2020 NFL Mock Draft: Tua Tagovailoa gives Dolphins franchise QB, 3 other passers go in Round 1
Tua Tagovailoa declared for the NFL Draft on Monday and that shakes thing up at the top of the board
Fifty-two days elapsed from the time Tua Tagovailoa suffered a fracture hip that ended his season last November and Monday, when the Alabama quarterback held a press conference to announce that.
That was the easy part. Now NFL teams have to figure out how long Tagovailoa's recovery will take (there is typically a 6-8 month recovery following such a hip surgery), and if he'll even be ready to take the field at any point during 2020. But even if Tagovailoa has to use next season to redshirt, there should still be plenty of interest.
It starts with the Dolphins, who we all thought were #TankingforTua to start the 2019 campaign but finished with five wins in their final nine games and currently find themselves with the No. 5 overall pick (along with picks 18 and 27). In a perfect world, they could land their franchise QB, an edge rusher and an offensive linemen as they look to rebuild on coach Brian Flores' first season, but therefor Tagovailoa should the Chargers, Jaguars and possibly even the Patriots consider trading up.
In other news, Joe Burrow and Chase Young remain locked into the top two selections, while two other quarterbacks have their name called at the bottom of Round 1.
The draft order is based on team records through wild-card weekend.
Alright, let's get to it.
Round 1 - Pick 1
Round 1 - Pick 2
Chase Young EDGE
Ohio State • Jr • 6'5" / 265 lbs
Dwayne Haskins, Washington's 2019 first-rounder, has already welcomed Young to Twitter, and with new coach Ron Rivera's defensive background, this pick is somehow more of a no-brainer than a few weeks ago. Young has a chance to better than Nick Bosa, the No. 2 pick a year ago.
Round 1 - Pick 3
Alabama • Jr • 6'5" / 320 lbs
Taylor Decker anchors the left side but the Lions have issues at right tackle; Jedrick Wills solves that problem on Day 1, and would go a long way in keeping Matthew Stafford upright in 2020.
Round 1 - Pick 4
Georgia • Jr • 6'5" / 320 lbs
The math is pretty simple: The Giants took Daniel Jones last year to be their franchise QB, Jones struggled with turnovers, in part because of a porous O-line, and Thomas, who starred at left tackle for three seasons, fills a gaping need.
Round 1 - Pick 5
Alabama • Jr • 6'1" / 218 lbs
Tagovailoa announced on Monday that he's leaving Alabama for the NFL Draft, and if can return to the form we saw the last two seasons, this is an easy choice for the Dolphins. The big question, of course, is when Tua will be cleared to return to football.
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
Jeff Okudah CB
Ohio State • Jr • 6'1" / 200 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
Clemson • Jr • 6'4" / 230 lbs
The Cardinals struggled at linebacker and in the secondary in 2019 and Simmons' versatility means he can line up anywhere. He reminds us of a bigger version of Derwin James with the same type of playmaking abilities, which is exactly what Arizona could use.
Round 1 - Pick 9
A.J. Epenesa EDGE
Iowa • Jr • 6'6" / 280 lbs
Yannick Ngakoue sounds like he may have played his last game for the Jags and Calais Campbell and Marcell Darius will have their contracts expire after next season. Epenesa is a force on the outside but he can also kick inside and play defensive tackle. He would fill several needs for a rebuilding Jacksonville team.
Round 1 - Pick 10
Iowa • Jr • 6'5" / 322 lbs
The Browns have myriad problems and fixing the offensive line is as good a place as any to start. Ultimately, this team's success comes down to Baker Mayfield, but protecting him might make that a lot easier. Wirfs was dominant last season and he can play either right or left tackle.
Round 1 - Pick 11
Trevon Diggs CB
Alabama • Sr • 6'2" / 207 lbs
Three of the Jets top four cornerbacks, according to Pro Football Focus grades, are unrestricted free agents (Brian Poole, Maurice Canady, Arthur Maulet). And while the defense was a top-10 unit under Gregg Williams, they ranked 18th against the pass, via Football Outsiders. Adding a physical, playmaking cornerback seems logical given the lack of depth at the position.
Round 1 - Pick 12
CeeDee Lamb WR
Oklahoma • Jr • 6'2" / 189 lbs
Hunter Renfrow had a breakout season but he's not the deep threat the Raiders need. Lamb is, and along with Renfrow, Darren Waller and Tyrell Williams, Las Vegas could have one of the best young receiving corps in the AFC West.
Round 1 - Pick 13
Javon Kinlaw DL
South Carolina • Sr • 6'6" / 310 lbs
The Colts need to bolster their defensive line -- they were 15th against the run and 21th against the pass in '19, according to Football Outsiders -- and Kinlaw is one of the best pass-rushing interior linemen in this draft class.
Round 1 - Pick 14
Yetur Gross-Matos EDGE
Penn State • Jr • 6'5" / 264 lbs
The Bucs' 2019 draft class was defense-heavy and the results were immediate; the unit was the No. 5 defense in the league but the D-line could look completely different next season; Ndamukong Suh, Jason Pierre-Paul and Rakeem Nunez-Roches are all soon-to-be free agents. Gross-Matos has the size, strength and quickness to play the edge but he's still raw. The good news is he'll only get better with experience.
Round 1 - Pick 15
Jerry Jeudy WR
Alabama • Jr • 6'1" / 192 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
CJ Henderson CB
Florida • Jr • 6'1" / 202 lbs
The Falcons secondary is young but they have to get better to compete in the NFC South; the unit was 25th against the pass, according to Football Outsiders. C.J. Henderson is a long, cover corner who has the ability to lockdown the opponent's best receiver.
Round 1 - Pick 17
Alabama • Jr • 6'0" / 190 lbs
WR may not seem like an obvious need but the Cowboys have to re-up Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper. Even if they keep both (and they likely will), there isn't a ton of depth at wideout, 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
Terrell Lewis EDGE
Alabama • Sr • 6'5" / 252 lbs
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. If he's healthy, there's a good chance he finds his way into Round 1.
From Chicago Bears
Round 1 - Pick 19
Oregon • Sr • 6'6" / 237 lbs
CBS Sports' NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reported late last month that the Raiders could be looking for a new QB and Herbert, who has a rocket right arm and checks every box for what a franchise passer should look like, could certainly get Jon Gruden's attention in the coming weeks and months.
From Los Angeles Rams
Round 1 - Pick 20
Jordan Love QB
Utah State • Jr • 6'4" / 225 lbs
Doug Marrone bought himself another season to sort out the Jags and after whiffing on Nick Foles, it's time to find a proper franchise QB. Love is really, really raw, but he's drawn comparisons to Patrick Mahomes for his arm strength and athleticism. And like Mahomes, he'll need a year of seasoning on the bench, which could guarantee Marrone's job beyond 2020.
Round 1 - Pick 21
Notre Dame • Sr • 6'4" / 248 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. 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 22
Tee Higgins WR
Clemson • Jr • 6'4" / 215 lbs
John Brown can stretch the field and Cole Beasley can man the slot, but Josh Allen needs a big downfield target. At 6-4, Higgins is that and then some; he high-points the ball better than anyone in this class and Allen would certainly welcome him to Buffalo. The Clemson standout had his best showing of the season in the ACC title game, hauling in nine passes for 182 yards and three touchdowns, and he'll have one more chance to impress in the national championship matchup vs. LSU.
Round 1 - Pick 23
Cole Kmet TE
Notre Dame • Jr • 6'5" / 250 lbs
Kmet will be in the running for TE1 in the coming months but the just-declared junior fits what the Patriots need compared. He's an inline tight end who is a proficient blocker and a legit threat in the downfield passing game. The Pats struggled in the passing game in 2019 and you could argue that losing Gronk was the biggest reason why.
Round 1 - Pick 24
Colorado • Jr • 6'2" / 220 lbs
Shenault can line up anywhere and would be a versatile chess piece in Sean Payton's offense -- and offer one more weapon alongside Michael Thomas for Drew Brees. How high Shenault is selected will come down to his testing, but when he's healthy he's damn near unstoppable.
Round 1 - Pick 25
LSU • Sr • 6'0" / 200 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. Fulton would've been a likely first-rounder had he come out a year ago.
Round 1 - Pick 26
A.J. Terrell CB
Clemson • Jr • 6'1" / 190 lbs
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer loves big physical cornerbacks and Terrell is that and then some. Plus, according to Spotrac, the Vikings can clear $11.75 million in cap space if they move on from CB Xavier Rhodes, who has had a rough season. Additionally, former second-round pick Mackensie Alexander is in the final year of his rookie deal.
From Houston Texans
Round 1 - Pick 27
USC • Jr • 6'6" / 310 lbs
Jackson has prototypical size for an NFL left tackle but he moves like someone 100 pounds lighter. He had a standout campaign for the Trojans and could be one of the top offensive linemen drafted next spring. In Miami, he'll be part of the rebuilding process, that now could include Tua.
Round 1 - Pick 28
K'Lavon Chaisson EDGE
LSU • Soph • 6'4" / 250 lbs
Jadeveon Clowney has been dominant at times but he's been going it alone. And 2019 first-rounder L.J. Collier was largely ineffective for 152 snaps this season. Chaisson is undersized but incredibly quick off the ball and play much stronger than listed weight of 250 lbs.
Round 1 - Pick 29
Oklahoma • Jr • 6'2" / 234 lbs
The Chiefs defense has improved as the season has progressed, but they struggled to find consistency from their linebackers. Murray changes that. He is undersized but he flies all over the field, and has sideline-to-sideline speed, the ability to make plays in the backfield and the athleticism to cover RBs and TEs.
Round 1 - Pick 30
Round 1 - Pick 31
LSU • Jr • 6'3" / 203 lbs
We've typically had Xavier McKinney going to the 49ers here, and even though McKinney officially declared for the draft this week, Delpit is ranked slightly higher for us. That could change during the pre-draft process, especially given that Delpit, who battled through an ankle injury this season, struggled to consistently make tackles. When he's on, however, he can be one of the best players on the field.
Round 1 - Pick 32
Stanford • Jr • 6'1" / 190 lbs
The team re-upped Marcus Peters but former first-rounder Jimmy Smith is in the final year of his deal, and 33-year-old Brandon Carr's contract will expire after the 2020 season. Adebo is a physical corner who would fit in well in Wink Martindale's system.
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