Pigskin’s 2020 Mock Draft, Round 1
I think it is pretty well known among Draftnik circles that I am not a big fan of Mock Drafts. However, I felt obligated to myself, and our readers, many of whom luv to see Mocks. So before we get to the Combine, Pro Days, and lying time, I thought I would get one in. My Mock is based primarily on how I have prospects ranked, and what I think teams should be looking for to bolster their roster talent. There is no way I am going to try to project trades, though I think there could be a plethora of them this time around. My teammate Larry Parker, the infamous LP, will take care of the projected trade angle of things.
Pick 1 BENGALS JOE BURROW QB LSU It’s time to move on from the ANDY DALTON era, both for the team’s sake and Dalton’s sake. It’s also time to tie HC TAYLOR to a QB project of his own, and BURROW certainly seems qualified for the top spot.
Pick 2 REDSKINS CHASE YOUNG ER/DE/LB Ohio State It’s pretty amazing when a young man leads the FBS sub-division in Sacks, in spite of a 2-game suspension from the ever-misguided NCAA. And nowadays Edge Rushers rank just below Franchise QB’s in importance. With a new coaching staff in play in Old D.C., YOUNG’s versatility may be just as important as his athleticism.
Pick 3 LIONS JEFF OKUDAH CB Ohio State Don’t consider this to be a slam dunk pick. The Lions have multiple needs. In fact, a healthy TUA would be quite tempting here after broken bones in his back for MATTHEW STAFFORD two years in a row. However, TUA might be (unfortunately) just as risky, long term health wise, as banking on Stafford. And with SLAY at one CB slot, perhaps being absent in contract negotiations, OKUDAH could be a Rookie starter.
Pick 4 GIANTS JERRY JEUDY WR Alabama The G-Men need a lot, so this pick will be a hot debate item amongst fans. JEUDY could be a very suitable replacement for OBJ, without the mental baggage. From my game action watching, I feel that JEUDY is a talent notch above AMARI COOPER, who preceded him at ‘Bama, and has looked outstanding since joining the Cowboys in 2018.
Pick 5 DOLPHINS ISAIAH SIMMONS LB/S Clemson This team was supposedly tanking for TUA when they molded their roster last September, but I think TUA is now too big of a medical risk to take this high. SIMMONS is Mr. Versatile when it comes to playing Defense, and will give the Dolphins help in multiple roles, no matter what position they label him.
Pick 6 CHARGERS DERRICK BROWN DT Auburn The Chargers are another team that could use the talent of TUA, but can’t afford to take the medical risk. They need help on both lines, and BROWN is more talented and ready to play than any OL in this Draft. They are also getting long in the tooth on their Interior DL. This guy could mean stopping the run better, and getting JOEY BOSA another 3-4 sacks per season.
Pick 7 PANTHERS TUA TAGOVAILOA QB Alabama I think the CAM Era is over in Charlotte. They just have to hope that they aren’t exchanging one physical risk for another. There are so many new faces and pro football philosophies at play in Carolina, that this Draft may be a crap shoot to predict.
Pick 8 CARDINALS CEEDEE LAMB WR/RS Oklahoma This team still needs a lot, but they struck gold last year with MURRAY at QB. Now let’s give them one of his favorite targets two seasons ago. LAMB is a dynamic play-maker, which they don’t really have in that receiver group right now.
Pick 9 JAGUARS TRISTAN WIRFS OT Iowa DOUG MARRONE would smile at this pick, as an ex-NFL OL himself. The JAGS OL has some talent, but also is starting a couple of guys who aren’t real NFL-level talents. WIRFS is fundamentally sound, coming from the Iowa coaching staff of KIRK FERENTZ. He should be ready to start immediately. If he’s not polished enough to start at OT as a Rookie, he should be starter-ready inside at OG.
Pick 10 BROWNS JAVON KINLAW DL South Carolina Cleveland, OH has now become the land of football analytics. They need OL in the worst way, but not this high for what is out there. Any team with a need/hankering for JUSTIN HERBERT should be talking trade with the Browns. However, in my draft world, they stay put and bolster their DL with a big, athletic guy who they can move around.
*Time to add a little note, lest you all think I am daft. Given the need for NFL teams to have a Franchise QB in place, and what JUSTIN HERBERT/Oregon has done in the past month and a half or so, I am sure someone would have taken him by now, including a possible trade-up team. But let’s go on…
Pick 11 JETS HENRY RUGGS WR Alabama I’ll confirm this as my pick for them when RUGGS runs a 4.3?/40 at the Combine. They have a deep WR group, but no big play star to lead the pack. RUGGS may finally allow them to truly stretch out secondaries.
Pick 12 RAIDERS JUSTIN HERBERT QB Oregon There is no way that Mr. MAYOCK will be able to reign in Mr. GRUDEN with this Pick. Unless they have already found a way to bring in BRADY. Then again, that might not even stop him. Heck, he might even try for both if MAYOCK can work a decent trade for DEREK CARR. This whole Raiders QB scenario could be quite the adventure novel.
Pick 13 COLTS XAVIER McKINNEY S Alabama One of the most versatile, athletic S’s at any level of play. I think he’s just as talented as a guy named FITZPATRICK, who preceded him in the ‘Bama secondary. His versatility will play very well for a creative minded DC like Indy’s MATT EBERFLUS.
Pick 14 BUCCANEERS ANDREW THOMAS OT Georgia There is no doubt in my mind that the Buccaneers need to seriously upgrade their OT spots. Thick and powerful, with a good head for the game, I can see THOMAS winning a starting job with SMITH moving over to RT. It upgrades two positions.
Pick 15 BRONCOS LAVISKA SHENAULT WR/RS Colorado SHENAULT is a multi-talented athlete who catches well, and runs like a RB after the catch. I do NOT care what time he runs for his Combine 40. He’s a yardage machine and a tough guy who plays through pain. Denver has 5 Picks in the Top 95, and some Cap dollars to spend. This is a big rebuild year for GM ELWAY.
Pick 16 FALCONS A.J. EPENESA DE Iowa Time to beef up that defensive front, and EPENESA can play DE, whether they are in a 3-4 or 4-3 base set. He may not be a speed rusher, but he is bull strong and overpowers blockers. BEASLEY is now gone, and the big dude will fill up some major space in helping to stop the run. I also think he can attain 6-9 Sacks per season, as well.
Pick 17 COWBOYS GRANT DELPIT S LSU The Cowboys secondary has been a work in progress, like forever. Like many folks, I luv JEFF HEATH, but his athleticism is marginal for the NFL. DELPIT had a mediocre (for him) 2019 season, but was playing hurt much of the year. Look at his 2018 tape and you’ll see his true potential.
Pick 18 DOLPHINS JEDRICK WILLS OT Alabama Some think he can stay out at RT, while others see him inside. But either way, he’s steady with SEC Pedigree, and should start right away somewhere on their OL. They might be looking for QB LOVE if he’s still there at #26.
Pick 19 RAIDERS PATRICK QUEEN LB LSU QUEEN is a versatile athlete with natural instincts to the ball. He’s undersized by old LB standards, but makes plays all over the field. He is what they need for a thin LB group.
Pick 20 JAGUARS C.J. HENDERSON CB Florida The secondary got a bit shallow when they traded away JALEN RAMSEY. HENDERSON may not be too far below RAMSEY in talent, or confidence. He’s been a ball hawk from the get go, but during the 2019 season I actually saw him finally tackle with some determination. He should start opposite BOUYE.
Pick 21 EAGLES JUSTIN JEFFERSON WR LSU The Eagles have a lot of guys on the wrong side of 30, and looking their age. Some of them are also making too much money for what they currently give the team. JEFFERSON is a solid route runner, who moves the chain. Despite not being a speedster, he also breaks some big plays. He could earn a slot as a help to Mr. WENTZ as a Rookie.
Pick 22 BILLS D’ANDRE SWIFT RB Georgia Despite some nice production in the running game overall, we must keep in mind that FRANK GORE is heading into season 16 if they keep him. SWIFT is as quick as any back in this Draft. He’s also fast to the edge. He is already a decent blocker in pass-pro. He’s not tall, but has a solid build to take some punishment.
*The PATRIOTS do not have a Pick in Round 2, and only 6 overall. I would look for BELICHICK and NICK CASERIO to be taking phone calls if some team is looking to move up, for say JORDAN LOVE, right about here. Miami might even be willing to give up Pick 26 and Pick 39 to move on up. But would division rivals do a deal with each other? Why not, if it helps them both?!
Pick 23 PATRIOTS K’LAVON CHAISSON ER LSU This guy may not hit his peak for another two years, but is such a natural rusher that he may still make a lot of plays in opponent’s backfields as a Rookie. The sky’s the limit, but can they afford to wait on him.
Pick 24 SAINTS BRANDON AIYUK WR Arizona State They have got to find a speedy partner for MICHAEL THOMAS. AIYUK could be the guy. He really blossomed for the Sun Devils last season, and does have deep speed. He should gain a lot of yards after the catch. All in, one more time for the Saints, who only have 5 Picks in this draft, as of today.
Pick 25 VIKINGS TEE HIGGINS WR Clemson Their lack of a real No.3 WR was quite obvious last season when THIELEN missed a month of action. I know MIKE ZIMMER likes to run first and pass second, but that becomes a challenge when COOK gets hurt and misses games. HIGGINS reminds me a lot of another former Clemson big man, MIKE WILLIAMS, now with the Chargers.
Pick 26 DOLPHINS JORDAN LOVE QB Utah State So the Dolphins get their potential franchise QB project in LOVE. He’s a bit raw after some tumultuous years at Utah State, but the talent is obvious, both mentally and physically. If FITZPATRICK mentors him, which I expect to happen, he could be ready for the 2022 campaign.
Pick 27 SEAHAWKS MARLON DAVIDSON DE Auburn The team is likely to lose CLOWNEY and ANSAH this off-season, opening up a need for a sackmaster. DAVIDSON was a shining star along the vaunted Auburn DL. I also toyed with the idea of them taking DOBBINS or TAYLOR to aid the injury prone CARSON, but they have decent talent depth at RB. Never count them out as a threat to trade back a bit, since they have no 3rd Rounder, and only 5 Picks overall.
Pick 28 RAVENS A.J. TERRELL CB CLEMSON The Ravens secondary still needs some upgrading and youth. TERRELL is a good athlete with nice size/length to him. He was clearly the leader of the Clemson secondary this past season. He might give them their replacement for JIMMY SMITH, who is on the wrong side of 30, and still injury prone.
Pick 29 TITANS MEKHI BECTON OT Louisville I am surmising that the team will pass on the big bucks that CONKLIN will want as a VFA. BECTON is huge, with a degree in burying opponents in the run game. With a weight loss and more mobility, he could play at 350 lbs. and still lead the running attack to the right side.
Pick 30 PACKERS ROSS BLACKLOCK DT TCU The PACKERS D showed serious improvement, but still had trouble stopping the run. This big dude, with inside pass-rush push, would be the anchor their DL has missed since a guy named RAJI retired. They want to upgrade the receiver group for RODGERS, but the wideouts are plentiful this year. If they do their homework carefully, they can help themselves to a useful receiver in Round 2.
Pick 31 49’ERS AUSTIN JACKSON OT Southern Cal This young man has a chance to be special, and JOE STALEY can’t play forever. JACKSON is long and athletic, and he has room for another 10-15 lbs. of muscle on his frame. He could replace STALEY in 2021, if JOE comes back for one more run at a Super Bowl ring.
Pick 32 CHIEFS JONATHAN TAYLOR RB Wisconsin SHADY McCOY might have one more year left in him, but even after the way DAMIEN WILLIAMS played this past season, things look sparse. TAYLOR proved in 2019 that he can catch the ball coming out of the backfield for the Badgers. He would be the heir apparent to the No. 1 RB job, as even WILLIAMS creeps up on 30.
That’s my pre-Combine and VFA period Mock first round. Shortly after the Combine, I will begin my Team Mock series in these pages.
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