Updated: Aug 24, 2020
Wwwwwwwwwhat’s up everyone!? I know I know, you don’t usually hear from me when it comes to the articles. I like to think of myself as the voice of the Cut, with Christian and Randy being the brains, especially when it comes to the NFL Draft (somewhat kidding about the voice of the Cut thing…… but not about the NFL Draft). But I’m back on the Cut, and on our Mega Mock Episode we talked about the four of us having a little friendly competition for the First Round of the 2020 NFL Draft. I’m here to give my picks for the first and second round to show them that you don’t have to be mock drafting since December to get these right.
This is going to be a predictive mock, as are Brandon’s, Randy’s and Christian’s for this competition. It’s also a no-trade scenario, but here and there you will see my notes about where I think a possible trade can come up along the way. I like to think my football knowledge is more fantasy-based (as you all already know), but I’m excited to give this a shot.
So without further dudes, let’s have some fun!
1. Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
This is the first draft in recent memory since 2016 where the number one pick has been known for the Bengals since December, as it should be. The Ohio State turned LSU product had one of the best seasons in the history of college football, and added some hardware to go along with it in the Heisman Trophy and a National Championship. Cincinnati needs a ton of help, but they need to address the signal caller. Gone are the days of the Red Rocket, so look for Mr. Burreaux to be the newest edition to the youth behind center in the AFC North.
2. Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
The best prospect in the 2020 NFL Draft comes off the board at number 2. While there have been increased talks of Washington possibly trading back and acquiring multiple first round picks from, say, Miami, I just don’t see it. Young is a generational talent on the edge and had a monster 2019, leading to a single-season school record 16.5 sacks and an invite to New York as a Heisman finalist. The Redskins drafted a DE last year with Jonathan Allen in the first round, and they pair him with The Predator to create a deadly duo.
3. Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State
3 straight Ohio State players off the board to start the draft (yes I’m still counting Burrow and his Ohio State degree). The Lions need A LOT of defensive help. But first and foremost they need to address their secondary, which saw Pro Bowler Darius Slay get traded to Philadelphia for a pair of draft picks. The Lions did bring Desmond Trufant over from Atlanta on a 2 year deal, but I don’t think that stops them from taking Slay’s replacement and the best secondary player in the 2020 class. Known around Columbus as Jefe, Okudah slides into a starting role right away.
4. Isaiah Simmons, OLB, Clemson
*Keep an eye on the Giants potentially trading out of this pick to stockpile if one of the QB needy teams wants to ensure they get Tua.
Possible trade partners: Miami, Oakland, Los Angeles Chargers
This one was tough for me. The logic behind the Giants taking an offensive tackle here, either Wirfs or Wills, can definitely be argued. OT is a glaring hole for New York, especially on the right side, and they need to protect their franchise QB. I also see a scenario where the Giants trade back and add a couple of picks. But with our mock being no trade, I think Gettleman goes for the best player available here, which is Simmons. This guy is a rare talent that can honestly play any defensive position you want him to (and yes he’s Christian’s favorite player in this draft). The Giants gave up 28 points per game last year, which was 3rd worst in the NFL. I think they address the defense and put Simmons at OLB, and let him dominate.
5. Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
Tua or Justin? Justin or Tua? This question was rolling around in my head. Miami needs line help, they need a Minkah Fitzpatrick replacement, but the fact is they need a QB. And they will have their choice of the safer yet more developmental option in Justin Herbert, who has been linked more often to the Phins in recent weeks, or the risk/reward option of Tua. That’s who I lean here. This pick is all going to come down to how Miami feels about the medical history and evaluation of Tagovailoa, because when he’s healthy he can very well be the best QB in this class. The man with 87 career touchdown passes, 7,442 career passing yards and a 2018 Heisman Trophy becomes the new face of the Miami Dolphins.
6. Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
Anthony Lynn claims to be all in on Tyrod Taylor for the Chargers this season, and why shouldn’t we believe a head coach with a comment like that? I kid, but I do think that with Simmons and Tagovailoa off the board already, the Chargers won’t be completely sold on Herbert and opt to improve their offensive line. LA would have their pick here, as Wirfs could very well be the first one off the board after a great combine and an amazing 2019 season.
7. Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
The Panthers would absolutely love Okudah or Simmons to fall to them here, but that isn’t the case. Derrick Brown is their backup option, which I’m sure they would be okay with. While Brown struggles a bit in the pass rush, he is the best all-around defensive lineman in this class, and there is a hole in this Carolina front seven with Dontari Poe, Gerald McCoy and Vernon Butler all elsewhere. Brown can play on the inside or outside depending on the front, and will be a dominant force in stopping running backs while improving his pass rushing. The Panthers take the first step in revamping their defense with this monster of a man.
8. Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
*Another team to keep an eye out for to trade down with the addition of Hopkins. Teams looking for a starting OT could move up here and grab their preference in Wills, Becton or Thomas
Possible Trade Partners: Tampa Bay, New York, Denver
A month ago, this would have been a no-brainer pick of Jerry Jeudy to Arizona to pair with Kyler Murray. Then Bill O’Brien happened. With the Cardinals adding maybe the best all-around receiver in the NFL, they address their largest need at RT in Jedrick Wills. Many have Wills as the best tackle in this class, and he’s the 2nd off the board here to Arizona. Wills slides in at RT right away, protecting Murray and solidifying the line after also extending D.J. Humphries to a 3 year deal.
9. Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
This is where some uncertainty starts to set in. Gardner Minshew was all the rage last year…. until he was benched for Nick Foles. I did consider Javon Kinlaw and C.J. Henderson here, but I think if the Chargers don’t go QB at 6, then the Jags pounce on Herbert when he falls to 9. Herbert needs some work, but he can sit behind Minshew for a season, who Jacksonville does not have much invested in, before he takes over in 2021. I don’t think Herbert falls back to them at No. 20 if they go elsewhere here, and with Nick Foles now in Chicago, Jacksonville adds what they hope to be their new franchise QB in the Oregon product.
10. Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
*Look for the Browns to possibly trade back if they’re not sold on Becton or Thomas here to add draft picks and Ezra Cleveland.
Possible Trade Partners: Oakland, Tampa Bay
This, to me, is a dream situation for the Browns. They’re in a great spot to address their huge hole on the offensive line, and have their pick of Thomas or Becton. A lot of analysts have the latter linked to the Browns, and I think that’s who they go with here. Cleveland added Jack Conklin in free agency to slide in at RT, and they take a lineman who can very well start Week One (even if he isn’t fully ready). Becton is a behemoth at 6’7 364 lbs., but moves like he weighs 250. While he may be a bit of a project when it comes to his technique, that will be addressed right away by OL coach Bill Callihan, who many believe is the best line coach in the NFL. The Browns make the right choice and have their starting LT of the future.
11. Ceedee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
With 3 tackles gone in the top 10 picks, look for the Jets to turn to a skill position to get Sam Darnold some help, which is one of their biggest needs. Robby Anderson is off to Carolina, meaning the best WR on the New York roster right now is Quincy Enunwa. I do think they have to consider Jerry Jeudy here also, but I’m believing the report that Lamb is on the top of the Jets WR draft board. He’s the best possession receiver in this stacked class, and that is what they need the most. New York fans will have a lot of Ceedee TD’s at Metlife.
12. Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
It was tough to not go C.J. Henderson here, as the Raiders desperately need help in their secondary. But after trading away Amari Cooper and suffering through the debacle that was Antonio Brown, Las Vegas takes who many think is the best receiver in the class to bolster a receiving corps that is in desperate need of a WR1. With another first round pick at 19, I think Las Vegas takes the top 10 talent of Jeudy and gets a quality guy when their name is called again.
13. C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
*This could be a possible trade back for SF, as they do not have a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th round pick but have 2 in the first. They could look to gain additional mid-round picks while still drafting a player they like in the first round.
Possible Trade Partners: Dallas, Indianapolis, Buffalo, Jacksonville
With the aforementioned Henderson still on the board for San Francisco, the Niners get a corner who sits at 6’1 204 lbs. to pair with the aging Richard Sherman to bolster a secondary that got exposed in the Super Bowl against Pat Mahomes and Co. A receiver would be in consideration for the Niners as well, but with Jeudy and Lamb off the board and having drafted Deebo Samuel last year who mimics the skills of Henry Ruggs, Kyle Shanahan gets his guy for the back end of his defense.
14. Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
With the way this board fell, the new look Buccaneers holds serve and still gets one of the top 4 offensive tackles to protect the new guy under center. Tampa Bay also needs a running back, but the availability of Thomas here is too good to pass up. Thomas started his career at Georgia as a RT before moving to the left side for his final 2 seasons, so he has some experience at both ends and could be a day one starter protecting Tom Terrific.
15. Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
This is a best-case-scenario for the Broncos, as only two WRs have come off the board and they have their choice of Ruggs or Jefferson at 15. Ruggs would be a great downfield threat to pair with Courtland Sutton for new Denver QB Drew Locke. While his route running needs to improve, he would slide in day one on Sutton’s other side to give the Broncos a significant offensive boost to go along with newly acquired Melvin Gordon and second year tight end Noah Fant.
16. Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina
The Falcons need a lot of defensive help after drafting Calvin Ridley 26th overall last year to pair with Julio Jones, and signing the injury enigma that is Todd Gurley in the offseason. While Atlanta would love to see Henderson fall to them at 16, this isn’t the case so they take who many believe is the best defensive lineman in this class in Kinlaw. Dan Quinn spoke about finding interior pressure being harder to find than edge rushers, so instead of taking a guy like Chaisson, they pick a physical freak who can become an unbelivable pass rusher.
17. K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
Because this is what we think teams are going to do, I gave SERIOUS consideration to drafting Justin Jefferson here. Dallas could definitely use another receiver to go with the newly signed Cooper, and Jefferson would absolutely fit what Dallas would need him to be. Doesn’t that also have a Jerry Jones pick written all over it? But I decided to go with the next best edge rusher in the class after Young in Chaisson. Dallas definitely needs defensive help now where they can bolster their receiving group later in the draft. The Cowboys desperately need speed off the edge, and Chaisson can deliver.
18. Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
With the second of 3 picks in the first round for Miami, I think this turns into a best player available strategy, which happens to also fill a position of need. The Dolphins signed Byron Jones, but McKinney is the best safety in the class, and he can also move all over the field. He’s a great tackler, and can lay the wood when he needs to. McKinney can be penciled in as a Week One starter in the Miami secondary, and will immediately make an impact.
19. Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
Back to back Alabama secondary players come off the board here. There has been a lot of buzz in recent weeks that Diggs is going to be drafted in the first round, and I gave him the nod over guys like Gladney and Terrell to give the Raiders their CB1 to pair with Trayvon Mullen. The brother of Stefon would slide in right away and could also be used on special teams to return punts or kicks. He has great ball skills with being a wide receiver turned corner. Las Vegas addresses 2 glaring needs with their first 2 picks of the draft.
20. Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
After adding their franchise QB with Justin Herbert at 9, the Jaguars pick a running mate in the 6’1 wide receiver. Jefferson exploded onto the scene at LSU in 2019, and many think he is in the same class with Lamb, Ruggs and Jeudy in terms of potential. The Jaguars just release Marquise Lee 4 days before the draft, which makes you think they will be in the market for a pass catcher. With Dede Westbrook already in the slot for Jacksonville, Jefferson can be moved outside to pair with D.J. Chark and give the Jags quite the young duo to go with Herbert.
21. Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
Philadelphia is in line to take advantage of this great receiver class, so this is a best receiver available pick after Jefferson was snatched by the Jaguars the pick before. The Eagles desperately need a weapon on the outside for Carson Wentz, and they get just that in the Arizona State product who excels in yards after the catch. While unable to participate in the Senior Bowl due to a core muscle surgery, Aiyuk has been linked to the Eagles for several weeks and this appears to be a perfect landing spot for him.
22. Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
The Vikings need a WR to pair with Adam Thielen after trading away Stefon Diggs, but they also pick again at No. 25. They take their other primary need here at cornerback. With Mackensie Alexander, Trae Waynes and Xavier Rhodes all on new rosters, Gladney can have a shot to start right away for Minnesota. While there is a drop off at the cornerback position after the top 2, Gladney has gotten increased first round buzz in recent weeks. He plays above his size at 5’10, and can match up with the bigger receivers that he will see 2 times a season in the NFC North.
23. Zack Baun, OLB, Wisconsin
The ever pressing question of what Bill Belichick will do in a draft was upon me for this pick. I could see them going edge rusher or wide receiver; I could even see them taking Jordan Love to fill their need at QB after Tom’s departure. But instead, I went with what I believe is the safe and logical pick here for New England in Baun. Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins and Elandon Roberts all left in free agency, and Belichick loves versatile linebackers that can be all over the field. He can slide in at edge or outside linebacker, and had 12.5 sacks last season at Wisconsin.
24. Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
Whew boy did I want to take Jordan Love here. Christian said on the podcast that he is full sending him to be the future of he New Orleans Saints. But the more I thought about it, the more I saw the Saints address their huge needs on the defensive side of the ball (which also means I win the bet, take that Christian). Queen is a tad undersized, but he can be an every down linebacker for a New Orleans team that needs it. He comes alive when the lights are brightest, and he just so happened to go to school 80 miles down I-10 E.
25. Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
This is why he’s hot (I needed one of my patented bad jokes in here, and this makes perfect sense). After taking secondary help with pick 22, the Vikings land a guy who can replace Stefon Diggs and learn from the great Adam Thielen. At 6’3 207, he not only is a red zone threat but can hit the next gear when he needs to, which he showed countless times in Waco. With his combination of speed and size, Mims could end up being a steal for Minnesota in the back end of the first round.
26. Austin Jackson, OT, USC
After going with skill picks in their first 2 with Tagovailoa and McKinney, the Dolphins add a big presence inside to improve their offensive line in Jackson. There have been whispers that Jackson could potentially join the top four tackles and be drafted in the first round, so I like Miami taking him with their 3rd first round pick. He was a bit inconsistent at USC, but he has a great first step and can work on his hand placement to get better at handling speed off the edge. Look for Jackson as the first offensive line help that the Dolphins begin to address.
27. Cesar Ruiz, C/G, Michigan
In our Mega Mock episode, I was stuck with this pick after Brandon took Ruiz to the Dolphins the pick before. But with Miami addressing tackle at 26, Ruiz is a no-brainer choice here for Seattle. The Seahawks need to add a guard as well as an edge rusher, but with the number one interior lineman still on the board in Ruiz, Seattle snags their guy at 27.
28. Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
The Ravens are drafting for need here, but they don’t need much. Baltimore takes a linebacker in Murray that can play any of the 3 spots. He’s slightly behind Queen, but is still a top end linebacker who can get into the backfield at will to counteract guys like Joe Mixon and Nick Chubb. He can also improve in the pass rush which would make him an elite option, something the Ravens are happy to get at 28.
29. Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State
Tennessee added Vic Beasley in free agency, but they bring on another edge rusher at the end of the first in Gross-Matos. He’s consistent in both containing the run and rushing the passer, which added up to 15 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks in his final year at Penn State. He would project as an end in the 3-4 Tennessee scheme, but the defense first coach Mike Vrabel adds a valuable piece for his front 7 here.
30. Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
Remember those days where fantasy analysts were arguing day and night about who would have the breakout season between Geronimo Allison and Marquez Valdes-Scantling? Ahhh memories. The Packers need a weapon to pair with Davante Adams, as neither of those young receivers turned out to be much of anything in 2019. They added Devin Funchess in free agency, but Rodgers needs a reliable option who can go up and catch the football while staying on the field. That’s what Green Bay gets in the 6’3 Higgins. He had 27 career touchdowns at Clemson, which tied a couple of well-known names in Sammy Watkins and Deandre Hopkins.
31. Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise State
*If the Niners keep their pick at 13, I really think they trade back here and allow one of the teams that are either WR or QB needy to trade back into the first. SF would stockpile some picks to get back into day 2 of the draft, and maybe allow a team to go for Jordan Love here.
Possible Trade Partners: Indianapolis, New England, New Orleans, Los Angeles Chargers
I don’t think the 49ers keep this pick, but if they did, I think Cleveland is a perfect fit. The 49ers struggled to stay healthy along their offensive line last year, with tackles Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey both missing time. Cleveland has been getting first round buzz, and would act as a safety net should one of the San Francisco tackles go down again in 2020. If not, he can sit behind Staley and learn as much as possible to eventually take over for the veteran and provide much needed depth to the position.
32. D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
In our Mega Mock, I gave Christian some grief about taking Swift here, because all the dude talks about is running backs. But honestly, the more I thought about it, the more sense it makes to add him to a Kansas City offense that really doesn’t have many holes. They brought back Damien Williams, but Swift gives them a great pass-catching option out of the backfield that Andy Reid can have a field day with. While the Chiefs could also use a guard and cornerback, this is too good of an opportunity for Reid and the Chiefs to pass up. (Did I just agree with Christian? Gross).
33. Cincinnati — Josh Jones, OT, Houston
34. Indianapolis — Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
35. Detroit — Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU
36. New York Giants — Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia
37. Los Angeles Chargers — Jacob Eason, QB, Washington
38. Carolina — A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson
39. Miami — J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio State
40. Houston — A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa
41. Cleveland — Grant Delpit, S, LSU
42. Jacksonville — Justin Madubuike, DT, Texas A&M
43. Chicago — Lloyd Cushenberry III, C, LSU
44. Indianapolis — Michael Pittman Jr., WR, USC
45. Tampa Bay — Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
46. Denver — Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
47. Atlanta — Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State
48. New York Jets — Robert Hunt, G, Louisiana
49. Pittsburgh — Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma
50. Chicago — Antoine Winfield Jr., S, Minnesota
51. Dallas — Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah
52. Los Angeles Rams — Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn
53. Philadelphia — Jordyn Brooks, LB, Texas Tech
54. Buffalo — Marlon Davidson, EDGE, Auburn
55. Baltimore — Julian Okwara, EDGE, Notre Dame
56. Miami — Damien Lewis, G, LSU
57. Los Angeles Rams — Terrell Lewis, LB, Alabama
58. Minnesota — Josh Uche, EDGE, Michigan
59. Seattle — Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
60. Baltimore — Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU
61. Tennessee — Jordan Elliot, DT, Missouri
62. Green Bay — Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame
63. Kansas City — Cameron Dantzler, CB, Mississippi State
64. Seattle — Lucas Niang, OT, TCU