By Craig Campbell
April 14, 2020
We’re just one week away from the 2020 NFL Draft and this year will have a much different feel than previous years for multiple reasons.
The coronavirus pandemic has forced the NFL to go completely virtual for this year’s draft, giving us more of a fantasy football feel instead of an actual draft. While it will be a completely different experience for players, coaches, and front office staff, this draft should provide plenty of intrigue, being one of the deepest drafts in recent memory.
This mock draft will be straight up, not taking into account any potential trades. There are plenty that could happen but let’s just assume that, for this mock draft, teams stay put. With that said, here’s my first mock draft of 2020 and how the first round might go:
1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
Rare chance the Bengals pass on the opportunity to draft their new franchise QB
2. Washington Redskins: Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio St
Every mock draft has Young to the Redskins. This one is no different.
3. Detroit Lions: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio St
This is where the draft is going to REALLY get interesting. Lions are openly looking to move down, hoping a team looking for a QB will trade up. Assuming they stay put, the choice comes down to Isaiah Simmons or Jeff Okudah. Bob Quinn & Matt Patricia need to nail this pick or they probably won’t get another chance next year.
4. New York Giants: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
Giants have a tough decision here to go O-line (which they desperately need to protect Danny Dimes) or to draft one of the most versatile defensive players in the draft. Simmons might be too good to pass up here for NY.
5. Dolphins: Tua Tagoviola, QB, Alabama
The injury history for Tua is well documented and the report that he failed a physical came from the team that’s been “Tanking for Tua” for the past year? Weird coincidence, right?
6. Chargers: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
The Philip Rivers era is over, Tyrod Taylor is the bridge, and Herbert will be the future for the Chargers to build around.
7. Panthers: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
The Panthers lost a lot of talent in the offseason and Brown will help fill a big need on the defensive line.
8. Cardinals: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
The Cardinals made a big splash (steal) this offseason, acquiring (stealing) DeAndre Hopkins from the Houston Texans. Now they need to protect franchise QB Kyler Murray. They signed LT D.J. Humphries to a three year extension, but the Cards would like the potential of Becton here and could slide him at RT.
9. Jaguars: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
The O-line has been trash for the past few years but lost a TON of talent on defense. Caldwell & Marrone are on the hot seat and need to plug a lot of holes. The team is seemingly all in on Gardner Minshew II at QB & grab Wills to help protect Minshew.
10. Browns: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
The Browns went out and got RT Jack Conklin to help protect Baker Mayfield and need to solidify LT. Wirfs will help new Head Coach Kevin Stefanski in the run game and hopefully be their Left Tackle of the future.
11. Jets: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
The Jets really need help on the offensive line and SHOULD go O-line here. But...it’s the Jets and they also really need weapons around Sam Darnold. It’s basically the third or fourth best Tackle versus one of the top wideouts and my gut tells me the Jets will go WR.
12. Raiders: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
So the Antonio Brown experiment didn’t work...and the Raiders still need a WR1. Jerry Jeudy is arguably the best WR in this class and the Raiders would happily take him here.
13. 49ers: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
This pick from the Colts in the DeForest Buckner trade would most likely be used to fill the hole left by the departed Emmanuel Sanders to the Saints.
14. Buccaneers: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
The Bucs have their new QB in one Tom Brady. One of their biggest needs will be to provide him some protection on the offensive line.
15. Broncos: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
With all of the top WRs off the board, the Broncos bank on the potential of Kinlaw in Vic Fangio’s defense.
16. Falcons: C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
Defense, defense, defense. The Falcons went out and bolstered the offense (Gurley, Hurst) and have multiple holes to fill on the defensive side. The big decision here is CB or EDGE rusher? Both are big needs but Henderson is one of the top CBs in the draft.
17. Cowboys: K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
The Cowboys need to make up for the loss of Robert Quinn and the potential of Chaisson alongside Dontari Poe, Gerald McCoy, and Demarcus Lawrence could easily help their pass rush, the Cowboys’ biggest need.
18. Dolphins: Austin Jackson, OT, USC
The second first-round pick for the Dolphins comes from the Steelers as part of the Minkah Fitzpatrick trade. After drafting Tua earlier in this mock, the Dolphins will need to protect him and upgrade the NFL’s worst offensive line.
19. Raiders: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
This pick comes from the Khalil Mack trade with the Chicago Bears. The Raiders’ second biggest need to address is at CB
20. Jaguars: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
The Jaguars addressed a need at OL early and need to address the defense with this pick from the Rams for Jalen Ramsey. McKinney is extremely versatile and could find himself on the field right away.
21. Eagles: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Eagles would probably love to trade up and snag one of the top three WRs (Jeudy, Lamb, Ruggs) but would be happy to land Jefferson here. Losing Agholor, Arcega-Whiteside was underwhelming, and D-Jax is getting older so adding a weapon for Wentz would probably be the best route at this stage of the draft.
22. Vikings: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
This pick comes from the Bills in the Stefon Diggs trade. The Vikings lost their top three corners from last year and it’s by far their biggest need.
23. Patriots: Jordan Love, QB, Utah St
With no trades in this mock, it’s really difficult to see where Love would land. All signs are pointing to the Patriots running with former 4th round draft pick Jarrett Stidham at QB...perfect misdirection for the rest of the NFL.
24. Saints: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
The Saints don’t necessarily have any major areas of need on paper, but taking the best player on their board here is their best option. Kiko Alonso is coming off his third ACL tear, so it’s possible they look to the LB position first.
25. Vikings: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
Stefon Diggs is gone to Buffalo and Adam Theilen will need some help. Depending on the route they choose at 22, this could also be an interior offensive lineman or edge rusher.
26. Dolphins: D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
This pick could also very well be an edge rusher because the Dolphins had one of the worst pass rushes in the NFL but this pick completely reshapes major components of the a new-look Dolphins offense. Swift is the top back on a lot of teams’ boards, can run inside, outside, and pass block.
27. Seahawks: A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa
With the second-worst sack production in 2019, the Seahawks really need to address this position.
28. Ravens: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
The way this mock falls, there are lots of options for the Ravens here. They could go out and get Lamar Jackson a weapon at WR, could upgrade their O-line to replace the retired Marshall Yanda, or replace the hole left by C.J. Mosely from last offseason. If a top LB is here, that’s my vote.
29. Titans: Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn St
The top three needs for the Titans are edge rusher, D-line, and O-line. Gross-Matos is projected well in this area and the Titans would be pleased if he were still here at 29.
30. Packers: Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
Signing Devin Funchess might help but going out and getting a big, young receiver to give Aaron Rodgers another weapon is still arguably the biggest need for the Packers to address in Round 1.
31. 49ers: A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson
The 49ers addressed their WR need earlier in this draft and don’t have another pick until Round 5, so they would most likely attempt to trade back from this pick. If they choose to stay, Richard Sherman is 32 and will be a free agent soon, so drafting a CB here makes the most sense.
32. Chiefs: Cesar Ruiz, C/OG, Michigan
A few different routes the Chiefs could go here. They NEED a corner but with many of the top CBs off the board, unless they have a CB ranked very high, the Chiefs could opt to take the versatile interior lineman.
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