Public service announcement: Commissioner Goodell will be announcing the draft picks from the basement of his house. Please continue tradition by actively booing your TV sets regardless who might be in bed or what your situation may be. It’s important in these tough times that we keep a sense of normality in the world!
As it’s less a week away until the weirdest draft weekend of our life begins, it’s time to lock in all of the predictions and all of the thinking in my small brain about who is picking who.
Pick 1: Cincinnati Bengals – Joe Burrow, QB – LSU
It’s about as locked in as a pick gets. I know Miami want Burrow, but they won’t be getting him – Cinci has had Burrow earmarked since December and wants to bring the lad back to Ohio where he grew up.
Pick 2 MOCK TRADE: Miami Dolphins via Washington Redskins – Tua Tagovailoa, QB – Alabama
Miami sends 5th overall, 26th overall and 70th overall (3rd)
I still think Miami will want to move up in order to guarantee they get their guy. I stand by my opinion that Washington does not need to draft Young thanks to their existing D-Line of D’Ron Payne, Montez Sweat and Jonathan Allen. The price that is willing to be paid will prove more valuable to Washington to add better depth (with the 26th and 70th) in more positions rather than adding to an area that does not necessarily need adding to.
Miami will get cold feet knowing that the Chargers and Jags have got trade-able assets to move here and it’s not beyond the realm for Tampa Bay, Indianapolis or even New England to pull a rabbit out of the hat either… but if one on them tries to make a move, Miami will always out-flank them. Would you put it past Belichick to try and initiate a trade here to see a divisional rival have to give up 2 other good picks? That would be a classic Bill move.
Pick 3: Detroit Lions – Chase Young, EDGE – Ohio State
Although probably hounded with offers to grab the best player in the draft, Detroit rub their hands together as they know they’ve hit the jackpot. Edge is a need, and Young is the answer for Matt Patricia to start building a better quality defense.
Pick 4: New York Giants – Jedrick Wills Jr, OL – Alabama
Offensive Line has been a glaring need for a few years now for the G-Men. Wills is the best raw talent at O-line in this draft. Mekhi Becton and Tristan Wirfs might have had combine blowups, but Wills’ wasn’t far off either, and has better tape over the last 2 years. He is an athletic tackle who has the strength to open up big running lanes for Saquon as they continue to look to build the franchise around him and Daniel Jones.
Pick 5 MOCK TRADE: Washington Redskins via Miami – Jeff Okudah, CB – Ohio State
Still available here for the Skins’ will be the best corner in the draft. They have a good defense but after passing on Young and opting for more depth picks, they will look to replace last years’ stand out Quinton Dunbar who was the only playmaker in defensive secondary for them in 2019. They’ll need some quality back there and Okudah is just that.
Pick 6: Los Angeles Chargers – Justin Herbert, QB – Oregon
The Chargers will be fighting an internal battle over this pick. They are still desperate for offensive line help and there are some gems in this draft class, and there is also the swiss army knife of Isaiah Simmons on the board to finish off that already mean looking defense on paper. However, to be playoff worthy they will need a replacement for Pip Rivers. Herbert ticks a lot of boxes and was slated to go 1.01 in the 2019 draft before heading back to Oregon for another term. He impressed at the combine as expected and could well be the catalyst to a successful next few years Charger fans.
Pick 7: Carolina Panthers – Isaiah Simmons, LB – Clemson
Luke Kuechly is gone. He was one of the centrepieces of the organisation and Simmons will fit into Matt Rhules’ desire to build a formidable defense as Kuechly’s replacement. Can also play at Safety if the Panthers prioritise building their defensive secondary first.
They could go Derrick Brown here as DT is another need for Carolina.. but Simmons is a unicorn and by far the best player on the board. With the amount of needs Carolina has, you can’t pass up on him here, he’s a top-3 talent.
Pick 8: Arizona Cardinals – Mekhi Becton, OL – Louisville
Offensive Line has been a glaring need for a few years now in Arizona. Becton is a physical freak at 6ft 7 and 369lbs yet running a 5.10 40 yard dash. He’ll be a game changer for Kyler Murray as he searches for the next level.
Pick 9: Jacksonville Jaguars – Derrick Brown, DT – Auburn
Last year Josh Allen fell in their laps at pick 7 last year, and Brown is going to do the same this year for them. Defensive line is a need for Jacksonville and in a lesser talent-filled class, Brown would be considered a top 5 pick.
Pick 10: Cleveland Browns – Tristan Wirfs, OL – Iowa
The Browns need a tackle. Their O-line has never lived up to the hype that it was supposed to be, and with the news of Greg Robinson’s arrest this off-season, O-line becomes the pressing need. Two stud O-lineman remain on the board, but I think thanks to an incredible combine, Wirfs nudges it over Andrew Thomas.
Pick 11: MOCK TRADE: Tampa Bay Buccaneers via New York Jets – Andrew Thomas, OL – Georgia
Bucs’ send 14th overall, 76th (3rd) and 139th (comp. 4th) in order to grab much needed o-line help. The Jets will still be able to fill a need at 14.
The need for O-lineman in the NFL is plentiful. The Bucs’ are well and truly in that conversation now they have Brady, and will want to take the last remaining stud tackle in this first round. Andrew Thomas is an NFL ready tackle who will provide much needed protection for Tom Brady.
Pick 12: Las Vegas Raiders – C.J Henderson, CB – Florida
I originally had Vegas adopting a YOLO approach as the draft was on home soil and making a splash for Chase Young. However, with the draft now behind closed doors, and Miami likely able to offer more to go grab Tua, I think Mayock and Gruden take the best players available in their areas of need. Henderson is the second best CB in this draft and has been a weak point of the Raiders over the last couple of seasons. Bringing in Eli Apple and Jeff Heath isn’t the answer, Henderson may just be.
Pick 13: San Francisco 49ers – Jerry Jeudy, WR – Alabama
Jerry Jeudy is a stud receiver. With very few needs on their superbowl quality team, a replacement for the departed Emmanuel Sanders seems high on the priority list. He’s the most polished all-rounder and will fill that Sanders role perfectly.
A few slated Jeudy’s combine, however, his combine was still statistically better than those from DeAndre Hopkins, Michael Thomas and Davante Adams…and they turned out to be elite receivers… just sayin’
Pick 14: MOCK TRADE New York Jets via Tampa Bay – CeeDee Lamb, WR – Oklahoma
They gave up the opportunity to get Darnold some quality protection, but in return they give him a shiney new weapon to replace Robby Anderson that is better than Breshad Perriman! The O-Line class is deep and can be addressed later (spoiler alert – I have them trading back into the first later on), so now it’s time to grab a stud receiver to pair with your franchise QB.
Pick 15: Denver Broncos – Henry Ruggs III, WR – Alabama
Courtland Sutton is the up and coming receiver in Denver and it would be nice to pair him up with a speed freak on the opposite flank. Denver has a few other needs including o-line and cornerback, but personally I think Ruggs is the best player available in those needed positions especially with 2 receivers just going in the last 2 picks.
Pick 16: MOCK TRADE Jacksonville Jaguars via Atlanta Falcons – Jordan Love, QB – Utah State
Jags send 20th overall, 73rd overall and 118 overall to Atlanta who have a lot of holes to fill on o-line, d-line, linebacker and in the defensive secondary
Minshew mania was great while it lasted. But I think the NFL world realistically knows it probably won’t last. The Jags whiffed on Nick Foles last season and there going to want to get it right with a promising dual threat QB. He’s mouldable and the kind of character Jacksonville need leading the team as they look to re-build from the current ruins.
Divisional rivals Indianapolis are thought to have interest in Love and have tradable pieces to get back in to the 1st round, whilst New England are also hunting for Brady’s replacement. The Jags hitch a surprise by beating out any competition and cementing their new franchise QB.
Pick 17: Dallas Cowboys – K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE – LSU
I originally had Dallas down as picking up Kinlaw (DT) here, but since they gave Dontari Poe and Gerald McCoy healthy contracts, one would assume the orgnisation is happy with their veteran DT corps heading into the season.
Robert Quinn has left for Chicago meaning there is a need at EDGE for the Cowboys. Dallas will be lucky if a player of Chaisson’s talent falls to 17.. but if the draft falls this way there might be a chance. Some analysts have the former LSU stud as a top 10 pick.
Pick 18: Miami Dolphins – Javon Kinlaw, DT – South Carolina
Miami have a lot of needs so your guess is as good as mine for this pick. They could get some other defensive secondary help here adding the next best CB like Arnette or Diggs, or will they want to add a weapon here for Tua in the form of Swift at running back?
I have re-written this pick 3 or 4 times today – it was Ezra Cleveland, then Xavier McKinney, but ultimately I figured that Kinlaw is the best player available considering some have him as a top-10 talent. DT is not a pressing need, but with all the off-season moves on defense this off-season, why not continue to strengthen it. There should still be a decent offensive lineman and a running back available in the 2nd round where they have two picks (39 and 56).
Pick 19: Las Vegas Raiders – Justin Jefferson, WR – LSU
They could opt to pick one of the receiver studs at 12, but Mayock is clever and will know that the second tier of receiver is better than the second tier of cornerback. Jefferson leads the way as the leader in that second tier, and although probably a few picks earlier than excpected, LV take a much needed piece here to help whoever is throwing the rock in Sin City over the next few years.
Pick 20 MOCK TRADE: Atlanta Falcons via Jacksonville – Kenneth Murray, LB – Oklahoma
Murray is a good linebacker, and good players on the defensive side of the ball is exactly what Atlanta need. They could grab an Arnette/Diggs/Fulton here to help out Isaiah Oliver at corner, or even add Espenesa on the edge. But Deion Jones needs a running mate just as much.
Pick 21: Philadelphia Eagles – Ezra Cleveland, OL – Boise State
I originally had Philly down as improving their defensive secondary, but since then they signed Darius Slay meaning more pressing needs will need addressing. One of those needs is on the offensive line.
Ezra Cleveland headlines the second tier of O-Linemen. He wasn’t considered to be in the 1st round discussion before the combine, however, he left Indy in March having scored in the top 10 of every discipline available to O-Linemen except one, the verticle jump – where he was 11th! His impressive performance at Lucas Oil Stadium has earned him a jump into the first round and head to Philly who need to replace Jason Peters and Halapoulivaati Vaitai.
Pick 22: Minnesota Vikings – Kristian Fulton. CB – LSU
The Vikes General Manager Rick Spielman has one helluva job on his hands over the next couple of off seasons with some big players due new contracts and some big needs starting to appear. None more so than at Corner where they lost all 3 starters this off-season. This is the priority pick.
Pick 23: New England Patriots – A.J Epenesa, EDGE – Iowa
Epenesa’s draft stock has taken a hit over the last few weeks due to a poor combine, but on his day he’s an exceptional talent – and getting the best out of a player is the kind of thing Belichick specialises in. They’ll know that Epenesa can be special after an impressive 2019 season, and with DE being a need, this will be the best option for them.
The next QB’s off the board will likely be Eason and Fromm, neither of which are a day 1 pick, and neither are projected to be TB12’s replacements. The other needs at receiver can be filled in day 2/3 – don’t forget they wasted a first rounder on N’Keal Harry this time last year and won’t want to repeat that considering the top 4 WR’s are already off the board.
Pick 24 MOCK TRADE: Chicago Bears via New Orleans- Xavier McKinney, S – Alabama
Chicago give 43rd overall, 50th overall and a 2021 2nd
Yes, Chicago are prepared to go all in and give up what little ‘good’ draft capital they have left in 2020 along with dipping into next years’ stock.
With Prince Amukamara out and HaHa Clinton-Dix not returning, Matt Nagy’s stringent defense needs it’s holes blocking up. It’s not every day you get to draft an elite DB prospect out of Alabama. and McKinney is just that. The trade leaves Chicago with a fourth, a fifth, two sixths and two sevenths… potentially a dart throw at a sleeper tackle or receiver – but the offense rebuild will have to wait a year, Nagy needs his defense in order first!
Pick 25: Minnesota Vikings – Laviska Shenault, WR – Colorado
With the cornerback need addressed, the Vikings can concentrate on another pressing need – they traded away Stefon Diggs knowing that they’d be able to replace him in the first round this year, and Shenault is the answer.
Injuries saw Shenault get less volume last season, but on his day when healthy he’s in the same talent pool as Jeudy and Lamb. An all-rounder who has all the weapons to translate to Sunday football, it just needs nurturing, something the Vikings have been good at doing recently (Diggs was a 5th round talent and Thielen was a UDFA and both were turned into elite players).
Pick 26 MOCK TRADE: Washington Redskins via Miami – Josh Jones, OL – Houston
There are a few options here for Washington which are all no-lose options in my opinion. Tee Higgins would fit in well considering he’s a big red zone target which Washington require now Jordan Reed is no longer on the roster. However, with Trent Williams still wanting to leave, it’s apparent that the offensive line is in need of depth. Josh Jones is a good pass blocker with flexible athleticism and eager hands. Just whats needed in order to keep Dwayne Haskins up right.
Washington end the day with the best CB in the class and either much needed O-Line help or a big redzone target with an extra 3rd pick still to come. I’d say this scenario is in the best interest for this organisation.
Pick 27: Seattle Seahawks – Damon Arnette, CB – Ohio State
Much like his teammate Jeffrey Okudah, Arnette is well-versed in the art of man coverage. He is a technician in press-man and uses his hands well to jam his target and disrupt their timing as well as challenge the catch point. He’s as physical as they come in both phases and will fit nicely into a Pete Carroll defense, especially one that is looking to get that Legion of Doom status back.
Pick 28: Baltimore Ravens – Patrick Queen, LB – LSU
The Ravens don’t have many needs as things stand with how they move the ball. They invested in wide receivers last year and have a stout defense. However, they would benefit from having a stronger linebacking corps. Especially after seeing Josh Bynes leave for Cinci. Queen is a busy-body linebacker that zips around the field and is a dangerous blitzer. He’d fit this defensive scheme well.
Pick 29: Tennessee Titans – Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE – Penn State
The Titans improved all over the field in 2019 however their pass-rush left a alot to be desired. The only player with a pressure rate above 10% was Cameron Wake who walked out of the building this off season. Vic Beasley isn’t the answer either, so they’ll grab the next best DE in this class, Gross-Matos. He’s certainly a tier below those already taken, but his pass-rush did improve throughout his college career and he looks like he could continue those year on year improvements into the pros. 20 tackles for loss in 2019 certainly helps his draft stock
Pick 30: Green Bay Packers – Jalen Reagor, WR – TCU
Jalen Reagor is a super talented receiver. He has had drop issues, but a lot of that could be down to a college career plagued with poor Quarterback play. Green Bay need a field stretcher and that’s what Reagor is. Geromino Allison, EQ St. Brown, Jake Kumerow, Allen Lazard and Marques Valdes-Scantling have all had their shots, and none of them have proved consistent enough for Rodgers’ liking. It’s LaFleur’s chance to get rid of the deadwood and install new, more electric options for Rodgers to find success with.
Pick 31 MOCK TRADE: New York Jets via San Francisco – Austin Jackson, OL – USC
New York Jets send 48th (2nd) and 79th (3rd) – San Fran don’t have another pick until the 5th round so will appreciate another 2 picks within the next 46
The Jets know they need to protect Darnold better and they need to get one of the last of the “better” pass protecting O-linemen. There are still a couple available but they won’t be there by 48. Jackson had a good combine and has a lot of the required mechanics and athletic skill to be successful in the NFL.
Pick 32: Kansas City Chiefs – De’Andre Swift, RB – Georgia
Please let this ring true for fantasy fans! Imagine Mahomes having a swiss army knife weapon like Swift. Well, RB is the biggest need in that offense so this could happen. Surely day 1 isn’t going to pass us by without a running back getting drafted? Fingers crossed for this one, it makes a lot of sense albeit from a fantasy perspective!