What does one do doing a country-wide lockdown due to coronavirus (COVID-19)? Write a three-round 2020 mock draft with analysis of every pick of course!
Remember, this is a predictive mock draft, not necessarily what I would do in all these situations. Enjoy! (I know you’ll hate it)
1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
Not much analysis needed. Most no-brainer first overall pick in some time.
2. Washington Redskins: Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
I think Washington would be wise to consider trade-back options given their many needs at key positions, and I wouldn’t fault them at all for considering Jeffrey Okudah here either. But this is a predictive mock draft, and I don’t think they are going to miss the opportunity to add a pass rusher like Young to their exciting young defensive line.
3. Detroit Lions: Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
After Detroit traded away Darius Slay, this pick became even more obvious than it already was. Again, trading down could be an option if Miami gives a strong offer, but will the Dolphins be incentivized to move up with so few quarterback-needy teams to contend with? Either way, hard to see the Lions not coming out of this draft with one of the best cornerback prospects I’ve ever scouted.
4. New York Giants: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
I feel pretty good about Wirfs or Louisville offensive tackle Mekhi Becton here, as the Giants need for an offensive tackle is great. Wirfs’ athletic profile and physical gifts are as good as anyone in the class, but he still lacks the consistency needed to sustain his peak play. That should happen in the NFL if he gets the proper coaching and development, making the sky the limit for the junior.
5. Miami Dolphins: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
I prefer Tagovailoa to Herbert, but I wonder if the current travel situation will keep teams from feeling comfortable about the Alabama quarterback’s health. Regardless, Herbert has physical traits that every team would covet in a quarterback, and he won’t have to play right away if he isn’t ready, thanks to the presence of Ryan Fitzpatrick.
6. Los Angeles Chargers: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
If Tagovailoa gets past the Dolphins and Chargers, I honestly don’t know what will become of him. But despite the high regard it sounds like the Chargers front office and coaching staff has for Tyrod Taylor, we’ve seen that ship sail and we know it’s purgatory at best. Tagovailoa could end up in a great situation, where he can get back to 100 percent with no rush to see the field, then take over as the face of the franchise in 2021.
7. Carolina Panthers: Isaiah Simmons, Avenger, Clemson
Carolina already locked up Shaq Thompson for the foreseeable future, but I wouldn’t think of Isaiah Simmons as just a linebacker. I actually may prefer him at safety and in the slot, moving all around a defense to erase mismatches and provide athleticism in space and flashes of ball skills in coverage. Carolina needs splash play-makers on their rebuilding defense, and Simmons can certainly provide that type of impact.
8. Arizona Cardinals: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
Arizona’s interior defensive line currently boasts Jordan Phillips, Corey Peters, Zach Allen, Michael Dogbe, Miles Brown and Lyndon Johnson. That is not gonna cut it. I like South Carolina’s defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw more than Brown, but I bet Arizona goes with the safer run-stuffer in Brown, who should start right away next to Phillips on the inside.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
Jacksonville has a lot of needs, but losing Calais Campbell and Marcell Dareus has left their defensive line hurting for behind-the-line-of-scrimmage impact, and they simply haven’t gotten it from Taven Bryan so far. Kinlaw is an absolute wrecking ball against the run and the pass, filling a huge need and helping to make life easier on the Jaguars’ rebuilding secondary.
10. Cleveland Browns: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
The Browns filled their right tackle spot with the signing of Jack Conklin, but left tackle remains a key concern. Becton has played both sides at Louisville, dominating in 2019 when finally asked to focus just on the left side. Suddenly the Browns offense has very few holes, and we’re all getting excited again.
11. New York Jets: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
I don’t ever wanna spend a second in Adam Gase’s head, so I have no idea what he and Joe Douglas are thinking at No. 11. Cornerback, offensive tackle or wide receiver all make sense, so they’ll probably shock us all by choosing none of the above. I think Lamb would be an ideal short-intermediate target in Gase’s neutered offense thanks to his YAC ability, with the obvious potential to be much more explosive if the Jets open things up in 2020.
12. Las Vegas Raiders: C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
Henderson’s physical and athletic traits are going to very alluring, but his tape is just missing the natural instincts and finishing ability in too many situations. Henderson is at his best rolled up in man coverage, so here’s hoping Paul Guenther doesn’t stick him in a disadvantageous role, because the junior will likely need to start as a rookie.
13. San Francisco 49ers: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
I think the 49ers were comfortable letting Emmanuel Sanders walk and trading DeForest Buckner because they knew they could upgrade their receiving corps with this pick, especially after the Cardinals traded for DeAndre Hopkins and took themselves out of the receiver sweepstakes. Jeudy’s ability to separate underneath and provide a vertical threat to the 49ers offense is something Kyle Shanahan should covet.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
Some days I think four offensive tackles are going to be off the board by the time Tampa Bay picks, and some days I could see a very believable scenario like this one where they fall down the board. Clearly this is the Bucs’ biggest need and I believe they should entertain trading up a few spots to grab Wills, as he would be an instant starter with the ceiling of one of the top offensive tackles in the NFL. In this scenario, the Bucs don’t have to.
15. Denver Broncos: Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama
I’m really not sure if Ruggs is going to be here for Denver, but if he is, they will sprint this one to the podium. An ideal deep threat for Drew Lock, a second stud outside receiver to pair with Courtland Sutton and return man potential as well. Dream fit in Denver.
16. Atlanta Falcons: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
The Falcons don’t have a single quality cornerback on their roster, so now they’ll hope that Isaiah Oliver evolves on one side while a rookie likely takes over on the other. Fulton is one of the more pro-ready, technically sound corners in the class, and he proved at the Combine that his athleticism can also be a significant strength in his game.
17. Dallas Cowboys: K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
After three straight offensive Alabama players come off the board, now back-to-back LSU defenders. I think Dallas will see everything they loved about Randy Gregory in Chaisson, only in a more physical, less troubled football player.
18. Miami Dolphins: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
Dream scenario for Miami, who didn’t have to move up for their quarterback or left tackle of the future. Thomas has some limitations that would give me concerns in certain match-ups, but he’s a quality starter and an all-around pro-ready prospect.
19. Las Vegas Raiders: Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
Mims is a player I haven’t finished evaluating yet, but his ball skills are hard to top in this class. He may also have some issue separating at the top of his routes, but Mims is blessed with two traits that all receivers with that struggle need: speed and hands. He can make plays in tight quarters and stretch teams vertically as well. Good fit in Las Vegas with Tyrell Williams and Hunter Renfrow.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars: A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson
Terrell had a tough national championship game, but he has all the traits NFL teams covet at the position, and he should fit easily in Jacksonville’s scheme. Right now the Jaguars are paying two slot corners, D.J. Hayden and Darqueze Dennard, as their starters, so Terrell’s presence will be welcomed.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
Maybe it’s unlikely that the Eagles will draft a linebacker in Round 1, but their current starters are Duke Riley, T.J. Edwards and Nate Gerry, and free agency is basically over. Queen is an elite athlete who plays with terrific aggressiveness vs. the run and awareness in coverage, especially considering he just finished his first season as a starter.
22. Minnesota Vikings: Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
I like Gladney a good bit, but this is pretty high for him. I’m just not sure Minnesota has many options. If Mike Hughes is set to start on one side, who plays opposite him? Kris Boyd? Mark Fields? Holton Hill? Mike Zimmer relies on his cornerbacks to be erasers, and right now this unit is fully depleted after losing Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes and Mack Alexander to free agency.
23. New England Patriots: Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State
I’m much lower on Gross-Matos than this, but the Patriots rarely draft in accordance with my perspectives. He seems to fit the long-levered, position-versatile defensive lineman that New England has long admired under Bill Belichick. Given their lack of pass rushers, Gross-Matos will fill a need as well.
24. New Orleans Saints: Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
I think the Saints realize they’ve been robbed of/missed out on a few opportunities over the past couple postseasons, and now they are loading up for a final run at getting Drew Brees a ring. Adding Emmanuel Sanders to a Michael Thomas-led receiving corps will make the Saints incredibly difficult to stop, but they’ve always had a vertical weapon in their attack as well. With Ted Ginn, Jr. likely moving on, Reagor can be that threat for New Orleans, even if they don’t throw deep as much as they used to.
25. Minnesota Vikings: Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise State
I don’t have Cleveland graded this high, but doesn’t this feel like such a Vikings pick? Minnesota has no current option behind an aging Riley Reiff, and with their next pick 33 spots away in a draft where tackles will go early and often, they’d be wise to grab their future at No. 25 and wait on a receiver.
26. Miami Dolphins: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
Everyone is going to be asking if McKinney’s 4.63 Combine 40 was legit, or if his injury impacted the result significantly. Without a pro day, that is going to be a tough call for teams to make. On tape however, McKinney shows terrific processing speed and the ability to play a ton of roles at a high level, including matching up in the slot with receivers or playing a pseudo-linebacker role in the box. Perfect fit in Miami to take over for Reshad Jones.
27. Seattle Seahawks: Austin Jackson, OT, USC
I’m not too high on Jackson, but all the reports from mainstream media seem to indicate that the NFL will roll the dice on him in Round 1. If there’s one team that makes sense to take a chance on an offensive tackle with issues on tape but high “upside,” that would be Seattle. Jackson could be the future behind Duane Brown on the left side and/or battle it out with Cedric Ogbuehi to start on the right side in 2020.
28. Baltimore Ravens: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
Baltimore’s roster is loaded with quality starters and solid depth at almost every position group except linebacker. Their current linebackers under contract: L.J. Fort, Chris Board and Otaro Alaka. Yikes. Murray will be the first step in the right direction, as a high-upside elite athlete still learning to play the linebacker position with consistency.
29. Tennessee Titans: Josh Jones, OT, Houston
I’m a big fan of Jones’ tape, but I could see him sliding thanks to the NFL’s seemingly high opinion of two worse players in Jackson and Cleveland. Tennessee is comfortable starting Dennis Kelly this season, but the long-time swing tackle is 30 and hasn’t played even 400 snaps in a season since his rookie year in 2012. The Titans would be wise to invest in one of the most important positions on the field, but trading down is a possibility as well.
30. Green Bay Packers: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Jefferson in the slot with Davante Adams outside seems like a pair that would drive opposing defenses crazy. Jefferson has “QB Best Friend” traits (hands, awareness vs zone/MOF coverages, contested catch ability) that would allow Rodgers to (finally) gel quickly with someone other than Adams in the Green Bay offense. And for those who wants a field stretcher, Jefferson can give an offense that too with his 4.4 speed. I’d love to see this marriage happen.
31. *TRADE* Indianapolis Colts: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
Colts receive No. 31, 49ers receive No. 34 and No. 122 (4th round)
The Colts are taking it year-to-year with Philip Rivers, but they’d be wise to look ahead at the game’s most important position. Moving back into the first round with a team they’ve recently done business with in order to get that fifth-year option on Love’s contract is a crucial move, and because it’s just a three spot jump, it won’t cost them much. Now Love can develop behind one of the best ever, with no rush to getting him on the field. The Colts can also work on dealing Jacoby Brissett at some point, holding out for an optimal price.
32. Kansas City Chiefs: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
The Chiefs play a mix of zone and man coverages under Steve Spagnuolo, and it’s a small miracle that they won a Super Bowl last year with their cornerback room. Diggs is well-versed in a variety of coverages, and is battle-tested enough to step in and start right away, which the Chiefs sorely need after losing Kendall Fuller and Bashaud Breeland in free agency.
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