The confetti just stopped falling on the Chiefs as they celebrated their Super Bowl victory on the 49ers when it became time to turn our attention toward NFL Draft season. So, now, here I am a couple of days later, with my first NFL mock draft of 2020. There's a long way to go between now and the draft, and a lot of things can change, so don't think of this mock as a prediction of what's going to happen a couple of months from now.
It's more of a feeling-out process. We all have a good idea of what teams need and what areas they want to address. I'm combining that knowledge with what I know about the players available in the draft based upon watching them in college the last few years to make my best estimation of who will go where and why.
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Of course, it wouldn't be a draft if somebody didn't trade up for a quarterback, so I have a couple of those in here as well. This mock draft is bound to look a lot different than my final version, but we have to start somewhere.
Round 1 - Pick 1
Joe Burrow QB
LSU • Jr • 6'4" / 221 lbs
A lot of things will change in my mocks over the next couple of months. This will not be one of them. It's nearly a lock that the Bengals will take the Heisman Trophy winner here, and nobody will blame them for it.
Round 1 - Pick 2
Mock Trade from Detroit Lions
Round 1 - Pick 3
Alabama • Jr • 6'1" / 217 lbs
Matt Patricia learned under Bill Belichick, and with plenty of needs that he has to address, he trades down. Oakland sends picks No. 12, No. 19 and a 2021 2nd round pick to move up and draft Tua Tagovailoa. Tua has health concerns, but most are optimistic he'll be healthy, and now the Raiders can move to Las Vegas with a shiny new franchise QB.
Round 1 - Pick 4
Clemson • Soph • 6'4" / 238 lbs
Simmons is my second-favorite player in this draft class behind Chase Young. He's so versatile and talented. Every time I watch him I think of Brian Urlacher. The combination of size and freakish athleticism is incredible.
Round 1 - Pick 5
Jeff Okudah CB
Ohio State • Jr • 6'1" / 202 lbs
The Dolphins don't get Tua, but they do address another need by taking the best corner in this draft. Miami essentially replaces Minkah Fitzpatrick, and can use the pick they received from Pittsburgh later in this round to address other needs.
Round 1 - Pick 6
Oregon • Jr • 6'6" / 236 lbs
Justin Herbert is this year's Josh Allen. Not from a talent or ability perspective, but from the "I watched him in college, and I get why NFL teams are going to talk themselves into him, but after watching him play there's a LOT more projection than reality right now" view. Still, the Chargers need a QB.
Round 1 - Pick 7
Auburn • Soph • 6'5" / 320 lbs
He's not a disruptive force in the Aaron Donald sense, but having Derrick Brown in the middle of your DL makes life easier for your other pass rushers. He's a monster, and I don't envy anybody who is tasked with trying to move him.
Round 1 - Pick 8
Georgia • Soph • 6'5" / 315 lbs
Based on what's available here, and who might want to move up, I wouldn't be shocked if Arizona trades this pick. For now I have them addressing a serious concern on the offensive line to help protect last year's No. 1 pick Kyler Murray.
Round 1 - Pick 9
Yetur Gross-Matos EDGE
Penn State • Jr • 6'5" / 265 lbs
The first "surprise" of the top 10. After seeing a lot of Gross-Matos at Penn State, I wouldn't be shocked if he's a guy who climbs up draft boards as he goes through the workout process. There's a lot to like here.
Round 1 - Pick 10
Iowa • Jr • 6'5" / 320 lbs
The Browns need to fix the OL, and Wirfs is a good start. He doesn't strike me as a perennial Pro Bowler, but he's a tackle you can put out there and not have to worry about. He's strong enough to handle a bull rush, and athletic enough to deal with speed.
Round 1 - Pick 11
Mock Trade from Oakland Raiders
Round 1 - Pick 12
Round 1 - Pick 15
K'Lavon Chaisson EDGE
LSU • Jr • 6'3" / 254 lbs
The Broncos could go so many different routes here, but I think the potential that Chaisson shows will be very intriguing to them. He's not Isaiah Simmons, but he has a lot of similar traits to work with.
Round 1 - Pick 16
Javon Kinlaw DL
South Carolina • 6'5" / 319 lbs
I first really noticed Kinlaw in South Carolina's win over Georgia. He was just pushing Georgia linemen around, and it's one of the biggest, strongest OLs in the country. There's a lot to like here.
From Pittsburgh Steelers
Round 1 - Pick 18
Mock Trade from Oakland Raiders
Round 1 - Pick 19
Jerry Jeudy WR
Alabama • Soph • 6'1" / 193 lbs
The Lions use the second first-rounder they pick up from Oakland to give Matt Stafford another tool in the passing game. Jeudy is not big, but he's such a terrific route-runner. He reminds me of former Colts WR Marvin Harrison.
From Los Angeles Rams
Round 1 - Pick 20
Florida • Soph • 6'1" / 204 lbs
The Jags started with the pass rush by taking Gross-Matos, and now they address a need at corner by taking Henderson. Henderson has long arms and excellent hands, but he can sometimes get a bit too preoccupied with trying to pick passes off rather than covering his man.
Round 1 - Pick 21
Alabama • 6'0" / 190 lbs
I can't say for certain that the Eagles will take Ruggs here, but I'm confident they're going to take a WR in this spot. Ruggs would be a great fit. He's an absolute burner who will give the Eagles a vertical threat.
Round 1 - Pick 22
Tee Higgins WR
Clemson • Jr • 6'4" / 215 lbs
Higgins possesses some of the size that Buffalo lacks in its receiving corps, and could pair well with Josh Allen. Considering Allen's accuracy issues, it'd be nice to have a guy who can reach balls that might not be in the best spot. He'd also be an asset in the red zone.
Mock Trade from New England Patriots
Round 1 - Pick 23
Jordan Love QB
Utah State • Jr • 6'4" / 219 lbs
Worried the Saints might be a step ahead of them, Miami trades No. 26 and a future 4th to New England to take a QB in Jordan Love. It's not a heavy price to pay for a possible franchise QB, nor would it keep them from going after another QB in the 2021 draft if they chose to.
Round 1 - Pick 25
Mock Trade from Miami Dolphins
Round 1 - Pick 26
Alabama • Soph • 6'0" / 201 lbs
Safety isn't the biggest need for the Patriots, but McKinney is great value at this point, and he's familiar with a lot of what the Patriots do in their defensive coverages after spending his college years with Nick Saban.
Round 1 - Pick 30
Colorado • Jr • 6'1" / 227 lbs
Shenault has been one of my favorite players to watch the last few years. He can lineup outside or in the slot, and he's always trying to make a big play happen. In other words, he's the kind of player that could excel with Aaron Rodgers. Or maybe help Rodgers excel a little longer himself.
Round 1 - Pick 31
Oklahoma • Jr • 6'2" / 241 lbs
Murray was maddeningly inconsistent at Oklahoma during games, but when it's there, it's there. He strikes me as the kind of player who could do very well in San Francisco's defense behind a dominant defensive line.
Round 1 - Pick 32
J.K. Dobbins RB
Ohio State • Jr • 5'10" / 212 lbs
I don't know if this is somewhere the Chiefs would want to go in the first round, or if they even consider RB a legitimate need, but watching J.K. Dobbins at Ohio State the last couple years I always thought about how awesome he'd be in an Andy Reid offense. So this is mostly wishful thinking on my part.