Mark Johnson’s Final 2020 NFL Mock Draft
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Here we are! Less than one week from the Draft. Anticipation is high. The first six picks seem almost locked in, but from there who knows. It is going to be a wild NFL Draft. With the current shutdown going on, it seems like game film will be a larger factor in where people get drafted than ever before since in-depth and up-to-date medical information can’t be received. So, with that being said one would think that the draft media would have a great shot at being more accurate than ever before, but not so fast my friend!
One NFL GM has been quoted saying “the media is wronger about mock drafts this year than you guys have ever been.” Now, I’m writing this introduction after writing everything else and I have to say… I don’t think I’ve ever been “righter.” If you disagree with my picks that is completely fine. Just remember, your prediction may be “more righter” than what I predict in the end, but we are all allegedly more “wronger” than ever before.
Now if any of you survived the brain aneurysm that the last paragraph just caused, enjoy my final mock draft of this draft season!
1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow (QB – LSU)
This was the pick in January. It’s the pick today. Joe Burrow no matter what. This is as easy as it can get. Plug him in with that predominantly young offense and let them grow together. Nothing else needs to be said.
2. Washington Redskins: Chase Young (Edge – Ohio State)
If Tua was perfectly healthy we would have something to really consider here if they went the whole draft cycle without trading the pick. However, with the injuries and reports that a few teams took Tua off their board, this pick is as automatic as Joe Burrow at 1. Redskins take the best player in the draft and add him to what looks like could be one of the best front sevens in football.
3. Detroit Lions: Jeff Okudah (CB – Ohio State)
With the trading away of Darius Slay, the Lions all but locked themselves into this pick. I wouldn’t be shocked if they went Simmons, but Desmond Trufant can’t be your CB1. Okudah has all the tools you want at corner. Size, length, hips, and reactive athleticism all grade out very highly. He is ready to come in and play man to man right away. That is great for the Lions as they were in the top three for most heavily used man coverage teams.
4. New York Giants: Isaiah Simmons (LB – Clemson)
This is the toughest pick in the top four. Everything in my head says to go with an offensive tackle. However, the Giants have a ton of needs to fill so I see them taking the best player available. That is Isaiah Simmons at LB. Of the two units, the defense is behind the offense. Simmons is a massive chess piece that can play in the slot, play LB, or play safety. These types of players don’t come around every year.
5. Miami Dolphins: Justin Herbert (QB – Oregon)
The Dolphins front office has spent the last two years doing their homework on Herbert. I don’t believe Herbert is more talented overall than Tua, but the injury concerns are too much to overlook. Herbert does have plenty of talent to warrant this selection though. He has the arm to make every throw, the accuracy to hit tight windows, and the dual-threat ability to force the defense to account for him as a runner.
6. Los Angeles Chargers: Tua Tagovailoa (QB – Alabama)
It is either offensive tackle or QB. In the end, I think it is Tua. They have a great setup so that Tua can have the whole year to recover completely while Tyrod Taylor runs the offense in 2020. Tua has gone and gotten cleared by a third party doctor, but teams likely won’t put much stock into that since it isn’t their team doctors. If Tua can shake the injury bug I think he could be a franchise QB for years to come.
7. Carolina Panthers: Derrick Brown (IDL – Auburn)
Brown is an absolute force. He will be able to step right in and anchor the defensive line for the Panthers for years to come. With the loss of Keuchly it will be important to have a guy up front who can take up blocks and also create his own pressure and disruption. Reports have been coming out that the Panthers and Cardinals have a ton of interest in Brown. Panthers pounce on the chance to lock him up just before the Cardinals can.
8. Arizona Cardinals: Jedrick Wills Jr. (OT – Alabama)
Arizona takes the Derrick Brown selection at 7 in stride and turns their attention to the best offensive tackle in the draft. This is a great fit for both the team and the player. The Cardinals signed D.J. Humphries to a contract extension. With him holding down the left side, Wills can come in and instead of having to learn the technique for left tackle he can slide right into the right tackle spot and hold it down for the next decade.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars: CJ Henderson (CB – Florida)
Henderson has picked up a ton of interest over the last couple of weeks. He has always been considered a top-three cornerback, but until this past week, he hasn’t been considered a top 10 pick. With the other defensive studs gone, I think the Jaguars attempt to fill the void left by Bouye and Ramsey with Henderson. Henderson has all the tools and traits you could want. He will just have to improve on his tackling, but from day one Henderson should be able to step into a starting CB role.
10. Cleveland Browns: Tristan Wirfs (OT – Iowa)
This is the best-case scenario for the Browns. With the tenth pick, they still have three of the top four offensive tackles to choose from. With the tenth pick, they select the most athletic of the bunch in Tristan Wirfs. Wirfs will come right in and hold down the left tackle position. Even in a worst-case scenario, Wirfs could slide inside to guard and be a franchise guard for a decade.
11. New York Jets: Mekhi Becton (OT – Louisville)
If this type of scenario plays out it will be interesting to see what the Jets decide to do. They can focus on protecting their QB or giving their QB weapons. To me, this is a no-brainer. You have to protect your QB first and foremost. With that said the Jets go with the tackle with the most upside. That is the beast of a man named Mekhi Becton. Becton’s film is a little too up and down for me to consider him as one of the first two linemen off the board, but with the top two gone, it is a perfect time to go after the high upside.
12. Las Vegas Raiders: Jerry Jeudy (WR – Alabama)
The Raiders use their first of two first-round picks to lock up their WR1. I can see this being a tough choice for Mayock and the Raiders as Henry Ruggs III has more uncoachable traits and is still available. However, with a player like Tyrell Williams on the roster already, the Raiders don’t really need a deep threat. Jeudy fits better in my eyes as he is a great route runner and creates plenty of separation for Carr to target.
13. San Francisco 49ers: Henry Ruggs III (WR – Alabama)
This seems almost unfair. Ruggs paired with Deebo will be one of the best young duos in the NFL. Ruggs’ speed, hands, and underrated route running will be tough to cover while also giving attention to Samuel and one of the best run games in the NFL all at the same time. A setup like this should make Ruggs a player in Rookie of the Year races and possible Pro Bowl considerations. It should also keep them firmly in Super Bowl contention.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Andrew Thomas (OT – Georgia)
The Buccaneers would be screaming into their live stream if Andrew Thomas is still available. Thomas would be the perfect piece to add to the offense. I believe Thomas is a franchise tackle, but worst-case scenario, he is a Pro-Bowl-caliber guard. He will both be able to protect Brady and also open up lanes for a running game still trying to figure out its starter. This selection could push Tampa Bay’s offensive expectations even higher.
15. Denver Broncos: CeeDee Lamb (WR – Oklahoma)
The Broncos will jump at the chance to lock up one of the best receivers in the draft at pick 15 if given the chance. Lamb paired with Courtland Sutton will create some of the best contested ball duos in the league and both are exceptionally difficult to bring down after the catch. Drew Lock and the Broncos would have one of the best looking young core of offensive players in the league. We would find out very quick if Lock is the guy or not for Denver with that offense.
16. Atlanta Falcons: Javon Kinlaw (IDL – South Carolina)
The Falcons are probably the team most likely to trade up for a player they want. However, in this scenario, a player that could really help them falls right to them at 16. Kinlaw will be able to provide length, quickness, and strength along the defensive line. Kinlaw is on the raw side, but he has one of the highest ceilings in the draft. A lot of teams have focused more on getting pressure on the QB through the interior of the defensive line this offseason and that is what the Falcons mimic here.
17. Dallas Cowboys: Kristian Fulton (CB – LSU)
Dallas has to look to the defensive side of the football early in the 2020 Draft. When you look at who is left my highest rated player that I believe fits them is Kristian Fulton. Dallas needs to figure out a way to create turnovers; especially interceptions after finishing in the bottom five each of the last five years in turnovers. They address that by adding the aggressive corner out of LSU.
18. Miami Dolphins: K’Lavon Chaisson (Edge – LSU)
Miami is back up to bat and with their second pick in the first round, they flip to the defense. At this point, it is more of a best player available pick because they have so many holes. Chaisson has one of the highest ceilings in this draft. The reason he is still around is that his traits haven’t delivered a ton of production besides this past season. However, when you watch through his film you can see that he improved on a weekly basis. I expect him to be a much better professional than college player.
19. Las Vegas Raiders: A.J. Terrell (CB – Clemson)
Terrell has been picking up a ton of steam lately. He ended the college season not in the best way and people looked way too far into that one game. Terrell matches what Mayock looks for in his prospects way too much to pass up on. His length and athleticism combination along with how well he reads and reacts as well as mirrors routes make him a great addition to a rebuilding Raiders secondary.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars: Kenneth Murray (LB – Oklahoma)
At this point, I would say that it is a no go on the idea of Telvin Smith returning to the team. So, it is time for the Jaguars to move on and find the new centerpiece of their defense. Murray will come in right away and lead the unit. He is a great leader who will be able to raise the level of play of the guys around him and will own the box against the run and I expect him to develop more in his pass coverage. Murray will help establish a new culture post- Coughlin.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: Xavier McKinney (S – Alabama)
It was hard to not go Justin Jefferson here, but receiver is much deeper than the safety class this year. The Eagles need a new leader in their secondary after the loss of Malcolm Jenkins to the Saints. They address that with the addition of Xavier McKinney out of Alabama. McKinney can make an impact at all three levels of the field. He can play deep, in the slot, and is a reliable tackler against the run and pass games.
22. Minnesota Vikings: Justin Jefferson (WR – LSU)
Out with the disgruntled, in with the new. Jefferson is a smart, savvy route runner who can play in the slot or wide. Jefferson doesn’t have a physical trait that absolutely blows you away, but what he wins with is his intelligence. He is a nuanced route runner and knows how to adjust his route to create the most separation for his QB and has reliable hands. He would be a perfect fit for Kirk Cousins.
23. New England Patriots: A.J. Epenesa (Edge – Iowa)
A.J. Epenesa might have been built just to play for the New England Patriots. He is a blue-collar, hardworking edge defender who doesn’t win with great athleticism. He wins through his high motor and really good hand use and overall strength. I also just described roughly 75% of previous Patriots defenders that outperformed expectations. Epenesa looks to be up next.
24. New Orleans Saints: Patrick Queen (LB – LSU)
This is almost a luxury pick for the team that has been given the Most Loaded Team in April Award. Queen will add extra juice and speed to the Saints’ LB corp. He is definitely raw and has to work on his strength to be able to get off blocks more consistently, but he should be able to make a nice impact for the Saints’ pass defense as he develops those traits to make himself a complete LB.
25. Minnesota Vikings: Cesar Ruiz (IOL – Michigan)
Minnesota needs to look to improve their offensive line play. Pat Elfein really struggled at guard this past season. While Ruiz played center at Michigan I am confident that he can handle the switch to guard smoothly. It looks like this season, for the Vikings, will revolve around the offense more after all the losses on their defense. They need to embrace that and look to strengthen the offense however they can early. An impactful guard should be able to help both the run and pass game.
26. Miami Dolphins: Josh Jones (OT – Houston)
Miami continues its rebuild by protecting their new franchise QB with the selection of OT Josh Jones. At this point, Josh Jones is a much stronger and natural pass protector than he is a run blocker. It will be important to make Herbert feel comfortable and confident while he is in the pocket and Jones will be able to do that. It will be interesting to see what type of running game Chan Gailey brings with him to Miami. I believe Jones would fit best in a zone-heavy league.
27. Seattle Seahawks: Yetur Gross-Matos (Edge – Penn State)
With Jadeveon Clowney still a free agent, it is looking less and less likely they will bring him back. The reason he hasn’t signed elsewhere is that teams can’t check out his health. Of all the teams the Seahawks should have the clearest idea on it and they haven’t made an offer to him that intrigues him at least. So, to patch that hole look for the to add an edge defender with length, similar to Clowney. I see that being Yetur Gross-Matos from Penn State. YGM is another raw edge defender who has the traits to work with; he just needs to be further coached up because he doesn’t have a lot of football under his belt. It is because of that that I believe the Seahawks will buy into his potential similar to LJ Collier last season.
28. Baltimore Ravens: Jonathan Taylor (RB – Wisconsin)
As a fantasy football player, I dream about this pick. It might be great instantly as Mark Ingram is still there, but workload and fumbles have been Taylor’s biggest downfalls. Giving him a year to adjust while still seeing a good chunk of work should lead to a dominant feature role at least through the rest of his rookie contract. The Ravens added key pieces to their defense this offseason. Now it is time to push the offense even farther. Taylor was built for this.
29. Tennessee Titans: Jeff Gladney (CB – TCU)
This would actually be a bit of a slide for Gladney. There are a few teams above that should have interest in him, but they went with other options in this scenario. Instead, the Titans get to add the aggressive press-man corner. Gladney would be a huge get for a team that has to face the 300 different slot-sized receivers in Houston, Ty Hilton in Indy, and D.J. Chark in Jacksonville. Gladney has some Jaire Alexander to his game. He should be able to challenge Jackson and Butler for their spots as well as be able to play in the slot right away.
30. Green Bay Packers: Brandon Aiyuk (WR – Arizona State)
Rodgers needs help. The tough part is finding a rookie that can do that. It is tough to build a connection between QB and WR. Rodgers relies heavily on trusting his receivers and if he doesn’t trust them he doesn’t target them. Same with a lot of QBs. So, with this pick, the Packers add one of the best receivers in the draft when he has the ball in his hands. Aiyuk is a very explosive receiver. He is best when he can get the ball quick and make things happen. He is built for today’s RPOs. Of all the remaining receivers, Aiyuk has the best athletic tools and hands to offer Rodgers and the best skillset for Rodgers to trust while still developing his route running.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Noah Igbinoghene (CB – Auburn)
This pick has a great chance of being traded since the 49ers lack picks in the next few rounds. If they keep the pick I believe they address their secondary. They have a very good unit, but it has some aging players. To maintain their dominance they should look to add talent now instead of when it is a dire need. Noah I would be a nice addition to the unit. He is another aggressive corner who does a nice job in man coverage. He can mirror receivers well and he isn’t afraid to fill against the run.
32. Kansas City Chiefs: Zack Baun (Edge – Wisconsin)
The popular opinion around draft media is that this will be an RB, but with it being such a deep class and only one gone so far it is best to pass in round one. Instead, the Chiefs look to help their defense with a versatile defender. Baun has the first step and flexibility to create pressure off the edge, but it may be best if he transitions more to off-ball linebacker. He doesn’t have the body type to hold up on the edge every down. What he does have is good agility and fluidity in his hips to drop into coverage as well as rush off the edge depending on the situation. Baun could be a nice chess piece for the Super Bowl Champs.
33. Cincinnati Bengals: Austin Jackson (OT – USC)
34. Indianapolis Colts: Jordan Love (QB – Utah State)
35. Detroit Lions: Grant Delpit (S – LSU)
36. New York Giants: Ezra Cleveland (OT – Boise State)
37. Los Angeles Chargers: Lucas Niang (OT – TCU)
38. Carolina Panthers: Jeremy Chinn (S – Southern Illinois)
39. Miami Dolphins: Antoine Winfield Jr. (S – Minnesota)
40. Houston Texans: Denzel Mims (WR – Baylor)
41. Cleveland Browns: Ashtyn Davis (S – California)
42. Jacksonville Jaguars: Ross Blacklock (IDL – TCU)
43. Chicago Bears: Kyle Dugger (S – Lenoir-Rhyne)
44. Indianapolis Colts: Jalen Reagor (WR – TCU)
45. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: D’Andre Swift (RB – Georgia)
46. Denver Broncos: Trevon Diggs (CB – Alabama)
47. Atlanta Falcons: Terrell Lewis (Edge – Alabama)
48. York Jets: Tee Higgins (WR – Clemson)
49. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jacob Eason (QB – Washington)
50. Chicago Bears: Isaiah Wilson (OT – Georgia)
51. Dallas Cowboys: Neville Gallimore (IDL – Oklahoma)
52. Los Angeles Rams: Joshua Uche (Edge – Michigan)
53. Philadelphia Eagles: Laviska Shenault (WR – Colorado)
54. Buffalo Bills: Willie Gay Jr. (LB – Mississippi State)
55. Baltimore Ravens: Michael Pittman Jr. (WR – USC)
56. Miami Dolphins: J.K. Dobbins (RB – Ohio State)
57. Los Angeles Rams: Lloyd Cushenberry III (IOL – LSU)
58. Minnesota Vikings: Damon Arnette (CB – Ohio State)
59. Seattle Seahawks: Matt Hennessy (IOL – Temple)
60. Baltimore Ravens: Jordyn Brooks (LB – Texas Tech)
61. Tennessee Titans: Marlon Davidson (IDL – Auburn)
62. Green Bay Packers: Matt Peart (OT – Connecticut)
63. Kansas City Chiefs: Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB – LSU)
64. Seattle Seahawks: Justin Madubuike (IDL – Texas A&M)