With the sports world largely on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NFL offseason marches on. Despite some speculation that the start of the NFL league year could have been pushed back, it has begun pretty much as planned.
With free agency still underway, but most of the big names already off the board, here is an updated look at how the first three rounds of the draft could play out.
1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
As expected, the Bengals are listening to trade offers for quarterback Andy Dalton. With Dalton on his way out, the Heisman-winning Burrow is a virtual lock to take over for the soon-to-be outgoing incumbent. Described as “the real deal” after his interview with the Bengals, Burrow threw an FBS-record 60 touchdowns last season and rushed for five more. Poised in the pocket and throwing with pinpoint accuracy, Burrow nearly set the single-season record for completion percentage despite facing seven top-10 opponents en route to an undefeated season.
2. Washington: Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
Perhaps Washington will entice the Dolphins, Chargers or another quarterback-needy team to offer up a king’s ransom for the second pick. If Washington doesn’t trade back, Young makes the most sense here. 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.
3. Detroit Lions: Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
We’ve expected for a while now that the Lions would trade Darius Slay, and he finally got his wish with a deal to the Eagles. Okudah would have represented a significant upgrade for the Lions whether they kept Slay or not, but now he fills a more obvious need. A complete corner, Okudah has an ideal blend of size, length, athleticism and competitiveness.
4. New York Giants: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
Not only is right tackle Mike Remmers a free agent, but left tackle Nate Solder has failed to live up to the expectations of his massive contract. The first true freshman to start at offensive tackle during the Kirk Ferentz era at Iowa, Wirfs showed off his freakish athleticism by leading all offensive linemen in the 40-yard dash (4.85), vertical jump (36.5") and broad jump (10' 1") at the combine.
5. Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
Tua Tagovailoa’s rehabilitation has been described as being “as positive as possible” throughout the pre-draft process and he has planned to hold a personal pro day on April 9. At this point, it’s unclear how the current environment will impact the evaluation of his progress heading into the draft, assuming the draft dates (April 23-25) remain unchanged. When healthy, however, Tagovailoa throws with a quick release, elite accuracy and anticipation with the intangibles to develop into the franchise quarterback they have sought since Dan Marino retired.
6. Los Angeles Chargers: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
As the Chargers move into the post-Philip Rivers era, Tyrod Taylor and Easton Stick are the only quarterbacks under contract for 2020 and they are not expected to sign or trade for a veteran quarterback. While Herbert needs to improve his consistency, he has across-the-board plus traits—size, arm strength, mobility and intelligence. Meanwhile, the Senior Bowl’s Jim Nagy called concerns about his quiet leadership style a “false narrative” and said Herbert has “far more charisma than many NFL starters we’ve been around.”
7. Carolina Panthers: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
The converted safety won the Butkus Award, given to the nation's top collegiate linebacker, but the do-it-all junior is a defensive chess piece that has lined up nearly everywhere. As expected, Simmons tested off the charts at the combine by running a 4.39 in the 40 to go along with explosive jumps at 238 pounds. With sideline-to-sideline range and playmaking ability, Simmons ended 2019 with 104 tackles, eight sacks, three interceptions and two forced fumbles.
8. Arizona Cardinals: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
After stealing away DeAndre Hopkins from the Texans, it’s less likely that the Cardinals will reunite Kyler Murray with his former Oklahoma teammate CeeDee Lamb, a prospect that has drawn comparisons to Hopkins. Even though the Cardinals re-signed D.J. Humphries to a three-year deal and right tackle Justin Murray played better as the season progressed, Wills would give the offensive line an immediate upgrade. A two-year starter at right tackle for the Tide, Wills is dominant as a run blocker and his outstanding movement skills should allow him to play either tackle spot at the next level.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Derrick Brown, IDL, Auburn
Only the Panthers allowed more yards per carry (5.2) than the Jaguars (5.1) last season and Brown is a dominant run defender that moves well for his size with the versatility to play up and down the defensive line. Not only have the Jaguars declined the option on Marcell Dareus, but they agreed to trade Calais Campbell to the Ravens for a fifth-round pick.
10. Cleveland Browns: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
Even though the Browns have agreed to a three-year deal with free-agent right tackle Jack Conklin, the team could be in the market to upgrade both tackle spots. Not only is left tackle Greg Robinson a free agent, but right tackle Chris Hubbard graded out as PFF’s 76th-best offensive tackle (among 81 qualifiers) last season. A mountain of a man at 6' 7" and 364 pounds with vines for arms (35 5/8"), the 20-year-old Becton has work to do on technique, but he has unique movement skills for a man his size.
11. New York Jets: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
It’s been a decade since the Jets used a first- or second-round pick on an offensive lineman (Vlad Ducasse, 61st pick in 2010). The Jets ranked near the bottom of Football Outsiders offensive line rankings in both run blocking (31st) and pass blocking (30th) in 2019. The team could use upgrades at both tackle spots even though they agreed to a three-year deal with free-agent George Fant. Thomas was a three-year starter at Georgia with experience on both the left and right side.
12. Las Vegas Raiders: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
Darren Waller had a breakout season (90/1,145/3) for the Raiders in 2019, but the trade for Antonio Brown turned out to be a failed experiment. Ending his collegiate career on a high note (6/204/1 vs. Michigan), Jeudy is a polished route-runner that can immediately step into the WR1 role for the Raiders.
13. San Francisco 49ers (via IND): C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
Cornerback Richard Sherman will turn 32 later this month and the team could use an upgrade opposite him. Critics will 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.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
There is “growing buzz” that Love could be a top-10 pick. While it may take a trade up to get him, the trio of teams in the 12-to-14 range could all be intrigued by the quarterback that one NFL head coach called a “poor man's (Patrick) Mahomes.” Given Love’s live arm, plus mobility and improvisational skills, Bruce Arians may be willing to take a chance on his traits as a quarterback to develop behind the soon-to-be 43-year-old new Buccaneer Tom Brady.
15. Denver Broncos: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
Not only did quarterback Drew Lock and TE Noah Fant show promise in their rookie seasons, but Courtland Sutton had a breakout sophomore campaign (1,112 yards). The Broncos could use an upgrade opposite Sutton, however, as no other returning wide receiver reached the 300-yard mark in 2019. Scoring 26 touchdowns in 27 games over the past two seasons, Lamb isn't a burner, but he has outstanding hands, body control and run-after-catch ability.
16. Atlanta Falcons: K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
Even though the Falcons signed Dante Fowler in free agency, the team finished with the second-fewest sacks (28) in 2019 and the team leader in sacks (Vic Beasley, eight) will play elsewhere in 2020. The 20-year-old has elite speed off the edge and came on late—4.5 sacks in final four games—to lead LSU in sacks, tackles for loss and QB hurries in 2019.
17. Dallas Cowboys: Javon Kinlaw, IDL, South Carolina
Given the loss of Byron Jones in free agency, the Cowboys would strongly consider C.J. Henderson here, if he were still available. That said, it’s possible Kinlaw is the top-ranked player on the team’s draft board. With a blend of size, length, strength and quickness, Kinlaw generated 10 sacks over the past two seasons despite consistently facing double teams.
18. Miami Dolphins (via PIT): Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
With so many needs, the Dolphins can go in a number of different directions. Acquiring this pick in the Minkah Fitzpatrick trade, Miami uses it to draft a replacement from his alma mater. Intelligent, instinctual and versatile, McKinney has experience at both safety spots as well as nickel and tied for the team lead in interceptions (three) for the Crimson Tide in 2019.
19. Las Vegas Raiders (via CHI): Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
In many of the previous iterations of my mock draft, I’ve slotted either LSU’s Patrick Queen or Oklahoma’s Kenneth Murray to the Raiders. With Mike Mayock signing Nick Kwiatkowski and Cory Littleton to a pair of three-year deals, the team goes in a different direction with Queen’s teammate. Per PFF, Fulton is tied for the most forced incompletions over the past two seasons.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars (via LAR): Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama
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. Few players can match the 4.27 speed of Ruggs, who scored on one of four career touches at Alabama.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Carson Wentz became the first quarterback to throw for 4,000 yards without a 500-yard wide receiver as the team's wide receiver corps was decimated by injuries. The trio of Alshon Jeffery (10), DeSean Jackson (three) and Nelson Agholor (11) played only 24 games for the Eagles in 2019. Jefferson has outstanding hands, ran a faster-than-expected 40-yard dash (4.43) and is coming off a prolific season (111/1,540/18) for the national champions.
22. Minnesota Vikings (via BUF): Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
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. Queen is a three-down linebacker with outstanding speed that excels in coverage. If this is the pick, the trio of Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks and Queen would be locked up through the 2023 season.
23. New England Patriots: A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa
Epenesa isn't a speed rusher, but he could remind Bill Belichick of one of his former players (Trey Flowers). The former Hawkeye wins with a blend of power, length, technique and heavy hands and has the versatility to rush from the inside as well. While he started the 2019 season slowly, Epenesa closed the season strong with eight sacks and four forced fumbles over his final five games.
24. New Orleans Saints: Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
With no second-round pick, the Saints may look to trade back here, but adding a playmaker opposite Michael Thomas would make 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
Of the four cornerbacks to play 500-plus snaps for the Vikings last season, three of them—Trae Waynes, Mackensie Alexander and Xavier Rhodes—are no longer on the roster. The younger brother of (former Viking receiver) Stefon Diggs, Trevon Diggs has ideal length for the position, outstanding ball skills and led Alabama in pass breakups (eight) last season.
26. Miami Dolphins (via HOU): Josh Jones, OT, Houston
Trading Laremy Tunsil has left a void at left tackle, which Jones can fill, but the team could benefit from multiple upgrades to their line. A four-year starter at Houston, Jones has the length, quick feet and movement skills coveted in a left tackle.
27. Seattle Seahawks: Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State
No Seahawk had more than four sacks (Rasheem Green) in 2019 and Jadeveon Clowney and Ziggy Ansah are free agents. Gross-Matos has ideal length, a non-stop motor and quick first step and has recorded 34.5 tackles for loss and 17 sacks over the past two seasons combined.
28. Baltimore Ravens: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
After losing C.J. Mosley in free agency last offseason, both Josh Bynes and Patrick Onwuasor are free agents in 2020. A tackling machine for the Sooners, Murray has the non-stop motor and sideline-to-sideline range to become an impact defender in the middle of the Ravens defense.
29. Tennessee Titans: A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson
Several Titans corners are free agents this offseason, including Logan Ryan. While he didn’t have a stellar performance against Ja’Marr Chase and LSU in the national championship game, Terrell is a long and athletic corner that should be in the late first-round mix.
30. Green Bay Packers: Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
Outside of Davante Adams, Green Bay has struggled to find consistent production from its wide receiver corps. Few players, if any, have helped their draft stock more than Mims during the pre-draft process. After an outstanding week at the Senior Bowl, Mims ran a sub-4.4 in the 40 with a position-best 6.66 in the three-cone drill at the combine. Per PFF stats, the 207-pound wideout led the nation with 20 contested catches.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
Given the 125-pick gap between this (No. 31) and their next pick (No. 156), the 49ers may be more likely to trade back than to make a selection here. Deebo Samuel had a productive rookie season with nearly 1,000 yards from scrimmage and three 100-yard receiving games from Week 10 on, but Emmanuel Sanders is a free agent. Higgins has strong hands and a large catch radius while wins as a vertical receiver.
32. Kansas City Chiefs: Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah
While UDFA Charvarius Ward is coming off a strong second season, several of Kansas City’s other cornerbacks—Kendall Fuller, Morris Claiborne, Bashaud Breeland and Keith Reaser—have either signed elsewhere or are still free agents. A fluid athlete at 6' and 193 pounds, Johnson has started 29 games over three seasons and has seven career interceptions and 28 passes defended.
33. Cincinnati Bengals: Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado
34. Indianapolis Colts (via WAS): Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
35. Detroit Lions: Grant Delpit, S, LSU
36. New York Giants: Julian Okwara, EDGE, Notre Dame
37. Los Angeles Chargers: Austin Jackson, OT, USC
38. Carolina Panthers: Ross Blacklock, IDL, TCU
39. Miami Dolphins: D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
40. Houston Texans (via ARI): Cesar Ruiz, IOL, Michigan
41. Cleveland Browns: Zack Baun, LB, Wisconsin
42. Jacksonville Jaguars: Antoine Winfield Jr., S, Minnesota
43. Chicago Bears (via LV): Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
44. Indianapolis Colts: Jacob Eason, QB, Washington
45. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Neville Gallimore, IDL, Oklahoma
46. Denver Broncos: K.J. Hamler, WR, Penn State
47. Atlanta Falcons: Justin Madubuike, IDL, Texas A&M
48. New York Jets: Terrell Lewis, EDGE, Alabama
49. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma
50. Chicago Bears: Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame
51. Dallas Cowboys: Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State
52. Los Angeles Rams: Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise State
53. Philadelphia Eagles: Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn
54. Buffalo Bills: J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio State
55. Baltimore Ravens (via NE): Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
56. Miami Dolphins (via NO): Cameron Dantzler, CB, Mississippi State
57. Houston Texans: Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia
58. Minnesota Vikings: Jordan Elliott, IDL, Missouri
59. Seattle Seahawks: Marlon Davidson, IDL, Auburn
60. Baltimore Ravens: Michael Pittman Jr., WR, USC
61. Tennessee Titans: Lucas Niang, OT, TCU
62. Green Bay Packers: Matt Peart, OT, Connecticut
63. Kansas City Chiefs (via SF): Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU
64. Seattle Seahawks (via KC): Jeremy Chinn, S, Southern Illinois
65. Cincinnati Bengals: Jordyn Brooks, LB, Texas Tech
66. Washington: Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame
67. Detroit Lions: Kyle Dugger, S, Lenoir-Rhyne
68. New York Jets (via NYG): Troy Pride Jr., CB, Notre Dame
69. Carolina Panthers: Ashtyn Davis, S, Cal
70. Miami Dolphins: Lloyd Cushenberry III, IOL, LSU
71. Los Angeles Chargers: Cam Akers, RB, Florida State
72. Arizona Cardinals: Prince Tega Wanogho, OT, Auburn
73. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia
74. Cleveland Browns: Malik Harrison, LB, Ohio State
75. Indianapolis Colts: Adam Trautman, TE, Dayton
76. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia
77. Denver Broncos: Troy Dye, LB, Oregon
78. Atlanta Falcons: Matt Hennessy, IOL, Temple
79. New York Jets: Bryan Edwards, WR, South Carolina
80. Las Vegas Raiders: Josh Uche, EDGE, Michigan
81. Las Vegas Raiders (via CHI): Raekwon Davis, IDL, Alabama
82. Dallas Cowboys: Brycen Hopkins, TE, Purdue
83. Denver Broncos (via PIT): Robert Hunt, IOL, Louisiana-Lafayette
84. Los Angeles Rams: Curtis Weaver, EDGE, Boise State
85. Detroit Lions (via PHI): Bradlee Anae, EDGE, Utah
86. Buffalo Bills: Jonathan Greenard, EDGE, Florida
87. New England Patriots: Logan Wilson, LB, Wyoming
88. New Orleans Saints: Jabari Zuniga, EDGE, Florida
89. Minnesota Vikings: Van Jefferson, WR, Florida
90. Houston Texans: James Lynch, IDL, Baylor
91. Las Vegas Raiders (via SEA): A.J. Green, CB, Oklahoma State
92. Baltimore Ravens: Netane Muti, IOL, Fresno State
93. Tennessee Titans: Zack Moss, RB, Utah
94. Green Bay Packers: Akeem Davis-Gaither, LB, Appalachian State
95. Denver Broncos (via SF): Darnay Holmes, CB, UCLA
96. Kansas City Chiefs: Amik Robertson, CB, Louisiana Tech
97. Cleveland Browns (via HOU): Tyler Biadasz, IOL, Wisconsin
98. New England Patriots: Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR, Michigan
99. New York Giants: Darrell Taylor, EDGE, Tennessee
100. New England Patriots: Jonah Jackson, IOL, Ohio State
101. Seattle Seahawks: Damien Lewis, IOL, LSU
102. Pittsburgh Steelers: Hunter Bryant, TE, Washington
103. Philadelphia Eagles: John Simpson, IOL, Clemson
104. Los Angeles Rams: Willie Gay Jr., LB, Mississippi State
105. Minnesota Vikings: Logan Stenberg, IOL, Kentucky
106. Baltimore Ravens: Khalid Kareem, EDGE, Notre Dame
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.
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