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2020 NFL Mock Draft: The unexpected draft

What if teams don’t take who we’re expecting in the 2020 NFL draft?

USA Today/Pete Rogers Illustrations

The NFL draft is less than a week away and it seems it might be the wrongest NFL draft ever:

Yes, you read that GM right: We the media are wronger about mock drafts this year than we’ve ever been. Well, what if unnamed GM who’s almost certainly Dave Gettleman is right? What if this NFL draft—due to coronavirus and Zoom meetings and all the chaos that’s been thrown into the world—is unlike anything we could have predicted?

I’ve already done plenty of mock drafts this season, culminating in our big RB1 Podcast mock draft (*cough* you should listen to it *cough*), but now I’m taking this GM’s words to heart and giving you a mock draft in which every team not only can’t take the player we think they’re going to take, but can’t even address the position mock drafts think they’re going to take. What would that draft look like? Let’s find out. Together.

1. Cincinnati Bengals: Chase Young, DE, Ohio State

The Bengals shock the world by drafting Young to build upon their hopefully improving defense and then shock the world even further by signing Cam Newton after the draft to be their Day 1 starting quarterback. All hail the wrongness!

2. Washington: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

With Burrow not going first overall, Washington jumps at the chance to take a franchise quarterback despite drafting Dwayne Haskins in the first last year. I might be cheating here a little bit since maybe Washington could go QB at number two, but most mocks don’t have it and so I’m considering this ok.

3. Detroit Lions: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

Tua’s health concerns might have him slipping in the real draft, but here in the Wronger Draft, the Lions snag their future franchise QB. This move does make sense as it would give Tua plenty of time to get healthy, red shirt and then pull a Patrick Mahomes filling in for Matthew Stafford in the near future.

4. New York Giants: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State

Can you name a cornerback on the Giant’s roster, because I can’t. Okudah would instantly be the Giants’ best defensive back and help improve what is a suspect secondary.

5. Miami Dolphins: Isaiah Simmons, EVERYTHING, Clemson

With quarterback off the table for Miami, they address defense and give Brian Flores the perfect do-it-all guy for the Dolphins re-surging defense. Hopefully they can successfully Tank for Trevor this time.

6. Los Angeles Chargers: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

Couldn’t take quarterback or offensive line so had to get fun here. Thought about Derrick Brown but the Chargers signed Linval Joseph this offseason and let’s be honest, it’s a much sexier pick to pair the speed of Ruggs with Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Hunter Henry and Austin Ekeler. Tyrod Taylor is the happiest man in the world right now.

7. Carolina Panthers: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa

The Panthers gave up the most sacks last year so in order to keep Teddy Bridgewater upright, they take the best tackle on the board. Lucky for them, mocking a tackle here is not the consensus thought.

8. Arizona Cardinals: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn

Sorry Kyler Murray, no O-line help today. The Cardinals instead drastically improve their defensive line by snagging Brown who can plug in Day 1 and be a difference maker in the middle.

9. Jacksonville Jaguars: C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida

Maybe a slight reach but corner is a big need for the Jags after trading away Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye. Good thing the Jaguars have plenty of other holes people have been mocking them to fill.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 12 South Carolina at Georgia

10. Cleveland Browns: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina

Instead of fixing their offensive line, the Browns just improve upon their defensive line. Kinlaw adds a real disruptive presence in the middle who would pair with Myles Garrett to make an imposing young pass rush.

11. New York Jets: K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU

The Jets stun everyone by instead of getting weapons for Sam Darnold, address their defense and go pass rush, snagging Chaisson who help get after the now league-average quarterbacks of the AFC East.

12. Las Vegas Raiders: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

Jon Gruden just can’t help himself. With Herbert sliding, Gruden ditches Carr somewhere in an alley and gets the Raiders new face of the franchise signal caller just as the team makes the move to Vegas.

13. San Francisco 49ers (via Colts): Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama

These linemen need to start going at some point so the 49ers build upon a strength, adding Wills to either replace Joe Staley or just be a guy waiting in the wings.

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia

There’s nothing Tom Brady loves more than a running back who can catch and make people miss out of the backfield. Enter Swift, who caught 73 balls for 666 yards and five touchdowns in his three year career at Georgia.

15. Denver Broncos: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU

The Broncos commit more resources to defense and help fill the void left by Chris Harris. Fulton would add a solid number two corner to start alongside Bouye.

16. Atlanta Falcons: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville

Big win for the Falcons here as they could use O-line help and with the best talent getting pushed down the board, the Falcons get one of the most athletic tackle prospects to come out. So far they’re winning this Wronger Draft.

17. Dallas Cowboys: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

Let’s. Get. CRAZY! Why have two top receivers when you can have THREE top receivers? Jerry Jones is hoping by giving Dak Prescott Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and Lamb, he won’t say no to whatever lame contract the Boys extend his way. Three cheers for Jerry!

18. Miami Dolphins (via Steelers): Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

Nothing solidifies this as the Wronger Draft like Jeudy being the final receiver of the top three off the board. Watching this actually happen. Then who’d have the wrong mock draft huh mystery GM? HUH!? Anyways, Jeudy is a great receiver and would be good in Miami. Need I say more?

19. Las Vegas Raiders (via Bears): Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama

Can’t address linebacker, so the Raiders instead bolster their secondary adding McKinney who can play all over the field and will hopefully form a nice young safety duo with Jonathan Abram.

20. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Rams): Cesar Ruiz, C, Michigan

Welcome to the first round Ruiz! Do the Jaguars need center help? Maybe but they do need general O-line help and since I can’t draft them an offensive tackle, going with a man in the middle to help shuffle the pieces around.

21. Philadelphia Eagles: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia

No wide receiver for the Eagles so they instead choose to continue to build the most indestructible offensive line the world has ever seen.

22. Minnesota Vikings (via Bills): A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa

With Everson Griffin gone, the Vikings go out and get themselves a pass rusher who can play on the outside in their base defense and bounce inside on passing downs.

23. New England Patriots: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU

A larger slot receiver who is an excellent route runner and can win at the catch point? Sounds like a perfect wide receiver to pair with Tom Brady Jarrett Stidham. Going wide receiver in the first round back-to-back years sounds very Bill Belichick to me.

24. New Orleans Saints: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State

Drew Brees is all but certainly retiring at the end of this year and unless Sean Peyton seriously thinks 29-year-old Taysom Hill is the future of the Saints, they need to get a young QB fast. Enter Jordan Love who can make all the throws but would benefit from the time on the bench.

25. Minnesota Vikings: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU

Mike Zimmer decides that cornerbacks and wide receivers are for the week and that defenses these days are all about the front seven. Adding Queen to a line backing core of Anthony Barr and Michael Kendricks is terrifying.

26. Miami Dolphins: Josh Jones, OT, Houston

The Dolphins, despite waiting to the last of their three picks, still manage to end up with a good solution to their offensive line. Jones has solid athleticism and could develop into a franchise tackle for the Dolphins.

27. Seattle Seahawks: Austin Jackson, OT, USC

The Seahawks don’t need stinking pass rush. They just need to give Russell Wilson a little more protection as Pete Carroll forces him to handoff the ball 35 times a game. Perfect pick from Seattle.

College Football Playoff Semifinal at the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl - Clemson v Ohio State Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

28. Baltimore Ravens: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

We know Lamar Jackson loves throwing to tight ends, so why not get him a wide receiver in a tight end’s body? At 6-foot-4, 216 pounds, Higgins is a beats down the field and would give Jackson a huge target to throw to.

29. Tennessee Titans: Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor

MORE WEAPONS FOR GOAT RYAN TANNEHILL! The Titans load up their offense, certain that the Tannehill we saw last year will continue into 2020 and Tennessee will not fail to provide adequate weaponry.

30. Green Bay Packers: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma

In the words of my esteemed colleague Jordan Smith: this is a pants off pick. Murray brings sideline-to-sideline speed and would plug into the middle of that emerging defense and help take them even further.

31. San Francisco 49ers: Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State

The already scary 49ers’ pass rush just got scarier-er-er-est.

32. Kansas City Chiefs: Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin

The one hole I can think of in the Chiefs’ offense is at running back. It’s not a big hole mind you, but if they had a legit ball carrier in that backfield, this offense would be unstoppable. While there’s questions around Taylor in the passing game, he more than makes up for it on the ground, and is threat to take the ball to the house whenever he touches it.