Written by Mason LeBeau
Well here we are, less than 24-hours away from one of the more unprecedented drafts I’ve ever witnessed. The Covid-19 draft has been extremely unpredictable with the normal way of doing things being flipped on its head. This is a mock I feel less confident in than usual in terms of nailing most my picks; however, I believe in a lot of the team to talent matchups I’ve paired. Once again, I’m trying out trades and I think I’m pretty content with them; it’s just a killer trying to guess what will ACTUALLY happen. Oh well, here it goes.
1. Cincinnati Bengals - QB Joe Burrow
No brainer, just as it should be. Now Cincy just has to build around him correctly.
2. Washington Redskins - EDGE Chase Young
Another no brainer, but I won’t blame them if they get a HAUL to move out. I toyed around with them moving down or even straight up picking Okudah, a better fit at a bigger need, but ultimately Chase Young is too good and perfectly ties up and overpowers that entire DL.
3. Los Angeles Chargers (Trade w/ NYG) - QB Tua Tagovailoa
I’ve bought into the Chargers wanting Tua just a bit more than the Dolphins do. Or at least Miami is more content with Herbert than LA is. The Chargers have a roster ready to compete, have rebuilt the OL to protect Tua’s blindside, and have a fantastic mentor in Tyrod to show him the ropes and guarantee he’s in perfect health when he makes his first start. The new uniforms, new stadium, new QB.. ready to roll in LA.
4. New York Giants - OT Jedrick Wills
Sticking to our guns here, Wills is my OT1. Beyond that, I think he’s a perfect fit for this offense. Wirfs fits too, but I honestly believe his upside can only make him marginally a better OL than Wills almost already is. He can pull, block at the second level, reach, and has some of the finest footwork I’ve ever seen for a prospect. Wills helps Daniel Jones and Saquon immediately better than anyone else, and that’s how the Giants are going to win in 2020.
5. Miami Dolphins - QB Justin Herbert
I like Herbert more than others, but this is still the risky play. However, some of that risk is mitigated by the rest of the picks Miami has in the arsenal. Also, if Hebert doesn’t pan out, they can be competitive for another QB in two to three years with a roster ready to support them. That’s the future though. The Dolphins are in an excellent place to let Herbert sit and learn for a full season if they want to, while continuing to improve the roster with the massive amount of picks they’ve gathered.
6. Detroit Lions - CB Jeffrey Okudah
Outside of the Redskins making a move and Chase Young falling to them, trading back and grabbing Okudah is the ideal first round for the Lions. I won’t go against the grain here: Okudah is the perfect fit to win now and win later for the Lions. Joining Justin Coleman and Desmond Trufant, the Lions should boast one of the better CB corps in the league.
7. Carolina Panthers - LB Isaiah Simmons
This pick gave me trouble because there are so many ways the Panthers could go as they look to rebuild behind an entirely new regime. An offensive or defensive tackle would be equally beneficial, but I think Simmons brings too much versatility and upside for the Panthers to pass on. New OC Joe Brady got a great look at him preparing for the National Championship. Simmons helps start replacing a Kuechly-sized hole in the defense and perfectly plays into the future Panthers without adding too many wins right now.
8. Atlanta Falcons (Trade w/ Arizona) - CB CJ Henderson
The Falcons need to add pieces that will help them win now as Matt Ryan’s and Julio Jones’s windows close. Adding Dante Fowler gives the defense a much needed pass rusher to compliment Grady Jarrett. Putting Javon Kinlaw between them is extremely tempting, but the hole at CB1 is bigger. A disruptive DT can be had in the second, and a great floor/upside mix of a pure cover corner won’t be found even at their original pick. Getting ahead of Jacksonville is huge if they want to round out their defense.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars - DL Derrick Brown
Missing on Henderson hurts but Brown is far more than a consolation prize. In fact I think he may be the perfect fit. The run defense became one of the worst in the league once Marcell Dareus went down, and he’s unlikely to be back with the team. Calais Campbell is also gone. Without those two big men, the Jags desperately need to get stronger in the trenches, and pairing Josh Allen with an extremely impressive pocket pusher and run defender is a great way to kick-off a rebuild. A WR can be had either at 20 or the second, but I think Minshew needs to show progress in a better offense before they start upgrading the offense. The defense should be top priority here.
10. Denver Broncos (Trade w/ Cleveland) - Henry Ruggs III
Ruggs WR1? This isn’t a John Ross situation; Ruggs is a complete WR with incredible speed and we don’t see those types of receivers often. Denver wants to supercharge their offense with Drew Lock showing hope at QB, and a Sutton-Fant-Ruggs receiving corp is certainly the best way to do it. Any of the other receivers work here too, but I think it’ll be harder to find another Ruggs. After trading down from this spot last year with the Steelers, Denver has the ammo to be aggressive and strike first at WR.
11. New York Jets - OT Andrew Thomas
The Jets sit back and play it safe. Strange, but Thomas is an excellent tackle who will help immediately. Once again you have a player that’s going to benefit Darnold and Le’Veon who previously played behind one of the worst OLs in the league. It’s not looking great, but an instant powerful starter in Thomas can help turn things around, especially if Connor McGovern’s progress continues and Kelechi Osemele can return to form.
12. Las Vegas Raiders - QB Jordan Love
Now we’re getting weird. The Derek Carr trade talk early I don’t think can be ignored, this far into his career I think we know what he is and will likely be. You also don’t just ‘like’ a first round QB; you go all-in or out like last year with the Giants and Daniel Jones. Love is a very exciting prospect that’s hard to figure out where he’ll land, or if he’ll even go in the first. The Raiders have the stock to still get an exciting round one receiver and is the perfect spot for him to sit and learn. First competing with Mariota for back-up, then as a starter next year. We also learned that Mayock and Co. value and draft differently, it didn’t quite seem right to take the expected pick.
13. Philadelphia Eagles (Trade w/ SF) - WR CeeDee Lamb
This trade makes sense for both sides, as the 49ers need to recoup some of those picks they’ve lost in the mid-rounds, while the Eagles get aggressive for a piece they’ve needed for a while. With Lamb falling they couldn’t wait anymore, they trade up to get a fantastic piece that Wentz and the offense desperately needs. Lamb gives you everything you want for a WR1 at a position that’s been killing Philly since the Super Bowl.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - OT Mehki Becton
There aren't many spots I like Becton at, but over the last month I’ve come to like him a bit more than I had most of the process. Tampa Bay is a safe spot for him, as a team that needs run blockers with a QB who knows how to maneuver a pocket. Becton exemplifies how gritty and strong of a team the Bucs will be in the trenches and should open up lanes quite nicely for their second or third-round RB.
15. Cleveland Browns (Trade w/ Denver) - DL Javon Kinlaw
There’s a few reasons I expect the Browns to pass on a tackle, even though it’s been locked in as the pick since January. I think they are probably the team that lands Trent Williams, they’ve already upgraded the RT spot significantly, they can get a great value tackle in the second, and new HC Kevin Stefanski did quite well with a much worse unit. Instead they go BPA and finally find Myles Garrett a running mate on the DL as the defense continues to come together.
16. Arizona Cardinals (Trade w/ Atlanta) - OT Tristian Wirfs
With this pick, the Cardinals become the off-season champions. Offloading a bad RB contract to get DeAndre Hopkins with just a second round pick, then trading back and still landing who may have been the pick all the way at #8? Bravo. I have the tackles and receivers slipping a bit in the first; because there's such good talent in the second and third, teams will start taking the more shallow positions. The Cardinals strike gold and get a new RT with great upside to help protect Kyler Murray for the foreseeable future.
17. Dallas Cowboys - EDGE K’Lavon Chaisson
Once again, a team that has to pass on a WR because of lack of fit and need when the value will be there late. Chaisson will help replace Robert Quinn on the opposite side of DeMarcus Lawerence as the Cowboys continue to bulk up the pass rush. He also adds a much needed leader and locker room presence.
18. Miami Dolphins - WR Jerry Jeudy
Some fans aren’t going to like the Hebert pick but this might make up for it? Every year some great prospect falls down the board with a knee issue we didn’t know about. That might be Jeudy, who we’ve heard leaks about. In any case, his talent is far too good to let slide that far and while WR isn’t the biggest need in Miami, getting a bonafide WR1 to pair with Parker is a great way to set up your young future QB.
19. Las Vegas Raiders - WR Justin Jefferson
I’m sure the Raiders aren’t too pleased by missing out on Jeudy by a pick, but Justin Jefferson has cemented himself as that No.4 receiver and should fit in quite nicely to the Raiders scheme. Giving Love a target to grow with, while also giving Carr some firepower to win now, is the best of both worlds for Vegas.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars - CB Kristian Fulton
Whoever CB3 could be is anyone's guess, but I believe Fulton is the best mix of fit and talent for the Jaguars at this spot. The defense continues to get younger, and with Brown and Fulton joining FA Joe Schobert, it may not be as far off as we thought it may be.
21. San Francisco 49ers (Trade w/ Philly) - CB AJ Terrell
Someone whose stock we’ve seen grow into that of a first rounder, Terrell offers some really nice upside at a position the 49ers HAVE to get younger and faster at if they want to win from now on, and not just now. With the board falling the way it is, SF is still in a great place to address WR.
22. Minnesota Vikings - OT Josh Jones
The perfect tackle for the Gary Kubiak offense. Replacing Riley Reiff, the Vikings will now have a pair of super athletic upside lineman at the most important positions of tackle and center. The luxury of another first round pick allows them to grab a blindside protector and still address the defense.
23. New England Patriots - S Xavier McKinney
The Belichick-Saban connection is strong and the need to get younger at safety might be even stronger. It’s hard to see what route the Patriots will go because it’s rather unfamiliar territory drafting this high and needing a QB. With all the first round QBs gone, it only makes sense to go BPA as no matter what, this team will be undergoing a small rebuild. McKinney will add to the strong secondary and gives them a versatile weapon on the backside to grow into whatever role New England needs.
24. New Orlean Saints - LB Patrick Queen
Just too perfect of a matchup. The Saints have a pair of good LBs, but both will be on the wrong side of 30 sooner than later. The homegrown talent of Patrick Queen is too good to pass on with his extreme upside. Only 21 halfway through training camp, Queen should add speed early and act as a major centerpiece for the new look Saints once Brees is gone.
25. Minnesota Vikings - EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos
The Vikings get a chance to address both sides of the ball as they get an edge rusher that fits their athletic profile but should be ready to contribute early. Gross-Matos is one of my favorite prospects, and I believe the Vikings might be one of the best landing spots for him as a place to properly develop him.
26. Miami Dolphins - EDGE AJ Epenesa
Yeah, a tackle makes a lot of sense here too. Although I’m not too high on Ezra Cleveland or Austin Jackson, the Dolphins do need a new pair of tackles. Once again I’m passing on them because I think Miami’s in a great spot to get one next round. Instead address the defense as well with a better player. Epenesa has seen his stock fall for an underwhelming combine, which blows my mind because he wasn’t the player on tape to blow up the measurables. Pairing him with Christian Wilkins and an excellent CB duo gives the otherside of the ball some talent to build around as well.
27. Kansas City Chiefs (Trade w/ Seattle) - IOL Cesar Ruiz
I’m definitely not in the camp that will mock the Chiefs a RB to finish the round. While a defender here might make more sense, the best IOL in the class by a country mile is a great investment to make considering the contract Patrick Mahomes is about to demand. So trading up a few spots to secure a great pass protector who can command the OL in front of him is more than worth it.
28. Baltimore Ravens - LB Kenneth Murray
I really wanted to add Denzel Mims here to continue overpowering that offense. Once again, the value and need weren’t quite there. Instead we address that need with an instant impact LB who plays to the Ravens brand of football: Speed.
29. Tennessee Titans - OT Isaiah Wilson
Seems like Clowney is destined for Tennessee, so instead of turning to EDGE we’ll take the opposite in the form of a tackle. Wilson is perfect for the ultra-physical, ground and pound style of offense the Derrick Henry led Titans have while conveniently replacing the Jack Conklin-sized hole at RT.
30. Green Bay Packers - WR Brandon Aiyuk
A great match here as the Packers reload on offense. Historically the great Packer receivers develop over time, so maybe this is Green Bay’s chance to address other needs if they’re betting on that trend to continue. However, I have Aiyuk as a fantastic compliment to Adams who can manufacture touches and get involved even if he isn’t an outside WR immediately.
31. San Francisco 49ers - WR Denzel Mims
Patience has paid off for the 49ers as they get the player whose stock has risen greatly since the combine. The 49ers already have great options in the form of Deebo Samuel and potentially Jalen Hurd, but they don’t have that true outside WR1 mold of guy. Mims is that guy who still needs to develop some finer points of his game, but the Shanahan scheme should get him open early and often and allow him to thrive.
32. Seattle Seahawks (Trade w/ Kansas City) - EDGE Julian Okwara
The Seahawks are always tricky to figure out, but it seems like we’re down to an OT or EDGE for their pick. Figuring out the type of player the Seahawks covet isn’t as much of an issue as guessing who they prefer of those types. Trading down gives them some room to fill more holes but I went with Okwara as the athlete EDGE Seattle will attempt to develop.