2020 NFL Mock Draft
As much as I’d like to include trades, I’m going to refrain and draft as is for the sake of simplicity. There will, however, be trades on April 23 – believe that. We could see a trade as early as No. 3, or even earlier. The draft is more unpredictable than ever this year. Be prepared to be surprised.
Runs at certain positions might mean as many as eight players from one position find themselves on a professional football team, most notably wide receiver, offensive tackle and cornerback.
Breakdown by position: QB – 3, RB – 0, WR – 7, TE – 0, OL – 7, DL – 5, LB – 4, S – 0, CB – 6
1. Joe Burrow
QB | School: Louisiana State
Don’t think about it, Bengals, just do it. Andy Dalton’s future remains a mystery, but maybe Bill Belichick gives him a call?
2. Chase Young
DE | School: Ohio State
The Redskins already boast an underrated defensive line, but you just can’t pass on Young. ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said Young is his highest rated pass rusher since Von Miller – perhaps the surest thing in this draft.
3. Jeffrey Okudah
CB | School: Ohio State
The Lions have plenty of options at No. 3 and plenty of needs. Isaiah Simmons and Jeff Okudah lead the argument. Detroit just added Jamie Collins and Desmond Trufant, but Trufant is not Darius Slay and the Lions need more help at that position. They’ll be glad to take the best cornerback in the draft and make it back-to-back Buckeyes. Of course, it could work out well for the Lions to trade with the Dolphins or Chargers and still land Okudah.
4. Tristan Wirfs
OT | School: Iowa
The Giants have their pick of the litter with four potential stars at the tackle position. They need to better fortify their front line if they think Daniel Jones is their franchise quarterback. Isaiah Simmons is the best player on the board, but New York just nabbed Blake Martinez in free agency. I’d go with Wirfs or Jedrick Wills.
5. Tua Tagovailoa
QB | School: Alabama
The Chargers might be waiting to trade up for Tua, but the Dolphins are waiting to snipe if they don’t. If healthy, Tua can compete right away with grizzled veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick. If Miami chooses to take it easy with the Alabama standout, he can learn behind the experienced bearded one. Replacing Laremy Tunsil at left tackle is also a priority need, but two more first-round picks are incoming.
6. Justin Herbert
QB | School: Oregon
The Chargers make the most sense to trade up with the Lions and take Tua or Herbert ahead of the Dolphins. Three quarterbacks in the top six picks wouldn’t be the least bit surprising. Head coach Anthony Lynn has spoken highly of Tyrod Taylor and believes he’s a capable starter. That being said, there’s no denying Herbert’s athletic ability and arm talent. There is an easy argument for him to be taken ahead of T.T.
7. Isaiah Simmons
LB | School: Clemson
It just so happens that Simmons – who some believe to be a generational talent – is available for the Panthers right after Luke Kuechly retires. That’s a fit you can’t pass up. Simmons is a jack of all trades and gives the Panthers a much-needed boost on defense.
8. Jedrick Wills
OT | School: Alabama
CeeDee Lamb would have made for a good fit before the DeAndre Hopkins acquisition. Offensive tackle is Arizona’s biggest need now. Kyler Murray ran frequently in his rookie year, and I don’t mean by design. Wills shores up that line and aids Murray in his quest for a breakout sophomore campaign.
9. Derrick Brown
DL | School: Auburn
I’m tempted to pencil in Javon Kinlaw here as he and Brown seem to be going in opposite directions as the draft approaches. Either way, the Jaguars need help on defense – a lot of help. Brown immediately replaces a disgruntled Yannick Ngakoue (assuming he’s traded before the season) as the big presence in the trenches.
10. Mekhi Becton
OT | School: Louisville
Becton is able to play at either tackle spot but would start at left tackle in Cleveland as the Browns signed former Titans OT Jack Conklin. A recently failed drug test doesn’t seem to be a big issue for Becton. It will be if it happens again.
11. Andrew Thomas
OT | School: Georgia
The Jets may very well have the opportunity to select the first wide receiver, which won’t be a surprise in the least since they just lost Robby Anderson. Wide receiver is incredibly deep this year, though, so they choose Thomas. He is able to play at either tackle spot and would ideally start on the right side in light of the Jets’ signing of George Fant in free agency.
12. WR CeeDee Lamb
WR | School: Oklahoma
General manager Mike Mayock reportedly “loves” Lamb, so the Raiders will gladly take him with the pick they acquired from the Colts. The 2019 first-team All American is arguably the best wide receiver in this deep receiver class and will make the 49ers forget about losing Emmanuel Sanders. Kinlaw also makes sense as a replacement for DeForest Buckner.
Read Gridiron Experts Henry Ruggs NFL Draft Profile
13. Henry Ruggs
WR | School: Alabama
Speed is king in the NFL, which is why I wouldn’t be surprised if Ruggs was taken ahead of teammate Jerry Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb. Ruggs has the potential to be this year’s John Ross: the fastest – not best – wide receiver in his class whose value keeps rising because of said speed. Again, Kinlaw makes sense too as a replacement for DeForest Buckner.
Read Gridiron Experts CeeDee Lamb NFL Draft Profile
14. Ezra Cleveland
OT | School: Boise State
Tampa Bay is bummed about losing out on one of the top four offensive tackles, although a trade up is a possibility. Since I’m picking as is, Cleveland is the next man up in a talented offensive tackle group. This could also be Austin Jackson.
15. Jerry Jeudy
WR | School: Alabama
If I’m Broncos general manager John Elway I’ve already called Jerry Jeudy and welcomed him to the squad. Denver should be ecstatic with Jeudy still on the board. Sophomore quarterback Drew Lock and the Broncos need another threat on the outside opposite Courtland Sutton. Jeudy gives them just that. Great pick with great value.
Read Gridiron Experts Jerry Jeudy NFL Draft Profile
16. C.J. Henderson
CB | School: Florida
The Falcons are desperate for help in the secondary. They lost Desmond Trufant and Isaiah Oliver struggled as a rookie. It’s not often a first-year player can come in and be a team’s best cornerback right out of the gate. That’s the case for Henderson. K’Lavon Chaisson is a solid backup option.
17. K’Lavon Chaisson
EDGE | School: Louisiana State
One would surmise that the Cowboys might have narrowed their choices to Henderson and Chaisson once the Falcons were on the clock. Their respective positions are huge needs for this playoff contender. While the Cowboys did just surprise the league by signing Aldon Smith, Smith has yet to officially be reinstated from a suspension. Chaisson takes pressure off DeMarcus Lawrence, who is coming off a disappointing five-sack campaign.
18. Javon Kinlaw
DL | School: South Carolina
Miami continues their rebuild with a nice steal in Kinlaw. Offensive line is a big need, but Kinlaw has fallen too far and is too tempting to look past at this point. Plus, the Dolphins still possess one more pick this round.
19. Kristian Fulton
CB | School: Louisiana State
The Raiders have their pick between Fulton, Trevon Diggs, Jaylon Johnson, Jeff Gladney and A.J. Terrell. They’re in desperate need at cornerback, especially since the Eli Apple deal fell through – not that they wouldn’t consider Fulton anyway.
20. Kenneth Murray
LB | School: Oklahoma
The reeling Jaguars ostensibly need to address every area of their dismantled defense. The defensive line has already been addressed. Joe Schobert, Myles Jack and Murray make for one heck of a linebacker trio – one of the best in the league, mayhaps? Murray decreases the noticeability of Telvin Smith’s absence.
21. Justin Jefferson
WR | School: LSU
I am of the opinion that Jefferson is the fourth-best wide receiver prospect in this draft. I might even favor him over Ruggs, but I don’t think NFL teams do. Heck, maybe the Eagles trade up for him. J-Jeff tore up the SEC at LSU and gives Carson Wentz a much needed dynamic pass-catcher.
Read Gridiron Experts Justin Jefferson NFL Draft Profile
22. Jalen Reagor
WR | School: TCU
Everyone’s favorite game of Pick Your Favorite Wide Receiver continues. Will it be Reagor, Denzel Mims, Brandon Aiyuk, Tee Higgins, Laviska Shenault, someone else? It’s not out of the realm of possibility that all of them are selected in the first round; that’s how talented this class is. Reagor’s NFL Combine performance left something to be desired, but he can make music with the ball in his hands.
Read Gridiron Experts Jalen Reagor NFL Draft Profile
23. Zack Baun
LB | School: Wisconsin
Part of me really wants to give the Patriots Jordan Love. And while they really need a quarterback (sorry, Jarret Stidham), they really need a pass rusher, too. New England can grab someone like Jacob Eason later or take Andy Dalton out to dinner and see where things go. Cam Newton and Jameis Winston aren’t Belichikian type quarterbacks.
24. Brandon Aiyuk
WR | School: Arizona State
Jordan Love might make more sense for future purposes, but Aiyuk makes more sense for right now. For those counting at home, and for those not, Aiyuk represents the sixth wide receiver selected in the first round. Sure, the Saints signed Emmanuel Sanders, but he’s more of a slot guy and turned 33 years old a month ago. Michael Thomas, Sanders, Jared Cook, Alvin Kamara and Aiyuk give Drew Brees all the weapons he needs in his perennial quest for one more Super Bowl. LB Patrick Queen is a fine alternative on the defensive side of the ball.
25. A.J. Terrell
CB | School: Clemson
Since Minnesota just filled a need at wide receiver, they fill their next biggest need at cornerback as a plethora of quality corners remains. Terrell joins a depleted secondary and becomes the 13TH! SEC player drafted in this round already.
26. Cesar Ruiz
OL | School: Michigan
Running back is tempting, but offensive line is a more pressing need. The Dolphins were second in the NFL in sacks allowed per game (3.6). Tua Tagovailoa potentially waits in the wings, but 37-year-old Ryan Fitzpatrick was sacked 40 times a year ago. There’s only so much beating a 37-year-old can bear. The Dolphins can still look at the running back position in the next round or later on. OTs Josh Jones and Austin Jackson are two obvious choices in addition.
27. Yetur Gross-Matos
EDGE | School: Penn State
Jadeveon Clowney’s future remains foggy, but it’s unlikely that he will be playing in Seattle. Gross-Matos was a stud at Penn State and stood out on a top-notch defense. Iowa’s A.J. Epenesa is another quality choice, as is an offensive tackle.
28. Patrick Queen
LB | School: Louisiana State
At long last, a cessation to Queen’s fall. The Ravens get themselves a steal. Queen is a sideline-to-sideline baller who will serve as Baltimore’s next C.J. Mosley from the get-go on what is already one of the best defenses in the NFL.
29. Austin Jackson
OT | School: Southern California
The seventh offensive tackle comes off the board – wow. Tennessee is happy to land Jack Conklin’s substitute this late in the first round. Other sensible tackle selections include Houston’s Josh Jones and Georgia’s Isaiah Wilson.
30. Denzel Mims
WR | School: Baylor
Green Bay would be floored to see Mims make it all the way to them at pick No. 30. Davante Adams was a one-man wrecking crew in the passing game last year; the Packers desperately need another threat opposite Adams. Mims is a physical beast and impressed all who watched the NFL Combine.
31. Jaylon Johnson
CB | School: Utah
If you look at the 49ers’ cornerback room, it’s not pretty. Johnson deserves a day-one opportunity despite undergoing shoulder surgery this offseason. He is expected to make a full recovery by August.
32. Jeff Gladney
CB | School: Texas Christian
Kendall Fuller moved to the District of Columbia this offseason so Bashaud Breeland needs some help. You can do much worse than a secondary foursome of Breeland, Gladney, Tyrann Mathieu and second-year safety Juan Thornhill.
Best of the rest include: OT Josh Jones, EDGE A.J. Epenesa, QB Jordan Love, CB Trevon Diggs, OT Isaiah Wilson, S Xavier McKinney, S Grant Delpit, EDGE Terrell Lewis, WRs Laviska Shenault, Tee Higgins & Michael Pittman Jr., DT Ross Blacklock, RBs D’Andre Swift, Jonathan Taylor and Clyde Edwards-Helaire, S Jeremy Chinn.