NFL: Mock Draft (No Trades)

With around one month until the 2020 NFL Draft, there’s a clearer picture of team needs. On this side of Free Agency and with time for more evaluation of prospects, it gets a little easier to mock players to teams.

In this mock draft, no trades will happen. But view the Trades/Hypothetical Mock Draft to see other permutations.

#1 Cincinnati Bengals: QB Joe Burrow

The Bengals need a Quarterback, and shouldn’t overthink this. They’ll need to build around him, but he will also elevate those around him. Burrow has a good combination of arm strength, accuracy and anticipation. With luck, he’ll take them back to the playoffs within a year or two.

#2 Washington Redskins: CB Jeffrey Okudah

Washington has a strong defensive front already, and needs to think about their secondary early in this draft. Okudah excels at sticking to his receiver, and is a disruptive player who will break up plenty of passes. While the division doesn’t currently have too many dynamic Wide Receivers, Okudah will help create a strong CB pairing with Kendall Fuller.

#3 Detroit Lions: Edge Chase Young

The Lions need to get more stops on defense, and Edge Chase Young will help them do that. His instincts and awareness will make it difficult for opponents to game plan and provides a high degree of depth and versatility to Detroit’s Defensive Line. Young also helps the Lions defend the balanced offenses within their division, especially Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers.

#4 New York Giants: LB Isaiah Simmons

The Giants should be able to deploy LB Isaiah Simmons and instantly improve their defense. His ability to operate simultaneously as a coverage Safety and box defender helps the Giants cover multiple gaps on their defense. While he won’t greatly help their pass rush, Simmons will limit big plays in the middle of the field.

#5 Miami Dolphins: QB Tua Tagovailoa

One of the worst kept secrets in this draft is that Miami is drafting a QB. Although they may shy away from Tua Tagovailoa if they have concerns about his injury history, he would potentially be the first overall pick if healthy. The Dolphins need another year to finish re-tooling their offense anyway, which will allow Tagovailoa to be fully recovered before starting.

#6 Los Angeles Chargers: OT Mekhi Becton

The Chargers need a new starter at Left Tackle, and Mekhi Becton is the best of the 2020 class. He will be especially useful for them in the run game, where he excelled in college, and even more important if the Chargers are using QB Tyrod Taylor in 2020. Becton’s physical strength and footwork will also help him against the division’s elite pass rushers.

#7 Carolina Panthers: Edge K’Lavon Chaisson

Edge rusher K’Lavon Chaisson might have had a flashier 2019 season than fellow Edge Chase Young. Chaisson plays a more traditional Outside Linebacker role with a great deal of speed, whether in coverage or pursuing the ball carrier. He collapses the pocket consistently, and will help the Panthers greatly against the high-flying offenses in the NFC South.

#8 Arizona Cardinals: OT Jedrick Wills Jr

After picking up multiple weapons for QB Kyler Murray since taking him first overall in 2019, the Cardinals now need to protect him. Right Tackle Jedrick Wills Jr held his own against some of the toughest opponents in college in 2019. In Arizona he will keep a steady pocket, giving Murray the time he needs to get the ball out, while also using his size to open gaps for the run.

#9 Jacksonville Jaguars: DL Derrick Brown

After Defensive Lineman Calais Campbell left for Baltimore, the Jaguars had a void in their defensive front. DL Derrick Brown has a consistent floor as a space-eater who was regularly double-teamed in college. Although he doesn’t have the penetration some teams would like, he will provide a stable force in the middle, allowing teammates such as DT Taven Bryan and DE Josh Allen to make plays.

#10 Cleveland Browns: OT Andrew Thomas

After acquiring OT Jack Conklin in Free Agency, drafting Andrew Thomas to play Left Tackle should see Cleveland have more success on offense in 2020. With the team built to pass often, Thomas is better as a pass blocker than a run blocker and will protect QB Baker Mayfield’s blindside. Thomas will sustain blocks and keep his opponent in front of him, and if Mayfield struggles again in 2020 it shouldn’t be due to being under constant pressure.

#11 New York Jets: WR Henry Ruggs III

The Jets saw their top weapon on offense, WR Robby Anderson, leave as a Free Agent this offseason, but manage to draft his replacement and simultaneously upgrade in WR Henry Ruggs III. Ruggs is an exceptional combination of speed, size and route runner. Although there is more work to be done on offense by the Jets, Ruggs will open up the field for other players.

#12 Las Vegas Raiders: WR Jerry Jeudy

The Raiders have a stable of young WRs who each play a certain role, but WR Jerry Jeudy will give them a more complete player at the position. As one of the cleanest route runners in the draft class, Jeudy can serve as a chain-mover, outside threat, and security blanket, similar to Larry Fitzgerald in his prime. With Jeudy drawing attention, it will allow fellow WRs Hunter Renfrow and Tyrell Williams chances to make plays downfield.

#13 San Francisco 49ers: CB Jeff Gladney

One of the issues that emerged for the 49ers in their Super Bowl run was at CB, with Ahkello Witherspoon becoming a liability. In CB Jeff Gladney the 49ers will get a player who is similar in style to their other starting CB Richard Sherman. Gladney is a tall, physical player who regularly breaks up passes, and will shut down opposing receivers long enough for the 49ers defensive front to get home.

#14 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: OT Tristan Wirfs

The Buccaneers need to find new Tackles on both sides, and Tristan Wirfs is the best remaining. With only a few years to capitalize on having QB Tom Brady and excellent weapons on offense, Wirfs needs to keep the pocket intact as consistently as he did in college. Wirfs will be the likely starter at Right Tackle, unless Tampa Bay needs to move him to Left Tackle, where he will have one of the best Offensive Guards protecting his inside in Ali Marpet.

#15 Denver Broncos: DL Javon Kinlaw

The Broncos are still building the defensive force Head Coach Vic Fangio wants, and adding Javon Kinlaw will be a major step towards completing that goal. Kinlaw consistently gets into the pocket, which is why he faced plenty of double-teams in college. With Kinlaw securing the interior of the line, able to play in odd and even fronts, the edge rushers in Von Miller, Bradley Chubb and Jurrell Casey can tee off on opposing QBs.

#16 Atlanta Falcons: CB CJ Henderson

With Kinlaw off the board and CB Desmond Trufant now in Detroit, the Falcons take a player who is not only a need, but is best player available. CB CJ Henderson is an instinctive and fast player, who had multiple intercepts in multiple years as a starter in college. Paired with fellow CB Isaiah Oliver and Safeties Ricardo Allen and Keanu Neal, Henderson allows the Falcons to be more diverse in their coverage against difficult divisional passing games.

#17 Dallas Cowboys: WR CeeDee Lamb

Although they recently extended WR Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb becomes a perfect complement to him. With greater speed than Cooper and secure hands, Lamb will stretch the field, giving the Cowboys one of the league’s best WR duos. Lamb can also serve as a WR1, giving Dallas flexibility in case of injury, as well as options to move on from Cooper and/or WR Michael Gallup after the 2021 season.

#18 Miami Dolphins: Edge Yetur Gross-Matos

While the Dolphins need to give Tagovailoa weapons, they can be patient and use their remaining first-round pick or second-round pick on a WR and/or Running Back without compromising on value. Instead, grabbing Edge Yetur Gross-Matos ensures they get one of the top players at the position. Gross-Matos manages to find a way to get to the ball carrier and has good closing speed, although in college played mostly on the right end of the DL, restricting his versatility a little.

#19 Las Vegas Raiders: Safety Antoine Winfield Jr

General Manager Mike Mayock showed he was his own man in the 2019 Draft, and Safety Antoine Winfield Jr continues that trend. Winfield Jr diagnoses play quickly and get downfield fast to limit both rushing and passing plays. Spending most of his time in coverage, he also allows Las Vegas greater security on Defense, and seemed to be involved in every play in college in 2019.

#20 Jacksonville Jaguars: RB D’Andre Swift

With little talent behind starting RB Leonard Fournette, RB D’Andre Swift gives the Jaguars a more dynamic alternative to the former. Better as a pass-catcher than Fournette, Swift also offers more speed and agility. While Fournette should continue to see time as a bruising runner, Swift gives the Jaguars more options on offense.

#21 Philadelphia Eagles: WR Justin Jefferson

The Eagles struggled to move the ball through the air in 2019, and it was largely due to injuries and underwhelming WR play. WR Justin Jefferson provides a reliable and sizeable option on the outside, freeing up JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Greg Ward as slot receivers. If Alshon Jeffrey and DeSean Jackson can return to form, Jefferson looks set to serve as the steady chain-mover without having the burden of carrying the offense.

#22 Minnesota Vikings: Safety Grant Delpit

With gaps at LB and Safety, Grant Delpit allows them to address both simultaneously. Delpit mostly plays a Free Safety role, spending a majority of his time in pass coverage, but he can play closer to the line of scrimmage capably. Delpit closes well on opponents thanks to his speed, and paired with Harrison Smith should become one of the toughest and most physical Safety tandems in the league.

#23 New England Patriots: QB Justin Herbert

Unless the Patriots value QB Jarrett Stidham more than most people, which is a distinct possibility, QB Justin Herbert gives them a smooth-ish transition from Tom Brady. While no QB would ever step in and play at an equal level, Herbert has a lot of the traits HC Bill Belichick admires. He has good pocket awareness, accuracy, and largely avoids turnovers. With the quick passing game the Patriots have utilized of late, Herbert shouldn’t have too much difficulty learning the system.

#24 New Orleans Saints: LB Zack Baun

LB Zack Baun can line up in a range of positions, predominantly as an Outside Linebacker, but also as a DE and nickel DB. He is a fast, strong player who is balanced in all facets of the game. With his skillset, Baun will make opponents account for him, allowing more diversity on defense for the Saints.

#25 Minnesota Vikings: CB Kristian Fulton

Continuing to take care of the secondary, in CB Kristian Fulton the Vikings get a player who can shadow most receivers without being easily beat. His physicality allows him to tackle and break up passes with regularity. In this division, against the likes of WRs Davante Adams and Kenny Golladay, Fulton will have his work cut out for him.

#26 Miami Dolphins: OT Austin Jackson

With a common recipe for success lately in building up the trenches, Miami selects Austin Jackson to become their starting Left Tackle. Moreover, with Tagovailoa’s injury history, the Dolphins also will want to ensure they are protecting him from day one. Jackson was often left on an island in college, and should also help Miami run the ball better with his forte for run blocking.

#27 Seattle Seahawks: RB Jonathan Taylor

Despite drafting RB Rashaad Penny in the first round a few years ago, Seattle will feel as though RB Jonathan Taylor does many things that Penny doesn’t. Taylor provides a between-the-Tackles RB, and while he isn’t as physical as Marshawn Lynch was, Taylor allows Seattle to return to a run-first offense. Taylor will also free up Wilson to continue running with the ball, and should give defenses pause, also freeing up the space outside of the hashes.

#28 Baltimore Ravens: LB Patrick Queen

After filling some of their major needs in Free Agency, the Ravens would heavily consider going WR here, but LB Patrick Queen is more their style. Not only will they feel they can get a capable WR in Rounds 2-4, Queen is among the best players available at this point of the Draft. Queen will step in and fill the void left by CJ Mosley a year ago, using his speed to cover as well as attack the run.

#29 Tennessee Titans: DL Neville Gallimore

With their offense remaining almost intact from 2019, the Titans will instead want to tweak their defense, and DL Neville Gallimore does just that. Gallimore has a range of moves he can use to navigate the middle of the OL, and also draws double-teams to allow DEs more solo matchups. Although he can sometimes be forced to take a wide-angle to the QB, he makes up for that with speed.

#30 Green Bay Packers: WR Jalen Reagor

The Packers want to find a reliable WR that QB Aaron Rodgers can target, and WR Jalen Reagor can perform a complementary role as WR2 behind Davante Adams. Reagor will compete for catches and be a key target in the middle of the field. Reagor’s speed and yards-after-catch ability should make him an immediate fit underneath on slants, in and crossing routes.

#31 San Francisco 49ers: RB JK Dobbins

The 49ers will add to their stable of RBs with JK Dobbins whose versatility perfectly suits HC Kyle Shanahan’s offense. After losing Matt Breida, and with Jerick McKinnon and Tevin Coleman frequently injured, Dobbins figures to get plenty of time in the rotation. Dobbins’ balance of lateral quickness, strength and ability as a receiving back makes him ideal for San Francisco.

#32 Kansas City Chiefs: LB Kenneth Murray

With the MLB spot in Kansas City one of the team’s biggest weaknesses in recent years, the Chiefs finally take advantage of having one available to draft in Kenneth Murray. Murray patrolled the middle of the field in college with little assistance, and will be given a similar role with the Chiefs. Able to blitz and cover well, with quickness in closing in on opponents, Murray can provide stability and leadership for the Chiefs’ defense for the future.

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