As the NFL Draft quickly approaches, fans are scouring through random mock drafts to guesstimate who their favorite team will draft. Eagles fans are praying for Howie Roseman to finally draft a good cornerback, Chargers fans are hoping to somehow land a franchise QB, and Chiefs fans are still enjoying their Super Bowl victory. Although fans are also intrigued about where players like Chase Young, Joe Burrow, and Isaiah Simmons will land. In order to get a head-start on the Draft, take a look at the list below
1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow
After Joe Burrow exhibited one of the best seasons by a quarterback in college football history, it seems like a no-brainer for the Bengals to select him first overall. Burrow is coming off a season in which he was an unanimous All-American, SEC player of the year, and won both the 2019 Manning Award and prestigious Heisman award. Moreover, he and the rest of the LSU Tigers defeated seven top-ten teams, went 15-0, and beat Clemson in the national championship game. During this season, he was able to break records for passing efficiency, passing yardage, and passing touchdowns for a quarterback in the FBS era. Although most importantly, Burrow was able to exhibit the best and most accurate season for a collegiate quarterback in the Pro Football Focus era.
In recent years, the Bengals have floundered with Andy Dalton, leading them to look to move on from the former franchise QB in the off-season. Considering that rookie QB, Ryan Finley, also struggled mightily last season, the Bengals will likely refrain from giving him another chance to start in 2020. With all that said, it would be crazy and implausible for Cincinnati to miss the opportunity to elevate their franchise by drafting Burrow.
2. Washington Redskins: Chase Young
Last season, NFL scouts didn’t think that any edge rusher could be more dominant than Nick Bosa. In fact, many college football analysts were skeptical that Ohio State’s defense could bounce back from the loss of Nick Bosa. However, Chase Young was able to emerge as one of the best pass-rushing prospects of the decade because of his insane combination of quickness and strength.
If it weren’t for Burrows stellar season, Chase Young could quite possibly be the first pick selected in April’s NFL draft, but his landing in Washington could be great for his career. It would be ideal for Chase Young to be drafted second by the Redskins so that he can excel as a 4-3 defensive end in Ron Rivera’s system. Especially since Rivera’s scheme emphasizes aggressiveness Young would be suited well as an edge rusher who is solely responsible for run stopping and pass rushing.
3. Detroit Lions: Jeffery Okudah
For the second straight season, the Detroit Lions finished with a subpar record, earning them another top ten draft pick. If the Lions are going to turn things around in Matt Patricia’s third season, this draft pick will be essential. If the Lions refrain from trading down (or possibly up) in the draft, it would make the most sense for them to draft cornerback Jeffery Okudah from Ohio State. Since 2016, the Lions have failed to find a quality cornerback to complement their star CB Darius Slay on the outside. To make matters worse, despite his play deteriorating last season, Slay went on Twitter to state that he won’t come back to Detroit in 2021 unless they break the bank for him.
Okudah would solve both these issues because he is the best fit for the Detroit Lions’ man-coverage scheme. Okudah’s length, agility, and ball skills make him the best cornerback in this draft as it pertains to man-coverage, and where he excels at shutting down deep passes. As a result, Okudah could instantly step in on day one and take over as the no. 2 or perhaps even the no. 1 corner. Given that the Lions surrendered the most passing yards per game, the Lions would be fools to let another team take Okudah.
4. New York Giants: Andrew Thomas
For five straight seasons, the New York Giants have had a below-average offensive line as it pertains to pass protection and run blocking according to PFF. If the Giants hope to maximize the production of third-year phenom, RB Saquon Barkley, or second-year quarterback, QB Daniel Jones, they will obviously need to bolster their OL. While Barkley will need an OL to create running lanes for him, Jones’ especially needs an improved OL in order to reduce his fumble totals (led the league in fumbles lost in 2019-20).
In order to effectively boost their offensive line, the New York Giants should draft Andrew Thomas out of Georgia. Thomas would be the optimal draft selection for the Giants because he has experience playing at both the right and left tackle positions. This is excellent news because both the Giants’ incumbent OTs, Nate Solder and Mike Remmers, have been entirely underwhelming. Thomas would be able to excel as both a pass protector and a power-run blocker immediately. Plus, this current free agent OT class has many veterans on the wrong side of 30 who are seeking expensive contracts. Since the Giants general manager, Dave Gettleman, is known for his never-ending desire to scoop up the best offensive linemen, this seems like a match made in heaven.
5. Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa
Even before the pre-season began, Dolphins fans were clamoring “tank for Tua,” and for a good reason. Following the Miami Dolphins’ decision to cut bait with Ryan Tannehill last off-season, the fins have been floundering in their search for a new franchise quarterback. This past season, they started Ryan Fitzpatrick for the majority of the season, with Josh Rosen filling in for three miserable games.
Obviously, Miami needs to upgrade their QB position if they have any chance of usurping the Patriots in the AFC East, and Tua Tagovailoa gives them the best chance to do so. Even though his hip injury was concerning, he’s been the most consistently productive quarterback in this draft class. His combination of arm talent, mobility, and deep ball accuracy make him nearly impossible to pass up. This is great news for Chan Gailey, who runs a vertical scheme that favors a mobile QB. Miami might have to trade up to get him, but it would definitely be worth it.
6. Los Angeles Chargers: Justin Herbert
With the Phillip Rivers era officially over for the Chargers, it’s clear that they need to draft a new franchise QB. Despite being linked to free-agent quarterbacks, like Tom Brady, it’s painfully apparent that the Chargers need to draft a young signal-caller. Barring an unforeseen trade into the top three picks, Justin Herbert is their best option. Of all the remaining QBs, Herbert is the only one who has exhibited both excellent decision-making skills along with stellar arm talent. Moreover, it would be wise for them to still sign a veteran, like Brady, who could mentor Herbert and refine his vision and pocket presence.
7. Carolina Panthers: Isaiah Simmons
Even though the defensive line is an area I could see the Panthers address, I can’t anticipate them passing up the opportunity to draft Isaiah Simmons. After the surprising retirement of Luke Kuechly, the Panthers need a new elite, jack-of-all-trades linebacker, and Simmons is just that. Similar to Kuechly, Simmons is a domineering LB, who can cover from sideline to sideline, shed through any block/double-team with his length, and get in the backfield to disrupt the run/pass. As a result, he was able to accumulate 104 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss, 8 sacks, and a whopping three interceptions this past season. They might have to trade up to scoop Simmons, but the Panthers would be smart to draft him as a successor to Luke Kuechly.
8. Arizona Cardinals: A.J. Epenesa
The Arizona Cardinals are in dire need to bolstering their defensive line. Despite their star pass rusher, Chandler Jones, generating 19 sacks last season, the Cardinals only ranked 17th with 40.0 total sacks. Moreover, of all the current players on the Cards, Jones is the only one who had more than three sacks in 2019.
Consequently, it is crystal clear that the Cardinals need another edge rusher to complement Chandler Jones’ success, and AJ Epenesa should be that man. According to Pro Football Focus, Epenesa was a top-two edge rusher for the majority of the season. During his Sophomore and Junior seasons, he was able to have a monster campaign in which he put up 22 sacks and 30.5 tackles for a loss. If the Cards were to draft him, they could place him on the opposite side of Jones as a 3-4 DE or put him as a 4-3 DT.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Derrick Brown
The Jacksonville Jaguars need to address their defensive line, and few teams believe in bolstering their defense more than the Jags. Derrick Brown is the best player for them to invest in because of his combination of speed and power. Brown’s power and quickness enable him to get off the ball quickly and then utilize his strength and length to overpower blockers. Brown exhibited the ability to consistently stop the run better than any other defensive linemen in this draft. This is great news for the Jaguars, who failed to stop the run late last season.
10. Cleveland Browns: Mekhi Becton
Last season, the Cleveland Browns were the league’s most disappointing team, and their OTs, Greg Robinson, and Cam Hubbard were a big reason why. Robinson and Hubbard’s play was so abysmal that QB Baker Mayfield often bailed on plays because even he knew they couldn’t hold up against edge rushers like Nick Bosa. Fortunately for Baker, the Browns have already taken a step towards improving the OT position by hiring Kevin Stefanski, whose scheme will mitigate pressures.
Another step in the right direction would be to draft Mekhi Becton, due to his versatility at both the right and left tackle position and his size. Becton stands at a whopping 6’7″ and 369 pounds, yet moves fluidly and athletically better than most NFL players in general. His technique is still raw, but Stefanski would have a lot to work with as it pertains to Becton, whose power and agility make him exceptional at pass protection. Becton isn’t the flashiest pick, but he is undoubtedly the best option for Cleveland.
11. New York Jets: Jerry Jeudy
Throughout Sam Darnold’s two seasons in New York, the Jets have failed to surround him with an elite receiving corps. Last season, they added Jamison Crowder and Demaryius Thomas to a roster that already included Quincy Enunwa and Robby Anderson. Of all those receivers, none of them were able to accumulate more than 900 receiving yards and to make matters worse, Anderson is expected to leave in free agency.
While this could initially be a setback, the Jets can replace Anderson with a better wideout like Jerry Jeudy. During his last two seasons at Alabama, Jeudy was able to record 1,000+ receiving yards and 10+ TDs consecutively. Moreover, his route running ability coupled with insane speed, will give Sam Darnold a great target who can find holes in zone coverage and gain separation from man. Plus, his ability to gain yards after the catch will help the Jets move the chains more efficiently.
12. Las Vegas Raiders: Ceedee Lamb
Regardless of who ultimately becomes the Raiders starting quarterback, it’s clear that they need to upgrade at wide receiver. Even though Tyrell Williams has excellent potential as a speedster, they need a more complete wideout who can gain separation. Jon Gruden would be lucky to get Ceedee Lamb this low, but nevertheless, Lamb’s catch radius, acceleration, and ball skills are impossible to pass up. In fact, Lamb is a terrific contested-catch receiver who can fight through contact to haul in any pass that comes his way. Plus, Lamb will help out Josh Jacobs in the run game due to his skill as a blocker on the outside. The Raiders might need to trade up to draft Lamb or Jeudy, but they will definitely benefit from drafting either guy.
13. Indianpolis Colts: Javon Kinlaw
While the Colts could possibly choose to find a franchise QB, they will absolutely need to trade up within the top five or six picks to do so. After the first six picks, the top three QBs will most likely be drafted, and the remaining QBs, like Jordan Love, aren’t developed enough to justify being selected this high.
Rather than choosing a QB, the Colts would be smart to bolster their front seven by drafting Javon Kinlaw. Similar to Derrick Brown, Kinlaw has tremendous upside due to his combination of power and quickness. In fact, Kinlaw’s strength and size allow him to fend back blockers and harass QBs in the backfield. Considering that the Colts defense regressed last season, and was average at generating sacks and pressures, Kinlaw would be an optimal pick.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jedrick Wills
Similar to Indianapolis, Tampa Bay will probably refrain from selecting a quarterback in this year’s draft unless they make a blockbuster trade. Instead of drafting a quarterback, the Buccaneers should draft Jedrick Wills due to his skill set as a run blocker. Wills’ length and technique as a run blocker will help open up running lanes for the Buccaneers and lead to improvement from the ninth-worst rushing unit last season. In fact, some analysts consider Jedrick Wills to be the most athletically gifted OT in this draft. He still needs to refine his pass protection technique, but he can fill in as a right guard in replacement for Alex Cappa, who struggled mightily last season.
15. Denver Broncos: Kristian Fulton
Kristian Fulton is the perfect cornerback for Vic Fangio’s hybrid coverage scheme. Fangio’s system combines the best aspects of zone and man coverage and emphasizes discipline and zone spacing. With Chris Harris probably leaving this off-season, the Broncos will likely witness regression in coverage. Fulton’s ability to excel in both man and zone coverage will help mitigate the downside from Harris’ potential departure. Moreover, it will make him a perfect fit in Fangio’s system. Plus, Fulton’s fluid motion and agility will help him cover receivers all the way down the field.
16. Atlanta Falcons: Julian Okwara
After producing the second-fewest sacks in 2019-2020, the Falcons will need to bolster their defensive line, especially on the outside. Following Atlanta’s announcement that Vic Beasley will not return next season, the Falcons would be wise to draft Julian Okwara. While he will need to bulk up and improve his football awareness, Julian Okwara’s speed and agility make him explosive on the edge.
Dan Quinn will especially love Okwara’s high motor and look to incorporate more pass rush moves to his gameplay. Okwara is a bit of a gamble, but the Falcons love to take risks in the draft, like when they made a blockbuster trade to move up and select Julio Jones. Hopefully, this gamble would pay off just as well.
17. Dallas Cowboys: K’Lavon Chaisson
With both Michael Bennett and Robert Quinn penciled to be free agents in 2020, the Cowboys will likely need to draft another edge defender. Especially considering that the Cowboys already need to pay Dak Prescott and maybe Amari Cooper or Byron Jones, they will probably refrain from signing an expensive edge rusher.
Therefore, it would make the most sense for them to select K’Lavon Chaisson in the 2020 NFL Draft. There are not many red flags to Chaisson’s game. Aside from a devastating ACL tear he suffered early in his college career, Chaisson’s performance on and off the field has been solid. Chaisson’s play recognition is impeccable against the run game, where he outmuscles OL, to create separation from blockers on any given play. Despite having low sack totals in college, Chaisson excels as a pass rusher because of his finesse/power moves along with length and agility.
18. Miami Dolphins (via Pittsburgh Steelers): Tristian Wirfs
After selecting Tua in the first round, the Miami Dolphins will need to provide him with a solid pass protecting OL. Of all the offensive tackles in this draft, Tristian Wirfs has one of the highest ceilings. Even though he has the most experience as a RT, he has enough snaps at the LT position to be classified as a versatile OL. The Dolphins might even start him at the RG position while he’s still developing his overall game, but look for them to draft Wirfs at the 18th pick.
19. Las Vegas Raiders (via Chicago Bears): Trevon Diggs
Over the last two seasons, the Raiders have been unsuccessful in trying to find a quality cornerback. After trading Gareon Conley during the middle of the season, Trayvon Mullen and Darryl Worley struggled to cover opposing wide receivers. In fact, the Raiders allowed nearly 260 passing yards per game, which was the eighth-most in the league.
Trevon Diggs would be the best corner for the Raiders to draft because he is the best zone corner in this draft class. His zone spacing, high IQ, and athleticism will be appreciated in Paul Guenther’s system, which relies heavily on zone coverage, primarily cover 1 and cover 3. Plus, his aggressiveness will force receivers like Tyreek Hill, Keenan Allen, and Courtland Sutton off their routes.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Los Angeles Rams): Grant Delpit
Grant Delpit would be a perfect fit for the Jacksonville Jaguars. His physical playing style, range, and acceleration will make him an impact safety who will immediately bolster the Jags on the back end. Plus, his ball-hawking ability will help him create a plethora of turnovers as soon as he gets in the league. Also, his versatility will help the Jags mitigate their hole at linebacker. Look for Delpit to be an immediate fan favorite if he is selected by Jacksonville.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: Henry Ruggs
At this point in the off-season, the Philadelphia Eagles’ two most significant holes pertain to the wide receiver and cornerback positions. Given that the Eagles will reportedly address the cornerback position in free agency, they will likely select a wideout like Henry Ruggs. Ruggs’ speed, coupled with his great contested-catch ability, will immediately give Carson Wentz the best receiver he had since the beginning of last season.
22. Buffalo Bills: Tee Higgins
If the Bills hope to see Josh Allen take the next step as a quarterback, drafting a wide receiver should be their first priority. Of all the qualifying quarterbacks last season, Allen ranked 35th as it relates to passing yards per game, and his lack of receiving talent was a huge reason why. Even though the Bills could upgrade their receiving corps with any of the receivers in this draft, Tee Higgins is the type of receiver the Bills need. Higgins is a big-frame wideout with a large catch radius and tremendous contested-catch ability. Higgins’ height will be especially appreciated by Allen because the Bills’ two best current receivers are both under six feet.
23. New England Patriots: Hunter Bryant
Following the retirement of Rob Gronkowski, the New England Patriots have had trouble assembling a quality receiving corps. Of all the Patriots tight ends last season, none of them were able to accumulate 200+ receiving yards. Moreover, they failed to generate 425+ receiving yards combined.
Hunter Bryant would help fix the Patriots receiving issues due to his dynamic ability and run after the catch skills. In fact, Bryant is such a great receiving tight end that he ranked in the top five with 825 receiving yards. If the Patriots decide to trade up in the draft, they will likely choose a quarterback instead, but as of right now, Hunter Bryant is their best option.
24. New Orleans Saints: Laviska Shenault Jr.
Sean Payton would have a field day incorporating Laviska Shenault Jr. into his offense. While at Colorado, Shenault lined up all over the field due to his combination of size and speed. In New Orleans, Shenault would once again be utilized in a creative offense that maximizes his skill set, similar to Taysom Hill. Additionally, Shenault would be able to start right away due to his impeccable route running that is eerily similar to Michael Thomas. Considering that the Saints still need to find a no. 2 WR, Shenault would be the best draft selection.
25. Minnesota Vikings: C.J. Henderson
With Xavier Rhodes coming off back-to-back disappointing seasons, it’s clear that the Vikings will need a new corner. Of all the remaining cornerbacks, C.J. Henderson is the best at zone coverage, which the Minnesota Vikings employ better than most NFL teams. According to Pro Football Focus, Henderson limited opposing receivers to only 18 receptions on 365 coverage snaps. Considering that Anthony Harris could potentially depart in free agency, Henderson will help mitigate coverage regression from his departure.
26. Miami Dolphins (via Houston Texans): D’Andre Swift
D’Andre Swift would be the first running back drafted off the board if the Dolphins selected him with their 26th pick. Throughout his tenure at the University of Georgia, Swift was able to assert himself as the next great bulldog RB. Additionally, he proved to be a versatile running back who excels in both the receiving and running game. As a receiver, Swift has the footwork and agility necessary to make quality cuts and run fluidly throughout routes. Furthermore, Swift has excellent hands and didn’t drop a single pass last year, which will serve him well at the next level.
As a whole, Swift finished with 3,551 total yards from scrimmage and found the end zone 25 times. For a running back with the last name Swift, D’Andre is one of the most elusive running backs in football. He has the combination of speed and quickness to brush past defenders to the outside on a fairly consistent basis. Also, Swift’s vision and patience are incredible and draw parallels to Le’Veon Bell.
27. Seattle Seahawks: Curtis Weaver
With Jadeveon Clowney potentially leaving the Seattle Seahawks this off-season, the Seahawks will look to improve at the edge rusher position. Curtis Weaver gives the Seahawks the best chance to upgrade their pass rush because of his production at Boise State. In every season he played in college, Weaver was able to generate 9.5+ sacks and finished with 34.0 total sacks in three years. His work as an interior rusher is up there with some of the best in this year’s draft. Therefore, Weaver could make an immediate impact for the Seahawks in 2020.
28. Baltimore Ravens: Bradlee Anae
The Baltimore Ravens’ most crucial need concerns the edge rusher position. With Matthew Judon potentially leaving in free agency, the Ravens have a massive hole at pass rusher that can be filled by Bradlee Anae. During the Senior Bowl, Anae exhibited tremendous upside as a pass rusher, by generating a whopping three sacks. His arsenal of pass-rushing moves, combined with his long experience in college as an edge rusher, will be significantly appreciated by Baltimore.
29. Tennessee Titans: Yetur Gross-Matos
Yetur Gross-Matos would help the Titans upgrade at edge rush. For consecutive seasons, the Titans have fallen outside the top ten in terms of total sacks in the NFL. While at Penn State, Gross-Matos was able to be a consistently productive pass rusher who forced 8+ sacks in back to back years. He isn’t the most dominant pass rusher, but his improvement from 2018 to 2019 is giving many scouts hope that he can emerge into a solid edge rusher. If the Titans are going to successfully stop Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans, they will need an edge rusher like Yetur Gross-Matos.
30. Green Bay Packers: Jalen Reagor
Even though the Packers have Davante Adams, they have a glaring need at receiver. When Adams went down with a devastating toe injury, the Packers struggled to move the chains due to the lack of a second option. In fact, aside from Adams, none of the Packers pass-catchers were able to generate 500+ total receiving yards or 30+ receiving yards/game.
Jalen Reagor gives them the best opportunity to improve their receiving corps. His awareness, route-running skills, and contested-catch ability will help Aaron Rodgers move the chains throughout every drive. Plus, his speed and acceleration will give Rodgers another deep threat to depend on next season.
31. San Francisco 49ers: AJ Terrell
The San Francisco 49ers would be an excellent place for AJ Terrell to land due to their current need at the cornerback position. Throughout last season, the 49ers suffered a multitude of injuries at the cornerback position. Thus they had to start Ahkello Witherspoon as the no. 2 CB for the majority of the year. While Witherspoon wasn’t horrible, the Niners will most certainly look to bolster their corner position to help out Richard Sherman.
Considering that they will have a late first-round pick, they should be in a position to draft Terrell, who would excel in San Francisco’s man-heavy system. Also, Terrell would be able to learn behind Richard Sherman and learn how to refine his coverage skills so that he avoids drawing pass interference calls. Plus, Terrell’s adjustment to the NFL would be smoother if he were selected by the Niners due to their stellar pass rush.
32. Kansas City Chiefs: J.K. Dobbins
Even though the Chiefs won the super bowl, they could improve their roster by upgrading at running back. In order to do so, they would be wise to draft a jack-of-all-trades running back who can churn out big plays on any given play, like J.K. Dobbins. After rushing for 1,000+ rushing yards in his first two seasons, Dobbins erupted for over 2,000 yards on the ground, 21 TDs, and 6.7 yards per carry in 2019-2020.
Dobbins has the combination of speed, elusiveness, and toughness necessary to be an every-down running back in the NFL. Additionally, Dobbins has both the blocking and receiving skills needed to be a reliable all-purpose back at the next level. Although the best aspect of Dobbins is his vision. J.K. is a very patient running back who waits for his blocks to form and create a hole for him to run through.