We are less than two weeks away from the 2020 NFL Draft beginning Thursday, April 23rd. I have been watching free agency closely, keeping track of new signings and trades, analyzing draft picks, and I have waited long enough! By this time, most note worthy free agents have found new homes. Yes, some are still trickling in, but we demand mock drafts this time of the year! I will note, I did not include any trades here. Even though I do expect trades to occur, I kept it simple for now. I will write another article where I will share trades I would like to see. Without further ado, here is my up-to-date mock draft picks 1-16! (Yes, I’ll make a mock draft with picks 17-32)
1. Cincinnati Bengals – Joe Burrow, QB:
The biggest need for the Bengals is a QB, and Burrow will be their franchise quarterback. He is extremely accurate, possesses toughness and poise in the pocket, and a highly efficient passer. The Bengals are ready to win now, and Burrow only knows how to win. He will be in a supporting cast of A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, Joe Mixon, and Jonah Williams on offense.
2. Washington Redskins – Chase Young, Edge:
Defensive minded head coach, Ron Rivera is not going to pass up on not only the best defensive player, but the best prospect in the this year’s class. The Redskins are lacking depth up front, as is. The Redskins already have five former first rounders protecting the box: Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Montez Sweat, Thomas Davis Sr., and Ryan Kerrigan. Chase Young will make it six, and that makes a scary front seven.
3. Detroit Lions – Jeffrey Okudah, CB:
The Lions picked up veteran cornerback Desmond Trufant, 29, during free agency (2yr/$21 million) in response to losing Darius Slay. However, the Lions draft Jeffrey Okudah here to solidify their secondary. Okudah is the best corner in this year’s draft. He can do it all; very comfortable and effective in press and zone coverage, and a dependable open-field tackler.
4. New York Giants – Tristan Wirfs, OT:
And he can run! Just what the Giants need to improve up front. He showed freakish athleticism at the combine with a 35.6″ vertical and a 4.85 forty showing his explosiveness. He has the physical measurements to protect Daniels in pass protection, and the quickness to block the edge and get out for screens for Barkley. The Giants are not going anywhere with a line that gave up 43 sacks in 2019. Wirfs makes the offensive line immediately better, and more productive day one.
5. Miami Dolphins – Justin Herbert, QB:
I like Herbert here. Herbert possesses all the physical tools you want from a quarterback. He has a tall frame standing at 6’6 (236 pounds), strong arm, and large hands. He will fit in nicely with Chan Gailey’s, offensive coordinator, system of the spread offense. Herbert played in the spread offense at Oregon, so he is capable of throwing in the pocket, on the move, and scrambling. He may be better off learning and developing under Ryan Fitzpatrick before getting a starting role.
6. Los Angeles Chargers – Tua Tagovailoa, QB:
Recent reports are saying Tua “flunked” his physicals taken by teams in the top 10, despite Tua saying, “I feel 100%”. However, given the opportunity here, I suspect the Chargers take Tua anyway. He has the potential to be one of the NFL’s most efficient passers, if healthy. The Chargers are standing by Tyrod Taylor to be the starting quarterback, which allows Tua to sit, learn, and heal (if need be). In addition, it allows the Chargers to protect their investment and franchise quarterback.
7. Carolina Panthers – Isaiah Simmons, LB:
I cannot think of a better replacement for Luke Kuechly than Isaiah Simmons. It’s no secret that the Panthers defense, run defense in particular, has declined since Kuechly’s departure. Simmons is extremely versatile; he has played linebacker, slot corner, and safety for Clemson. He racked up 104 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss, 8 sacks, 8 pass break-ups, and 3 interceptions in 2019. Oh, and he ran a 4.39 forty at the combine. This is an athletic freak, and instantly makes the Panthers’ defense better.
8. Arizona Cardinals – Jedrick Wills, OT:
Offensive Coordinator, Tom Clements, runs an Air Raid style offense, which is a perfect offensive scheme for Wills. Oh, and the Cardinals just happen to really need an offensive lineman. Wills is an elite pass protector with the best blend of step cadence, framing, redirection skill, patience, and anchor ability. His balance is top shelf and shows a terrific understanding of how to maintain his platform as a blocker. Just what the team needs when they gave up 50 sacks in 2019.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars – Derrick Brown, IDL:
The Jaguars helped their defense by tagging Yannick Ngakoue (4-3 DE), and aquiring Joe Schobert (LB) during free agency. Brown is the cherry on top (more like up front) to reestablish their defense. Brown brings quick first steps, effective and violent hands, and holds the point of attack, which allows him to create separation and make plays. He can play all three downs, and is a day one starter.
10. Cleveland Browns – Mekhi Becton, OT:
Mayfield took 40 sacks last season, so they need a day one starter like Mekhi to protect him. Becton has all the functional power with a rare bend of flexibility and size. He is a brawler in the run game, and his pure size overwhelms pass rushers.
11. New York Jets – Andrew Thomas, OT:
The Jets decided not to block last season, and gave up 52 sacks. Do I need to say more? An OT is a top priority for them. Thomas fits well into offensive coordinator, Dowell Loggains, West Coast system. Scouts have noted that teams will be well served with Thomas who excels in West Coast offenses. Power run concepts and West Coast passing concepts is his happy place.
12. Las Vegas Raiders – CeeDee Lamb, WR:
Lamb had a standout season as being the main go-to receiver at Oklahoma. His production numbers speaks for itself (62/1,327/14). It is what makes him the first receiver taken in the draft, respectively. Jon Gruden loves explosive play makers, and that’s what he gets with Lamb. After the catch is when he shines, as he consistently breaks tackles and is very elusive. He may be the most well balanced receiver in this draft. The Raiders need a receiver like that, especially when they do not have a clear WR1 (Tyrell Williams led the WRs in receiving yards of 651).
13. San Francisco 49ers – Jerry Jeudy, WR:
Jeudy fits in perfectly with Kyle Shanahan’s high-speed offense. He had extremely productive numbers last season at Alabama, finishing with 77 catches for 1,163 yards and 10 touchdowns. He was complimented at Alabama with Henry Ruggs III, and Jeudy will be complimented with San Francisco’s rising star, Deebo Samuel. With Emmanuel Sanders gone, the Niners have a void to fill. A void where 4.46 speed, elite route running skills, and run after catch abilities can fill.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Javon Kinlaw, IDL:
Kinlaw is a Top 10 player, so if he falls here, the Buccaneers should take him. They were able to resign Ndamukong Suh for another year, so imagine having Kinlaw paired next to him. Furthermore, Kinlaw is Suh’s replacement for upcoming seasons. Kinlaw’s build, hand power, and linear explosiveness makes him an ideal B-Gap defender in the NFL. Kinlaw’s ability to collapse the point of attack with his punch is impressive, and allows him to transition into a variety of hand counters in order to clear his frame and push for penetration into the pocket.
15. Denver Broncos – Henry Ruggs III, WR:
How do you beat your division rival with a player like Tyreek Hill? Well, you get yourself a Tyreek Hill type player. That is the playmaking abilities Henry Ruggs III brings. His 4.27 speed will spread defenses out when he stretches down the field. Defenses will have a hard time deciding to follow Ruggs or Sutton, making for a dynamic offense. Not only that, Ruggs offers explosive off the line slants for quick throws, accommodating Broncos’ West Coast offense. In addition, he is outstanding on jet sweeps and has kick-return value.
16. Atlanta Falcons – Ross Blacklock, IDL:
The Falcons have a lot of defensive holes that need to be filled. Ross Blacklock fills one of those needs. He is a better pass rusher than run defender, but that is okay due to the division the Falcons are in. His bull rush off the line is ferocious, and creates an immediate knock-back. Pair him with Grady Jarrett, and the Falcons have a mighty fine defensive line.