2020 NFL Mock Draft: First-Round Predictions (Updated)

Justin Herbert impressed during the Senior Bowl in Mobile

The attention around the NFL has turned toward South Beach and the highly anticipated upcoming Super Bowl but for those teams not involved in the big game, it's all about decompressing from a week in Mobile and digesting all that happened at the Senior Bowl. It was a fascinating week for many top prospects and more than a few could be moving up and down boards as a result.

 

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

The Bengals' coaching staff had an up-close look at many top prospects at the Senior Bowl but there's still little doubt at where their focus is right now in the process. Burrow is about to come down off an incredible high from the season he just turned in to start the picking apart process teams always go through but it's hard to see Cincinnati going with anybody else than their QB of the future.

 

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

Young has been billed as the most talented player in the draft and it's hard for even this franchise to mess up passing on a player like that. Given the young quarterbacks in the division alone, bringing Young in to boost the pass rush is a quality marriage of need and off-the-charts talent together.

 

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

This is basically where this year's draft starts (or at least has some drama). There's plenty of speculation that given Matthew Stafford's age and injury history, it makes sense for the franchise to find his replacement. If that happens, things could get really interesting in the next few picks. If it doesn't though, Okudah can help shore up that lackluster secondary.

 

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

General manager Dave Gettleman hasn't exactly endeared himself to the Giants fan base nor the New York press but he's not exactly one to care. While many would love a more exciting pick as a result, Wirfs fills a big need the team has on the outside to keep their QB upright against a number of pass rushers.

 

5. Miami Dolphins — Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

The calls for tanking for Tua started early in Miami and that's where the franchise finds itself… even if they and the Crimson Tide signal-caller arrived in very different ways from what was expected. The medicals are still bound to scare some in the Dolphins front office but assuming the things are as expected at the combine, the team lands their new face of the franchise.

 

6. Los Angeles Chargers — Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

Herbert had a great Senior Bowl to showcase what he can do and already turned a few heads leading up to his time there. Given that Philip Rivers is unlikely to return, kicking off the year in that big brand-new stadium with a new quarterback to build around is just what the team needs to have a chance to make some waves in LA.

 

7. Carolina Panthers — Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn

Matt Rhule's first big decision seems to be pushing forward with Cam Newton at QB but he'll have a much easier one to make come draft time. Brown is a load no matter where he lines up and Panthers fans will fall in love with his ability to get upfield and after the opponents.

 

8. Arizona Cardinals — Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama

Nobody is happier that teams got a little QB-happy earlier than the Cardinals, who land what might be the most talented guy at his position in a very deep class of tackles. While he didn't play in an Air Raid system in college, his athleticism and quality pass-blocking reps for a QB who moves well in the pocket should allow him to slide right in out in the desert.

 

9. Jacksonville Jaguars — Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson

It wasn't too long ago that the Jags had one of the best defenses in the league and were on the cusp of a Super Bowl run thanks to a fast and physical group at all three levels. That wasn't the case in 2019 but could be next season with a bit of re-tooling, starting with the most versatile defender to come through the draft in years.

 

10. Cleveland Browns — Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville

Baker Mayfield's regression had plenty to do with the coaching staff but just as much to do with a lackluster line trying to protect him. That tide can turn by bringing in Becton, who is "block out the sun" big yet can move to catch up with any edge rusher.

 

11. New York Jets — Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia

New general manager Joe Douglas can go a number of ways with this pick given the needs on the team but protecting Sam Darnold remains the franchise's top priority moving forward. Thomas might not quite be as physically impressive as a few of his peers in this class but he's a top-10 talent that is capable of stepping in right away on Day 1.

 

12. Las Vegas Raiders — CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

Jon Gruden is going to have that trademark Chucky grin on full blast if Lamb is available at No. 12 for the newly minted Las Vegas franchise to take. The Sooners star should be WR1 right away on this team and help the team cash in a big play or two every game.

 

13. Indianapolis Colts — Jordan Love, QB, Utah State

Love was another player who benefited from the Senior Bowl practices and left several scouts impressed with what he can do. It's no secret that the Colts need a new field general moving forward and Frank Reich will be thrilled to tutor somebody as talented as Love.

 

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina

Kinlaw was dominant for long stretches down in Mobile and remains somebody who's gathering steam as a top-10 talent. The Bucs have plenty of pressing needs but pairing the former Gamecock's push up the middle with a freshly re-signed Shaquil Barrett would be quite the pass rush.

 

15. Denver Broncos — Josh Jones, OT, Houston

Jones certainly made some money down at the Senior Bowl and went from a possible first-round pick to somebody teams will fight for early on Day 1. The Broncos seem to be building around Drew Lock going forward but they'll need to keep the young QB upright and can do so by sliding the nimble Cougars tackle in along an offensive line that needs plenty of help.

 

16. Atlanta Falcons — A.J. Epenesa, DL, Iowa

The Falcons have been trying to shore up the pass rush for ages and seem to have a great option fall into their laps in the former Hawkeye. Epenesa is physical enough to take a beating while also hitting the edge and getting after the quarterback. Dan Quinn has to enjoy the potential damage that the rookie will be able to do early and often in 2020.

 

17. Dallas Cowboys — Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama

The Cowboys believe they're only a few pieces away from a Super Bowl but much of that focus has been on the offensive side of the ball with the hire of Mike McCarthy. Big D's secondary is the one that needs the attention though and McKinney could provide quite the answer as somebody who is versatile to cover all over while still coming in to lay the big hit.

 

18. Miami Dolphins (from Pittsburgh) — K'Lavon Chaisson, LB, LSU

The Dolphins have plenty of draft capital to work with but badly need talented players all over the ball. Chaisson isn't the most pressing need but his upside and versatility will be something Brian Flores will value as the rebuild continues.

 

19. Las Vegas Raiders (from Chicago) — Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama

The team gave up way too many big plays last year and general manager Mike Mayock knows he has to continue to shore up that secondary. Mayock also is quite fond of Alabama players and so it's easy to put two and two together by bringing in a cover guy like Diggs.

 

20. Jacksonville Jaguars (from Los Angeles Rams) — Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU

The team traded away their best cornerback to get this pick back and would be wise to spend it on a replacement. While Fulton doesn't have the upside of a Jalen Ramsey coming out of college, he's a polished veteran who would fit in well to what the Jags do on the back end.

 

21. Philadelphia Eagles — Grant Delpit, S, LSU

The team didn't use a pick on a safety in the last draft but rectify that this time around. Corner may be a bit more pressing a need but it's hard to bypass Delpit, who was phenomenal down the stretch run to the national title and won the Thorpe Award as the best defensive back in the country. While most see his big hits, he's much rangier than people give him credit for when healthy.

 

22. Buffalo Bills — Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

It's a very deep group at wide receiver this year but Jeudy being available is way too hard for the Bills to pass up. His route running will be valued highly and will instantly turn him into Josh Allen's top option in the passing game from just about the moment he arrives in upstate New York.

 

23. New England Patriots — Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

Anybody who watched the Pats knows their biggest offensive flaw came due to the lack of a deep threat or the ability to create any separation. Enter Ruggs, who can fly down the field and create more space underneath for the rest of the receiving corps. Bill Belichick's drafts go all over the map but his good buddy Nick Saban will say this wideout is worth the pick.

 

24. New Orleans Saints — Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado

The franchise understands the window they have to win another Super Bowl won't stay open forever but they can do what they can to get the job done before it closes. QB Drew Brees seems likely to return so adding another weapon for him (while taking pressure off Michael Thomas) remains a priority. Shenault has had some run-ins with injuries but is a top-10 talent that can be another big-play threat for Sean Payton in 2020 and beyond.

 

25. Minnesota Vikings — CJ Henderson, CB, Florida

Between free agency and down seasons, the Vikings secondary needs a number of new faces to help solidify things in coverage. Henderson might be a tad on the thin side but he is aggressive at the line and has top-tier closing speed. Mike Zimmer also has to love how he attacks the ball and fits in with the team's scheme.

 

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

After drafting their QB, it's time for Miami to really make a concerted effort in protecting him with their next few picks. Wilson may have played right tackle for the Bulldogs but he has the size and movement ability to play either side and could have greater upside than his more highly touted teammate drafted earlier this round.

 

27. Seattle Seahawks — Khalid Kareem, DL, Notre Dame

The Seahawks march to the beat of their own drum come draft time but grabbing a prospect like Kareem isn't quite a reach given the holes on the roster. He brings plenty of length to the table and has impressive power coming off the edge as well.

 

28. Baltimore Ravens — Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma

The offense was all everybody was talking about in 2019 for the Ravens but the strides made on defense were the real key for the team earning the No. 1 seed. There are still big improvements needed on that side of the ball though and Murray would be a great fit as a tackling machine that can cover all over the field.

 

29. Tennessee Titans — Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State

A long and speedy rusher, Matos could be the running mate for Harold Landry the team has been looking for. While they may address this need in free agency, the value here is too good to pass up on somebody Mike Vrabel can mold into somebody special coming off the edge.

 

30. Green Bay Packers — Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State

Davante Adams can't be the only option Aaron Rodgers has forever so finding a complement is certainly going to be a top priority. Aiyuk has a tremendous catch radius and is outstanding in making defenders miss with the ball in his hands. Like Adams, he can also be moved all over the field.

 

31. San Francisco 49ers — Austin Jackson, OT, USC

Joe Staley will be 36 next season and finding a new cornerstone on the outside could be key to keeping this roster in shape to compete for a Lombardi for the next few years. Jackson has all the tools to turn in a top tier tackle but would benefit from the coaching he'll get in the Bay Area before taking over as the starter.

 

32. Kansas City Chiefs — Patrick Queen, LB, LSU

The AFC champions figure to continue to invest in their defense through the draft as they look to balance out that high-flying offense Patrick Mahomes leads. Queen is fresh off an impressive national title run and brings the kind of sideline-to-sideline presence the current Chiefs linebacking corps has lacked for several years.

 

— 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.

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