2020 NFL Mock Draft 2.0
It’s been almost a month since my first (and last) mock draft, but I don’t get paid like Mel Kiper or Daniel Jeremiah to do a weekly mock and I also don’t have access to all the insider information floating around the league. The draft is taking place tomorrow (technically today because I’m starting this mock at 12:05 in the morning) and teams are likely still up racing to figure out what to do. This draft is so much more different than years past due to COVID-19. The evaluation of the process, aside from the combine, has been done exclusively online through services like Zoom and Skype. This makes injury-prone prospects like Tua Tagovailoa and Laviska Shenault difficult to really project. Look for only teams with multiple first-round picks (a hint of foreshadowing, perhaps?) to take a chance on these prospects. For a lot of the teams picking towards the top, this could be the draft that could potentially turn a franchise around. This mock reflects what I think SHOULD happen later tonight. I’ve got Draft Day on my TV and a bottle of water sitting next to me. The mood is set. Let’s get to it.
#1: Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
I don’t feel the need to elaborate, so I won’t. Unless the Bengals get an offer that has never been seen before, Burrow will be wearing that gaudy orange with black stripes. The prodigal son returns, Ohio.
#2: Jacksonville Jaguars (Trade from Washington): Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
Jacksonville trades 9th, 20th, 42nd, and Yannick Ngakoue for the 2ndoverall pick
Here’s a hot take: I think Herbert will be better than Burrow in the long run. This isn’t discrediting Burrow at all by the way. He’s extremely talented and I’m sure he will be a very good player in this league. Let’s all be honest though, he’s not perfect. He played two years in Baton Rouge and only one was above average (that’s definitely an understatement). Herbert was a four-year starter in Eugene and has all the intangibles you want in a franchise guy. His biggest “issues” are that he’s not the fire starter that most QBs are and his decision making could use some work. Fortunately for Jacksonville, they have Gardner Minshew who he can sit behind for a year.
#3: Detroit Lions: Chase Young, DE, Ohio State
The best player in the draft falls to 3rd and Matt Patricia couldn’t happier. This pick might have just saved his job. Detroit has no need to trade out of this pick with the best pass rusher arguably in Buckeye’s history locked up.
#4: Miami Dolphins (Trade from New York): Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
Miami trades 5th, 26th, 39th and next year’s 2nd for the 5th overall pick
Desperate times call for desperate measures. The Jags traded up and stole the Charger’s guy and now every team is in panic mode. Miami has been yelling “Tank for Tua” since the kick-off of week 2 last season. The Chargers are desperate for a QB and the Dolphins know it. They’ve also needed one since Dan Marino retired and are even more desperate for one than the Bolts. They also have the draft capital to make this deal happen. With the Giants having needs than can be addressed a pick later, why not extort the ‘Fins for everything they’re worth?
#5: New York Giants (trade with Miami): Jedrick Willis, OT, Alabama
Willis protected Tua’s blindside for two seasons and now heads to do the same for Daniel Jones. The Giants have Nate Solder in place and can take a chance on him getting back to his previous form next season. This allows Willis to play on the right side for a season and develop a little more before becoming the full-time Left Tackle.
#6: Los Angeles Chargers: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
In retrospect, this might be the best thing Anthony Lynn and Co. could ask for. Love is uber-talented with all the arm strength you could ask for. After a year removed from a dominant sophomore season, he regressed as a junior after basically losing every other starter on the offense. He has a chance to go learn behind one of the safest QBs in the league in Tyrod Taylor while also inheriting one of the best offenses (on paper) in the league. Also, seeing Love and Patrick Mahomes sling it down the field against each other for the next 10-15 years sounds amazing.
#7: Carolina Panthers: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State
Selecting a corner that can cover all the talented receivers in this division is exactly what Matt Rhule needs to “rule” this division(I’m so sorry). Okudah fits an immediate need and will be much needed against all the talented wideouts and QBs now calling the NFC South home.
#8: Arizona Cardinals: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
The De’Andre Hopkins trade forces all receivers to drop in this draft. The next step for the Cardinals is to protect Kyler Murray. Becton is a mountain and his film shows very few holes. He’s an incredible athlete for his size and has solid technique which is ideal considering he’ll likely see Nick Bosa twice a year. Seeing this behemoth of a man standing next to Kyler would be hilarious too.
#9: Washington Redskins (Trade from Jacksonville): Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
This is the exact same pick from my last mock draft, just 5 picks later. Ron Rivera gets his freak of a player on his defense to help slow down the potentially potent offenses in the NFC East.
#10: Cleveland Browns: Tristian Wirfs, OT, Iowa
Everything about Wirfs screams toughness. He played in Iowa, he’s a monster of a man that demands the respect of the guy lining up across from him based off technique alone and he just looks like the toughest guy out there. He is Cleveland and it fits their biggest need.
#11: New York Jets: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
Let’s be honest, this isn’t the sexiest pick for Jet’s fans. It would be so easy for me to give them Ceedee Lamb, but Darnold was seeing ghosts last year. Thomas is the best tackle left on the board and can protect Darnold’s blindside for years to come.
#12: Las Vegas Raiders: Ceedee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
Antonio Brown didn’t work out and that is by far the biggest understatement of the previous season. Lamb brings superstar potential without the attitude and drama. Pair him with Tyrell Williams, Hunter Renfrow, Darren Waller and a healthy Josh Jacobs, the Raiders will be looking scary in their first year in Vegas.
#13: San Francisco 49ers (Via Indianapolis Colts): Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
The best pass-rushing interior lineman in the draft replaces arguably the second-best pass-rushing interior lineman in the NFL. This is the perfect situation for the Niners. I had them taking Derrick Brown in my last mock but getting to the QB is one of the most important roles on a defense.
#14: Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
They wanted Kinlaw, but he was too enticing for Indy to pass up. They get the next best thing; an heir apparent to Ndamukong Suh. They are a favorite to trade back into the first round to satisfy one of two positions (could this be foreshadowing for later?).
#15: Denver Broncos: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabamas
The fastest receiver heads to Denver to catch passes from young Drew Locke. He pairs well with Courtland Sutton, Noah Fant, and Melvin Gordan in this likely high-powered offense.
#16: Atlanta Falcons: C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
A lot of new mock drafts have the Falcons trading up to 9th to make this same pick, but I don’t think that’s necessary. Las Vegas is the only team that has the potential of selecting him at 12th but the need for an elite receiver (and the lack of a quarterback being available) is a much bigger need for the Raiders. Henderson is a solid replacement for Desmond Trufant.
#17: Dallas Cowboys: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Henderson was taken from out under the Cowboys and all the other corners on the board have issues that are glaring issues already for the team. There is no interior lineman that deserved to be drafted this high up. Losing out on Emmanuel Sanders stung so picking the best slot receiver in the draft is a home run pick that shows that Jerry means business this year. It should also be said that the Cowboys are in talks to sign Dre Kirkpatrick who is an experienced corner.
#18: Miami Dolphins (Via Pittsburgh): Josh Jackson, OT, USC
Miami is not winning games any time soon. Even after selecting Tua, there are still a plethora of needs on the offensive side of the ball. The best available tackle remaining in Jackson. He’s one of the youngest picks in the draft and has plenty of time to develop, especially considering the Dolphins will probably be struggling for another year or two.
#19: Las Vegas Raiders (Via Chicago): Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
After passing on Henderson, they get the 3rd best guy off the board. A physical corner sounds exactly like something Gruden wants. The Raiders are slowly building one of the better young defenses in the league.
#20: Washington Redskins (Via Jacksonville): K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
After passing on Chase young, Ron Rivera solidifies the depth on his defensive line. Chaisson gets to learn from one of the most consistent pass rushers the leagues seen in years in Ryan Kerrigan. Pairing him with Montez Sweat should have offensive line coaches in the NFC East shaking.
#21: Philadelphia Eagles: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
The Eagles are desperate for a wideout, but in such a deep receiver class, they can afford to wait for a bit. The Eagles will be facing off against three potentially high-powered offenses twice a year for the next several seasons and need a player who can cover sideline-to-sideline. Murray fits that need.
#22: Minnesota Vikings (Via Buffalo): Josh Jones, OT, Houston
The Vikings have needs all over the offensive line, specifically at guard. Since there are no 1st round worthy guards, why not draft a tackle? Coach Zimmer has already talked about moving Riley Reiff to guard so why not get his replacement with their first pick in this round.
#23: New England Patriots: A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa
A piece on the defensive front seven should be the only move that Belicheck should be considering after losing key pieces. Epenesa gives them a toughness with the potential to blossom learning from Belicheck.
#24: New Orleans Saints: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
Queen is a naive kid who played really good football during the end of the Tigers’ previous season. He has the athleticism to play in coverage against the very talented tight ends in the NFC South.
#25: Minnesota Vikings: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
While corner is a need, having someone for Kirk Cousins to throw to is even more important. Higgins is a big body receiver that Cousins can just lop it up to in RedZone situations.
#26: New York Giants (Via Miami): Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
McKinney’s fall ends here. McKinney is probably the best safety in this draft and fell because safety isn’t the biggest need for a lot of teams. Picking a linebacker here would be a reach and the defense is too poor to select a wideout to hear. The Giants have had a hole at safety since Landon Collins left and McKinney fills it while bringing a winning pedigree to a team that hasn’t won in a few years.
#27: Seattle Seahawks: Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State
Jadeveon Clowney remains unsigned, so pass rush is a bit of a question mark. With Gross-Matos, you know what you’re getting; a high-motor pass rusher with not quit and all the physical tools to develop into one of the better pass rushers in a division full of them.
#28: Chicago Bears (Via Baltimore): Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
Chicago trades the 43rd, 196th and the 200th picks for the 28th pick
Oh, how the turntables (the Office pun for those who are unaware). Once regarded as the best defense that the league had seen in almost two decades, carrying a lifeless offense to the playoffs, they took a step back. With little visible holes in the defense, the one apparent one is at their #2 corner spot. Kyle Fuller needs help and Diggs comes in from DBU Version 3 with prototypical size and experience practicing against the best WR core in college football.
#29: Tennessee Titans: Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah
Daniel Jeremiah will NOT shut up about this kid, but it’s easy to see why. He’s a long, physical corner who can run. His biggest issue is creating turnovers which can be covered up for his first few years considering how talented that front seven is on Mike Vrabel’s team. He can be one of the biggest steals in the draft.
#30: Green Bay Packers: Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
Give Aaron Rodgers someone to throw the ball to. I understand he vouches for a lot of guys on the roster, but they aren’t your #2 receiver. Davante Adams can do so much more with another playmaker opposite of him. Mims did just that for the resurgent Bears. He was their best target with speed and plenty of playmaking ability. Planning for life after Rodgers could be a plan here. Jacob Eason is an intriguing option here or in the 2ndor 3rd.
#31: New England Patriots (Via San Francisco): Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame
Patriots trade 2021 2nd round pick and this year’s 87th and 125thfor the 31st pick
It’s not a secret that the Niners are likely trading out of this spot. They don’t have any picks until the middle of day three in the draft and are missing out on quality depth by not trading out of this spot. Don’t be surprised to see the Pats move two 3rds so the Niners can flip them for a second-rounder. The Patriots get the tight end they so desperately sought for last year and the 49ers get the draft capital they want. A win-win situation for both teams.
#32: Kansas City Chiefs: Cesar Ruiz, OL, Michigan
You wouldn’t think that a team that is fresh off a Super Bowl victory would be in need of much, but it was evident in how much they fell behind the Niners that this isn’t true. Their defense could use help, but drafting Ruiz who can play at any interior offensive lineman position fits their second biggest need. Protecting Patrick Mahomes from another patella injury should be their first priority since they’re about to make him the highest-paid player ever seen.
6 potential picks/moves that could shake teams up in the draft:
#1: Dallas drafting Jalen Hurts
Jerry Jones has shown that he wants Dak to bend to his will and sign the contract that he wants him to. If neither side caves, Dak could simply walk. In case that happens, why not draft his clone? I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not much of a Jalen Hurts fan. I’m also not the biggest Dak supporter. Hurts is literally Dak, just more athletic and more adept at throwing the deep ball thanks to spending a year in Lincoln Riley’s offense. He’s shown to be a team player by staying and sitting behind Tua for a year at Alabama after losing his job in the National Championship game. This could be the most enticing move made on day 2 of the draft.
#2: Laviska Shenault to the Dolphins
This is, of course, assuming that they didn’t trade the 39th pick like I mocked them to because I don’t see him dropping to 56. Shenault reminds me of Jarvis Landry in that he’s versatile with the ball in his hands. A receiver that’s built like a running back, Shenault allows the ‘Fins to get creative with their offense as long as he stays healthy. He could be a late 1st round pick.
#3: Chargers deciding they don’t love Love
Pay attention to capitalization folks. Say my mock turns out to be somewhat correct and the trio of Burrow, Herbert, and Tagovailoa are gone before the Chargers are up at 6, it could be possible they pass on Love. Tyrod Taylor has shown the ability to win in this league and should be able to with the offense surrounding him. With the possibility of Isaiah Simmons still being available, the Chargers could easily select him to combat Patrick Mahomes, Drew Locke, and whatever the Raiders have cooking in the desert. If Love falls, look for either the Raiders or Patriots to pick him up.
#4: Chicago reaching for a QB
Even if the front office won’t openly say it, the Bears aren’t sold on Trubisky. He’s shown that he just doesn’t have it. Combine that with the fact that two QBs they could’ve selected 2nd overall are crushing it in this league and they recently traded for journeyman starter Nick Foles and Bears fans nearly want to tear their eyes out. The safe pick would be to trade up and pick Hurts from Oklahoma but Jacob Eason from Washington is an intriguing pick. He’s the prototypical prospect in terms of size and arm talent. I have him listed ahead of Hurts personally, but I think Bears fans would appreciate a gunslinger who has starting experience with two different teams in two very different conferences.
#5: Washington selecting a quarterback
This is one of the most annoying narratives I keep seeing. I think it’s the dumbest thing to pick a quarterback with 1st round picks in back to back years. And yet, I’m continuously seeing this. Arizona frustrated me by taking Kyler after taking Jared Goff, which essentially killed his confidence. I believe Dwayne Haskins is the guy to me in Washington and I hope Ron Rivera sees it too. The selection of Tua would destroy the top of the draft and send teams like Miami, the Chargers, and the Jags straight to the phone to contact the Lions to try and secure the talents of Justin Herbert.
#6: Tampa trading back into the first round
Like I said, there’s no way the Niners are picking at 31. Tampa is a team that could put a package of picks together to secure one of two positions: offensive line or running back. Ezra Cleveland could be the selection, but D’Andre Swift is the more enticing pick. The odds of him being available at the beginning of the second round are slim, so trading up with San Francisco might be the Pat- I mean Bucs best option at securing a franchise running back, something they’ve needed for years.
Draft day is a day I look forward to every year and I’m hurt that we don’t get to experience a 100% authentic one. With all that being said, I’m still ridiculously happy we get to have the draft and I look forward to seeing how accurate my picks are. I hope you all enjoyed!