It’s draft week; we made it. Between the draft and The Last Dance we finally (kinda) have some sports right now. There’s a few things that will happen behind the scenes that I hope are unearthed by reporters. Given the draft being virtual, these are the questions I have about the fallout from everyone being remote:
- 1. Will the virtual draft make it harder to trade?
- It seems an almost unanimous belief that it will indeed be more difficult to trade while on the clock in 2020. It makes sense, as you will have to relay information to others on a video conference while speaking to another team, as opposed to everyone listening to one speaker phone. Maybe we’re overthinking this and it won’t be a big deal at all. The most likely scenario is this is just team dependent; aka those comfortable with technology and those that are not.
Another interesting potential factor; I can’t remember where I read this, it might have been from Peter King, but someone posited that general managers that came up as executives will have a more difficult time than those that came up as scouts. Executives simply have to spend more time talking to the scouting department as they let them do most of the heavy lifting, which eats up more time. In contrast, general managers with a scouting background can be more reliant on their own evaluations should it be necessary.
2. Will teams be inclined to trade down since they view prospects as unknowns due to the unusual draft process and would rather have more bites at the apple?
Honestly, this is probably too advanced for most NFL strategy makers.
3. Will teams be inclined to package their picks to go up and get a guy they love because they just don’t know enough about anyone in the draft?
This seems way more on brand for the NFL. Will there be loads of trades up because “fuck it, I don’t even know anything about these other guys anyway and this one kid is going to be a stud I tells ya.”
4. Will teams desire to trade out of 2020 and accumulate 2021 picks (when presumably life will be back to normal)?
This really could be the case. Punt on this draft to an extent and just build capital for next year when you can get back to the full evaluation process (should there even be a college or NFL season).
Hopefully we one day get the answers to these questions (at some indication about one of them come late this week). In the mean time, I hope you enjoy the mock.
#1 Cincinnati Bengals – QB Joe Burrow, LSU
#2 Washington – Edge Chase Young, Ohio State
Thanks for reading, it gets better I swear.
#3 Detroit Lions – CB Jeffrey Okudah, Ohio State
I just don’t think a trade is going to happen here. I talked about Miami is already winning the draft, in part because they know they’re bidding against mainly themselves in any trade up. The Lions are doing their best through the media to drum up trade talk, which is transparent in that it stems from there not being much trade talked. Bob Quinn recently said “it takes two to tango.”
Miami isn’t coming up. Los Angeles isn’t coming up. Despite the fact Detroit should move down or almost anything at all, it’s not going to happen.
Morning update: There is a hot rumor from the right people that Miami coming up to three is going to happen. I may zip through another comment-less mock later in the day if reporting on this really heats up.
#4 New York Giants – OT Jedrick Wills, Alabama
After the majority of the world penciling in Simmons here, most indications are it will be a tackle. The question is which one. In my last mock I went with Wirfs, but after doing some final research on the tackles I changed to Wills. Besides, Gettleman will just complain Wirfs’ arms are too short to be a tackle anyway.
Wills is the betting favorite to be the first tackle off the board, for whatever that’s worth. Wirfs does have the second best odds.
#5 Miami Dolphins – QB Justin Herbert, Oregon
“It’s a smokescreen, it’s a smoke screen.” Sometimes, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Too many people have said that the right sources began indicating it’s Herbert. All this late in the process stuff tying back to Tua seems like Miami just playing the media even more, especially in conjunction with this absurd idea they’re going to trade up to three to take a tackle.
Matt Miller estimated 90% of the intel around Miami points to Herbert. It’s fair to say at this point it’s outdated information, but at the time other insides started making similar statements. It came out today that Miami passed Tua’s medical because of course it came out today that Miami passed Tua’s medical. They’re also going to grab a tackle at five and then move back up later for Jordan Love.
They’re all of the place, presumably by design. Good on them for creating so much illusion and mystery. However, I’m going with Herbert.
Morning update: Tied to the report of moving up to three is their guy is Tua, again from the Miami people. National guys are still pointing to Herbert.
#6 Los Angeles Chargers – OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia
I cannot wait for the insanity that ensues when both Miami and Los Angeles pass on Tua. The Chargers, like the Dolphins, are linked to every quarterback that’s expected to go in round one. This is probably in my mind but they seem to have an air of laying low on their true intentions. I don’t know the power dynamic between Telesco and Lynn, but I don’t envision Lynn wanting a rookie quarterback and is fine rolling with Tyrod. If they have equal-ish grades on Tua/Herbert/Love, I think it’s possible Lynn persuades Telesco to take their favorite remaining tackle, and maneuver up the board later for Love.
#7 Carolina Panthers – S/LB Isaiah Simmons, Clemson
Carolina, who conveniently leaked to the media on Draft Eve they’re willing to trade down, will be trying like crazy to sell this pick to the highest Tua bidder. Every team after the Chargers will be doing so. However, no one with the need or within striking distance will get Carolina to move off seven, and they won’t sell the pick to their division rival Falcons.
Atlanta Receives: #8
Arizona Receives: #16, 2021 First Rounder
#8 Atlanta Falcons (F/ARI) – CB C.J. Henderson, Florida
So Arizona does sell their pick to the Falcons. In my last mock I had Atlanta making an aggressive move, moving up from 47 to 23 to double-dip at corner. Now in the last week it surfaced they’re trying to vault up the board for “a corner,” which really means Henderson.
They better get in front of Jacksonville if they want to secure Henderson’s services. Arizona might prefer 2020 picks since they’re without a second rounder, but getting the 2021 first is too good to turn down.
#9 Jacksonville Jaguars – OT Tristan Wirfs, Iowa
If Tua falls to 9 Caldwell is going to real life live the Draft Day scene of “oh my god why is this quarterback falling? Here someone PLEASE take my pick.”
— Jonathan Rosenberg (@frosted_takes) April 21, 2020
With Henderson off the board Caldwell turns his attention to protecting Minshew. There is a pattern in Caldwell’s draft history of prioritizing high-end athleticism with his early round picks. Caldwell is going to try to trade this pick to anyone that wants Tua, but comes up with the same bad luck Carolina found.
Denver Receives: #10
Cleveland Receives: #15, #46
#10 Denver Broncos (F/CLE) – WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama
I don’t think this Jerry Jeudy knee thing is going to cause him to fall. It leaked on Draft Eve because of course it did. All teams were informed about it at the combine and apparently most don’t think it’s a big deal.
RE: Jerry Jeudy
Spoke to numerous contacts in the top 15 this morning. No concerns about past meniscus surgery that would prevent him from being drafted early tomorrow night.
Still my WR1. Probably a late push to get him to fall from a team.
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) April 22, 2020
This specific trade is a hot rumor and it just makes a lot of sense. Elway moves around a lot during the draft, and he has three third rounders in his pocket that may make him feel comfortable sacrificing a second in order to go get Jeudy. As a former quarterback, he wants to give Drew Lock an elite pair of receivers to work with, and Denver is linked to having Jeudy as WR1.
#11 New York Jets – WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma
If you consider there to be three top receivers and four top offensive tackles, I believe that adds up to seven players. Burrow, Young, and Okudah are locks as top ten picks, with a second quarterback likely to go top ten as well.
Ok, recalculating: New York should be able to just sit at 11 and worst case scenario have one of the top receivers or tackles available to them.
Alright, yea, we all know they’re going WR/OT here (extremely, definitely, most likely), but doesn’t it make sense to grab the last of the top tackles given how deep this receiver class is?
No. Lamb and Jeudy are different. I think Becton is overrated but that’s a me thing, not what the league thinks. Besides, this class is also being lauded for how deep it is at offensive tackle. Joe Douglas poured infinite dollars into the offensive line free agency. Granted, the line is still trash, but if CeeDee Lamb is available, don’t over think it.
#12 Las Vegas Raiders – WR Henry Ruggs III, Alabama
I mean, yea, it’s no secret the Raiders want a receiver and Ruggs is the one that gets to them here. Considering Gruden believes every quarterback prospect in history is destined to be a Hall of Famer it was weird to have him pass on Tua here but I think Mayock can convince him to consider the win now option.
Miami Receives: #13
San Francisco Receives: #18, #56
#13 Miami Dolphins (F/SF/IND) – OT Mekhi Becton, Louisville
Oh man. This works on so many levels. The 9ers, after 31, don’t pick again until 157. They said they’re open for business at both 13 and 31. They’re moving down at least once in the first round. With the top three receivers going directly in front of them, they’ll look to bail here.
Meanwhile, Miami leap frogs right in front of that Old Fuck Head Tom Brady for the last of the “top four tackles.” Sorry Tompa Bay, figure out some other way to protect your geriatric new quarterback.
It doesn’t seem like teams really care about Becton’s failed drug test. Some probably do. I’m not saying it’s what’s going to cause him to be the last of the four off the board, but if you have a four-way tie for the top tackles why not just take the other guys? Besides, #13 is where the Dolphins took Tunsil.
I told you this worked on so many levels.
#14 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Edge K’Lavon Chaisson, LSU
At first glance this makes no sense. Stipulated. But allow me to explain. With the tackles off the board, Tampa could reach for the next one, or go in a different direction. They need a safety, but that would also be a reach. They could draft D’Andre Swift to be Tompa’s new pass catching running back, which I did have last time, but, again, it’s a reach.
The board just really doesn’t fall well for Tampa in this scenario. Now, you may think Chaisson isn’t enough of an immediate impact for a team in win now mode and that’s probably fair. But considering JPP can kick inside on passing downs, Tampa could deploy Barrett, JPP, Suh, and Chaisson to rush the passer. That sounds pretty impactful.
There is a longer term strategy here obviously. Barrett will be a free agent next year if the team doesn’t tag him again. In 2021 the team is also looking at free agents in Suh, Lavonte David, O.J. Howard, Chris Godwin, and Justin Evans. Who knows who they will keep (they’re keeping Godwin), but that’s a lot of money and they won’t be able to retain them all.
I did consider Justin Jefferson to give Brady a slot weapon in the mold that he’s used to, but it doesn’t really fit Arians’ style.
Why not trade down with a team that wants Tua? It’s possible, in fact..
Cleveland Receives: #34, 44, 2021 Second Rounder
Indianapolis Receives: #15
#15 Indianapolis Colts (F/CLE/DEN) – QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
The slide ends. Can’t medically play for a year? Not an issue in Indy. Some-what brittle and require a great offensive line? Not an issue in Indy. Don’t have elite arm strength? Not an issue in a dome.
#16 Arizona Cardinals (F/ATL) – DT Derrick Brown, Auburn
The Cardinals absolutely play this perfectly, from their perspective. They shouldn’t take Brown, but the guy they were targeting at 8 gets to them at 16 and they added a 2021 first.
#17 Dallas Cowboys – CB A.J. Terrell, Clemson
Dallas probably wants to bail on this pick pretty badly. However, due to technical difficulties they’re unable to reach any agreements.
Terrell is a hot name in the rumor mill as someone expected to go higher than the public is projecting. He’s been linked to the Cowboys and they need to replace Byron Jones.
#18 San Francisco 49ers (F/MIA/PITT) – DT Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina
San Francisco, like Arizona, nails this. They pick up a second rounder and add the guy they would have taken at 13. Kinlaw is a natural replacement for Buckner.
Minnesota Receives: #19
Las Vegas Receives: #22, #105, #168
#19 Minnesota Vikings (F/LV/CHI) – WR Justin Jefferson, LSU
Minnesota, despite taking 10 steps backwards this offseason, views themselves as a contender. They also have 12 picks in the draft. I don’t imagine they’re going to make all of those selections, so moving up is a decent prop bet for the Vikings.
Jefferson appears to be the consensus fourth receiver behind the top three. His route running ability may make Minnesota view him as an immediate contributor. Sliding in front of the Jaguars and Eagles would be wise if they wanted to ensure they get Jefferson.
#20 Jacksonville Jaguars (F/LAR) – Edge Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State
There’s always a “uhhh, alright” pick in the first round and here’s my guess. This is higher than most are going to project Gross-Matos and Jacksonville isn’t being linked to edge defenders.
However, in a weird edge class and a deep corner and receiver class, Jacksonville takes Gross-Matos and decides to figure the other stuff out later. Gross-Matos fits the athletic profile that Caldwell covets as well.
#21 Philadelphia Eagles – Edge A.J. Epenesa, Iowa
If you look at how Roseman has approached the early rounds of the draft since Andy Reid left Philadelphia, he repeatedly invests in the trenches. Like Derek Barnett, Epenesa didn’t set the combine on fire, but the two had similar verticals, broad jumps, and short shuttles. Speaking of Barnett, he is set to hit free agency in 2021. Speaking of 2021, the Eagles are already projected to be $12.5 million over the cap next offseason.
#22 Las Vegas Raiders (F/MIN/BUF) – CB Jeff Gladney, TCU
The Raiders move down as they enter the draft with only seven picks. Granted, that’s what you just get in each round, but they can get the corner they wanted at 19 three spots later.
Gladney seems like the scrappy kind of player Gruden will target.
Los Angeles Chargers Receives: #23
New England Receives: #37, 2021 Second Rounder
#23 Los Angeles Chargers (F/NE) – QB Jordan Love, Utah State
So Jordan Love goes in the Patriots draft slot, but not to the Patriots. The Chargers complete their OT + QB later strategy, while the Patriots acquire 2021 draft capital in case there is a scenario where they can go get Lawrence or Fields.
#24 New Orleans Saints – WR Jalen Reagor, TCU
I wanted to project the Saints to move up as they are perpetually in win now mode and have no qualms about trading away future picks. The Saints 2021 first round pick is likely to get traded. I just couldn’t figure out a deal.
Whether at 24 or earlier on, this pick will be used on an instant impact player. You may think the Saints already have an embarrassment of pass catchers, but now take that thought and add Jalen Reagor to it.
I rest my case.
#25 Minnesota Vikings – CB Kristian Fulton, LSU
The Vikings desperately need corner help. That’s it, that’s the analysis.
#26 Miami Dolphins (F/HOU) – WR Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State
Look, I liked Parker coming out of college so I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that his 2019 break out was real and the problem was Gase. I’ll even stipulate that Preston Williams is quite talented and looked excellent.
The two have also been good for like a whole season *combined*. Can we not just assume Miami is 100% set? Besides, they should go compiling playmakers for Herbert anyway. Aiyuk fits nicely as a compliment with Parker and Williams.
Cleveland Receives: #27
Seattle Receives: #34, #115, #245
#27 Cleveland Browns (F/SEA) – S Grant Delpit, LSU
Death, taxes, and John Schneider trading out of the first round. Bet on it.
I think the more likely scenario is zero safeties going in the first as opposed to the two that I have going (spoiler), but all these extra picks are burning a hole in Cleveland’s pocket. The reportedly analytically driven (which contradicts the trading up thing) Andrew Berry won’t mind Delpit’s missed tackles as much due to his range in coverage.
#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 – OT Isaiah Wilson, Georgia
And here is your “wait, what?” pick of the first round. I should probably listen to all the reports that have Ezra Cleveland going higher in mocks, and also have Josh Jones come off the board before Wilson as well, but Wilson is consistently listed as a name that will be draft before the public expects.
This is based on the theory that Jon Robinson thinks the best fit for his team is a mauling run blocker that plays right tackle.
#30 Green Bay Packers – WR Denzel Mims, Baylor
Just, Packers, receiver, you get the picture.
Jacksonville Receives: #31
San Francisco Receives: #42, #137, #166
#31 Jacksonville Jaguars (F/SF) – WR Michael Pittman, USC
Jacksonville comes into the draft with 12 picks and it seems likely they will move up at some point. Here they slip into the end of round one to get a weapon for Minshew.
New York Giants Receives: #32
Kansas City Receives: #36, #150, #219
#32 New York Giants (F/KC) – S Xavier McKinney, Alabama
The last time Gettleman moved up for an Alabama safety it worked out. I genuinely believe that will be his entire thought process here.
#33 Cincinnati Bengals – OT Josh Jones, Houston
Gotta protect Joey-franchise.
#34 Seattle Seahawks (F/CLE/IND/WAS) – OT Ezra Cleveland, Boise State
Just, Seahawks, offensive line, you get it.
#35 Detroit Lions – RB Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
I had this pick last time and I really like it so I am keeping it. In the past few drafts it seems like the Lions were drafting in the 1980’s, and Kerryon Johnson cannot handle a full workload. Taylor can’t catch so the two complement each other well.
#36 Kansas City Chiefs (F/NYG) – CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama
Kansas City has five picks ahead of the draft. Five. They’re going to move down from 32 even if it’s a mini move like this for some picks later one.
Dallas Receives: #37, #125, #196
New England Receives: #51, #82
#37 Dallas Cowboys (F/NE/LAC) – IOL Cesar Ruiz, Michigan
Ruiz is a prime Dallas target if they do pull off moving down in round one. Believing they’re one player away, Dallas goes and gets him atop round two.
#38 Carolina Panthers – DT Ross Blacklock, TCU
[Enter Carolina’s front 7 exodus comment here]
#39 Miami Dolphins – S Ashtyn Davis, Cal
A rangy safety to replace Fitzpatrick.
#40 Houston (F/ARI) – Edge Darrell Taylor, Tennessee
This screen grab is my analysis for this pick and I have now put in as much effort as BOB does at his job.
Talked to a bunch of GMs over the weekend. A couple of guys that will go higher than anticipated:
USC OT Austin Jackson
TCU WR Jalen Reagor
Bama CB Trevon Diggs
TENN Edge Darrell Taylor
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) April 20, 2020
#41 Cleveland Browns – WR Tee Higgins, Clemson
I mean, why not, honestly? If they make these trades they’ll be loaded with picks and adding a contested ball specialist for Baker isn’t the worst strategy.
#42 San Francisco (F/CLE) – S Jeremy Chinn, Southern Illinois
Lynch has shown a willingness to just grab a guy he really likes with tools.
#43 Chicago Bears (F/LV) – OT Austin Jackson, USC
I probably should have Jackson going higher, but Chicago is certainly thrilled about this development.
#44 Cleveland Browns (F/IND) – LB Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma
Oh, right, you’re probably wondering why I had Cleveland not take Ezra Cleveland or a left tackle in the first round. I think they’re by far the most likely destination for Trent Williams. They’re the only team that can afford to give Williams an extension, and especially after all my fake trades (one of them is a real rumor though!) they (will) have draft capital to get him.
Without the trades, Cleveland does have an extra third, so they do have a little bit more ammo to get a trade done during Day 2. Washington has been asking for a second rounder, but with teams balking at that price, they’re apparently willing to accept later picks that add up to the value of a second rounder.
My guess is Cleveland lands Trent Williams for 97 and 115.
#45 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – RB D’Andre Swift, Georgia
Not only does Brady love throwing to running backs, Arians likes to deploy running backs as receivers. Swift is the best route running RB in the draft.
#46 Cleveland Browns (F/DEN) – CB Jaylon Johnson, Utah
Again, with all these picks (and a fake trade for Trent Williams), just, why not?
#47 Atlanta Falcons – Edge Julian Okwara, Notre Dame
First they get their corner, then they get their pass rusher.
#48 New York Jets – CB Noah Igbinoghene, Aurburn
Ok, the whole “just draft Lamb and grab a tackle later” thing didn’t work out as planned but why aren’t the Jets more heavily linked to corners? Is their corner depth chart the single worst positional depth chart in the NFL? Seriously, go look at it.
#49 Pittsburgh Steelers – OG Jonah Jackson, Ohio State
Pittsburgh doesn’t have many needs but can stand to upgrade the interior of their offensive line.
#50 Chicago Bears – OG Damien Lewis, LSU
Chicago used to have an elite offensive line. They double down on resurrecting it in the second round.
#51 New England Patriots (F/DAL) – DL Marlon Davidson, Auburn
New England finally makes a selection and it’s for a dude that profiles as someone Belichick will covet.
#52 Los Angeles Rams – OL Ben Bartch, St. John
Copy-paste Bears comment from #50 but the Rams.
#53 Philadephia Eagles – WR K.J. Hamler, Penn State
They didn’t force a receiver round one so here is a weapon for Pederson to get creative with.
#54 Buffalo Bills – Edge Curtis Weaver, Boise State
This is one of the few needs on the Bills roster.
#55 Baltimore Ravens (F/ATL/NE) – WR Laviska Shenault, Colorado
Man, if Greg Romen gets his hands on Shenault..
I do think Shenault will take a tumble due to his surgery and teams not being able to take a look at him.
#56 San Francisco 49ers (F/MIA/NO) – WR Devin Duvernay, Texas
The 9ers didn’t end up getting a receiver earlier in the process but Shanahan will find ways to scheme this fantastic slot receiver open.
#57 Los Angeles Rams (F/HOU) – OL Matt Hennessy, Temple
Copy-paste Bears comment from #50 but the Rams.
#58 Minnesota Vikings – Edge Jonathan Greenard
Minnesota looks to retool their edge position.
#59 Seattle Seahawks – IDL Justin Madubuike, Texas A&M
Carroll and Schneider want Madubuike’s traits in the middle of their defense.
#60 Baltimore Ravens – Edge Terrell Lewis, Alabama
Eventual replacement for Judon.
#61 Tennessee Titans – CB Cameron Dantzler, Mississippi State
Logan Ryan left so they need a replacement.
#62 Green Bay Packers – WR Van Jefferson, Florida
Packers double down on a receiver for Rodgers.
#63 Kansas City (F/SF) – CB Bryce Hall, Virginia
Perfect fit for the Chiefs defense so they double down at corner.
#64 Seattle Seahawks (F/KC) – S Kyle Dugger, Lenoir-Rhyne
I just cannot see Pete Carroll passing on an athlete like this.
#65 Cincinnati Bengals – LB Willie Gay Jr., Mississippi State
I’m not going to actually do a third round but I want this on the record.