This is our 23rd mock draft, dating back to the start of the 2019 college football season. (You read that correctly: TWENTY-THREE.) This is also the first time we've introduced trades.
Not surprisingly, teams are moving up for quarterbacks, starting with the Dolphins, who go from No. 5 to No. 3 to land Tua Tagovailoa. A few picks later, the Colts move up for a QB, and the Bucs do the same near the end of the round. The biggest question in all of this remains Tagovailoa's health, specifically when he'll be healthy enough to return to the field. Because while the updates have been positive, we still don't have a timetable on when that surgically repaired hip will allow Tua to resume playing football.
In other news, offensive and defensive linemen remain popular picks, as do wide receivers and edge rushers. Keep reading to see who lands where this week.
And before you ask, here's what each team gave up/received in the three mock trades (we used Rich Hill's trade value chart, which we have previously referenced when writing about for Joe Burrow):
- Dolphins trade up from No. 5 to No. 3. Lions get Dolphins' No. 5 and No. 39 picks;
- Colts trade up from No. 13 to No. 5. Lions get Colts' No. 13 and No. 34 picks;
- Bucs trade up from No. 45 to No. 31. 49ers get Bucs' No. 45 and No. 76 picks.
Alright, let's get to it.
Round 1 - Pick 2
Mock Trade from Detroit Lions
Round 1 - Pick 3
Alabama • Soph • 6'1" / 217 lbs
It took 23 mock drafts (seriously!), but we have our first trade of the 2020 draft season. This is all contingent on Tagovailoa's health, and plenty of questions remain even after the quarterback made the rounds during Super Bowl week making it clear he plans to throw for teams before the draft. If he's healthy, he's a top-5 pick; if he's not ... then the Dolphins will need a Plan B for their tenuous QB situation.
Round 1 - Pick 4
Clemson • 6'4" / 238 lbs
Typically we've had the Giants targeting an offensive linemen here (or even a cornerback) but this team ranked 27th in defense, according to Football Outsiders, and they were 31st against the pass. Simmons is one of the most athletic players in the country. He can play linebacker, safety, line up in the slot and even take snaps at cornerback. New York would basically be getting three players in one with Simmons.
Mock Trade from Detroit Lions
Round 1 - Pick 5
Oregon • 6'6" / 236 lbs
Herbert didn't play like a first-rounder in 2019 but his physical attributes check all the boxes for what NFL teams are looking for in a franchise quarterback, and he had a stellar Senior Bowl week, capped off by game MVP honors. In Indy, Herbert will provide the Colts an insurance policy against Jacoby Brissett, who has one more year left on his contract and is coming off a sluggish second half following a knee injury.
Round 1 - Pick 6
Alabama • Soph • 6'4" / 307 lbs
The Chargers are also looking for a quarterback here, especially after the Colts traded up for Herbert. But whomever ends up under center will need to be protected, and Wills is one of the top offensive linemen in this class.
Round 1 - Pick 7
Jeff Okudah CB
Ohio State • Soph • 6'1" / 202 lbs
The Panthers secondary is young and it showed at times last season. James Bradberry is in the final year of his deal and whether he returns or not, it makes sense to add the top cornerback in the class in Okudah.
Round 1 - Pick 8
Auburn • Soph • 6'5" / 320 lbs
The Cards need to beef up the O-line but it's hard to pass up on Brown here. He's the best defensive tackle in this draft class and would upgrade a unit that wasn't even replacement level a season ago. Plus, 31-year-old Corey Peters, who led the unit with 805 snaps, has just one more year left on his deal.
Round 1 - Pick 9
Mekhi Becton OL
Louisville • Soph • 6'7" / 363 lbs
At 6-foot-7, 360 lbs., Becton is a mountain of a man but he moves like someone who weighs more like 260, which pairs nicely with his footwork, balance and strength -- as well as 2019 second-round right tackle Jawaan Taylor. Now the Jags just need to settle their QB situation.
Round 1 - Pick 10
Javon Kinlaw DL
South Carolina • 6'5" / 319 lbs
The Browns have their (next) coach in Kevin Stefanski, whose job now entails getting this talented group to play like a team. Making his job easier: Landing the best pass-rushing defensive tackle in the country; Kinlaw thought about coming out last year but returned to South Carolina where he had a stellar season, and then capped it off with an even better week of practice at the Senior Bowl.
Round 1 - Pick 11
Georgia • 6'5" / 315 lbs
Both left tackle Kelvin Beachum and right tackle Brandon Shell have contracts that will expire in a few weeks. Thomas was a freshman All-American right tackle and then moved to left tackle the last two years where he dominated, protecting QB Jake Fromm, who will hear his name called in the 2020 NFL Draft too. In New York, Thomas will protect Sam Darnold, who is coming off an up-and-down sophomore campaign.
Round 1 - Pick 12
CeeDee Lamb WR
Oklahoma • Soph • 6'2" / 197 lbs
The Raiders head to Las Vegas with plenty of questions, but CeeDee Lamb would give Jon Gruden an immediate playmaker to pair with Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow. Lamb is the toughest WR in this class and he's coming off a remarkable season for the Sooners where he averaged more than 20 yards per reception. The two biggest questions he must answer: How fast is he? And can he consistently beat press coverage, something he rarely saw in the Big 12?
Mock Trade from Indianapolis Colts
Round 1 - Pick 13
K'Lavon Chaisson EDGE
LSU • Soph • 6'3" / 245 lbs
The Lions' D-line ranked 31st in getting after the quarterback, according to Football Outsiders, and the entire defense ranked 29th in pass rush. Chaisson is explosive off the edge, though he'll likely need to gain some weight.
Round 1 - Pick 14
Iowa • 6'5" / 320 lbs
Wirfs was dominant last season and he can play either right or left tackle. In Tampa, Demar Dotson will be a free agent in March and Donovan Smith has two years left on his rookie deal. Now the Bucs just need to settle on a quarterback.
Round 1 - Pick 15
Jerry Jeudy WR
Alabama • Soph • 6'1" / 193 lbs
Courtland Sutton is an emerging star who is a bona fide deep threat. Noah Fant is the dynamic tight end entering Year 2. Phillip Lindsay is the backfield playmaker, and Drew Lock is the quarterback who appears ready for the full-time job. Why not add one more weapon to this offense, the most exciting player in this draft class: Jerry Jeudy.
Round 1 - Pick 16
Terrell Lewis EDGE
Alabama • 6'5" / 262 lbs
The Falcons 'D' played better down the stretch but the need for an edge rusher remains, especially with Vic Beasley in the final year of his contract. Lewis has battled through knee and elbow injuries that forced him to miss most of the previous two seasons but he's shown in 2019 just how disruptive he can be off the edge. After a strong Senior Bowl, there's a good chance he finds his way into Round 1.
Round 1 - Pick 17
Alabama • 6'0" / 190 lbs
WR may not seem like an obvious need -- especially with glaring holes at safety -- but the Cowboys have to re-up Dak Prescott. Then there's Amari Cooper, whose future in Dallas seems less certain. There isn't a ton of depth at wideout on the roster, plus it would be hard to pass on Ruggs here. He's a burner and a threat to take it to the house every time he touches the ball.
From Pittsburgh Steelers
Round 1 - Pick 18
LSU • 6'0" / 232 lbs
Raekwon McMillan and Sam Eguavoen both have one year left on their current deals and Jerome Baker's contract expires in two years. None rated better than average, according to Pro Football Focus' grades and Queen, who flashed early and often during the national title game (those 60 minutes of football served as a microcosm of his 2019 season), would give the Dolphins a much needed playmaker on defense.
From Chicago Bears
Round 1 - Pick 19
Florida • 6'1" / 204 lbs
The Raiders would've loved Queen here, but the Dolphins beat them to the punch. Instead, they settled for long, physical cornerback C.J. Henderson, who is the latest piece in Las Vegas' young, athletic, playmaking defense.
From Los Angeles Rams
Round 1 - Pick 20
Trevon Diggs CB
Alabama • Soph • 6'1" / 204 lbs
D.J. Hayden was the Jags' most consistent cornerback, and the only one above replacement level, according to PFF. Jacksonville won't replace Jalen Ramsey with one player but Diggs would be a step in the right direction. Stefon's brother and a former wide receiver, Trevon is a big, physical player who can stand up against the NFL's best route runners. He'd fit right into Jacksonville's secondary.
Round 1 - Pick 21
A.J. Epenesa EDGE
Iowa • Soph • 6'6" / 260 lbs
Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry were the Eagles' two most efficient pass rushers, according to PFF, but Graham is 31 and Curry appears headed for free agency. Epenesa isn't a quick-twitch pass rusher like, say, Chaisson, but instead wins with power and tenacity. He can play on the edge or kick inside and it's that mix of versatility and athleticism that could make him attractive to the Eagles.
Round 1 - Pick 22
Colorado • Soph • 6'1" / 220 lbs
Another week, another mock draft where Shenault lands in Buffalo. Shenault can line up anywhere and would be a versatile chess piece in Brian Daboll's offense. How high he is selected will come down to his testing but when he's healthy he's damn near unstoppable. During the 2019 season, we compared him to Anquan Boldin -- but faster -- but as someone suggested to us on Twitter, a better comp might be A.J. Brown. We're guessing Josh Allen would welcome that type of playmaker to the Bills.
Round 1 - Pick 23
Jacob Eason QB
Washington • 6'6" / 231 lbs
The Pats have a history of taking fliers on big-armed, athletic QBs, though never this high. Jacoby Brissett, Jimmy Garoppolo and Ryan Mallett were either 2nd or 3rd-rounders, but then again, Tom Brady was never considering playing elsewhere, either. Eason reminds some people of Carson Palmer, though he'll need a year on the bench to learn the offense.
Round 1 - Pick 24
Zack Baun LB
Wisconsin • 6'3" / 225 lbs
Baun is listed at 240 lbs., which means he might be better suited to play linebacker at the next level though some scouts were impressed with his pass-rush abilities during Senior Bowl week. Wherever he lines up, Baun is a playmaker; he had 11.5 sacks and 55 QB pressures in 2019. Demario Davis is coming off a lights-out 2019 season but AJ Klein will be a free agent next month and Kiko Alonso has one year left on his deal.
Round 1 - Pick 25
• Soph • 6'3" / 300 lbs
Madubuike declared for the draft last month after an impressive season for the Aggies. His low center of gravity coupled with strength, quickness and surprising athleticism for someone his size makes him a favorite to go on Day 2 and could even sneak into Day 1. Linval Joseph was the Vikings' best defensive linemen but the unit ranked 30th against the run, according to Football Outsiders.
From Houston Texans
Round 1 - Pick 26
Josh Jones OL
Houston • Soph • 6'7" / 310 lbs
Jones had an outstanding season for the Cougars and that carried over to the Senior Bowl too. He has the type of strength and athleticism that translates well to the NFL. In Miami, he'd be part of a rebuilding effort that would begin with protecting the new face of the franchise, Tua Tagovailoa.
Round 1 - Pick 27
Oklahoma • Soph • 6'2" / 302 lbs
Gallimore is a fire plug with a non-stop motor who excels against both the run and the pass. The Seahawks, who have a history of bucking convention in Round 1, also have needs along the defensive line after the unit ranked 21st against the run and 30th in pass rushing last season, according to Football Outsiders' metrics.
Round 1 - Pick 28
Oklahoma • Soph • 6'2" / 241 lbs
Josh Bynes played out of his mind last season but he's 30 and was on a one-year deal after spending the previous two seasons in Arizona (and the three before that in Detroit). Murray has sideline-to-sideline speed and is a middle-of-the-field playmaker who has the talent to be the next great inside linebacker in Baltimore.
Round 1 - Pick 29
Jeff Gladney CB
TCU • 5'10" / 191 lbs
Logan Ryan and Tramaine Brock are two of the Titans' top three cornerbacks and both will be out of a contract in March. But even if Tennessee brings back one (or both), you can never have enough defensive backs on the roster. Gladney quietly had a standout season for the Horned Frogs. He might be one of the best cover corners in this draft class, and while he has the size (6-0), he'll need to add weight (he's listed at 183 lbs) to battle play in and play out with NFL receivers.
Round 1 - Pick 30
Mock Trade from San Francisco 49ers
Round 1 - Pick 31
Jordan Love QB
Utah State • 6'4" / 219 lbs
The Bucs have a decision to make on their QB position. Do they re-up Jameis Winston and pray he somehow quits throwing interceptions, or take a flyer on Philip Rivers, assuming he's available? We know Bruce Arians' track record with developing quarterbacks, and if the plan is to find the next face of the franchise, Jordan Love could fit the bill. He's coming off a tough season at Utah State but like Herbert, the physical talent is off the charts.
Round 1 - Pick 32
LSU • 5'11" / 197 lbs
The Chiefs defense improved steadily this season, right through the Super Bowl win. And while the secondary was pleasantly surprising at times, Kendall Fuller and Bashaud Breeland will be free agents in the spring. Fulton had an up and down 2019 campaign but is undoubtedly a first-round talent -- which was also the case a year ago when he considered leaving school early.