Christian’s NFL Mock Draft 3.5
Updated: Aug 24, 2020
Ah, the post-Combine hangover. The build-up to the event is so drastic and the testing just truly does not matter very much, but I sat and watched hours and hours of guys running and jumping anyway. And now I can’t wait for Pro Days.
I have been on a bit of a hiatus lately – my mocks hadn’t changed much and I didn’t feel as though I was doing readers justice by putting out the same mock over and over. You’ll probably notice that I jumped from 2.5 straight to 3.5. That is because I am to the point where a mock without trades is irrelevant to me. Sure, it’s a lot easier, but we at The Cut don’t take the easy way out. With that being said, here is my first post-Combine mock draft!
1. Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
This pick is already locked in. Joe Burrow is going to the Bengals, Andy Dalton is going to hit the open market and replace Jameis Winston in Tampa or Mitch Trubisky in Chicago, and the Bengals may be halfway decent in 2020.
2. Isaiah Simmons, LB/S, Clemson
Before you start yelling, think about the impact that Isaiah Simmons is going to have on football games. It exceeds what Chase Young will be able to do. It also exceeds what Tua will be able to do initially, and I am a firm believer that Haskins would (barely) win the job if Tua and him entered a competition. I think this pick makes sense, and I haven’t even mentioned Isaiah Simmons’ Combine results.
3. Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
No trade up for Tua? Nah. Chase Young falls to Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia and they rejoice. Sure, edge rusher isn’t their biggest need, but a player of Young’s caliber falling to three makes this decision easy.
4. Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
The Los Angeles Chargers send 1.06, 2.37, and a 2021 2nd-round pick to the Giants for pick 1.04.
Listen. I know that Dave Gettleman never trades his first-round picks. But with how great the top four linemen are and the uncertainty surrounding Miami’s interest in Tua, the Giants take advantage of a team who is definitely quarterback-needy. Of course, the Chargers can sign someone in free agency (and they still may), but with Tua’s medical clearance just a week away, he’s going to garner this type of hype once again.
5. Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
The first big surprise of this draft is Jordan Love jumping Justin Herbert, and let me tell you why that is. Jordan Love and Justin Herbert had similar Combine performances. Assuming their Pro Days are good, I believe Jordan Love will remain my personal QB3. I think the upside of these two quarterbacks is identical, but I also think Jordan Love has a safer floor. If that is the case, then I think the Dolphins, who have a terrible history with quarterbacks, go with him.
6. Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
The New York Giants receive 1.06, 2.37, and a 2021 2nd-round pick from the Chargers for pick 1.04.
Jedrick Wills is still my OT1. But does he fit the mold of what Gettleman likes better than Mekhi Becton? Big nope. Becton’s 5.10 40-yard dash time at his size is probably the most impressive thing I saw last week, and I’ve been high on Becton all along. He’s the perfect Gettleman prototype and he’s a damn good player.
7. Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State
This seems like a good spot to trade out of, but with Okudah still sitting on the board for the Panthers, who will very likely lose James Bradberry this offseason, this pick is a no-brainer. I know that the Panthers have some other needs, with IDL and QB being big ones, but with the vote of confidence in Cam and Derrick Brown’s atrocious Combine, Okudah makes much more sense.
8. Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
The Indianapolis Colts send picks 1.13, 2.34 and 5.160 to the Cardinals for pick 1.08.
I know Colts fans don’t want this, but I think Herbert “sliding” to the 8th overall pick is far enough for them to make the jump up. I do believe the Colts will sign either Tom Brady or Phillip Rivers, which allows for Herbert to sit and learn (as he should be required to do anyway). Even if they don’t, Brissett is more than capable of starting half of the season for this team, and for that, Herbert to the Colts is almost a perfect landing spot.
9. Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn
I get it. Derrick Brown ran slowly. He also had one of the worst 3-cone times in the history of the Combine. I don’t care. He’s good at football, and at 9, he could end up being a steal. Brown is going to struggle in his rookie year, but so did Quinnen Williams at times in 2019. He will be fine, and he will be great.
10. Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
Ah, this is the dream. If Tristan Wirfs gets all the way to the 10th overall pick and the Browns don’t take him, I’m going to absolutely lose my mind. Wirfs still may be more efficient as a guard (which I know is a hot take), but he’s an athletic freak that should slide right into the starting LT spot for the Browns in 2020. Yes. Please.
11. Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
My OT1 slides all the way to the 11th overall pick, thanks to my recency bias and the NFL Combine results. Jets fans, if you get mad at me for this one, you’re wrong.
12. CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
Post-Combine, my top-three wide receivers are tied. I still cannot really separate them and we are deep into the process. The thing that I am certain of is that CeeDee Lamb is an incredible playmaker, he’s faster than I expected, and he brings a different dynamic to the Las Vegas offense.
13. Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina
The Arizona Cardinals receive picks 1.13, 2.34 and 5.160 from the Colts for pick 1.08.
This is what the Cardinals should do. I know Kingsbury and Keim talked about needing a wideout at the Combine this week. I also know that the notion of them drafting Christian Kirk, Andy Isabella, Hakeem Butler, KeeSean Johnson, and another receiver high in the 2020 NFL Draft, within the last three years is just terrible team-building. Someone should take the phone away from Kliff or Steve if they try calling in a receiver with Kinlaw still on the board.
14. Jacob Eason, QB, Washington
With the report that Jameis is ‘likely’ not returning to Tampa, the Bucs are a prime candidate for a big-armed quarterback that has a crazy amount of upside. I’m still pretty high on Eason, though I know that’s becoming a hot take. He had a great Combine and he has a cannon of an arm – which has to make Bruce Arians happy.
15. Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
Jerry Jeudy falling all the way to 15 seems pretty unlikely, but with a total of 8 quarterbacks and tackles, this kind of stuff happens. At this point, it’s a toss-up between Jeudy and Ruggs, and since Jeudy was my WR1 for a bit in this process, he gets the nod. They have incredible similar frames, have similar play styles, but Jeudy is the better route runner coming out of his breaks and has more-refined technique. Jeudy and Sutton together for Drew Lock is fun to think about.
16. Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
I’ll never understand why Kristian Fulton is getting faded in the eyes of scouts and draft gurus, but I have him pretty firmly as CB2 still. I know CJ Henderson is going to get buzz because of his strength and speed, but Fulton came out and impressed in the 40-yard dash and has better film. The Falcons surely could use an edge rusher, but their secondary was atrocious for the better part of the season. They get a plug-and-play outside corner in Fulton.
17. K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
The Buffalo Bills send picks 1.22, 3.86 and a 2021 6th-round pick to the Cowboys for pick 1.17.
The Bills have a need at edge, and while they’ve been linked with AJ Epenesa because of their success with bigger edge rushers, Chaisson slipping this far gives them reason to trade up. Chaisson isn’t as talked about this week because of his lack of participation, but he is still the second best edge rusher in the class.
18. Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
Thomas falling here seems crazy, but I seriously don’t believe the tackles all go in the top-17 picks, and he seems like the most likely to fall a bit. I think I’ve stuck with QB/OT with the Dolphins first two picks in every mock, and I hope they’re smart enough to do such a thing.
19. Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
The Philadelphia Eagles send picks 1.21 and 3.103 to the Raiders for 1.19 and a 2022 7th-round pick.
Henry Ruggs falling out of the top-twenty seemed asinine, and the Jaguars could definitely take him at 20. That’s why the Eagles give up a 3rd-round pick to jump them and get their new star wideout. Ruggs’ speed is undeniable, but go look up Henry Ruggs in high school playing basketball on Twitter. He’s one hell of an athlete, and he’s perfect for Carson Wentz.
20. CJ Henderson, CB, Florida
I hope Jaguars fans are coming around to the idea of not drafting a wide receiver until the 2nd round. Because with CJ Henderson sitting there, AJ Bouye likely a cap casualty, and the fact that Jalen Ramsey was traded for this pick, there really isn’t a decision. CJ Henderson’s Combine reminded everyone of his athleticism and potential, and while the tape doesn’t necessarily align with that at times, he is the third best corner in this class.
21. Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
The Las Vegas Raiders receive picks 1.21 and 3.103 from the Eagles for 1.19 and a 2022 7th-round pick.
The Raiders trade back and end up with the second-best linebacker in this draft. Kenneth Murray injuring himself on his second 40-yard dash attempt was the most disappointing part of last week to me, as I expected Murray to excel in the drills and separate himself from Patrick Queen. I know a lot of people have Queen here, and I don’t hate it. But Murray fixes a huge hole for Las Vegas.
22. Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
The Dallas Cowboys receive picks 1.22, 3.86 and a 2021 6th-round pick from the Bills for pick 1.17.
The Cowboys pick up two extra picks and select the same guy they would have at 17 with the 22nd overall pick. McKinney ran slow last week, but like with Derrick Brown, I do not care. He is still the best safety in this class (unless you consider Isaiah Simmons a safety, that is) and he will excel on this Cowboys team that should be halfway decent in 2020.
23. Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
I’ve mocked this before and I really do love that fit. The Patriots have a ton of needs, but LB is near the top of my list for them. Patrick Queen could end up being an All-Pro linebacker for many, many years. It’s the perfect pick for Billy B.
24. Cesar Ruiz, OL, Michigan
This has been a popular wide receiver pick for my mocks, but Cesar Ruiz was just incredibly solid at the Combine last week. He seems to have solidified himself as a first-round talent, and I think the Saints have a pretty big need on the inside of their line. Ruiz will have some immediate impact, and Alvin Kamara can rejoice.
25. Neville Gallimore, DL, Oklahoma
This seems like a really good place to trade back, but with the buzz continuing to surround Neville Gallimore, the Vikings need to stay put if they want him. He’s crazy athletic for an interior defensive linemen and the Vikings need to build up the trenches in the Draft (they can’t in free agency, right?). This seems like a nearly perfect fit.
26. JK Dobbins, RB, Ohio State
I called him a Combine loser in Episode 2.07 of The Cut, and then he ironically shot to the top of my RB board. Swift was a little slower than I expected, and because JK didn’t run, he stands pat in my rankings. His tape is better than Ezekiel Elliott when he was at Ohio State, and for that reason, I think this is actually a bit low for him.
27. AJ Epenesa, DL, Iowa
I think AJ Epenesa is getting trashed quite a bit, and while his Combine was pretty bad, the tape doesn’t lie. He’s still going to be a good football player, despite what some draft analysts are saying about him. I think he’s better off as a 3-tech, rather than a 5-tech, but I think he projects as a decently quick one and will be a good football player.
28. Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
One thing is certain: the Ravens are going to get a very good player with this pick. This time, it’s Justin Jefferson, one of our Combine winners and a definite first-rounder. He fell a little bit compared to my view of him, but the Ravens adding a bigger route-runner to complement Marquise Brown’s downfield speed makes a lot of sense.
29. Josh Jones, OT, Houston
I think this pick is a prime trade target for some teams. I also think that Jack Conklin is out the door, and the Titans will want to replace him with someone cheap, I’d assume. Insert a rookie deal and a really good offensive tackle who could slide into the right side pretty flawlessly today.
30. Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
I was high on Mims before the Combine (he was my WR9), but was hesitant to let people know that due to some inconsistencies in his game and an uncertainty about why I liked him. But his athleticism puts him here now and I know Randy is going to freak out on me for it. I don’t care. He’s fast. He’s athletic. He’s got great hands. He has the opportunity to be one of the best receivers in this draft, and joining Aaron Rodgers will surely help that case.
31. Antoine Winfield Jr., S, Minnesota
I am telling you that Winfield will have this first-round buzz before all is said and done. I think he’s a prime candidate to land in San Francisco, and I think that it’s a perfect fit. He ran fast at the Combine and seemed to impress people, so we’ll see just how far he climbs over the next two months.
32. Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
Gladney ran a little slower than expected at the Combine this week, but he was still fast, is a bigger guy, and actually fits the Chiefs scheme decently well. It’s a shock that he’s still here to most people, I am sure, but if he is, the Chiefs can’t miss on this one.
Bengals – Zack Baun, EDGE, Wisconsin
Cardinals (from Colts) – Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado
Lions – Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn
Giants – Josh Uche, EDGE, Michigan
Giants – AJ Terrell, CB, Clemson
Panthers – Ross Blacklock, DL, TCU
Dolphins – Jonathan Greenard, EDGE, Florida
Cardinals – Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State
Browns – Kyle Dugger, S, Lenoir-Rhyne
Jaguars – Ashtyn Davis, S, California
Bears – Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame
Colts – Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
Buccaneers – Austin Jackson, OT, USC
Broncos – Lucas Niang, OT, TCU
Falcons – D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
Jets – Julian Okwara, EDGE, Notre Dame
Steelers – Terrell Lewis, EDGE, Alabama
Bears – Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma
Cowboys – Justin Madubuike, DL, Texas A&M
Texans (from Rams) – Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
Eagles – Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah
Bills – Michael Pittman Jr., WR, USC
Falcons – Raekwon Davis, DL, Alabama
Dolphins – Lloyd Cushenberry III, OL, LSU
Rams (from Texans) – Matt Peart, OT, UCONN
Vikings – Jonah Jackson, OL, Ohio State
Seahawks – Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
Ravens – Jabari Zuniga, EDGE, Florida
Titans – Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State
Packers – Brycen Hopkins, TE, Purdue
Chiefs – Matt Hennessy, OL, Temple
Seahawks – Jack Driscoll, OT, Auburn
Bengals – Tyler Johnson, WR, Minnesota
Redskins – Cam Dantzler, CB, Mississippi State
Lions – Grant Delpit, S, LSU
Jets – Van Jefferson, WR, Florida
Panthers – KJ Hamler, WR, Penn State
Dolphins – Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
Chargers – Cam Akers, RB, Florida State
Cardinals – Prince Tega Wanogho, OT, Auburn
Jaguars – Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
Browns – Troy Dye, LB, Oregon
Colts – Marlon Davidson, DL, Auburn
Buccaneers – Rashard Lawrence, DL, LSU
Broncos – Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia
Falcons – Curtis Weaver, EDGE, Boise State
Jets – Netane Muti, OL, Fresno State
Raiders – Darnay Holmes, CB, UCLA
Raiders – Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia
Cowboys – Devin Duvernay, WR, Texas
Broncos – Malik Harrison, LB, Ohio State
Rams – Jeremy Chinn, S, Southern Illinois
Eagles – Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU
Cowboys – Adam Trautman, TE, Dayton
Patriots – Bradlee Anae, EDGE, Utah
Saints – Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame
Vikings – Harrison Hand, CB, Temple
Browns – Robert Hunt, OL, Louisiana
Raiders – Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise State
Ravens – Jordyn Brooks, LB, Texas Tech
Titans – Hunter Bryant, TE, Washington
Packers – Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia
Broncos – Alex Highsmith, EDGE, Charlotte
Chiefs – Zack Moss, RB, Utah