Mike Tagliere’s NFL Mock Draft 2020 (3.0) – Two Rounds
The mock drafts you’ve seen up until this point don’t matter all that much, as the scenery around the NFL has changed drastically with free agency with star players are leaving their teams left and right, creating needs that didn’t exist before then.
There are still puzzle pieces that will fall and change things, though I hope they don’t come before this article is released. The NFL Draft is still slated to take place from April 23-25, so there’s plenty of time for things to change. I’ll be releasing my final mock draft the week of the draft, which will include the first three rounds. But for now, here’s my best guess at what teams are thinking about right now (not what I’d do).
1.01 Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow (QB – LSU)
(Copy/Paste) Don’t buy the drama leading up to the draft. They want to create a story, we get it, but Burrow will be the starting quarterback for the Bengals come Week 1. Their offense is going to be much better than most realize.
1.02 Washington Redskins: Chase Young (EDGE – Ohio State)
With Ron Rivera in town as the head coach, the Redskins defense is going to become the focal point. We’ve heard whispers about the Redskins potentially looking at Tua here, and while that could be to drum up trade interest, do the Redskins really want to move back and miss out on Young? The quarterback interest could be real but I’m not there just yet.
1.03 Detroit Lions: Jeff Okudah (CB – Ohio State)
After trading away Darius Slay, the Lions need to replace him and Okudah was already someone many projected to the Lions. Okudah will walk into a situation where he’ll be asked to cover Allen Robinson, Davante Adams, and Adam Thielen twice a year.
1.04 New York Giants: Tristan Wirfs (OL – Iowa)
The one-year signing of Cameron Fleming didn’t fix their offensive tackle problems, so the Giants are likely still leaning tackle here. They could also start Wirfs on the interior if they wanted to. While I think Isaiah Simmons should still be on their radar, the three-year deal to Blake Martinez may have eliminated them from that conversation. They should also be open to trading out of this pick.
1.05 Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa (QB – Alabama)
Now that we know Tagovailoa is healthy, the Dolphins may have to trade up to ensure another team doesn’t jump them. In this mock draft, there are no trades, but rumors of the Chargers trading up could be real. The Dolphins have done a great job addressing their defense in free agency and even though their offensive line is far from finished, they’re working on it.
1.06 Los Angeles Chargers: Justin Herbert (QB – Oregon)
The Chargers have passed on some big names available at quarterback in free agency and have decided to look towards the draft. Will they trade in front of Miami to get Tua? There are no trades in this mock, so they have to take Herbert or they’re left without a quarterback.
1.07 Carolina Panthers: Isaiah Simmons (LB – Clemson)
The Panthers should be sprinting up to the podium (or phone, or webpage, etc.) to make this pick, as Simmons is a centerpiece of a defense, and the Panthers are in complete rebuild mode. He can play anywhere you want him to, but inside linebacker is likely where he’ll start.
1.08 Arizona Cardinals: Jedrick Wills (OT – Alabama)
The Cardinals apparently believe they have their long-term solution at left tackle after extending D.J. Humphries, but they still need to add another tackle to be the long-term solution on the other side. Wills is one of the safer picks atop the first-round, which is precisely what the Cardinals need to protect Kyler Murray.
1.09 Jacksonville Jaguars: Derrick Brown (IDL – Auburn)
The Jaguars defense is depleted, and they must start rebuilding through this draft. Brown is the best interior lineman available and it’s not all that close. After losing Marcell Dareus and trading away Calais Campbell, an interior lineman is a necessity, especially when you consider the fact that they allowed 5.1 yards per carry in 2019.
1.10 Cleveland Browns: Andrew Thomas (OT – Georgia)
Many will wonder why the Browns don’t take Mekhi Becton here, but they need someone who is a starter right away. Not that Becton can’t be, but he’s considered much greener than Thomas is. I’ve said before that Thomas is my favorite tackle in this draft and wouldn’t be surprised if he’s the first one off the board, even if there’s not a whole lot of buzz around him.
1.11 New York Jets: Jerry Jeudy (WR – Alabama) Read his in-depth scouting report here
The Jets appear to be satisfied with George Fant (who they acquired in free agency) after giving him a three-year, $27 million deal, and they drafted Chuma Edoga in the third-round last year, so they’re likely to pass on offensive tackle here. After losing Robby Anderson in free agency, wide receiver is a real problem for them, and Jeudy gives them the long-term answer for Sam Darnold.
1.12 Las Vegas Raiders: Mekhi Becton (OT – Louisville)
Not many realize it, but Kolton Miller has been a liability at left tackle over the last two years. Sure, the Raiders used the No. 15 overall pick on him a few years ago but that was before Mike Mayock was there. Miller has been graded as a bottom-three tackle in the league by PFF each of the last two years. Becton could be the long-term solution for a team that’s rebuilding their roster.
1.13 San Francisco 49ers (from Colts): Henry Ruggs (WR – Alabama) Read his in-depth scouting report here
We’re continually hearing about Ruggs potentially being the first wide receiver off the board, and while I don’t quite buy it, this is the range he’s likely going. The 49ers have apparently moved on from Marquise Goodwin, so there’s an opening for a field-stretcher in Kyle Shanahan’s offense.
1.14 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: K’Lavon Chiasson (EDGE – LSU)
The Bucs are in win-now mode now that they’ve signed Tom Brady, so there’s going to be no rebuilding. Because of that, they need to either add a safety or an edge rusher who can rotate in. Chiasson is someone who’s liked in the draft community, and though I’m not high on him personally, he should provide help in an area of need.
1.15 Denver Broncos: CeeDee Lamb (WR – Oklahoma) Read his in-depth scouting report here
As of right now, the Broncos have Tim Patrick starting opposite Courtland Sutton. That’s far from ideal. After snagging Jurrell Casey and A.J. Bouye through trades, the defensive needs are a little less obvious, so they snag Lamb, who would provide young quarterback Drew Lock with another weapon.
1.16 Atlanta Falcons: C.J. Henderson (CB – Florida)
I’d been mocking the Falcons with an edge rusher but after they released Desmond Trufant, cornerback has jumped to the top of their list of needs. Henderson has received tons of buzz lately and he may be off the board by the time they pick, but by getting him here, they have a solid starting duo of Henderson/Isaiah Oliver. In a division with the Bucs, Saints, and Panthers receivers, they need to address cornerback early.
1.17 Dallas Cowboys: Grant Delpit (S – LSU)
The Cowboys have a major void after center Travis Fredrick retired a few weeks ago, and though they still have Joe Looney on the roster (he took Fredrick’s place in 2018), he’s not the solution. They could take an interior lineman here, but the talent gap at other positions is too large. Because of that, they take their long-term answer at safety with Delpit. The signing of Haha Clinton-Dix was obviously short-term (one-year deal).
1.18 Miami Dolphins (from Steelers): Austin Jackson (OT – USC)
The Dolphins need offensive line help, plain and simple. Sure, they signed Ereck Flowers to play guard and Ted Karras to play center, but they’re still slightly below average players. They have another pick at No. 26 but can’t afford waiting on a tackle to protect their new franchise quarterback, so they snag Jackson.
1.19 Las Vegas Raiders (from Bears): Kristian Fulton (CB – LSU)
The Raiders do still need a top-tier receiver, but in a draft class that’s littered with talent, they pass to load up their secondary. Fulton is one of the best cornerbacks in this draft and would start immediately opposite Trayvon Mullen, suddenly giving them solid cornerback depth. Sure, they signed Eli Apple, but that was just a one-year deal.
1.20 Jacksonville Jaguars (from Rams): A.J. Terrell (CB – Clemson)
The Jaguars defense went from the best in the league, to what might be the worst in the league, seemingly overnight. All-in-all, they lost Jalen Ramsey, Calais Campbell, A.J. Bouye, Marcell Dareus, and Telvin Smith over the course of one year (and likely Yannick Ngakoue soon). Terrell can help to start fill the void at cornerback right away, as he has plenty of experience against top-notch opponents.
1.21 Philadelphia Eagles: Justin Jefferson (WR – LSU) Read his in-depth scouting report here
While it’s tempting to say they take Kenneth Murray here, as linebacker is a huge need, they need to add weapons for Carson Wentz. Jefferson is the perfect prospect for them, too, as he played a ton of slot at LSU and he’d transition right into the role they had Nelson Agholor playing. Jefferson would excel in this system.
1.22 Minnesota Vikings (from Bills): Tee Higgins (WR – Clemson) Read his in-depth scouting report here
After trading Stefon Diggs away, the Vikings have a gaping hole at wide receiver, and knowing the Saints are picking before their next pick, they put off drafting an edge here and take Higgins. He’s a good complement to Adam Thielen, as Higgins isn’t going to play a possession-style role right out of the gate, but rather a field-stretching one with the opportunity to grow into a true No. 1 receiver over the next few years.
1.23 New England Patriots: Kenneth Murray (LB – Oklahoma)
Many would expect the Patriots to take a quarterback here, but I believe they’re waiting for someone like Andy Dalton to be released or Josh Rosen to be traded. They lost both Jamie Collins and Elandon Roberts in free agency, so they snag Murray here to help fill a void. The defense is their strength now, so they must keep that intact.
1.24 New Orleans Saints: Jalen Reagor (WR – TCU) Read his in-depth scouting report here
We’ve already heard Sean Payton say this is Drew Brees‘ final season (despite the two-year deal), so they’re going to get a piece that can help them right now with this pick. You can’t forget they don’t have a second-round pick. Reagor is a receiver who could walk right into the role that Brandin Cooks played with the team a few years back. Can you imagine the headaches that Michael Thomas, Reagor, and Emmanuel Sanders can cause?
1.25 Minnesota Vikings: A.J. Epenesa (EDGE – Iowa)
With Everson Griffin seemingly all but gone, the Vikings need to snag an edge rusher early in the draft. They need cornerback as well, but the top-tier ones are gone, and the edge rushers won’t last. Epenesa can likely offer some versatility, too, as he’s big enough to move inside if needed. Bottom line, the Vikings should go with the top edge rusher on their board here.
1.26 Miami Dolphins (from Texans): Xavier McKinney (S – Alabama)
The Dolphins have done a ton of work to their defense through free agency, allowing them to focus on offense early in the draft. They get back to the defense here, as their safety duo of Minkah Fitzpatrick and Reshad Jones they started with last year is now gone. We aren’t going to pretend that Bobby McCain moving to safety is the long-term solution, are we?
1.27 Seattle Seahawks: Javon Kinlaw (DT – South Carolina)
The Seahawks have lost both Quinton Jefferson and Al Woods this offseason, and that leaves a void of nearly 1,000 snaps on the defensive line. Kinlaw is a high-upside pick who many are starting to project in the top-15. While that wouldn’t shock me, he falls into the Seahawks lap in this scenario.
1.28 Baltimore Ravens: Patrick Queen (LB – LSU)
I don’t think Queen should fall this far in the draft, but with the increasing need for offensive tackles and cornerbacks, it’s slid him back a tad. The Ravens wouldn’t be mad, though. They’ve continued to add to their defense this offseason, but linebacker is the only glaring weakness. Queen is just what they want/need. He’s a gritty linebacker who will help them stuff the run while their top-tier secondary takes care of the receivers.
1.29 Tennessee Titans: Jonathan Taylor (RB – Wisconsin) Read his in-depth scouting report here
When we first talked about the possibility of the Titans selecting a running back at the end of the first-round, I scoffed at it. But when you think about it, it really does make sense. Even if Derrick Henry plays this year, it’s going to be on a one-year deal, and it seems the team is unwilling to meet his contract demands. Not just that, but they have absolutely zero depth behind him. If Henry were to go down with a multi-week injury, the core of their offense would suffer. Taylor can be their long-term solution and drafting him here would give them a fifth-year option.
1.30 Green Bay Packers: Josh Jones (OT – Houston)
There are many here who are expecting the Packers to draft a receiver here, and while that’s possible, a lot of the top options have come off the board. Denzel Mims is a possibility, but the contract they gave to Rick Wagner (to replace Bryan Bulaga) doesn’t strike me as the long-term solution, especially seeing there’s an out in his contract with just $1.7 million of dead cap if he’s released after this year. Jones isn’t someone who’s ready to play just yet, but he offers upside with his massive size.
1.31 San Francisco 49ers: Jeff Gladney (CB – TCU)
It’s very unlikely the 49ers make both of these first-round picks, as they don’t have a second, third, or even fourth-round pick, so it’s likely they trade out somewhere. But if they do stay, snagging Gladney here makes sense. He’d make for a solid starter opposite Richard Sherman, and maybe his eventual replacement.
1.32 Kansas City Chiefs: Yetur Gross-Matos (EDGE – Penn State)
The Chiefs need help on the edge, that’s no secret. They also need cornerback help but feel they can find someone competent later in the draft. Gross-Matos is a perfect fit for their 4-3 scheme and combining him with Frank Clark should help make the secondary look better.
2.01 Cincinnati Bengals: Tyler Biadasz (IOL – Wisconsin)
The Bengals can really use an inside linebacker, though taking anyone right here feels like a bit of a reach. Because of that, they try to continue building their offensive line. Jonah Williams is expected to take over at left tackle, so they select Biadasz. He played center for Wisconsin, but should be able to handle guard duties as well. Billy Price has been miserable, while Trey Hopkins isn’t a difference-maker.
2.02 Indianapolis Colts (from Redskins): Antoine Winfield Jr. (S – Minnesota)
The Colts are making a run right now and will be selecting a difference-maker who can play right away. After dealing with the injury woes of Clayton Geathers, they snag Winfield to play alongside Malik Hooker to form one of the best safety duos in the league.
2.03 Detroit Lions: Julian Okwara (EDGE – Notre Dame)
The Lions snag Okwara, who’s being undervalued during this draft process. He is teamed up with his older brother Romeo, who’s also an edge defender. The offensive line needs some work after losing Rick Wagner and Graham Glasgow, but there aren’t any homerun picks right here.
2.04 New York Giants: Josh Uche (EDGE – Michigan)
The Giants could actually go with an interior lineman here, but they also need to get an edge rusher. Uche offers a lot of range and athleticism to help out in coverage, too. His versatility would be good for Patrick Graham’s hybrid scheme.
2.05 Los Angeles Chargers: Zack Baun (LB – Wisconsin)
The Chargers traded for Trai Turner this offseason, which is great, but they also shipped off Russell Okung to make it happen. They have a gaping hole at left tackle. While Bryan Bulaga was snagged in free agency, he’s been a right tackle throughout his career. But the issue is that there’s no starting caliber left tackle available, so they try to upgrade their linebacker corps with the versatile Baun.
2.06 Carolina Panthers: Trevon Diggs (CB – Alabama)
The list of wide receivers in the NFC South is ridiculous, and easily the best in the NFL. The Panthers current starting cornerbacks are Donte Jackson, Dominique Hatfield, and Corn Elder. This is not a recipe for success, so they snag Diggs, who some believe may go in the first-round.
2.07 Miami Dolphins: D’Andre Swift (RB – Georgia) Read his in-depth scouting report here
The Dolphins likely didn’t expect Swift to be here with this pick, but they’re happy to have a backfield of Tagovailoa and Swift, as it changes the look of this team. The Dolphins did sign Jordan Howard, but we’ve learned he’s not a three-down back by now, right? Swift and Howard are a good 1-2 punch.
2.08 Houston Texans (from Cardinals): Denzel Mims (WR – Baylor) Read his in-depth scouting report here
After trading away Deandre Hopkins (for peanuts), the Texans must select a wide receiver who has 100-plus target potential. As of now, they have three slot-heavy receivers in their rotation with Randall Cobb, Kenny Stills, and Keke Coutee, so they need a perimeter presence outside of Will Fuller, whose contract is up at the end of this year. Mims is getting first-round buzz after dominating the Combine.
2.09 Cleveland Browns: Jeremy Chinn (S – Southern Illinois)
After tearing up the Combine athletically, Chinn has been moving up draft boards. The Browns did snag former first-rounder Karl Joseph from the Raiders, but safety is still a weakness on their team, and he’s on just a one-year deal. Chinn is a massive safety prospect at 6-foot-3 and 219 pounds who may be able to help out at linebacker.
2.10 Jacksonville Jaguars: Jordan Love (QB – Utah State) Read his in-depth scouting report here
After trading away Nick Foles, the Jaguars have a vacancy in their quarterback room. They’re certainly not convinced that Gardner Minshew is their can’t-miss quarterback, so they snag the upside play in Love, who falls further in my mock than most. There just aren’t vacant spots around the league, so he falls to the Jaguars here.
2.11 Chicago Bears (from Raiders): Damon Arnette (CB – Ohio State)
After releasing Prince Amukamara, the Bears have an opening at cornerback to play opposite Kyle Fuller. They did sign Tre Roberson from the XFL, as well as Artie Burns in free agency, but they needed depth at the position, too. This is the area Arnette is expected to go, so the need/fit works out well.
2.12 Indianapolis Colts: Brycen Hopkins (TE – Purdue) Read his in-depth scouting report here
This is a weak tight end class overall, but if the Colts want a move tight end who can duplicate what Eric Ebron did, Hopkins is their guy. The Colts run a lot of 2TE sets and they don’t have anyone behind Jack Doyle who’d work in that move tight end role. We also know Philip Rivers has loved his tight ends over the years.
2.13 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB – LSU) Read his in-depth scouting report here
Do we really believe Bruce Arians goes from saying, “I don’t trust Ronald Jones enough to start him over Peyton Barber,” to someone who says “that’s all we need” at the running back position? Edwards-Helaire is a perfect complement to Jones and he would quickly become one of the favorite targets of Tom Brady, who loves to target his running backs in the passing game.
2.14 Denver Broncos: Cesar Ruiz (IOL – Michigan)
Many thought the Broncos would select a center in last year’s draft, but they rode it out with Connor McGovern for another year, but he’s off to the Jets via free agency. That leaves them with former undrafted free agent Austin Schlottmann as the starting center. Not gonna happen.
2.15 Atlanta Falcons: Ross Blacklock (IDL – TCU)
He’s not likely to fall this far, I’ll admit that. However, defensive tackles typically fall further than most think they will. The combination of Blacklock and Grady Jarrett on the defensive line would be a handful for opposing offensive lines.
2.16 New York Jets: Lucas Niang (OT – TCU)
If there’s one offensive tackle who’s expected to fall into the second-round who I believe is underrated is Niang. The Jets did snag George Fant in free agency, but Chuma Edoga didn’t play up to expectations last year, so they bring in Niang for competition.
2.17 Pittsburgh Steelers: Jalen Hurts (QB – Oklahoma) Read his in-depth scouting report here
I laugh when people shrug off the possibility of the Steelers drafting a quarterback, yet they expect the Packers to draft Aaron Rodgers‘ future successor. Ben Roethlisberger is coming off a major injury to his throwing arm and is 38 years old. The Steelers backups proved they’re incapable last year, and there are many who believe Hurts is going to be a star in the league.
2.18 Chicago Bears: Lloyd Cushenberry (IOL – LSU)
The Bears were left with a void after Kyle Long went downhill very fast and then retired as the injuries were piling up. Cushenberry played center at LSU but we’ve seen the Bears take a center prospect and align him at guard, as they did with James Daniels just two years ago (he’s been better as a guard).
2.19 Dallas Cowboys: Cameron Dantzler (CB – Mississippi State)
There was a time that Dantzler was getting first-round consideration, but after running a 4.64-second 40-yard dash, his stock fell a bit. He’s an ideal fit for the Cowboys zone-heavy scheme that just lost their top cornerback in Byron Jones.
2.20 Los Angeles Rams: Troy Dye (LB – Oregon)
After Eric Weddle decided to retire, the Rams suddenly had a major hole at the safety position, but they’ll move forward with Taylor Rapp and John Johnson for the time being. They also lost Cory Littleton, creating a void at linebacker, so they take Dye, who’s a magnet to ball carriers. He may not be the biggest guy who’ll overpower many blockers, but his effort and athleticism help make up for that.
2.21 Philadelphia Eagles: Kyle Dugger (S/LB – Lenoir-Rhyne)
Yes, I’m aware the Eagles don’t take linebackers high in the draft. No, that’s not something we should take for granted. The Eagles current starters are Jatavis Brown, Nathan Gerry, and Alex Singleton. There’s a very small possibility they go into the season with them as their starting unit, and it’s unlikely the Eagles find a starting linebacker much later in the draft. Dugger presents massive upside as a hybrid safety/linebacker.
2.22 Buffalo Bills: Jonathan Greenard (EDGE – Florida)
Now without their first-round pick after the Stefon Diggs trade, the Bills use their first pick to select another edge rusher. They did snag Mario Addison in free agency after losing Shaq Lawson, but they can still use some depth. Greenard is someone who continually flushed the pocket out and is an ideal fit for their 4-3 scheme.
2.23 Baltimore Ravens (from Falcons (from Patriots)): Logan Stenberg (IOL – Kentucky)
This may be a surprise to some, but Stenberg is someone who fits what the Ravens want to do, which is run the ball. He’s a high-floor interior lineman who should be able to step in and play right away. The retirement of Marshal Yanda has created a void that needs to be filled. Wide receiver is another possibility.
2.24 Miami Dolphins (from Saints): Raekwon Davis (IDL – Alabama)
Davis falling here is not a representation of my feeling about his actual skill level because I think he should be a first rounder, but the buzz has not been there. He’d fit the hybrid scheme that Brian Flores runs extremely well. Playing alongside Christian Wilkins would create real problems for opponents.
2.25 Houston Texans: Jaylon Johnson (CB – Utah)
The Texans have problems in their secondary, and though the Gareon Conley trade was a good one, it was the start of the rebuild. Johnson has No. 1 cornerback potential, though he needs to become a better tackler. He’s someone who’s expected to start right away, which is what the Texans need.
2.26 Minnesota Vikings: Neville Gallimore (IDL – Oklahoma)
Another interior lineman who falls due to his position, not talent. The Vikings lost Linval Joseph, and though they snagged Michael Pierce, they can upgrade on Shamar Stephen, and get their long-term solution. Gallimore can get overaggressive in his pass-rush and lose track of the play, but he’s a hustler.
2.27 Seattle Seahawks: Terrell Lewis (EDGE – Alabama)
The talk around Lewis is that he’ll go in the second-round. While I don’t have a second-round grade on him, the Seahawks need to take an edge defender, as it seems likely they lose Jadeveon Clowney in free agency. They could go wide receiver here considering Russell Wilson asked for help in the passing game, but maybe Greg Olsen and Phillip Dorsett were enough for now? Edge rusher is a bigger need.
2.28 Baltimore Ravens: Laviska Shenault Jr. (WR – Colorado) Read his in-depth scouting report here
There were many who thought I was crazy for suggesting Shenault could last into the second-round back in February, but it seems his stock has tumbled a bit. The Ravens can use a big-bodied wide receiver to play opposite Marquise Brown and we don’t know if Miles Boykin can step into that role after playing just 424 snaps last year. Even Seth Roberts was playing in front of him.
2.29 Tennessee Titans: Alton Robinson (EDGE – Syracuse)
The Titans need help on the edge and Robinson offers some upside with his athleticism. He’s not going to be able to drop back in coverage and is best suited for a 4-3 edge defender, but he’s the best available for the need they have with their hybrid scheme.
2.30 Green Bay Packers: Brandon Aiyuk (WR – Arizona State)
There’s buzz surrounding Aiyuk as a potential first-round pick, though I don’t see it. He’s not particularly big or fast, and in a class with so much talent at wide receiver, he’s likely to fall into the second round. He’ll start his career as a field-stretcher, with the potential to become much more. Seeing as the Packers already have Davante Adams, Aiyuk would be a great complement.
2.31 Kansas City Chiefs (from 49ers): Bryce Hall (CB – Virginia)
The Chiefs have been okay kind of going with the flow at cornerback, but as of right now, their starting cornerbacks are Charvarius Ward and Rashad Fenton with absolutely no depth behind them. Hall had some injury concerns, which could have him fall further than this when you consider lack of medical testing right now, but he’s a borderline first-round talent.
2.32 Seattle Seahawks (from Chiefs): Shane Lemieux (IOL – Oregon)
There has been a lot of shifting around on the Seahawks offensive line this offseason, and while they’ve signed both B.J. Finney and Chance Warmack, they’re not long-term solutions (according to their contracts). After attacking the defense with the first few picks, they provide Russell Wilson with some protection.