We’re three weeks from the draft, so here’s a mock update. 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.
#2 Washington – Edge Chase Young, Ohio State
I’ve talked before about how Washington controls the draft. In my Mock Draft 1.0 I had them trading out of this pick for a haul from Miami. The math for the trade is explained in article outlining Washington’s position of power.
Due to recent developments, I believe it is more likely Miami will not offer enough for this pick to get Washington to move down. It’s certainly still in the realm of possibility. I’ll get into my project Miami strategy in just a moment, but it doesn’t seem to be the case they’re going to be overly aggressive to get up two.
That being the case, Washington takes Young and turns their focus to finding a Trent Williams trade (more on this later as well).
Miami receives: #3
Detroit receives: #5, #18, #70
#3 Miami (F/DET) – QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
There’s two reasons I now find it more likely Miami does not go all in on getting up to number two for Tua. We’ll go chronologically.
First, while I still believe Chris Grier is lucky Ryan Pace is around to own the title for worst general manager in the NFL, Grier orchestrated a power move during the 2019 draft that I at the time called the single best maneuver of the entire draft. Realizing the Cardinals had no other suitors for Josh Rosen, instead of bidding against himself Grier traded his second round pick for two seconds (one in 2019 and one in 2020) from New Orleans before passing along the one in 2019 to Arizona for Rosen.
This got me thinking. Now that the free agency frenzy has settled, who is Miami supposed to be bidding against for the second pick? Just themselves? Think about. The only team you can really make a case for is the Chargers, and they’re at least paying lip service to just rolling with Tyrod Taylor. You may choose to believe that’s a smokescreen which, fair, but it seems more likely they are going to roll with Tyrod and take whichever quarterback gets to them at six.
So why would Miami pay a premium when there’s no need? Ok, but then the natural follow up is well then why would they move up at all? Well, because they still want Tua, they’re just not going to sell the farm when there’s no one else bidding. Detroit will be happy to undercut the market (more on that later) and take a substantially less deal than what Washington is presumably asking for.
Further more, Adam Schefter dropped this:
— Kyle Crabbs (@GrindingTheTape) March 31, 2020
#4 New York Giants – OT Tristan Wirfs, Iowa
Given the Giants’ signings of James Bradberry and Blake Martinez, I think we’re almost guaranteed to see Gettleman draft himself a hog mollie. Unless the sky falls and Chase Young somehow gets here, I’d be surprised if this wasn’t an offensive tackle. Given Gettleman reportedly has one year left I’d imagine he is going to double down on his personal team building philosophy.
Jay Glazer reports the Giants told Dave Gettleman he has one year to turn the team around, and @RumorsandRants writes that may lead to some regrettable decisions over the next few months. https://t.co/kzFjTFjOTs
— The Big Lead (@thebiglead) March 30, 2020
I’m not knocking the idea of investing in an offensive line, but Gettleman doesn’t strike me as the type to be self reflective. He also seems more likely to me to consider Isaiah Simmons a “tweener” instead of a hybrid.
Besides, with his job on the line and his natural gravitation toward hog mollies, you really think this dude isn’t taking someone to help his two prized possessions of Danny and Barkley?
#5 Detroit Lions (F/MIA) – CB Jeffrey Okudah, Ohio State
Per above: “Detroit will be happy to undercut the market.” If the trade happens as I am predicting, the Lions would profit 20.4 points worth of draft capital according to the Chase Stuart draft chart. That’s not bad, and certainly isn’t undercutting to the point of taking peanuts in comparison to recent market value. The initial iteration of the trade was based on the idea we would be closer to the Carson Wentz side of things, but even that was based on Washington profiting roughly 23.5 points so we’re still not even far off. The biggest (and obvious) difference here is that Miami doesn’t give up either of it’s second rounders, leaving them with two firsts, and two seconds.
Miami might even hold out for a lower price, because Detroit might been keen to take any offer that isn’t offensive in order to move back. Think about this from Detroit’s point of view; with the Giants signing Bradberry and have taken Baker in the first round last year, what are the odds Gettleman takes Okudah? Spoiler: low.
The Lions can move down with rational confidence they’ll get the same guy here they would get at three and add picks 18 and 70 in the process. That’s a no-brainer.
#6 Los Angeles Chargers – QB Justin Herbert, Oregon
For a second I started to think L.A. would go all in on the Tyrod Taylor era and use this pick on an offensive tackle. Clearly, I’m sticking with Herbert. If they believe Herbert to be the guy they’re going to draft him. Given his need for some seasoning sitting behind Taylor for a year lines up well.
Furthermore, Teleseco recently explained what he’s looking for in a quarterback, and it’s a lot like Philip Rivers:
“Generally speaking, a lot of attributes that Philip Rivers had,” Telesco says of what he looks for in a quarterback. “You want that intangible part, too. It’s very important for the quarterback to be able to lead, to have work ethic, preparation skills, handle adversity, all of those skills. That’s so important for a quarterback.”
Now, it’s not necessary the case that the Chargers brass agrees, but the review from the Senior Bowl week is that Herbert is just that, a leader. He has the intangible part.
#7 Carolina Panthers – S/LB Isaiah Simmons, Clemson
Not sure how much you need me to explain this. Luke Kuechly retired and Simmons is the best player left available on the board.
#8 Arizona Cardinals – OT Jedrick Wills, Alabama
With the biggest trade ravaging in the history of the NFL bring Hopkins to town, Arizona can now fully turn their draft attention to offensive tackle. They’re well positioned at 8 to get at least one of the top three tackles in the draft.
#9 Jacksonville Jaguars – OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia
Maybe I just don’t read enough mock drafts but I feel as if the idea the Jaguars take a tackle here isn’t considered strongly enough. Cam Robinson has yet to so much in this three seasons and is set to become a free agent next season. Jawaan Taylor had a decent rookie campaign but fell in the draft last year due to injury concerns. Who’s to say those won’t pop up in 2020?
Wouldn’t selecting a tackle here hit three primary objectives for Jacksonville’s front office? Protect Minshew, help Fournette, and have a foundation in place for Trevor Lawrence should Minshew falter.
#10 Cleveland Browns – WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama
Spoiler: I believe the Browns will be the team that trades for Trent Williams. In the same manner Miami realizes they’re bidding against themselves for Tua, there isn’t another logical landing spot for Williams. Washington wants at least a high second rounder but the team acquiring Williams will have to give him a contract extension. We’re heard varying numbers for an annual salary, and it’s not that important to get it exactly in this space, but let’s just assume anyone trading for Williams will hand him at least $15 million per season.
Looking at who has the cap space to actually pay the money, it doesn’t leave many suitors, especially if Williams is demanding closer to $20 million a year. The Jets sort of have the cash but heavily invested in their offensive line in free agency, despite debatably not actually improving. Houston has some money but they have plenty of other issues and still haven’t reached an extension with Watson. There’s Miami but we don’t know yet how many, or which, picks they’re going to trade away should they move up.
That really leaves Cleveland, who has an extra third round pick. As a result, I’m saying they package #70 and #115 to land Williams.
Teams tell you their strategy through roster moves if you’re willing to listen. The Browns are leaving no room for error for Baker in 2020. There was no hesitation to go get Jack Conklin or Austin Hooper, and they’re keeping Kareem Hunt around despite having Nick Chubb. If they bring in Trent Williams they’d have an elite offensive line.
And why stop there? Given the way the board breaks Jeudy is the best player available (unless you prefer Lamb) and there isn’t an obviously defensive match. Adding Jeudy to OBJ, Landry, Hooper, and Njoku, why wouldn’t the Browns do this?
#11 New York Jets – WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma
I will not rant about how bad the Jets free agent signings were. I will not rant about how bad the Jets free agent signings were. I will not rant about how bad the Jets free agent signings were.
Anyway, the Jets are at least under the impression they have improved their offensive line, allowing them to turn their attention to receiver here. There’s a very good chance at least one of Jeudy, Lamb, or Henry Ruggs will be available. Here, only Jeudy is off the board so they take Lamb. It really is that simple.
#12 Las Vegas Raiders – WR Henry Ruggs III, Alabama
I sincerely doubt the need for me to explain why Las Vegas would select a receiver here.
#13 San Francisco 49ers (F/IND) – DI Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina
This may be my personal bias (I prefer Kinlaw to Brown) but given that Kinlaw is the better pass rusher between the two and in this scenario the 9ers are drafting Buckner’s replacement I am saying they go with Kinlaw here.
#14 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – RB D’Andre Swift, Georgia
I believe Tampa is going to do everything it can to make Brady as comfortable as possible, which has me projecting them to draft the best receiving back in the class. Throughout Brady’s career he has been heavily utilizing his running back in the passing game; Kevin Faulk, Danny Woodhead, Dion Lewis, James White just to name some. Neither Peyton Barber or Ronald Jones excel in this department, but Swift does.
And this isn’t just about Brady either. Arians loves to use his running backs in the passing game as well. He really unlocked David Johnson in Arizona when he lined up Johnson as a receiver and had him run routes. Swift is an excel route runner that Arians can deploy from all over the field, which was an element missing from this offense in 2019.
#15 Denver Broncos – CB C.J. Henderson, Florida
Denver addressed a lot of issues in free agency, but even with the trade for A.J. Bouye they need help at corner. Henderson seems most likely to be the 2nd corner taken in the draft, and his main competition appears to be Fulton. It would appear Henderson is better suited for Vic Fangio’s defense, so that’s the thought process here.
#16 Atlanta Falcons – Kristian Fulton, LSU
Does Atlanta have the worst secondary in football? Discuss.
With Trufant now in Detroit Atlanta desperately needs corner help. You’re not going to survive long with poor corner play in a division where you have to face Michael Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, D.J. Moore, and to a lesser extent Robby Anderson and Curtis Samuel.
Las Vegas receives: #17
Dallas receives: #19, #121
#17 Las Vegas Raiders (F/DAL 121) – WR Tee Higgins, Clemson
Yea, I know, why would Vegas move up two slots to get another receiver after they just took one at 12? I’ll tell you why; a lot of reasons.
First, the team really is that desperate at the position. Where it is here or with one of their three third rounders look for them to double down at the receiver position during the draft. Second, Mike Mayock loves him some Clemson players so he can’t resist securing Higgins. Third, and a little more seriously, they may view leaping in front of Jacksonville (spoiler alert) as necessary in order to secure Higgins.
Fourth, Higgins is the big receiver that compliments Ruggs’ speed. Fifth, Vegas has the aforementioned three third rounders and don’t mind giving up 121. Sixth, they’re looking to make noise in 2020 and see Higgins as a cut above the remaining available wideouts.
And I really don’t want to hear “but Tyrell Williams and Nelson Agholor!” Stop. First off, it’s Nelson Agholor and second he signed a one-year deal. Third, Williams has ZERO guaranteed money on his deal after 2020.
If Gruden and Mayock think Higgins is as much of a stud as I’m projecting they do, Tyrell Williams and Nelson Agholor won’t stop this from happening.
Jacksonville receives: #18
Detroit receives: Yannick Ngakoue
#18 Jacksonville Jaguars (F/DET/MIA/PIT) – DI Derrick Brown, Auburn
First, the trade. Jacksonville is will to deal Ngakoue but they’re holding out for a high price. Given the 9ers got #13 for Buckner, that makes things difficult for teams soliciting offers. Who will be willing to surrender a first for him? Perhaps no one, and if Jacksonville won’t accept a first, this could drag on into the season with a substantial holdout.
Well, Detroit makes sense as someone willing to surrender a first, if they somehow manage to acquire one outside the top ten. Can Matt Patricia survive another losing season? It’s not impossible but it seems unlikely. Who’s to say even Bob Quinn’s job won’t be in Jeopardy should the Lions struggle again in 2020? You can give them both a pass last year for Stafford’s injury, but ownership may want a change with the team not making the playoffs since 2016.
As for the Jaguars, Brown really just falls into their lap here. They traded away Calais Campbell in real life and Ngakoue in this fake trade. They need to completely rework the defensive line.
#19 Dallas Cowboys (F/OAK/CHI) – S Grant Delpit, LSU
It wouldn’t surprise me if Dallas bails from 17, and if it’s a mini move down with Vegas if they look to back down the board even further, in the scenario that both Henderson and Fulton are gone.
Should that be the case the board likely won’t match up with Dallas’ needs very well. They can take a safety but they may be looking at their pick of the litter. Unless they like one head and shoulders above they rest they may as well move down and take one later. Or move down and take a corner later. Or move down and take a center later. You get the picture.
Here, they just take the rangy, athlete safety. “But they have have Xavier Woods and HaHa Clinton-Dix now.” Yea, great, they’re both free agents after 2020 and solid yet unspectacular players.
#20 Jacksonville Jaguars (F/LAR) – Edge K’Lavon Chaisson, Edge
So, yea, the Jaguars need to rework their defensive line. They take they uber athlete Chaisson here hoping they can get the most out of him.
#21 Philadelphia Eagles – WR Justin Jefferson, LSU
I think assuming it’s a slam dunk the Eagles take a receiver is a bit misguided, however, it’s obviously a strong possibility and something I’m project here. For all the “well, Jefferson is a slot receiver so how high should he really go,” stuff, he fits nicely in the slot on this team with Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson out wide.
#22 Minnesota (F/BUF) – A.J. Epenesa
Minnesota is desperate at receiver behind Thielen but they also need serious edge help now. Hunter is locked up but there’s nothing opposite him. In a loaded receiver class the Vikings can take Diggs’ replacement at 25 and draft Epenesa here.
Atlanta receives: #23
New England receives: #47, 2021 first rounder
#23 Atlanta Falcons (F/NE ) – CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama
It takes two to tango, right? So where is this trade coming from. Let’s start with the Patriots. They’re out a second rounder due to the Mohamed Sanu trade so that, coupled with the fact it’s Bill Belichick, makes them a prime candidate to trade back. Sure, the more likely scenario is they accumulate extra picks in the 2020 draft moving down, but it should be considered within the realm of possibility New England sends away their first rounder this year in exchange for a 2021 first.
Why? To have ammo to go get Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields should they find themselves within striking distance. I’m not telling you the Patriots are going to tank, I’m just telling you a deal like this gives New England the best of both worlds. They still get a second rounder in 2020 and should the Jarrett Stidham experiment go poorly enough that they’re within arms reach of Lawrence or Fields they have an asset to help get them up the board.
As for Atlanta, Diggs is a perfect fit for their defense. Yes, they just took a corner at 16 but they are really, really desperate for corner help. Besides, we’re talking about Thomas Dimitroff here. He has never been bashful about trading picks, or future picks, during the draft. I can see how Atlanta can talk themselves into thinking they’re a serious contender in 2020. Lindstrom and McGary take a leap in their second years which, coupled with James Carpenter returning to form, gives them one of the best lines in the league. Gurley is an upgrade on Freeman. Fowler is an upgrade on Beasley. Keanu Neal comes back and stays healthy. They just need some corners! I’m not saying I agree, I’m just saying I could see it.
Plus we know Dan Quinn is already on the hot seat, so this is a win now move. I mean, at some point doesn’t Dimitroff’s job have to be in jeopardy too? Has he really been that stellar since 2008 that he gets to just stick around if 2020 is another losing season?
What are the odds Arthur Blank hates himself for letting Kyle Shanahan walk out the door, and has taken notice of the “San Francisco model,” where they bring the coach and GM in together with matching contracts?
#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 – WR Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State
As I was saying, Minnesota addresses edge at 22 and comes back to draft a receiver here at 25. The team needs to replace Diggs and Aiyuk is dynamite with the ball in his hands.
#26 Miami (F/HOU) – OT Mekhi Becton, Louisville
Dolphins Twitter is going to love me. The rest of Twitter, not so much. I’m not convinced Becton is going to go as high as everyone is projecting. It could easily happen, but it wouldn’t be the first time a raw prospect that blew up the combine fell down the board further than the media was anticipating.
Anyway, Miami will take about one nano second of the clock in this scenario.
#27 Seattle Seahawks – OT Josh Jones, Houston
Speaking of taking one nano second of the clock, Seattle (virtually) springs to the podium when Jones falls to them here. Hopefully all the excitement doesn’t crash the WiFi.
#28 Baltimore Ravens – LB Patrick Queen, LSU
There’s a reasonable case to be made the Queen is both the best player on the both and addresses Baltimore’s biggest need. Sounds like an easy selection.
#29 Tennessee Titans – CB Jeff Gladney, TCU
With the team moving on from Logan Ryan they need a replacement.
#30 Green Bay Packers – WR Jalen Reagor, TCU
Do I really need to explain the Packers taking a receiver?
Minnesota receives: #31
San Francisco receives: #58, 2021 second rounder
#31 Minnesota Vikings (F/SF) – CB Bryce Hall, Virginia
So where is this one coming from? The fact Minnesota has a huge need at corner as well and they want to get their hands on one they really like. Stocked with 12 picks in the 2020 draft, the Vikings are OK with sending a future second to San Francisco.
Plus, we’re talking about Rick Spielman here, the dude that made five first round selections in his first two years on the job, including three in 2013 where this exact thing happened. Spielman made picks and 23 and 25 and then went YOLO and traded into the first round again at 29. Ok, not the *exact* same thing but insanely similar.
The 9ers are a prime candidate to trade either 13 or 31 as they are lacking for mid-round picks, but snagging two seconds for this pick is too good to pass up, despite not adding picks in 2020.
Indianapolis receivers: #32
Kansas City receives: #44, #122, #194
#32 Colts (F/KC)- QB Jordan Love, Utah State
Kansas City can afford to move back 12 spots and still draft a corner they like, and they need the additional cheap contracts as they have literally $177 of cap space:
Official cap space by team (teams 24-32):
24. BAL: 13,513,779
25. GB: 12,966,433
26. MIN: 12,495,443
27. SEA: 11,317,846
28. NO: 9,237,537
29. PIT: 8,667,814
30. ATL: 7,530,188
31. NE: 891,775
32. KC: 177
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) March 30, 2020
As for Indianapolis, this makes perfect sense. Love isn’t ready right now and needs to sit and learn, and Rivers isn’t the long-term solution. Love sits, and the Colts get the 5th year option on his contract by moving up to select him at the end of Thursday night.
#33 Cincinnati – LB Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma
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 Murray figures to be the highest player on their board.
#34 Indianapolis (F/WAS) – WR Denzel Mims, Baylor
The team needs better depth behind Hilton.
#35 Detroit – RB Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
The Lions left the opening round with Okudah and Ngakoue and now feel empowered to do whatever the hell they want. In all seriousness, at this point it has to be assumed Kerryon Johnson just can’t handle a large workload and we see what the running back depth looks like in Detroit last year.
#36 New York Giants – S Xavier McKinney, Alabama
I honestly could see Gettleman standing there and going “well the last time I took an Alabama safety it worked out, so.”
#37 Los Angeles Chargers – OT Lucas Niag, TCU
Building up the offensive line so it’s ready for Herbert in 2021.
#38 Carolina – DI Ross Blacklock, TCU
[Enter statistic about front seven players Carolina has lost here]
#39 Miami – WR K.J. Hamler, Penn State
I’m not saying DeVante Parker and/or Preston Williams aren’t good. I’m just saying Parker has one good season out of five and Preston Williams just tore his ACL. Adding a receiver just makes sense.
#40 Houston (F/ARZ) – WR Michael Pittman, USC
If Bill O’Brien isn’t going to put any effort into his job then I’m not putting effort into talking about him.
#41 Cleveland – IOL Cesar Ruiz, Michigan
No but seriously, Cleveland is making sure there is no rumor for error for Mayfield.
#42 Jacksonville – CB A.J. Terrell, Clemson
I mean, the team has traded away Ramsey and Bouye.
#43 Chicago (F/OAK) – CB Noah Igbinoghene, Auburn
The board doesn’t line up great for Chicago but they could add a corner.
#44 Kansas City (F/IND) – CB Troy Pride Jr., Notre Dame
So like I was saying, the Chiefs can move down 12 spots and still get a corner.
#45 Tampa Bay – S Ashtyn Davis, California
In my first mock draft I had Tampa taking Delpit. Brady didn’t solve the need at safety.
#46 Denver – Edge Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State
I know they have Chubb and Miller but Elway might find it too difficult to pass on the upside here.
#47 New England (F/ATL) – Edge/LB Zach Baun, Wisconsin
Baun seems to be a really good replacement for Van Noy.
#48 New York Jets – CB Jaylon Johnson, Utah
The Jets need more corners.
#49 Pittsburgh- Edge Julian Okwara, Notre Dame
Dupree is playing on the franchise tag and could leave in 2021 if he isn’t traded prior to 2020.
#50 Chicago – S Antoine Winfield Jr., Minnesota
The Bears can’t pass up on this human missile.
#51 Dallas – C Lloyd Cushenberry, LSU
I mean, their center retired so..
#52 Los Angeles Rams – IOL Jonah Jackson, Ohio State
The theme of the Rams draft is going to be revamping the offensive line.
#53 Philadephia – S Kyle Dugger, Lenoir-Rhyne
I just think Roseman would be so excited to bring in this athletic freak.
#54 Buffalo – Edge Curits Weaver, Boise State
Not that they have to get after Brady anymore but they still need a pass rusher.
#55 Baltimore (F/ATL/NE) – Edge Joshua Uche, Michigan
Judon is playing on the franchise tag and could leave in 2021 if he isn’t traded prior to 2020.
#56 Miami (F/NO) – S Jeremy Chinn, Southern Illinois
Not sure you heard but last year Miami traded away Minkah Fitzpatrick.
#57 Houston – IOL Damien Lewis, LSU
#58 San Francisco (F/MIN) – WR Donovan Peoples-Jones, Michigan
John Lynch has shown a willingness to swing on physical traits at the receiver position before.
#59 Seattle – CB Cameron Dantzler, Mississippi State
This is a tough call as Dantzler doesn’t fit the athletic profile Seattle likes but hits the length requirement and fills a need.
#60 Baltimore – Edge Terrell Lewis, Alabama
Doubling up at pass rusher is smart. Baltimore is a smart organization.
#61 Tennessee – DL Marlon Davidson, Auburn
Davidson will likely be coveted by teams that use a three man front.
#62 Green Bay – TE Hunter Bryant, Washington
Do I really need to explain Green Bay drafting a passing game weapon?
#63 Kansas City (F/SF) – DI Justin Madubuike, Texas A&M
Most likely the best player on the board and Chris Jones could leave in 2021.
#64 Seattle Seahawks (F/KC) – RB J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State
Does Seattle have a healthy running back on the roster?
#96 Kansas City – RB Zack Moss, Utah