Updated: Aug 24, 2020
Oh, this will be fun. I already know this mock will garner hate. That’s okay. If I were the GM for all 32 teams, there would be something wrong with the world. But it’s actually pretty fun to pretend, so please forgive my selections here. Or don’t. That’s fine. I’m only doing a first round, but I am including trades. Let’s get into it.
1. Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
Welp. Here’s where people say “I stopped at number one.” Here’s my rationale, though. Andy Dalton threw for 2,252 yards, 9 touchdowns, and had a QB rating of 77.9 prior to being benched, per Pro Football Reference. That’s not phenomenal, but that’s also not as bad as people have made it out to be. He was also in a brand new offense, one that was drastically different from the Marvin Lewis experience that he was accustomed to. Chase Young really is the most elite talent in this class and with Joe Burrow’s small sample size, Tua’s injury history, and a somewhat competent quarterback, passing on him is pretty crazy. Chase Young would also be less impactful than Burrow, allowing the Bengals to suck again and get Justin Fields or Trevor Lawrence. I know this isn’t popular and it’s a bit unorthodox, but it’s what I would do.
2. Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
Dolphins trade picks 1.05, 1.26, 5.154 and a 2021 third-round pick to the Redskins for pick 1.02.
I know I just downplayed Joe Burrow, but he really is one of the most pro-ready quarterbacks I’ve ever seen. The small sample size is concerning, but the Dolphins have reportedly been looking to trade up for the number one overall pick. They have a drastic need at quarterback, as Ryan Fitzpatrick is 37 years old and Josh Rosen is not very good at football. In this mock, their target is still sitting there at 2, so the trade-up is a must. The Redkins’ decision to trade back makes sense because of the haul and lack of apparent need at quarterback. I think this would be a win-win for the two teams.
3. Isaiah Simmons, Swiss Army Knife, Clemson
I know that Jeff Okudah is a popular pick. I know that corner is probably more important than linebacker or safety. I also know that Isaiah Simmons is a different type of player. He’s not just a linebacker. He’s not just a safety. I think he’s a nickel corner. I think he’s a MIKE, a WILL, a SAM, and truly encapsulates the Swiss Army Knife title that I gave him above. Obviously, I value Simmons higher than most, but I truly believe he’s just a weapon. Matt Patricia would have fun with a player like Simmons.
4. Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
Jedrick Wills is the best tackle in this draft class. His technique is the most refined. He’s a mammoth. His use of hands is outstanding. And the Giants need to protect their top-ten QB and open up lanes for their top-five RB. I don’t have much to say here because this has been the easiest pick thus far.
5. CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
From trade with Dolphins.
The Redskins’ need at corner lessened when Kendall Fuller signed, and I think their defense is actually pretty well-equipped for the future. Their WR2 is a mixture of Steven Sims Jr., Kelvin Harmon, and Trey Quinn. If Dwayne Haskins has any shot at succeeding, he’s going to need more weapons. Insert CeeDee. CeeDee and Terry McLaurin would be a scary WR duo and would almost immediately put the Redskins in contention the NFC East, provided that Dwayne Haskins is competent.
6. Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
I would love to take a tackle here. I think the chances of Trey Pipkins being anything more than serviceable are slim to none. But with Tua here, this is a no-brainer. The need at quarterback supersedes that of the tackle, and Tua can sit behind Tyrod for as long as necessary. Taking the exact model that the Cleveland Browns deployed is a little frightening, but it could pay off in the future.
7. Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State
Replacing James Bradberry with a player that is quite clearly better already is a dream scenario for the Panthers. Okudah has the potential to be the best corner in the league, and Matt Rhule would have his cornerstone defensive player to build around. Easy, easy pick.
8. CJ Henderson, CB, Florida
Raiders trade picks 1.12, 3.80, and a 2021 fourth-round pick to the Cardinals for pick 1.08.
I know this seems silly. The need at wide receiver is pretty astounding. What’s crazy is that I believe corner is a bigger need. Eli Apple won’t be the savior in that secondary – I’m sorry to break it to you, Raiders fans. CJ Henderson just might be. I think he has a lot of work to do to become a top-tier corner in the NFL, but the potential is massively high, and it’s worth the capital to snag their new CB1.
9. K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
I know the Jaguars just drafted Josh Allen in the first round last year. I also know that Yannick Ngakoue is likely out the door. Furthermore, I know that CJ Henderson was just sniped from them. I know Derrick Brown is a popular pick here, but this EDGE class is pretty shallow, and this would be a best-case scenario replacement for Ngakoue. Plus, pairing Chaisson with Allen would make up one of the most interesting edge duos in the league.
10. Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
This is a dream scenario for the Browns. Wirfs is the perfect fit for Kevin Stefanski’s scheme, is an athletic freak, and I think that he can slide over to the left side. While I still believe that he’s an All-Pro guard and simply a great tackle, the need at LT makes this an easy selection.
11. Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
I will be the first one to tell you that the Jets botched free agency. They actually somehow made their offensive line worse, in my opinion, and they still have a significant need at left tackle. Jerry Jeudy is good enough to make that point moot. The Jets, above all else, need weapons. They need guys that can get open quickly and often, and Jeudy’s elite route running will allow for that. Sure, he’s probably best in the slot where Jamison Crowder plays. But they could make it work, and I know this would please Sam Darnold.
12. Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
From trade with Raiders.
DJ Humphries got some money this offseason, sort of indicating that they believe in his improvement in year two of Operation Protect Kyler. The Cardinals need some linebacking help, and Kenneth Murray provides that. I understand the concern surrounding Murray’s coverage ability. He didn’t have the opportunity to drop into coverage much at Oklahoma. He is athletic enough to keep up with tight ends and running backs, though, and the physical tools that he possesses warrants this selection, in my mind.
13. Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama
Henry Ruggs and Deebo Samuel would be quite the intriguing duo. I think the 49ers have an unusually large amount of needs for a Super Bowl runner-up, but the loss of Emmanuel Sanders should not be understated. The replacement for Sanders just happens to be a much faster kid that’ll probably outrun Jimmy G’s arm. I think this opens the door for Shanahan’s offense to expand and Jimmy G to return to some sort of good form.
14. Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
If I’m being honest, Mekhi Becton is ranked ahead of Thomas for me. Barely, but he is. Thomas, however, is the more pro-ready prospect, and clearly Tampa believes they are on a tight window to win a Super Bowl. Pro-ready is necessary to keep Brady off his ass, and they get probably the best pure pass protector in the entire draft in the middle of the first. This one was pretty easy, too.
15. Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
I don’t believe this is the largest need the Broncos have. But I also don’t think they can pass up the opportunity of upgrading at LT with this mammoth of a man. Becton has to prove a lot once he gets to camp (whenever that may be), but if he hits his potential, he could be a perennial All-Pro. Drew Lock would probably enjoy this pick.
16. Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
I feel as though trading this pick might be a good idea. I just can’t see who would jump the Cowboys and Dolphins. Both teams have a lot of needs and will likely draft BPA. So the Falcons settle for my DT1, pairing Kinlaw with Grady Jarrett, Tak McKinley, and Dante Fowler to make a beast of a defensive line.
17. Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
While I do think the Cowboys still have a ton of needs, none is more glaring than at corner, where Anthony Brown and Chidobe Awuzie are slotted as outside starters as of 4/1/2020. People are fading Fulton, and I think it’s mostly the result of seeing what Stingley Jr. did across the field. Fulton was good in 2019. And he played through injury. He’s not Byron Jones right now and he’s a bit of a different player, but he could be a great one.
18. Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
Even with the multiple large signings that the Dolphins secured early in free agency, they still have a ton of needs. Derrick Brown is by far the best player available here and he fits the need. Putting Derrick Brown on a defense that should actually be decent already would be a game-changer.
19. Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Getting a different type of receiver in the building is something I feel is very important in Las Vegas. Tyrell Williams wins on go routes. Hunter Renfrow is a good possession receiver. Darren Waller eats up the middle of the field. Jason Witten…. never mind. Justin Jefferson can do a bit of all of this. He’s incredibly refined in his route running and would give Derek Carr a more complete weapon. Plus, he went to LSU – we know how Mayock loves his blue chips.
20. Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
Oh boy. I like Gardner Minshew. I really think he showed promise as a rookie. I also don’t know if it’s going to continue as such. Jordan Love’s upside significantly outweighs Gardner Minshew’s, and I actually think he would be a good fit in this offense. Would he struggle to beat out Minshew at the beginning of 2020? Absolutely – especially with rookie camps in doubt. But do I think he could perhaps turn into the biggest steal of the draft down the road?
21. Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
This is becoming sort of a popular pick, but I wouldn’t have made it if Justin Jefferson or one of the other receivers fell to 21. Since they didn’t, the Eagles upgrade from Jatavis Brown and get one of the prospects that I am most confident in in this entire draft.
22. Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
I wanted to trade this pick, too. I just think the need at corner is too substantial to pass Gladney up – especially with the Saints sitting ahead of their second pick. Gladney can come in and start right away, and I think it’s definitely necessary if the Vikings plan to contend again in 2020.
23. Cesar Ruiz, C, Michigan
I don’t necessarily believe that Jarrett Stidham is the guy. But I also don’t believe that Herbert would be either, and I’m not sure Jalen Hurts fits exactly what the Patriots want to accomplish. Insert Cesar Ruiz, my top ranked interior offensive lineman. Ruiz is tenacious, a beast in run blocking, and would be an upgrade (or at the very least, insurance) from David Andrews on the inside of the offensive line in New England.
24. Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
Packers trade picks 1.30, 3.94, & 6.209 to New Orleans for pick 1.24.
If I’m the Packers, I’m trading up for a receiver. Fortunately, the last receiver that I think is worthy of that is still sitting there at 24, where the Saints, due to their salary cap situation, are likely to trade back and pick up some extra capital. Mims is the perfect complement to Davante Adams, in my opinion, and would provide Aaron Rodgers with a viable option that isn’t running routes out of the backfield.
25. AJ Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa
In a perfect world, there would be a receiver worth taking here. Unfortunately, as we’ve seen recently, the world is far from perfect. Instead, the Vikings get a guy who can play opposite of Danielle Hunter and help bandage up the loss of Everson Griffen. It’s not my favorite pick here, but it’s something that needs to be done. Why not do it now?
26. Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
From trade with Dolphins.
Passing up on Jeff Okudah was tough earlier in this mock, and I talked about the defense being well-equipped for the future. I don’t necessarily think that the Redskins should be confident in Sean Davis at free safety. Insert Xavier McKinney. I know there is still a need a corner, but pairing McKinney with Landon Collins and mixing it with the pass rush would make opposing quarterbacks’ lives more difficult. McKinney admittedly fell way too far, but he’s finally off the board at the back end of the first.
27. Josh Jones, OT, Houston
This is why it’s called the ‘What I Would Do’ mock. I know that the Seahawks likely won’t do this. But Duane Brown is now entering his 13th season, and there’s a necessity to keep Russell Wilson upright. Josh Jones learning under a veteran such as Brown would be helpful, and there’s potential that he could be their starting left tackle for many, many years.
28. D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
Swift isn’t my RB1. He’s not even my RB2. But he is the best pass-catching running back in this class outside of maybe Clyde Edwards-Helaire. He and Mark Ingram would be an upgrade from Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards, and it would add a new level to the crazy rushing attack that the Ravens have. I know it isn’t even remotely a need, but when you’re as good as the Ravens should be in 2020, you can afford this type of pick.
29. Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia
If I’m the Titans, I’m trying to recreate 2019 as closely as possible. I don’t think the Titans have a viable replacement for Jack Conklin, who was incredibly vital to what the Titans do on offense. Isaiah Wilson is actually my next tackle, and I think his strengths are similar to Conklin’s. The Titans would be able to keep the ball rolling into 2020 with the reassurance that Derrick Henry will still have running lanes.
30. Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
From trade with Packers.
Do I think that Justin Herbert will be great? Not today. Do I think that learning under Drew Brees could be career-changing for him? Yeah, probably. Taysom Hill is not the future at quarterback, and Herbert could stand to sit behind a GOAT for a season or two. This feels eerily similar to Favre-Rodgers now that I’m thinking about it, but here we are.
31. JK Dobbins, RB, Ohio State
Bucs trade picks 2.45 & 3.76 to San Francisco for picks 1.31 & 6.210.
“bUt rOnAlD jOnEs BrOkE oUt In 2019.” Get out of here. The Bucs need a running back, and while I’ve leaned Jonathan Taylor as a good fit in the past, I think JK has a more all-around nature to him that Bruce Arians would like. Does this cost a lot of draft capital? Sure. Can the Bucs afford to fork up said capital? Absolutely if they believe they are going to contend for the next two years.
32. Antoine Winfield Jr., S, Minnesota
Panthers trade picks 2.38 & 4.113 to Kansas City for pick 1.32.
The Panthers are both half-empty and half-full. They’re kind of in a rebuild, but kind of want to win. It’s an interesting strategy, but one that worked for Seattle. Antoine Winfield Jr. is worth losing an extra pick. He has been compared to the Honey Badger, and it’s justifiable. Flip on his tape and you see that he’s everywhere. The Panthers need talent, and trading up for Winfield would be a genius move.
I’ve said it before, but I personally would draft a running back in the first round (to get the extra contract year) if I thought there was a chance he could be elite. Both of these guys plus Jonathan Taylor get that designation in my eyes, so two went.
The Chiefs desperately need a corner. Trading back six spots and picking up the extra fourth (to likely select another corner) is justifiable in my mind because the discrepancy between the next few corners on my board is very small.
No Yetur Gross-Matos, you ask? No. I have a few more guys ranked ahead of him, and I know I’m in the minority, but I believe that if he’s a first rounder, he has bust written all over him.
I use Draft Tek to get pick values, but also reference back to previous trades.
I could very well see Jeremy Chinn also somehow sneaking into the first. I actually have McKinney, Winfield, and Chinn all within the tiniest of margins. They’re nearly interchangeable to me.
“This is why you aren’t a GM” comments are not welcome. I do value guys differently than your mainstream media, but at least I’m not as bad as Maurice Jones-Drew.
Thanks for reading! This was a fun one and actually flowed more freely than my mocks typically do. Let me know what you think (if you’re a respectful human being).
Until next time!