When the 2020 NFL Draft wrapped up, most of the teams across the league were very happy with their first-round picks. In a year that was strong at the quarterback spot and featured a lot of good receivers, many teams, even those picking late, thought that they had done a good job of adding talent to their rosters and bolstering their contender statuses.
It's amazing how much difference a year can make.
When looking back at the '20 draft, there were a lot of great steals throughout the event, but there were also a handful of major-looking whiffs early on. If teams could do things over, they certainly would, and it's hard to imagine many of the picks, at least in the first round, staying the same.
So, what better way to celebrate ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft than to re-mock the 2020 NFL Draft?
The re-mock below explores what would potentially happen in a fictional world where the '20 NFL Draft was held again today. The selections are largely based on how each individual prospect performed during the 2020 season, but the remaining potential of each player is factored in as well. That's why you see some guys that had rough patches (or players that dealt with injury issues) still getting selected.
For the purposes of this exercise, the picks in the draft largely the same as the team that held them. The only changes were that the Patriots decided to retain their first-round pick in this re-mock while the Chargers traded up with a different team to get a prospect that interested them. Originally, the Chargers traded up to New England's spot at 23 to take linebacker Kenneth Murray.
In all, only six of the 32 picks in the first round remain the same one year later. Here's how things shook out in our 2020 NFL mock re-draft.
2020 NFL Mock Re-Draft
1. Cincinnati Bengals: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
Original Pick: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
Look, you can debate all day about whether or not Herbert or Joe Burrow should be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft if it happened again. But after Burrow's ACL tear and the performance of Herbert as a rookie, the Oregon Duck earns the distinction of being the top pick one year later.
Herbert was prolific as a rookie and set rookie records in countless areas including passing touchdowns (31), total touchdowns (36), completions (396), games with 300-plus passing yards (eight), and three-plus touchdowns (six). He also had a whopping 4,336 passing yards.
While Burrow is no slouch, he did suffer a torn ACL that cut his rookie season short. Maybe Herbert would be worse behind the Bengals' awful offensive line, but it's hard to deny him the opportunity to be the No. 1 pick in this re-mock.
2. Washington Football Team: Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
Original Pick: Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
Some may be stunned that Washington isn't going with Burrow here. That's understandable. They do need a quarterback. That said, Chase Young helped to transform their defense from very good to borderline elite. They won't pass on that.
Young posted 7.5 sacks as a rookie and was a monster in all facets of the game. He had four forced fumbles, four pass defenses, and 44 total tackles in 15 games. His emergence was one of the biggest reasons that the Washington Football Team was able to get hot down the stretch and win the NFC East.
Young is already one of the best pass rushers in the NFL and made the Pro Bowl as a rookie. It's scary to imagine what he'll be able to do in the future considering that he just turned 22.
3. Los Angeles Chargers (trade with Lions): Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
Original Pick: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State (Detroit Lions)
A trade in a re-mock? Sure, why not? The Lions probably should've traded down in the 2020 NFL Draft anyway. Instead, they ended up taking Jeff Okudah, who disappointed in his first NFL season.
Here, they don't make the same mistake. With Burrow on the board, the Lions create a bidding war between the Dolphins and the Chargers to get the LSU quarterback. While the Dolphins have more draft capital, the Chargers win in this scenario, as they're worried about the possibility of missing out on a QB entirely.
Burrow was on pace for a 4,301-yard, 21-touchdown season with just five interceptions before he tore his ACL in the Bengals' 10th game of the season. He should be ready to go for the '21 season and perhaps if he had better blocking, he never would've suffered the injury.
Alas, we'll never know. But what we do know is that watching Burrow throw to Keenan Allen would be a lot of fun.
4. New York Giants: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
Original Pick: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
The Giants have a tough choice here. Do they go with the potential All-Pro tackle Tristan Wirfs to bolster their line, or do they take a receiver that nearly won the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year award in Justin Jefferson?
At the end of the day, the Giants rectify their draft night mistake and take Wirfs here. They took Andrew Thomas on draft night, who was largely considered to be the fourth-best of the top-four offensive tackles, and he had a roller-coaster rookie season.
Wirfs was much better. He was a quality right tackle for the Buccaneers and helped keep Tom Brady clean amid a Super Bowl run. While Jefferson would be nice to have as a No. 1 receiver for Daniel Jones, Wirfs would protect Jones and prevent at least some of the countless strip sacks we saw the Giants give up last year. That would go a long way toward making them more competitive in the NFC East.
5. Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
Original Pick: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
Would Miami take Tua again? You bet. He may not have had the best rookie year, but he still did win games. He helped guide the Dolphins to a 6-3 record and largely did a great job avoiding interceptions. He had just two on 232 attempts before his disastrous outing in the final game of the season.
Did Tagovailoa look great on the football field? Not always, but it's important to remember he was less than a year removed from a catastrophic hip injury when he first saw the field. With another offseason to heal and distance himself from that injury, he should be better.
There's a little projecting in re-mocking Tua here, but the Dolphins took a chance on him before. They'll take a chance on him again after he proved that he can stay healthy at the NFL level.
6. Detroit Lions (trade with Chargers): Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Original Pick: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon (Los Angeles Chargers)
So, the Lions trade down and still grab the player that they probably would've taken with the No. 3 overall pick. Jefferson could easily have gone higher than this but as is always the case, quarterback values were pushed up and that pushed Jefferson down.
The Lions, for one, are happy about it. They pick up extra picks from the Chargers and get a receiver that totaled 88 catches, a rookie record 1,400 receiving yards, and seven receiving touchdowns as a rookie. The sky is the limit for Jefferson, as he won't turn 22 until June.
For Detroit, Jefferson would replace the now-departed Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones as the team's top receiving threat. Plus, they get a nice little bonus of keeping Jefferson from landing with one of their division rivals.
7. Carolina Panthers: Jeremy Chinn, S/LB, Southern Illinois
Original Pick: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
Chinn was originally a second-round pick for the Panthers, but they would have to take him earlier this time around to make sure they got him. The hybrid safety/linebacker was a big-time playmaker for the Panthers, as he logged 117 tackles, five pass defenses, two forced fumbles, an interception, a sack, and two return TDs.
The Panthers have always had good linebacker play, and Chinn looks like one that will be a core building block on that defense. They could stick with Derrick Brown, another strong building block up front who played well as a rookie for them, but Chinn is the bigger playmaker, so he wins out here.
8. Arizona Cardinals: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
Original Pick: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
One of the reasons that Carolina had to take Chinn at No. 7 is that Arizona may have taken him at No. 8 if they didn't. The Cardinals took Simmons in the draft, and he is the same type of player as Chinn. While Chinn was better as a rookie, Simmons came on at the end of the year and showed off the incredible athletic ability that made him a top-10 pick.
As a rookie, Simmons started just seven games, but he made 54 tackles, had two sacks, forced a fumble, broke up two passes, and logged an interception. He's an explosive player that could put it all together for the Cardinals this year. They'll take a gamble on his potential again, especially with their offense already looking solid under Kyler Murray's watch.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
Original Pick: C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
Left tackle wasn't a huge need for the Jaguars at the time of this draft, but the Jaguars could stand to upgrade Cam Robinson or move him to guard. Becton, a 6-foot-7, 364-pound behemoth, would give them a chance to do that.
Becton is an insane athlete and blocked very well as a rookie for the Jets. He dealt with some injury issues that caused him to miss a few games, but he looks like a core building block of the future. Having Becton at left tackle and Jawann Taylor on the right side would give the Jaguars a great set of bookends to protect Trevor Lawrence.
10. Cleveland Browns: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
Original Pick: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
One of the main reasons that the Browns made the playoffs last year was the improved play of their offensive line. The addition of Jack Conklin and the improvement of Wyatt Teller definitely played a role in that, but adding Wills at left tackle did a lot to keep Baker Mayfield clean as well.
The Browns won't miss a chance to add Wills again. Blocking well in front of Mayfield will continue to be the biggest key to their offensive success.
|Year||Times Sacked||Mayfield's QBR||Browns Record|
11. New York Jets: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
Original Pick: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
With the top-three tackles off the board for the Jets, they'll go the receiver route here. Lamb was the third receiver taken in the '20 draft but in this re-draft, he comes off the board as the second wide-out selected.
Lamb was great for the Cowboys and nearly logged a 1,000-yard season despite playing more than half the year with the likes of Andy Dalton, Ben DiNucci, and Garrett Gilbert starting for Dallas after Dak Prescott's injury. Lamb would have given the Jets a true No. 1 receiver, something that they lacked last season, and would've fit the big, strong athletic profile that GM Joe Douglas seems to like drafting.
12. Las Vegas Raiders: Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame
Original Pick: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
The selection of Ruggs proved to be a mistake for the Raiders. If given a mulligan, they'd have a chance to add a better receiving talent. There are several options here, but Claypool stands out as the best when considering what the Raiders were looking for.
Ruggs was drafted because he was an athletic speed threat. Claypool doesn't have the same speed as Ruggs, but he's bigger, stronger, and still had enough athletic ability to routinely beat players downfield.
Claypool posted 873 yards, nine touchdowns, and a 14.1 yards per catch average despite starting just six games. In a bigger role, he could've been the second-most productive rookie receiver behind Jefferson. Either way, he surely would've been a better top receiving option for the Raiders than Nelson Agholor.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Michael Onwenu, OT/G, Michigan
Original Pick: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
The Buccaneers have a lot of different options here, but what's the No. 1 priority when you have Tom Brady on your roster? Protect the quarterback. The team had a huge hole at right tackle and needed to fill it to compete for a Super Bowl.
The Patriots obtained a steal in Onwenu, who was selected in the sixth round of the draft but turned out to be a quality starter at right tackle for the team. Onwenu is set to kick inside to guard this year but had he landed in Tampa Bay, there's no reason he couldn't remain outside.
Andrew Thomas could also be the pick here, but Onwenu was more consistent than Thomas. So, he'll get the nod for a Bucs team that should value pro-ready talent over developmental prospects given the stage Brady, 44 in August, is at in his career.
14. San Francisco 49ers: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
Original Pick: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
Brown easily could've gone to the Panthers with the No. 7 pick and had several other potential landing spots before 14 as well. Instead, he makes it to this pick and becomes a steal for the 49ers.
The 49ers acquired the 13th pick (which they then traded in a pick swap with the Bucs) in exchange for DeForest Buckner. They replaced Buckner with Javon Kinlaw, and that seems like it should work out just fine long-term.
However, in this situation, the 49ers get a shot at Brown, who logged 34 tackles, four pass defenses, and two sacks last year. He is a better player than Kinlaw and could be a true three-down weapon at defensive tackle. Talk about a steal, even in a re-mock.
15. Denver Broncos: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
Original Pick: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
Jeudy wasn't perfect as a rookie. He struggled at times with drops and had some outings where he entirely disappeared. That said, he still posted 52 catches, 856 yards, and a 16.5 yards per catch average during his rookie season. He accomplished that while playing with the inconsistent Drew Lock and the backup triage of Jeff Driskel, Brett Rypien, and Kendall Hinton.
It's also worth noting that Jeudy was supposed to work in tandem with Courtland Sutton, but he missed most of the season with a torn ACL. Had Sutton played, Jeudy might have been better. As such, the Broncos will take another chance on him here.
16. Atlanta Falcons: C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
Original Pick: A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson
Terrell was good for the Falcons, but Henderson showed more flashes of true No. 1 corner upside during his rookie year. He played in just eight games while dealing with injuries, but he logged 36 tackles, six pass defenses, and a pick as a primary starter.
Had Henderson stayed healthy, he could've gone higher than this. The Falcons needed cornerback help either way, so grabbing Henderson at 16 is a good value.
17. Dallas Cowboys: Antoine Winfield Jr., S, Minnesota
Original Pick: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
The Cowboys made a complete luxury pick when they chose Lamb here during the draft. Had Jeudy dropped to them, they would've had another decision to make here, but without a top receiver available, they'll shift their attention to the secondary.
The Cowboys were middle-of-the-road against the pass last year. They don't have a lot of talent at corner or safety, so they should take the best available player at that spot here.
Winfield was a do-it-all playmaker as a rookie and racked up an impressive 94 tackles, three sacks, six pass defenses, one interception, and two forced fumbles. Getting a player with upside and Super Bowl experience would be good for what was a weak Cowboys stop unit last season.
18. Miami Dolphins: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
Original Pick: Austin Jackson, OT, USC
Andrew Thomas wasn't great as a rookie, but he did develop as the season went along. Perhaps the pressure of being a top-five pick weighed on him. Going 18th overall seems like a better fit for him, and he fits with Miami very well.
The Dolphins went with a raw tackle here in Austin Jackson, but they'd gladly swap him for Thomas here since the Georgia product has more upside. Thomas would be a great option as the potential franchise left tackle for Miami. They can afford to take the chance on him with another first-round pick still available.
19. Las Vegas Raiders: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State
Original Pick: Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State
The Raiders go WR-CB with their first two picks in this re-mock once again and land two different players. After reaching for Damon Arnette, they go with his teammate Okudah here.
Okudah didn't have a great rookie season. He made 47 tackles and had a pick in just nine games (six starts) but he was torched on a number of occasions. That said, he was injured at times and was a top-three pick when this draft initially happened. The potential is still there for him and though several corners could be considered here, Okudah has the highest ceiling. Thus, he'll get the call here.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars: AJ Terrell, CB, Clemson
Original Pick: K'Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
Back-to-back corners come off the board here. Terrell was considered a reach when the Falcons selected him 16th overall, but he actually held his own despite having little help around him.
In 14 games, Terrell made 74 tackles, had seven pass defenses, got one pick, and impressively, he had three forced fumbles. Terrell has a bright future and the Jaguars will be happy to get him here over K'Lavon Chaisson, who didn't live up to expectations as a rookie.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
Original Pick: Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
Reagor was one of the worst picks of the first round. He struggled to stay healthy yet the Eagles decided to take him over Justin Jefferson. Woof.
This time around, the Eagles won't make the same mistake. They'll bypass Reagor and another speed threat, Henry Ruggs III, to take on Higgins. The Clemson product quickly emerged as a strong starter with the Bengals and recorded 67 catches for 908 yards and six touchdowns on the year.
Higgins has great 6-foot-4 size and separated better than expected. He can win jump balls and contort his body in various ways to make plays. That's a pretty good weapon to have, especially with Jalen Hurts at quatrerback.
22. Minnesota Vikings: Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
Original Pick: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
The Vikings miss out on Jefferson here but Aiyuk is not a bad consolation prize. The shifty receiver was targeted eight times per game last year and put up 60 catches, 748 yards, and five receiving touchdowns. Aiyuk also was a playmaker out of the backfield and ran for 77 yards and two TDs on six carries.
In Minnesota, Aiyuk would be a versatile, do-it-all receiver to pair with Adam Thielen. He may not be as explosive, dynamic, and big as Jefferson, but he certainly would be a good No. 2 receiver. Plus, he's just 23, so he's nowhere close to his prime yet.
23. New England Patriots: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
Original Pick: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma (Traded to Chargers)
The Patriots originally traded this pick to the Chargers, but after the Chargers moved up in this re-mock, the Patriots retain their No. 23 pick. With that selection, they grab a defensive tackle that easily could've been a top-15 pick in this re-draft.
Kinlaw flashed an excellent skill set last year. He had just 1.5 sacks, but he was able to bat down four passes and even returned an interception for a touchdown. With a 6-foot-5, 324-pound frame and long arms, he figures to be a great weapon for the 49ers.
If the Patriots had landed Kinlaw, he would've been a long-term starter on the line that could play all three downs. He's good against the run and even if he doesn't even become an upper-echelon pass rusher, he can make plays with his arms. Grabbing a receiver or a corner here could make sense for them, but Kinlaw is the best player remaining and still fills a need for the team.
24. New Orleans Saints: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
Original Pick: Cesar Ruiz, G/C, Michigan
The Saints were desperate enough to trade for Kwon Alexander midseason last year as they looked for a counterpart to Demario Davis. If they chose Kenneth Murray, they wouldn't have needed to make that deal.
Murray was exactly what many thought he would be during the 2020 campaign. He was a downhill playmaker and thumper in the front seven with great instincts. He's a pure football player and while his coverage skills aren't great, he should continue to develop in that area over the next couple of years.
Pairing Murray with Davis and Alex Anzalone in '20 would've been an upgrade for the Saints defense. Instead, they're still searching for a quality partner for Davis, except they're without Anzalone now.
25. San Francisco 49ers: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
Original Pick: Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
With Aiyuk off the board here, the 49ers bite on the receiver with the highest ceiling. That would be Ruggs.
Ruggs blazed 4.27 in the 40-yard dash at the Combine and was the first receiver taken in the draft. However, he did practically nothing outside of good games against the Chiefs and the Jets. Still, the upside is there and perhaps he'd be better in an offense where he can serve as a complement to a Deebo Samuel-type instead of an Agholor type, who Ruggs was somewhat similar to.
26. Green Bay Packers: Gabriel Davis, WR, UCF
Original Pick: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
In one way, the Packers selecting a quarterback worked out for them, as it apparently sparked Aaron Rodgers to play at an MVP level once again. That said, in every other way, Jordan Love was a wasted pick for a team that's Super Bowl window is rapidly closing.
If the Packers could go back and re-do things, they would absolutely take a receiver to pair with Davante Adams. Davis is a perfect fit for Green Bay, as he's a smooth, good-sized athlete that produced well in a limited role in Buffalo.
Last season, Davis posted 35 catches for 599 yards and seven touchdowns. He averaged 17.1 yards per catch and showed off good speed and an ability to high-point the ball and catch it. Aaron Rodgers would love throwing to him, and Davis would've been a huge and much-needed threat for the Packers' offense.
27. Seattle Seahawks: Austin Jackson, OT, USC
Original Pick: Jordyn Brooks, LB, Texas Tech
There was some DRAMA between the Seahawks and Russell Wilson this offseason, as he expressed some disappointment that the team hadn't done more to protect him on the offensive line. Instead of taking Jordyn Brooks here, who ended up largely being a backup as a rookie anyway, they retrospectively go with some O-Line help.
Austin Jackson is raw, but he could emerge as a solid starter in the future. He held up decently at left tackle in Miami, so having him around to learn behind Duane Brown or possibly start his career at guard would be a good move.
This may not be a difference-maker in the Seahawks/Wilson feud, but it certainly would be a nice olive branch if this hypothetical redraft were to happen. And if not Jackson, grabbing Damien Lewis, who played well as a rookie in Seattle, would be a good move here.
28. Baltimore Ravens: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
Original Pick: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
No changes here. Queen certainly wasn't great in coverage last year, but the way that he made plays against the run and as a pass rusher was admirable.
Queen tallied 106 tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles, an interception, and two pass defenses on the year. As he continues his development at the NFL level, he should have a chance to emerge as a quality three-down player.
Queen is already a good starter and a weapon in a few facets of the game. It's all about cleaning up his coverage ability. It makes him a worthwhile investment once again at the back end of Round 1.
29. Tennessee Titans: Kamren Curl, S, Arkansas
Original Pick: Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia
Curl easily could've gone earlier than this, but it was hard to find a spot for him since NFL teams have tended to devalue the safety spot a bit in recent seasons.
Nonetheless, Curl, a seventh-round pick originally in 2020, was a revelation for Washington. He took over as a starter when Landon Collins tore his Achilles and was a big-time playmaker for the team. He posted 88 tackles, two sacks, and three interceptions, which tied for the rookie lead, during his first season. He was a key cog in the defense that carried Washington to the postseason and has excellent instincts.
Tennessee needs help in the secondary, and pairing Curl with ballhawk Kevin Byard could give them one of the best safety tandems in the league. No matter who the Titans picked here, they would be better than Isaiah Wilson, who played in just four snaps last year before being traded to the Dolphins this offseason. He was cut by Miami and is a free agent. What a bust.
30. Miami Dolphins: Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
Original Pick: Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn
The Dolphins ended up picking a cornerback here originally, but they didn't really need one. What they could've used was a dynamic three-down running back to pair with Tua Tagovailoa. Taylor fits the bill.
Taylor was the best of the rookie runners last year, and he played in 15 of 16 regular-season games and logged 1,169 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns running behind the Colts' strong offensive line. He also had 36 catches and 299 receiving yards on the season with one receiving TD.
Taylor has a nice combination of power and burst, and he would've been an upgrade over the Myles Gaskin, Salvon Ahmed, Matt Breida committee. In this re-mock, the Dolphins add a third big-time offensive piece and will try to land a developmental corner like Igbinoghene in Round 2 instead of Round 1.
31. Minnesota Vikings: Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah
Original Pick: Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
The Vikings take a different cornerback here than their original selection. Johnson was excellent as a rookie and broke up a whopping 15 passes in 13 games. He didn't notch an interception, but he obviously has ball skills and was sticky in coverage on the outside.
Johnson may have taken less time to adjust at the NFL level than Gladney did, as the Vikings' secondary struggled to kickstart the season before improving down the stretch.
You could argue that Cameron Dantzler, who Minnesota chose in Round 2, could be the pick here as well. There are still a handful of quality corner options available at this point in the re-mock.
32. Kansas City Chiefs: L'Jarius Sneed, CB, Louisiana Tech
Original Pick: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU
Speaking of talented cornerback options, the Chiefs got a steal when they selected Sneed in the fourth round of the draft.
Sneed turned out to be a well-rounded playmaker, making 41 tackles, notching two sacks, grabbing three picks, and breaking up seven passes with the Chiefs. He was a big part of their secondary's surprisingly solid coverage ability.
It's possible that Sneed could go much earlier than this, as a case could be made that he was better than both Henderson and Okudah during his rookie campaign. That said, there were a lot of solid corners that were available in the '20 draft, so it all depends on what each team is looking for in a prospect.
Sneed made it this far down, so the Chiefs won't hesitate to scoop him up more than 100 picks ahead of where they originally selected him.