2020 NFL Mock Draft: First-Round Predictions (post-early entry deadline edition)

Fresh off of leading his team to a national title, is No. 1 overall pick the next step for Joe Burrow?

It's a busy time on the NFL calendar despite the limited number of games on the docket. College football has wrapped and underclassmen have all declared for the draft while we're down to just two teams battling it out for the Lombardi Trophy. As most of the attention will now turn toward Miami and the (super) festivities in South Beach, 30 other franchises are focused much more on the Senior Bowl and sorting out which prospects can make the cut for their boards.

 

With all that in mind, how could the first round of the draft play out in a few months? Here's a look at who could go where when it comes time to turn in the card down in Vegas:

 

1. Cincinnati Bengals — Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

It will be an interesting draft process over the coming months as Burrow goes from conquering hero in Louisiana to getting picked apart by analysts left and right. Even with that said though, there's little doubt at the moment that the one-time Ohio star is in line to be the top pick after turning in the best season ever by a college quarterback.

 

2. Washington Redskins — Chase Young, DL, Ohio State

The front office and coaching staff are getting overhauled but the pick is going to remain the same for the Redskins as they nab the top defensive (and many would say overall) player available. Perhaps a godfather offer comes in that makes them reconsider trading down but Washington goes Buckeyes in the first round in back-to-back years.

 

3. Detroit Lions — Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State

As good of a player as the team might get at No. 3, they are in prime position to trade back if a team wants a quarterback. If the franchise stays put though, it's hard to go wrong with Okudah, who is one of the best corners to come out of college in several years. Detroit's secondary gave up a ton of yards and Pro Bowler Darius Slay is on track to hit free agency after next season.

 

4. New York Giants — Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa

By virtue of that Week 16 win over Washington, the Giants missed out on being able to draft the pass rusher they really need in Chase Young. Now they also have to figure out how to block him for years and years to come while protecting QB of the future Danny Dimes. Enter Wirfs, who can develop into a long-term cornerstone on the outside while likely supplanting Mike Remmers as early as this upcoming season.

 

5. Miami Dolphins — Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

The entire past few years have built up to taking a quarterback with one of their first-round picks and they've been closely linked to the Crimson Tide star for a while. Medicals at the Scouting Combine will play a big role in Tagovailia going this high but if everything checks out like many think it will, he'll get a quasi-redshirt under center before being "the guy" in South Beach.

 

6. Los Angeles Chargers — Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama

Everybody wonders about the team going quarterback here but whatever the decision on that spot is, upgrading the offensive line this draft is a must. Bringing back Philip Rivers or finding a signal-caller in free agency could allow them to nab Willis, whose upside is off the charts and would be a huge boost in the trenches right away.

 

7. Carolina Panthers — Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia

The Panthers' new brain trust isn't going to rush into taking a quarterback at No. 7 and now there's Luke Kuechly's surprise retirement to deal with as well. Still, Matt Rhule is an old offensive line coach and knows as well as anybody that you build your team from front to back. That can start with Thomas, who the head coach probably saw plenty of while watching film on Georgia prior to his final game at Baylor.

 

8. Arizona Cardinals — Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson

The early returns from Kliff Kingsbury saw gains in the win column and on offense but the young coach knows his tenure will ultimately come down to pairing a good defense with that Air Raid attack. Simmons is a jack-of-all-trades linebacker who can slot in all over the field as they deal one of the deepest divisions in football on offense.

 

9. Jacksonville Jaguars — Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn

The Jags thank their lucky stars they get Brown to fall into their lap. While landing somebody like Isaiah Simmons would have been a more pressing need, athletic big men like the Auburn star only come around so often and he'd form a terrific young tandem with Taven Bryan inside.

 

10. Cleveland Browns — Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville

It's possible the team re-engages on a trade for Trent Williams but if they stay put, grabbing the best available tackle would qualify as a good start to the Kevin Stefanski era. Becton is still a tad raw but his mammoth size (listed at 6-7, 369 on Louisville's roster) is eye-popping for somebody who moves as well as he does.

 

11. New York Jets — CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

The receiver class is deep this year but landing a true No. 1 for Sam Darnold to throw to will be a top priority. It will be hard to pass up Lamb in that case, who has an incredible knack for making big catches and finding the end zone.

 

12. Las Vegas Raiders — Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

It's no secret that Jon Gruden would like to have more weapons to play with on offense and Jeudy seems like the type that he'll watch and fall in love with. As good a route-runner as you'll find, the Alabama product could form a nice tandem with slot guy Hunter Renfrow. General manager Mike Mayock has shown he favors guys that played in that 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship game so what's another?

 

13. Indianapolis Colts — Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

Jacoby Brissett's presence means the franchise can ease Herbert onto the job. The Ducks' signal-caller is just the type that will mesh well with Frank Reich and fit in well as an accurate passer who is capable of extending plays with his legs if needed.

 

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — A.J. Epenesa, DL, Iowa

Regardless of what happens with free-agent-to-be Shaquil Barrett, the Bucs have to get better off the edges. Epenesa is what you're looking for in an edge rusher and has some real power behind his ability to get to the QB. Everybody is wondering how the team will deal with Jameis Winston but defensive issues are just as pressing.

 

15. Denver Broncos — Trevon Diggs, DB, Alabama

Finding Drew Lock some new weapons to work will definitely be addressed early on in the draft but the holes in the secondary also need to be filled. Chris Harris Jr. could be on the way out the door and the group wasn't great overall last season either. Diggs could help boost depth even if Harris is back and turn into a quality starter either way.

 

16. Atlanta Falcons — Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina

Dan Quinn has been searching for defensive line upgrades for years now and gets one to fall into his lap in Kinlaw. He'll be quite the tandem with Grady Jarrett on the interior as the team gets some rush up the middle.

 

17. Dallas Cowboys — Grant Delpit, S, LSU

Jerry Jones may have brought in offensive-minded head coach but there are still upgrades needed on the defensive side for the Cowboys. Delpit really shined as he got healthy and could address a position that has been lacking in Big D since Darren Woodson left.

 

18. Miami Dolphins (from Pittsburgh) — Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

The Dolphins got their QB with their own pick so might as well grab one of his top targets in college to help ease the transition to the pros, right? Ruggs has speed to burn for days and will be the big-play threat the team's passing game has lacked.

 

19. Las Vegas Raiders (from Chicago) — Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma

Murray is very much a guy that GM Mike Mayock would talk endlessly about if he were back in his NFL Network gig. The tackling machine has a chance to be on the field all the time and would represent quite the upgrade to the Raiders' linebacking corps as they move to Sin City.

 

20. Jacksonville Jaguars (from Los Angeles Rams) — Zach Baun, LB, Wisconsin

The linebacking corps in Duval had a very down season in 2019 and will need to re-tool at the position going forward. Baun can rush the passer quite well but could wind up in Jacksonville by virtue of his ability to make plays in space all over the field.

 

21. Philadelphia Eagles — Kristian Fulton, DB, LSU

Goes without saying that the Eagles will be desperately trying to re-stock their secondary in this draft and Fulton could step onto the field as a starter almost right away as a rookie as a result. Fresh off a national title run and shutting down some of the best receivers in the game, it will be hard to pass up on somebody as savvy as Fulton.

 

22. Buffalo Bills — Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado

The injury history is going to scare off a few teams but the Bills badly need a complement to their current undersized receiving corps. Shenault has the size and speed to fill the void and give Josh Allen a nice new weapon to help close the gap in the division race.

 

23. New England Patriots — Yetur Gross-Matos, DL, Penn State

So much will be made in New England about Tom Brady's successor or finding the old man some more weapons if he does return but the team's pass rush wasn't quite as good as it should have been. A lot of that was made up for on the back end but Bill Belichick and company will have to like Gross-Matos falling to them as a huge boost up front.

 

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

Drew Brees might be back in the Big Easy but some succession planning has to be going on. Love has the arm talent and athleticism that Sean Payton will fall in love with and even after a somewhat down campaign with the Aggies, he should see his stock rebound through the draft process.

 

25. Minnesota Vikings — Austin Jackson, OT, USC

Pressure allowed by the offensive line was a big reason why the Vikings struggled at times this past season and as much as other areas also need to be addressed, re-tooling up front is bound to be something the front office explores. Jackson is an easy mover who should allow the team to kick Riley Reiff inside to shore up two spots with one pick.

 

26. Miami Dolphins (from Houston) — Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia

Wilson got overshadowed a bit in Athens by his opposite number on the left side but the big-bodied right tackle has everything you're looking for in the position and might have an even higher upside than Andrew Thomas. Miami needs to protect its quarterback and Wilson has a chance to stonewall a lot of rushers for years to come.

 

27. Seattle Seahawks — Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU

Fans may clamor for more help for Russell Wilson but the front office has never really gone conventional with their early-round picks. Gladney is not the biggest corner out there but Pete Carroll and company have to love how competitive he is at the line and his ability to be physical with anybody that crosses his face.

 

28. Baltimore Ravens — K'Lavon Chaisson, LB, LSU

Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron raves about Chaisson, who overcame injuries to have his finest year in Baton Rouge to help win the national title. He is going to remind many of Arden Key given the measurables and same school, but Chaisson should be a little more consistent coming off the edge as a youngster. The Ravens have a good defense but the one area where they are lacking is certainly a role he could help fill.

 

29. Tennessee Titans — Terrell Lewis, DL, Alabama

The Titans have spent plenty of draft and free agent capital on finding a consistent pass rush but still haven't been able to. Lewis isn't quite your prototypical guy coming off the edge but he is such a unique player that the Titans' defense could use him a number of different ways getting after the QB.

 

30. Green Bay Packers — Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

It's no secret that the Packers were a Davante Adams-centric offense this season and need some more field-stretching weapons. Higgins has the size to get most defensive backs in trouble and the speed to run by the others.

 

31. Kansas City Chiefs — J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio State

The AFC champs still need to shore up a number of the areas on both sides of the ball but Andy Reid can't pass up the chance to add another toy to play with on offense. Dobbins can run between the tackles like somebody much bigger while also staying on the field for all three downs.

 

32. San Francisco 49ers — Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State

As good as this team has been, it could still stand to add an athletic playmaker on the outside in place of or alongside Emmanuel Sanders. Aiyuk was a bit overshadowed in his college career but blossomed as a senior and is the type of speedster that could be extra dangerous with Kyle Shanahan scheming to get him open.

 

— Written by Bryan Fischer, an award-winning college football columnist and member of the Athlon Contributor Network. You can follow him from coast-to-coast on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat at @BryanDFischer.

Include in Acu Data Feed: 
Exclude from Acu-data Feed

More Stories: