The Mock Draft, the stable of the Pre-Draft Process. While some analysts or writers hate doing mock drafts I embrace them because it’s what got me hooked on the draft and it’s always one of the most popular and discussed things you can do. Here at NFL Draft Geek this is our calling card and we will be providing you a new mock draft on a weekly basis leading up to the 2020 NFL Draft dropping each Tuesday during the NFL season. For this edition we take a look at my first round projections along with second round picks for the teams without a first round pick as we head into the Scouting Combine. Let us know what you think of our 2020 NFL Mock Draft whether it’s in the comments below or tweeting at @NFLDraftGeek @draft_brian.
2020 NFL Mock Draft
1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
After a tremendous senior season and ties to Ohio it’s all but a lock for Burrow to the Bengals. Regardless of Burrow being the best quarterback in the draft, he fits well with Zac Taylor wants the Bengals offense to do. His ability to throw with timing and accuracy along with his mobility could give the former Rams assistant and upgraded version of Jared Goff.
2. Washington Redskins: Chase Young, DE, Ohio State
While defensive end is not a huge need for the Redskins it would be pretty hard for Washington to pass on Chase Young here. Young’s combination of size, strength, athletic ability and skill make him one of the best pass rushing prospects we’ve seen in years. Young would then add to an already talented young defensive line that would give Washington something to build around.
3. Detroit Lions: Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
For the longest time the Lions have been searching for someone to pair opposite of Darius Slay. Instead the Lions are now trying to find someone to replace Slay who they traded to the Eagles. Jeffrey Okudah is the top cornerback prospect over the last couple of years showing the ability to play any coverage with good speed and ball skills. The pairing Okudah and newly signed Desmond Trufant along with Justin Coleman would give the Lions a quality trio.
4. New York Giants: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
With a need for a better offensive line along with General Manager David Gettleman emphasizing how important the running game is which based on Gettleman’s record means that they’ll be taking whoever their highest rated offensive tackle is. Andrew Thomas was the early choice but with reports of teams not liking him as much as the draft analysts you’ll start to see him sliding down people’s rankings and mock drafts. The person that I think will be the first linemen drafted is Wills and that should fit in nicely with the Giants. Sure Wills is a right tackle but the Giants are paying Nate Solder big money and Wills can lock down the right side which is sorely needed.
5. Miami Dolphins: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
While Tua is available, is considered to be the second ranked quarterback by most and seems to fit what Dolphins want, word is that the Dolphins have some reservations about Tua’s health and like what Herbert has to offer. Herbert isn’t a perfect prospect but likely has the highest ceiling of the three elite prospects. With Tua’s injury concerns about Herbert going and performing well at the Combine, it won’t be a surprise if he’s the second quarterback drafted.
6. Los Angeles Chargers: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
While the Chargers could be the team that trades up to get their pick of Tua or Herbert, I have a gut feeling the Chargers will stand pat and let one of them fall into their lap. Landing Tua might be best case scenario for the Chargers as the former Alabama quarterback would have more marketing appeal and hype from his time with the Crimson Tide which the Chargers need to get some type of traction in the Los Angeles market. Tua if healthy could thrive with the Chargers because of the talent they have at the skill positions. But with Tua it all seems to hinge on his health.
7. Carolina Panthers: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
With a new regime in Carolina it will be interesting to see what the Panthers do in the draft and what type of prospects they target. But if what we saw at Baylor is any indication Defensive Coordinator Phil Snow and head coach Matt Rhule want versatile and athletic defensive linemen. Sure Derrick Brown is a possibility, but Kinlaw may provide more upside as a pass rusher than Brown. Kinlaw not only has good burst and lateral quickness to attack and penetrate but also has the strength to anchor in. His ability to play multiple techniques only enhances his fit with the Panthers as they could look to be multiple up front showing many three and four man fronts.
8. Arizona Cardinals: Trisitan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
Early returns on Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury are better than expected and the offense looks capable of having some good success. But if the Cardinals want to make this work long term, they’ll need to invest in the offensive line to help protect Murray. One way they can go first is at tackle where Justin Pugh has been playing out of position. Tristian Wirfs is the perfect fit for the Cardinals as he can come in and take over the right tackle position while providing some insurance if DJ Humphries doesn’t work out at left tackle.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
With the uncertainty of whether or not Telvin Smith will be back the Jaguars should not stand pat at improving the linebacker spot and get a player like Simmons who is perfect for what linebackers need to be in today’s NFL. With the ability to play all three linebacker positions Simmons has shown that he can run sideline to sideline to make tackles while also covering receivers and tight ends. Not to mention Simmons has had success rushing off the edge and even started his career as a safety before moving down into the box. Simmons is a true chess piece that can be moved around to help take away the opposing team’s middle of the field threat.
10. Cleveland Browns: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
With new head coach Kevin Stefanski at the helm, look for the Browns to be very similar to the Vikings last year using their run game to set up play action throws. To do this they need to improve the tackle position which was a liability last year. Jack Conklin was signed to a big deal to be their right tackle but they still have a gaping hole along the left side. Becton has massive size but is a good athlete who can use his quickness and size to create running lanes for Nick Chubb.
11. New York Jets: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
If the New York Jets want Sam Darnold to be successful, they’ll have to build up the offense around him. While adding a receiver here would be more flashy, getting a stud tackle could be more beneficial to this offense helping to open up running lanes for Le’Veon Bell and giving Darnold time to throw. Thomas looks to be a plug and play offensive lineman who can come in at left tackle on day one and provide some stability for an offensive line that has lacked for years.
12. Las Vegas Raiders: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
Last year’s draft was very telling for the Raiders as they took foundational type players that are high character and leaders, all of which describe Brown. On the field, Brown is a load to deal with showing not only good power but uses his incredible length to keep defenders off his body. When you add in Brown’s athletic ability and he’s the perfect fit to put next to Maurice Hurst and give the Raiders a good young tackle duo.
13. San Francisco 49ers: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma (From Indianapolis)
After trading DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts the 49ers find themselves in a prime position to find a big time receiver that could take Kyle Shanahan’s offense to the next level. Shanahan had a lot of success in Cleveland with Josh Gordon and in Atlanta with Julio Jones. So far in San Francisco they haven’t had an impact player like that, but it could with the addition of CeeDee Lamb whose size and play speed would give this offense a whole new dimension.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise State
With the signing of Tom Brady to go along with their talented receiving core, the Bucs can now turn their focus on protecting him. Inside the Buccaneers are solid but it’s at tackle where they need to improve as Donovan Smith has been inconsistent while Demar Dotson is a free agent. While it’s the top four tackles that get most of the attention, Ezra Cleveland is not far behind them showing good athletic traits and the lateral agility to mirror pass rushers.
15. Denver Broncos: Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama
After debuting at the end of the season Drew Lock provided some hope that he could be the Broncos franchise quarterback. With that it’s imperative that the Broncos give Lock all the tools for him to be successful. Courtland Sutton and Noah Fant have shown a lot of promise as well, now the Broncos just need one more receiver. That guy could be Henry Ruggs who would give Denver a speed element to go with the bigger Sutton and take advantage of Lock’s strong arm and downfield passing ability.
16. Atlanta Falcons: CJ Henderson, CB, Florida
Desmond Trufant was the Falcons best cornerback for years but was released this offseason leaving Atlanta with a big void on their defense. That could be filled by Florida’s CJ Henderson who is an explosive cornerback that could fit well into Dan Quinn’s defense. The 6’1 Henderson has good size to go with his fluid hips and is fiesty corner that isn’t afraid to mix it up with bigger receivers. If Trufant fit well in Quinn’s press man defense, then Henderson should thrive as well.
17. Dallas Cowboys: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
With a need at safety the Cowboys could look to add one of the two elite safeties in this class to fill that void. Xavier McKinney would do well at the strong safety position for Dallas as they transition to Mike Nolan’s defense that wants to disguise coverages and could use safeties that can play both the strong and free safety roles. McKinney’s ability to cover receivers in the slot, play back in coverage and underneath would likely remind Nolan of Chauncy Garnder-Johnson who thrived in the Saints defense last year that Nolan was a part of.
18. Miami Dolphins: Austin Jackson, OT, USC (from Pittsburgh)
After drafting their quarterback of the future with the 5th overall pick it only makes sense for the Dolphins to add pieces to help him become successful. Tackle has been a need since they traded away Laremy Tunsil. USC’s Austin Jackson is far from a perfect prospect but his combination of athletic traits and upside should be appealing to the Dolphins who want to draft players with big potential.
19. Oakland Raiders: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama (From Chicago)
Antonio Brown was brought in to give Derek Carr a go to receiver but his shenanigans caused him to be released and now leave the Raiders with only Tyrell Williams who is better served as a compliment. Looking to find a new number one receiver the Raiders could see that in Jerry Jeudy. Jerry Jeudy has shown the ability to create separation with his speed and explosiveness along with his ability to run good routes. Jeudy’s ability to work all levels of the field allow Williams to fall back into a complimentary role while Renfrow can still work out of the slot.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars: Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU (From Los Angeles Rams)
At one point the Jaguars had a fearsome defensive line that nobody wanted to deal with. But Marcel Dareus was a cap casualty while Calais Campbell was traded to Baltimore to help free up cap. Looking to replenish the defense the Jaguars could turn to TCU and bring in Blacklock. A stout defender Blacklock shows the toughness and strength to hold the point of attack while also showing the burst needed to create penetration.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Philadelphia has to address the wide receiver position that was such an epic mess this past year with injuries to Desean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery and others that caused them to go out and have to rely on street free agents. While the Eagles would love to get someone like Henry Ruggs, he’s likely gone by this point. Instead Philadelphia could turn to Justin Jefferson who was a big cog in LSU’s rise to a National Championship. Jefferson worked mainly out of the slot at LSU and could be an upgrade over Nelson Agholor who struggled with inconsistency.
22. Minnesota Vikings: Josh Jones, OT, Houston (From Buffalo)
Minnesota chose to go with center Garrett Bradbury with the 18th pick over left tackle Andre Dillard leaving left tackle a hole that needs to be filled. Riley Reiff has been manageable but the Vikings would still like to move him inside to guard if they can find the right person to take over at left tackle. That may come here with the athletic Josh Jones. Jones is still a bit raw but his athletic ability and quick feet are a perfect fit for the Vikings zone blocking scheme and would allow Reiff to move inside to guard where he is better suited.
23. New England Patriots: AJ Epenesa, DE, Iowa
While I have AJ Epenesa as one of my top 15 prospects it won’t shock me to see him slide to the back half of the first round because he lacks that explosiveness and bend that you would want out of a top 10 pick. But if he falls down to the Patriots they would be jumping for joy as Epenesa would fit perfectly into the Patriots defensive line as he can play as a DE for them on the edge but also be slid down and rush from the interior. Epenesa could be an upgraded version of Trey Flowers.
24. New Orleans Saints: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
It should be fun to see where Jordan Love goes in the 2020 NFL Draft because he could go as high as the first round but he could also see a bit of a slide if certain teams pass on him. One team to watch is the Saints who have Drew Brees signed on for another run but that may only be one more year. Love is talented but he has some flaws to work on and a year behind Brees could really do him wonders. The real wildcard is Taysom Hill who has been a Swiss Army Knife for the Saints who gave him a first round tender. If the Saints truly believe Hill is their next franchise starter then they could pass on Love, but they also didn’t put him into the starting role when Brees got hurt this past year.
25. Minnesota Vikings: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
We all know that Mike Zimmer loves to draft cornerbacks and with Trae Waynes and Mackenzie Alexander now with the Bengals and Xavier Rhodes released, the need is even greater. Diggs bounced back from an injury to once again prove that he is one of the top cornerbacks in college football showing good athletic with plus speed and ball skills. The only tripping point is that Diggs is the younger brother of Stefon who the Vikings recently traded. This could come in to play, but it wouldn’t shock me if the Vikings still made the move.
26. Miami Dolphins: Grant Delpit, S, LSU (from Houston)
As a sophomore Grant Delpit was an elite safety that was a big time playmaker and considered to be a potential top five overall pick. A high ankle sprain limited Delpit as a junior but was back to his old ways in the College Football Playoff. Miami would be hoping Delpit could get back to his old ways and be the versatile safety who can play at all three levels both in coverage and in stopping the run.
27. Seattle Seahawks: K’Lavon Chaisson, OLB, LSU
Both Jadeveon Clowney and Ezekiah Ansah are still free agents and it wouldn’t shock me for the Seahawks to bring back both of them for another year, but they need to add a young athletic pass rusher to fit into the Leo position. Injuries have cost Chaisson his sophomore year and good chunks of his junior season. But when Chaisson is on he shows the explosiveness and athletic ability needed to thrive as a pass rusher. Those traits also make him a great fit on the weak side in Seattle.
28. Baltimore Ravens: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
In the history of the Baltimore Ravens they’ve been known for good defense and a big part of that was the play of their middle linebackers. From Ray Lewis to Bart Scott to CJ Mosley, they always had someone there to hold down the middle. But with Mosley signing with the Jets the Ravens don’t have that guy anymore as Patrick Onwuasor is solid but not the elite guy they are used to. Queen is an ultra athlete at linebacker that can fly sideline to sideline to make plays but also shows the ability to match up with tight ends and running backs.
29. Tennessee Titans: Adam Trautman, TE, Dayton
Tight end didn’t seem like a major need but the release of Delanie Walker leaves an opening on the roster and as a safety value for Ryan Tannehill and the Titans offense. Trautman is a small school player but he plays a big game oftentimes looking like a man among boys while on the field. At 6’5 255lbs Truatman was one of the best athletic tight ends at the Combine but shows the body control and soft hands to be a playmaker in the NFL.
30. Green Bay Packers: Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
When the Packers were at their all time best with Aaron Rodgers he had an elite downfield threat in Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb in the slot and James Jones working the intermediate routes. Nowadays the Packers have Davonte Adams and that is it. Sure is one of the top receivers in the league but if a team is able to neutralize him Green Bay’s passing attack turns mediocre. One player they could look to target is Denzel Mims. Mims was the star of the NFL Scouting Combine with his combination of size and a 4.38 40 yard dash. Mims is more than just a tall fast receiver but he could provide the downfield element to compliment Adams and to go with Rodgers and the back shoulder fade.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Cesar Ruiz, C, Michigan
Without a ton of needs the 49ers have the options but one area that they could choose to address is the interior of their offensive line. While Michigan’s offense didn’t set the world on fire this past season, it wasn’t Ruiz’s fault. Center is a bit of a need with Weston Richburg coming off an injury and could use Ruiz’s athletic traits well in their zone based rushing attack.
32. Kansas City Chiefs: Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State
If any team is embracing the new NFL it’s the Kansas City Chiefs who have invested weapons around Patrick Mahomes and knows that with their high powered offense they need a defense that can play with a lead. That also means they don’t need shut down corners and instead need a strong front four since their opponents will be passing more to play catch up. That’s why getting another pass rusher to pair with Frank Clark would be a big help. Gross-Matos is a long athletic defensive end that is great at getting into the backfield.