2020 NFL Mock Draft: Eagles secure an elite receiver
1. Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
The Bengals haven’t won a playoff game since 29-year-old Boomer Esiason beat the Oilers in 1990. Andy Dalton is 32 and 0-4 in the playoffs with 1 TD and 6 INTs. It’s time to move on. Bengals finally get a real QB. Did you know Burrow’s dad, Jimmy, coached at North Dakota State (well before Carson Wentz got there)?
(All photos USA Today Images)
2. Redskins: Chase Young, Edge, Ohio State
The Redskins will be tempted by trade offers and with a new coach and GM at Redskins Park anything is possible. Honestly, would you be surprised if Ron Rivera takes Tua Tagovailoa? Or trades the pick? Still, I think they stay put at No. 2 and get themselves a weapon for a defense that was ranked 27th in the league last year and hasn’t been higher than 15th since 2008.
3. Lions: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State
The Lions signed Desmond Trufant, but he’ll be 30 by opening day, and that’s only a two-year deal. With Darius Slay now with the Eagles, the Lions jump on Okudah, the best corner in the draft. The Lions, like the Skins, will have opportunities to trade out of here, but Okudah makes too much sense for the Lions to pass up. The next in a long line of Buckeye cornerbacks in the NFL.
4. Giants: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
The Giants have a young quarterback who seems to have some good tools, but Daniel Jones was sacked 38 times in just 12 games, so protecting their 22-year-old QB is a priority. You never know what Dave Gettleman is thinking – which is probably a good thing – but building that o-line is huge for a Giants team that hasn’t won a playoff game since 2011.
5. Dolphins: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
Herbert ahead of Tua? Tua might have a higher ceiling, but I think it’s tough to draft a quarterback coming off a severe injury at No. 5 without your medical team really getting a good sense of where he’s at physically. But that’s the reality this offseason. All the reports are positive with Tua’s hip, but without the opportunity to check him out in person Herbert just may have the edge.
6. Chargers: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
Which brings us to the Chargers, who haven’t had a quarterback other than Philip Rivers start a game since Drew Brees at the end of the 2005 season. After three years playing in a soccer stadium, the Chargers are moving into a new stadium in Inglewood, CA, and they desperately need a face of the franchise. Tua drops right into their laps at No. 6.
7. Panthers: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
New Panthers coach Matt Rhule knows he has to keep rebuilding a defense that was one of the worst in the NFL last year, allowing nearly 30 points per game. Simmons is a plug-and-play outside linebacker who can tackle, cover and rush the passer. He’ll make an immediate impact.
8. Cardinals: Mekhi Becton, OL, Louisville
Kyler Murray was sacked a league-high 48 times last year, and even though the Cards re-signed D.J. Humphries they need to make sure they’re doing everything they can to protect their 22-year-old franchise QB. Becton is a massive, versatile 6-foot-7, 365-pounder and should be able to step in and play from the jump.
9. Jaguars: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
The Jaguars took Florida offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor in the second round last year, and he wound up starting all 16 games, and now they’ll have a solid set of bookend tackles to protect Gardner Minshew – or whoever ultimately becomes their long-term quarterback. The 6-foot-5, 320-pound Wills isn’t quite as big as Becton but he’s got a shot to be a very good NFL player.
10. Browns: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
Three years after future Hall of Famer Joe Thomas played his final game at left tackle, the Browns get his heir apparent. And he’s got the same last name. Our run on offensive tackles continues with Andrew Thomas, who should be able to step in at left tackle and give Baker Mayfield a fighting chance in the pocket.
11. Jets: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
Joe Douglas has always believed in building around the lines, and after Brown slips a couple spots out of the top 10 thanks to a less-than-stellar combine, Douglas pounces and goes defensive line for a second straight year. Brown may not have had a very good combine, but playing alongside Quinnen Williams gives the Jets a formidable front.
12. Raiders: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
Now the run on wide receivers begins with the Raiders getting the best of the bunch. The Raiders take Lamb despite adding Nelson Agholor in free agency (joke). Moving to a new stadium in a new city, a player as dynamic, talented and exciting as Lamb is the perfect addition.
13. 49ers: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
Even though they got to the Super Bowl last year, the 49ers’ wide receiver production was almost as bad as the Eagles’ last year, so they go with Jeudy, who instantly becomes their best wide receiver since T.O. nearly two decades ago.
14. Buccaneers: Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama
If a 43-year-old Tom Brady is going to have a chance to succeed in Tampa, he needs weapons, and Ruggs is the kind of fast, young, explosive receiver that Brady didn’t really have in New England since than Randy Moss more than a decade ago. Nobody really knows how these WRs are going to fall, but the Bucs will get a good one.
15. Broncos: Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina
No trades in this mock, but I do think the Broncos will try to move up and snag one of the top receivers. But if they stay at No. 15, Kinlaw, a powerful, versatile interior lineman, is a pretty good consolation prize.
16. Falcons: C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
The Falcons were a bottom-10 pass defense last year, and now with Tom Brady in the NFC South an elite young corner is a must for Atlanta. They dumped Desmond Trufant, who landed in Detroit, which led to the Lions shipping Darius Slay to the Eagles. Henderson is a perfect fit in Atlanta.
17. Cowboys: Grant Delpit, S, LSU
Even with newcomer Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, the Cowboys need an infusion of youth at safety, and they’ll have their pick of either LSU’s Grant Delpit or Alabama’s Xavier McKinney, the only two first-round prospects in this year’s draft. McKinney is probably more ready to step in on Day 1 and play, but scouts feel that Delpit has a higher ceiling and that his injury-plagued 2019 season shouldn’t be a factor when evaluating him.
18. Dolphins: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
The Dolphins got their quarterback at No. 5, and with the second of their three first-round picks, the Dolphins add the tough, physical, aggressive Alabama safety, and McKinney becomes the first safety and fifth Alabama player drafted this year.
19. Raiders: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
Having filled their receiver need with CeeDee Lamb at No. 12, the Raiders add a much-needed corner with Diggs seven picks later. This means six of the first 19 players (32 percent) are from Alabama.
20. Jaguars: Zack Baun, LB, Wisconsin
After going offense with Jedrick Wills at No. 9, the Jags address the defense with a versatile playmaking linebacker. Like T.J. Edwards, Baun arrived in Madison as a quarterback before converting to linebacker. It’s not a big linebacker draft after Isaiah Simmons, but Baun is the best of the next group.
21. Eagles: Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
Howie Roseman has never drafted a wide receiver in the first round. Jeremy Maclin was the year before he took over as GM, and Nelson Agholor was Chip’s. Howie finally gets the Eagles the elite young wide out they desperately need.
22. Bills: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
Sean McDermott, a one-time secondary coach with the Eagles, loves coaching young d-backs, and he gets a potentially very good press corner in Fulton. He has some work to do as far as technique, but it’s hard to find a better teacher than McDermott. The Bills find their corner in – where else – the SEC.
23. Patriots: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
We all know Bill Belichick wants a promising, young quarterback to mold in the post-Tom Brady Era, and Love is an intriguing guy. He’s got all the physical tools in the world but has a lot of work to do in terms of decision making and decisiveness. Love is going to be a work in progress, but that’s what Belichick loves. Love isn’t a slam-dunk, but then again Brady was a 6th-round pick.
24. Saints: Justin Jefferson, WR LSU
Michael Thomas is Michael Thomas, but the Saints really don’t have any other formidable receivers, unless you want to count 33-year-old Emmanuel Sanders. Jefferson gives Drew Brees another tremendous weapon and one heck of a matchup problem playing across from a guy who’s caught nearly 500 passes in his first four seasons.
25. Vikings: Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
The Vikings find a potential replacement for Stefon Diggs in Aiyuk, who isn’t the finished product that the other first-round receivers are but has a ton of ability. Aiyuk is a yards-after-the-catch beast that Kirk Cousins is going to love throwing to.
26. Dolphins: Austin Jackson, OT, USC
Kind of a raw prospect that some teams might see as a risky pick, but he’s got the tools and the size to be a solid NFL left tackle. Played both left and right tackle at USC and never missed a game. His grandfather played for the Packers, and they could use him, but I don’t think he gets past the Dolphins at 26.
27. Seahawks: K’Lavon Chaisson, Edge, LSU
The Seahawks managed just 28 sacks last year, second-fewest in the NFL (five more than the Dolphins), and their fewest since 2000. Nobody on the roster had more than four sacks, so Chaisson is exactly what Pete Carrol needs. He’s a polished, versatile pass rusher. At 6-4, 240, he needs to get bigger, and he’s not going to give you much against the run, but he has the potential to be a big-time pass rusher.
28. Ravens: Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
Mark Ingram had a nice year, but he’s 30 years old, and we all know what that means for running backs. The electrifying Taylor, a one-time New Jersey Meet of Champions 100-meter dash champion for Salem High, winds up as the only first-round running back this year, but he’s a perfect fit for a Ravens team looking for speed and playmaking.
29. Titans: A.J. Epenesa, Edge, Iowa
Very productive player at Iowa, with 22 sacks and 31 tackles for loss in two years in Iowa City. One of those guys whose measurables don’t jump off the page but produced consistently and has unusual size for a modern-day edge rusher at 6-5, 275 pounds.
30. Packers: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
Higgins bcomes the seventh wide receiver off the board, the first time that’s happened since 2004. That was the Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Jenkins, Lee Evans draft. The sheer volume of first-round receivers and a confusing Combine pushed Higgins down to the bottom of the first round, but the Packers could be getting a steal.
31. 49ers: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
Murray made a lot of headlines for his character – he helped his parents raise three adopted kids with special needs and he made news by saving a woman’s life by administering CPR. But he’s also a pretty good linebacker.
32. Chiefs: Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
The Chiefs have been looking for cornerbacks for a few years now, and this offseason is no different, Super Bowl championship or not. Gladney is a safe, solid pick for Big Red, whose two previous first-round corners – Lito Sheppard and Marcus Peters – both became first-team all-pros.