2020 NFL Mock Draft 8.0: Final Mock Before the NFL Combine

Let's take a look at one last mock draft before the top prospects get interviewed, measured and tested at the NFL combine in Indianapolis. Our expert mock drafter has three QBs in the top 10 and a run of talented receivers in the first round.
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With 337 draft-eligible prospects set to report, there will be more prospects at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis this week than there are picks in the draft—currently 224 with up to 32 compensatory picks to be added.

As the NFL shifts the timing of on-field workouts to primetime, it’s the part of the process that’s not televised—medical evaluations and interviews—that will be most important for many prospects. For example, will Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa “win [his] medical”?

In addition to the combine and upcoming pro days, the NFL free-agency period that begins in March will bring team needs into clarity heading into April’s draft.

With that said, here is an updated look at how the 2020 NFL draft could play out.

And check out my previous mock draft to see how things have changed.

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1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

New mock, same pick for the Bengals. Even though Burrow references his “leverage,” he remains a near lock to replace Andy Dalton in 2020 as the future face of the Bengals franchise. Showing off elite accuracy, poise in the pocket and toughness, Burrow was at his best in LSU’s biggest games, with incredible consistency throughout 2019 despite facing seven top-10 opponents en route to an undefeated season.

2. Washington Redskins: Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State

Young matches elite traits with elite production. Closing his true sophomore season with six sacks in the final four games, Young built upon his 2018 end-of-season momentum to set an Ohio State record with an FBS-high 16.5 sacks in 2019. Commanding double and triple teams, Young’s impact goes beyond the stat sheet, as opposing offensive coordinators are forced to game plan for the disruptive edge defender.

* Projected trade: Miami sends the 5th, 39th and 70th picks to Detroit in return for 3rd overall pick.

3. Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

It was recently reported that Tagovailoa’s three-month CT scan was “as positive as possible.” Provided Miami’s medical staff agrees with that assessment, Tua’s on-field evaluation—throwing with elite accuracy and anticipation, quick decision-making and leadership—warrants a top-five selection. With three first-round picks and six top-70 selections, the Dolphins’ front office has the ammunition to move up to secure the services of the franchise quarterback they have sought since Dan Marino retired.

4. New York Giants: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson

In every other iteration of my mock draft, I’ve slotted an offensive tackle here. Using this pick on an offensive tackle certainly remains a possibility, but Dave Gettleman could address the offensive line issues via free agency and/or later picks in the draft. While Simmons is a converted safety who won the Butkus Award, given to the nation’s top college linebacker, he’s a versatile chess piece that lines up nearly everywhere. A modern-day hybrid defender with sideline-to-sideline range, Simmons finished 2019 with 104 tackles, eight sacks, three interceptions and two forced fumbles.

* Projected trade: Miami sends the 5th, 39th and 70th picks to Detroit in return for 3rd overall pick.

5. Detroit Lions: Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State

Trading back to acquire more draft capital and land an elite prospect that fills a team need is an ideal situation for the Lions. Not only is Darius Slay entering a contract year, the Lions have spoken to several teams about a potential trade for the veteran cornerback. With an elite blend of size, length, speed and his competitive nature, Okudah has all the tools to develop into a lockdown corner at the next level.

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6. Los Angeles Chargers: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

With only Tyrod Taylor and Easton Stick under contract in 2020, the Chargers will certainly add to the quarterback room either via free agency and/or the draft. While Herbert needs to become more consistent, he has an impressive combination of size, arm strength and plus mobility that could entice the Chargers to use a top-six pick on him.

* Projected trade: NY Jets send the 11th and 68th pick in 2020 and their third-round pick in 2021 to Carolina in return for the 7th overall pick.

7. New York Jets: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama

The Jets ranked bottom-three in Football Outsiders’ offensive line rankings in both run blocking (31st) and pass blocking (30th) in 2019. A two-year starter at right tackle for the Crimson Tide, Wills is a dominant run blocker with the quick feet and smooth movement skills to become a high-end starter at either tackle spot.

8. Arizona Cardinals: Derrick Brown, iDL, Auburn

In previous versions of this mock, I’ve slotted offensive players here—either a tackle or wide receiver—to help their young franchise quarterback. With the team re-signing D.J. Humphries to a three-year contract and the incredible depth at wide receiver, however, drafting Brown here gives the Cards the best player available for a team that ranked last in total defense in 2019. With incredible strength and movement skills for his size, Brown is a versatile, three-down defensive lineman.

9. Jacksonville Jaguars: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

Second-year receiver D.J. Chark Jr. had a breakout 2019 campaign (75/1,008/8), but the team needs more weapons for Gardner Minshew (or Nick Foles). A top-10 prospect on my board, Lamb has outstanding hands, body control and run-after-catch ability.

10. Cleveland Browns: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville

Cleveland could be in the market to upgrade both tackle spots. Left tackle Greg Robinson was briefly benched midseason in 2019 and recently arrested, and is now a free agent, while right tackle Chris Hubbard graded out as PFF’s 76th-best offensive tackle (out of 81 qualifiers) last season. A mauler in the run game, Becton moves extremely well for a man his size and could play either left or right tackle for the Browns.

* Projected trade: NY Jets send the 11th and 68th pick in 2020 and their third-round pick in 2021 to Carolina in return for the 7th overall pick.

11. Carolina Panthers: Javon Kinlaw, iDL, South Carolina

The Panthers allowed a league-worst 5.2 yards per carry and 31 rushing touchdowns in 2019. Carolina could lose several interior defensive linemen due to free agency and/or salary-cap moves this offseason, and Kinlaw is a top-10 talent. Kinlaw has a rare combination of quickness, power and length, generated 10 sacks over the past two seasons and played his best against elite competition in 2019.

12. Las Vegas Raiders: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

Darren Waller had a breakout season (90/1,145/3), but the trade for Antonio Brown turned out to be a failed experiment. Mike Mayock told the Las Vegas Review-Journal last month that “we don’t have enough outside speed” at wide receiver. Ending his collegiate career on a high note (6/204/1 vs. Michigan), Jeudy not only has breakaway speed, but he is a polished route-runner who can immediately step into the team’s WR1 role.

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13. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia

In previous iterations of my mock draft, I’ve slotted Javon Kinlaw, CeeDee Lamb and Jerry Jeudy here, but all are off the board in this scenario. Perhaps the Colts will select a high-upside quarterback like Utah State’s Jordan Love here, but left tackle Anthony Castonzo is an impending free agent and also mulling retirement. A three-year starter at Georgia, Thomas has experience at both left tackle (2018 and ‘19) and right tackle (‘17).

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa

It’s unclear who will be under center for the Bucs in 2020, but bringing back Jameis Winston on a two-year deal is a possibility. Either way, right tackle Demar Dotson is about to be a free agent next month and Wirfs could slide in as a Day 1 starter at right tackle.

15. Denver Broncos: Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama

Drew Lock and Noah Fant showed promise in their rookie seasons, and Courtland Sutton had a breakout sophomore campaign (1,112 yards) for the Broncos. A perfect complement to Sutton’s skill set, Ruggs has elite sub-4.3 speed and has scored on one of four career touches in his Alabama career.

16. Atlanta Falcons: K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU

Only the Dolphins had fewer sacks this season (23) than the Falcons (28), who have announced they will move on from Vic Beasley (team-high eight sacks). The 20-year-old has elite speed off the edge and came on late—4.5 sacks in his final four games—to lead LSU in sacks, tackles for loss and QB hurries in 2019.

17. Dallas Cowboys: C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida

While this is a change from my last mock (previously LSU’s Grant Delpit), the pick has a similar impact, as Byron Jones is about to become a free agent. Critics will be quick to point to Henderson’s inconsistency as a tackler, which needs to improve, but the former Gator’s impressive combination of size, length, speed and fluid movement makes him a potential shutdown corner at the next level.

18. Miami Dolphins (via PIT): A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa

The Dolphins ranked last in the NFL in sacks in 2019 and Epenesa wins with a blend of power, length, technique and heavy hands. While he started the 2019 season slowly, he closed the season strong with eight sacks and four forced fumbles over his final five games.

19. Las Vegas Raiders (via CHI): Patrick Queen, LB, LSU

The Raiders address two of their team’s biggest needs with Jeudy and Queen. One of the youngest prospects in the draft (he turns 21 in August), Queen played his best football down the stretch of LSU’s title run. While he’s a bit undersized, Queen is a three-down linebacker with outstanding speed who excels in coverage.

20. Jacksonville Jaguars (via LAR): Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU

The Jags own this pick (and others) after trading Jalen Ramsey to the Rams, and Fulton will help to fill the void trading away Ramsey created. With lots of reps against elite competition, Fulton has mostly held his own. Per PFF data, Fulton is tied for the most forced incompletions (34) among draft-eligible cornerbacks since 2018.

21. Philadelphia Eagles: Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado

Carson Wentz became the first quarterback to throw for 4,000 yards without a 500-yard wide receiver in 2019. The trio of Alshon Jeffery (10), DeSean Jackson (three) and Nelson Agholor (11) played only 24 games. Built more like a running back than a wide receiver, Shenault flourishes in the open field due to his strength, size, burst, vision and elusiveness.

Tee Higgins

22. Buffalo Bills: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

The Bills signed a pair of smaller receivers—John Brown and Cole Beasley—last offseason and the duo was highly productive in their first season in Buffalo, as they combined for 139 catches for 1,838 yards and 12 touchdowns. Complementing Brown and Beasley well, Higgins has strong hands and a large catch radius, and wins as a vertical receiver.

23. New England Patriots: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama

Perhaps the Patriots will use their franchise tag on Devin McCourty, as the 32-year-old safety is scheduled to become a free agent. Adept in both run support and as a pass defender, McKinney has the versatility to play either safety spot as well as nickel corner.

24. New Orleans Saints: Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State

With Drew Brees announcing his plans to return for another season, adding a dynamic playmaker opposite Michael Thomas makes sense. Coming off a breakout senior season, Aiyuk has the speed and open-field vision to rack up yards after the catch in bunches.

25. Minnesota Vikings: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama

Both Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander are scheduled to become free agents, and the play of Xavier Rhodes has regressed significantly despite his making the Pro Bowl. In fact, Rhodes could become a cap casualty this offseason. The younger brother of Stefon, Diggs has ideal length for the position and led Alabama in pass breakups (eight) last season.

26. Miami Dolphins (via HOU): Josh Jones, OT, Houston

Not only do the Dolphins need to fill the void left behind when they traded away Laremy Tunsil, but the team could benefit from multiple upgrades to their line, which finished last in Football Outsiders 2019 offensive line rankings. A four-year starter at Houston, Jones has the length, quick feet and movement skills coveted in a left tackle.

27. Seattle Seahawks: Grant Delpit, S, LSU

While he has had an issue with missed tackles, and his 2018 tape was better than the 2019 version, Delpit is a long and rangy playmaker. The true junior had eight interceptions and 24 passes defended over his three seasons in Baton Rouge.

28. Baltimore Ravens: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma

After losing C.J. Mosley in free agency last offseason, several of Baltimore’s linebackers are pending free agents this offseason. A tackling machine for the Sooners, Murray has the nonstop motor and sideline-to-sideline range to become an impact defender for the Ravens.

29. Tennessee Titans: Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State

Using this pick to add depth and youth to their group of edge rushers would make sense for the Titans. Harold Landry doubled his sack total in 2019 (nine) from 2018 (4.5), but Cameron Wake is 38 years old and Kamalei Correa (five sacks) is an impending free agent. Gross-Matos had 17 sacks and 34.5 tackles for loss over the past two seasons combined at Penn State.

30. Green Bay Packers: Zack Baun, LB, Wisconsin

Perhaps the Packers will take advantage of the depth at wide receiver to find an upgrade opposite Davante Adams, but linebacker Blake Martinez is set to become a free agent as well. While he was one of college football’s most productive edge rushers, Baun is expected to transition to an off-ball role at the next level. With sideline-to-sideline range to go along with his ability as a blitzer, Baun is fluid when dropping into coverage.

* Projected trade: Tampa Bay sends the 45th and 76th overall picks to San Francisco in return for the 31st overall pick.

31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State

With only one top-155 pick, the 49ers are likely to be a willing trade partner for a team looking to get back into the first round. Perhaps the Bucs will bring back Winston or sign a veteran free agent like Philip Rivers. If Love is still on the board here, however, he has the live arm and mobility that may entice Bruce Arians and the Bucs to take on a chance on Love.

32. Kansas City Chiefs: Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU

Several of the Chiefs’ cornerbacks—Kendall Fuller, Morris Claiborne, Bashaud Breeland and Keith Reaser—will become free agents next month. While Gladney is not the biggest corner (183 pounds), he plays more physically than his weight would suggest and is exceptionally fast (4.34 in the 40). Gladney has five career interceptions and 26 passes defended over the past two seasons.

Kevin Hanson joins SI for the 2020 NFL draft season. His NFL Mock Drafts have graded as the most accurate over the past five years, per The Huddle Report. His 2015 NFL mock draft graded as the most accurate and his 2019 NFL mock draft was the second-most accurate out of 101 draft analysts.

Question or comment? Email us at talkback@themmqb.com.