We are entering 2020 NFL Draft day with two expectations: Joe Burrow going No. 1 overall to the Cincinnati Bengals, and a stronger likelihood than normal that we could get mass chaos after that selection.
With this draft cycle -- without any pro days for the most part as leaks about prospects run rampant -- we really have no clue what is going to happen Thursday night and beyond. So, below you will find 32 surprising picks that could shake things up.
It's the final Mock Draft Monday before the real draft, and our draft experts simulated all 32 first-round picks (complete with trades!); check it out by listening to the Pick Six Podcast below and be sure to subscribe for daily NFL goodness.
(Note: These 32 picks correspond with each pick in the first round, which means that the Bills, Bears, Rams, Texans, and Colts aren't included. And this isn't a mock draft, therefore players can be used more than once.)
Round 1 - Pick 1
Oregon • 6'6" / 236 lbs
Sure, Chase Young would represent a reasonable surprise here. But let's be real. The Bengals want and need a quarterback. Given Tua Tagovailoa's injuries, it's reasonable to assume Cincinnati would actually go with Herbert if the team didn't pick Burrow.
Round 1 - Pick 2
The Redskins have mammoth holes in their secondary -- not along their defensive line -- and Ron Rivera loves long outside cornerbacks with playmaking prowess. That's what Washington would get with Okudah.
Round 1 - Pick 3
Matthew Stafford will be the Lions starter in 2020. After that, we can't be so sure. Right now, he'd represent a $19 million dead cap hit if cut in 2021, but there's a $10 million roster bonus due next March. Detroit could move on before then to save more money. With the quarterback room set this way, Tagovailoa would be under no major pressure to play as a rookie but could assume the starting gig in his second season.
Round 1 - Pick 4
Round 1 - Pick 5
Round 1 - Pick 6
Playing in a division with the Chiefs, the Chargers have seen first hand how much of a nightmare it is to play against Patrick Mahomes. While not as talented, Love has Mahomes-type style to his game.
Round 1 - Pick 8
Round 1 - Pick 9
Georgia • 6'5" / 315 lbs
The Jaguars probably realize the Cam Robinson experiment is over. Even with needs elsewhere, offensive tackle is a premium position, and Thomas is a stud run blocker with much-improved pass-protecting skills
Round 1 - Pick 10
The Browns have a clear-cut need at left tackle yet even with two second-year players at linebacker, Cleveland could use a true defensive difference-maker at the linebacker or safety spot. Simmons does everything.
Round 1 - Pick 11
Round 1 - Pick 12
Round 1 - Pick 13
Round 1 - Pick 16
Yetur Gross-Matos EDGE
Penn State • 6'5" / 265 lbs
Even after signing Dante Fowler in free agency, the Falcons could use more outside rushing talent. This would probably represent the ceiling pick-wise for Gross-Matos. But he has the physical profile to be a mid first-round pick.
Round 1 - Pick 17
The positional need is obvious after the Cowboys let Byron Jones walk in free agency. The prospect would be the surprise in Round 1, although there's some building buzz for Terrell going decently early on Thursday.
From Chicago Bears
Round 1 - Pick 19
Denzel Mims WR
Baylor • 6'3" / 207 lbs
We assume the Raiders will go receiver at some point early, and while they've been tied to the big names at the top of this class, Mims has aced his pre-draft process and has the speed Las Vegas likely covets at the receiver spot.
Round 1 - Pick 20
A.J. Epenesa EDGE
Iowa • 6'6" / 280 lbs
It seems like Epenesa has dropped out of the first round, but it wouldn't be nuts to assume a few teams have a first-round grade on him. With this pick, the Jaguars would get help on the edge for Josh Allen and someone who can comfortably kick inside.
Round 1 - Pick 22
Josh Jones OL
Houston • 6'5" / 319 lbs
Everyone expects the top four offensive tackles to go off the board by No. 11 overall, and Jones is seemingly the consensus OT5. The Vikings have more glaring needs at receiver and corner, but the offensive line could use an upgrade on the edge.
Round 1 - Pick 24
The Saints have arguably the best roster in the NFL, yet with Sheldon Rankins playing on his fifth-year option and adequate albeit unspectacular depth at defensive tackle behind him, the Saints could be into a disruptor like Kinlaw if he slips.
From Houston Texans
Round 1 - Pick 26
Round 1 - Pick 28
Jalen Reagor WR
TCU • 5'11" / 197 lbs
The Ravens are very much in the receiver market early in this draft, yet after going Marquise Brown in Round 1 a season ago, it seems as though most believe they'd like more size at the position, so Reagor would be surprising.
Round 1 - Pick 30
USC • 6'5" / 325 lbs
Ricky Wagner is penciled in as the starting right tackle, so Green Bay doesn't have a glaring need for 2020 at that position. But Jackson isn't ready yet, so need in the future would be sensible for both parties here.
Round 1 - Pick 31
Boise State • 6'6" / 311 lbs
The 49ers have gotten unbelievable return on investment from Joe Staley after picking him in the first round of 2007. And Mike McGlinchey has been rock solid across from him at right tackle. Cleveland is a freaky athlete with clean tape. He just needs to get stronger. This would be a pick mostly with 2021 and beyond in mind.
Round 1 - Pick 32
Wisconsin • 5'10" / 226 lbs
This would provide a nice surprise at the end of Round 1, because Andy Reid has shown he can scheme running back production, and everyone assumes the Chiefs would only pick a running back here with receiving prowess. That's not a strength of Taylor's.