There are 4 winless teams in the NFL after 5 weeks and several other teams that already need to turn their attention to the 2020 NFL Draft. There is no better way to do that than with a mock draft. The college football season is almost halfway over (which is depressing), which means we have a much better feel for this draft class than we did just 6 weeks ago.
One thing about this draft class seems clear, it is loaded at the quarterback, wide receiver, offensive line, and cornerback positions. This first-round mock draft includes 5 QBs, 1 RB, 5 WRs, 1 TE, 8 OL, 1 DL, 3 EDGE, 2 LBs, 5 CBs, and 1 S. The draft order does not include last night’s Thursday Night Football game between the Patriots and Giants.
1) Miami Dolphins - Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia
Fromm is still my top QB in this class and the dolphins are clearly tanking for a QB. He has his limitations deep down the field, but his intelligence and protection of the ball can’t be matched in this draft class. Fromm is the perfect QB to transition this team into a few rebuilding years.
2) Washington Redskins - Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
Washington has a ton of needs and they could go Chase Young here, but I believe Jeudy will be the next great receiver in the NFL. Terry McLaurin has been a surprise for Washington this year after being a third-round pick in April, but they need someone next to him. Jeudy reminds me of Odell Beckham Jr., making it impossible to pass on him.
3) New York Jets - Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
The Jets need offensive line help, but for the second straight year a dominant defensive player lands in their lap. Young is looking better than both Bosas coming out of Ohio State, so this pick seems like a slam dunk.
4) Cincinnati Bengals - Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
Andy Dalton hasn’t done much for the Bengals since being drafted in 2011 and it’s finally time to move on. Pairing an innovative offensive head coach in Zac Taylor with a QB with the talents of Tua is exactly what the Bengals need to do to become relevant again.
5) Miami Dolphins (via PIT) - Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
Miami shipped their 25 year old franchise left tackle out of town to Houston before the season began and their offensive line has greatly struggled. This pick comes from the Minkah Fitzpatrick trade and the best offensive tackle in the 2020 draft class is available here. This should be a no-brained selection.
6) Denver Broncos - Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
Garett Bolles has struggled since he was drafted in the first round of the 2017 draft and has since competed to be the worst starting left tackle in the league. Denver desperately needs to replace him and Wirfs is a great consolation prize after Andrew Thomas.
7) Atlanta Falcons - Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State
Okudah is far and away the best cornerback in this class and might be even better than Denzel Ward, who was selected number 4 overall in the 2018 draft also coming out of Ohio State. Atlanta has greatly struggled defensively giving up far too many points and passing yards. Okudah is the perfect piece to their porous defense.
8) Arizona Cardinals - Walker Little, OT, Stanford
Little suffered a knee injury early in the 2019 season but is on track to be ready for the start of rookie minicamps, if he decides to declare. If so, he is just as talented as Thomas and Wirfs. Arizona might have the worst offensive line in the league, and they need to protect Kyler Murray. We saw what poor offensive line play did to Andrew Luck with injuries and a very early retirement.
9) Tennessee Titans - Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
Marcus Mariota is not the answer in Tennessee, and they need to move on. Herbert is far from the perfect prospect, but his upside is really high. Tennessee relies on their defense and running game to win them games, and Herbert should be able to start week one and be a great compliment without having to win any games by himself while he develops.
10) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
Burrow is the highest rising QB and overall prospect in this draft class. He never got a chance to be the starter at Ohio State, so he transferred to LSU and transformed this team identity from suffocating defense to an aerial assault. Just like Tennessee, the Bucs were hoping Jameis Winston was the answer in the 2015 NFL Draft, but he hasn’t panned out. Despite a decent year this season, he is not a franchise QB and the Bucs need to move on. Burrow looks like the real deal and may be the best QB in this class.
11) New York Giants - A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa
The Giants look like they found their franchise QB in Daniel Jones, but his defense may be the worst in the league (not counting the Dolphins). The Giants go best defensive player available here and get a steal in A.J. Epenesa. He is fast off the edge and strong on the inside, meaning he can instantly help their pass rush and run defense.
12) Los Angeles Chargers - Trey Adams, OT, Washington
Trey Adams suffered a season-ending injury last season while being a projected first-round pick. He looks like that injury is not lingering at all and he’s back to his first-round pick billing. The Chargers are very weak on the offensive line, plus their starting left tackle Russell Okung has been out all season so far. This offense can’t seem to quite get things going, and a starting tackle will greatly help.
13) Jacksonville Jaguars - Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
The Jaguars need help next to D.J. Chark, and Tee Higgins has the potential to be a true number one wide receiver in the NFL. They may have found their future QB in the sixth round last year in Gardner Minshew, and now they can surround him with top talent.
14) Cleveland Browns - Calvin Throckmorton, OT, Oregon
Another offensive tackle off the board, Throckmorton has the potential to be a starting left tackle in the NFL. This could be argued as a reach as I have Throckmorton ranked outside of the first round, but Cleveland doesn’t have a need nearly as big as offensive line. Baker Mayfield is running around all game and looks scared standing in the pocket.
15) Philadelphia Eagles - C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
There isn’t much more of a singular glaring need on any team in the NFL than the Eagles cornerback position. Henderson will not only be a day one starter in Philadelphia, but he will immediately be the best cornerback on the roster. Henderson is exactly the piece the Eagles need to complete this team.
16) Oakland Raiders - Grant Delpit, S, LSU
The Raiders have bigger needs than safety, but Delpit falling to them at 16 makes this a no-brained best player available (BPA) pick. Pairing Delpit and Jonathan Abram together in the Raiders secondary almost doesn’t seem fair to opposing offenses.
17) Minnesota Vikings - Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
Kirk Cousins is the most obvious problem for the Vikings, but they still owe him over $30 million guaranteed next season. They need to figure it out with Cousins this year and next and then go from there. Simmons is the best middle linebacker in this class and can help plug the middle of this talented Vikings defense while also having the speed to cover sideline-to-sideline.
18) Los Angeles Rams - Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
This Rams defense is giving up a ton of points and they need depth at the cornerback position behind Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters. Talib is again and Peters still hasn’t lived up to what he did in his first two seasons in Kansas City. Fulton can work in the slot as a rookie and move into an outside spot once the Rams move on from Talib or Peters.
19) Indianapolis Colts - Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn
Jacoby Brissett is getting things done for the Colts after the surprising retirement of Andrew Luck. This roster is stacked from top to bottom, and while they could use another receiver behind T.Y. Hilton, with Derrick Brown still on the board, the Colts should go BPA. Brown has a great blend of pass rush and run stopping skills. This will also free up Darius Leonard to do even more at the second level.
20) Miami Dolphins (via HOU) - D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
Miami continues to revamp their offense, this time with the best running back in the draft class. Swift is a top 10 player but other needs at more premium positions and the continued devaluation of the running back position will most likely push Swift into the late teens or early twenties. Kenyan Drake and Kallen Ballage are not getting things done in the Miami backfield. Pairing the number one pick in QB Jake Fromm with his dominant college running back will greatly help his transition into the NFL.
21) Dallas Cowboys - A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson
Jerry Jones might run out of pie after paying Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott, and Amari Cooper before getting to cornerback Byron Jones. If that’s the case, Terrell is the perfect pick in this spot. He’s been able to shut down opposing receivers all season, even with Clemson’s overall struggles. Dallas can’t pay everyone, and Terrell will be the first replacement.
22) Oakland Raiders (via CHI) - CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
One of the biggest needs for the Raiders is at receiver after the Antonio Brown episode. Just like with Delpit, the Raiders are again the beneficiaries of a higher ranked player faking to them due to other teams’ needs. CeeDee Lamb is both speedy and physical and has the potential to be a true number one wide receiver in the NFL.
23) Carolina Panthers - Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
It looks like it’s time for the Panthers to move on from Cam Newton. He’s been out for most of the season with injuries that are unrelated to his shoulder injury last season that kept him out for several games and led to offseason surgery. Backup QB Kyle Allen has played well in replacement, but he isn’t a long-term solution. Love is a traits-based prospect with the highest upside in the 2020 QB class. We still have 6 months to determine Love’s draft stock, which could rise as high as a top-10 pick.
24) Baltimore Ravens - Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama
Moses suffered a season-ending knee injury before the season began, but he’s on track to recover before the draft. He was the number one linebacker before his injury and if he still decides to declare for the draft, he’ll be a first-round pick. He’s reminiscent of Roquan Smith in his speed and ability to cover sideline-to-sideline. After losing C.J. Mosley in free agency, the Ravens have a big hole in the middle of their defense that Mosley can fill.
25) Detroit Lions - K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
This defense is being rebuilt under Matt Patricia but another edge rusher opposite Trey Flowers will help it get to the next level. This is a bit of a fall for Chaisson due to QB, WR, OL, and CB needs above them, making this an easier pick for Detroit. Patricia wants a dominant defense and building on the defensive line is key.
26) Seattle Seahawks - Alex Leatherwood, OL, Alabama
The Seahawks have surprised people this year, but Russell Wilson still has protection issues. The Seahawks have struggled on the offensive line since Wilson was a rookie, and they still have yet to really try to fix it. Their defensive secondary also needs help, but Leatherwood can be placed anywhere on the offensive line and start immediately.
27) New Orleans Saints - Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
The Saints don’t have many needs, but there seems to be a hole at receiver after Michael Thomas. They lack a true second receiver and as Drew Brees continues to age, he needs more playmakers to go to. Ruggs is the fastest receiver in this class, and possibly the fastest overall prospect in this class.
28) Kansas City Chiefs - Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
Cornerback is far and away the biggest need for the Chiefs, besides a true bell cow running back. This RB class is deep, however, and the Chiefs can look for one in the second round. Diggs would immediately be the best cornerback on this roster. We all know this Chiefs offense can put up points at will, but the defense can’t keep giving up almost as many points if the Chiefs can truly compete for a super bowl.
29) Green Bay Packers - Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado
Davante Adams has been banged up this season and without him in the lineup, the receiver group doesn’t have much talent. Shenault can be used as a gadget guy that you just need to get the ball to and block. He can line up in the backfield for handoffs, sweep across from the slot and take handoffs, or line up outside or in the slot for screens or on pass routes. Shenault can open up a playbook and demands creativity on offense to get him the ball.
30) Buffalo Bills - Tommy Kraemer, OL, Notre Dame
The Bills are one of the most improved teams this season and for the most part, that’s thanks to their stout defense. They attacked the receiver and offensive line positions in free agency last offseason, but they still need help on the line. Kraemer is my top inside offensive line prospect in this draft class. He’s a big, physical, mauler in the run game and technical in his pass set. He slightly reminds me of Quentin Nelson, and not just because they both attended Notre Dame. Nelson drastically improved the Colts offensive line right away, and Kraemer can do the same thing in the NFL.
31) San Francisco 49ers - Tyler Biadasz, OL, Wisconsin
Speaking of most improved teams this year, the 49ers are 4-0 and they don’t look like they’re slowing down after crushing the Browns on MNF. This offensive line is playing well, but Biadasz would be a nice boost on the inside next year. Biadasz is neck and neck with Kraemer and also deserves to be picked in the first round. He’s the leader of the offensive line at Wisconsin that’s helping RB Jonathan Taylor break records and sprint to the Heisman finalists.
32) New England Patriots - Albert Okwuegbunam, Missouri
The Patriots aren’t feeling any effects of Gronk retiring or even the Antonio Brown quick episode. This defense is playing incredibly right now and shutting down every offense they face, allowing just 6 points per game. Just like the Saints, as Tom Brady ages (at least I think he does), the Patriots need to surround him with weapons on offense. Even though they’re playing great without Gronk, they don’t have a true starting TE on their roster. Albert Okwuegbunam could have been an early second round pick last year if he had decided to declare for the draft. He’s just what the Pats need to continue their winning ways.