The NFL regular season ended yesterday, so it’s time for another mock draft. The top 20 picks are set in order, and we’ll only have to wait one more month until the entire order is set.
The Lions are surprisingly sitting at 3, the Dolphins and Jaguars benefitted greatly from their trade partners not making the playoffs in the Steelers and Rams, respectively, and the Buccaneers and Jets are somehow not picking until the teens.
I’ll be releasing another mock draft the day after the Super Bowl, an updated Big Board after the CFB championship, and many more articles in the Fixing NFL Teams series before the draft in April.
1) Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
Just turn in the draft card now, Bengals. If you’ve watched any bit of LSU on offense this season, you’ve seen a QB who can be the face of an NFL franchise and turn around an organization like the Bengals.
2) Washington Redskins
Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
While this definitely is not the biggest need for the Redskins, Young is the best player in this draft and a true difference maker on the defensive side of the ball. He will be a dominant force for the Redskins for at least the next decade.
3) Detroit Lions
Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State
The Lions picking at 3 is extremely interesting. The top position on the board at this point are receivers, offensive linemen, and quarterbacks, which they don’t need. Instead, they should be looking at Okudah here. He’s better than former Buckeye CB Denzel Ward, who was picked 4th two years ago.
4) New York Giants
A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa
Epenesa has already come full circle for me. I had him ranked as my fourth ranked prospect overall pre season, then he dipped to the teens, and now he’s back in my top 5. The Giants need help on defense, and Epenesa is the best value here.
5) Miami Dolphins
Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
The Dolphins have been eyeing Tua since the championship game his freshman season, and his injury doesn’t prevent that dream from becoming a reality.
6) Los Angeles Chargers
Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
The Chargers still have a better than decent roster (when they’re healthy), but unfortunately it looks like the end for QB Philip Rivers. They can resign Rivers to a one-year deal and let Herbert learn behind him for a season.
7) Carolina Panthers
Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn
The Panthers have one of the worst run defenses in the league. Brown is an instant boost, especially with Gerald McCoy not guaranteed to return next season.
8) Arizona Cardinals
Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
The Cardinals have issues with their receiving corps and could go with Jerry Jeudy here, but I can’t pass up the best left tackle in the class. The Cardinals offensive line is atrocious, and needs serious help.
9) Jacksonville Jaguars
Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
The Jaguars get the biggest steal of the draft here in the way the board falls. They also need offensive line help, but it’s not as pressing as the Cardinals, so they get a top 5 player here at 9.
10) Cleveland Browns
Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama
The Browns biggest issue is along the offensive line, especially at left tackle. The retirement of the long-time and future Hall of Famer Joe Thomas, has left a giant hole at the position.
11) New York Jets
Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
I was tempted to go receiver here, but this class is absolutely loaded at receiver so the Jets can look to the second round for that. Even though Wirfs is my third ranked OT, he’s still a premier talent at the position and in my top 15 overall prospects in 2020.
12) Las Vegas Raiders
CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
This is about as big of a toss-up as it gets between Lamb and LB Isaiah Simmons, but Lamb is just too special to pass up here. The Raiders need a true number one receiver for QB Derek Carr, and Lamb can fit that billing in his first year.
13) Indianapolis Colts
Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
Higgins fell down my board this year, but it was mainly because other players were flashing. He’s still a top 15 prospect and the Colts need a receiver opposite of T.Y. Hilton, especially given Hilton’s recent injury woes.
14) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Grant Delpit, S, LSU
I really have no clue if the Bucs are going to resign QB Jameis Winston, but there isn’t a quarterback here with enough value. Maybe they can wait until Day Two, maybe they’ll sign a veteran, maybe they’ll roll with Winston again. But Delpit is the playmaker they need on the back end of this defense.
15) Denver Broncos
Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
I don’t like Simmons going this late, but there just isn’t a great spot for him before this. Simmons can play linebacker or safety, and Head Coach Vic Fangio would love getting this defensive weapon on his team.
16) Atlanta Falcons
C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
The Falcons defense was a lot better in the second half of the season, but their secondary is still pretty weak. Henderson would be an instant starter going into next year.
17) Dallas Cowboys
Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina
18) Miami Dolphins (via PIT)
K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
Chaisson didn’t have a lot of production this season, but when his game is on, he’s as good as any prospect in this class. I have a ton of faith that Head Coach Brian Flores can get the most out of him.
19) Las Vegas Raiders (via CHI)
Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama
Moses suffered a knee injury before the season, but he should be good to go for the start of the season. He was a top 10 talent pre-injury, so his potential is very high for a Raiders team that has a giant hole at the linebacker position.
20) Jacksonville Jaguars (via LAR)
Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
The Jaguars defense was a shell of its former self this season. They traded away their best defensive player in CB Jalen Ramsey at the trade deadline. Fulton has shown the ability to be an elite cornerback, going against the likes of Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III (and soon he’ll be facing Clemson’s Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross).
21) Tennessee Titans
Trey Adams, OT, Washington
Adams was a first round prospect last season before sustaining a season-ending knee injury. He’s bounced back this year and looks like the same player pre-injury. The Titans need offensive line help to push them to the next level.
22) Minnesota Vikings
Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford
The Vikings defense is similar to the Jags, in that they were great as soon as last season but now they’re the weak spot of the team. They’ve thrown a lot of early picks at the cornerback position but have yet to hit a home run. Adebo has the tool set to change that.
23) Buffalo Bills
Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
24) Seattle Seahawks
Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
Diggs is that long-armed and rangy cornerback that the Seahawks covet. They’ve obviously been missing talent on the back end of their defense from their Super Bowl years, but the duo of Shaquill Griffin and Diggs at cornerback is a big step in the right direction.
25) Philadelphia Eagles
Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
Before you get mad at me Eagles fans, you can get a really good receiver in the second round. This team also really needs a cornerback, and even though there has been a run on the position lately in the mock draft, Gladney is a first round talent.
26) Miami Dolphins (via HOU)
D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
I am seriously not a proponent of taking a running back in the first round, and the Dolphins have a ton of holes, so that should tell you how much I love Swift. 37 year old QB Ryan Fitzpatrick led the Dolphins this year in rushing yards with 243 yards… They need a young feature back.
27) New England Patriots
Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado
The Patriots need a tight end to fill in Gronk’s old role, but there isn’t one close to value in the first round. Shenault is an offensive weapon that can line up anywhere, including tight end.
28) New Orleans Saints
DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
The Saints need a receiver opposite Michael Thomas to help him carry the load; he won’t be able to catch 150 passes every year. Smith would’ve been the top receiver at almost every school in the nation, but he was behind phenomenal talents in Jeudy and Ruggs at Alabama.
29) Kansas City Chiefs
Tyler Biadasz, OL, Wisconsin
It seemed for the first half of the season that the Chiefs’ biggest weakness by far was at cornerback. But their defense, especially their cornerbacks, stepped up their play to become one of the best units in the league. They need interior offensive line help, and Biadasz can be Mahomes’ center for the next decade or more.
30) Green Bay Packers
Trey Smith, OL, Tennessee
The Packers’ two biggest needs are offensive line and receiver, and Smith is the highest ranked remaining player from those positions by a decent margin. They can target a receiver in the second round to go with DeVante Adams and co. Smith can play any of the interior positions on the line.
31) San Francisco 49ers
Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
The 49ers don’t have many needs, so they can go with a more “best player available” approach here. Once again, this is another team that can look at receiver on Day Two.
32) Baltimore Ravens
Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State
Obviously the Ravens are another team without many needs, but they actually have a noticeable weakness with their pass rush. Their two starters at edge rusher for many years are no longer on the roster. Drafting Gross-Matos here fulfills both approaches of best player available and drafting a need.
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