Welcome to my first mock draft of 2020. And because it's my first mock of the year, I am required to share the following message:
mock drafts are just fanfics for NFL fans— Sean Wagner-McGough (@seanjwagner) February 6, 2019
I don't mean that in a pejorative sense. I have nothing against fanfics. And I think mock drafts are useful thought exercises that force NFL writers, like myself, to consider the needs of all 32 teams and the fits for all first-round prospects. They might not ever be entirely accurate, but I find the process of filling out a mock draft useful.
In this particular thought exercise, I started with two questions:
- What happens if the Redskins decide to take Tua Tagovailoa at No. 2 (an idea that Will Brinson explored earlier this week, for which he caught some flak)? I actually see some logic in the move. The Redskins can't be certain Dwayne Haskins is their long-term answer at the quarterback position. And until they are certain they have their guy, they shouldn't hesitate to use draft picks on quarterbacks. Tua was the top prospect a year ago. An unfortunate injury and Joe Burrow's rise have changed Tua's standing heading into this month's draft, but those two factors have created an exciting opportunity for the Redskins at No. 2. They can now get the top quarterback prospect from a year ago with the second pick. I think they should do it -- unless someone offers a haul to move up to No. 2.
- What happens if the Lions decide they want to draft Matthew Stafford's successor? I don't think the Lions would take a quarterback like Justin Herbert at No. 3 with Burrow and Tua off the board already. They'd probably jump at the chance to take Chase Young. But the Lions could be in play for a quarterback at the beginning of Round 2 or at the end of Round 1 if they're willing to trade back up. That's exactly what I have them doing in this mock.
As a result, I have five quarterbacks going in Round 1, three of which went in the first five picks.
Before we get to all 32 picks, it's worth stating the terms of the two mock-draft trades that I manufactured. To come up with fair compensation,that calculated the value of every pick in terms of points.
- To move up from No. 10 to No. 7, the Browns sent the Panthers the No. 10 pick, the No. 74 pick, and the No. 187 pick. Per White's chart, the Browns emerged with 401.9 points and the Panthers made out with 405.2 points.
- To move up from No. 35 to No. 31, the Lions sent the 49ers the No. 35 pick and the No. 109 pick. Per White's chart, the Lions got 173.7 points and the 49ers walked away with 176.4 points.
Onto the full first round of the
Round 1 - Pick 1
Joe Burrow QB
LSU • 6'4" / 221 lbs
I think the only offer the Bengals would consider for the top-overall pick and the right to draft Burrow are all three of the Dolphins' first-round picks. I also don't think the Dolphins (or any other team) would be willing to give up the kind of king's ransom required to move up to No. 1. So, the Bengals take their future franchise quarterback in Burrow. I don't really see this changing over the coming weeks as the draft approaches.
Round 1 - Pick 2
Alabama • 6'0" / 217 lbs
The Redskins just used a first-round pick on Dwayne Haskins, but Haskins failed to prove last year that he's the long-term answer. Maybe he still is. No one can know for certain. But until a quarterback-starved franchise like the Redskins is certain they've got their guy, they shouldn't stop taking quarterbacks. At this point a year ago, Tua was the consensus top quarterback in the 2020 draft. If not for an injury, he still might be the top quarterback -- at the very least, he'd be in serious contention at No. 2 overall behind Burrow. The Redskins should capitalize by taking him. If Tua beats out Haskins, they can try to flip Haskins for a pick the way the Cardinals did with Josh Rosen. Taking a quarterback again might seem like overkill, but just ask the Cardinals if they're happy they took Kyler Murray one year after drafting Rosen. I think Tua is worth the second-overall pick, even if his injury history makes him risky.
Round 1 - Pick 3
Chase Young EDGE
Ohio State • 6'5" / 264 lbs
The Lions have a terrible defense (28th by DVOA, to be specific). The good news is that the Redskins' decision to take Tua frees up the best defensive player in the draft for the Lions. This is a no-brainer, unless someone offers a haul to move up for Young.
Round 1 - Pick 4
Alabama • 6'4" / 312 lbs
Daniel Jones fumbled 18 times as a rookie. That's partly on him and on the protection in front of him. The Giants need to build a better offensive line to give Jones a better chance to develop into a franchise quarterback. Wills would solidify the right side of the offensive line in New York.
Round 1 - Pick 5
Oregon • 6'6" / 236 lbs
The Dolphins are further along in their rebuild than expected after managing to win five games in 2019 and then enjoying a successful period of free agency, which included the signing of Byron Jones. I think this team is closer to competing than many expect, and we could see the Dolphins rise to prominence as soon as 2021. All that's missing is a long-term quarterback. I don't know if Herbert is destined for greatness, but the Dolphins should take a chance on him. They should really be drafting a quarterback every year until they find one. Until Herbert is ready, Ryan Fitzpatrick can be their bridge quarterback. Herbert's upside is undeniable.
Round 1 - Pick 6
Clemson • 6'4" / 238 lbs
Sure, Simmons has drawn comparisons to Derwin James, but no team can have too many Derwin James-es on their defense. After adding Chris Harris and Linval Joseph in free agency, this defense has a chance to be nasty. With Simmons, they could make the leap to the top of the league. Initially, I wanted Herbert to fall to the Chargers, who moved on from Philip Rivers and have indicated that Tyrod Taylor is their plan A at quarterback. But if Herbert is off the board, the Chargers shouldn't reach for a quarterback like Jordan Love and instead, they should take an impact-now player like Simmons.
Mock Trade from Carolina Panthers
Round 1 - Pick 7
Mekhi Becton OL
Louisville • 6'7" / 364 lbs
Great deal for the Panthers, who are in urgent need of as many picks as possible. They slide back only three spots, where they'll still be able to get a good player. As for the Browns, they desperately need a new starting left tackle. Go look at their depth chart. It's empty at left tackle. And last year's starter, Greg Robinson, was arrested in February. Adding Becton to an offensive line that already upgraded at right tackle with Jack Conklin would cap off a good offseason for Cleveland.
Round 1 - Pick 9
Javon Kinlaw DL
South Carolina • 6'5" / 319 lbs
The Jaguars traded away Calais Campbell. They might be forced to trade Yannick Ngakoue, who has made it clear he doesn't want to stay in Jacksonville. So yes, the Jaguars should absolutely be in the market for a good pass-rushing defensive lineman like Kinlaw.
Mock Trade from Cleveland Browns
Round 1 - Pick 10
Jeff Okudah CB
Ohio State • 6'1" / 202 lbs
The Panthers traded back three spots and they still get the player they wanted in Okudah, who fills the void created by James Bradberry's departure in free agency. This might be the best possible outcome for Carolina.
Round 1 - Pick 11
CeeDee Lamb WR
Oklahoma • 6'2" / 200 lbs
After inexplicably letting Robby Anderson walk in free agency, the Jets are desperate for pass catchers. Luckily for them, it's a good draft for receivers. Here, the Jets grab the best receiver in the draft in Lamb, giving Sam Darnold some needed help.
Round 1 - Pick 12
Florida • 6'1" / 204 lbs
The Raiders have lots of holes to fill. One of them? Corner. Eli Apple isn't the answer there. If you play in the same division as Patrick Mahomes, you've gotta be able to cover. Henderson can certainly do that.
From Indianapolis Colts
Round 1 - Pick 13
Round 1 - Pick 15
Alabama • 6'0" / 190 lbs
After getting rid of Emmanuel Sanders last year, the Broncos watched Courtland Sutton emerge as a star. But Drew Lock could still use another option in the passing game, and Ruggs could be a good fit for Lock's arm in Denver.
Round 1 - Pick 16
K'Lavon Chaisson EDGE
LSU • 6'3" / 254 lbs
Sure, the Falcons signed Dante Fowler in free agency, but this defense was not one pass rusher away from magically becoming good. They need more edge rushers and Chaisson at No. 16 would be tremendous value considering he might just be the second-best edge rusher in this draft.
Round 1 - Pick 17
LSU • 5'11" / 197 lbs
They made a mistake in letting Byron Jones walk, so that makes the secondary an urgent need. Otherwise, this defense, which also lost Robert Quinn, could take a major step back in 2020. In Fulton, the Cowboys are getting the third best corner in the draft.
From Pittsburgh Steelers
Round 1 - Pick 18
Yetur Gross-Matos EDGE
Penn State • 6'5" / 265 lbs
We already know the Dolphins wanted Jadeveon Clowney a year ago. Despite signing Shaq Lawson, edge is still a need for a Dolphins team that has done well to build a good secondary. First, they get their quarterback. Then, they get a guy who can hunt opposing quarterbacks. With Gross-Matos, this Dolphins defense has a chance to be good as soon as this year.
From Chicago Bears
Round 1 - Pick 19
Auburn • 6'5" / 318 lbs
What a steal this would be, as the Raiders continue to focus on building a defense. Only the Dolphins finished with a worse defense by DVOA last season. Brown would be a major force on the interior of the Raiders' defense, even though they did sign Maliek Collins. Defensive tackle isn't an urgent need. But the value here is too good to pass on.
From Los Angeles Rams
Round 1 - Pick 20
Trevon Diggs CB
Alabama • 6'1" / 203 lbs
Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye have both left Jacksonville in the past year. It's time for the Jaguars to reload at cornerback. In Diggs, they're getting a corner who NFL.com's Lance Zierlein compared to Aqib Talib. That'd work.
Round 1 - Pick 21
LSU • 6'1" / 202 lbs
No need to overcomplicate things here. The Eagles don't have enough quality receivers on their roster. Alshon Jeffery is coming off a major foot injury. DeSean Jackson is 33. Nelson Agholor is gone. Jefferson would be a quality addition to an offense that was decimated at receiver a year ago.
From Buffalo Bills
Round 1 - Pick 22
Jeff Gladney CB
TCU • 5'10" / 191 lbs
It's a good thing the Vikings have an extra first-round pick due to the Stefon Diggs trade, because they're going to need as many picks as possible to rebuild a defense that got gutted this offseason. They parted ways with three cornerbacks last month. So, that makes corner an obvious need and Gladney an obvious fit. He's undersized, but a good cover corner. And the Vikings need some of those.
Round 1 - Pick 23
Jordan Love QB
Utah State • 6'4" / 219 lbs
The obvious pick. As it stands, after losing Tom Brady in free agency, the Patriots would be rolling into the season with Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham at quarterback. In Love, the Patriots are getting a high-upside quarterback. After a shortened offseason, they could still start Hoyer or Stidham due to their familiarity with the offense before Love is ready to take over. This wouldn't be the worst way to rebound from Brady's departure.
Round 1 - Pick 24
Oklahoma • 6'2" / 241 lbs
It would've been fascinating to see what would've happened if Love was still on the board here, because the Saints do need to plan for life after Drew Brees. But with Love off the board, the Saints address a need at linebacker. Demario Davis was fantastic in 2019, but he's 31 years old, and Kiko Alonso is on the downslope of his career.
From Houston Texans
Round 1 - Pick 26
Alabama • 6'0" / 201 lbs
Minkah Fitzpatrick was traded. Reshad Jones was cut. The Dolphins are stocked at corner, but they could use an upgrade at safety. And guess what: The best safety in the draft just happened to fall to them here. If the Dolphins add McKinney, they could have one of the best secondaries in all of football.
Round 1 - Pick 27
A.J. Epenesa EDGE
Iowa • 6'6" / 280 lbs
The Seahawks already got the cornerback they needed by trading for Quinton Dunbar. Now, they address the pass rush, an area that they need to target in the draft -- unless they manage to re-sign Clowney or add, say, Everson Griffen. Even if they add someone in free agency, they can still use their first-round pick on a pass rusher. Their leading sacker a year ago tallied only four sacks. That's where Epenesa comes into play.
Round 1 - Pick 28
LSU • 6'0" / 232 lbs
The Ravens lost Josh Bynes in free agency, creating a need at linebacker. Queen's athleticism should make him attractive to the Ravens as they look to upgrade in the middle of their dfense. NFL.com's Lance Zierlein's comparison for Queen? Thomas Davis.
Round 1 - Pick 29
Oklahoma • 6'2" / 307 lbs
I still don't understand the Jurrell Casey trade, but that trade created a void on the defensive front in Tennessee. A defensive front of Jeffery Simmons, Daquan Jones, and Gallimore would be enticing -- with Harold Landry and Vic Beasley coming around the edges.
Round 1 - Pick 30
Jalen Reagor WR
TCU • 5'11" / 197 lbs
Devin Funchess is not the upgrade that the Packers needed at wide receiver opposite Davante Adams. But in a loaded receiver class, the Packers find the upgrade they do need in Reagor, who can be used in a variety of ways.
Mock Trade from San Francisco 49ers
Round 1 - Pick 31
Jacob Eason QB
Washington • 6'6" / 231 lbs
This is still Matthew Stafford's team. But Stafford's cap hit climbs to $33 million in 2021. And his timeline probably doesn't fit the Lions' window. Stafford can start in 2020 while Eason waits his turn. There's a chance Eason would be available at No. 35, but the Lions don't risk another team taking him ahead of them. Meanwhile, the 49ers already got their WR at No. 13. Now, they get a couple extra picks to slide back only a few spots.
Round 1 - Pick 32
Auburn • 5'11" / 197 lbs
The Chiefs parted ways with Kendall Fuller already. Bashaud Breeland is still unsigned. So, they need a corner, badly. Igbinoghene, a former receiver, is also good against the run, which could be key, as the Chiefs have struggled to defend the run over the past couple seasons. In that sense, he could fill two needs.