Justin Jefferson sent his stock soaring with his combine performance. You may say he is a slot receiver and this team already has Hunter Renfrow, but the Raiders need as many dynamic playmakers they can get.
#20 Jacksonville Jaguars (F/LAR) – OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia
The Jaguars are literally doing nothing and crushing the draft. They sit tight at 9 and have Simmons fall into their lap, and now they get Andrew Thomas, who has a reasonable claim as the best tackle in the draft.
#21 Philadelphia Eagles – CB Kristian Fulton, LSU
I’m not going to be shocked if the Eagles draft a receiver here, but I don’t think we all need to force it. Yes, last year was devastating, but can we bare in mind for one second that all those injured players are, like, coming back from injury? Sure, they could trade Alshon, but as of now he is on the roster. In a deep receiver class, they can grab some value in the second round.
Corner is this team’s biggest need in my opinion. Fulton has all the talent of a first round corner, and just eased the athleticism concerns at the combine.
#22 Buffalo Bills – Edge K’Lavon Chaisson, LSU
Someone is going to want to get their hands on Chaisson because they believe they can coach him up. Pass rusher is a big need for Buffalo and Sean McDermott gets to see what he can hold out of Chaisson’s insane athleticism.
Cleveland receives: #23
New England receives: #41, #90
#23 Cleveland Browns (F/NE) – S Xavier McKinney, Alabama
We should believe New England will trade down from this selection until they don’t. They’re without their second rounder as a result of the Mohamed Sanu trade.
Cleveland is in possession of an extra third round pick that they can use as ammo to move up, should they want. The Browns will want to make a playoff push this season and the largest need they have after offensive tackle is safety. McKinney did just pull up lame at the combine, but he will run a 4.5 at his pro-day, where 40 times are always faster, and everyone will throw the 4.64 out the window due to the injury.
McKinney is the other top two safety in this class with Delpit. He is well coached and doesn’t make mistakes. Getting someone in the back end for Cleveland that just won’t mess up will be a significant upgrade.
#24 New Orleans Saints – WR Laviska Shenault, Colorado
Do you really think Sean Payton will be able to resist taking Laviska? This guy has lined up everywhere on the field for Colorado. Out wide, in the slot, at tight end, H-back, running back, even wild cat quarterback. The ways in which Payton will be able to take Drew Brees off the field to play around with Hill and Shenault will be infinite.
#25 Minnesota Vikings – CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama
Minnesota’s corner situation is an absolute mess. You don’t need me to really explain this much further. Whoever is their favorite corner at this juncture will likely be the pick. For now, I’m projecting that to be Diggs. (No, I did not factor in that Trevon is Stefon’s brother)
#26 Miami Dolphins (F/HOU) – OT Mekhi Becton, Louisville
Miami replaces Laremy Tunsil with Becton. They got Tua and now they drafted him some protection. We don’t need to over think this.
Green Bay receives: #27
Seattle receives: #30, 126
#27 Green Bay Packers (F/SEA) – WR Jalen Reagor, TCU
Moving up three spots for a wide receiver in a loaded wide receiver class may seem weird, but Green Bay must be in win now mode. If they identify a certain receiver as their guy, they will go get him. Seattle loves to deal on draft day, and this trade puts the Packers right in front of Baltimore, a strong candidate to draft a first round receiver, and Reagor represents a nice compliment to Adams.
#28 Baltimore Ravens – Edge Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State
Baltimore will take the best player available at this pick. It’s possible they want nothing to do with Gross-Matos, but on the other hand they may jump all over the chance to coach him up.
#29 Tennessee Titans – OT Josh Jones, Houston
It doesn’t seem like Jack Conklin will be returning to Tennessee. As a result, the Titans just sit back and take the last of the big five tackles in this draft.
#30 Seattle Seahawks (F/GB) – CB Bryce Hall, Virginia
Seattle moves down a few spots and hits a need with someone that fits their scheme perfectly.
Atlanta receives: #31
San Francisco receives: #47, #109
#31 Atlanta Falcons (F/SF) – RB D’Andre Swift, Georgia
If the 9ers don’t trade down they won’t be selecting again until the 5th round. They have to be the most likely team to trade back in the first round in the entire league.
Even if the Falcons don’t cut Devonta Freeman, they need a better backup and a succession plan for 2021 and beyond. The aggressive move is the result of Dan Quinn being on the hot seat, not wanting to waste any more years of Matt Ryan, and deciding that because of Swift’s pass catching abilities he is THE running back of this class.
#32 Kansas City Chiefs – CB A.J. Terrell, Clemson
Unsurprisingly the Chiefs don’t have many holes. However, the biggest one, by far, is corner. Terrell is worthy of this selection.
#33 Cincinnati Bengals – LB Patrick Queen, LSU
If the Bengals take a tight end or offensive lineman to help out Burrow here it would make perfect sense. However, linebacker is a huge need and they get their pick of the litter.
Houston receives: #34
Indianapolis receives: #57, 2021 2nd rounder
#34 Houston Texans (F/IND/WAS) – RB Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
Until Bill O’Brien doesn’t do something completely moronic, I’m going to assume everything he does will be completely moronic. Here I give you moving up for a running back when you already didn’t have a first rounder.
BOB probably watched the Houston Kansas City tape and came away thinking, “man, if only we could have run the clock out better.”
#35 Detroit Lions – CB Jeff Gladney, TCU
Since the Lions did not end up taking Okudah here is the corner help.
#36 New York Giants – LB Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma
Murray hits a need and is arguably the best player on the board.
#37 Los Angeles Chargers – OT Austin Jackson, USC
The Chargers needed a tackle before trading away Okung. Protection for Herbert.
#38 Carolina Panthers – CB Noah Igbinoghene, Auburn
When Michael Thomas, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Julio Jones, and Calvin Ridley are in your division, you need corners.
#39 Washington (F/MIA) – CB Jaylon Johnson, Utah
When Sterling Shepard,.. just kidding. Washington does desperately need better corner play.
#40 Arizona Cardinals – CB Damon Arnette, Ohio State
Speaking of desperately needing better corner play.
#41 New England (F/CLE) – Edge Julian Okwara, Notre Dame
New England moves down and takes who they view as the best player while also hitting a need. I can already hear it; “THEY’RE OBVIOUSLY GOING TO TAKE A WEAPON.” It seems more realistic the Patriots address receiver and tight end via free agency and/or trade. This situation has a one-year deal for Eric Ebron written all over it.
#42 Jacksonville Jaguars – DI Justin Madunuike, Texas A&M
Taven Bryan has disappointed and Madunuike is coming off a great combine.
#43 Chicago (F/LV) – QB Jake Fromm, Georgia
RIP my mentions.
#44 Indianapolis Colts – WR Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State
We all saw last year how desperately the Colts need receiver depth.
#45 Tampa Bay – DT Ross Blacklock, TCU
Arguably the best player on the board and fills a need.
#46 Denver Broncos – G Netane Muti, Fresno State
Denver declined Ron Leary’s 2020 option so they need a replacement.
#47 San Francisco 49ers (F/ATL) – S Ashtyn Davis, California
San Francisco doesn’t really have many needs but if Jimmie Ward leaves then safety becomes one.
#48 New York Jets – OT Lucas Niang, TCU
After taking Jeudy in round one the Jets circle back to offensive line.
#49 Pittsburgh Steelers – TE Hunter Bryant, Washington
Pittsburgh gets to choose their favorite tight end in the draft here.
#50 Chicago Bears – WR Denzel Mims, Baylor
After Mims just destroyed the combine he is going to go in the top 50, if not much higher. The Chicago offense can use as much juice as it can get.
#51 Dallas Cowboys – Edge Zach Baun, Wisconsin
This pick may not make a ton of sense from a fit perspective, but Baun is an incredible athlete and Dallas may just want to get their hands on him and figure it out later.
#52 Los Angeles Rams – IOL Cesar Ruiz, Michigan
It’s likely the Rams move back here to compile more picks, but once they do draft for the first time offensive line is a prime target.
#53 Philadelphia Eagles – WR Michael Pittman, Ohio State
Here you go. Can everyone calm down now?
#54 Buffalo Bills – TE Bryce Hopkins, Purdue
They don’t get a receiver they really like so they upgrade Allen’s weapons another way.
#55 Atlanta Falcons (F/NE) – OG Jonah Jackson, Ohio State
The Falcons need a new left guard. Desperately.
#56 Miami Dolphins (F/NO) – RB J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State
Everyone seems to think running back is a strong possibility at 26 given what the Dolphins trotted out at the position post Kenyan Drake last year. Since that didn’t happen in this mock, here is a much better value selection at the position.
#57 Indianapolis Colts (F/HOU) – QB Jacon Eason, Washington
Ballard takes a shot on a toolsy quarterback to develop while Brissett plays out his contract.
#58 Minnesota Vikings – IOL Lloyd Cushenberry III, LSU
Do I need to explain the interior of the Minnesota offensive line to you?
#59 Seattle Seahawks – DL Marlon Davidson, Auburn
A pass rusher Pete Carroll and move around the formation. Why do I feel like he would be interested in this?
#60 Baltimore Ravens – WR Tyler Johnson, Minnesota
Baltimore could easily be a team that doesn’t care about Johnson’s workout numbers and just sees a guy that knows how to get open.
#61 Tennessee Titans – Edge Curtis Weaver, Boise State
The Titans need pass rush help.
#62 Green Bay Packers – WR K.J. Hamler, Penn State
Green Bay doubles down at receiver. They’ve swung many times on defensive backs in the draft, so investing multiple picks into a single position is a strategy they have used.
#63 Kansas City Chiefs (F/SF) – DL Neville Gallimore, Oklahoma
If Chris Jones leaves next year Kansas City will have a replacement.
#64 Seattle Seahawks (F/KC) – S Kyler Dugger, Lenoir-Rhyne
We have a decade worth of data on the Carroll/Schneider regime. They love to trade during the draft, have no problems reaching for someone they’re infatuated with, and can fall for eye-popping athleticism.