1. Cincinnati Bengals: QB Joe Burrow, LSU
It seems inevitable that after his Heisman Trophy-winning campaign, in which he displayed incredible accuracy, leadership, and grit, that Burrow will be the first-overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft. Any other pick here would be shocking, and I seriously doubt anyone is willing to give up enough to pry this pick from Cincy. Former Bengals player and TV analyst Solomon Wilcots had some eye-opening words about Burrow:
My card is already made out with Joe Burrow’s name on it. He is clearly and undoubtedly the most prolific quarterback in the 150 years in college football. What he did at LSU winning 15 in a row. He went through seven teams that had a top 10 defense and as the competition rose — so did his game and so did his focus. By the time he got to Oklahoma in that semifinal championship game, [he] carved them up for eight touchdown passes. By the time he got to Brent Venables and his great defense with Clemson, yeah, they got hits on him early, but he showed us he knows how to get off the carpet. He won that game going away. I watched him do it every single week at LSU. He went through a gauntlet of defensive players that are going to be playing on Sundays and the guy never took one step backwards.
2. Washington: EDGE Chase Young, Ohio State
I'm not doing any trades in this version of my mock draft, so I have Washington going with the obvious pick of Chase Young. If they do stay put, he is the clear option. However, it would be interesting to see them put together a blockbuster deal where they trade this pick and maybe Trent Williams to Miami for a bounty of picks.
3. Detroit Lions: QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
All things equal, Tua is the best quarterback in this class. His skill set is beyond that of Burrow. However, the injury concerns are genuine. After a severe season-ending hip surgery to go along with multiple ankle surgeries and now rumors of wrist issues as well, the risk is very real here. However, I believe he is well worth the risk. It's time for the Lions to prepare to transition out of the Matthew Stafford era, and this is the perfect situation for a redshirt season transition season.
4. New York Giants: OT Tristan Wirfs, Iowa
The Giants address their offensive line here, which has been plaguing them for years now. There are a handful of potentially great franchise tackles in this draft, but I see the traditional Giants going with a big tackle from a school with traditionally great linemen. Wirfs is their man. General manager Dave Gettleman does love those hybrid defenders, so Isaiah Simmons is not off the table either.
5. Miami Dolphins: QB Justin Herbert, Oregon
Again, I'm not doing trades in this mock, and the Dolphins are taking a quarterback. If Herbert is their guy, this works out perfectly for them. However, they have the draft capital to get just about any player in this draft they want, and they'd be silly not to make a move if Tua is their man. Physically Herbert is the prototypical quarterback, and he has the most upside of any quarterback in this draft. However, I am very concerned about his pass trajectory leading to turnovers and missed connections on the next level, and he appears to lack the intangibles of an elite quarterback. These are legitimate concerns but also both very fixable.
6. Los Angeles Chargers: QB Jordan Love, Utah St
I am not involved in this Jordan Love hype going on in the media recently. I believe people are reaching and trying to make him something he is not. However, I do think the Chargers feel the need to draft a quarterback here, and Love is likely that guy. Every time Tyrod Taylor gets a shot to start, we hear how he's the guy and how much the team is behind him. And every team makes a contingency plan, clearly was never actually behind him and inevitably moves on from him. I see a ton of bust potential due to staring down receivers, turnover potential, to big of a windup, and overall poor decision-making skills. Nevertheless, someone is going to be enamored with his physical tools and deep ball, and see dreams of their very own Patrick Mahomes in him.
7. Carolina Panthers: LB Isaiah Simmons, Clemson
Simply put, Isaiah Simmons is the best football player in this draft. I would take him over chase young or any other defender. I would take him over anyone quite frankly if I didn't have a dire need at quarterback or left tackle. The Panthers love these hybrid athletes that can play linebacker and safety, much like Thomas Davis and Shaq Thompson before him. This will be the steal of the draft.
8. Arizona Cardinals: CB Jeff Okudah, Ohio State
We have heard for years that Patrick Peterson is on his way out of Arizona. Now coming out of his prime and near 30, his successor will become a necessity. Okudah is the top cornerback prospect in this draft. With no glaring flaws in his game, he is a high upside pick with an even higher floor.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars: DL Derrick Brown, Auburn
With Calais Campbell traded off to the Baltimore Ravens, Marcell Dareus hitting free agency, and an already bottom of the barrel rush defense, Brown is both a need and the best defensive player left on the board. He's a big athletic run stopper that they can use similarly to Campbell both inside and out if needed.
10. Cleveland Browns: OT Jedrick Wills Jr, Alabama
The Browns desperately needed to address their offensive line this offseason, and adding two difference-making tackles is a great way to do that. They've already signed free agent tackle Jack Conklin, and now they are drafting an impressive athletic tackle out of Alabama. Wills thrives as a run blocker, but more than has the skills to protect the quarterback as well. The only concern here is that both Wills and Conklin are natural right tackles. However, I'm sure that's not the worst problem to have.
11. New York Jets: OT Mekhi Becton, Louisville
Jets fans may not love this pick today, but they'll be thankful tomorrow. Admittedly, the sexy pick would be a playmaking receiver here; nonetheless, building the offensive line is far more critical to a team's success. The smart move is going with a young tackle. In this case, Becton is an absolute freak of nature. While he lacks some technique, no tackle and maybe no player in this draft has more upside than Becton. This monster of a man stands 6-foot-7, 364 pounds with a seven-foot wingspan. Beyond that, he ran a 5.1 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine and showed impressive feet on film. The only reason he is still available at pick No. 11 is because his weight and lack of technique bring bust concerns if he doesn't put in the work needed.
12. Las Vegas Raiders: WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama
It's hard to imagine the Raiders not going wide receiver here. They seem to have been snake bitten at the position for a while now after a disastrous Martavis Bryant trade, Amari Cooper forgetting how to catch footballs in Oakland and the whole Antonio Brown fiasco. Jeudy is a can't miss stud that will stop this trend and my top receiver prospect in this draft slightly above CeeDee Lamb. His route running skills separate him as the top wideout in 2020.
13. San Francisco 49ers: WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma
In most drafts, Lamb would be the first wideout off the board. However, this draft may rival some of the best receiver classes of all-time. His versatility allows him to play any of the receiver positions and be a major playmaker on all three levels. He has everything it takes to be a star WR1 in this league and could be precisely what the 49ers are looking for to put them over the top.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia
The fact that Thomas is the fourth offensive lineman to be drafted speaks volumes about how great the tackles are in this first round. Thomas should be an immediate starter on the next level and has everything it takes to develop into an elite pass protector. With Tom Brady now in Tampa, they are going to have to do everything it takes to protect their aging superstar quarterback. This is a win-now situation for the Bucs, and nothing is more critical than keeping Brady upright.
15. Denver Broncos: DL Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina
The Broncos won a Super Bowl with a great defense. Adding an interior pass rusher like Kinlaw could immediately give them one of the scariest pass rushes in the game when you pair him with Von Miller and Bradley Chubb. I don’t see them passing on him for a wide receiver here.
16. Atlanta Falcons: CB C.J. Henderson, Florida
The Falcons need a starting corner, and Henderson has the physical tools to be one of the best in this business on the next level. At 6-foot-1, 204 pounds, his agility and athleticism jump off the screen when you watch him. He can be a true island corner. My only concerns are that he, at times, tends to get lost in zone coverage, isn't great at being physical at the line, and is a lousy tackler. He is a willing tackler; he's just not good at it.
17. Dallas Cowboys: EDGE K'Lavon Chaisson, LSU
The appeal is clear with Chaisson as he has rare quickness and speed for a 254-pounder. With that said, he also has a high-bust potential. He's a one-dimensional player with a lot to learn about his position. That has to scare scouts. Perhaps not as much of his upside and potential intrigues them, though. The good news is everything you hear about this kid is that he has great character, and hopefully, that translates to his willingness to learn and improve.
18. Miami Dolphins: EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State
The Dolphins edge rushers in 2019 were one of the worst groups I've ever seen put together as a collective group. They must address the position even beyond the signings of Shaq Lawson and Emmanuel Ogbah. Gross-Matos is an outstanding, well-rounded football player with impressive pass-rushing skills and a non-stop motor. I wouldn't be shocked if he developed into one of the steals of this draft.
19. Las Vegas Raiders: EDGE A.J. Epenesa, Iowa
The first thing that jumps out at you about Epenesa is his size at 6-foot-5, 275 pounds, and his impressive numbers. In his past two seasons, he's racked up 36 tackles for loss and 22 sacks adding eight forced fumbles. While he's not the quickest and does show flaws on film, the production speaks for itself. The more you view him as a football player and not an athlete, the more enamored you become with him.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars: CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama
Trevon is the younger brother of wide receiver Stefon Diggs and, most likely, the better of the two. Diggs possesses ideal size and strength to match up with just about any receiver in the league. Of all the top corners in this draft, he is the top playmaker with the best ball skills. The best way to describe him is as a play disruptor. The only concern is aggression can work against you, as we've seen many times before. A missed attempt at a big play can become a bigger play going the other way. He also has to be careful of grabbing downfield; he won't get away with it on the next level.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: WR Henry Ruggs III, Alabama
Ruggs is an absolute burner and a big play waiting to happen, whether it's on a deep bomb or a quick slant. The Eagles desperately need a receiver, and Ruggs is an ideal fit to replace an aging DeSean Jackson. I do think the Eagles end up with Ruggs, but they may have to move up to get him because other teams may be looking to jump them if he lasts this late. While there is little doubt about his playmaking ability, the concern and reason he may drop to the late teens or early 20s is that he's never been a true WR1 and has the makings of a week-to-week boom-or-bust big-play performer.
22. Minnesota Vikings: WR Tee Higgins, Clemson
Higgins has the size and talent to be the No. 1 wideout in a ton of drafts, just not this one. The Vikings will be looking to replace Stefon Diggs and Higgins, I believe, should be the fourth receiver off the board. Maybe even third depending on what role you're looking to fill. He is a big-time receiver with the skills to impact the game on his way down the field and go up and get it in the end zone.
23. New England Patriots: LB Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma
The Patriots have had a ton of turnover in their LB corps this offseason, and they could use a stud in the middle of their defense. It's been a while since they had an every-down inside linebacker in the middle of their case. Murray is a physical specimen and speed demon that can go from sideline to sideline with ease. He is a strong tackler and also possesses the playmaking ability the Pats love.
24. New Orleans Saints: WR Justin Jefferson, LSU
Fantasy owners have been trying to target a WR2 in New Orleans for years with little success. However, it's time they finally add a viable weapon opposite Michael Thomas. Jefferson would be a great option and immediately make them contenders for the best WR duo in the league. Thomas would benefit from a high-end talent opposite him, and Jefferson would be free to build off his monster 2019 season at LSU. He has all the tools to do so.
25. Minnesota Vikings: CB A.J. Terrell, Clemson
There is a clear drop off from the previous corners drafted and Terrell. The National Championship left a bad taste in the mouths of many, but he's still a very solid prospect at a premier position. He may not be elite like Okudah, Henderson, and Diggs; nevertheless, he has the talent to be a solid to very good starter on a good defense. With Xavier Rhodes, Mackensie Alexander, and Trae Waynes all out in Minnesota, Terrell will be asked to be an immediate starter.
26. Miami Dolphins: OT Josh Jones, Houston
Thanks to the strong OT class Jones is a steal at pick 26 with the potential to be a franchise tackle. This will likely be the first of many additions to the offensive line for the Dolphins, who jogged out a miserable offensive line last season and didn't do nearly enough in free agency to improve it. Miami quarterbacks have been running for their lives for years, and bolstering the trenches may be an even bigger issue for the Dolphins than the quarterback or pass rush.
27. Seattle Seahawks: OT Austin Jackson, USC
This is where the drop off at tackle comes for me. However, this is an upside pick, and there is a ton of it. Jackson is an incredible athlete with the frame to excel and develop into a franchise left tackle. He is very raw and will likely take at least a few years before he comes close to reaching his full potential.
28. Baltimore Ravens: LB Patrick Queen, LSU
The only true flaw on the Ravens roster is the run-stopping on the second level in the middle of their defense. Queen is the best ILB left on the board and is a sure tackler. Despite only being a one-year starter, he displays an impressive football IQ with an ability to diagnose plays quickly and react accordingly. He should be a true quarterback of the defense the Ravens need. My only concern is the experience when it comes to pass coverage, but he has the speed to develop the skillset on the next level.
29. Tennessee Titans: CB Jaylon Johnson, Utah
Johnson is a borderline first-round talent who fits in great with Titans smashmouth style. While he has his flaws on film, he is about as aggressive and physical as they come at corner. He will jam wideouts and run them out of bounds and has the mentality to take on the league's top receivers. Furthermore, he is an aggressive playmaker who is great until it isn't. His aggression will backfire at times as he gets caught out of position for big plays. On the next level, he will need to play with more patience and discipline.
30. Green Bay Packers: WR Laviska Shenault Jr, Colorado
The Packers need a WR2 opposite Davante Adams. The 227-pounder is a versatile wideout with the size and speed to make plays on every level. He is a terror for corners and smaller safeties to try to bring down once he has the ball in his hand. The biggest worry is his ability to stay healthy, which has been an issue in Green Bay at the position. His combine times could also hurt his draft stock, but his film shows better speed than his recorded times.
31. San Francisco 49ers: DL Neville Gallimore, Oklahoma
After shipping DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts, the 49ers will look to add some talent and depth to their defensive line. I'm giving Gallimore the slight edge here over Ross Blacklock because of his size and upside due to his moldability and untapped potential. With that said, he is raw and will need time to develop. If the 49ers are looking to take an all-in approach in this draft, they could go in a different direction.
32. Kansas City Chiefs: : CB Kristian Fulton, LSU
His technical skill set is as good as the top corners in this draft. He is strong in press coverage, physical and can mirror wideouts. Where he runs into issues is his speed. He lacks recovery speed if wideouts get by him and generally struggles in deep coverage. While he excels in short and medium coverage, a lack of speed and athleticism will push him nearly out of the first round and does give him bust potential as a big-play liability.
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