Updated: Aug 24, 2020
Well it’s been a while. I’ve quietly been writing mocks and vocally hating them. This has been a difficult year to figure out what is going to happen – especially after the first two picks. But after deliberation and a heightened level of research, this is what I came up with. Let’s do it.
1. Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
I still think that this pick could be traded for the right haul, but if the Bengals stay here, they have to select Joe Burrow. He may not be happy about it, but the Bengals and their fans should be.
2. Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
I was off of this pick for a while, and while I still think there’s a chance that the Redskins roll with another position, Chase Young is one of the best edge rusher prospects we’ve seen. With the importance of the position and the idea of having an edge duo of Chase Young and Montez Sweat for the coming years, I think they stick with Young.
3. Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
Los Angeles sends picks 1.06, 2.37, and a 2021 first-round pick to Detroit for pick 1.03.
“You can forget about Tua in the top five.” “No way does someone trade up for Tua.” I think what we’ve heard is a lot of smoke – and I think that the Chargers know they still have to get to three or four if they want their QB. Here, they sacrifice a ton, but get their guy that can ultimately sit the entire 2020 season – which is probably a good situation for Tua to be in.
4. Isaiah Simmons, Everything, Clemson
Dave Gettleman takes best player available. All the time. He has drafted Christian McCaffrey, Shaq Thompson, Kelvin Benjamin, Saquon Barkley, and Daniel Jones in the first round in recent memory. Sure, maybe there’s a world where one of these tackles is better than Isaiah Simmons – but it isn’t the one we’re living in. Simmons might not be the pick that I would make, but he sure as hell is worthy of a top-five selection.
5. Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
Justin Herbert is being widely-regarded as the QB3 (and sometimes 2) among scouts and GMs, according to all of the sources. And while I think that’s absolutely insane, it’s foolish of me to write a predictive mock draft and not have Justin Herbert going to the Miami Dolphins or Los Angeles Chargers. Here, it’s the Dolphins.***
***DISCLAIMER – I would not even think about doing this.
6. Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State
From trade with Chargers.
This is the ideal scenario for the Detroit Lions. Trade back, but stay within range of Jeff Okudah to solidify the secondary that would actually be pretty damn good if this was the selection. The Lions have quietly done great things in free agency and allowed for some flexibility with this pick, but with Okudah still on the board, Detroit can’t afford to pass up their Darius Slay successor.
7. Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
Some people think I’m crazy, but most draft pundits are warming up to the idea that Javon Kinlaw will be selected before Derrick Brown. This isn’t a knock on Brown, but an endorsement for Kinlaw. He’s incredibly raw and may struggle in his first season (similar to Quennen Williams), but I think he offers the most upside. Also, some Panthers analysts have suggested this may be the pick if they don’t trade back.
8. Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
Tampa Bay sends picks 1.14, 3.76 and a 2021 second-round selection to Arizona for pick 1.08.
The Bucs need a tackle to effectively protect Tom Brady, and after watching all of the tackles sliding, they decide to make a play to move up. Andrew Thomas isn’t my top-rated tackle, but he is the most pro-ready and offers the best set of skills to this Buccaneers roster. Have to be aggressive to get a tackle in this draft, and they do so here.
9. CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
Las Vegas sends picks 1.12 and 3.81 to Jacksonville for pick 1.09.
Give up one of your three third-round picks to get your guy at wide receiver? Absolutely. If the Raiders truly have a preference on these receivers, they likely have to jump the Jets (at least to feel comfortable). They have the capital in the third round to do so, and they go get the guy who has emerged as my clear number one receiver.
10. Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
I think trading back from this spot makes a lot of sense, but the 49ers don’t offer a good enough assortment of picks and the Browns stay and take one of the most athletic tackle prospects to ever come out of college. Wirfs is traditionally a right tackle, but with Andrew Berry stating that left and right don’t really matter to him (because the position is so fluid nowadays), I think they feel comfortable rolling with him and sliding him right into the starting left tackle role.
11. Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
I think the Jets could go a number of ways, but I still don’t believe that they will take a tackle here. I think K’Lavon Chaisson would be a better pick, but I can’t hate them selecting the guy who would be the number one receiver in plenty of other years. Sam Darnold gets a weapon and can finally show you why we put him above Barkley and Josh Allen in our 2018 redraft.
12. Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
From trade with Raiders.
I do think that the Jaguars need a cornerback, but I also still have my reservations about CJ Henderson. I know that scouts are touting him as a top-ten pick, but scouts are also touting Derrick Brown as such, and he falls all the way to them even after trade-back. Brown can be a perfect Calais Campbell replacement and the Jaguars can snag a corner later in the draft.
13. CJ Henderson, CB, Florida
I do have my reservations, but I did say this was predictive. To the 49ers fans who are angry that they didn’t get Ruggs, keep scrolling. To the 49ers fans who are happy with this pick, good. You’re smart. Getting the second-best corner in this draft is going to be way more impactful for your team than getting the third-best wide receiver. Especially with the player you get at 31.
14. Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
From trade with Bucs.
I think Kenneth Murray is being significantly undervalued for what he is – a do-it-all middle linebacker that would be a significant upgrade for the Arizona Cardinals. Some people think this is too high for Murray, but once you look at NFL Draft history and how it pertains to this position, you might feel better.
15. Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
I know. I know. You need a receiver Broncos fans. Brandon made that very clear when he came on the podcast last week. But Garett Bolles is bad at football and you can’t afford to watch penalty after penalty again this season. You’ll get a receiver later, but for now, you get a mammoth of a tackle that can come in and bump Bolles to “the right side of the sideline.”
16. Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Philadelphia sends picks 1.21, 3.103, and 4.127 to Atlanta for pick 1.16.
I think that, like Kenneth Murray, this is a player who has been undervalued for what he is. He’s never listed in the top-tier of receivers, and he should be. This is not a big-three. It’s a big-four. And in this case, the Eagles trade up and get the receiver they prefer rather than leaving it to chance.
17. Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
Whew. Amari Cooper, Henry Ruggs III, and Michael Gallup all together in one offense with Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott? Sign me up. I think Henry Ruggs is the perfect fit for this Cowboys offense and one that could push them over the top. Sure, the Cowboys have some defensive holes, but I don’t think they pass up Ruggs if he’s sitting there.
18. Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
No, this isn’t a mistake. If 3 quarterbacks go in the first 6 picks, it’s almost a definite that the tackles will start to slide. This time, my top tackle falls all the way to 18, creating a dream scenario for the Miami Dolphins. I’d hope the dream is more Tua and Wills, but it’s a dream scenario. Side note – you can interchange all of these tackles and I’m comfortable with it.
19. Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
I originally had Jeff Gladney slotted here, but he would break the mold of what Mike Mayock likes to do too significantly. Kristian Fulton was the CB2 on a championship team playing next to one of the best CB prospects in years (Stingley Jr. will likely end up better than Okudah by the time he’s draft eligible). He played through injury and did so effectively, and that toughness screams Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden. So sign me up.
20. K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
I know the Jaguars need corners and their fans think they need receivers. But when Yannick Ngakoue is traded (a foregone conclusion at this point), they’re going to need a guy to play opposite of Josh Allen. Chaisson fits that mold perfectly, and if he slides, I don’t think the Jaguars pass him up. Also, suddenly the Jaguars have one of the most promising young defensive fronts in football. Have to be happy about that, as a Jaguars fan, right? (Probably not).
21. Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
From trade with Eagles.
Three Tigers in a row? Not sure how likely that is but when you have debatably the greatest college football team ever, it’s also not unlikely. The Falcons have a lot of holes on defense, but getting a cornerstone linebacker is something that can’t really happen later in the draft. Getting a starting cornerback can. So the Falcons roll with Patrick Queen here.
22. Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
New Orleans sends picks 1.24 and 4.130 to Minnesota for pick 1.22.
Sending a fourth-round pick to move up two spots and select Drew Brees’ successor? Yeah, that’s worth it. I know the Saints don’t have a lot of draft capital and they still have some more immediate needs, but jumping in front of the Patriots might be necessary, despite their vote of confidence in Jarrett Stidham. The Saints decide not to risk it to jump up and get my QB3.
23. Cesar Ruiz, C, Michigan
Bill Belichick decided to roll with skill positions with his last two first round picks (Sony Michel and N’Keal Harry) and neither have worked out. Back to the trenches for Ruiz, who provides a significant upgrade from day one in the middle of the offensive line. I feel like no one mocks this, but I’m not exactly sure why.
24. Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
From trade with Saints.
Jeff Gladney is regarded as the CB3 for many in the draft community, and while he falls right where I have him ranked, I think the Vikings will see this as a steal. Replacing Trae Waynes won’t be too terribly difficult, but Jeff Gladney probably provides an upgrade right from the jump.
25. Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State
I don’t think I’ve mocked this yet, because I tend to trust my opinion before going predictive. My opinion is that Gross-Matos is very susceptible to being a bust, but maybe the Vikings provide an environment where he can succeed. Replacing Everson Griffen is no small task, but Gross-Matos will ease the blow a little bit. Don’t worry, Vikings fans. There are still tons of receivers in this draft.
26. Jeremy Chinn, S, Illinois State
Jeremy Chinn isn’t my top safety, but I do think he has the most potential (without injury risk – Antoine Winfield Jr. is going to be amazing if he stays healthy). Where I think McKinney can be a good starter, I think Chinn can be special. Getting someone like Chinn to shore up the back end of the secondary is risky, but you have to take risks sometimes in the draft. I could see the Dolphins doing so here.
27. Josh Jones, OT, Houston
The Seahawks have needs all over their offensive line and with Cesar Ruiz gone, rolling with one of the tackles makes more sense to me. Duane Brown is getting old and the Hawks don’t really have a viable replacement. The Eagles did this with Andre Dillard/Jason Peters last year, and that’s what good teams do. The Seahawks are a good team, so they do smart things.
28. Jordyn Brooks, LB, Texas Tech
I have a second round grade on Jordyn Brooks. But the buzz is that he’s going to be selected in the first round, and what better team to do it than the Ravens? If Brooks goes here, you’ll see his nearly-elite tackling skills drop the nearly, he’ll ultimately become amazing in coverage, and he’ll be an All-Pro. As a Browns fan, I have mixed feelings (I feel like this is a reach, but I also see what Brooks will be). As a Ravens fan, I’d be pretty happy with this selection.
29. Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah
I’ll be honest – I just put my rankings to the side and rolled with this based on buzz. I wouldn’t select Jaylon Johnson in the first round. I’d go with Noah Igbinoghene here. But Jaylon Johnson seems almost destined to be selected in the first, and the Titans have a larger need at corner than you’d think – especially if they can’t bring back Logan Ryan. I think he can play starting day one, and the Titans improve to continue their quest for a Super Bowl.
30. Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
The Packers have sneaky needs here and there, with the most pressing being linebacker. But with four linebackers already gone, the Packers roll with a receiver that has been getting some well-deserved first round buzz. Mims has inconsistencies on tape, but so did DK Metcalf. I had DK Metcalf going top ten last year, so you can see why I think Mims goes there this year.
31. Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
Again, I just put my rankings to the side here and thought about what the 49ers need. There aren’t too many more possession-type receivers that I’d reach for here, but the 49ers offense is based on quick, fast, big-play ability. Jalen Reagor provides that as long as he works on his hands. If nothing else, he’ll be electric in the return game.
32. D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
Miami sends picks 2.39, 4.141, and 5.173 to Kansas City for pick 1.32.
“Why trade up when he would be there 7 picks later???” – everyone who thinks that running backs don’t get selected until mid-to-late second. Getting a running back that complements Jordan Howard is a good idea, and sitting behind the Colts, Lions, Chargers, and Panthers doesn’t seem ideal (especially with the talent of this running back class). Sure, you can settle for the worst of the bunch. Or you can give a couple of picks that you don’t necessarily need to get a potentially elite talent.
I quite literally just set my rankings to the side for this. A majority of this is not what I would do, but rather what I think will happen.
Don’t sleep on Jalen Hurts sliding into the back end of the first. I initially had that mocked out and decided against it. But I’m torn.
Browns fans – this is perfect. With only one safety off the board, you’re sure to get one of the top safeties in this class.
If I extended this out, the Jaguars would probably get AJ Terrell or Damon Arnette with their next pick. Fret not.
I promise Jordyn Brooks is getting first round hype (whether I agree with it or not) – and it’s coming from NFL scouts. Make fun of me now, but we’ll talk next Thursday.
I will be posting my final mock the Wednesday before the draft. Hopefully we have a trade processed before then.
Check out our latest episode of the podcast. We did a (highly controversial) 2018 redraft and gave some 7-round mocks for our favorite teams.
Follow our Twitter, too (@thecutffl). We tweet good things.
Until next time.