Right, before you start reading my selections and the various reasons behind each one, I will just say, that I haven’t included any trade in this mock draft. I’m beyond convinced there will be numerous trades, but it would only make the mock more confusing, and it’s difficult enough to predict what an NFL franchise will do, even without including predicted trades. But it’s still interesting to see how close my train of thought is to those highly paid NFL GM’s……. and Bill O’Brien.
So, without futher ado….. The Cincinnati Bengals are on the clock…..
- Cincinnati Bengals: QB Joe Burrow, LSU
There have been rumblings that the Bengals could be trading out of the number 1 spot, firstly that would cost a king’s ransom, that only a few teams have in terms of draft capital, and also I firmly believe it will be a decision that the Bengals regret for the next decade. Burrow is head and shoulders above anyone else in this draft class at the quarterback position. The Bengals have some nice weapons in AJ Green, Tyler Boyd, and Joe Mixon, so they could turn this franchise around rather quickly.
- Washington Redskins: EDGE Chase Young, Ohio State
As I said in another piece that I wrote for this website, I think the Redskins should be thinking long and hard about taking the best tackle on the board here, as it doesn’t look like Trent Williams will be anchoring the line anytime soon. But if that weren’t to happen then they can’t look past Chase Young. Stick him opposite Ryan Kerrigan, and let them get after the Quarterback. I don’t think Riverboat Ron would have traded for Kyle Allen if they were thinking of taking a QB here.
- Detroit Lions: CB Jeff Okudah, Ohio State
Pretty much every mock draft I’ve seen has the Lions taking Okudah, who is clearly the best cover corner in the draft. However, the Lions also have a small need at linebacker, but with only two cornerbacks under contract past 2021, Okudah fills their greatest need.
- New York Giants: OT Jedrick Wills, Alabama
The Giants only signed Cameron Fleming to a one-year deal, so Wills (or any other tackle) would be a much welcome addition for Daniel Jones, but it will be difficult to leave Isaiah Simmons on the board who would jump straight into the starting line-up ahead of David Mayo. If you want that offence clicking, you need to help Daniel Jones as much as possible.
- Miami Dolphins: LB Isaiah Simmons, Clemson
Yep, that’s correct; I am the only person in history who doesn’t have the Dolphins taking a quarterback. Of course they need one, but if you carry on reading this mock you’ll see that they get their man much later. For me Tua is way too much of a risk, especially with the lack of medical testing that teams have be able to accomplish due to the Coronavirus. He’s already had multiple major surgeries, and he’s not even reached the NFL yet. Simmons is a monster, and can start day one. Raekwon McMillan is in the final year of his rookie deal, with Gruiger-Hill, Roberts, and Biegel all on the last year of their respective contracts.
- Los Angeles Chargers: QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
As I said above, Tua is too big of a risk. However, the Chargers franchise needs a bolt of lightning (excuse the pun), which means head-coach Anthony Lynn, who’s seat must be getting a little toasty right now takes the chance on him. They keep saying they’re fine with Tyrod Taylor under centre, and that’s great, but is he going to win you a Superbowl…… I think not. The Chargers have a huge need on the offensive line, but that isn’t going to put bums on seats at their brand new SoFi Stadium.
- Carolina Panthers: DL Derrick Brown, Auburn
Hard to say what first time head coach Matt Rhule will do, especially with glaring needs in the secondary, and on the offensive line, but after losing Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe in free agency, I believe he will opt for the best player on the board, which is Derrick Brown. Match him with Kawann Short on the inside, and that should help 2nd year edge rusher Brian Burns on the outside.
- Arizona Cardinals: OL Tristan Wirfs, Iowa
The Cardinals have done a great job in the off-season filling the holes on the defence with the additions of Jordan Phillips, Devon Kennard and De’Vondre Campbell, not to mention DeAndre Hopkins on offence. So the sensible thing to do now is go ahead and protect your franchise Quarterback. Marcus Gilbert and Justin Murray both become free agents at the end of this season, so Tristan Wirfs could easily take over at RT, or move inside to guard, with JR Sweezy getting a little long in the tooth.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: DT Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina
It’s still a bit of an unknown what the Jags plan to do with their best pass rusher in Yannick Ngakoue, so they may opt for a DE if they are able to trade him, but if not, they need to more stout upfront, and the 324lb Kinlaw helps them to do that. Some may have them taking a Quarterback, but from what I seen of Minshew last season, he is more than capable.
- Cleveland Browns: OT Mekhi Becton, Louisville
The Browns signed one of the better right tackles in football during the off-season, in ex-Titan Jack Conklin, and have a serviceable left tackle in Chris Hubbard, who’s dead cap number drops dramatically after this season, were they to cut ties with him. That means that can draft Becton, who is a little raw right now, and have him sit for a season. The other main hole on the Browns roster is at line-backer, but anyone other than Simmons at this point in the draft is a bit of a reach.
- New York Jets: WR Jerry Juedy, Alabama
There’s two ways the Jets can help Darnold in this draft, either give him better protection, or give him better weapons. After signing George Fant, Connor McGovern and Greg Van Roten in the off-season I would guess it will be the latter, by selecting the best route runner in the draft, you can pair him with Jamieson Crowder and Breshad Perriman, meaning the Jets may just have a chance in the Brady-less AFC East.
- Las Vegas Raiders: WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma
After the whole Antonio Brown fiasco the Raiders actually put together a nice season, almost making the playoffs, and as for Mike Mayocks first draft as an NFL GM, I’d say it went pretty darn well. Now for the 2020 version, they simply have to upgrade at wide-receiver. They traded for Zay Jones, who just seems to have lost his spark, and could quite easily get cut before the season starts. Hunter Renfrow has the slot nailed down, and whilst they did sign Nelson Agholor, he is far from consistent. Lamb will help to keep defenders out of the box, which will allow Josh Jacobs to improve on those solid rookie numbers.
- San Francisco 49ers: WR Henry Ruggs III, Alabama
Some boards have Ruggs down as the number one wideout in this draft, but I just don’t see that when you watch the tape. He struggles to get off press-man coverage, and can go missing for long stretches. He does however suit the 49ers who love to run the ball. This will bring extra men down into the box, and afford Ruggs the room he needs on the outside, with that 4.30 speed nobody is going to catch him.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia
With a certain Mr Brady in toe the Buccaneers have to do all they can to protect him, and allow Brady time to find the best wide-out pairing in the NFL. Joe Haeg is only signed to a one year deal, so Thomas could take over on the right side. The defence looks pretty set, and whilst they could do with a running-back or a wide-receiver, in case Godwin or Evans goes down, most guys would be a little bit of a reach at this stage of the draft.
- Denver Broncos: CB CJ Henderson, Florida
Whilst the Broncos would love to get their hands on Juedy, Lamb, or Ruggs, and may just trade up to do so, but if that doesn’t happen then Henderson makes a lot of sense. He would allow Bryce Callahan to move back to nickel, where he is better suited. Garrett Bolles is still a huge concern, and appears to be very much a bust, so whilst Elway may take a look at Josh Jones I believe he settles for the best player available.
- Atlanta Falcons: CB Kristian Fulton, LSU
The Falcons offence looks set to be very explosive next season, and has the ability to put up a considerable number of points, the problem is, that they may have to score 30 points a game with how poor the defence played last season. Adding Dante Fowler is a start, but they still have huge holes on the defence, especially at corner. Insert LSU’s top cover man, who should start from day one opposite Isaiah Oliver. They also need a linebacker to start next to Deion Jones, I have Fulton ranked slightly higher than Kenneth Murray or Patrick Queen.
- Dallas Cowboys: EDGE K’Lavon Chaisson, LSU
After losing Robert Quinn in free agency, Chaisson comes in as an instant replacement, and will enjoy having Demarcus Lawrence opposite, allowing him to go one on one, on most passing downs. They may opt to try and replace Byron Jones, who is now a very rich man in Miami, but they may be wise to ensure they aren’t affording opposing quarterbacks too much time in the pocket. And what about that Jamal Adams trade talk……
- Miami Dolphins: QB Justin Herbert, Oregon
That’s right, 13 selections later, and the Dolphins still get their signal caller. As I said, Tua is too much of a risk, and this way the Dolphins have improved drastically on defence. Herbert has a rocket arm, but backing up Ryan Fitzpatrick could be just what he needs to grow into an NFL style offence. Some would say I’m crazy for thinking Herbert may last this long, but there aren’t very many QB needy teams in front of them, and as I am not including trades, this would be the most logical outcome. We shall see.
- Las Vegas Raiders: CB AJ Terrell, Clemson
They have already helped out the offence, so next up is the defence. Massive improvements were made last season with the additions of Ferrell and Crosby on the defensive line, and after adding Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski in free agency, that leaves the secondary needing improvement, enter AJ Terrell. Trevon Diggs may be the best corner still on the board, but some off the field concerns will push Mayock towards the Clemson product.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama
Jalen Ramsey is in Los Angeles, and AJ Bouye is in Denver, so it would make perfect sense that the Jags begin to find some replacements. They are another team that may need to take a long hard look at Josh Jones, but after boasting one the leagues best defences just a couple of seasons ago, its time they began to restock some of that talent.
- Philadelphia Eagles: LB Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma
Nathan Gerry, TJ Edwards, and Jatavis Brown, that’s the Eagles starting linebackers if the season were to start tomorrow! Needless to say that just isn’t going to get it done, so unless the Eagles have plans to sign a veteran or two, they would be advised to take Murray and allow him to roam free as Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave consume blockers. Wide receiver is another need, but there will still be plenty available in the 2nd round.
- Minnesota Vikings: EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State
The Vikings once dominant defence has slowly been dismantled this off-season, with Everson Griffen, Trae Waynes, Mackenzie Alexander, Xavier Rhodes, and Linval Joesph all leaving town. The biggest impact of all of those guys is Griffen, who has helped Danielle Hunter become such a force. Gross-Matos is a big dude at 6’5” 266lbs, so can help against both the run and the pass. Wide receiver would also make a great deal of sense, but the defence requires more attention right now.
- New England Patriots: QB Jordan Love, Utah State
And there it is. Bill Belchick replaces Brady in the 1st round with a guy who can make every throw. Now I’m not saying he’ll be the starter in New England, as I strongly believe Bill has someone in mind for this season, whether that be Cam Newton, or last season yarded leader Jamieson Winston. After using a 1st round pick on N’Keal Harry in 2019 I don’t see Bill repeating that trick. So if it isn’t Love at first sight, then expect New England to take either Patrick Queen, or Xavier McKinney.
- New Orleans Saints: WR Justin Jefferson, LSU
Michael Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, and Justin Jefferson, if this is to be Drew Brees last season in the NFL then why not give him every chance to get that 2nd ring. For me the Saints have the best roster in the NFL right now, with no real weakness in any position, so this pick is a bit of a luxury. Jefferson would allow Sanders to move into the slot position, and you can imagine just how much damage the veteran can do when he’s not pressed at the line. The Saints are another team who may take a look at Patrick Queen, especially as it keeps him in State, but I say they need to let Brees go out all guns blazing.
- Minnesota Vikings: CB Jeff Gladney, TCU
O look, the Vikings are on the clock again. Yes they need to replace Stefon Diggs, but as I mentioned a little while earlier, they also need to replace 3 corners that have left the building. Gladney is the best corner on the board, with Jaylon Johnson coming in at a close second. If the Vikings believe that there may be another run on wide receivers (Denzel Mims, Tee Higgins, Brandon Aiyuk, Laviska Shenault, etc) then they may be best served in taking one of them, but after all, defence wins championships.
- Miami Dolphins: OT Josh Jones, Houston
Congratulations Miami, you have officially dominated the 1st round. Firstly with Simmons, followed by Herbert, and now Josh Jones. The Dolphins spent some money improving the offensive line in the off-season by adding Ereck Flowers and Ted Karras, but tackle is still a weakness, and with their new signal caller on board it would make sense to afford him some protection. Again the 2nd tier of wideouts still sit there, but Devante Parker and Preston Williams are a good enough 1-2 punch.
- Seattle Seahawks: EDGE A.J. Epenesa, Iowa
It feels like Seattle is in the position pretty much every season, and as per usual they will be looking to trade down if possible, but if they can’t, then Epenesa will help to improve a lacklustre pass rush. Last year’s 1st round selection LJ Collier is set to start at left defensive-end, and with Bruce Irvin coming to the end of his career they could do with the production that Epenesa accomplished in college. The offensive line also needs some additions, some you may just hear the name Cesar Ruiz.
- Baltimore Ravens: LB Patrick Queen, LSU
If the draft were to play put like this, then the Ravens will be rubbing their hands together at the prospect of getting Patrick Queen into their line-up. The defensive line on paper looks extremely scary with the addition of Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe, and the secondary is already one of the best in the NFL, so adding Queen is an absolute no-brainer.
- Tennessee Titans: S Xavier McKinney, Alabama
A few months removed from an unlikely playoff run, the Titans could go a couple of ways with this pick, with needs at DE/DT, TE and potentially at RB if they don’t wind up holding onto Derrick Henry. However, selecting McKinney straight away fills the void left by Logan Ryan. The Alabama star can play either safety or corner, so is the perfect hybrid for Mike Vrabel.
- Green Bay Packers: LB Zach Baun, Wisconsin
The Aaron Rodgers window is slowly closing on the Packers, so they have decisions to make, as to whether they try and give him more weapons, or keep improving the defence. They are crying out for a tight-end, but I don’t have anyone down with 1st round talent in this draft. With a host of wide-outs still on the board I think they wait, and pull the trigger on the line-backer out of Wisconsin. They signed Christian Kirksey in the off-season, but they still need another guy who is solid in coverage.
- San Francisco 49ers: S Grant Delpit, LSU
After taking Ruggs with the 13th pick, I would fully expect John Lynch to try and trade out of this pick, but if he can’t, then Delpit is just what the doctor ordered. Jaquiski Tartt was exposed in the Superbowl, and is in the final year of his contract, so Delpit could roam around the secondary allowing Jimmie Ward to maybe play closer to the line of scrimmage. They may also take a look at Cesar Ruiz, who could come in and start at right guard.
- Kansas City Chiefs: CB Jaylon Johnson, Utah
The Superbowl champs finish off the first round, of what probably will set the record for the longest first round in history, given the communication issues that may arise, by filling a huge hole on their roster. Charvarious Ward is the only corner on their roster right now with any real experience, although Rashad Fenton did play well down the stretch, so adding Johnson makes a lot of sense. De’Andre Swift would also makes sense after the release of LeSean McCoy, but Damien Williams showed everyone just how good he can be during the Superbowl.
Well folks, that finishes off my mock draft. I hope you’ve all in enjoyed the read, and whilst this isn’t quite live sport, it’s the closest thing we’ve got right now. So let’s enjoy it! Any shares, likes, comments are always welcome. I will be back again soon with my team-by-team previews, starting with the Arizona Cardinals.