The NFL regular season is over which means for 20 teams, all focus and attention is already being directed to the offseason and most importantly, the draft. Since I’m still mildly on holiday and I’m sitting on my couch with nothing else to do, I figured why not mock up a way-too-early NFL draft before any offseason action has occurred. Will this draft be right? Hell no (except for my first pick, that I’m feeling pretty confident about) but what’s the harm in tossing some names out there and seeing what sticks as we get closer and closer to April.
Without further ado, here’s my first mock for the 2020 NFL Draft. Don’t worry, there will be plenty more of these as the offseason rolls on.
1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
Don’t overthink it, don’t question it, just run the card up to Roger Goodell as soon as the welcoming boo’s subside and he utters, “the Cincinnati Bengals are now on the clock”. Go get yourself a franchise quarterback Zac Taylor.
2. Washington: Chase Young, DE, Ohio State
I feel pretty confident in this pick as well. For a team that doesn’t need a quarterback, Young is the clear and obvious choice. I actually drafted him in my Madden franchise as Washington (I relocated them to London to be the Monarchs and rid the NFL of Dan Snyder) and he’s pushing the sack record in his second season, so I know he’ll be good.
3. Detroit Lions: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State
Back-to-back Buckeyes go with the Lions addressing their much picked upon secondary. When you’re facing the Packers and Vikings passing attacks twice a year, you need to make sure you’ve got the corners to run with those receivers, plus Okudah also adds strong run support.
4. New York Giants: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
What do you need to do with a young quarterback? Protect him. Daniel Jones flashed plenty this season to have Giants fans mildly optimistic and getting the best tackle in the draft would help his development even more. Though given the Giants track record, maybe they’ll blow all our minds again and think Josh Jones or Mekhi Becton are the tackle for them.
5. Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
Tua’s making his draft announcement on January 6th so if he’s returning to college, ignore this section. If he declares, then the Dolphins just lucked themselves into a franchise quarterback even though they utterly messed up their tank. Promotions for everyone!
6. Los Angeles Chargers: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
Go big or go home LA. Philip Rivers may be leaving in free agency and even if he doesn’t, the Chargers need to get their QB of the future. Plus, Herbert’s inconsistent play is PERFECT for LA.
7. Carolina Panthers: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
The Panthers got roasted on the ground this year and adding a big body in the middle like Brown makes all the sense in the world. Brown finished with 11.5 tackles for loss this year and also has some pass rush ability.
8. Arizona Cardinals: Jedick Wills Jr, OT, Alabama
Just copy paste everything I said for why the Giants should take Andrew Thomas here. Kyler Murray showed a ton his rookie season and the number one thing to do is protect him.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
D.J. Chark was excellent for the Jaguars this season but they still need to get more explosive on offense and adding easily the best receiver in a super deep receiver class is the way to go. He’d instantly become Gardner Minshew’s number one receiver. (Yes, Gardner Minshew will be the Jaguars’ starting QB in 2020, mark my words.)
10. Cleveland Browns: Isaiah Simmons, S, Clemson
Simmons can play linebacker or safety and offers the flexibility defensive coaches love in this day and age. The Browns need to improve their offensive line for sure, but adding a talent like Simmons is too good to pass up.
11. New York Jets: A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa
The Jets haven’t had a truly elite edge rusher since the dawn of the Dinosaurs and if Epenesa falls down to them at 11, there’s no way they’re passing on him. He can play inside and outside, allowing plenty of versatility.
12. Las Vegas Raiders: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
The Antonio Brown experiment wildly failed and thus the Raiders are still left with a big hole at receiver. Will it be Derek Carr throwing Lamb the football? Who’s to say. But Lamb will bring a lot to Las Vegas.
13. Indianapolis Colts: WR Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado
With T.Y. Hilton’s fragility on full display this season, the Colts need to add another number one receiver who can carry the load when Hilton is out. Shenault was great at Colorado and could develop into a stud in Indy.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
Regardless if Jameis Winston is back under center for the Bucs in 2020—which he 100% should by the way, I’m all in on the Winston-experience—Tampa needs to improve their offensive line.
15. Denver Broncos: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
With Chris Harris Jr set to be a free agent this offseason, the Broncos need to address corner, especially when you’re in the same division as Patrick Mahomes.
16. Atlanta Falcons: Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State
The Falcons need to get after the quarterback and Gross-Matos did a pretty dang good job of that this year, racking up nine sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss.
17. Dallas Cowboys: Grant Delpit, S, LSU
Another versatile safety, Delpit can play deep or in the box to stuff the run. He’d be a welcome addition to a defense that struggled this season.
18. Miami Dolphins (via Steelers): Curtis Weaver, EDGE, Boise State
Gotta get after the quarterback in the NFL and the Dolphins certainly struggled at that this year, finishing dead last in the league with only 23 sacks. Weaver brings a welcomed bit of pass rush.
19. Las Vegas Raiders (via Bears): Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
The Raiders’ linebackers are a group of no-namers who desperately need an upgrade. Murray would bring leadership and skill to a position that needs it badly.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Rams): Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina
Adding Kinlaw to Josh Allen and Calais Campbell would help improve a defensive line that was taken advantage of occasionally this year. The three of them together would form a pocket-pushing trio that would cause offensive coordinators to sweat.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
I’ll freely admit I’ve kinda been holding onto Ruggs to fall nicely to the Eagles. Remember who amazing DeSean Jackson was those two games he was healthy for with Carson Wentz tossing him bomb after bomb downfield. Yea, now you get why I wanted the speedster Ruggs to fall here.
22. Tennessee Titans: K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
The Titans need edge help and Chaisson is the best pass rusher still on the board. Easy pick.
23. Buffalo Bills: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
John Brown and Cole Beasley were strong for the Bills this season but they need another big play weapon in their passing game. Plus, standing at 6-foot-4, you’d hope it would be tough for Josh Allen to overthrow Higgins.
24. Minnesota Vikings: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
Xavier Rhodes has been repeatedly torched this season and it’s clear the Vikings need to get themselves a new number one corner. Plus, you can’t say no to Trevon joining his brother Stefon Diggs in Minnesota. It’s almost too beautifully wonderful.
25. Miami Dolphins (via Texans): Austin Jackson, OT, USC
It feels right that the Dolphins take their franchise tackle with the pick they got for trading their previous franchise tackle. Can’t wait for them to develop Jackson for a couple of years and then trade him for another late round first. A+ team building.
26. Seattle Seahawks: C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
The Seahawks could certainly use a pass rusher but with no clear names available, decided to address their secondary with Henderson who could be a steal at the backend of the first.
27. New England Patriots: Tyler Biadasz, OL, Wisconsin
The middle of the Patriots’ offensive line has been less than stellar this season, due in large part to missing center David Andrews all season. Biadasz can play all three line spots and would be able to fill any hole that could emerge. (Side note: I’m 90% certain this is the last year we’ll see Tom Brady with the Patriots.)
28. Kansas City Chiefs: Solomon Kindley, OL, Georgia
The Chiefs would have loved to gotten Biadasz but instead they get Kindley who still helps upgrade an offensive line that struggled to protect Patrick Mahomes this season.
29. New Orleans Saints: Tyler Johnson, WR, Minnesota
Michael Thomas can’t continue to do it all for the Saints (I mean, maybe he can but I don’t think it would be wise to make him do it all) so it’s time to get Drew Brees another weapon to throw to. Johnson is a crafty route runner who’d pair very nicely with Thomas.
30. Green Bay Packers: Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
Outside of Davante Adams, it’s clear the Packers don’t have any other receiver Aaron Rodgers likes. Enter in Reagor who can step into the slot and hopefully develop into Randal Cobb Part 2.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State
Wade can play both corner and safety, two positions the 49ers could use help in. San Francisco could also go offensive line here.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Terrell Lewis, EDGE, Alabama
While the Ravens offense has been the sex appeal this season, you can trust Baltimore to never overlook their defense. With Matthew Judon set to be a free agent, Lewis could step in and be his replacement.