The time has come. The 2020 NFL Draft is two days away, and my final predictive mock draft is ready to reveal all 32 picks before we even get there. Amazing clairvoyance.
I tried to go all out with this mock, trades and everything. This is a predictive mock, which means I think a lot of these picks/trades aren’t wise, but the NFL will probably do it anyway. I’m hoping to drop at least a second-round mock for you all on Friday morning after the first round, which is why I haven’t included one here.
Now, enjoy the sight of me ruining your franchise for the foreseeable future with these first-round selections.
1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
LSU QB Joe Burrow – Photo by: Getty Images
Every time I watch LSU, I’m blown away by how well Burrow played. Anybody can bust in the NFL, but he’s one of the least likely prospects to fail that I’ve ever scouted.
2. Washington Redskins: Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
It seems like we’re past the point of considering a quarterback for Washington or a trade back in the draft. They seem locked in on Young and who can blame them? Young, Montez Sweat, Ryan Kerrigan, Jonathan Allen, Matt Ioannidis and Da’Ron Payne is a terrifying force on an otherwise lackluster roster. Young should be one of the best edge rushers in the league by the end of his third season.
3. Detroit Lions: Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
I’d like to consider a trade-back for Detroit, but with who? What is the incentive to move up if the market for Tua Tagovailoa this high (reportedly) doesn’t exist? I think Detroit wants to move down, but I’m not sure they will get an offer they love. Hey, staying at No. 3 and getting the third-best prospect in the class at a huge position of need isn’t a bad deal either.
4. New York Giants: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
I feel confident the Giants are finally going to draft a tackle, but I really have no idea which one it’ll be. NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah said this past week that he’s starting to believe it might be Alabama’s Jedrick Wills, but Dave Gettleman and I have never agreed before, so that’s not possible. I think Wirfs will be the most coveted tackle in the class, and his ability to step in on the right side opposite Nate Solder is another selling point.
Oregon QB Justin Herbert – Photo by: Getty Images
5. Miami Dolphins: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
I prefer Tagovailoa to Herbert, but I don’t expect things to unfold that way on draft day. It sure sounds like Tua is headed for at least a slight tumble due to the medicals, and I can’t buy into Miami passing on quarterback for another position.
6. Los Angeles Chargers: Isaiah Simmons, Avenger, Clemson
Maybe I’m just talking myself into this because I want to see it happen so badly, but I really think this marriage makes sense on paper. I think the injury concerns with Tagovailoa push him down the board. The Chargers signed Bryan Bulaga and have a couple young tackles in Trey Pipkins, Sam Tevi and Trent Scott that could battle it out for the starting spot on the left side. But without a quality quarterback, that defense needs to be outstanding. How about Simmons, Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, Jerry Tillery, Linval Joseph, Derwin James, Nasir Adderley, Chris Harris, Casey Heyward and Desmond King? The versatility with that lineup would be unmatched across the league. Could be a real fun show on Sundays.
7. Carolina Panthers: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
The Panthers need to rebuild their whole defense, so adding one of the safest stud prospects in the draft makes sense. Brown might have a limited ceiling, but he’s a dominant run defender who can line up next to Kawann Short tomorrow and play at a high level. You don’t often get that surety in the draft.
8. *TRADE* Atlanta Falcons: C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida Atlanta trades No. 16, No. 47 and a 2021 6th Round Pick to Arizona for No. 8.
I’m not really sure why Atlanta is so obsessed with trading up when they should be focusing on rebuilding, but multiple reports have now suggested the Falcons could be trying to get as high as the Top 5. Pulling that off might be tough, but if Brown and Simmons are both off the board, I think Arizona, which doesn’t have a second-round pick, will look to trade back. Atlanta desperately needs a corner, and Henderson’s stock is apparently on the rise.
9. *TRADE* Denver Broncos: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama Denver trades No. 15, No. 77 (3rd) and No. 118 (4th) to Jacksonville for No. 9
I think Denver really wants another quality receiver to play with Courtland Sutton, even enough to move two mid-round picks to get ahead of the receiver needy trio of teams in New York, Las Vegas and San Francisco. Jeudy gives them an elite route-runner who can also stretch the field vertically, something Drew Lock’s big arm coveted in college.
10. Cleveland Browns: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
Georgia OT Andrew Thomas – Photo courtesy of UGA
I’ve heard for weeks now that the Browns love Wirfs, but not many people around the league expect him to be there at No. 10. I think the team would happily settle for Thomas, a plug-and-play left tackle, who may not have Wirfs’ upside, but could be a better player in 2020.
11. New York Jets: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
Even with Jeudy off the board, the Jets still have two quality receiver options that I believe they’ll ultimately pass on. George Fant’s contract is really just a one-year deal that the team can easily get out of next offseason, and Chuma Edoga is pretty unproven after a rocky rookie campaign for the third-round pick. It is unknown if Wills can play on the left side, or if Edoga will return to the side he spent a bit of time at in college.
12. Las Vegas Raiders: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
I think the Raiders will be just fine with how things have unfolded in front of them, as I suspect Lamb is exactly the receiver they are looking for at No. 12. He’s a seamless fit in Jon Gruden’s offense because he can do so many things well. With Henderson off the board, Las Vegas will look to fill their need at cornerback with their second first-round pick.
13. San Francisco 49ers: Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama
Alabama WR Henry Ruggs III – Photo by: Getty Images
I’m not sure which of the big three receivers San Francisco is targeting, and it’s possible they’d be content with an offensive tackle or Javon Kinlaw at No. 13. I like Ruggs to fill a vertical threat on the team that was missing at times last season, while also fulfilling the “get receivers touches in space” methodology behind Kyle Shanahan’s offense.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
Honestly, when I sat down to do this mock draft, I didn’t anticipate it unfolding this way, but now that it has I can absolutely see this happening. Tampa Bay could make a move up the board, but if tackle-needy teams trade down behind them in the order, they might be able to stay put and take the best tackle left at No. 14. I’m also not sure the Bucs are deep enough across their roster to be giving away many draft picks.
Becton has played right and left tackle, and should have no problem beating out Joe Haeg for the starting spot opposite Donovan Smith in camp. The Louisville product will also bring the nasty demeanor to the run game that Jason Licht is looking to add up front. Suddenly, the Bucs have a formidable offensive line to go with their other exciting offensive pieces. Tampa Bay covets Becton the most of all the tackles, so this pick is a dream come true.
15. *TRADE* Jacksonville Jaguars: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina Denver trades No. 15, No. 77 (3rd) and No. 118 (4th) to Jacksonville for No. 9
Kinlaw could have been an option for Jacksonville at No. 9, instead they trade down, pick up an extra third- and fourth-round pick and still get one of the Top 10 players in the class. His explosiveness and power are truly rare for the position, and he’s further along technically than he’s given credit for. The sky is the limit for his potential.
16. *TRADE* Arizona Cardinals: A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson Atlanta trades No. 16, No. 47 and a 2021 6th Round Pick to Arizona for No. 8.
The Cardinals have to go into the first round looking to improve their defense, especially if they are going to move down on Thursday. After missing out on Brown and Simmons in the Top 10, then watching Kinlaw come off the board right in front of them, Arizona decides to go with the top cornerback left on the board in Terrell, who has rare athleticism and man-coverage ability for such a big, long corner. With Patrick Peterson in a contract year, Terrell can ease his way into action in 2020 before becoming the top guy in his second season.
17. Dallas Cowboys: K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
EDGE K’Lavon Chaisson – Photo by Getty Images
Dallas is either going cornerback or edge defender, I’m just not buying this linebacker talk. Chaisson is what they hoped they were getting in Randy Gregory years ago. He has all the traits to be a star if he can find consistency as a rusher. I wouldn’t rule out a trade back here either. Just not feeling strongly about any of the fits that will likely be on the board at No. 17.
18. Miami Dolphins: Austin Jackson, OT, USC
My low opinion of Jackson’s game is well-documented, but reports have persisted from NFL insiders that he will be a Top 15-25 pick on Thursday night. Dolphins fans should pray the team ranks Josh Jones higher, but I think the Houston tackle may be in for a slight slide. Jackson has tools, but he’ll need more than that in Miami, where he’ll be stepping in on the left side right away.
19. Las Vegas Raiders: Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah
The Raiders are desperately in need of an upgrade at cornerback, and while Johnson has some limitations in man coverage, his length and instincts will be a good addition to their current corps. Gruden and Mike Mayock tend to fall for football smart, high character guys, and that’s reportedly Johnson to a ‘T’.
Jacksonville stays put with their second first-round pick, taking Diggs higher than I would at No. 20. The Alabama cornerback has some athletic limitations, but if he can clean up his press technique and become more consistent, the length and physicality are there to fit Jacksonville’s defense.
21. *TRADE* New Orleans Saints: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama New Orleans trades No. 24, No, 130 (4th) and No. 170 (5th) to Philadelphia for No. 21
Alabama WR Jerry Jeudy and QB Tua Tagovailoa – Photo by: Getty Images
At some point the slide had to stop, as New Orleans couldn’t risk Tua falling to New England. The Saints don’t have a ton of roster needs, so giving away two Day 3 picks to jump up three spots isn’t a big deal. I think 2020 is going to be Drew Brees’ final season, and Tua now gets to develop behind the quarterback many have compared him to (not me).
22. MinnesotaVikings: Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
Minnesota isn’t going to find a Diggs replica in this class, but with the big three off the board, Reagor might be the next best fit. He’s maddeningly inconsistent on tape, but all the speed, burst and separation quickness is there to become a stud in the NFL.
23. *TRADE* Baltimore Ravens: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU Baltimore trades No. 28, No. 106 (3rd) and No. 158 (5th) to New England for No. 23 and No. 196 (6th)
The Ravens are always active on draft weekend, so jumping up five spots for Queen isn’t an unexpected move. To ensure landing him they needed to get in front of Philadelphia and Miami, who could also consider Queen before the 28th pick. The LSU linebacker may only be a one-year starter, but what a year it was. He’s one of the best prospects in the class and exactly what Baltimore needs on their second level.
24. *TRADE* Philadelphia Eagles: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU New Orleans trades No. 24, No, 130 (4th) and No. 170 (5th) to Philadelphia for No. 21
I’m a little bit worried that Jefferson is somewhat redundant given the presence of Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert as impact receivers in the middle of the field. Still, Jefferson is capable of winning vertically from the slot and has the size and speed to play outside sometimes as well. The Eagles desperately need someone with separation ability and ball skills in the intermediate-deep portions of the field, and Jefferson has both traits in abundance.
25. Minnesota Vikings: Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise State
Boise State OT Ezra Cleveland – Photo courtesy of Boise State
BUT WHAT ABOUT A CORNERBACK? Maybe I’ll be wrong, but I’ve got a hunch that Jeff Gladney doesn’t go as early as many expect, and Kristian Fulton doesn’t really fit Minnesota. It’s a deep cornerback class, and the Vikings have flexibility in their draft capital to jump up from No. 58 if they need to. I think they’ll consider Cleveland such a good fit as the heir apparent to Riley Reiff that they can’t pass up on him at No. 25.
26. Miami Dolphins: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
I’m keeping this pick from my last mock draft because I like the fit so much. I don’t consider McKinney this valuable, but there are specific NFL teams that are going to fall hard for his elite football character, smarts, work ethic and reliability. Miami absolutely seems like one of those teams, as they find a new young quarterback for their secondary now that Reshad Jones has departed.
27. Seattle Seahawks: Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State
Seattle added a ton of offensive linemen this past offseason, so even though I’m not sure any of them are great, it’s hard to see them using another high-end asset on the group. I’m not a big YGM fan and I’m usually not a big fan of the Seahawks first round picks, so this selection makes sense. Seattle desperately needs pass rushers, and Gross-Matos has the high ceiling and athletic traits they tend to gravitate toward.
28. New England Patriots: Zack Baun, EDGE/LB, Wisconsin Baltimore trades No. 28, No. 106 (3rd) and No. 158 (5th) to New England for No. 23 and No. 196 (6th)
Many have likened Baun to recently-departed Patriot Kyle Van Noy, a pretty apt comparison if Baun can make a transition to more pass coverage duties. He’s a really good athlete who plays instinctive football in the small coverage sample we’ve seen, while also offering excellent speed/bend as a situational pass rusher and the ability to stack and shed in the run game.
29. Tennessee Titans: Marlon Davidson, DT, Auburn
I’ve warmed up a little to Davidson lately, although this is high for him on my board. Still, this class is short on impact defensive tackles, and Davidson has quickness and flexibility that would help replace a piece of Jurrell Casey’s impact, especially on long/late downs. He has the kind of football character and intensity as a player that makes it hard to believe he’ll flop completely, even if he doesn’t ever reach Round 1 value in his play.
30. Green Bay Packers: Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
This is the perfect landing spot for Aiyuk, as his semi-raw routes and release game will get plenty of room to go in an offense where he isn’t the No. 1 option and where he’ll be allowed to play heavily in the slot. I think the Packers would be wise to consider what K.J. Hamler’s speed could do for their offense as well, maybe even in a trade down scenario.
31. *TRADE* Los Angeles Chargers: Josh Jones, OT, Houston Los Angeles trades No. 37 and No. 112 (4th) to San Francisco for No. 31
Houston OT Josh Jones – Photo by: Univ. of Houston
Everyone knows San Francisco isn’t staying at No. 31, as they don’t currently have a selection in the second, third or fourth rounds. The Chargers may be fine with running out Trey Pipkins at left tackle next year, but if they are going to build an offense around the running game, it would behoove them to acquire more talent up front. Jones can step right in at left tackle and allow them to keep Bulaga on the right side, all while still managing to hold on to their third round pick.
32. Kansas City Chiefs: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
The Chiefs haven’t really prioritized the linebacker position via the draft, but their current group is due for an upgrade. Murray is raw from the neck up, but extremely high character with elite athleticism and size for the position. He’s the moldable type of prospect teams will take a chance on in the first round. The Chiefs could also trade down, acquire more picks and look for cornerback help.
Jon Ledyard is PewterReport.com's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft
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