College football season is officially over after a dominant LSU win over Clemson in the National Championship game. Soon, draft season will be in full swing. You know what that means. All of the mock drafts. This is the first of several I will be doing this offseason.
I used The Draft Network Predictive Board as a guide to put this mock together.
1. Cincinnati Bengals – Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
Burrow just completed the greatest college season of all time, combining for over 6000 yards (passing, rushing), 65 total touchdowns, and only 6 picks… in the SEC. Adding to the resume, Burrow dispatched seven Top-10 teams (at the time LSU played them). If Cincy doesn’t draft this man, I am starting a petition to have them demoted to become an XFL team.
2. Washington Redskins – Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
While offensive tackle is arguably the ‘Skins biggest need, Young is too good to pass up. The Washington pass rush will be scary going into the future. Dwayne Haskins breathes a sigh of relief he doesn’t have to face Young twice a year.
3. Miami Dolphins (Projected trade w/Detroit Lions) – Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
My future prediction: all medical reports clear Tua, and his workouts are a huge success, displaying the lefty’s arm strength, mobility, and generational pinpoint accuracy. Knowing several teams are eyeing Detroit’s #3 pick to trade up for Tagovailoa, Miami makes the call to trade Detroit their #5 and #18 picks to bring the Hawaiian native to South Florida.
4. New York Giants – Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
While it’s not their biggest area of need, Daniel Jones is the QB of the future in New York and the Giants should draft the best offensive tackle in the draft to protect his blindside for the next decade.
5. Detroit Lions (Projected trade w/Miami Dolphins) – Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
Now the Lions’ first of two selections in the first round, the secondary gets a facelift by adding the best defensive back in the class. Okudah and Darius Slay will form one of the league’s more formidable duos at cornerback. With Amani Oruwariye as the nickel and Tracy Walker III and Will Harris at safety, this group will be one of the harder ones to pass on going into the future.
6. Los Angeles Chargers – Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
The Oregon native with perhaps the biggest arm in the class gets to stay somewhat close to home as the new QB of the future for the Chargers. With the weapons already in place, Herbert could see success as a rookie if he were to be thrown into a starting role.
7. Carolina Panthers – Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn
Carolina is disappointed they missed out on one of the top three quarterbacks in the class, but they still have Cam Newton and their new offensive coordinator coached Joe Burrow to his historic 2019 season. Brown is the best player available and too good to let drop any further. He also fills a need for the Panthers. It’s bittersweet, but this is still a win for Carolina.
8. Arizona Cardinals – Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
Arizona has their guy. Kyler Murray proved as a rookie he’s the QB they were looking for. However, his offensive line is abysmal. While the defense needs help and there are some ridiculously talented receivers available, they wisely use this pick to protect their franchise player.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars – Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
In this scenario, the Jags recognize that they have a potential franchise QB in Gardner Minshew and decide to build around him. I don’t think Jeudy falls this far in real life, but I also don’t know which team ahead of Jacksonville has that much of a need at receiver (maybe NYG?). Anyway, Jacksonville’s offense suddenly gets a whole lot scarier and Minshew couldn’t be happier.
10. Cleveland Browns – Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
A lot went wrong in Cleveland in 2019, but their offensive line was particularly offensive. Not like I watched every game, but it seems like every time I watched the Browns, Baker Mayfield was being pressured. They land a stud tackle to protect Baker here.
11. New York Jets – AJ Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa
The Jets could’ve gone several directions here. With all the top offensive linemen off the board already, New York moves on to their next-biggest need at edge rusher, and they get a good one. Epenesa will be a menacing presence for Tua Tagovailoa, Josh Allen, and whoever ends up as New England’s QB for many years.
12. Las Vegas Raiders – Isaiah Simmons, LB/S, Clemson
Simmons is such a unique, interesting prospect. He plays linebacker, safety, corner, and edge rusher. It’s so impressive. The Sin City Raiders really need receiver help but this class is deep at receiver. Instead they go with a defensive Jack-of-all-trades that cannot be passed up at this point in the draft.
13. Indianapolis Colts – CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
The best QBs are off the board and TY Hilton is aging and spent a large part of 2019 injured. CeeDee Lamb doesn’t just make sense here, he’s the best player available and a perfect fit in Indy, providing the Colts with a legit #1 receiver of the future to pair with 2019 second-round pick Parris Campbell.
14. Philadelphia Eagles (Projected trade w/Tampa Bay Buccaneers) – Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
Philly gives up its #21 and second-round selection in 2020 to Tampa to trade up for a legit #1 receiver. Honestly, it’s a tossup whether Henry Ruggs III or Higgins is the next receiver off the board, but I went Higgins here because he can be that dominant #1 receiver that Alshon Jeffery was in his prime.
15. Denver Broncos – Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
Plot twist. The run on receivers continues. Denver thinks they have their guy in Drew Lock. They have a great running game with Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman, and a #1 receiver in Courtland Sutton. Sutton needs a running mate, however, and Ruggs is the perfect complementary receiver. His speed will take the top off of defenses and Lock has the arm to hit him deep. Denver’s offense is suddenly exciting.
16. Atlanta Falcons – Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
Atlanta needs a corner and there’s a really good one that happens to be available for them at 16. Fulton was picked on in the National Championship game as Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence tended to avoid Derek Stingley Jr., but Fulton held his own and turned in a nice performance. He will eventually become the top corner for the Falcons and hold the role for a long time.
17. Dallas Cowboys – Grant Delpit, S, LSU
Easy selection. Best player available and fills a pressing need. The Thorpe Award winner finally goes off the board. The Dallas needs secondary help and a big play safety like Delpit is exactly what the doctor ordered.
18. Detroit Lions (Projected trade w/Miami Dolphins, via Pittsburgh Steelers) – Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
The defensive makeover in Detroit continues. This pick is a bit of a projection, but once Murray runs a 4.4 at the combine, his name is going to go screaming up draft boards. He fills a need for Detroit and will provide an imposing presence at middle linebacker for the foreseeable future.
19. Las Vegas Raiders (via Chicago Bears) – Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
After a run on receivers, the Raiders decide to hold off until their next selection and continue to address the defense. Something about Diggs just feels like he’s a future Raider, and he happens to fill a major need.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Los Angeles Rams) – Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
Jacksonville takes another player out of Alabama and upgrades at safety by selecting McKinney here with their second pick in the first round. McKinney is a rangy do-it-all safety who had 95 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 3 interceptions, 4 forced fumbles and a defensive touchdown for the Tide in 2019.
21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Projected trade w/Philadelphia Eagles) – Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina
Tampa gets some help along the defensive line. Kinlaw is arguably South Carolina’s most talented defensive player to come out since Jadeveon Clowney and fills a large area of need for the Buccs. This is the player they were eyeing to begin with and trading back pays off, as they’ve gained an additional second-round selection in this scenario.
22. Buffalo Bills – Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State
Gross-Matos was very productive in his three years at PSU, collecting over 100 total tackles, 36.5 for loss, adding 18.5 sacks. He will be a disruptive pass rusher for a team in need of one. A perfect team-player match.
23. New England Patriots – Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia
It’s too early to take any tight end in this class but it is time New England gets serious about finding a QB of the future. Brady may not be done yet, but the end is sooner than later. Fromm has all the tools necessary to be an NFL starter, and call it a feeling, but something about him says “New England.”
24. New Orleans Saints – Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
In this scenario, Teddy Bridgewater has moved on to be a starter elsewhere. Like New England, New Orleans needs a QB of the future. Love has perhaps the highest ceiling of any QB in the draft. His arm talent is Mahomes-like. However, his decision-making needs some work, and he would benefit greatly from a year of sitting and learning from a QB like Drew Brees, who’s back for one more shot at a ring.
25. Minnesota Vikings – CJ Henderson, CB, Florida
Minnesota needs help at corner and there happens to be a really good one on the board, just waiting to be paired with the exact team that needs him the most. At 6-1/202, Henderson has great size for the position and the athleticism to go with it. Easy selection here.
26. Miami Dolphins (via Houston Texans) – D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
We finally see the first running back go off the board here at 26. Miami is in great need of one, especially since trading away Kenyan Drake, and Swift is the best running back in this class. With the addition of Tua Tagovailoa, this is a completely different offense going into 2020, and the future is bright in Miami.
27. Seattle Seahawks – Tyler Biadasz, OL, Wisconsin
Edge rusher is an area of need for Seattle, but let’s assume Jadeveon Clowney gets resigned and 2019 first round pick LJ Collier carves out a larger role in the defense. The next area of need is on the interior offensive line, so why not add the Rimington Award winner and upgrade massively at center?
28. Baltimore Ravens – Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado
The Ravens need more weapons at receiver. Hollywood Brown is good. And while Miles Boykin looks promising, Shenault has legitimate WR1 potential, despite a down year in 2019, which has forced his draft stock down a little bit. It’s a risk, but a good one to take for Baltimore.
29. Tennessee Titans – K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
The Titans have a really good defense, but one place they could improve is in the pass rush. Chaisson is a big (6-4/250), athletic, disruptive edge rusher who would be getting more buzz if he didn’t miss nearly all of 2018 to an injury. While there’s a chance the redshirt sophomore could return to LSU, putting Chaisson across from Harold Landry would give the Titans a great 1-2 punch off the edge.
30. Green Bay Packers – Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Green Bay needs help at receiver. They have Davante Adams and… ____. Jefferson is a player I’ve been high on since before the season began and he’s exceeded all expectations en route to becoming the third-leading receiver in the nation (1540 yards) and tying for first in receptions (111). Jefferson immediately becomes Green Bay’s WR2 and the Packers offense becomes that much scarier.
31. Kansas City Chiefs – JK Dobbins, RB, Ohio State
This was almost Jonathan Taylor, but Taylor has lost 15 fumbles over the last three years. Dobbins has lost four in the same timeframe. The Texas native rushed for over 2000 yards for the Buckeyes in 2019, adding 23 total touchdowns. He’s a solid receiver out of the backfield, to boot. Kansas City needs a more consistent running game and Dobbins will provide exactly that for them.
32. San Francisco 49ers – Ashtyn Davis, S, California
This is another projection, but Davis is an athletic freak I believe will have a great combine and climb draft boards throughout the offseason, perhaps even getting into the end-of-first-round territory you see here. The safety fills a need for San Francisco and helps improve an already great defense.
33. Cincinnati Bengals – Austin Jackson, OT, USC
34. Indianapolis Colts – Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma
35. Detroit Lions – Julian Okwara, EDGE, Notre Dame
36. New York Giants – Curtis Weaver, EDGE, Boise State
37. Los Angeles Chargers – Nick Harris, OL, Washington
38. Carolina Panthers – Jacob Eason, QB, Washington
39. Miami Dolphins – Terrell Lewis, EDGE, Alabama
40. Arizona Cardinals – Raekwon Davis, DL, Alabama
41. Cleveland Browns – Neville Gallimore, DL, Oklahoma
42. Jacksonville Jaguars – AJ Terrell, CB, Clemson
43. Chicago Bears – Brycen Hopkins, TE, Purdue
44. Indianapolis Colts – Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
45. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
46. Denver Broncos – Lucas Niang, OT, TCU
47. Atlanta Falcons – Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
48. New York Jets – Prince Tega Wanogho, OT, Auburn
49. Pittsburgh Steelers – Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame
50. Chicago Bears – Daryl Williams, OL, Mississippi State
51. Dallas Cowboys – Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia
52. Los Angeles Rams – Josh Jones, OT, Houston
53. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Projected trade w/Philadelphia Eagles) – Jonathan Greenard, EDGE, Florida
54. Buffalo Bills – Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
55. Atlanta Falcons – Zack Baun, EDGE, Wisconsin
56. Miami Dolphins – KJ Hamler, WR, Penn State
57. Houston Texans – Cam Akers, RB, Florida State
58. Minnesota Vikings – Rashard Lawrence, DL, LSU
59. Seattle Seahawks – Tyler Johnson, WR, Minnesota
60. Baltimore Ravens – Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State
61. Tennessee Titans – Ross Blacklock, DL, TCU
62. Green Bay Packers – Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR, Michigan
63. Kansas City Chiefs – Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah
64. Seattle Seahawks – Kenny Willekes, EDGE, Michigan State