Tua Tagovailoa is headed for the NFL draft, as is Jake Fromm. With player declarations coming fast and furious, it’s time to catch up on how these announcements are effecting this draft class as a whole. Plus, figure out which matchups to watch in the College Football Playoff championship game. Listen to the latest episode now on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.
I’m finally back behind the mic! Glad to have the podcast up and running again because there is tons to talk about. I break down Tua Tagovailoa’s draft decision, discuss the head coaching vacancies in the NFL and review the best performances from the College Football Playoff semifinals. Check out the show on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to your podcasts.
Welcome fans of struggling teams to another NFL mock draft. For those of us who support teams that look extremely uncompetitive, this is a good way to find something to get excited about in a lost season. This is already my third mock draft of the year. I expect wide receivers to dominate round one and a healthy number of corners to go as well. The race for either Tua or Burrow might be on, but there is a lot to like about other elite prospects in Chase Young, Andrew Thomas and Jeffrey Okudah.
The draft order is being determined by the Super Bowl odds after Sunday of Week 9 from Caesar’s Sportsbook. Tiebreakers were decided by strength of schedule. Obviously, this draft order is subject to a lot of change still, but after nine weeks of the NFL season, this is where all 32 teams stand. Don’t get mad at me for where your team is picking. It’s time for this November mock draft to get underway.
1. Miami Dolphins (20000-1) – Tua Tagovailoa, QB Alabama
Miami comes into the draft with three first-round picks and they have to use one to address the quarterback position. Tua Tagovailoa is still the best quarterback in college football. He has tons of big game experience on his resume. Tagovailoa is pro ready as well, even if he doesn’t have elite arm strength. When it comes to traits, he has incredible accuracy and can use his legs to make plays outside the pocket.
2. Cincinnati Bengals (20000-1) – Joe Burrow
No one has been worse against the run this season than the Bengals, but they also have no future at quarterback. Andy Dalton may be under contract through 2020, but that shouldn’t stop Cincinnati from drafting their heir apparent. Joe Burrow has seen his draft stock skyrocket to the point where he will almost definitely be a top-five selection. He is the front-runner for the Heisman currently and has looked very strong against an incredibly tough schedule at LSU. We will get a chance to see Burrow play Tua and company next week as well.
3. New York Jets (20000-1) – Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
The Jets need a lot of help on both sides of the ball. While Andrew Thomas should definitely be considered here, Chase Young is too good to pass up. Choosing to nab the best player in the draft seems like a good way to speed up a rebuild. After trading away Leonard Williams, New York could definitely use a new pass rusher. Young is a beast with the potential to be even better than the Ohio State defensive linemen that came before him. He would offer a terrifying duo with Quinnen Williams along that defensive line. There is no question the Jets need the help there with just 13 sacks as a team this season.
4. Washington (10000-1) – Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
Trent Williams ended his holdout, but is still refusing to play this year. It is a lost season in D.C. and this team will definitely have finding Williams’ replacement high on the to-do list for the offseason. Andrew Thomas might just be the best way to do that. He is the most talented and most polished tackle prospect in this class and he should slot in as the starter from Day 1. Washington invested in Dwayne Haskins last year and now it is time to help keep him upright.
5. Atlanta Falcons (5000-1) – A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa
This has been a horrible season for the Falcons, who should be shocked to be drafting in the top five given the expectations for this group entering the year. No team in the league has fewer sacks (7) than Atlanta this season. Adding A.J. Epenesa should help turn that around right away. He is excellent with his hands and has the size to be a great NFL pass rusher. His numbers have been down this year, but he has a lot of potential and previous production to make me think he will transition well to the NFL.
6. New York Giants (1500-1) – Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
After a promising start, Daniel Jones’ inaugural season has gone sideways. New York certainly has holes defensively, but it cannot pass up on the opportunity to take the top receiver in the draft. With Odell Beckham Jr. in Cleveland, the receiving corps for the Giants this year features a 31-year old Golden Tate, a banged up Sterling Shepard and a promising Darius Slayton. Jerry Jeudy would immediately become the best receiver in that group and create a fun offensive trio with Evan Engram and Saquon Barkley. Someone fittingly, he has drawn comparisons to Odell Bekcham Jr.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1000-1) – Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
Surprisingly, Tampa’s front seven has been one of the best in the NFL this season. The Buccaneers are allowing the fewest rush yards per game and second fewest yards per attempt this season. However, the secondary is giving up the second most yards per game. Jeffrey Okudah gives Tampa a lockdown corner of the future. He has the makings of an elite press corner given his agility and instincts. Okudah is a sure tackler in space as well.
8. Arizona Cardinals (1000-1) – Isaiah Simmons, LB/S, Clemson
Heading into the year, I really thought this team needed another receiver, but it seems like Arizona has invested well in players who can contribute at the position in the future. Plus this is a deep receiver draft. Instead, the Cardinals add a defensive playmaker in Isaiah Simmons. He is a converted linebacker playing safety now, but still operates heavily down in the box. Simmons is one of the most reliable players in this Clemson defense and offers the versatility NFL teams are after.
9. Denver Broncos (500-1) – CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
Cortland Sutton seems like a receiver Denver can rely on, but after that it lacks proven players to contribute in this passing game. DaeSean Hamilton has shown flashes, but Emmanuel Sanders is gone and leaves a big hole in the offense. Taking CeeDee Lamb is a great fit for a team that needs a player capable of making things happen after the catch. There might not be a receiver in college football better at making plays in space than Lamb right now.
10. Oakland Raiders via Chicago Bears (400-1) – Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn
Oakland has made some serious strides this year on offense, but the defense is still lagging behind. With Clelin Ferrell already on board, the Raiders can opt to bring in an interior pass rusher with great size in Derrick Brown. He is part of arguably the best defensive line in college football and he is the most complete player on it. Brown would be a welcome addition to this defense. The Raiders have another first round pick to continue to reshape the defense, so it can afford to go best player available.
11. Tennessee Titans (300-1) – Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
Ryan Tannehill has been a nice surprise as a fill-in starter for the Titans, but he is not a long-term solution. Tennessee might have some reservations about drafting another Oregon quarterback after Marcus Mariota, but Justin Herbert is definitely the best passer remaining. He has struggled at times in big games, but his physical talents and past success make him a first-round caliber quarterback. He will certainly need a bit of work to fix some of the technical issues in his game, but he has the arm and smarts to succeed at the next level.
12. Cleveland Browns (200-1) – Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
This hasn’t changed at all. Cleveland needs all kinds of offensive line help, particularly at left tackle. Alex Leatherwood might be a little green at the position, but he is learning on the job and faring extremely well for Alabama. He started at right guard last season before he took over for Jonah Williams at left tackle this year. Leatherwood has not missed a beat. He has the potential to develop into a great blindside blocker. We will learn a long more about him as he faces some great defensive lines down the stretch.
13. Detroit Lions (200-1) – Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
Detroit needs defensive help in the worst way. The secondary is giving up the third-most yards per game this season and wasting what has been an impressive year from Matt Stafford. Trevon Diggs would give Matt Patricia a tall corner capable of pressing at the line. He has the athleticism and length to become a top-tier corner at the next level. He is a solid tackler who also has three interceptions already in his senior season. Diggs should be able to contribute right away.
14. Los Angeles Chargers (75-1) – D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
This has not been the type of season most expected from the Chargers. There is chatter about Los Angeles finding the quarterback of the future, but they have to address the very clear issue plaguing the offense in the present. It can’t run the ball consistently. Melvin Gordon will be gone at the end of the year. Time to grab a potentially game-changing running back in D’Andre Swift. The Georgia standout is a complete back with very little mileage from his time in college. Swift is also a great receiver out of the backfield. He should help get this team playing more balanced offensively.
15. Miami Dolphins via Pittsburgh Steelers (75-1) – Tyler Biadasz, C Wisconsin
After taking Tua Tagovailoa, Miami can start to build up the offensive line in front of him. Tyler Biadasz is an extremely polished prospect who should be able to start at center from Day 1. He is a rock in pass protection and does a nice job as a move blocker in the run game. The Dolphins have a pair of young guards they like in Michael Deiter and Evan Boehm, with Deiter actually being a fellow Wisconsin product. Miami could certainly target a tackle, but with Andrew Thomas and Alex Leatherwood off the board, taking the best interior lineman bodes well for the future of that offense.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars (75-1) – Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama
You know what they say, speed kills. Henry Ruggs has top-end speed that would rival any player in the NFL. Jacksonville can use the first of its two first-round picks to help add that game-breaking element to its offense. Dede Westbrook has been good, but he has not had a whole lot of help from his fellow receivers. Ruggs would immediately help the development of Gardner Minshew and open up so much for this offensive system. He could have a Tyreek Hill-type impact.
17. Oakland Raiders (60-1) – CJ Henderson, CB, Florida
Oakland already jettisoned one former first round pick it had at corner. Gareon Conley is now suiting up for the Texans. Clearly, the secondary could use a boost. CJ Henderson looks the part of a lockdown corner and has the athleticism to develop into a true number one option. He has long arms and closes well to the football in coverage. He still has to work on his press play, struggling to jam receivers at the line, but he should be capable of contributing right away.
18. Carolina Panthers (40-1) – Tristan Wirfs, OL, Iowa
So far this year, Carolina has quickly realized the value Christian McCaffrey has in this offense and Cam Newton has been banged up. That points to bolstering the offensive line in the draft. Many think Tristan Wirfs has left tackle potential, but I feel he would be better as interior lineman. Greg Van Roten will be a free agent at the end of the season, creating a void at left guard. Wirfs could slot there from Day 1 and maybe even develop into a tackle down the line. He brings a nastiness in the run game that would only help McCaffrey’s effectiveness.
19. Jacksonville Jaguars via Los Angeles Rams (25-1) – Krisitan Fulton, CB, LSU
Jalen Ramsey is gone and it is time to go about finding a replacement. Using one of the picks it got for Ramsey, taking Kristian Fulton should help fill the void. Fulton is not Ramsey and probably never will be. He is a tough, determined corner with a nose for the football. He comes out of a school known for producing great secondary players as well in LSU. This is his first full year as a starter, so it would definitely be nice to see a larger sample size. What we have seen though is extremely promising.
20. Seattle Seahawks (20-1) – Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State
Seattle is in desperate need of a pass rusher. With only two sacks on Sunday, the Seahawks got torched by Jameis Winston. Yetur Gross-Matos has the potential to develop into a double-digit sack guy. He has heavy hands that allow him to control opposing linemen and has the size to handle himself against NFL-caliber tackles. The Penn State star also has an incredible motor and checks the character box as well. Seattle would be getting a well-rounded player.
21. Miami Dolphins via Houston Texans (35-1) – Grant Delpit, S, LSU
Miami grabbed a quarterback and an interior lineman, now it’s time to help the defense. After trading away Minkah Fitzpatrick, the Dolphins could use another dynamic safety. Grant Delpit has struggled at times with tackling this year, but he is impressive at diagnosing plays and in coverage. His skillset makes him a really nice option to cover tight ends at the next level. He should be a fun pairing in the secondary with Xavien Howard for years to come (unless they trade him too).
22. Indianapolis Colts (35-1) – Curtis Weaver, EDGE, Boise State
I strongly debated going with Jake Fromm here, but I think the Colts have faith in Jacoby Brissett. So instead, Indy addresses the defense by adding another pass rusher. This team has been middle of the road in rushing the passer this season and if it decides not to keep Justin Houston’s hefty cap hit, Curtis Weaver would be a good addition. He is relentless and loves to bull rush offensive linemen. Weaver has been a disruptive force for this Boise State defense for the past three years and should continue doing just that for the Colts.
23. Minnesota Vikings (18-1) – Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina
Kirk Cousins has answered a lot of questions about his ability to lead this team. However, the defense suddenly seems a lot less capable than it did at the start of the season. Javon Kinlaw would be fun to watch in this 4-3 system. He is a dominant pass rusher at South Carolina right now, regularly drawing double teams and extra attention. Teams wouldn’t be able to do that with Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffin lining up next to him. He also feels like a nice complement to Lindval Joseph. Adding another disruptive defensive player like Kinlaw should take pressure off the offense.
24. Philadelphia Eagles (14-1) – Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford
The Eagles desperately need secondary help. Sidney Jones has been unable to stay on the field and the combo of Avonte Maddox and Ronald Darby isn’t cutting it. Paulson Adebo is a feared man at Stanford with the Pac-12 no longer even bothering to throw at him. Rightfully so given his eight interceptions in 21 career games. Adebo could immediately provide some corner depth and projects as a long-term starter. He is a ball-hawking corner who should bring some physicality to this Philly secondary.
25. Buffalo Bills (35-1) – Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado
Buffalo has a championship level defense, but it needs to bring its offense up to speed. John Brown and Cole Beasley are nice complements to a top-tier receiver. Laviska Shenault Jr. has shown flashes of being just that in the past two years at Colorado. He moves extremely well for a player that measures in at 6’2″ and 220 pounds. Shenault is really good with the ball in his hands, leading Colorado to use him as a wildcat quarterback sometimes just to get him more touches. He should provide some playmaking to a Bills offense in desperate need of it.
26. Baltimore Ravens (12-1) – Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
Baltimore has built an offense around running the ball. While they could probably use another receiver here, it is hard to pass up on an electric running back like Travis Etienne. He is averaging nine yards per carry this season for Clemson and has game-breaking ability. Mark Ingram has been solid this year, but will turn 30 in December. This gives the Ravens another playmaker to deploy in either the run or pass game. Just imagine Etienne running read options with Lamar Jackson.
27. Dallas Cowboys (11-1) – Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
It is hard to know what direction the Cowboys will be headed this offseason with a number of crucial pieces of this roster set to be free agents. With its inquiry into Jamal Adams, there is no question Dallas is interested in bringing in some help at safety though. Xavier McKinney is the best one on the board and projects as a future starter. He is explosive and plays downhill. McKinney seems to be a solid cover option, even shifting down in a nickel role sometimes. His versatility makes him a fun addition to this defense.
28. San Francisco 49ers (8-1) – Walker Little, OT, Stanford
Through nine weeks of NFL play, the 49ers are the lone remaining unbeaten team. Vegas doesn’t have them as Super Bowl favorites though, having them tied for second to win in the conference. There does not seem to be too many needs on this team though. One potential hole that could form would be if Joe Staley retired this offseason. Even if he doesn’t, finding his future replacement wouldn’t be a bad idea. Walker Little went down during the first week of the season with a knee injury, but when healthy he looks like a future left tackle in the NFL. He moves pretty well and shows good bend for the position. At 6’7″, he certainly fits the size profile.
29. Kansas City Chiefs (11-1) – Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia
Kansas City’s defense has actually played much better in recent weeks, but that does not mean it is fixed. The Chiefs could definitely use some help on the backend. Bryce Hall went down with a serious ankle injury earlier this year, but assuming he makes a full recovery, he has first-round potential. Hall has the size and ball skills to turn into a solid starting option pretty quickly. He has a ton of college experience and would be a nice addition to what has typically been a struggling secondary.
30. Green Bay Packers (8-1) – Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
If Sunday’s offensive meltdown against the Chargers wasn’t a clear enough reason the Packers need some help at receiver, I don’t know what will be. Davante Adams finally returned, but that was not enough to propel this offense. Jalen Reagor might just be the solution to Green Bay’s problems. He is an explosive receiver who has a great catch radius given his size. He is aggressive when catching the ball, using his hands to catch it away from his body. Reagor might not be quite as fast as Henry Ruggs, but he might be a more complete receiver ready to compete on Day 1.
31. New Orleans Saints (9-2) – Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State
This team is geared up for a Super Bowl run right now and will want to get the most out of Drew Brees’ final few seasons. Michael Thomas is a beast and arguably the best receiver in the NFL, but the Saints could use someone to play across from him. Tylan Wallace feels like a good fit. He is more than capable of taking the top off a defense and does an excellent job winning jump balls. He is also a decent route runner who has the awareness to be a possession receiver. Wallace did go down for the rest of the college season with a torn ACL, but he has shown enough potential to warrant a first round selection.
32. New England Patriots (2-1) – Creed Humphrey, G, Oklahoma
If there is an area of need on this team it is along the offensive line. Injuries and inconsistent play have really hurt the Patriots all season long. Creed Humphrey is a rock-solid prospect with tons of experience. He was the lone returning starter this season on the line for Oklahoma. He is solid in pass protection and as a run blocker. He can slot in at either guard spot and give New England a steadier option than anything they’ve been able to find this year.
For more NFL Draft coverage, check out the Aftermath’s NFL Draft Podcast, with new episodes every Thursday.
It’s the first Monday in October, which means it’s time for another 2020 NFL mock draft. A lot has changed since my first mock draft in September. The quarterback class has gotten a bit deeper given the play of Joe Burrow and Jacob Eason. This is still an incredible class for wide receivers and running backs as well. Mix in an elite edge rusher in Chase Young and you’ve got a fun-looking draft class. Now mock drafts are more about the NFL side of things, figuring out which positions teams need to address in the upcoming offseason. For more of a college football focused look at these prospects, check out my latest big board.
The draft order is being determined is by the Super Bowl odds heading into Week 5 from Caesar’s Sportsbook. Tiebreakers were decided by strength of schedule. Obviously, this draft order is subject to a lot of change, but after four weeks of the NFL season, (I didn’t take Week 5 into account yet because it is not finished yet) this is where all 32 teams stand. Let’s dive into this October mock draft.
1. Miami Dolphins (20000-1) – Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
Let’s not overthink this any more. Josh Rosen has no supporting cast, but this offense lacks a clear direction forward. A rebuild with Tua Tagovailoa as the center piece is looking more and more likely. Tagovailoa has been the best quarterback at the college level this year. His touch on intermediate throws downfield is elite. He is decisive and intelligent. He will be able to command an offense for years to come. With three first round picks, the Dolphins will be able to add some talent around him too.
2. Washington (5000-1) – Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
Washington could go a number of directions here, but with Trent Williams still holding out, Andrew Thomas is a logical pick. Washington desperately needs to find a way to keep rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins upright. Thomas is the best pass blocker in this draft by a mile and is improving against the run. He is battle-tested having played in the SEC and would be able to step in on Day 1 to protect Haskins’ blindside.
3. Denver Broncos (2000-1) – Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
This is one of the toughest teams to mock because of the talent that exists already on the roster. With Bradley Chubb and Von Miller, there is no need for Chase Young. With Emmanuel Sanders, Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton, I can’t see the Broncos taking Jerry Jeudy either. Instead, Denver nabs the top corner in the class after watching the secondary struggle in 2019. Chris Harris Jr. is 30 and there are trade rumors swirling. Jeffrey Okudah has the potential to be the best lockdown corner the league has seen since Darrelle Revis in his prime. He closes so well on the ball and is an excellent tackler in space.
4. Arizona Cardinals (2000-1) – Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
Arizona would be ecstatic if Chase Young fell to them at No. 4. After trying to find some veteran solutions in Terrell Suggs this offseason, the Cardinals need to address the long term need for a pass rusher. Chandler Jones would be the perfect mentor for the latest Ohio State star defensive lineman. Young does an excellent job setting the edge against the run and has a full arsenal of pass rush moves to terrorize opposing quarterbacks. He would immediately take some pressure off the struggling secondary.
5. New York Jets (2000-1) – Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
New York continues to have the top player on a lot of draftnicks boards fall to them. Jerry Jeudy is about as polished as a pro prospect can be coming out of Alabama. He fills a major need for New York and would be an upgrade over any player in their current receiving core. Sam Darnold needs a proven receiver to throw to if he is going to develop. Jeudy’s route running ability and consistency makes him a no-brainer here.
6. Cincinnati Bengals (1000-1) – Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
I initially had Jake Fromm mocked here, who I have ranked higher than Justin Herbert on my big board. However, I think Zac Taylor would love the opportunity to work with the toolsy Herbert instead. He has a big arm, but he seems to have some accuracy and technical issues that need ironing out. Andy Dalton is a free agent after the 2020 season, giving Cincinnati the perfect situation to break in a quarterback with lots of potential, but who might need a bit of time before he is ready to take over the starting gig.
7. Atlanta Falcons (200-1) – D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
While the Falcons have a number of needs, Atlanta does not want to miss out on a player in their own backyard. D’Andre Swift is about as pro ready as running backs come, with prototypical size, good hands out of the backfield and plenty of college production. The thing I love so much about him is his elusiveness and the lack of mileage he has picked up in college. With just over 300 carries in his college career, Swift should be primed for a long career in the NFL.
8. Miami Dolphins via Pittsburgh Steelers (150-1) – A.J. Epenesa, DL, Iowa
After taking Tua Tagovailoa first overall, that means the Dolphins no longer need a quarterback. Pretty much every other spot is a position of need. A.J. Epenesa seems like a good place to start. At 6’6″, 280 pounds, he is built more like a defensive lineman than a true edge player, but don’t let that fool you. He is an elite pass rusher with the strength to push around opposing linemen. He uses his hands really well and shows a good motor. He is not going to be a speed rusher, but with his ability to dominant off the line, he won’t need to be. There is a reason people are comparing him to J.J. Watt.
9. Indianapolis Colts (125-1) – Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
While Indy does have a true WR1 in T.Y. Hilton, there is not a whole lot of depth behind him at receiver. The collection of Zach Paschal, Deon Cain and Chester Rodgers is far from the most productive group. Enter Tee Higgins, who would offer a big-bodied, downfield threat who can win jump balls all over the field. He is probably the best red zone receiver in this year’s draft and would provide a nice complement to Hilton. Higgins struggles a bit with creating separation, but has the size, skill and catch radius for that to not matter much.
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (100-1) – Grant Delpit, S, LSU
This Buccaneers’ secondary needs an infusion of talent. Tampa has come up with it’s fair share of interceptions this year, but the Bucs gave up the second-most passing yards per game through the first four weeks of the season. Grant Delpit should help with that right away. He draws a lot of comparisons to former LSU standout Jamaal Adams. The two have similar playing styles, but Delpit is better in pass coverage. He hasn’t been the strongest tackler this year, but he diagnoses plays well and gets himself into good positions to be successful. If he can sure up his tackling, he has All-Pro potential.
11. New York Giants (100-1) – CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
The Daniel Jones era is off to a pretty good start, but the Giants could use some more help at receiver. Sterling Shepard has been great this year, but he is best suited as a second option. No one else in the New York receiving core is above replacement level other than Golden Tate, who is 31. CeeDee Lamb is a complete receiver with the ability to take the top off a defense. He fights for extra yards and has excellent vision after the catch. He would give the Giants another explosive playmaker along with Evan Engram. An offense featuring Shepard, Lamb, Engram and Saquon Barkley sounds pretty legitimate.
12. Oakland Raiders (75-1) – Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado
Oakland entered the season expecting Antonio Brown to be its top receiving option. Let’s just say that didn’t work out and now the Raiders could use an upgrade at receiver. Laviska Shenault hasn’t had the best 2019 season at Colorado, but his talent is undeniable. He catches the ball away from his body and he turns into a running back after the catch. He has good speed for a 6’2″ 220-pound wideout and excels making plays down the seams. He would offer Derek Carr (or perhaps another quarterback, keep reading) a great target to boost the offense.
13. Tennessee Titans (75-1) – Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia
This feels like such a good fit for Jake Fromm. The Titans have a great offensive line, solid running game and a talented defense. Sound familiar to Fromm’s current situation? It’s time for the Titans to move on from Marcus Mariota. His contract is up after this season and he has not played consistently enough to warrant being brought back. Fromm is poised and intelligent. His accuracy has improved this season. He is the type of pro-ready quarterback a team like the Titans could use. He won’t turn the ball over and he has the arm talent to win games.
14. Jacksonville Jaguars (50-1) – CJ Henderson, CB, Florida
Going into the year, I really thought the Jaguars needed to go after a receiver in the first round. With the emergence of DJ Chark in his second year, that need does not feel as pressing and Jacksonville can shift its attention to finding its successor to Jalen Ramsey. CJ Henderson has the size and ball skills to be an NFL corner. He needs to improve as a press defender, but he has shown flashes of lockdown play. He won’t fill the hole a Ramsey departure would leave, but he would certainly help ease the loss.
15. Carolina Panthers (50-1) – Walker Little, OT, Stanford
The string of injuries Cam Newton has suffered over the past few years makes me look at that offensive line as a place where help is needed. Carolina has invested a lot of draft picks in recent years along the line, but with none of them proving to be a permanent solution, it’s time to add Walker Little. There is injury concern here with him suffering a season-ending knee injury in the first game of this season. However, Little projects as a future left tackle in the NFL. He is 6’7″ and weighs 315 pounds. You can’t teach size. He moves well and would be in the mix to start the 2020 season for the Panthers.
16. Detroit Lions (40-1) – Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State
After letting Ezekiel Ansah walk in free agency following an injury-riddle tenure in Detroit, it is time to find a replacement. Signing Trey Flowers helps, but adding the relentless Yetur Gross-Matos would make the pass rush a strength. He is excellent at keep offensive lineman from locking him with his hand usage. He has decent bend and is a punishing tackler. At 6’5″, 255 pounds, he has the versatility to stand up or get after the passer with his hand in the ground. He would be a fun player for Matt Patricia to work with.
17. Buffalo Bills (40-1) – Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama
Buffalo has a championship level defense, but it needs to bring its offense up to speed. The best way to add speed is to draft Henry Ruggs. He might be the most explosive player in this class, with buzz about him potentially running a sub 4.3 40-yard dash. He would immediately provide Josh Allen a game-breaking receiver to complement the possession receivers they have in Cole Beasley and John Brown. Adding him to the offense would provide a big-play element Buffalo is definitely lacking right now.
18. Minnesota Vikings (28-1) – Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
Minnesota is fed up with inconsistent play from Kirk Cousins. His inability to complete deep passes downfield or show up in big games is maddeningly frustrating. Joe Burrow has shown he can do both of those things so far this year. His arm strength has been impressive and he looks sharp as a part of a rejuvenated LSU offense. He might not be ready to start Day 1 as there is likely going to be some time needed for him to transition to a true pro-style offense, but he wouldn’t be asked to do much right away. With a great running game and a top tier defense, Burrow would just be asked to take care of the ball. If he can keep playing at this level, he will lock himself in as a first round pick.
19. Seattle Seahawks (25-1) – Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn
Yes, the Seahawks traded for Jadeveon Clowney, but he could easily walk in free agency. Seattle can double down on the defensive line by adding Derrick Brown from Auburn. He is massive at 6’5″, 318 pounds. While he might have the build of a typical nose tackle, he moves a lot better than that. He had 4.5 sacks in 2018 and already has two heading into a game with Florida. Brown can generate pressure on the interior and is excellent against the run. Seattle has been trying to find talented defense linemen for a few years now and really struggled without Clowney on the field. Brown turns the line into an immediate strength.
20. Oakland Raiders via Chicago Bears (20-1) – Jacob Eason, QB, Washington
I told you it was coming! Cutting Derek Carr this offseason would save the Raiders $11 million in cap space and carries just $5 million in dead money. Oakland isn’t strapped for cash, but I don’t see Jon Gruden riding Carr into Las Vegas. Instead, he can get the strong arm quarterback he covets in Jacob Eason. Eason has had an interesting college career, losing his job at Georgia before transferring to Washington. He fits the size profile at 6’6″ and his improving accuracy has him trending into the first round. We have a small sample size of Eason playing at a high level, but if he continues to light up the scoreboard and demonstrate his ability to lead Washington through the Pac-12, he should hear his name called on Day 1.
21. Baltimore Ravens (40-1) – Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
Baltimore made a decision in April to add more speed to the offense by drafting Marquise Brown. This offense could use a few more explosive players, so Baltimore nabs Jalen Reagor. He plays a similar style to Brown, but he is a little more physical. He has great burst, above average hands and plays much larger than his frame (5’11”, 195 pounds). While he primarily takes the top off the defense, Reagor had 72 catches as a sophomore. He is more than just a burner downfield. He hasn’t been as productive so far this year and, in a deep wide receiver class, that could cost him a spot in the first round.
22. Miami Dolphins via Houston Texans (33-1) – Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
In this mock draft, the Dolphins have already addressed the quarterback position and defensive line. Now it’s time to protect that invested they made first overall. Tristan Wirfs is a right tackle, but he is a damn good right tackle. He is a punishing blocker who finishes his assignments. He holds up just well enough in pass protection. There is definitely some room for him to clean up his footwork. A good way to take pressure off a young quarterback is to run the ball. Wirfs will certainly help with that.
23. San Francisco 49ers (20-1) – Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia
No team in the league (other than maybe the Eagles) is in need of secondary help in the short term than the 49ers. If San Francisco wins the Jalen Ramsey sweepstakes, then this pick becomes completely irrelevant. Because that hasn’t happened yet, the 49ers would do well to select Bryce Hall. He has the makings of a shutdown corner. At 6’1″, he will be able to take on just about any NFL receiver. He is a proven tackler and opposing teams have already learned its best not to throw at him. He has good positioning and tracks the ball well. He breaks well on the ball as well. Hall would fit well across from Richard Sherman as early as 2020.
24. Green Bay Packers (16-1) – Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State
It is time to give Aaron Rodgers some help outside of Davante Adams. Adams is an elite receiver, but after that, the Packers have a bunch of middling and unproven receivers. Tylan Wallace would help fix that. He is an explosive playmaker on the outside who can run past defenders and rise above corners to make plays. He is a decent route runner, with room for improvement. He put up 200-plus yards on both Texas and Oklahoma last year. Even though he is coming from a pass-happy offense, he is actually a good run blocker. He is a bit light right now listed at just 185 pounds, but if he can find a way to add a bit more muscle to his frame without sacrificing his speed, he looks like a future number one receiver.
25. Los Angeles Chargers (30-1) – Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
It is no secret Melvin Gordon will not be wearing a Chargers uniform next year. While Austin Ekeler has looked great this season, he is not your typical bellcow back that will run the ball 20-plus times a game. Jonathan Taylor could be that at the next level. He does it now at Wisconsin. In reality though, I think Taylor’s tough style of running and powerful approach would blend really well with Ekeler and give Los Angeles a similar combo to what it has now with Gordon and Ekeler. Just for way cheaper.
26. Cleveland Browns (25-1) – Tyler Biadasz, C, Wisconsin
Someone needs to protect Baker Mayfield. The Browns signal caller took 12 sacks in the first four games of the season. Given the rest of the talent on this offense, it is time for Cleveland to address the offensive line. It could opt for a tackle here, but instead I think they grab the best interior lineman in the draft in Tyler Biadasz. He is a rock for the Wisconsin offensive line, rarely ceding ground. He does a nice job setting up his blocks in the run game and is about as consistent as they get in pass protection. Wisconsin regularly produces good NFL linemen, including Travis Fredericks, who has a real claim to the title of best center in the league. I think Biadasz might challenge him one day for that designation, making him a slam dunk pick for the Browns.
27. Philadelphia Eagles (16-1) – Krisitan Fulton, CB, LSU
As mentioned for the 49ers, the Eagles desperately need secondary help. Sidney Jones has been unable to stay on the field and the combo of Avonte Maddox and Ronald Darby isn’t cutting it. Kristian Fulton could be the latest superstar defensive back out of LSU. He needs just a bit of time to transition to the NFL. He has ballhawking corner potential, coming off a season where he had five interceptions. He uses his hands well, but still needs to work on some of his technique when jamming corners. He could rise up draft boards with games against Auburn and Alabama still on the schedule. If he performs there, he will be pushing much higher in the first round.
28. New Orleans Saints (14-1) – Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
The Saints have been trying to acquire linebackers for a few years now. They signed DeMario Davis last year and traded for Kiko Alonso this year. To help solve the problem long term, they should draft Isaiah Simmons. Simmons fits what New Orleans likes to defensively and would definitely increase the overall speed at the position. He is a converted safety who excels in coverage and is an above average blitzer. He is not going to rack up double-digit sacks, but he has the instincts and athleticism to make a lot of disruptive plays.
29. Los Angeles Rams (11-1) – Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
This Rams defense is not the one we saw a year ago. Aqib Talib will turn 34 in February and the secondary could use a boost. Trevon Diggs is big for a corner at 6’2″ and 205 pounds. He missed a lot of time last year after breaking his foot, but he has looked sharp so far in 2019. Diggs played a bit out of the slot last year and shows some good versatility. He doesn’t have the most fluid hips of all time and he definitely need to improve how he attacks ball carriers in space, but his size and long arms make him a player who can contribute early on and has room improve in the future.
30. Kansas City Chiefs (9-2) – Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
This would just be unfair. Travis Etienne has been one of the most explosive and elusive players in college football over the last two years. Him playing in an Andy Reid offense with Patrick Mahomes would be nearly unstoppable. Etienne is an improving pass catcher who doesn’t see a ton of targets. Given the injuries and overall rotation of the Kansas City backfield, Etienne would be a great pick. LeSean McCoy is is 31 and Damien Williams is probably best-suited to be a change of pace back. Etienne would provide stability at the position and give the Chiefs another offensive weapon for opposing defenses to worry about.
31. Dallas Cowboys (9-1) – Julian Okwara, EDGE, Notre Dame
Dallas has had a lot of success drafting Notre Dame players (see Zach Martin, Jaylon Smith). Adding another one, this time to the defensive line seems like a quality move. The Cowboys invested a lot of money into DeMarcus Lawrence, but they also took a one-year flier on Robert Quinn for a reason. Dallas needs someone to play across from Lawrence, and Julian Okwara can do just that. He plays down hill and uses his hands well to fight through blocks. He has the ability to bully smaller tackles and enough speed to chase down plays. He is a bit undersized, weighing just 240 pounds, but if he can put on some weight, he would be a great 4-3 end in this system.
32. New England Patriots (5-2) – Curtis Weaver, EDGE, Boise State
Predicting what the Patriots are going to do is impossible. It is also pretty difficult to identify any of this team’s needs given how soft their schedule has been to open this season. Best bet is that Bill Belichick will continue to add to this defense. Curtis Weaver is a powerful pass rusher who has good technique and heavy hands. He also has 26.5 career sacks in 30 games so there is plenty of production and a larger sample size. He reminds me a little bit of Trey Flowers, who left the Patriots this past offseason in free agency. Given that he can play against the run as well, I think New England will find enough value to tab him at the end of the round.
For more NFL Draft coverage, check out the Aftermath’s NFL Draft Podcast, with new episodes every Thursday.
Check out the newest episode of the Aftermath’s NFL Draft Podcast, complete with a full first round mock draft. This is an inside look at the mock draft for podcast listeners. Also see who made the cut for this week’s studs and sleepers. You can find the show on Spotify and wherever you listen to your podcasts.