The first round of the 2020 NFL Draft is just one day away. Nobody knows what to expect in the “virtual draft” with all teams having to go through the process in a remote location, which has led to one of the most exciting lead-ups in recent memory. For this version of the 2020 NFL Mock Draft, there will not be any mocked trades. Instead, every team will stay in their currently slotted spot.
1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
In what looks like the most obvious pick in the entire draft, the Cincinnati Bengals get their quarterback of the future. The Ohio kid had one of the most productive college football seasons in the history of the game. His accuracy and intelligence measures off the charts, and with weapons like A.J. Green and Joe Mixon surrounding him on the Cincinnati offense, Burrow will be able to make a smooth transition into the NFL.
2. Washington Redskins: Chase Young, Edge, Ohio State
While it may not be the biggest team need, Chase Young is widely considered the best overall player in the 2020 NFL Draft. As a team, Washington recorded 46 sacks last season, 10th best in the NFL. However, it is never a bad thing to build on your strengths, and the defensive line can be one of the most important units in football, as the San Francisco 49ers showed last season.
3. Detroit Lions: Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
The Detroit Lions have a lot of holes to fill on defense, but it starts with cornerback after moving Darius Slay. The Lions ranked dead last in the NFL last season in passing yards allowed, and they were tied for the fewest number of interceptions. Getting Okudah to shore up their secondary is a great pick, especially with wide receivers like Adam Thielen, Davante Adams, and Allen Robinson lurking in the NFC North.
4. New York Giants: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
Ranking 25th in the NFL in total yards allowed and 29th in total points allowed last season, the Giants need to get more defensive playmakers. Isaiah Simmons is the biggest do-it-all defensive player in the draft. He will help the Giants with his extreme versatility, especially shooting the gap and his play recognition. They could look to take an offensive tackle to help protect Daniel Jones, but to get an all-around stud on defense wins out.
5. Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
The rumors have been plentiful, and I think the Miami Dolphins are doing a great job bluffing their interest in Tagovailoa. Every sign out of Miami is that the Dolphins like Justin Herbert over Tua, but that could be a smokescreen to be able to stay at 5 and get their guy. If Tua stays healthy, he has the chance to be the best quarterback in this class, and the Dolphins are not in a position to pass up that type of talent.
6. Los Angeles Chargers: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
With Tua off the board, I don’t think the Los Angeles Chargers rush to take Justin Herbert. I could be wrong, but I think they would be comfortable taking one of the top tackles available and pushing their QB needs down the road to a potential trade up in the late first for Jordan Love, or getting a guy like Jalen Hurts on day two.
7. Carolina Panthers: C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
I think the dream scenario for the Carolina Panthers is for Isaiah Simmons to somehow get to their pick. They would run that pick up to the virtual podium if he is still on the board. However, with Simmons off the board, I think they turn their attention to C.J. Henderson, the second best corner in this class. There is a consensus drop off at cornerback after Henderson, so getting the Florida corner to help defend against the likes of Julio Jones, Michael Thomas, and Mike Evans in the NFC South is the pick.
8. Arizona Cardinals: Derrick Brown, IDL, Auburn
The Arizona Cardinals had a better season under rookie QB Kyler Murray than I expected. They still have multiple needs to fill, but getting DeAndre Hopkins from the Texans and with the expected progression of Murray, I expect the Cardinals to have a top-ten offense next season. That’s why I expect them to shore up the defense in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. They allowed the third most yards per run last season and getting Derrick Brown to put in the middle of the defensive line will make an instant impact stopping the run.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
After Justin Herbert slips out of the top-6, with the QB-needy Chargers passing on the big-armed quarterback, the Jaguars grab the consensus third best quarterback in the draft. Yes, they have Minshew, but I think Jacksonville would be rather comfortable taking a top QB to compete with Minshew and potentially lead the franchise for the next decade.
10. Cleveland Browns: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
The Cleveland Browns are one of the biggest unknowns in the 2020 NFL Draft. With a new-look front office, there has not been a lot of rumblings about which direction the Browns will go with the 10th overall selection. However, with just one offensive tackle off the board and a need at that position, the Browns get a very athletic tackle from Iowa to help lead the way for Nick Chubb and Baker Mayfield.
11. New York Jets: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
The run on tackles and wide receivers is on the way. The New York Jets let up the fourth most sacks across the NFL last season, so getting a high-potential tackle out of Louisville is a good start in keeping Sam Darnold upright and healthy.
12. Las Vegas Raiders: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
Jon Gruden likes speed and Henry Ruggs has just that. The Raiders ranked 7th in the league last season in average yards gained per pass attempt, and Ruggs will continue to boost them in that regard. Ruggs’ ability to stretch the field and keep a safety over the top will also open up the box for more Josh Jacobs running lanes.
13. San Francisco 49ers: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
The 49ers could be an intriguing trade down candidate if there is a team that wants to get up for Andrew Thomas, or a wide receiver. However, with no trades being predicted in this mock, the Niners stay at 13 and get their guy. CeeDee Lamb will be able to slot in on day one and help San Francisco’s offense. Their defense is already elite, now it is time to keep upgrading around Jimmy G.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
There has been a lot of talk about Andrew Thomas possibly being the first offensive tackle off the board come Thursday night. However, there is no true way to know how teams have their boards stacked, and it seems like each team has a different opinion on the top offensive lineman. With Thomas still on the board at 14, it is an obvious selection for the Bucs to get some beef up front to protect the greatest to ever do it.
15. Denver Broncos: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
Sitting at 15, the Denver Broncos get their wish: they do not have to move up to get Jerry Jeudy. Pairing an elite route runner opposite of Courtland Sutton immediately gives Drew Lock two great weapons to attack the AFC.
16. Atlanta Falcons: Javon Kinlaw, IDL, South Carolina
Another team that has been looking to make a big jump into the top-10, the Atlanta Falcons are not disappointed on how this board fell. The Falcons could very well have to move up to get Kinlaw, but there is a clear need in Atlanta on the interior of the defense, and Kinlaw fills that need in a hurry.
17. Dallas Cowboys: K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
One year after being in the bottom half of the NFL in sacks, the Dallas Cowboys went out and signed Aldon Smith to shore up their need off the edge. However, after being out of the league, there are no guarantees on how Smith will perform. With the second best edge rusher sitting on the board, the Cowboys pounce.
18. Miami Dolphins: Josh Jones, OT, Houston
After filling their QB need with their first pick, the Dolphins turn their attention to the offensive line. Allowing the most sacks in the NFL is not going to cut it this year in Miami, especially after drafting a QB with big injury concerns.
19. Oakland Raiders: Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
Coming into the draft, the Raiders’ two biggest needs were at receiver and corner. Getting the speedster Ruggs with their first pick lets Oakland focus in on what could be the third best corner in the draft. There is an argument to be made that Fulton should be the pick, but the track background and ability to track the ball wins out for Gladney.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
After getting a QB with their first selection, it is time to continue to add weapons on offense. The Jaguars have some clear needs on defense, but in any other year Jefferson could be the top receiver in the class and getting that type of talent at 20 is a no-brainer.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
Yes, the Philadelphia Eagles need a wide receiver, but with the top four receivers off the board, they can fill a defensive need at linebacker and focus on the deep wide receiver class later in the draft. In Queen, the Eagles are getting a smart, fluid player to lead their defense.
22. Minnesota Vikings: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
The Minnesota Vikings are in an interesting spot entering the 2020 NFL Draft. After upsetting the New Orleans Saints in the Wild Card Game last season, their defense went under an extreme makeover this offseason, which saw the team lose their top three corners: Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes, and Mackensie Alexander. With Fulton still on the board at 22, the Vikings and Mike Zimmer will jump at the opportunity to get an impressive young corner with great intangibles.
23. New England Patriots: Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State
I am as lost as everybody else as far as what the New England Patriots will do when they are on the clock. Could I see them take Jordan Love and develop him as the QB of the future? Sure, but it does not seem like Bill Bellichick wants to take a QB early in the draft. With that said, it is time for the Patriots to continue to upgrade their pass rush to go along with their elite secondary.
24. New Orleans Saints: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
It is about that time for the Saints. Drew Brees got signed to a new two-year deal this offseason, but I do not think Taysom Hill is a full-time QB when Brees retires, so the Saints need a guy to nurture and develop. Jordan Love is exactly that guy. Being able to learn from one of the greats at his position and take the reins two years down the road could be what he needs to be a top QB for years to come.
25. Minnesota Vikings: Cesar Ruiz, IOL, Michigan
After adding to their defense with their first pick this round, the Vikings need to turn to the offensive line. The Vikings cut starting RG Josh Kline this spring, so getting the best interior offensive lineman towards the end of the first round is not the worst case scenario for them. Minnesota will be hoping one of the top tackles in the class falls down the board for a possible trade up, but after the top four or five tackles are off the board, the Vikings could shift to the top interior lineman.
26. Miami Dolphins: Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia
It is all offense for the Dolphins with their three first round picks in the 2020 NFL Draft. After spending a lot of money on their defense in the free agency period, the Dolphins took their franchise QB with the 5th overall selection, then take two offensive tackles to try and keep Tua on the field.
27. Seattle Seahawks: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
The Seattle Seahawks are another team that could look to trade down in the first round, something they have done a lot over the last decade. However, with no trade back, they are sitting on the board staring at the top safety in the draft. Seattle allowed the sixth most yards through the air last season and can benefit from the versatility of McKinney.
28. Baltimore Ravens: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
The Baltimore Ravens took the league by storm last year in the regular season, exploding with one of the most dynamic offenses in recent memory. Their offense is young and will continue to develop together. Now, the Ravens need to find a defensive leader at linebacker. Kenneth Murray is exactly that guy. Murray has great range and tackling ability at the linebacker position, and the Ravens know how to develop these types of talents.
29. Tennessee Titans: A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa
After making a run to the AFC Championship Game last season, the Titans are in a position to upgrade their defensive line. They have needs on the edge and the interior defensive line, but with no clear defensive tackles on the board, the Titans get a top-5 edge guy in the class.
30. Green Bay Packers: Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
After an odd season that never saw the Packers dominating games, Green Bay wound up in the NFC Championship Game. Their defense made a big leap last season, but it is clear that Aaron Rodgers needs more weapons on the offensive side of the ball. Denzel Mims and his big frame will give Rodgers a go-to weapon across from Davante Adams.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah
After addressing the wide receiver position with the 13th overall selection, the Niners go to the well on the other side of the ball to keep improving their elite defense. Their secondary had troubles at times last season, even though their defensive line would bail them out with quick pressure. Although the pressure should continue up front, getting another solid corner on day one of the draft will immensely solidify their defense.
32. Kansas City Chiefs: D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
A lot of Chiefs fans do not want to see it happen, but Andy Reid loves offense and D’Andre Swift is the best running back in the draft. Swift’s range has varied from late first round to early second round, but with him on the clock for the Chiefs, I think Kansas City swoops him up.