Written by Jake Schwanitz (@JakeSchwanitz)
1. Cincinnati Bengals - Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
The best football player in college football and the winner of the Heisman Trophy goes to the worst team in the NFL. Cincinnati would have to try really hard to mess this one up. While there are some blue chip prospects available on defense, the need at quarterback overtakes everything else. Burrow heads back to his home state of Ohio.
2. Washington Redskins - Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
In Ron Rivera’s first season as Head Coach in the nation’s capital, he lands a blue chip pass rusher. Young would be the fourth consecutive first round pick used on defense for Washington and the fifth first round pick in that front seven.
3. Detroit Lions - Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
Isaiah Simmons is a rare blend of versatility, size and speed that would fill a huge need in the middle of Detroit’s defense. The Lions’ defense is devoid of star power and Jarrad Davis has failed to live up to his draft position. Simmons would bring instant impact and give Head Coach Matt Patricia an excellent player to scheme around.
4. New York Giants - Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
Despite only starting 12 games in 2019, Daniel Jones was sacked 38 times. The Giants simply have to get better protection for Jones. Wills’ nastiness will also be crucial in helping Saquon Barkley and the Giants’ running game rebound in 2020. Wills only played right tackle at Alabama protecting Tua’s blind side. Even if he is unable to make the transition over to left tackle for the Giants, his impact will be quickly felt.
5. Miami Dolphins - Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
The Dolphins successfully tank for Tua and get their quarterback of the future. The latest news on Tua’s hip has been nothing but positive but with Ryan Fitzpatrick on the roster, there is no immediate rush for Tua to play. An ideal fit for Tua and and the Dolphins. A healthy Tua projects as a top tier quarterback prospect with superstar ability.
6. Los Angeles Chargers - Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
The Philip Rivers era is over in Southern California. While the free agent market is abundant with quarterbacks, there is not a realistic long term solution available for the Chargers. Justin Herbert is a four year starter but needs some polish and coaching to become a “win with” or “win because of” quarterback.
7. Carolina Panthers - Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
This would be a steal for Carolina at this position of the draft. Derrick Brown surprised many by returning to Auburn for his senior season in 2019. A certain first round prospect in 2019, Brown elevated his game and became one of the best overall prospects in the country in 2020. While new head coach, Matt Rhule, and offensive coordinator, Joe Brady, have their work cut out for them on the offensive side of the ball, Brown presents too good of a value to pass up.
8. Arizona Cardinals - Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
Kliff Kingsbury was hired in 2019 with the intention of bringing an Air Raid style offense to the NFL. Arizona’s talent at offensive line did not allow that to happen preventing the Cardinals from playing in many spread formations. Mekhi Becton has elite size but shows impressive movement skills. One of the top tier receivers would also be an option at this spot but pass protection takes precedence.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars - Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State
The best cornerback in the draft falls to ninth overall and Jacksonville wastes no time replacing Jalen Ramsey. The Jaguars defense has fallen apart after their AFC Championship appearance in 2018. Jeff Okudah is a smooth, natural athlete and would make any secondary better upon his arrival.
10. Cleveland Browns - Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
Analytics have taken over in Cleveland and with their first round pick they go with the highest graded tackle in college football last year. The Browns have struggled to replace Joe Thomas and Baker Mayfield was sacked 40 times in 2019. Andrew Thomas is a true left tackle and projects as a plug and play player. Regardless of their talent at running back and receiver, none of it works if the offensive line is a bunch of turnstiles.
11. New York Jets - CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
The Jets have needs at nearly every position but Sam Darnold is in desperate need of a big play target. Robby Anderson is a free agent and while Jamison Crowder played well with Darnold in his first season in New York, this offense lacks potency. CeeDee Lamb has great run after the catch ability and is a dynamic playmaker.
12. Las Vegas Raiders - Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
The Raiders lack a playmaker on the outside and go receiver early in the draft to try and sure up that role. Mike Mayock’s first year as general manager of the Raiders was an old school approach of securing the trenches first. While the emphasis this off-season might be primarily on the defensive side of the ball, it’s difficult to pass up the talent of Jerry Jeudy in this spot. Jeudy’s elite route running would be a perfect fit for Jon Gruden’s west coast offense.
13. Indianapolis Colts - A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa
Another GM dedicated to securing the front lines, this pick would be true to Chris Ballard’s team building philosophy. The Colts signed Justin Houston last year and got 11 sacks but was by far and away the best pass rusher on the team. A.J. Epenesa would be a nice scheme fit and fill a crucial need for Indianapolis.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
The quarterback situation in Tampa Bay could very well come into play with this pick if the team elects to not re-sign Jameis or sign another free agent quarterback. Assuming one of those things happens, Javon Kinlaw would be a home run pick. Kinlaw has flashed instances of dominance last year but is still raw as a player. Teaming Kinlaw up with Vita Vea and Ndamukong Suh would be ideal.
15. Denver Broncos - Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
The Denver Broncos receiving corps is Courtland Sutton and a lot of average to below average players. Henry Ruggs III would some much needed speed to this offense opening up spaces for everyone else to work underneath. Drew Lock showed promise as a rookie but in order to continue his progression as a player, he needs playmakers. Offensive tackle would also be considered greatly at this selection.
16. Atlanta Falcons - K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
Vic Beasley had a great 2016 leading the NFL with 15.5 sacks but has struggled to produce since then. K’Lavon Chaisson would help bolster Atlanta’s pass rush while bringing some versatility in pass coverage to the table. The Falcons have struggled with injuries and bad luck since their Super Bowl appearance in 2017. Dan Quinn bought himself at least one more season in Atlanta but needs playmakers on the defensive side of the ball.
17. Dallas Cowboys - Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
The Dallas Cowboys have one of the more complicated free agent situations in the NFL this spring. Key free agents for Dallas include Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, Robert Quinn and Byron Jones. Kristian Fulton has great man coverage skills and could soften the blow if the Cowboys were to lose Jones.
18. Miami Dolphins - Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
Laremy Tunsil was traded away prior to the 2019 season leaving the Dolphins with Julie’n Davenport and Jesse Davis starting at the offensive tackle positions. Tristan Wirfs was a dancing bear at right tackle for Iowa Hawkeyes and would be put in place to protect Tua’s blindside for many years to come.
19. Las Vegas Raiders - C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
With their second first round pick, the Raiders fill another big need on the outside. C.J. Henderson is a great athlete with man coverage skills but will need to improve his tackling to have a chance at becoming a top tier corner in the NFL. Henderson can make an immediate impact in Las Vegas with his coverage skills.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars - Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
Patrick Queen might be considered a bit of a reach at this position but with this pick the Jaguars sure up two of their biggest needs on the defensive side of the ball. Telvin Smith abruptly left the team prior to the 2019 season leaving a massive hole in the middle of the Jaguars defense. Queen has many of the same traits that made Smith successful in Jacksonville bringing back sideline to sideline ability to the middle linebacker position.
21. Philadelphia Eagles - Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
The Philadelphia Eagles need help on the perimeter on both offense and defense. With this draft class being as deep as it is at the receiver position, Philadelphia can afford to wait on wide receiver and select one of the best secondary players in the draft. Alabama has a great pedigree of producing good football players in the secondary, a position that the Eagles need to improve desperately.
22. Buffalo Bills - Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State
Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane worked together in Carolina for years before moving up to western New York. It’s obvious that they are building this Bills team in a similar vein to how those Panthers teams were built. Yetur Gross-Matos would be somewhat of a luxury pick for the Bills at this position, but it helps improve a defense that has been one of the best in the league the last few seasons.
23. New England Patriots - Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
Tom Brady’s future in New England remains up in the air and there is no long term plan currently in place for the Patriots quarterback position. Jordan Love is a project that would benefit greatly from going to one of the best coached teams in the NFL. The Patriots pick Love here with the assumption Brady or another veteran is brought in to start for 2020 and assist the in development of Love as the long term starter.
24. New Orleans Saints - Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
Drew Brees’ decision to return to football in 2020 is one of the biggest decisions that could change the course of the league and the 2020 NFL Draft. Assuming Brees returns to the Saints, Kenneth Murray would bring speed to a defense that has improved greatly over the last three seasons.
25. Minnesota Vikings - Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
The Minnesota Vikings have taken multiple shots at cornerbacks in the first round under Mike Zimmer and Rick Spielman. With Xavier Rhoades taking a giant step back in 2019, the Vikings make another first round selection in the secondary.
26. Miami Dolphins - Terrell Lewis, EDGE, Alabama
The Dolphins are the most intriguing team in the 2020 NFL Draft with their abundance of draft picks. Do they focus on one side of the ball with their three first round selections or do they attempt to draft impact players wherever they can get them? Terrell Lewis notably struggled with injuries at Alabama but is an exciting prospect that Brian Flores could develop. The Dolphins are far from competing in 2020 and could afford to let Lewis develop and heal back up to 100% if he needs to this year.
27. Seattle Seahawks - Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
Russell Wilson’s MVP run in 2019 ultimately fell short but showed that this offense has promise with their stable of young backs and the emergence of D.K. Metcalf. Tee Higgins is similar to Metcalf in that he’s a big target with great contested catch skills. While the Seahawks need help on the defensive side of the ball, Pete Carroll has shown that he can develop talent later in the draft and add free agents where needed to field a competitive defense year after year.
28. Baltimore Ravens - Neville Gallimore, DT, Oklahoma
The Baltimore Ravens are one of the youngest and most complete teams in the league. Neville Gallimore fills a need for the Ravens in the middle of their defense and is an impressive athlete for how big he is.
29. Tennessee Titans - J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio State
Derrick Henry is a free agent and the track record for running backs receiving a big pay day on their second contract has not been great. Assuming the Titans spend their cap space at other positions, J.K. Dobbins would be a great pick in this situation. Dobbins is a three down back that would allow the Titans to keep up with their smashmouth mentality.
30. Green Bay Packers - Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
Aaron Rodgers is one the downhill slope of his career and the Packers offense lacks game-breaking speed. Reagor is one of the fastest football players in this year’s draft and would be a welcome addition to the Packers receiving corps.
31. San Francisco 49ers - Grant Delpit, S, LSU
The San Francisco 49ers put relentless pressure on quarterbacks in 2019. With Jimmie Ward entering free agency, the 49ers draft Grant Delpit to play centerfield in their secondary. Much has been made about Delpit’s struggles when it comes to tackling. Teaming Delpit up with this pass rush would be a best case scenario for him.
32. Kansas City Chiefs - Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado
The defending Super Bowl champions are primed for another run in 2020 with Patrick Mahomes leading the way. With Demarcus Robinson hitting free agency and questions about Sammy Watkins' future in Kansas City floating around, Laviska Shenault would be an excellent addition. Shenault is a raw prospect but in Andy Reid’s offense he would be put in position to do what he does best, be a dynamic athlete with the ability to score from anywhere on the field.