2020 NFL Mock Draft: Patriots find next Julian Edelman, Dolphins don't wait for Tua but get franchise QB
The Pats add a slot WR who's been a bowl playoffs star, while Miami has a Plan B with Tua Tagovailoa an unknown
The 2019 NFL regular season is in the books and the 20 teams who didn't qualify for the playoffs are officially looking ahead to 2020. As has been the case for weeks now, the Bengals are in the Joe Burrow business, and the LSU quarterback will be tasked with saving a franchise that managed just two wins in 2019.
Likewise, the Redskins, who will have new faces in the front office and on the sidelines, have the No. 2 pick and barring the unforeseen, Chase Young could be the centerpiece of a D.C. rebuild. After that, things get interesting. There's still no Tua Tagovailoa in this week's mock draft, but only because we don't know the Alabama quarterback's status following hip surgery last month. We'll know something by Jan. 20, which is when players have to declare for the NFL Draft.
As it stands, only one other quarterback finds his way into Round 1, though that will almost certainly change in the coming weeks and months.
Keep reading to see how the rest of the first round unfolds as the 28 teams with first-round picks go about restocking their roster for the 2020 season.
The draft order is based on team records through the regular season.
Alright, let's get to it.
Round 1 - Pick 1
Joe Burrow QB
LSU • Sr • 6'4" / 216 lbs
Andy Dalton finished the season with a win -- almost certainly his last with the Bengals -- and now the Joe Burrow era is all but official. Burrow is coming off an eight-touchdown (seven passing, one rushing) performance in Saturday's bowl playoff victory over Oklahoma. You know, just in case there were any lingering doubters who weren't yet convinced that Burrow has been the best player on the planet the last four months.
Round 1 - Pick 2
Chase Young EDGE
Ohio State • Jr • 6'5" / 265 lbs
Changes are coming to the Redskins, from the front office on down. What shouldn't change between now and the draft? Washington taking Chase Young with the second-overall pick. Young's college career ended on Saturday night and while he didn't fill up the stat sheet over his final three games, he still made an impact as offenses schemed to double-team and chip him on nearly every play. That strategy won't work at the next level.
Round 1 - Pick 3
Jeff Okudah CB
Ohio State • Jr • 6'1" / 200 lbs
Okudah's effort vs. Clemson on Saturday was the closest thing we've seen to a shutdown corner this season; he put the clamps on Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross for most of the night and solidified his place as the No. 1 cornerback in this draft class.
Round 1 - Pick 4
Alabama • Jr • 6'5" / 320 lbs
Wills is not only one of the best players on Alabama's roster, but he's also arguably the top offensive linemen in this class. The right tackle quietly had an outstanding 2019 campaign and he'll upgrade a Giants offensive line in desperate need of some consistency.
Round 1 - Pick 5
Georgia • Jr • 6'5" / 320 lbs
The Dolphins ain't tanking. If that wasn't clear prior to Sunday, first-year coach Brian Flores removed all doubt with Miami's huge Week 16 win in New England. There's a lot to like about this team, even if they're still waiting for Tua. In the meantime, Andrew Thomas bolsters the O-line after protecting Jake Fromm the last two seasons in Athens. Pencil him in at left tackle for the next decade and move on to the next item on the offseason to-do list.
Round 1 - Pick 6
Auburn • Sr • 6'5" / 318 lbs
Yes, the Chargers used a first-round pick on Jerry Tillery last April, and yes, the team needs a quarterback upgrades along the offensive line, but L.A.'s D-line ranked in the bottom third in the league in stopping the run and getting after the quarterback, and Brown, one of the best players in this class, is coming off a dominant 2019 season for the Tigers.
Round 1 - Pick 7
CeeDee Lamb WR
Oklahoma • Jr • 6'2" / 189 lbs
The Panthers have a lot of needs, and perhaps beefing up the offensive or defensive line would make sense here. But Lamb is a special talent, and it currently our WR1, just ahead of Jerry Jeudy. His YAC skills are otherworldly, and he'd give Carolina a much-needed downfield playmaker to pair with all-everything RB Christian McCaffrey and, possibly, Cam Newton, should be in the team's 2020 plans.
Round 1 - Pick 8
A.J. Epenesa EDGE
Iowa • Jr • 6'6" / 280 lbs
Epenesa played some of his best football over the last month of the season -- including 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble against USC in Iowa's bowl game. And like teammate Tristan Wirfs, there are reports that he could return to school. But if he doesn't, he too could hear his name called early in the draft, and the Cardinals have needs at edge rusher, especially after parting ways with veteran Terrell Suggs earlier this month.
Round 1 - Pick 9
Clemson • Jr • 6'4" / 230 lbs
Telvin Smith retired in the offseason and the Jags' linebackers corps struggled mightily. That includes Myles Jack, one of the league's best athletes. Simmons, is a physical freak who can line up anywhere on the field, including deep safety, where he's often spotted in Clemson's defense. Simmons is also coming off one of his best efforts of the season in the bowl playoff win over Ohio State.
Round 1 - Pick 10
Iowa • Jr • 6'5" / 322 lbs
The Browns fired Freddie Kitchens hours after the team lost to the Bengals on Sunday. It was a forgettable season by any measure but the rebuild has to include fixing an O-line that did Baker Mayfield no favors. Wirfs can play either right tackle or left tackle and do it at a very high level, and he'll be a Day 1 starter in Cleveland.
Round 1 - Pick 11
Jerry Jeudy WR
Alabama • Jr • 6'1" / 192 lbs
Robby Anderson could be headed for free agency, and even if he returns (he's reportedly looking for something north of $10 million a year ... and he's definitely earned that) adding Jeudy still makes a lot of sense. The best receiver on Alabama's roster, Jeudy is an elite route runner who would make life immeasurably easier for Sam Darnold in New York.
Round 1 - Pick 12
Trevon Diggs CB
Alabama • Sr • 6'2" / 207 lbs
Daryl Worley is the Raiders' best CB this season, according to Pro Football Focus, and he's been replacement level. He's also in the final year of his rookie deal. But even if he returns, the Raiders need to continue to build the secondary and Diggs, who won't play in Alabama's bowl game, is one of the most physical CBs in this class. He's coming off a strong season and could be on the board when the Raiders go on the clock with their first first-round pick.
Round 1 - Pick 13
Javon Kinlaw DL
South Carolina • Sr • 6'6" / 310 lbs
The Colts need to bolster their defensive line -- they're 18th against the run and 24th against the pass, according to Football Outsiders -- and Kinlaw is one of the best pass-rushing interior linemen in this draft class.
Round 1 - Pick 14
Terrell Lewis EDGE
Alabama • Sr • 6'5" / 252 lbs
Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul are set to be free agents in the spring, and even if the Bucs choose to re-sign at least one of them, Lewis, who is finally healthy after battling injuries the last two seasons, was unstoppable off the edge in 2019 for the Crimson Tide.
Round 1 - Pick 15
Tee Higgins WR
Clemson • Jr • 6'4" / 215 lbs
Courtland Sutton had a breakout 2019 season and he'll only get better. But Drew Lock, who appears to be the future in Denver, will need other weapons to stretch the field, especially now that Manny Sanders is in San Francisco. Higgins high-points the ball better than any receiver in the nation and his huge catch radius will mean that Lock only needs to get the ball in the vicinity for it to be a completion.
Round 1 - Pick 16
Notre Dame • Sr • 6'4" / 248 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. Okwara's season ended in November, and while he wasn't quite as productive as a year ago, he's a high-upside prospect who explodes off the ball. He's listed at 240 but plays much stronger than that, and he'll likely add weight in the weeks leading up to the combine.
Round 1 - Pick 17
LSU • Jr • 6'3" / 203 lbs
The Cowboys desperately need to bolster the secondary, especially at safety, and Delpit is one of the best defensive backs in this class. He struggled with an ankle injury for part of the season, and he has to improve his tackling, but he's a rangy safety with top-flight coverage skills.
From Pittsburgh Steelers
Round 1 - Pick 18
Oregon • Sr • 6'6" / 237 lbs
If Tua doesn't declare by the Jan. 20 deadline, the Dolphins might turn to Herbert here, especially since the Raiders could be in the market for a new quarterback ahead of their move to Las Vegas. Herbert checks all the boxes of what a franchise QB should look like, but he had an inconsistent 2019 season that left more questions than answers about his chances of success at the next level.
From Chicago Bears
Round 1 - Pick 19
Alabama • Jr • 6'0" / 190 lbs
Makes too much sense not to happen -- Ruggs is a burner and a threat to take it to the house every time he touches the ball. The Raiders suddenly have a lot of questions, especially on offense, but Ruggs would give Jon Gruden an immediate deep threat to pair with Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow (!).
From Los Angeles Rams
Round 1 - Pick 20
USC • Jr • 6'6" / 310 lbs
Jackson had a strong 2019 campaign and former second-rounder Cam Robinson, whose contract expires in 2021, is coming off an up-and-down season. Jackson would bookend right tackle Jawaan Taylor, the road grader taken in Round 2 last spring.
Round 1 - Pick 21
Shaun Wade CB
Ohio State • Soph • 6'1" / 194 lbs
Not only is Shaun Wade one of the best slot corners in the country, but he was also one of the best players on the Buckeyes' stacked defense. He often got lost in Chase Young and Jeff Okudah's shadow, but he's every bit the first-round talent.
Round 1 - Pick 22
K'Lavon Chaisson EDGE
LSU • Soph • 6'4" / 250 lbs
Harold Landry led the Titans with nine sacks during the regular season, followed by Jurrell Casey and Kamalei Correa, who had five each. Chaisson is a quick-twitch, high-motor headache off the edge but he'll probably need to add muscle to hold up over the course of a 16-game NFL schedule. Still, he's surprisingly strong and has an electric first step.
Round 1 - Pick 23
Colorado • Jr • 6'2" / 220 lbs
Shenault can line up anywhere and would be a versatile chess piece in Brian Daboll's offense. We've been doing mock drafts since early September and this is one of our favorite player-team matches. How high Shenault is selected will come down to his testing but when he's healthy he's damn near unstoppable.
Round 1 - Pick 24
Stanford • Jr • 6'1" / 190 lbs
Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander are in the final year of their contracts, and Xavier Rhodes has struggled for much of the season. Adding help at cornerback will be a priority this offseason. Adebo, who is an athletic cover corner with good ball skills, would be a natural fit in Mike Zimmer's scheme.
From Houston Texans
Round 1 - Pick 25
Yetur Gross-Matos EDGE
Penn State • Jr • 6'5" / 264 lbs
Taco Charlton led Miami with 5 sacks this season, followed by Sam Eguavoen (3.5). Put another way: the team needs to upgrade its pass rushers. Gross-Matos is a physical freak who has yet to scratch the surface on just how good he can be.
Round 1 - Pick 26
LSU • Sr • 6'0" / 200 lbs
Fulton returned to LSU for his senior season but he would've been a likely first-rounder had he declared a year ago. Meanwhile, the Seahawks' defense isn't what it once was, and other than Shaq Griffin, every other cornerback on the roster has been average, according to PFF's metrics.
Round 1 - Pick 27
LSU • Jr • 6'3" / 192 lbs
Coming into the week we had Jefferson as a Day 2 pick (no worse than a mid-2nd-rounder) but after his jaw-dropping performance against Oklahoma on Saturday why not bump him into Round 1? Jefferson had 14 catches for 227 yards and four touchdowns in the bowl playoffs against the Sooners, and he makes his living primarily out of the slot. He seems like a perfect candidate to be the next Julian Edelman, and even if Jefferson doesn't end up going in the first round, he would make a ton of sense in New England in Round 2.
Round 1 - Pick 28
Josh Jones OL
Houston • Sr • 6'7" / 310 lbs
Bryan Bulaga is 30 years old and in the final year of his contract. Jones, meanwhile, had an oustanding season for the Cougars and has the type of strength and athleticism that translates well to the NFL.
Round 1 - Pick 29
CJ Henderson CB
Florida • Jr • 6'1" / 202 lbs
The Chiefs defense has improved steadily this season, and the secondary has been pleasantly surprising at times, but Kendall Fuller and Bashaud Breeland will be free agents in the spring and C.J. Henderson is a long, cover corner who has the ability to lockdown the other team's best receiver.
Round 1 - Pick 30
Jalen Reagor WR
TCU • Jr • 5'11" / 195 lbs
Ted Ginn is probably playing his last season in New Orleans and even if he remained the Saints need more playmakers around Mike Thomas. Jalen Reagor is a four-down player, who can line up anywhere, and would be yet another chess piece in Sean Payton's offense.
Round 1 - Pick 31
Alabama • Jr • 6'1" / 200 lbs
McKinney would bolster one of the few weak spots in the NFL's best defense; Jaquiski Tartt and Tarvarius Moore have been average this season, according to PFF, and McKinney would give the 49ers one more playmaker on this already dominant unit.
Round 1 - Pick 32
Oklahoma • Jr • 6'2" / 234 lbs
Josh Bynes played out of his mind this season but he's 30 and 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.
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