February 17th, 2020 12:57 AM
Ladies and gentleman, the NFL Combine is so close you can smell it – but until then, it’s time for another two round mock draft. As this is my first on the site, I wanted to preface this with two quick notes. One, it’ll never be entirely predictive. I think predictive mocks are a fool’s errand unless you happen to be in all 32 NFL front offices. Two, my rankings influence where players go, but I’ll give the collective hive a voice if it is too loud to ignore (a lesson from thinking Daniel Jones wouldn’t go Top 10 last year, if you will). With that being said, please enjoy! Feel free to tweet how I ruined and/or saved your team. It’s only tradition.
1.1 Cincinnati Bengals
The pick: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
Everyone memes it. I fear it. As a Steelers fan, the idea of the Bengals getting a legit QB puts more fear in me than I’ve had since Carson Palmer and Chad Johnson were linking up on the field. It’s a slam dunk pick, obviously – but as an AFC North fan, it could shift the power of the division.
1.2 Washington Redskins
The pick: Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
Skins. Generational Talent. Don’t mess this up. Riverboat Ron may no longer have a generational talent like Luke Kuechly, but this front 7 is very talented, and the addition of Chase Young takes it over the top.
TRADE: DET trades picks 1.3, 3.67, and 5.149 for MIA picks 1.5, 1.26, 2.56, and 5.165
1.3 Miami Dolphins (via DET)
The pick: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
Why would this trade happen? Easy – Miami isn’t willing to mortgage their future, but they also need to move up and are going to be willing to trade whatever it takes to get there. As for Detroit? They need to win, now, in a division full of strong opponents. They trade down 2 spots, but gain a second first, swap up on Day 2, and only relinquish a Day 3 shift. Does it feel like an over pay? Maybe. But guess why – the Chargers are going to be knocking at the door. And who knows who else might be also? The Dolphins can give up the assets to make the deal happen.
Now, as for the pick? Easy. Miami picking Tua gives them the best chance of a true franchise QB. And if his rehab goes into the year, they don’t need to rush it, as they have Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen under contract. It’s the perfect situation for Tua’s career – one without the need to play Week 1.
1.4 New York Giants
The pick: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
All across the draft community, I see people lower and lower on Andrew Thomas. That ain’t me. He’s pro ready, an upgrade at either tackle spot for the Giants, and lets them get rid of Nate Solder via cut, trade, or even just a trip to the bench. They have Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones, and it’s time to invest in their success. Knowing GM Dave Gettleman, that means starting in the trenches.
1.5 Detroit Lions (via MIA)
The pick: Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
The most passing yards allowed last season. Top 5 passing TDs allowed. Tied for least amount of interceptions. Second in net yards/attempt allowed. How do you fix that? Draft the immensely talented Jeff Okudah and have him start Day 1. Darius Slay is due to collect $13m+ this year after putting up immensely unsatisfactory numbers. It’s time for a change in the secondary, and it starts here at Pick 5.
1.6 Los Angeles Chargers
The pick: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
Rivers is gone. It’s sad, but true. And the heir apparent on roster is… Easton Stick. Unless you count Tyrod Taylor. So it’s time for the inevitable: Justin Herbert, one of the most polarizing QBs of the draft, finds a new home in Los Angeles. Their offensive weapons are strong, much stronger than Oregon’s at least. With this pick, they move the franchise forward – with a new franchise face.
1.7 Carolina Panthers
The pick: Isaiah Simmons, LB/S, Clemson
I’m going to say this clearly and carefully so no one gets the wrong idea – Isaiah Simmons is not a one-for-one replacement for Luke Kuechly. It’s an injustice to say that. What Simmons is, however, is one of the best athletes and versatile defensive players in the draft. They may no longer have a menace at MIKE, but Coach Rhule will now have an excellent chess piece to move around the defense. Safety, WILL, even EDGE is on the table. As long as he’s on the field, he’s going to make an impact.
1.8 Arizona Cardinals
The pick: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
The Cardinals made the most controversial move in recent draft history by grabbing Kyler Murray after having Josh Rosen, but the Offensive Rookie of the Year (for better or worse) has delivered quite a bit on his promise. Now? Double down on his success. The offensive line still needs improvement, and Jedrick Wills is the type of player to make an immediate impact and start right away.
1.9 Jacksonville Jaguars
The pick: Derrick Brown, IDL, Auburn
The Jaguars are going to have to make some hard decisions this offseason, both in cap choices and in redefining their identity. One thing that should be on the top of the list is figuring out how their defense went from vaunted to holier than Swiss cheese. With a top 5 rank in rushing yards allowed, the best place to start is with the best player available in the draft at this point – the behemoth known as Derrick Brown. He can do anything you ask him to do, and his collegiate efficiency was hampered by the fact that it was more surprising than not to see him double or triple teamed. You add him to this defense, and their play is guaranteed to improve.
1.10 Cleveland Browns
The pick: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
The great Wirfs/Becton debate kept me held up on these picks, but I decided to go with Mekhi here for one specific reason – he’s without a doubt, 100% a tackle. More on the Wirfs discussion in a moment. But, looking at Becton, it’s easy to see why the Browns – especially the new look Browns – would pick him here.
One, just look at him. Massive. Freakishly strong. One of the most delightful tape watches this season. He has the size of Zach Banner with a level of nuance to his game that the former didn’t have. Next? He has versatility, having played both left and right tackle. Finally? He’s the top rated ACC Tackle from PFF’s pass protection efficiency ranks. He’ll start for the Browns, and become a quick fan favorite as well.
1.11 New York Jets
The pick: Tristan Wirfs, OL, Iowa
Now, the lead in to this pick was alluding to Wirfs potentially not being a tackle. I still believe – strongly – that he is, undoubtedly, an NFL offensive tackle. But I also believed that about Connor Williams, so who knows. What I DO know, though, is the Jets need offensive line help. If Wirfs pans out as a tackle, I think he has the goods to have a long and successful career. His skills translated to a guard could very well mean Pro Bowl potential. I don’t think Jets fans would mind either right now.
1.12 Las Vegas Raiders
The pick: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
The Raiders draft elite Alabama receiving prospect. News at 11.
But in all seriousness, Jeudy is possibly the only true, proven, straight to WR1 status we’ve had in the draft since Julio Jones. He’s young, polished, and athletic. He has run a wide variety of routes. He has the juice to completely change the Raiders receiving corps which was lead by *checks notes* Darren Waller with 1100 yards, Tyrell Williams and Hunter Renfrow with about 600 each, and… ignoring running backs… Foster Moreau. With 174 yards. Wild.
1.13 Indianapolis Colts
The pick: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
Love it (ha) or hate it, the Colts are very much in a position to upgrade their quarterback. Jacoby Brissett has done a serviceable job behind center, but it’s not enough to push a team above and beyond to greatness. Love’s 2018 and Senior Bowl tape show a player who is potentially a Top 5 QB. The 2019 season says otherwise. The Colts decide to make the gamble here and test their luck. (I couldn’t resist!)
1.14 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The pick: Josh Jones, OT, Houston
All the top QBs are gone, so what does that mean for Tampa Bay? Go for broke with what you got. Jones is an insanely good potential prospect. What I mean by that is that he could be a Pro Bowl level tackle, but that depends on how you develop his potential. Why do I love the pick here? The Bucs love to take players and develop them into starters. None of Alex Kappa, Ali Marpet, and Ryan Jensen came from schools above Division II. You take a freaky athlete in Jones, place him on that line, and you’re in for a good time.
1.15 Denver Broncos
The pick: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
Courtland Sutton is solid, but the corps itself is lacking in a major way. Noah Fant has shown upside, but lacks consistency to be a true game changer as of now. CeeDee is a game changing receiver who has shown his talent at Oklahoma as a potential WR1. For a team ready to go all in on Drew Lock, you need to give him the tools to succeed. Drafting Lamb here gives him a huge help – and someone to develop a strong chemistry with over the coming years.
1.16 Atlanta Falcons
The pick: K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
After Young, it’s a matter of picking your poison. Chaisson’s brew is over pure potential. He’s a bendy pass rusher whose record of inconsistency is sure to raise an eyebrow, but the ceiling he has is definitely enough to forget all about the Vic Beasley experience. If Takk McKinley and K’Lavon can perform well together with Grady Jarrett in the middle, the Falcons could find their way as a Top 5 defense.
1.17 Dallas Cowboys
The pick: Javon Kinlaw, IDL, South Carolina
People questioned the Trysten Hill pick last year. People were right. Are there bigger needs here? Sure, potentially. But games aren’t won by players who fill holes, they’re won by stars. And quite frankly, Kinlaw could very well be that. He’s proven that he can improve on a yearly basis. He’s got a heart of gold. And he has the character of a champion. Whatever mistakes the Cowboys made in the past? They stop here. And so does any attempt to expose the middle of their line.
1.18 Miami Dolphins (via PIT)
The pick: Austin Jackson, OT, USC
I’ll be honest with y’all, this is my biggest projection pick. I don’t think, based on my rankings, that Jackson will go above Day 2 even with some fantastic athletic testing. But the reports are there. NFL franchises view him as a potential franchise tackle. And Miami needs that badly after the Tunsil trade. So, hey, why not take a bet based on the projections of others and throw Jackson their way?
1.19 Las Vegas Raiders (via CHI)
The Pick: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
After massively improving their wide receiver corps, it’s time to tackle the defense. With investments into defensive linemen paying off, it’s time to look at the linebacker corps filled with (rapidly) aging veterans. Kenneth Murray is a guided missile on defense who is always working his way toward the action. He has the athleticism and tackling prowess required to make an impact on any down, and can serve as a MIKE for this defense and propel them to the next level. After Simmons, linebacker rankings vary wildly, but I feel very confident in Murray as LB2, and the right choice for Las Vegas.
1.20 Jacksonville Jaguars (via LAR)
The pick: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
Losing Ramsey hurts. Getting Fulton at 20, however, dulls the impact quite a bit. One of the stickiest man defenders in this draft, Fulton gets overshadowed by Okudah and goes under the radar for how incredibly solid he is. With Derrick Brown, the Jags have two 1st round draft picks who are not only capable of playing from the get-go, but making a significant impact as well.
1.21 Philadelphia Eagles
The pick: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
The Eagles’ wide receiver problems are about as well known as any in the league. It doesn’t matter who’s at QB – if your receivers can’t catch or get open, it doesn’t matter who throws the ball. Henry Ruggs is not just a speed demon – he’s a great route runner as well. DeSean Jackson and the Eagles were an iconic duo for some time, and Ruggs can have the same level of impact for the franchise – if not more.
1.22 Buffalo Bills
The pick: AJ Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa
The Bills, as The Athletic have put it, have a sneaky big need for defensive ends. So, how do you solve it? Add one of the most solid, punishing EDGE rushers in the class who fits the mold of what the Bills are trying to do on defense. Better yet, Epenesa has a chance to learn nuance of the position from one of the league’s greatest defensive-minded coaches and some of the most touted veterans of the game. This is probably one of my favorite fits in the second half of the first round.
1.23 New England Patriots
The pick: Cesar Ruiz, IOL, Michigan
David Andrews’ health scares aren’t great for a team looking to protect their QB – and hopefully, if it’s Tom Brady, an aging QB who can’t afford to be taken down so often. They are also potentially losing a guard in Joe Thuney, and the depth is suspect at best. Enter Cesar Ruiz, one of my favorite college players and a top center prospect. Whether you want him manning the middle spot or sliding to guard, he can do it all. I initially wanted the Patriots to trade down here, and that still is entirely possible, but I think their needs on the offensive line may force them to stay in the first and grab the best prospect available.
1.24 New Orleans Saints
The pick: Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado
I’ll be honest with you guys: I’m not really all that high on Shenault. I do believe that he is electric with the ball in his hands and that if you give him the ball, he’ll find a way to make a play happen. However, his release needs work, his route running isn’t polished, and his blocking made me cry. Blame growing up watching Hines Ward demolish people, but I value that level of physicality. That being said… I think this is the perfect destination for him.
Michael Thomas is already one of the best receivers in the NFL. We all know that. So pairing him with an underdeveloped athletic freak and putting him on a coaching staff that turned Taysom Hill into a legitimate player sounds like a perfect recipe for success. I don’t think he’s going to succeed if he goes to the wrong team, but I’ll be damned if the Saints aren’t the right one.
1.25 Minnesota Vikings
The pick: CJ Henderson, CB, Florida
They say all roads lead to Rome – but in Minnesota, Rhodes often leads to disappointment. So does Holton Hill’s unavailability due to suspension. So do Mike Hughes’ injuries. Got it? Well, the wait for help is over. CJ Henderson may be this year’s Greedy Williams. He’s fantastic in coverage and has tackling woes to say the least, but I think that his pros far outweigh his cons. He can start from Day 1 and help provide some relief this secondary desperately needs. And despite his unique body shape (his measurables are gonna be nuts), he fits the general mold of Mike Zimmer corners. It’s a solid fit.
1.26 Detroit Lions (via MIA via HOU)
The pick: Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State
With the second pick from the trade down with Miami, the Lions act again to fortify their defense, which will make Matt Patricia a very happy man. It’s not out of the question at all for YGM to end up here in the late 20s, especially with the reports coming from Penn State. However, his talent is undeniable and the Lions have been looking for a consistent edge rusher to work on the line with Trey Flowers to no avail. YGM can start Day 1 on this Lions team, and his the potential to be a lethal EDGE force and push this front 7 over the top.
TRADE: SEA trades pick 1.27 for IND picks 2.34 and 3.75
1.27 Indianapolis Colts (via SEA)
The pick: Neville Gallimore, IDL, Oklahoma
Look, Seahawks trading back! Shocking!
Anyway, the question is, why trade up? I’m a huge Gallimore fan, and I think the gap between him and other Tier II DL is going to be sizable after combine testing (Tier I is Brown and Kinlaw). We have long known that the Colts need IDL help, and after getting Love earlier in the first, they use this pick to hit arguably their biggest need in the draft. Ballard is an aggressive GM, and if he sees a guy who can help his situation, he’ll run, not walk, to the opportunity.
1.28 Baltimore Ravens
The pick: Terrell Lewis, EDGE, Alabama
The Ravens need help on the EDGE after swapping their usually monstrous defense with a monstrous offense. By going in on Lewis, they’re betting that he can A) stay healthy and B) continue on pace with the development he’s shown when he was healthy. Lewis is definitely on the raw end of EDGE prospects, but his potential is undeniable.
1.29 Tennessee Titans
The pick: D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
This one probably needs the most explanation and is the biggest wildcard pick and why *grabs megaphone* WE NEED THE DRAFT BEFORE FREE AGENCY. Anyway. I see the Titans sticking with Tannehill and almost all other free agents – EXCEPT Derrick Henry. There’s no real big freaky power back like him worth a first, but there is a back who I think has the talent to impact the game like he does – and that’s Swift. His vision and agility is unsurpassed in this class, and if you can’t run through them, vision is the next best – even arguably better – thing to have. Will this mean the Titans can run their offense like 2019? No. But it still enables them to be a damn good run-first team.
1.30 Green Bay Packers
The pick: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
Patrick Queen is all projection of where he’ll be later in his career rather than who he is now/his rookie season. You’re taking his traits and betting on field time sorting it out. However – his special trait is the one thing that Green Bay is desperately in need of – speed. Blake Martinez has been exposed time and time again, and with a speedy MIKE on their side, their whole defense could benefit.
1.31 San Francisco 49ers
The pick: Grant Delpit, S, LSU
Another candidate to trade down here, but I’ll be damned if I’m not probably one of the most fervent believers in Delpit. His 2019 was down. Very down. But can you really so easily discount his previous two lights out seasons? In my eyes, you can’t. And I think the 49ers are willing to bet on it too. The resume is too strong. The testing should be crisp. And the drills should be incredible. He’s still a Round 1 talent. And he’ll prove it.
1.32 Kansas City Chiefs
The pick: Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
The Chiefs are the Super Bowl champions. Fact. The Chiefs are lucky they played Jimmy G. Also fact. They need some major upgrades at corner, and Gladney is an incredible addition to their team. He’s a tough, physical corner who can bring the mentality that Marcus Peters has without any baggage. This is a slam dunk, find a starter, draft a starter pick.
2.33 CIN – Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
2.34 SEA (via IND via WAS)– Josh Uche, EDGE, Michigan
2.35 DET – Zack Baun, LB, Wisconsin
2.36 NYG – Lloyd Cushenberry III, IOL, LSU
2.37 LAC – Robert Hunt, OL, UL Lafayette
2.38 CAR – Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma
2.39 MIA – JK Dobbins, RB, Ohio State
2.40 ARI – Ross Blacklock, IDL, TCU
2.41 CLE – Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
2.42 JAX – Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame
2.43 CHI (via LVR) – Ben Bredeson, IOL, Michigan
2.44 IND – Darrell Taylor, EDGE, Tennessee
2.45 TB – Ashtyn Davis, S, Cal
2.46 DEN – Lucas Niang, OT, TCU
2.47 ATL – Tyler Biadasz, IOL, Wisconsin
2.48 NYJ – Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
2.49 PIT – Matt Hennessy, IOL, Temple
2.50 CHI – Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn
2.51 DAL – Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia
2.52 LAR – Prince Tega Wanogho, OT, Auburn
2.53 PHI – Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State
2.54 BUF – Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
2.55 ATL (via NE) – AJ Terrell, CB, Clemson
2.56 DET (via MIA via NO) – Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
2.57 HOU – Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah
2.58 MIN – Justin Madubuike, IDL, Texas A&M
2.59 SEA – Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
2.60 BAL – Akeem Davis-Gaither, LB, Appalachian State
2.61 TEN – Jonathan Greenard, EDGE, Florida
2.62 GB – Malik Harrison, LB, Ohio State
2.63 KC (via SF) – Logan Wilson, LB, Wyoming
2.64 SEA (via KC) – Trey Adams, OT, Washington