Final 2020 NFL Mock Draft
1. Cincinnati Bengals – Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
Very easy pick here. Burrow just completed arguably the greatest season ever by a college quarterback. Despite not having elite arm strength, he is the safest quarterback prospect in the draft with outstanding toughness and downfield accuracy. He’ll inherit maybe the toughest division in football with the Steelers, Ravens and Browns, but he’ll immediately give the Bengals some much needed juice offensively.
2. Washington Redskins – Chase Young, DE, Ohio State
The Redskins have several other more pressing needs than in the front seven, but Young is the easy pick here. He is the best player in the draft and a can’t miss talent. After posting an Ohio State single-season program record of 16.5 sacks last season, Young has a rare combination of size, strength and athleticism and could become one of the best defensive players in the NFL very quickly.
3. Detroit Lions – Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State
The Lions have a glaring need at corner and Okudah would fit perfectly. He is very physical in press coverage and has elite foot quickness and ball skills. The Lions may be able to trade down a few slots and still get Okudah but if they can’t find any trade partners, selecting him with the third pick wouldn’t be a reach.
4. New York Giants – Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
The Giants could go in a number of directions here but their biggest needs are at pass rusher and offensive tackle. Isaiah Simmons would be a quality pick here, but the Giants should look to find a franchise tackle to support Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley. Wills is arguably the best run-blocking tackle in the class with explosive power, projecting as a long-term NFL starter with All-Pro upside.
5. Miami Dolphins – Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
The Dolphins will be tempted to take either Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert with this pick, but both come with substantial risk. They also have a serious need at offensive tackle, but the top-four prospects at that position should all be off the board by their next pick at No. 18. Thomas was a three-year starter at Georgia with experience at both right tackle and left tackle. He’s a stout pass blocker with plus athleticism who projects as a high-end starter in the NFL.
6. Los Angeles Chargers – Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
The Chargers need a long-term solution at quarterback, and if Tagovailoa is available here, they should pounce. The one question with Tagovailoa is his durability, but the good news is the Chargers have Tyrod Taylor under contract through the 2020 season if they don’t feel Tagovailoa is ready to step in immediately. Tagovailoa has outstanding field vision, instincts, processing speed and downfield accuracy. If he can stay healthy, he has franchise altering potential. He and Patrick Mahomes in the AFC West for the next decade would be a lot of fun.
7. Carolina Panthers – Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
The Panthers have a dire need for an interior defensive lineman after losing several key players there in free agency. Brown would be a perfect fit here. He was the most dominant interior defensive lineman in college football last season Brown has the strength and explosiveness to be a terrific run defender with potential to grow as a pass rusher.
8. Arizona Cardinals – Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
The Cardinals made the splash of the offseason by acquiring a true No. 1 receiver in De’Andre Hopkins Kyler Murray, who is coming off an excellent rookie season. Their biggest need now is at right tackle, so the best fit here would be Tristan Wirfs or Mekhi Becton, but the value on Simmons here is too good to pass up. Simmons offers unique versatility with the ability to play inside linebacker, safety and rush linebacker.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars – CJ Henderson, CB, Jaguars
The Jaguars have a number of needs, including at defensive line, cornerback, offensive tackle and wide receiver. Javon Kinlaw could be the pick here, but he may be a reach at No. 9. The Jaguars can grab a quality receiver or tackle with their pick at No. 20, but after Henderson, the quality of cornerbacks drops off significantly. Henderson has great size at 6-1, 204 pounds, and can change directions quickly with very good recovery speed. He’ll add some much-needed talent to a secondary that lost Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye.
10. Cleveland Browns – Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
Signing Jack Conklin filled a major need at right tackle, but the most pressing need for the Browns is still at left tackle. The Browns could trade down here, but if not Becton would be a good pick here. Becton is still a bit raw, but he has mobility and power, projecting as a high-upside prospect at either left or right tackle.
11. New York Jets – Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
With no receivers off the board yet and a need for a true No. 1 option, the Jets will be tempted to go in that direction here. Offensive tackle is atop their needs list though, and the Jets get a great value pick with Wirfs falling to them. Wirfs’ lack of ideal length may force him to move to guard in the NFL, but his combination of power and balance are impressive. He projects as a starting tackle or guard.
12. Las Vegas Raiders – Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
The Raiders have a depleted receiving corps after the failed Antonio Brown experiment and the injury to Tyrell Williams. Jeudy is the most complete receiver in the class with his combination of polished route running, 4.45 speed and instincts. He’ll be a very productive receiver in the NFL.
13. San Francisco 49ers – Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
The 49ers could use an offensive tackle, interior defensive lineman or receiver to stretch the field. With the four best tackles off the board they could wait until the end of the first round to address that position. They should take Kinlaw over a receiver at No. 13 simply because there are way more quality receivers in this draft than defensive tackles. Kinlaw will immediately slide into the void created when the 49ers traded DeForest Buckner to the Colts.
14. Tampa Bay Bucanneers – K’Lavon Chasisson, DE, LSU
The Buccaneers need a starting right tackle, but with the top-four tackles they could look to trade down and select either Houston’s Josh Jones or USC’s Austin Jackson. If they can’t find a trade partner though, they can upgrade their pass rush with Chasisson. He is still maturing both physically and emotionally, but he has outstanding quickness off the edge to beat tackles to the backfield.
15. Denver Broncos – CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
The Broncos may look to move up or down from this spot, but if Lamb falls to them here, they won’t need to. His run after the catch ability and ball skills would round out a dangerous receiving corps to complement Courtland Sutton and Noah Fant.
16. Atlanta Falcons – Marlon Davidson, DT, Auburn
The Falcons have needs all over their defense. There are rumors that they made trade up to take either Okudah or Henderson. They also would love Chasisson to upgrade the pass rush. If none of those options are available though, Davidson’s interior pass rushing ability would be a great fit next to Grady Jarrett. Davidson had 7.5 sacks last season at Auburn and projects as a quality three-technique tackle.
17. Dallas Cowboys – Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
The Cowboys would also love Chasisson at 17, but with him off the board, they’ll look to fill a big hole at safety, and McKinney is the top safety in the draft. He is a sound tackler, proficient in coverage and has solid instincts. He could anchor the back of the Dallas secondary for the next several years.
18. Miami Dolphins – Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
Miami could very likely take Herbert at No. 5, but other than the Chargers, no team picking between six and 18 is likely to draft a first round quarterback. With Tagovailoa off the board, Herbert lands in Miami. He may not be ready to play right away, but Ryan Fitzpatrick provides a nice bridge to buy time for Hebert to develop. Herbert has a tremendous combination of size, athleticism and arm talent, but he needs to improve his decision-making, which he can do while he waits for his shot.
19. Las Vegas Raiders – A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson
The Raiders addressed their need for a playmaking wide receiver at No. 12 and now they’ll fill another pressing need with Trayvon Mullen being the only starting caliber corner on the roster. Terrell has great size at 6-1 with 4.42 speed and the toughness to hold up against physical receivers in the NFL.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars – Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Even after taking a corner at No. 9, the Jaguars have greater needs than receiver, especially at defensive line and offensive tackle, but Jefferson is too good to pass up. He is a seasoned route-runner with great ball skills and will be great for Gardner Minshew. He also put questions about his speed to rest after running a 4.43 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine.
21. Philadelphia Eagles – Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
The Eagles are desperate to find quality pass catchers to help out Carson Wentz, but they particularly need to add speed to take the top off the defense, which makes Ruggs the perfect fit. Ruggs has incredible 4.27 speed, but he also has solid hands and route-running skills. He’ll immediately give the Eagles offense a much-needed deep threat.
22. Minnesota Vikings – Josh Jones, OT, Houston
With Ruggs and Jefferson coming off the board just before them, the Vikings can wait to draft a receiver and focus on upgrading their offensive line. After Jones, there aren’t many more offensive linemen who project as immediate starters. Jones has work to do as a run blocker, but he is a sound pass protector with the length and athleticism to be a quality NFL starter.
23. New England Patriots – Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
The Patriots badly need weapons on the outside. For the second year in a row, they’ll take an Arizona State receiver in the first round. He’ll be a great complement to N’Keal Harry with his dynamic athleticism and ability to run after the catch.
24. New Orleans Saints – Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
The Saints missed out on Jamie Collins in free agency, so they’ll be looking for a linebacker in the draft. They’ll need to look no further than Queen, who played his college ball about an hour away from New Orleans. Queen had only one year of starting experience, but he is super athletic and has lethal sideline to sideline range.
25. Minnesota Vikings – Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
The Vikings need a cornerback after Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander all left in free agency. Diggs is a tall, long corner with terrific ball skills. He needs to improve his technique and discipline in coverage to reach his full potential, but he projects as an NFL starter.
26. Miami Dolphins – Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State
Miami addresses all three of its biggest needs in the first round by taking Thomas, Herbert and now a pass rusher in Gross-Matos. He’ll need some time to develop, but his long frame and rangy athleticism give him the tools to be a high-impact pass rusher who can also play inside on passing downs.
27. Seattle Seahawks – A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa
Jadeveon Clowney’s future with the team in unknown, but even if the Seahawks can re-sign him, it won’t be enough to completely revamp the team’s pass rush. There are questions about his athleticism, but he has great length intelligence to make him a productive pass rusher and reliable run defender in the NFL.
28. Baltimore Ravens – Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
The Ravens are still looking to replace the void C.J. Mosley left after he signed with the Jets in free agency last year. L.J. Fort and Jake Ryan are nice secondary pieces but Murray gives the Ravens a three-down linebacker that they lacked last year after losing Mosley.
29. Tennessee Titans – Austin Jackson, OT, USC
The Titans need a right tackle after Jack Conklin’s decision to sign with Cleveland during free agency. Jackson needs time to develop, but he could sit behind veteran Dennis Kelly in the short-term and still be their right tackle of the future. Jackson is very athletic and projects as a solid NFL starter if he can improve his punch timing and hand placement.
30. Green Bay Packers – Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
With Queen and Murray both off the board, the Packers should look to add another weapon on the outside for Aaron Rodgers. While Mims is not a great route runner yet, he’s a long and athletic receiver with 4.38 speed and very good ball skills. There is some risk involved, but he has great upside.
31. San Francisco 49ers – Cesar Ruiz, C/OG, Michigan
The 49ers could use another wide receiver who can stretch the field, but with Mims coming off the board right before them, they’ll arguably the best interior offensive lineman in the class in Ruiz. He’ll immediately upgrade the 49ers’ offensive line with his steady pass protection and improving run blocking skills.
32. Kansas City Chiefs – Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
There’s a great chance the Chiefs trade out of the first round with their biggest need being a three-down linebacker and Queen and Murray likely to be off the board before No. 32. However, the Chiefs could also use another cornerback, and Gladney would fit nicely. He hasn’t gotten the same attention as other corners in the class, but he is a scrappy, quick-twitch athlete with great toughness. If he can improve his route anticipation and be more subtle with his physicality, he could be a decade-long NFL starter.
Will Desautelle is a senior majoring in journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
About the Contributors
Senior / Broadcast Journalism and Spanish