Author: Wade Flavion
The 2020 NFL Draft will be here before we know it, and I wanted to put out a “Way Too Early” Mock Draft to satisfy the need for college football that many of us are currently experiencing. These are my predictions for the 1st Round of the 2020 NFL Draft. I will update my Mock Draft as the NFL Draft gets closer.
Rd. 1 Pk. 1 Cincinnati Bengals
- Joe Burrow (QB LSU). He is a phenomenal player and a Heisman winner who deserves to go number one to a team that desperately needs a QB following the fall of Andy Dalton.
Rd. 1 Pk. 2 Washington R-Words
- Chase Young (Edge Ohio State). If this was any other draft Chase Young would be the first player taken off the board, he has proved himself to be an unblockable NFL caliber talent this season. He will be a key part of an emerging young core in Washington.
Rd. 1 Pk. 3 Detroit Lions
- Jeff Okudah (CB Ohio State). Okudah has been the premier cover man for Ohio State the last few seasons, and his talent has somewhat been overshadowed by the rise of Chase Young. Make no mistake he is the best DB in the NFL draft and will be perfect to play opposite of Darius Slay.
Rd. 1 Pk. 4 New York Giants
- Jedrick Wills (OT Alabama). The Giants have struggled all season in protecting their new franchise quarterback Daniel Jones, and the offensive line struggles have led to a decrease in the production and health of the All-Pro Saquan Barkley. Getting an anchor at offensive tackle is going to be vital to rebuilding an underperforming offensive line for the Giants.
Rd. 1 Pk. 5 Miami Dolphins
- Tua Tagovailoa (QB Alabama). I firmly believe without the hip injury that ended Tua’s season he would have been the first QB taken off of the board, but with this injury, I think he will be able to fall to the Dolphins who have been interested in taking him since last season. He is a great quarterback and is a bargain for the Dolphins at five.
Rd. 1 Pk. 6 Los Angeles Chargers
- Justin Herbert (QB Oregon). Right now many mock drafts have him going throughout the first round, but this quarterback class drops off steeply in talent after Herbert, and if he is available at six I cannot see the Chargers passing on him. He has polished his game and would fit this offense well as Phillip Rivers rides into the sunset in his bolo tie.
Rd. 1 Pk. 7 Carolina Panthers
- Derrick Brown (DL Auburn). Brown is dominant. He quite possibly could sneak into the top five of the draft, but I think a good spot for him would be in Carolina as this defense is continuing to be built into a powerhouse in the NFC South.
Rd. 1 Pk. 8 Arizona Cardinals
- Andrew Thomas (OL Georgia). Many think that there will be a reunion between Kyler Murray and Ceedee Lamb, but this Arizona offensive line has had trouble protecting Murray all of last season. This is a simple case of wants vs. needs and Andrew Thomas can fill that need for the next decade. He is the best offensive lineman in this draft, and because of some concerns with his consistency, he could fall into the lap of the Cardinals.
Rd. 1 Pk. 9 Jacksonville Jaguars
- CeeDee Lamb (WR Oklahoma). If Lamb falls past the Cardinals, he most certainly will not fall past the Jaguars. The Jaguars desperately need a deep threat to compliment D.J. Chark, and arguably the most explosive player in this draft is definitely the best option. Minshew, Fournette, Chark, and Lamb could be a deadly combination for AFC South defenses to play against next season.
Rd. 1 Pk. 10 Cleveland Browns
- Isaiah Simmons (S/LB Clemson). Simmons played safety at Clemson, but his role in the NFL could be as the hybrid guy for the Browns. He can be the enforcer that this defense desperately needs, and he can bring physicality to a defense playing in the most physical division in football. He would definitely be a scary sight coming downhill to Lamar Jackson, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Mark Ingram, etc.
Rd. 1 Pk. 11 New York Jets
- Tristan Wirfs (OT Iowa). Another corn fed offensive lineman from Iowa will be a great addition to the Jets offense that struggled in keeping Le’veon Bell and Sam Darnold off of the turf in the backfield. He will provide stability for this offensive line, and provides someone the Jets could be comfortable running behind 20+ times a game.
Rd. 1 Pk. 12 Las Vegas Raiders (Sorry Asher)
- Henry Ruggs III (WR Alabama). The Raiders are a running team, but their inability to stretch the field last season caused them to become very one-dimensional. Henry Ruggs III would be a great addition to this receiving core and could give this team a much needed deep threat. Although he is not going to be the first receiver taken, he could be the best throughout his career. Ruggs has it all.
Rd. 1 Pk. 13 Indianapolis Colts
- Jerry Jeudy (WR Alabama). Many see the Colts taking a backup quarterback for Jacoby Brisset, but I believe that this will be done in later rounds. The Colts need to round out a talented skill position group with Jerry Jeudy. He is the best all-around receiver in the draft. He may not be as explosive as Lamb or Ruggs, but he can be a great possession receiver for the Colts who already have their deep threat guy in T.Y. Hilton.
Rd. 1 Pk. 14 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- A.J. Epenesa (Edge Iowa). As Badger fans know Epenesa is a physical force coming off of the edge and can get after quarterbacks and running backs alike. He will be important to rebuilding a Buccaneers front seven that has looked lackluster in recent years. Jason Pierre-Paul and Epenesa could be dangerous coming off both sides and could be impossible for opposing teams to block.
Rd. 1 Pk. 15 Denver Broncos
- Javon Kinlaw (DL South Carolina). Who the Broncos draft here is a toss-up. John Elway is always a wild factor in the draft, and he tends to keep his cards close to his chest. There are a number of needs on this Broncos team including wide receiver, cornerback, linebacker, etc. Although Kinlaw doesn’t address these needs he can help to solidify the defensive line for the Broncos and make this position group elite. Bradley Chubb, Javon Kinlaw, Von Miller… scary right?
Rd. 1 Pk. 16 Atlanta Falcons
- Yetur Gross-Matos (Edge Penn State). There is a lot of disagreement on who the Falcons will pick, but most mock drafts seem to agree that it is going to be a pass rusher. Gross-Matos will provide an upgrade at the position over Vic Beasley, and could be a star player for the Falcons in the future. The Penn State junior finished the season with 9.5 sacks and 40 tackles and will look to keep improving in the NFL.
Rd. 1 Pk. 17 Dallas Cowboys
- Grant Delpit (S LSU). Delpit showed immense talent in his time at LSU, and even though he was injured for much of his senior season, his size and ability easily put him into the first round. If he falls to the Cowboys, Delpit would be a great pick up and is someone that could have an impact all over the field.
Rd. 1 Pk. 18 Pittsburgh Steelers (Traded to Miami)
- Tee Higgins (WR Clemson). Miami has finally found its star receiver in Devonte Parker, who had a breakout year that led to him getting a four-year extension. Miami desperately needs someone to complete the other side of the receiving core. He is a very talented athlete and would add to an outstanding first round for Miami.
Rd. 1 Pk. 19 Chicago Bears (Traded to Las Vegas Raiders)
- Kenneth Murray (LB Oklahoma). Murray is a guy that can play at all three linebacker spots and is physical at the line of scrimmage, which makes him perfect for this revamped Oakland defense. He along with Ferrell and Crosby will be a force for years to come that will terrorize opposing quarterbacks.
Rd. 1 Pk. 20 Los Angeles Rams (Traded to Jacksonville)
- Kristian Fulton (CB LSU). After losing Jalen Ramsey to the Rams last season, the Jaguars need another cornerback. Kristian Fulton is a bargain at 20 and will help the Jaguars to rebuild a defense that was picked apart last season from trades and injury. It also helps that Fulton was the leader of the best secondary in the nation at LSU.
Rd. 1 Pk. 21 Philadelphia Eagles
- Justin Jefferson (WR LSU). Although Jefferson has had injury problems throughout his career at LSU except for his junior season where he put up some of the best stats in the country, his size and pass-catching ability make him a high upside draft pick. The Eagles are desperate for receivers after playing three practice squad receivers in the Wild Card Game against Seattle.
Rd. 1 Pk. 22 Buffalo Bills
- Laviska Shenault Jr. (WR Colorado). After John Brown, there is no one worth mentioning in the Bills’ receiving corps. The team needs a reliable possession receiver, and Shenault can be that for the Bills. The only problem with this pick is the injury issues that the Colorado receiver has experienced throughout his career.
Rd. 1 Pk. 23 New England Patriots
- Cole Kmet (TE Notre Dame): The Patriots still miss Rob Gronkowski, and have not found anyone to fill in that spot. Kmet is a talented prospect, that can be the guy for the Patriots for the next decade. He’s consistently excellent, which makes him a great pick up for New England.
Rd. 1 Pk. 24 New Orleans Saints
- Trevon Diggs (CB Alabama): The Saints will be losing some key members to their secondary this off-season, and will be looking to find someone to pair up with Marshon Lattimore. Diggs is a big cornerback that will be useful against the talented receivers of the NFC South, and he was also outstanding at Alabama last season.
Rd. 1 Pk. 25 Minnesota Vikings
- CJ Henderson (CB Florida). Xavier Rhodes has been a disappointment for the Vikings, and Mike Zimmer will be looking to find his replacement this offseason. CJ Henderson is a ball hawk that will fit in great with this talented secondary.
Rd. 1 Pk. 26 Houston Texans (Traded to Miami)
- Creed Humphrey (OL Oklahoma): The Dolphins have drafted fancy with skill position guys in their earlier picks, but this is the time in the draft where they will be looking to build up their offensive line to protect their new franchise quarterback
Rd. 1 Pk. 27 Seattle Seahawks
- K’Lavon Chaisson (Edge LSU): If Chaisson falls to Seattle they will get an absolute steal because of the talent and raw power he has shown at LSU. The Seahawks are looking for someone to play opposite of Jadeveon Clowney next season, and he would be perfect to fill this role. (no matter who it will be).
Rd. 1 Pk. 28 Baltimore Ravens
- Terrell Lewis (Edge Alabama). The Ravens are another team where it is a toss-up of who they are going to draft. I see them addressing a weakness on the team at pass rusher, but they could be looking for an eventual replacement for Mark Ingram. Terrell Lewis is leaving early and didn’t have a spectacular last season with Alabama, but his size and physicality make him into a late first to early second-round prospect. He has a lot of upside for the Ravens going into next season.
Rd. 1 Pk. 29 Tennessee Titans*
- Tyler Biadasz (C Wisconsin). Biadasz is a talented, versatile interior lineman that can help to round out this very good Titan’s offensive line. This unit could be really special in the running attack with rushing leader Derrick Henry, in addition to great play from AJ Brown and Ryan Tannehill. Biadasz’s versatility will make him a valuable commodity that can fill in at three spots on the offensive line for Tennessee.
Rd. 1 Pk. 30 Green Bay Packers*
- Austin Jackson (OL USC). Although Green Bay has experienced a great turn around season, there has still been a significant amount of possessions ending with Aaron Rodgers on the ground, they need to invest in offensive linemen (or a few) to sure up the protection for Rodgers.
Rd. 1 Pk. 31 San Francisco 49ers*
- Cesar Ruiz (OL Michigan). It is hard to identify any weakness on this 49ers team, but they could look to revamp an aging offensive line. Ruiz is a great pick because he ran a similar scheme at Michigan, and could easily be a day one starter for San Francisco. No one ever complains about adding another offensive lineman because they make the rest of the offense work, and I think this would be the right call over adding another defensive back.
Rd. 1 Pk. 32 Kansas City Chiefs
- Jonathon Taylor (RB Wisconsin). Taylor was arguably the best running back in the history of College Football, despite not bringing home a Heisman, and although there are concerns about his mileage, he deserves to be a first-round pick. Taylor would be a great fit in an explosive Chiefs team, that is looking to finally find a replacement for Kareem Hunt. The talent around Taylor would prevent him from taking a ridiculous amount of carries and could alleviate the concerns about workload.