NFL mock draft 2020: Final 1st round pick projections from No. 1-32
Happy draft week everyone!
The 2020 NFL Draft is set to begin this Thursday, April 23 with Round 1. Rounds 2-3 will take place on Friday with Rounds 4-7 finishing up on Saturday.
In the spirit of the week’s upcoming festivities, I decided to get in on the fun and create my own first-round mock draft. I only have three quarterbacks being taken in my mock, but that’s because I didn’t include trades. I expect a team to trade into the back half of the first round in order to get Utah State’s, Jordan Love.
Here we go. Feel free to (respectfully) disagree with any of my picks. You know where to find me.
1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
Burrow is a no-brainer pick after posting arguably the most prolific season in college football history. He’s likely to be the only rookie Week 1 starter in 2020.
2. Washington Redskins: Chase Young, DE, Ohio State
Young has the potential to be an instant difference-maker in Washington the same way Nick Bosa was in San Francisco, if not more so.
3. Detroit Lions: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State
Detroit gets its replacement for Darius Slay in the form of a seemingly can’t-miss cornerback prospect.
4. New York Giants: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
Between the top-five investments in Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones, it’s time for the Giants to make a similar commitment to their offensive line. We know who the top four tackles are in this year’s class, but the order in which they come off the board will be a pick your flavor type scenario.
5. Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
I’ve seen several draft experts tab Justin Herbert as the No. 2 QB behind Burrow. However, while Tua may be a riskier pick, I believe he offers a higher upside. I’m also of the belief that his hip injury won’t be a long-term concern.
6. Los Angeles Chargers: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
It’s hard to imagine the Chargers passing on an opportunity to find their long-term answer at quarterback. Having Tyrod Taylor in place will give Herbert the benefit of starting his career as a backup.
7. Carolina Panthers: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
The Panthers just paid their do-it-all running back big money, and now they have an equally versatile chess piece to deploy on defense. Simmons, just like Derwin James a few years ago, is the perfect mismatch in a league where being pigeonholed into one position is becoming less and less important.
8. Arizona Cardinals: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
Adding a monster like Brown to the interior of their defensive line will be music to Chandler Jones’ ears. DeAndre Hopkins stole the headlines, but Arizona has quietly done a nice job retooling a defense that ranked dead last in terms of yards allowed in 2019.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
A pick that will come to the delight of second-year QB Gardner Minshew.
10. Cleveland Browns: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
With seemingly unlimited weaponry at the skill positions and an improved offensive line, Baker Mayfield should be set up to succeed in his third season.
11. New York Jets: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
Like the “Big Four” tackles, every team will have a different opinion as to which wide receiver is best in class. Jeudy has the most polish of any of his peers and offers Sam Darnold a high-floor weapon in the passing game
12. Las Vegas Raiders: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
Raiders fans won’t have to worry about things not panning out with a second Crimson Tide wide receiver. Lamb offers arguably the highest upside among his peers.
13. San Francisco 49ers: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
The Faithful will undoubtedly be upset by this as most are hoping for a wide receiver here. But it’s possible (if not likely) that this is the final time San Francisco will be picking in the top 15 for the foreseeable future. That’s why the 49ers would be much better served spending this pick on Joe Staley’s eventual replacement at left tackle. San Francisco will be able to tap into an all-time deep wide receiver class later on. Expect the 49ers to be trade-back candidates, both here and at pick No. 31.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama
A studly receiver trio of Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Ruggs will put Tom Brady in a prime position to make the most out of his move to Tampa Bay.
15. Denver Broncos: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
This is a case of drafting the best-player available. Denver has a stout defensive line, but Mike Purcell and Shelby Harris might not be long-term options. Vic Fangio will never argue with having more weapons on his defense.
16. Atlanta Falcons: C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
Henderson offers incredible value in this spot and lands with a team looking to replace Desmond Trufant, who signed with the Lions during free agency.
17. Dallas Cowboys: K’Lavon Chaisson, DE, LSU
Chaisson offers elite traits with minimal sack production at LSU. That’s why the Cowboys are able to get this year’s second-best pass rusher all the way at pick No. 17. He’ll be penciled in to rush opposite DeMarcus Lawrence following the departure of Robert Quinn in free agency.
18. Miami Dolphins: Josh Jones, OT, Houston
Jones feels like the safest pick for a team looking for OT5 once the “Big Four” are off the board. Miami is desperate for tackle help.
19. Las Vegas Raiders: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
Corner is a bigger need for the Raiders, but it’s hard to pass on a player with McKinney’s upside. McKinney and Jonathan Abram would make for an exciting safety tandem in Las Vegas.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars: A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson
A team looking for long-term replacements for Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye wisely takes advantage of a talented cornerback class.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Commonly seen as WR4 in this class, Jefferson will give the Eagles a receiving threat that they’re desperate for, especially given the first-year flop of 2019 second-round pick J.J. Arcega-Whiteside.
22. Minnesota Vikings: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
A team that lost its top three corners this offseason gets a good one in Fulton. The cornerback group, similarly to wide receiver and tackle, is going to be tough to predict given the depth at those positions in this draft.
23. New England Patriots: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
I was tempted to put Jordan Love in this spot, but it felt too obvious so I pivoted. Murray is the unanimous top off-ball linebacker and will help bolster New England’s front seven.
24. New Orleans Saints: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
New Orleans remains immensely talented and now adds an impressive defensive piece that conveniently addresses a hole on the roster. This is a perfect combo of taking the best player available while still drafting for need.
25. Minnesota Vikings: Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
Minnesota needs a wide receiver badly after trading Stefon Diggs to the Bills, and they get one in Aiyuk, who’s largely considered to be a better prospect than former college teammate and fellow first-rounder N’Keal Harry.
26. Miami Dolphins: D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
This isn’t a move I’d agree with, but it’s one I could see happening. Newly signed Jordan Howard isn’t a long-term answer at running back, and Swift is widely regarded as this year’s best in class. I could also see them taking a second tackle here.
27. Seattle Seahawks: Austin Jackson, OT, USC
It feels like a foregone conclusion that Seattle will once again do everything it can to trade out of the first round and accumulate extra Day 2 picks. Daniel Jeremiah reported on Monday that Jackson will go higher than people think, so maybe he won’t be on the board at pick No. 27, but the Seahawks need a plan at left tackle with Duane Brown on the doorstep of his 36th birthday. Giving Jackson a year to learn behind Brown feels like the perfect situation. I think the edge rushers left on the board are much riskier picks than dipping into a deep tackle class.
28. Baltimore Ravens: Zach Baun, LB, Wisconsin
Baun has a versatile skill set but lacks a true position to call home. Where he lands will be important in terms of his development. A standout organization like the Ravens should be able to make the most of Baun’s tools.
29. Tennessee Titans: Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State
The Titans traded Jurrell Casey to the Broncos this offseason. They’re reportedly still in the mix for Jadeveon Clowney, but edge rusher remains a need regardless.
30. Green Bay Packers: Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia
David Bakhtiari and Corey Linsley will be free agents in 2021. Rich Wagner, who will replace Bryan Bulaga in 2020, is on a short-term deal. Thus, it makes sense for Green Bay to target a tackle early, and Wilson’s stock has been on the rise of late.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
The 49ers pass on a wide receiver yet again, opting instead to bolster their secondary. Diggs will compete with Emmanuel Mosely to start opposite Richard Sherman immediately. Should they target a wideout, TCU’s Jalen Reagor could be the pick here.
32. Kansas City Chiefs: Cesar Ruiz, C, Michigan
A team destined for another Super Bowl run adds the best interior offensive lineman in this year’s class.
Notable players who missed the cut:
Jacob Eason, QB, Washington
Jordan Love. QB, Utah State
Darrell Taylor, DE, Tennessee
Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah
Antoine Winfield Jr., S, Minnesota
A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa