Written by Cody Manning, @CodyTalksNFL
We are less than a month away from the NFL Draft, assuming, of course, that the league doesn’t push it back due to the pandemic that is going around the country right now. This will be the most unique draft in quite some time as we won’t see the traditional setup and that teams are having to figure out how they will finalize their big boards without all the information they typically collect leading into the event. Every year I like to release two mock drafts, one post-free agency and the week of the draft. In this one, there will be no predicted trades, but I will list some potential trade back candidates. With that being said, here is how I see the 1st round falling after all the recent moves by NFL teams.
1. Cincinnati Bengals - Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
This is pretty simple. Cinci is ready to move on from the Dalton era and bring back local interest from their fanbase. Burrow is an Ohio kid and his moxie will make the Bengals an intriguing team for the first time in a while. Zac Taylor gets his franchise quarterback he can mold his offense around.
2. Washington Redskins - Chase Young, Edge, Ohio St.
Washington benefits from the Bengals need for a new franchise quarterback and they land the best player in this draft class. I am not buying the rumors they could select Tua here, I think they will let Dwayne Haskins, Kyle Allen, and potentially Alex Smith battle it out to be their QB1. Young solidifies their defensive front and could replicate what the 49ers did with their front littered with 1st round talent.
3. Detroit Lions - Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio St.
The Lions traded away Darius Slay this offseason which opened up the need for a top corner in their defense. Even though they signed Desmond Trufant, he is more of a CB2 at this point in his career and Okudah’s talent is too much to pass on. He immediately fills the void and can be an impact player on Day 1 for Detroit.
Trade Back Candidate: This could be the first domino to fall in the draft. We could see a QB needy team want to trade ahead of the Dolphins to select Tua. The Lions could fall back a few spots and still land Okudah or one of the top defensive players in the class.
4. New York Giants - Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
Dave Gettleman loves his hog mollies and Wirfs fits the mold. After investing a Top 10 pick on Daniel Jones and the #2 overall pick on Saqoun Barkley, New York needs to give their young players some help so they can shine in 2020. Wirfs is rumored to be a Gettleman’s player and if they stay here I believe he will end up being the pick.
Trade Back Candidate: Similar to the Lions, the Giants could look into trading back with a team that may want to jump ahead of the Dolphins to get Tua. Gettleman has never traded back in his career as a GM, but this is something he should consider this year. New York could trade back a few spots and still land one of the top offensive tackles or a player like Isaiah Simmons.
5. Miami Dolphins - Tua Tagovailo, QB, Alabama
This pick continues to happen in mock drafts that it has me thinking it won’t happen. But, it has been rumored since the last offseason that Stephen Ross has been infatuated with Tua and wants him in Miami. The team can let Ryan Fitzpatrick run the team until he is fully healthy to step on the field. Miami gets their guy.
6. Los Angeles Chargers - Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
The Chargers are still hard to figure out what they could do at #6. The team has talent across the roster but they are missing a few pieces from a deep playoff run. If they add a healthy Cam Newton, they could go with an offensive tackle here. But, the quarterback position still remains the biggest need for LA and it sounds like Herbert has been in their sights since the Senior Bowl. The Chargers get their new franchise quarterback after moving on from Philip Rivers.
7. Carolina Panthers - Isaiah Simmons, LB/S, Clemson
Simmons’ athleticism is too much for Matt Rhule to pass on. He gets a defensive weapon for his team that can help cover the field as the unit needs help all over. With Luke Kuechly retiring, the Panthers need a playmaker and he can help fill that void. Carolina starts its rebuild with an uber-talented prospect.
8. Arizona Cardinals - Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
After making a big splash by adding DeAndre Hopkins to their roster, Arizona needs to focus on upgrading their offensive line and protecting Kyler Murray. Wills can come in and start from Day 1, play on either side of the line, and bring some nastiness with him. The Cardinals can’t afford to pass on one of the top tackles in this class.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars - Derrick Brown, IDL, Auburn
Jacksonville appears to be in rebuild mode and they need to start in the trenches after trading away Calais Campbell. Brown can help make a solid 1-2 punch combo with Josh Allen on the Jaguars defensive front. Assuming the team will end up trading Yannick Ngakoue, Brown can provide a youth movement on their defense.
10. Cleveland Browns - Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
Cleveland’s Achilles Heel last year was their offensive line. They have already addressed the unit by signing Jack Conklin and have a chance to have bookend tackles by grabbing one of the best tackles in this year’s class. Becton has the highest ceiling among this group of tackles and could protect Baker Mayfield’s blindside for a long time if he hits it.
11. New York Jets - Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
The Jets have attempted to fix their offensive line through free agency, but they still need a left tackle to protect Sam Darnold. Thomas is the safest tackle in this class and offers the highest floor among the group. New York needs to give their franchise quarterback some time to throw and open some holes for Le’Veon Bell.
12. Las Vegas Raiders - CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
Las Vegas needs a true #1 wide receiver in their offense. Lamb offers the Raiders a big body receiver that can break tackles and go up to grab the ball with his hands in jump ball situations. Vegas wants to show its new city an exciting offense in its inaugural season.
13. San Francisco 49ers - Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
Outside Deebo Samuel, the 49ers don’t have a receiver that defensive coordinators would need to gameplan for. Jeudy is this year’s best route runner and is a perfect fit for Kyle Shanahan’s offense. After moving on from Emmanuel Sanders, San Francisco gets a plug-and-play player to fill his void.
Trade Back Candidate: The 49ers don’t have a pick until the 5th round after their #31 selection. With a deep WR class, they could look to trade out of this spot if they find a taker.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Jordan Love, QB, Utah St.
The Bucs added Tom Brady!!! Why would they draft a quarterback?! I understand that was probably your thought process here. Tampa needs a tackle and #14 is a little too rich for the 2nd tier of prospects in that group. As well as taking a running back here. Regardless, Love needs 1-2 years to develop behind a veteran. It was reported that Brady is open to mentoring a young quarterback to leave the franchise in a good place when he retires. Two years of Brady then he hands off the keys to the franchise to Love isn’t a bad plan to have.
Trade Back Candidate: Honestly, if the top 4 tackles are off the board, I believe that Jason Licht should do everything in his power to trade back in the first round. The 2nd tier of tackles should end up getting selected in the back half of the 1st.
15. Denver Broncos - Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama
After quietly improving their roster this offseason, the Broncos land themselves a playmaker to put in their offense. Ruggs can stretch the field and open up things for Drew Lock. John Elway would surround the young quarterback with a plethora of talent between Ruggs, Courtland Sutton, Melvin Gordon, and Noah Fant.
16. Atlanta Falcons - Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
Atlanta really needs an upgrade to their cornerback group. After moving on from Desmond Trufant, they grab Fulton to line him up across from Isaiah Oliver. Fulton has the size to be physical with players like Mike Evans and Michael Thomas. Plus, his speed can help him lock onto the burners. Dan Quinn adds a piece to his revamped defense.
17. Dallas Cowboys - Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
The Cowboys secondary could use some upgrades and they could get some versatility with the addition of McKinney. As we know, Jerry Jones wants to win a Super Bowl sooner than later, McKinney can come in and make an immediate impact on their defense. You can always trust that a defensive back will be coached up by Nick Saban.
Trade Back Candidate: I do feel that Dallas could trade back in the 1st round and they could still land McKinney or one of the top secondary prospects in this class. If they have a chance to land some more draft capital then I think they should.
18. Miami Dolphins - Josh Jones, OT, Houston
This might be a tad bit higher than where Jones should go, but Miami has a major need for a tackle and they can’t afford to let the next best one fall off the board. Jones will bring some physicality with him and will provide an upgrade to the unit. Dolphins continue their rebuild in the trenches.
19. Las Vegas Raiders - C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
Las Vegas needs as much help as they can get to help stop Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense. Henderson offers the Raiders a coverage corner that is athletic enough to deal with the receivers in the AFC West. Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden should continue to add talent to their cornerback group.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars - K’Lavon Chaisson, Edge, LSU
Under the assumption that Ngakoue will be traded, the Jags continue to revamp their defensive front by replacing him with Chaisson. He would make an exciting young pass rush tandem with Josh Allen, plus with the addition of Derrick Brown, they could get some one-on-one matchups with offensive tackles. Jacksonville would quickly fix their defensive front.
21. Philadelphia Eagles - Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
Philadelphia has made some major upgrades to their defense with the additions of Darius Slay and Javon Hargrave this offseason. They can continue that with the selection of Queen. He would give them a sideline-to-sideline linebacker who could take advantage of their loaded defensive front. Howie Roseman continues to work his magic on their defense.
22. Minnesota Vikings - Javon Kinlaw, IDL, South Carolina
This is a major value pick for Minnesota. Kinlaw is a Top 15 talent in this draft class and he finds himself at #22 in this mock. If this indeed happens, Rick Spielman shouldn’t think twice and pull the trigger on him. Kinlaw can help the pass rush for the Vikings and make life easier on Danielle Hunter.
23. New England Patriots - Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
Life after Tom Brady? I don’t picture Bill Belichick dipping into the 2nd tier of quarterbacks at this point in the draft. D’Onta Hightower isn’t getting any younger and the linebacker group could use an influx of talent. Murray could be a future leader in the post-Brady era and provide an impact now in the defensive unit.
Trade Back Candidate: It just seems like a Patriot thing to do. New England can drop back a few spots and pick the best player on their board.
24. New Orleans Saints - Zack Baun, LB, Wisconsin
New Orleans is one of the deepest rosters in the NFL and doesn’t have a screaming need heading into the NFL Draft. They are in a perfect situation to pick the best player available on their board. While I believe there is better talent on the board, Baun offers the Saints a versatile skill set that they covet in their defense. He could provide valuable snaps as a rookie.
Trade Back Candidate: Baun should be available if New Orleans wanted to trade back for some draft capital. I believe they should since they will be selecting BPA throughout the entire draft process.
25. Minnesota Vikings - Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
After trading away Stefon Diggs the Vikings have a major need for a receiver to complements Adam Theilen. Higgins gives Kirk Cousins a player that can win 50/50 situations and has a championship pedigree. If Minnesota is committed to returning to the playoffs than they need players that can give them an immediate return on their investment
Trade Back Candidate: The Vikings have multiple needs that they need to address in this draft class. With the benefit of having two 1st round selections, they could trade back here to add capital and they could still select the top receiver, cornerback, or offensive lineman on their board.
26. Miami Dolphins - Austin Jackson, OT, USC
Two offensive tackles in the 1st round? If you’re going to invest the #5 overall pick into a quarterback coming off hip surgery, plus a history of other injuries, then you better plan on doing whatever it takes to keep him healthy. Miami is desperate for offensive line help and could use as much depth as they can get. Tackles are hard to come by, so the Dolphins might as well take as many shots they can.
Trade Back Candidate: Miami needs as much talent as they can get. If they have a chance to drop back and add even more capital then I don’t blame them. They can afford to fall back some and add as many prospects they can.
27. Seattle Seahawks - A.J. Epenesa, Edge, Iowa
If Seattle does resign Jadeveon Clowney or trades for Yannick Ngakoue then it does help address their need for pass rush. Epenesa offers the Seahawks a boost to their defensive line and can provide a rush from the inside or outside. Even if they have Clowney or Ngakoue, Seattle needs some help upfront.
Trade Back Candidate: The Seahawks need some depth across the roster. If they find a trade partner then John Schneider should consider adding some capital.
28. Baltimore Ravens - Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Baltimore spent a 1st round pick on Hollywood Brown last year and may need to address the position again in 2020. Jefferson can provide the Ravens an efficient route runner that can create the separation for Lamar Jackson.
Trade Back Candidate: Baltimore just has a few needs heading into the draft and could benefit from adding some capital. They can address the receiver position if they trade back.
29. Tennessee Titans - Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
After going on an improbable run to the AFC Championship Game, the Titans are looking to reload and get a roster together that can take down the Chiefs. Tennessee’s cornerback group needs an upgrade. Gladney could provide them a feisty player who isn’t afraid to back down from a challenge.
30. Green Bay Packers - Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona St.
Green Bay needs to be all-in on trying to win one last championship with Aaron Rodgers. Aiyuk’s YAC ability can help stretch the Packers offense wide open and complement Davante Adams. Matt LaFleur gets a weapon that he can utilize within his offense.
Trade Back Candidate: With how deep the wide receiver class is, I think it would be worth it if Green Bay trades back into the 2nd round.
31. San Francisco 49ers - A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson
The 49ers saw Patrick Mahomes light them up in the 4th quarter of the Super Bowl and should understand the need for depth in their cornerback group. Terrell gives them an experienced corner who has played in some big-time games. Plus, Richard Sherman is in the final year of his contract so they do need to plan ahead.
Trade Back Candidate: As I said at #13, the 49ers need the capital and should explore trade back options.
32. Kansas City Chiefs - Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
Kansas City is in need of an #1 cornerback and could use some depth within the group. Diggs offers them a long and athletic player that can thrive within the right defensive scheme that suits his skill set. The Chiefs load up on defense knowing the Super Bowl MVP can carry the offense.
Trade Back Candidate: If KC doesn’t believe they can get a player that can start on Day 1 then they should consider trading back out of the last pick of the 1st round.