2020 NFL Mock Draft: Version 1.0
2020 NFL Mock Draft: Davis Mattek’s 1.0 Mock
With the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl victory behind us, there is nothing left to stop us from focusing on one of our favorite events of the sports calendar: The NFL Draft. Not only do we get to see the fates of NFL franchises change in an instant, but we can also make wagers and prop bets for each round of the NFL Draft. Here on SportsGrid, I will be dropping several iterations of my 2020 NFL Mock draft and will be working in news and notes from NFL insiders and even some potential trades.
This first iteration will perhaps be a bit more shaded towards offensive players than the drafts that will come closer to April 23rd, 2020 but these are always a worthwhile exercise and fun to think about how these first-round picks can swing the nature of the league. Comparing this mock to others, I am much less convinced we see a run on quarterbacks and much more convinced that teams take advantage of the plethora of available wide receivers.
2020 First Round NFL Mock Draft
1. Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Burrow, Quarterback: Every so often, there comes a draft that will have absolutely no questions about who is going to be the top overall selection. After winning the Heisman trophy, throwing for 60 touchdowns and winning the national championship, Joe Burrow is going to go #1 overall to the Bengals.
2. Washington Redskins
Chase Young, EDGE: Not that long ago, it was a semi-popular take that whoever selected first overall in the draft should take Ohio State’s Chase Young. He is an elite, elite, elite EDGE rusher who is going to transform whatever defense he joins right away. Washington will not think twice before selecting him.
3. Detroit Lions
Jeffrey Okudah, Cornerback: The Lions have one of the worst passing defenses in the NFL and none of their cornerbacks (not even Darius Slay) received a positive grade from PFF last season. Okudah fills a massive need and has drawn comps out of Ohio State to Jalen Ramsey who is one of the best man coverage corners in the game.
4. New York Giants
Jedrick Wills, Offensive Tackle: While it would be hilarious to mock another nose tackle or interior lineman to the giants because of Dave Gettleman’s complete and total incompetence, it is much more likely that the team uses this pick to make Daniel Jones’ life easier. The top-rated offensive tackle in the draft should be appealing to the Giants decision-makers.
5. Miami Dolphins
Tua Tagovailoa, Quarterback: While Ryan Fitzpatrick indeed said that his intentions are to return to the team in 2020, he is of course not a long-term answer at QB. The talented and mobile lefty from Alabama makes perfect sense for Miami. If he is not yet fully recovered from his hip injury, Ryan Fitzpatrick is probably the best “bridge” QB that you could ask for.
6. Los Angeles Chargers
Jerry Jeudy, Wide Receiver: The Chargers will be without their franchise quarterback in 2020. Will Tyrod Taylor be the signal-caller? Will it be Tom Brady, as a rather popular rumor has suggested? This is a team with no fans and who had to rely on players like Virgil Green and Andre Patton on offense last season. Jeudy is an elite WR, would immediately make them better and would be an attention-grabbing move.
7. Carolina Panthers
Derrick Brown, Interior Lineman: New head coach Matt Rhule will have a few positions that he needs to address during the 2020 draft and the defensive line is certainly one of them. Brown is extremely explosive for an interior player and could change the fortunes of the Panthers front four.
8. Arizona Cardinals
Tristan Wirfs, Offensive Tackle: Kyler Murray was one of the most sacked quarterbacks in all of football last year. The organization is all in on building behind Kyler and part of that is securing his offensive line. Wirfs plays on the right side which actually is even more useful with Kyler as he frequently is at his best rolling to his right side.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars
Isaiah Simmons, Linebacker: This is a very popular selection throughout mock drafts across the internet. The Jaguars need linebackers in a serious way and Simmons was one of the most impressive defensive players in the country in his final season at Clemson.
10. Cleveland Browns
Andrew Thomas, Offensive Tackle: The Browns have only three tackles under contract and their new management understands a key of modern football: draft players that have a positive impact in the passing game. Thomas was a three-year starter at left tackle in college and projects well to the pros.
11. New York Jets
K’Lavon Chassion, EDGE: The Jets are certainly in the middle of a rebuild and while their run defense was good last season, their pass defense was horrible. One of the best ways to address that problem is to draft an explosive, SEC EDGE rusher and that is what Chassion is.
12. Oakland Raiders
CeeDee Lamb, Wide Receiver: Lamb is as good as you could ask for a wide receiver to be for Derek Carr. He is supremely athletic, a route technician and comfortable in the slot or on the boundary. I feel rather confident that the Raiders will want Lamb to join their ranks.
13. Indianapolis Colts
Javon Kinlaw, Interior Defensive Lineman: It is a lot more fun to mock wide receivers (or even a quarterback) to this talented Colts roster but the far likelier reality is that they select someone line Kinlaw who fills an obvious need and makes their team better in Week One of 2020.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
A.J Epenesa, EDGE: Maybe you are sensing a trend here of dynamic EDGE rushers being the most sought-after commodities in the NFL draft. Assuming that the Buccaneers re-sign Jameis Winston, their offense is more or less set for 2020. It is the defense they are more concerned about.
15. Denver Broncos
Justin Jefferson, Wide Receiver: If the Broncos are in fact committed to going forward with Drew Lock as their “franchise” quarterback, they need to do better for him than Tim Patrick and DaeSean Hamilton. Jefferson tore apart the SEC from a young age and is a threat to really improve his draft stock at the combine. With Courtland Sutton already the primary X wide receiver, the team needs someone a bit more dynamic to fill the other side (Henry Ruggs is also a potential fit here).
16. Atlanta Falcons
Kristian Fulton, Cornerback: Assuming that the team re-signs Austin Hooper (not a gurantee), the Falcons biggest needs remain on the defensive side of the ball. Fulton is a pure coverage corner who doesn’t add much in the run game, but who cares?
17. Dallas Cowboys
Grant Delpit, Safety: The catastrophic decision to let Bryon Jones walk means that the Dallas has to re-configure things in the secondary. Delpit is a stone-cold baller who can play deep or in the box and is ready to start right away.
18. Miami Dolphins
Mekhi Becton, Offensive Tackle: After taking their QB of the future, Miami can secure part of their offensive line for the next five years with the massive and skilled Becton from Louisville.
19. Oakland Raiders
Jeff Gladney, Cornerback: The Raiders cornerbacks were one of the worst units in the NFL last season and with the board bereft of A+ EDGE prospects, Gladney from TCU is a really intriguing prospect. They are likely to go with a defensive back at this pick.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars
C.J Henderson. Cornerback: Another big trend as you read through mock drafts you will find is that cornerbacks are both a prized commodity and that there are many of them that are quite good in this class. Henderson is long and rangy defender who is ready to be a man corner in the NFL from day one.
21. Philadelphia Eagles
Henry Ruggs III, Wide Receiver: If Ruggs IS going to be overdrafted (relative to his college market shares) he is going to go to a team like Philly that already has its’ WR1 for the now (Alshon) and the future (JJ Arcega-Whiteside) though overall I do not feel as confident as other mock drafters that Ruggs is actually a first-round pick.
22. Buffalo Bills
Laviska Shenault Jr., Wide Receiver: The Bills love to do things their own way so when faced with the choice between the more conventional Tee Higgins or the more risky Shenault, I suspect that they will see Shenault as the more natural fit for their hybrid offense (and they do desperately need a WR).
23. New England Patriots
Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE: If I was running the Patriots, I would likely select Tee Higgins or try to trade up for CeeDee Lamb but the far likelier outcome is that the organization galvanizes their strength and makes their defense even better.
24. New Orleans Saints
Kenneth Murray, Linebacker: With basically every starting spot on the offense accounted for, the Saints should expect to go heavy on defensive players at the beginning of the draft. Murray was an every-down stud at Oklahoma.
25. Minnesota Vikings
Lloyd Cushenberry III, Offensive Guard: The Vikings need offensive line help more than any other position and while Cushenberry played center at TCU, scouts expect that he should be able to play guard without issue. This would be a classic Vikings pick.
26. Miami Dolphins
Tee Higgins, Wide Receiver: The Dolphins can go in almost any direction with this pick but it wouldn’t be surprising for them to try and add some firepower to what was one of the most lackluster offenses in football last season. Higgins fits the prototypical size and speed of an NFL WR1.
27. Seattle Seahawks
Terrell Lewis, EDGE: The Seahawks swung and missed on L.J Collier last season so they have to try and make up for that mistake by selecting Lewis (or another elite EDGE) this time around.
28. Baltimore Ravens
Curtis Weaver, EDGE: While the Ravens do desperately need help at WR, they can probably add to that position on Day Two of the draft. Weaver is a super high-energy player who fits any defensive scheme, a true Ravens-style player.
29. Tennessee Titans
Justin Herbert, QB: Pay Tannehill or not, he is still going to be 31 when the 2020 season starts. Herbert is going MUCH higher than this in most mocks and I cannot keep him out of the first round. This actually is a good fit in terms of getting Herbert into a run-heavy system early in his career.
30. Green Bay Packers
Patrick Queen, Linebacker: Another LSU defensive player to shore up holes for a team that got absolutely GASHED on the ground all season long. Packers fans will welcome the addition of Queen.
31. San Francisco 49ers
Neville Gallimore, Interior Defensive Lineman: With all of the elite cornerbacks off of the board, the 49ers have to settle for the destructive interior lineman from Oklahoma who will help their defensive line continue to terrorize opposing QBs.
32. Kansas City Chiefs
Damon Arnette, Cornerback: The defending champs strengthen their roster with a superb athlete who immediately makes them better defending the pass.