Written by Ali Jawad
As all-star week is in the books, we make our way closer to the 2020 NFL draft. With discussions every year around this time as to who will end up where in 2 months, teams are hoping that the selections they make in Vegas will help alter the course of their franchises. Time for my 2020 round 1 mock draft: enjoy!
1. Cincinnati Bengals - Joe Burrow, QB - LSU
We talk about no brainer picks every year in the draft. Well, let’s open up the draft with a no brainer pick as the Bengals take their QB of the future, Joe Burrow, who had arguably the greatest season ever for a college QB.
2. Washington Redskins - Chase Young, Edge - Ohio State
Once again an all-too-easy pick. The Redskins should be very fortunate that a man named Joe Burrow exists, because now they will be able to draft the best player in this class. Some consider Chase Young to be a generational pass rusher.
3. Detroit Lions - Jeff Okudah, CB - Ohio State
With Darius Slay expressing frustration with the organization the Lions should make the move to either get help across or potentially a future replacement. Okudah has the tools to be a shut down corner at the next level.
4. New York Giants - Isaiah Simmons, LB - Clemson
Michael Strahan said this Giants defense doesn’t have the impactful player it needs. Simmons can be that impactful player. His versatility and pass coverage skills are just what this defense needs.
5. Miami Dolphins - Tua Tagovailoa, QB - Alabama
It was no secret a while ago that the Dolphins may have given indication that they like the Alabama product. Tua's injury will play a big role here, as well as how he performs at combine and pro days. Nonetheless, the Dolphins get their guy of the future.
6. Los Angeles Chargers - Justin Herbert, QB - Oregon
The Chargers have already announced that they are moving on from Philip Rivers. It wouldn’t surprise me if they make a move for a QB in free agency, but if I am looking at the draft Oregon’s Justin Herbert seems like the fit. Athleticism, mobility, size, and strength. He has the tools for next level play.
7. Carolina Panthers - Derrick Brown, DT - Auburn
A year ago, the Panthers made Brian Burns the 16th pick in the draft and he produced a promising rookie season. One year later, why not add Derrick Brown to that defensive line? A powerful force upfront, Derrick Brown will give offensive lines a tough time.
8. Arizona Cardinals - Andrew Thomas, OT - Georgia
The Cardinals have their QB of the future in Kyler Murray and now need to give him a left tackle until retirement. Georgia’s Andrew Thomas is a powerful and dominant player at his position who will protect Murray’s blindside.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars - Jerry Jeudy, WR - Alabama
Lots of promising options remain on the board, and Jacksonville takes the next best player available in Jerry Jeudy. He's the best receiver in the draft and the first one to go in a deep WR class. He has solid hands and is terrific route runner, and could be an Amari Cooper 2.0.
10. Cleveland Browns - Tristan Wirfs, OT - Iowa
Let’s close out the top 10 with another no-brainer pick. Baker Mayfield was pressured heavily last season and needs protection upfront to bounce back in 2020. Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs is an aggressive and athletic tackle that would immediately provide a boost to an offensive line that surrendered 40 total sacks in 2019.
11. New York Jets - Jedrick Wills, OT - Alabama
The Jets made the move 2 years ago to get QB Sam Darnold and now need to make the move to protect him. Alabama’s Jedrick Wills possesses the strength as both a run and pass blocker.
12. Las Vegas Raiders (via Bears) - CeeDee Lamb, WR - Oklahoma
The Raiders were certainly a surprise team last season and will look to build off their 2019 campaign. Whether Carr is the QB of the future or not, a number one threat is needed in Vegas. Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb plays the game similarly to Deandre Hopkins. He's a can’t miss prospect for the Raiders.
13. Indianapolis Colts - AJ Epenesa, Edge - Iowa
While the Colts could address QB at this pick, I see them grabbing the best player available in Iowa’s AJ Epenesa. The Colts finished with a respectable 41 sacks last season as a team, but could bolster their pass rush and front seven overall with the Iowa product.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Kristian Fulton, CB - LSU
The Buccaneers will have to make up their minds about Jameis Winston returning next season. In the meantime, why not fix up a pass defense that was ranked 30th in the NFL. Kristian Fulton is a well built corner with great man to man coverage skills.
15. Denver Broncos - Trevon Diggs, CB - Alabama
With Chris Harris likely departing for free agency, the Broncos grab his replacement in Alabama’s Trevon Diggs. Diggs is a standout in zone and press coverage. He also posses the strength, size, length, and range that will make the Broncos want him even more.
16. Atlanta Falcons - Grant Delpit, S - LSU
He's the first safety off the board and one that won’t disappoint. Delpit has the size that teams want in a safety. What stands out to me the most about Delpit is he doesn’t back down from aggressive play-makers. He is also very quick and has a sudden reaction. He will definitely help an Atlanta pass defense that struggled, ranking 22nd last season.
17. Dallas Cowboys - Javon Kinlaw, DT - South Carolina
Kinlaw is a steal for the Cowboys here at 17, filling in a need at the interior DL for Dallas. His athleticism, quickness, versatility to play the 1 and 3-tech make him an obvious choice for America’s team.
18. Miami Dolphins (via Steelers) - Mekhi Becton, OT - Louisville
The Dolphins take Tua at 4 — now how about some protection? Becton is worth the hype as an absolute monster standing at 6-foot-7 and 369 pounds. He is dominant at the point of attack, may be the strongest guy in the draft, and is a finisher. He's definitely a guy I would want protecting my young QB.
19. Las Vegas Raiders - CJ Henderson, CB - Florida
The Raiders go skill on both sides of the ball as they add a cornerback to their defense. In 2019, the Raiders pass defense allowed 256.7 yards which was 25th in the league. Corner is definitely a need for this team, and Florida’s CJ Henderson fits the bill. He's very sticky in man coverage and has great ball skills with 6 interceptions and 20 pass defenses last season.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Rams) - K’Lavon Chaisson, Edge - LSU
With Yannick Ngakoue likely departing for free agency, the Jaguars grab his replacement in LSUs K’Lavon Chaisson. He is an athletic freak who can use his athleticism to win against opposing tackles. He will also use his length to as an advantage to keep tackles off of him. The presence of All-Pro Calais Campbell on the other side will also help benefit Chaisson's development.
21. Philadelphia Eagles - Henry Ruggs III, WR - Alabama
Injuries depleted the receiving corps for the Eagles last season. With Nelson Agholor being a huge disappointment and Alshon Jeffery missing 6 games last year, the Eagles will turn to Henry Ruggs III. He posses lighting fast speed, strong hands, and was a red zone threat at Alabama.
22. Buffalo Bills - Tee Higgins, WR - Clemson
It's no doubt that the Buffalo Bills have a bright future ahead of them. They have a franchise QB, a good young RB, and one of the league's best defenses. They'll get even better with the addition of Clemson's Tee Higgins. A tall WR at 6-foot-4 with good athleticism, he displays good speed for his size. Josh Allen has the strongest arm in football, and Higgins will give him the option to stretch the field.
23. New England Patriots - Kenneth Murray, LB - Oklahoma
The last time the Patriots picked this high in the draft, the world was a completely different place. New England’s biggest question mark this off season will be Tom Brady and where he ends up playing. But let’s not forget that it’s a team sport, and with several players set to hit free agency, the Patriots address what could be a need on defense at linebacker. Oklahoma’s Kennth Murray would be a great fit. He posses explosive athleticism, length, strength and is a powerful tackler.
24. New Orleans Saints - Justin Jefferson, WR - LSU
Like the Patriots, the Saints will have to make a decision about Drew Brees' future, except the Saints have insurance at QB. With much of the load on Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara last season, the Saints should look to add more help on offense. Jefferson enjoyed a breakout season at LSU, racking up 111 receptions, 1,540 receiving yards, and 18 touchdowns. He posses solid hands, is a natural pass catcher, and is a great deep threat for a team that loves to push the ball.
25. Minnesota Vikings - Neville Gallimore, DL - Oklahoma
Cornerback would be my other option, but interior help is also a need here. The Vikings could certainly strengthen a defensive line that already features the likes of Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter. This would be a nightmare for opposing offensive lines.
26. Miami Dolphins (via Houston) Curtis Weaver, Edge - Boise State
The Dolphins defense was dead last in the NFL in 2019. Let’s be real - can anyone name 3 star players on that team? Curtis Weaver coming around the edge would be a start to improving that side of the ball. He has a thick frame and a powerful base and is a strong run defender. Weaver is a very disruptive player on defense, which is something Miami desperately needs.
27. Seattle Seahawks - Tyler Bidasz, IOL - Wisconsin
Seattle needs help on the offensive line and it has been a need for quite some time. With Russell Wilson in his prime, the Seahawks need to protect their QB. Wisconsin has produced some great OL talent over the years including Travis Fredrick and Ryan Ramczyk. Tyler Bidasz should be next in line. He can anchor the Seattle offensive line, has great awareness, and is very mobile for his size.
28. Baltimore Ravens - Terrell Lewis, Edge - Alabama
With Mathew Judon hitting free agency, the Ravens can look to Alabama’s Terrell Lewis to fill the void if Judon leaves. Lewis is a violent pass rusher and shows the willingness to attack inside moves and stunts. This is an organization that has always been known to produce talent upfront.
29. Tennessee Titans - Yetur Gross-Matos, Edge - Penn State
The Titans need to address their pass rush from the SAM and WILL positions. Matos is a productive player and can step in and help provide this defense with a much needed boost. He has a high motor and is a relentless pass rusher.
30. Green Bay Packers - Laviska Shenault, WR - Colorado
The Packers are in a similar situation as the Saints. Devante Adams and Aaron Jones are essentially the only weapons that Aaron Rodgers has. At 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, Shenault possess a combination of size, speed, power, and run after the catch ability. He would definitely take pressure off of Devante Adams and would be a fun new weapon for Aaron Rodgers.
31. San Francisco 49ers - Xavier Micknney, S - Alabama
What a season it was for a 49ers team that could be around for a while. Defense was the strength and should continue to be. Adding Alabama’s Xavier McKinney will give them a versatile safety who excels in man coverage, can play deep, and can rush the passer.
32. Kansas City Chiefs - Deandre Swift, RB - Georgia
I was very impressed by how the Chiefs were able to run the ball in the Super Bowl. In the regular season, however, they were averaging just 98.1 rushing yards. Imagine if the Chiefs add in a consistent ground attack to go with that dominant passing game. Georgia’s Deandre Swift can provide that. He is a big time playmaker who is explosive and a threat to score each time.