Welcome to draft day 2020! I am beyond excited to watch the first round unfold tonight. To warp up our run of draft week content, which has included redrafting the first round of the 2015 draft, the whole Aftermath crew’s fifth annual roundtable mock draft, and my top 150 prospects and positional rankings, it is time for my final mock draft of the season.
While some might be determined to predict how the draft will actually happen, I know I am not going to come anywhere close to that. There are too many trades and personal preferences for teams for me to ever manage to accurately predict the draft. So instead, this is what I think SHOULD happen on Thursday and Friday. I poured hours into my final, three-round mock for the 2020 class. There are sure to be some surprises and I know some fans will be furious their favorite team opted to select one player when that other, clearly much better, prospect was still on the board. Much like NFL teams, I have my own preferences on the players in this draft class, which is what makes mock drafts so unique.
If you want to hear me rambling about all of this draft stuff on a podcast, check out For the Love of Sports with Michael Rasile. (Warning: it is really long!) I joined his show for a draft special, which was a ton of fun. I talked through each pick in the first round with him and discussed some larger themes of this draft as well. It’s a very deep dive into the draft, so if you want even more content than just this mock draft, check out that link.
With all of that being said, this is one of the most bizarre times in human history, not to mention the sports calendar. This is the closest thing we have to live sports right now, so just sit back and enjoy it for the next few days, because it might be a really long time before we see anything that resembles live sports for quite a while afterwards.
1. Cincinnati Bengals – Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
Seriously, do I really need to explain this one? I have actually stopped considering quarterback a need for the Bengals because I just assume this pick will be Joe Burrow.
2. Washington – Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
There is some late rumblings that Atlanta and a few other teams are interesting in trading up to grab Chase Young. Assuming Washington stays at number two, this should be the pick. Young has the ability to completely change a defense. Think Nick Bosa-type impact, but even better.
3. Detroit Lions – Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State
Even before Detroit traded away Darius Slay, corner was a need for them. It also helps that Jeff Okudah is the best player left on my board. He has the tools to be a true shutdown defender. Expect them to make this pick at five or six though after someone trades up for a quarterback.
4. New York Giants – Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
Isaiah Simmons is certainly a possibility here. However, after investing an early pick in a quarterback, the Giants have a duty to protect him. Tristan Wirfs is pro ready, can play anywhere but center and has great potential. He is powerful and moves well for a man his size.
5. Miami Dolphins – Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
Injuries are the main concern with Tua Tagovailoa, who has struggled to stay healthy in his two years as Alabama’s starter. All signs point to him checking out medically though and I think his potential is through the roof. He has incredible touch and gives Miami their franchise quarterback to build around.
6. Los Angeles Chargers – Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
I know there is a lot of hate directed toward Justin Herbert. He is my 16th ranked prospect in this draft. Physically, he checks every box. However, Herbert had some frustrating decision making and bad habits that he developed during his senior season. If Los Angeles passes, he could end up sliding for a bit. I think the Chargers need to figure out their future at quarterback though, and Herbert is by far the best option here.
7. Carolina Panthers – Isaiah Simmons, LB/S, Clemson
Out goes Luke Keuchley and in comes Isaiah Simmons. It’s not a perfect swap in terms of play style, but from an impact point of view, this is a home run for Carolina. Simmons can step in as a leader of the defense right away and his ability to line up just about anywhere only increases his value.
8. Arizona Cardinals – Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina
Arizona could head in a lot of directions here. Adding DeAndre Hopkins and locking up D.J. Humphries I think lets the Cardinals focus on the defense. Javon Kinlaw has load of potential as an interior pass rusher. He would provide a massive injection of talent to that Arizona defensive line.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars – Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
Jacksonville seems set to give the Gardner Minshew experience another year. To maximize the evaluation process, finding him an elite receiver to work with is going to be key. Jerry Jeudy is an incredible route runner with the athletic ability to be a top-end receiver in the NFL. Jacksonville can definitely go defense with its second pick of the first round. Don’t rule out a trade down here.
10. Cleveland Browns – Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
Cleveland needs a pro-ready tackle who can start at left tackle. Enter Andrew Thomas. He is a great run blocker and fares well in pass protection as well. Having a more mobile quarterback than Jake Fromm should actually help him as well. He and Jack Conklin should completely reshape the Cleveland offensive line.
11. New York Jets – Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
Receiver would certainly be tempting here. Sam Darnold has not had the best supporting cast through his first two seasons. However, he spent a lot of time running for his life in 2019 and that has to stop in 2020. Jedrick Wills spent most of his time in college at right tackle, but he was blocking Tua Tagovailoa’s blindside. I believe he can slot in on either side and help bring some stability to this unit.
12. Las Vegas Raiders – CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
Derek Carr has not had a true number one receiver since Amari Cooper left town. Tyrell Williams is injury prone and Hunter Renfrow is great in the slot, but they need an outside threat. CeeDee Lamb is a bit raw as a route runner, but he is physically dominant. He will make a lot of plays after the catch and add some playmaking as the franchise moves to Las Vegas.
13. San Francisco 49ers via Indianapolis Colts – Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama
Emmanuel Sanders made a massive difference for this San Francisco offense upon arriving at the trade deadline. Now he is in New Orleans. Jimmy Garappolo needs someone other than Deebo Samuel to work with in this passing game. This run game is incredible as it is. Adding in a field stretching speed demon like Henry Ruggs would only open things up further. He is more complete than just being a deep threat. He would be fun to watch in Kyle Shanahan’s offense.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
Tom Brady, meet your new body guard. Mekhi Becton is about as imposing a figure as you could possibly find in this draft class. He has limitless potential given his blend of size and athleticism. However, he is a bit raw and will need some development before he is a reliable starting option. Starting him on the right side is an option as he learns the system and gets up to speed.
15. Denver Broncos – Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Drew Lock could have a really fun supporting cast following the draft. Courtland Sutton, Justin Jefferson and DaeSean Hamilton would make a promising young group. Add in Melvin Gordon, Phillip Lindsay and Noah Fant and this looks like a complete offense. Jefferson can play outside, but he was incredible in out of the slot last year.
16. Atlanta Falcons – Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn
This is later than most expect Derrick Brown to go. I don’t think he has the pass rushing potential to justify going in the top 10. I think he fits well in this Falcons system as a run stuffer and space eater. He is not quite the size of a nose tackle, but he would pair really well with Grady Jarrett. Good luck running inside against that pair.
17. Dallas Cowboys – K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
Robert Quinn had fantastic production in 2019, but quickly left for Chicago. Dallas needs someone to play across from DeMarcus Lawrence. I think he has a lot of room for development as a run defender and tackler. He brings impressive physical traits though and really excels at creating pressure. That is worth the pick.
18. Miami Dolphins via Pittsburgh Steelers – Josh Jones, OT, Houston
If the Dolphins draft Tua Tagovailoa, they will need an offensive line to protect him. Josh Jones is a bit raw despite the fact that he is already 23, but he is powerful. He slides well in pass protection. He should be a massive upgrade on this line early on with room to improve.
19. Las Vegas Raiders via Chicago Bears – Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
With their second pick of the first round, Las Vegas continues to rebuild their secondary. Pairing Xavier McKinney with Jonathan Abram would give the Raiders a great tandem to anchor the backend of their defense. McKinney is a physical, sure tackler who can slide down into the slot on occasion. He should help a unit that really struggled against tight ends last season.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars via Los Angeles Rams – Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia
There is a good chance that this will be local(ish) product CJ Henderson, but I am higher on Bryce Hall’s ability to develop into a starting corner. He missed the second half of the season with an ankle injury that kept him out for the predraft process as well. When he was healthy, he was the best corner in the ACC. He has the length and ball skills to play the position at a high level. This a massive need after the Jags shipped out Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye.
21. Philadelphia Eagles – Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
Before the city flips out, I know the Eagles need a receiver, but with the early run at the position, I just can’t see the organization picking Tee Higgins. He would bring a similar skill set to Alshon Jeffrey and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. Given the depth at the position, and the need for a linebacker, Philly tabs Patrick Queen instead. He brings the speed and coverage skills defensive coordinators will love. He will help fill the void left by Nigel Bradham.
22. Minnesota Vikings via Buffalo Bills – Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
With the pick acquired for Stefon Diggs, Minnesota will attempt to find his replacement. Tee Higgins is nothing like Diggs. He is a jump ball receiver with an elite catch radius and great ball location skills. Diggs was a crafty and savvy route running who could get open with ease. Higgins should provide a different element for the offense and hopefully find ways to be productive while he improves at generating separation.
23. New England Patriots – Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
No quarterback here for the Patriots. There is some buzz that the organization really like Jarrett Stidham. Instead, New England should look to rebuild it’s depleted linebacking corp. Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins and Elandon Roberts all skipped town. Kenneth Murray is the type of downhill hammer that could excel in this defense. He has to work on reading his keys, but that is something I think Bill Belichick can definitely teach him. His speed and tackling will make him an option to see playing time right away.
24. New Orleans Saints – Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
What is the succession plan at quarterback in New Orleans? Putting a first-round tenure on Taysom Hill in restricted free agency would indicate that the Saints view him as a potential solution, but I am not buying it. This would be the perfect situation for Jordan Love, who would get a chance to learn from one of the great quarterbacks in league history in Drew Brees. He would also get to work with a brilliant offensive mind in Sean Payton. Give Love the year to learn and he could be ready to lead this offense in 2021.
25. Minnesota Vikings – CJ Henderson, CB, Florida
After Xavier Rhodes, and Trae Waynes, and MacKenzie Alexander all found new homes, there isn’t really anyone left to play cornerback in Minnesota. They do have 2018 first-round pick Mike Hughes, but that’s not nearly enough. The Vikings can find some to start opposite him in CJ Henderson. Henderson was not as prolific in 2019 as he had been the season before, but he has the requisite size and speed to project well on the outside. It could be a bumpy start, but I imagine he will improve the longer he is in Mike Zimmer’s system.
26. Miami Dolphins – Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State
I really can’t imagine Miami will use all three of their first round selections. Whether they trade up or down remains to be seen. For now, let’s assume they hang onto these picks and look to find a pass rusher to add to the mix. Yetur Gross-Matos is high-motor player who leverages himself well in pass rushing situations. He is not a physical freak, but he has the tools to become a reliable edge rusher.
27. Seattle Seahawks – A.J. Epenesa, DL, Iowa
Whether Jadeveon Clowney comes back or not, Seattle needs help along the defensive line. Malik McDowell failed to have much of an impact as a rookie, but if he makes progress in year two, he and A.J. Epenesa could be a fun pairing. Epenesa became something of a sack artist at Iowa, but after testing poorly at the combine, seems more like an interior defensive lineman. He seems like the player you can slide up and down the defensive line to confuse offenses. That should be a boon for a Seahawks team that really struggled to generate pressure last season.
28. Baltimore Ravens – Zach Baun, LB, Wisconsin
C.J. Mosley, Terrell Suggs and Patrick Onwuasor have all left over the past two offseasons. Matt Judon could be next as he is playing on the franchise tag this year. Finding some new talent to build around at linebacker feels like a priority. Zach Baun spent most of his Wisconsin career as an edge rusher, but scouts wanted to move him to linebacker at the Senior Bowl and he excelled. That flexibility is a nice bonus for a player who is strong and gritty in the trenches.
29. Tennessee Titans – Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
It does not seem like the Titans have any interest in re-signing Logan Ryan, so it might be wise to draft his replacement. Jeff Gladney has a similar profile to Ryan. Both a bit undersized, but do a good job locating the ball in coverage and getting into the body of the receiver. I think Gladney has the chops to be a great number two option, but might struggle to become an elite shutdown corner. There is still a lot of value in finding a reliable cover man.
30. Green Bay Packers – Michael Pittman Jr., WR, USC
With so many receivers being discussed as possibilities at the end of the first round, this is my pick of the group. Michael Pittman reminds me a lot of Jordy Nelson and I think he would be a great fit for this Packers offense. He has the body type to win downfield, but he is not afraid to grind underneath as a possession receiver. He lacks elite speed, but still manages to generate separation. I think he will be a steal in this draft given that his draft stock is lower on most other big boards.
31. San Francisco 49ers – Cesar Ruiz, OL, Michigan
Coming off an impressive run to the Super Bowl, the 49ers can continue to build up in the trenches. Cesar Ruiz would be the future at center for this team. San Francisco relied on Ben Garland down the stretch after Weston Richburg went down with an injury. Ruiz could spent a year at guard before taking over at center for the long term. He would help keep Jimmy Garoppolo clean and work well with this powerful run game.
32. Kansas City Chiefs – Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
Even though they are the defending champs, the Chiefs have a few holes to fill. Trevon Diggs is an aggressive corner who could add some physicality to this secondary. Chavarius Ward and Diggs would form a fun young combo to develop over the next few years while Kansas City tries to capitalize on this title window.
33. Cincinnati Bengals – Austin Jackson, OT, USC
34. Indianapolis Colts via Washington – Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
35. Detroit Lions – Ross Blacklock, DL, TCU
36. New York Giants – Matt Hennessy, OL, Temple
37. Los Angeles Chargers – Lucas Niang, OT, TCU
38. Carolina Panthers – Neville Gallimore, DL, Oklahoma
39. Miami Dolphins – J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio State
40. Houston Texans via Arizona Cardinals – Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn
41. Cleveland Browns – Grant Delpit, S, LSU
42. Jacksonville Jaguars – Antoine Winfield Jr., S, Minnesota
43. Chicago Bears via Las Vegas Raiders – Lloyd Cushenberry, OL, LSU
44. Indianapolis Colts – Josh Uche, EDGE, Michigan
45. Tampa Buccaneers – D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
46. Denver Broncos – Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah
47. Atlanta Falcons – Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
48. New York Jets – Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
49. Pittsburgh Steelers – Tyler Biadasz, OL, Wisconsin
50. Chicago Bears – Kyle Dugger, S, Lenoir Rhyne
51. Dallas Cowboys – Jeremy Chinn, S, Southern Illinois
52. Los Angeles Rams – Ben Bartch, OT, St. John (Minn.)
53. Philadelphia Eagles – Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame
54. Buffalo Bills – Curtis Weaver, EDGE, Boise State
55. Baltimore Ravens via Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots – John Simpson, G, Clemson
56. Miami Dolphins via New Orleans Saints – Ashtyn Davis, S, California
57. Los Angeles Rams via Houston Texans – Bradlee Anae, EDGE, Utah
58. Minnesota Vikings – Marlon Davidson, DL, Auburn
59. Seattle Seahawks – Prince Tega Wanogho, OT, Auburn
60. Baltimore Ravens – Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado
61. Tennessee Titans – Julian Okwara, EDGE, Notre Dame
62. Green Bay Packers – Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame
63. Kansas City Chiefs via San Francisco 49ers – Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU
64. Seattle Seahawks via Kansas City Chiefs – Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
65. Cincinnati Bengals – Jordyn Brooks, LB, Texas Tech
66. Washington – Adam Trautman, TE, Dayton
67. Detroit Lions – Malik Harrison, LB, Ohio State
68. New York Jets via New York Giants – A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson
69. Carolina Panthers – Troy Pride, CB, Notre Dame
70. Miami Dolphins – Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR, Michigan
71. Los Angeles Chargers – Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State
72. Arizona Cardinals – Robert Hunt, OL, Lousiana
73. Jacksonville Jaguars – Justin Mandubuike, DL, Texas A&M
74. Cleveland Browns – Troy Dye, LB, Oregon
75. Indianapolis Colts – Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma
76. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Devin Duvernay, WR, Texas
77. Denver Broncos – Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise State
78. Atlanta Falcons – Darrell Taylor, EDGE, Tennessee
79. New York Jets – Kenny Willekes, EDGE, Michigan State
80. Las Vegas Raiders – Amik Robertson, CB, Lousiana Tech
81. Las Vegas Raiders via Chicago Bears – Leki Fotu, DL, Utah
82. Dallas Cowboys – Cameron Dantzler, CB, Mississippi State
83. Denver Broncos via Pittsburgh Steelers – Larrell Murchison, DL, North Carolina State
84. Los Angeles Rams – Logan Wilson, LB, Wyoming
85. Detroit Lions via Philadelphia Eagles – Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
86. Buffalo Bills – Davon Hamilton, DL, Ohio State
87. New England Patriots – K.J. Hill, WR, Ohio State
88. New Orleans Saints – Van Jefferson, WR, Florida
89. Minnesota Vikings – Terrell Lewis, EDGE, Alabama
90. Houston Texans – James Lynch, DL, Baylor
91. Las Vegas Raiders via Seattle Seahawks – Jacob Eason, QB, Washington
92. Baltimore Ravens – Terrell Burgess, S, Utah
93. Tennessee Titans – Matt Peart, OT, UConn
94. Green Bay Packers – Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia
95. Denver Broncos via San Francisco 49ers – Ben Bredeson, OL, Michigan
96. Kansas City Chiefs – Jonah Jackson, OL, Ohio State
97. Cleveland Browns – Thaddeus Moss, TE, LSU
98. New England Patriots – Cam Akers, RB, Florida State
99. New York Giants – Jonathan Greenard, EDGE, Florida
100. New England Patriots – Brycen Hopkins, TE, Purdue
101. Seattle Seahawks – Eno Benjamin, RB, Arizona State
102. Pittsburgh Steelers – Jordan Elliott, DL, Missouri
103. Philadelphia Eagles – K’Von Wallace, S, Clemson
104. Los Angeles Rams – Logan Stenberg, OL, Kentucky
105. Minnesota Vikings – Solomon Kindley, G, Georgia
106. Baltimore Ravens – Trevon Hill, EDGE, Miami