NFL mock draft 2020: Combine results shake up first-round picks for Cowboys, Packers, Browns, others
The biggest stage for the top prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft has come and gone. Last week’s NFL Combine in Indianapolis did not shake things up too much, but with most players having been on display for all 32 teams at the same time, we now have little more clarity regarding pecking order.
There is more information across the big board to better determine both who remains worthy of first-round consideration and who deserves more of it. Without further ado, with less than two months to go before the draft starts April 23, here’s our latest edition of projecting where prospects will be picked.
NFL DRAFT BIG BOARD:
Top 100 players in the 2020 draft class
NFL mock draft 2020
1. Cincinnati Bengals (2-14)
Forget the hand size and rampant rumors of Burrow trying to avoid the Bengals. Unless another team gets aggressive and makes Cincinnati an offer it can’t refuse, he will be the next franchise quarterback under offensive-minded coach Zac Taylor. At 6-3, 221 pounds, Burrow combines his mental and physical toughness in the pocket with a strong arm and accurate delivery. During his amazing Heisman Trophy- and national championship-winning run with the Tigers, his leadership skills and athleticism flourished at an unprecedented college level.
2. Washington Redskins (3-13)
With defensive-minded Ron Rivera hired as coach, assuming the Redskins also do not get a can’t-refuse offer to trade back, they should jump at the chance to get this cornerstone talent for the team’s defensive rebuild. Young (6-5, 264 pounds) is a game-changing disruptor who had 16.5 sacks in only 12 games as a junior. He can produce at an all-around level even higher than that of Nick Bosa, who went No. 2 from the Buckeyes to the 49ers and promptly dominated as SN’s Rookie of the Year.
3. Detroit Lions (3-12-1)
Some think the Lions might consider drafting Tua Tagovailoa as Matthew Stafford’s near-future successor, and even more feel they are positioned to trade back. Should they keep this pick and go non-QB, Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn, with a win-now ultimatum, need to consider the best defensive player available to deliver the most immediate impact. Detroit also can consider cornerback and defensive line here, but it did have atrocious linebacker play last season. Simmons was all over the field at all times in college with great speed and range at 6-3, 238 pounds, and he also can get to the quarterback. He posted 104 tackles, 7 sacks, 16.5 tackles for loss and 3 interceptions in 15 games last season.
4. New York Giants (4-12)
If Simmons is off the board, Dave Gettleman should be thinking about offensive and defensive linemen to help the Giants in their rebuild. Wills, though, is the draft’s best “hog molly” to put in front of Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley. The 6-4, 312-pounder is a strong, powerful run-blocker who needs a little time to develop into an elite pass-protector.
5. Miami Dolphins (5-11)
The Dolphins have been attached to Tagovailoa, but with some other QB options developing, they might not be aggressive in going after him. Should Simmons be off the board at this point, Okudah would make for a sneaky-good pairing with Xavien Howard on the back end of the defense. Okudah, an elite ball hawk at 6-1, 205 pounds, has the build to handle receivers of all sizes. He is fluid and quick enough with great recovery skills in coverage to develop into a shutdown type with his strengths showing up in press man.
6. Los Angeles Chargers (5-11)
With Tagovailoa (6-0, 217 pounds) on track to recover from the hip injury that cut short his final college season, QB-needy teams have more confidence in his potential to be as successful in the NFL as they think Burrow will be. The Chargers, moving on Philip Rivers, have Tyrod Taylor as a bridge should Tagovailoa need more time. When healthy, Tagovailoa is an accurate, mobile, deep-ball throwing QB with the upside of Russell Wilson, only throwing with his left arm. Anthony Lynn is the right kind of coach to develop him.
7. Carolina Panthers (5-11)
The Panthers need a linchpin as they try to get better against the run and reconstruct their front seven. Brown has shined throughout the draft process as the most impactful interior defensive prospect. At 6-4, 326 pounds, he is a quick disruptor who makes a lot of plays in the backfield.
8. Arizona Cardinals (5-10-1)
The Cardinals surely noticed Wirfs’ domination at the Combine. They re-signed left tackle D.J. Humphries but will still be focused on improving pass protection for Kyler Murray and better opening holes for (likely) Kenyan Drake. Wirfs has the athleticism at 6-5, 320 pounds to hold down the left side for a long time. He combines his pass-blocking skills with power and physicality in the running game.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars (6-10)
After cutting Marcell Dareus, the Jaguars need a big-time interior line boost between their strong edge options. The 6-5, 324-pound Kinlaw posted 6 sacks in 12 games for the Gamecocks last season. He was impressive at the Senior Bowl (on and off the field) to further boost his stock.
10. Cleveland Browns (6-10)
The Browns have an amazing set of skill players around Baker Mayfield, but their pass protection was the reason they were slow to find their explosiveness early in 2019. That will change with run-tilted and offensive-minded new coach Kevin Stefanski. Becton (6-7, 364 pounds) has gotten more attention for his strong and powerful frame, and he has shown he can be smooth in his movements. He is willing to work hard to become as good in pass protection as he is overwhelming blockers when setting the edge against the run.
11. New York Jets (7-9)
Knowing the wideout class is deep enough to address later in the draft, the Jets can go for blocking over receiving in the first round. Thomas matches great size (6-5, 315 pounds) with good hands and footwork. Coach Adam Gase also will love what Thomas can do to open holes for the running game.
12. Las Vegas Raiders (7-9)
The Raiders have a glaring need for a top receiver no matter who their QB is, Derek Carr or someone else, in 2020. The Antonio Brown debacle is behind them, but they also need to worry about Tyrell Williams coming off a disappointing season and foot surgery. Lamb can be the Raiders’ version of DeAndre Hopkins, an explosive field-stretcher and steady possession guy outside. At 6-1, 198 pounds, Lamb needed only 58 receptions to post 1,208 yards and 14 TDs in 13 games last season.
13. Indianapolis Colts (7-9)
Herbert has the size (6-6, 236 pounds) and underrated athleticism that’s ideal for a team needing to look to its QB future beyond Jacoby Brissett. Although Herbert is efficient and mentally tough, there are times when he can go into a slump with his decision-making, forcing throws out of overconfidence. With good NFL coaching, however, he can live up to being a prototypical superstar, signs he showed at the Senior Bowl. Frank Reich would have a strong influence on him.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9)
The Bucs will do their best to keep pending free agent Shaquil Barrett, but they still need more pop in Todd Bowles’ 3-4 pass rush. Epenesa (6-5, 275 pounds) is a powerful, explosive, big-bodied player. He can push blockers out of the way to get to the QB and also stands up strong against the run. He confirmed his top-10 status with 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble against USC in the Holiday Bowl.
15. Denver Broncos (7-9)
The Broncos have Courtland Sutton, DaeSean Hamilton and Noah Fant to help Drew Lock in the downfield passing game, but here’s the weapon to round things out in the receiving corps. Jeudy fits the profile as a No. 1 receiver; he is a classic intermediate to deep field-stretcher and smooth drive-finisher in the red zone at 6-1, 193 pounds.
16. Atlanta Falcons (7-9)
Chaisson (6-3, 254 pounds) has a great name for an elite, active defender who chases after QBs and RBs alike. He had 6.5 sacks and 60 tackles during LSU’s championship run, and like several teammates, his draft stock shot up throughout the season. He is an effective hybrid player who can work in Dan Quinn’s 4-3 scheme.
17. Dallas Cowboys (8-8)
The Cowboys need an upgrade at free safety to get better at covering backs and tight ends. At 6-0, 201 pounds, McKinney could do it all for Dallas to complement Xavier Woods, handling tight ends in coverage and cleaning up against running backs.
18. Miami Dolphins (from Steelers)
With three picks in the first round, the Dolphins can wait for high-ceiling QB without having to reach. Love (6-4, 224 pounds) didn’t waste his opportunity at the Senior Bowl. He has terrific size and immense physical skills, including a big arm, and his athleticism bodes well if his accuracy, decision-making and footwork can become cleaner with good NFL coaching.
19. Las Vegas Raiders (from Bears)
The Raiders can turn to defense with the second of its first-round picks to address one of the NFL’s least impactful linebacker units. Queen (6-0, 229 pounds) has great range when either working downhill against the run or moving all over the field in coverage. He is relatively small but is the type of linebacker who can have a major impact from any alignment.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars (from Rams)
The Jaguars need to improve their secondary, too, and they can do it by drafting a solid coverage solution with the pick they acquired in the Jalen Ramsey trade. Fulton (6-0, 197 pounds) has the size, speed, smarts and sound coverage skills to have a long, prosperous career, which is why he felt confident enough to pull out of the Senior Bowl.
21. Philadelphia Eagles (9-7)
The Eagles need more speed, quickness and big-play ability at wide receiver with Alshon Jeffery fading, DeSean Jackson aging (and hurting) and Nelson Agholor leaving. Ruggs (5-11, 188 pounds) fits the bill as a field-stretcher who also can use his route-running skills to win on shorter routes.
22. Buffalo Bills (10-6)
The Bills hit on outside threat John Brown and slot man Cole Beasley in last year’s free agency to boost Josh Allen and the offense as a whole. Higgins working the perimeter would a perfect complement. The Clemson product is a dangerous, all-around playmaker who can be a force in the red zone. At 6-4, 216 pounds, he posted 59 receptions for 1,167 yards and 13 TDs in 15 games last season. He also rushed for a 36-yard score against LSU in the title game.
23. New England Patriots (12-4)
The Patriots need to get younger at safety given their starters are pending free agent Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung. Delpit flies around the field, stopping the run like an extra linebacker and making big plays on the ball in downfield coverage. He plays like the Chargers’ Derwin James with tremendous hybrid size (6-2, 213 pounds) for the position.
24. New Orleans Saints (13-3)
The Saints need to get Drew Brees a legitimate complementary No. 2 wideout opposite Michael Thomas. They can stay in-state with Jefferson (6-1, 202 pounds), who with massive production catching passes from Burrow emerged in LSU’s passing game as a quick, efficient route-runner with good hands. He also has underrated speed.
25. Minnesota Vikings (10-6)
With Xavier Rhodes fading and Trae Waynes headed to free agency, the Vikings need to consider cornerback early in the draft to keep the strengths of Mike Zimmer’s defensive back seven intact. Henderson (6-1, 204 pounds) plays bigger than his size with great athleticism and technique in his favor. He just needs to get a little more physical to be trusted against receivers who rely on body positioning to get open.
26. Miami Dolphins (from Texans)
The Dolphins can finish their first-round haul by adding a running back. Given their lack of feature options, it’s worth using a high pick on the position. Swift (5-8, 212 pounds) is capable of both getting the tough yards inside and breaking free for big plays in the open field. He also flashed as a receiver for the Bulldogs and can excel in the screen game.
27. Seattle Seahawks (12-4)
The Seahawks will try to keep Jadeveon Clowney, but regardless, they need to upgrade their pass rush and edge-setting against the run. Gross-Matos (6-5, 266 pounds) is a well-built, explosive and versatile defender who can thrive in Pete Carroll’s scheme.
28. Baltimore Ravens (14-2)
The Ravens need more speed on the second level to better handle the run and cover short-to-intermediate routes. Murray (6-2, 241 pounds) is an active, rangy playmaker who can be as effective dropping back as he is getting downhill against the run or blitzing.
29. Tennessee Titans (9-7)
Mike Vrabel and Jon Robinson aren’t tied to any position, so they can simply go for a rising defensive playmaker. Baun (6-2, 238 pounds) is a smart, motivated player who comes through with great technique against the run. He also has started to get more attention for his pass-rush repertoire and the athleticism that fuels it.
30. Green Bay Packers (13-3)
The Packers need to get better at 3-4 end around Kenny Clark to improve their run defense. Blacklock (6-4, 309 pounds) would bring physicality and more youthful playmaking juice to Mike Pettine’s rotation.
31. San Francisco 49ers (13-3)
The 49ers need to think about cornerback with limited upside opposite Richard Sherman, who turns 32 in March. Diggs offers good size (6-1, 205 pounds), strength and downfield speed. He shot up the board quickly during his big senior season (3 interceptions in 12 games).
32. Kansas City Chiefs (12-4)
The Chiefs like Damien Williams, but they could use more youth and durability at RB. Taylor (5-10, 226 pounds) has great vision and burst as a runner. He also doesn’t get enough credit for what he can do as a receiver, which was on display more during his final college season. In three years for the Badgers, he posted 6,581 scrimmage yards and 55 total TDs.
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