Early 2020 NFL Mock Draft: 1st and 2nd Rounds
The top 20 draft picks are locked in and what a ride it was to get here!
- The Bengals’ front office decided to play the entire season with 52 men and pay A.J. Green to watch. If you don’t believe me, the Patriots can supply video evidence.
- Miami managed to win more games than the Patriots after Week 7 and still lock up a top-five pick.
- The Steelers traded their first-round pick in an attempt to make a playoff run with a quarterback who was eventually replaced by a duck, or something like that. Saw it on Twitter. Has to be real.
- The Bears were able to secure a top-15 pi… oh wait, no. Hold on. They are drafting Khalil Mack again. A kicker away amirite, Chicago?
- Tampa Bay secured their top-20 pick on the back of Jameis’ season that should be an ESPN special in no time.
- Cam Newton lost his job to that Play60 kid resulting in the seventh pick.
- Giants managed to look like the Greatest Show on Turf for one week so they would not have to roster another generational talent.
To say the least, this was an exciting regular season. Now it’s the fun part. The following is my first attempt of the year predicting what moves teams will make in the draft so they can reach the playoffs and avoid this sort of recap in 2020!
1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow (QB – LSU)
Joe Burrow is currently in the midst of the greatest season we have ever witnessed a college QB deliver. His development over the last 18 months has been mind-boggling. He has displayed a very good combination of accuracy, touch, arm strength, and pocket awareness. Pair that with great leadership traits and the Bengals should have themselves a franchise QB for the next decade.
2. Washington Redskins: Chase Young (Edge – Ohio State)
The Redskins should have had this card ready to be taken to the podium the second they locked up the No. 2 pick. Young is the most talented player in this draft. His size, play strength, burst off the line of scrimmage, and overall technique makes him one of the best edge defenders to come out of college over the last 10 years. Putting him opposite Montez Sweat will provide the Redskins with a formidable pass rush duo for years to come.
3. Detroit Lions: Jeffrey Okudah (CB – Ohio State)
The Detroit Lions faced a barrage of injuries to key players throughout the season leading to a very underwhelming season. The silver lining to the 17 weeks of suffering is having the ability to select cornerback Jeffrey Okudah out of Ohio State. Okudah is a rare talent at corner. He has smooth footwork, loose hips, great athleticism, and has a high football IQ/instincts. Pairing him with Darius Slay will give the rest of the NFC North teams fits.
4. New York Giants: Isaiah Simmons (LB/S – Clemson)
The Giants could go a few different routes with this pick including trading out of it. However, if they do keep the pick I believe Isaiah Simmons is the pick. The team recently announced they have moved on from their head coach, but they will keep their GM Dave Gettleman. Isaiah Simmons is exactly the type of player Gettleman likes to pick. Simmons will bring position versatility, off the charts athleticism for his size, and playmaking ability for a defense that needs it. I’m not sure what position Simmons will play at the next level. I just know if your team is on defense you want him out there somewhere. He is a special talent.
5. Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa (QB – Alabama)
This pick is where things could get very interesting. The only way I see this being the pick is if Tua has a successful recovery with no setbacks. He is on pace to being cleared a few weeks before the draft. If that happens and he holds a private workout to show he is healthy, I believe the Dolphins jump all over him here or even trade up using their other draft capital. I am going to think positive thoughts and say that he has a successful recovery and will be ready to go. When healthy, Tua is the best QB in this draft. He brings very good touch and accuracy, sufficient arm strength, and good footwork and mobility. His major red flag is that he is injury prone. Even before the hip injury, he had multiple ankle injuries, but when he is right he is a franchise QB.
6. Los Angeles Chargers: Jedrick Wills (OT – Alabama)
The LA Chargers have a lot to figure out this offseason such as who is the QB, what to do with Gordon and how can they rebuild their offensive line. They start to work on the last item by drafting Jedrick Wills from Alabama. Wills played right tackle for the Tide but has the ability to play either side of the offensive line. Where he plays in LA will depend on if the Chargers move on from Russell Okung this offseason after an injury-plagued 2019. Either way, Wills will bring tenacity, plenty of play strength, and sufficient athleticism to the team.
7. Carolina Panthers: Andrew Thomas (OT – Georgia)
The Panthers need help along their entire offensive line. Help comes in the form of offensive tackle Andrew Thomas from Georgia. Thomas could line up at tackle or guard at the next level; guard being his best position I project. Thomas is built like a guard and also played like one. His short, choppy pass set, athleticism, and ability to work his way to the second level to wall off LBs could be a huge help at guard for a team that rosters the most dangerous RB in the NFL.
8. Arizona Cardinals: CeeDee Lamb (WR – Oklahoma)
I could easily see the Cardinals go offensive line here to help protect their young franchise QB, but if the draft falls how I have it projected the Cardinals will just miss out on the two best linemen. Instead, they turn to another form of help for their QB. CeeDee is not my #1 WR, but his physical style of play after the catch, good hands, and his connection with Kyler Murray stemming from being teammates at Oklahoma make this a great match. This move would give Murray a reliable #1 target that he should have trust in the day Lamb arrives at the team facility.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Derrick Brown (IDL – Auburn)
Jacksonville comes into the draft with two first-round picks after the Ramsey trade. They use their first pick to select the dominant interior defensive lineman from Auburn, Derrick Brown. Brown can play anywhere from nose tackle to 5 technique. His position versatility along with his great play strength, ability to stuff the run, collapse the pocket, and eat up blockers will give the Jaguars a three-down difference-maker along their defensive line to pair with an aging Calais Campbell.
10. Cleveland Browns: Tristan Wirfs (OT – Iowa)
Cleveland came into the season as the second most popular bet to win the Super Bowl this season. Since then they have shown exactly how important line play is in the NFL. It is hard to see the Browns go any direction besides offensive line with this pick. Wirfs from Iowa is the best player available for them. He played on the right side at Iowa, but he has the footwork and positional athleticism to play either side. He has good hand usage and doesn’t get caught overextending on his blocks. He will be an important part of the Cleveland turnaround this offseason.
11. New York Jets: Jerry Jeudy (WR – Alabama)
Whether the Jets decide to keep Adam Gase or not, getting Sam Darnold a #1 receiver needs to be a top priority for the Jets this offseason. Jeudy is my WR1 and would be gone already if it wasn’t for the familiarity between Lamb and Murray. The Jets get a big-time steal here by taking a top 5 player at 11. Jeudy is a very good route runner, has great feet, good play speed, and can create separation that will help Darnold with his development. This pick will also have a domino effect as it will allow Robby Anderson to be the #2 giving him better matchups resulting in a better passing game overall.
12. Las Vegas Raiders (That’s going to take a minute to get used to): Henry Ruggs (WR – Alabama)
The Raiders need a lot of help on both sides of the ball to take that next step towards being a playoff team. I would not be surprised if they reached for a QB here, but I think they instead look to help their current QB. Ruggs will be the fastest player in the NFL as soon as he is drafted. Very few NFL teams will have a defender fast enough to be able to play with him. He has the ability to take any reception to the house and Mike Mayock being in charge also lends an explanation to this pick. During his first draft as GM, he demonstrated a knack for going to big programs, like Clemson, to get his players. He returns to the well with this selection.
13. Indianapolis Colts: Javon Kinlaw (IDL – South Carolina)
The Colts need help on the interior of their defensive line, but this could be viewed as more of a best player available type pick. Kinlaw is an impact player along the defensive line. His explosiveness and quickness off the ball will wreak havoc for the Colts.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: A.J. Epenesa (DE – Iowa)
This pick will hinge heavily on the decision to keep Winston or not. If they move on from him then I would predict this pick to be Justin Herbert, Jacob Eason, or Jordan Love. If Winston is kept then Epenesa would be a great pick. He would be able to step right in at DE. Epenesa could add even more size to his frame and fill a J.J. Watt type role along the Bucs’ 3-4 defense with his explosiveness, hand usage, and pass rush ability.
15. Denver Broncos: C.J. Henderson (CB – Florida)
Henderson would fit right into the Broncos’ aggressive defense. He has the athleticism to play man to man with most receivers and the length to make up for times when he isn’t quite athletic enough. He also plays with a confidence and swagger similar to Chris Harris.
16. Atlanta Falcons: K’Lavon Chaisson (Edge – LSU)
If you keep throwing picks at pass rushers one will eventually stick. You can never have enough pass rushers anyways. Chaisson would be a great selection for any pass-rush-needy team. He has improved all season at LSU while demonstrating the strength to set the edge in the run game and the pass rush ability to be on the field all three downs for the Falcons.
17. Dallas Cowboys: Grant Delpit (S – LSU)
Delpit would be an instant upgrade for the Dallas secondary. A lot of his traits would project him to be selected even earlier, but he has struggled to tackle at times. That is not a weakness you want to have when you seem to play better the closer you get to the line of scrimmage. However, when it comes down to it his athletic ability, aggressiveness, and improving ability to cover will be too tempting to pass up at 17.
18. Miami Dolphins: Tyler Biadasz (C – Wisconsin)
With their second pick of the first round, the Dolphins look to provide as much protection as they can for their new franchise QB by selecting Tyler Biadasz. Biadasz will step right into the starter role. He is a smart player who will be able to make protection calls and lead the offensive line. Biadasz will be a cornerstone of the Dolphins’ rebuild efforts.
19. Las Vegas Raiders (Still weird): Yetur Gross-Matos (Edge – Penn State)
The Raiders need to improve their pass rush. Their young players are making strides, but you can never have enough pass rushers. The Raiders follow that train of thought and add the best one available in Yetur Gross-Matos.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars: Paulson Adebo (CB – Stanford)
The Jaguars’ defense has fallen off since their dominating performance en route to the AFC Championship game a few years ago. We helped the front seven with their first pick. Now we help the back end of the defense with the addition of Paulson Adebo. Adebo should be able to slide right into a starting role and demonstrate his physicality, length, and ball skills while playing on the outside.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: Laviska Shenault (WR – Colorado)
The Eagles are heading into the playoffs with their starting receivers being a second-round rookie and a former college QB. Even with Jeffery back, the team needs a lot of help at receiver. Shenault would provide them with a swiss army knife type player. He will primarily play receiver, but will also be able to get involved in the run game with jet sweeps or lining up in the backfield for handoffs. Versatile player for a versatile play-caller.
22. Tennessee Titans: Justin Herbert (QB – Oregon)
Tannehill has played very well, but after a potential franchise tag, his price may outweigh his value. It would be smart for the Titans to have the next QB already on the team learning and developing. Herbert is currently QB3 in this draft for me and with a year to develop could have a similar performance as Tannehill with a much cheaper price tag.
23. Buffalo Bills: Tee Higgins (WR – Clemson)
The Bills have a good roster but have a glaring hole at WR1. Higgins would provide them with a field-stretching, big target that would help Allen make the next jump in his career. Nobody can elevate like Higgins can to bring down the 50/50 balls. He plays similar to A.J. Green and, if he can get close to as impactful as Green, the Bills would be able to field an extremely competitive football team in 2020.
24. Minnesota Vikings: Kristian Fulton (CB – LSU)
The Vikings need to improve their secondary this offseason. Xavier Rhodes is no longer the shutdown corner he was in the past. The team needs to make moves that will allow them to move on from him. Kristian Fulton could provide them with the ability to do just that. Fulton is at his best when he can play man to man and use his good technique and reactive athleticism to make plays for a defense. Fulton and Harrison Smith in the same defensive backfield will give the Vikings the building blocks they need to make the changes they want to see on defense.
25. Miami Dolphins: Jonathan Taylor (RB – Wisconsin)
The Dolphins managed to get their hands on three first-round picks and will use them all to improve their offense. Their final first-round pick will be my RB1, Jonathan Taylor. Taylor will be able to come in and handle the workload for the Dolphins and take the pressure off Tua. He has the size and speed combination along with good agility for his size and improved receiving skills to be able to be with Tua in the backfield on every down.
26. Seattle Seahawks: Creed Humphrey (C – Oklahoma)
Adding Humphrey should instantly improve an offensive line unit that has had trouble protecting Wilson over the past few years. Humphrey is very good at winning with leverage and strength in the run game and has the experience and mental make up to handle pass protection assignments. This type of draft pick would improve the entire offense.
27. New England Patriots: Brycen Hopkins (TE – Purdue)
Whether Brady returns for the 2020 season or not, this season has shown that the offense is not nearly as successful without a TE who can create mismatches in the passing game. Hopkins will provide the mismatch that the Patriots are missing are in the passing game, and if Brady does retire or surprisingly go and play somewhere else, Hopkins would be a nice security blanket for Jarrett Stidham.
28. Kansas City Chiefs: Shaun Wade (CB – Ohio State)
The Chiefs defense has shown improvement, but need to continue to improve their secondary this offseason. Shaun Wade is one of the less-experienced corners in this draft being a redshirt sophomore, but the tools he will bring are too strong to pass over. He offers good size, aggressiveness in coverage and versus the run, and short-area quickness that would translate well to the slot corner position in the NFL. Mathieu, Wade, and Thornhill will be the core of an up and coming defensive backfield.
29. New Orleans Saints: Jalen Reagor (WR – TCU)
Michael Thomas is coming off one of the greatest performances by a receiver in NFL history. Behind him, there is not much to be seen on the depth chart. Reagor would add an element of speed and quickness that the team is missing. Whether Brees is back in 2020 or another QB is at the wheel, Reagor would be able to make an impact.
30. Green Bay Packers: Kenneth Murray (LB – Oklahoma)
The Packers need to inject more speed into the front seven of their defense. Murray brings plenty of that to the table. He also would provide an improvement to the pass coverage of the defense and aggressiveness in the run game. Murray can pair with Martinez in the base defense and take over when the Packers go with one ILB because of his superior athleticism.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Trevon Diggs (CB – Alabama)
The defensive backfield hasn’t been bad for the 49ers, but it needs an injection of youth. Sherman is playing at a high level, but will need to be replaced soon. Diggs has the athleticism and length to play with anybody and also has the read and react abilities while in zone to fit with any team’s scheme. He should be able to see the field early and often in his rookie season.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Terrell Lewis (Edge – Alabama)
Following the “Can’t have enough pass rushers” idea, the Ravens grab one with the last pick of the first round. They have youth at the position, but Bowser and Ferguson are not playing up to their potential. Lewis brings surprising athleticism, very good length, and good pass rush abilities to the team.
33. Cincinnati Bengals: Trey Smith (IOL – Tennessee)
34. Indianapolis Colts: Jacob Eason (QB – Washington)
35. Detroit Lions: Julian Okwara (Edge – Notre Dame)
36. New York Giants: A.J. Terrell (CB – Clemson)
37. Los Angeles Chargers: Jordan Love (QB – Utah State)
38. Carolina Panthers: Trey Adams (OT – Washington)
39. Miami Dolphins: Austin Jackson (OT – USC)
40. Arizona Cardinals: D’Andre Swift (RB – Georgia)
41. Cleveland Browns: Xavier McKinney (S – Alabama)
42. Jacksonville Jaguars: Justin Jefferson (WR – LSU)
43. Chicago Bears: Jake Fromm (QB – Georgia)
44. Indianapolis Colts: Devonta Smith (WR – Alabama)
45. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: J.K. Dobbins (RB – Ohio State)
46. Denver Broncos: Alex Leatherwood (OT – Alabama)
47. Atlanta Falcons: Raekwon Davis (IDL – Alabama)
48. New York Jets: Curtis Weaver (Edge – Boise State)
49. Pittsburgh Steelers: Hunter Bryant (TE – Washington)
50. Chicago Bears: Nick Harris (IOL – Washington)
51. Dallas Cowboys: Marvin Wilson (IDL – Florida State)
52. Los Angeles Rams: Prince Tega Wanogho (OT – Auburn)
53. Philadelphia Eagles: Bryce Hall (CB – Virginia)
54. Tennessee Titans: Neville Gallimore (IDL – Oklahoma)
55. Buffalo Bills: Zack Baun (Edge – Wisconsin)
56. Minnesota Vikings: Justin Madubuike (IDL – Texas A&M)
57. Houston Texans: Chuba Hubbard (RB – Oklahoma State)
58. Seattle Seahawks: Alton Robinson (Edge – Syracuse)
59. Atlanta Falcons: Travis Etienne (RB – Clemson)
60. Kansas City Chiefs: Malik Harrison (ILB – Ohio State)
61. Miami Dolphins: Jaylon Johnson (CB – Utah)
62. Green Bay Packers: Brandon Aiyuk (WR – Arizona State)
63. Seattle Seahawks: Ashtyn Davis (S – California)
64. Baltimore Ravens: Antonio Gandy-Golden (WR – Liberty)
10 Notable Players Remaining
- Jalen Hurts (QB – Oklahoma)
- K.J. Hamler (WR – Penn State)
- Tyler Johnson (WR – Minnesota)
- Darryl Williams (IOL – Texas A&M)
- Lucas Niang (OT – TCU)
- Hamsah Nasirildeen (S – Florida State)
- Jeff Gladney (CB – TCU)
- Tylan Wallace (WR – Oklahoma State)
- Zack Moss (RB – Utah)
- Jabari Zuniga (Edge – Florida)