2020 NFL Mock Draft: Oddschecker Verdict
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1. Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Burrow (QB, LSU)
Fresh off the best season in recent memory for a college quarterback, Joe Burrow is essentially a lock to go No. 1 come Thursday. Burrow doesn’t have a massive arm but he’s by far the most accurate passer in the draft and has shown impeccable football IQ.
With prototypical size and a resume that features a national title and an undefeated run through the toughest conference in college football, the only way Burrow doesn’t go to Cincinatti is if they trade out of the pick.
2. Washington Redskins
Chase Young (DE, Ohio State)
The best player in the draft and a dynamic defensive playmaker who could be the backbone of Washington’s defense for years to come. He’s an instant upgrade and will give Riverboat Ron a defensive stud straight out of the gate.
There has been some speculation that the front office may not be overly keen on Dwayne Haskins, so there’s always a chance that they could pull off a shock and grab a QB but with Kyle Allen on the roster, and the possibility that Alex Smith gets back on the field, that shouldn’t be in serious consideration when a player like Young is available.
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3. Detroit Lions
Jeff Okudah (CB, Ohio State)
This is the most likely spot for the first trade of the draft with teams like the Dolphins and Chargers looking to move up and grab their man at QB, but if the Lions stay at three, I think they take Okudah.
Matt Patricia’s defense needs help, especially in the secondary after trading Darius Slay to Philadelphia. Okudah is tall, long and famously had no pass interference or holding calls his final season in Columbus. He’s the perfect fit for Patricia and steps in day one as the Lions’ No. 1 corner.
4. New York Giants
Tristan Wirfs (OT, Iowa)
Firstly, I don’t trust Dave Gettleman to do the right thing here, and I think that there is a real chance they grab Isaiah Simmons, but they shouldn’t. Simmons is one of the most exciting talents in a long time but sometimes you need to make the smart, not the sexy pick.
It feels like the Giants have needed more talent on the offensive line for years but it’s crucial now. They need to protect Daniel Jones more and give him the time to grow as a passer. Saquon Barkley has been their best player since he was drafted but for his own health, they need to ensure he can at least get out of his backfield without needing to display his incredible physical attributes.
Wirfs can plug straight into this line in a variety of positions and that versatility makes him a can’t-miss prospect. Whether it’s at guard, left tackle, or the right tackle position which he spent most of his collegiate career playing, he’s going to be ready to contribute immediately.
5. Miami Dolphins
Tua Tagovailoa (QB, Alabama)
It’s almost guaranteed the Dolphins will go QB at five, but it comes down to preference here. Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert and Jordan Love are all options, but I think Tagovailoa is the most well-rounded of the bunch and will get the nod.
Herbert has a massive frame and arm but has struggled with his touch. Love is an intriguing prospect with a high ceiling but will require work on his throwing motion in order to get consistency from the former Utah State quarterback.
Tua has the arm talent and athleticism to be a true difference maker at the next level. From the time he stepped on the field at Alabama, he jumped off the screen. He’s won a national title and consistently competed against the best of the best with incredible efficiency, completing 69.3% of his passes while throwing 87 touchdowns and just 11 interceptions in his time at Alabama.
If it wasn’t for the long list of past injuries, I think he’d have a better chance at challenging Burrow for top pick, but I don’t think they’re enough to scare the Dolphins off at No 5.
6. Los Angeles Chargers
Jordan Love (QB, Utah State)
This pick has always been between two players, Love and Justin Herbert, with many reports saying that the Chargers have only met with those two out of all the quarterbacks entering the draft. Recent reports have also suggested that the Chargers have fallen for his potential.
The common belief coming from the league's general managers is that Herbert is the more pro-ready of the pair but could perhaps have a limited ceiling. Ceiling isn’t such a worry with Love who many see as a guy with the chance to be great.
The Chargers have shown historically they aren’t afraid to take a chance, and as they try to generate a fanbase in LA it makes sense to take the player who could have real superstar status. In Tyrod Taylor they have a dependable, albeit unexceptional QB, who can remain the starter as a bridge until Love is ready to move into the starting role.
7. Carolina Panthers
Isaiah Simmons (LB, Clemson)
Isaiah Simmons is the most versatile player in the entire draft and an absolute no-brainer for the Panthers at No. 7.
Simmons played safety, cornerback, outside linebacker and inside linebacker while at Clemson, and you can expect him to be lined up all over the field at the next level too. He is 6-foot-3, weighs 238 pounds, ran a 4.39 40-yard dash and put up a 39-inch vertical jump.
Simmons is an absolute freak with limitless potential on the defensive end. If he falls to Carolina and new head coach Matt Rhule at No. 7 there is almost no chance they let him get past them. The retirement of Luke Kuechly and loss of James Bradberry leaves a Carolina defense that allowed 29.4 points per game even more vulnerable than they were in 2019, and Simmons is exactly the type of player that can help start to fill those holes.
8. Arizona Cardinals
Jedrick Wills (OT, Alabama)
For months everybody in the football community had this pick pegged as one of the top wide receiver prospects. That all changed after the trade which took DeAndre Hopkins to Arizona and gave Kyler Murray the team he needs.
That high-powered offense could well take another receiver in the later rounds but the immediate move here is to strengthen that offensive line. Many analysts seem to thing Wills and Tristan Wirfs are a toss-up for the best prospect, and while I believe Wirfs is superior, Wills will be a real asset from day one.
Wills is NFL-ready and has immense power which should see him slide straight into the right tackle position. He’s also got the potential to protect the blind side if needed and his addition would really cement the Cardinals as a team to watch in 2020.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars
Justin Herbert (QB, Oregon)
This pick is Derrick Brown or Javon Kinlaw if Herbert is taken at No. 6 instead of Jordan Love, but if he drops to No. 9 the Jaguars will have to jump at the chance to get their QB of the future.
Gardner Minshew gave the Jags a spark last season, but he’s not the long-term answer at QB for Jacksonville. Herbert possesses the best arm talent in this year’s draft and can make every throw needed to excel in the NFL.
His 6-foot-6 frame and underrated athleticism and mobility makes him an extremely enticing prospect. The Jaguars need help everywhere and are about to go on a massive rebuilding project following some of the moves they made this past season. Herbert gives them the franchise cornerstone they need under center and lets them worry about filling the holes on defense and surrounding their new QB with weapons.
10. Cleveland Browns
Mekhi Becton (OT, Louisville)
The Browns have a need at left-tackle and Becton would add the strength and size that the line is lacking. For all their offensive star-power the Browns were tepid last year. Mayfield needs more protection if he’s going to help OBJ reach the levels we know he is capable of. A serious passing threat would also help that impressive run game dominate.
Becton is 6-foot-7, 364 pounds and has a 5.1 40-yard dash, with those tools he could be a dominant piece of the Browns’ offensive line for a decade and could take over as the heir to former-Brown Joe Thomas.
11. New York Jets
Jerry Jeudy (WR, Alabama)
The Jets need desperate help across the offensive line and at wide receiver. I think they’d prefer to go OL in round one but with Wirfs, Willis and Becton all off the board, Jeudy makes the most sense.
At 6-foot-1 and 193 pounds he has good size for the NFL, and we’ve seen his ability to win his routes and create separation. He had 1,163 yards and scored 10 touchdowns last season, which can be considered a down year when you consider his 1315 yards and 14 touchdowns the year before.
OT Andrew Thomas is a possibility here as well, but pairing Jeudy’s speed, acceleration and expert route running gives quarterback Sam Darnold the No. 1 threat he needs to take the next step, and that’s too promising for the Jets to pass on.
12. Las Vegas Raiders
CeeDee Lamb (WR, Oklahoma)
With Jeudy gone it saves Gruden and Maycock from a tough decision. The Raiders need an upgrade at receiver with tight-end Darren Waller and slot Hunter Renfrow the only two Raiders who impressed last season.
Lamb has great ball skills and can break tackles once he’s in the open field. With CeeDee Lamb, the Raiders get two things, a number-one receiver and a star to make them stand out among Las Vegas’ many attractions.
13. San Francisco 49ers (from Colts)
Henry Ruggs III (WR, Alabama)
And just like that, the top three receivers are off the board after back-to-back-to-back picks. The 49ers need another weapon for Jimmy G, and Ruggs may just be the most explosive offensive player in the entire draft.
Ruggs’ 4.27 40-yard dash and 42-inch vertical at the combine confirmed what everyone saw on tape, which was elite-level athleticism and an ability to run by any defender lined up across from him.
The 49ers, last season’s NFC champion, have one of the best defenses in the NFL, but need to put more talented players around Garoppolo if they want to win a Super Bowl. Ruggs gives the Niners another option to pair with George Kittle, Deebo Samuel and Raheem Mostert, and you can expect him to contribute from Day 1.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Andrew Thomas (OT, Georgia)
The Tompa Bay era has started now that the GOAT has arrived and there is one thing he needs and that’s more protection. The Bucs’ offense was high-powered in 2019 and Brady has a lot of great tools at his disposal for the first time in nearly three seasons. It’s now imperative that the Bucs strengthen to ensure he keeps them.
There are four offensive tackles at the head of this draft and Thomas is unlucky to be the final one selected but he’s the one with the shortest odds of winning a Super Bowl in his rookie year. Thomas was a three-year starter in Georgia and will improve the Bucs’ pass protection as well as their run game. This is the sensible pick here, even if the team could ideally do with some help at cornerback.
15. Denver Broncos
Derrick Brown (DT, Auburn)
Derrick Brown is a top-10 talent that has fallen to 15 here due to three QBs going in the top 10 and a rush on OL in the top half of the draft.
The Broncos are really looking a wide receiver at 15 to help out Drew Lock and to pair with Courtland Sutton, but with the top three guys all going in front of them, they take the best player on the board here.
Brown is a punishing force inside with unbelievable athleticism to go with his size and strength. He can play anywhere on the defensive front and will immediately make the Denver defense better. The Broncos would be incredibly lucky to see his name still on the board at 15 and would have no choice but to add the potential perennial pro-bowl defensive lineman.
16. Atlanta Falcons
CJ Henderson (CB, Florida)
The Falcons need defensive help and it was a close call between taking a cornerback or a linebacker. With Desmond Trufant now a Lion, there was a space and it’s one that CJ Henderson could fill immediately. This isn’t the best draft for corners but Henderson offers the most value here.
He has three-years of experience in the SEC, so he’s ready to be a day one starter. There have been question marks raised over his tackling, and it’s something he’ll need to improve, but his ceiling is incredibly high and he’s worth the selection for potential alone.
17. Dallas Cowboys
K’Lavon Chaisson (EDGE, LSU)
The Cowboys let Robert Quinn walk this offseason and need to fill the 11.5-sack hole left by his departure, so Chaisson makes all the sense in the world for Dallas.
Chaisson has a bit of an injury history, missing the entire 2018 season and two games in 2019, but he’s a force when healthy.
He has a long build and is extremely quick and agile for his 6-foot-3 254-pound frame. He only had 6.5 sacks in 2019, but two of those came in LSU’s thumping of Oklahoma in the CFP semifinals. Dallas needs help in the secondary too, but with CJ Henderson going off the board at 16, Chaisson is the best fit for the Cowboys.
18. Miami Dolphins (from Steelers)
Austin Jackson (OT, USC)
There are a lot of holes that need filling on this roster, especially given the amount of talent given away over the past 12 months. Now the Dolphins have successfully managed to #TankForTua they need to make sure that he is protected, meaning an unsexy offensive line pick is needed.
There are two top OT prospects left at this stage and the Dolphins will take Jackson over Houston’s Josh Jones. This really could go either way, but Jackson has played regularly against higher caliber opposition and has the higher ceiling of the pair.
19. Las Vegas Raiders (from Bears)
Javon Kinlaw (DT, South Carolina)
There’s some top-10 hype around Kinlaw, but I don’t see it and think it may be a bit premature.
I think Kinlaw makes more sense somewhere between 12-20 for most teams, and Las Vegas seems like a perfect fit.
The Raiders need help everywhere on the defensive end, and with CeeDee Lamb already in hand at No. 12, Kinlaw fits here. At 6-foot-5 and 324 pounds, he's a physical specimen with a knack for getting in the backfield. His issue in the past has been a lack of technique which leads to some inconsistencies.
Going at No. 19 instead of somewhere in the top 10 allows him to take time to develop his game and build the complete skill set he needs to compete at the next level.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars (from Rams)
Kenneth Murray (LB, Oklahoma)
The formerly great Jacksonville defense that led them to the AFC Championship game in 2017 has been decimated by trades for the current rebuild. Murray can come in and be the cornerstone of a new defensive unit for the next 10 years, and since they’ve already addressed the QB position earlier in the draft, he makes the most sense here.
Murray jumps off the tape when watching Oklahoma. He has a nose for big plays and is excellent in space. He’s a great athlete that can come downhill to stop the run and play coverage. He’s an every-down linebacker that has the potential to be in the Pro Bowl discussion every year.
Murray is the perfect fit for Jacksonville at 20.
21. Philadelphia Eagles
Denzel Mims (WR, Baylor)
I’ll be shocked if the Eagles end up picking at 21 come Thursday. The Birds need a wideout to take some pressure off Carson Wentz, and Jeudy, Lamb and Ruggs could all be that guy for Philadelphia. I expect them to move up to try and grab one of the top 3 receivers, and if they can’t do that, they’ll most likely trade back in the first.
If they do pick at 21, they still need a receiver. Some draft experts like LSU WR Justin Jefferson or Clemson’s Tee Higgins here, but neither are great athletes and both have some limitations physically. Eagles GM Howie Roseman has said they may need to value potential more and college production less when evaluating receiver prospects, and that’s why I think Mims is the pick.
Mims is a physical specimen with a ceiling far higher than Jefferson or Higgins. At 6-foot-3 and 207 pounds, he has prototypical size to play on the outside, and his 4.38 40-yard dash was the third fastest at the combine. He can fight for catches, blow past the coverage or go win jump balls. Mims could do wonders for Carson Wentz, and I think his potential will be too much to pass on for the Eagles.
22. Minnesota Vikings (from Bills)
Justin Jefferson (WR, LSU)
With Stefon Diggs now in Buffalo it’s clear that the receiving corp needs some fresh blood, which looks bereft of quality besides Adam Thielen. With Mims the fourth reciever off the board it’s key that Minnesota gets their man now.
Justin Jefferson would be an immediate impact maker for the Vikings. last season he accumulated 1,540 yards and 18 touchdowns on 111 receptions and has a good mix of size (6-foot-1, over 200 lbs) and speed, with a 4.43 40-yard dash.
23. New England Patriots
A.J. Epenesa (EDGE, Iowa)
The Patriots could do with some help in a variety of areas, and I toyed with the idea of drafting Tom Brady’s long-term successor Jacob Eason here, who many analysts believe would be a good fit for McDaniels’ offense. It makes sense to take him later in the draft, reducing the already sky-high pressure on whoever ends up as Tom Brady’s successor.
In the former-Hawkeye Epenesa, the Patriots would be acquiring a 6-foot-5, 275-pound rusher who bears some comparisons with former-Patriot Trey Flowers. He’s powerful and long, with a high level of technique to match the strength. His ability to move inside is also something that Bill Belichick will covet.
24. New Orleans Saints
Jalen Hurts (QB, Oklahoma)
“Jalen Hurts in the first round” you scream as I put on my tin helmet and look for shelter. The Saints have never been shy to grab their man ahead of his consensus position in the draft. Let’s look at the Saints QB situation. Backup Teddy Bridgewater has left for Carolina, with Sean Payton not willing to pay the big bucks whilst he’d still be sat behind Brees. Brees meanwhile is signing for NBC when his playing career is finishing, with the news of his signing now out, it means that surely is getting even closer. That leaves just Taysom Hill, the offensive Swiss Army Knife as a potential successor. I love Hill’s qualities and he’s one of the league’s most fun players but I don’t, not even for a second, believe that he’ll take over from Brees when the time comes.
The Saints need to make a move for their quarterback of the future now and Jalen Hurts being the perfect fit, especially given that he’ll be able to sit behind Brees for one, maybe two seasons and continue to hone his craft.
Sitting behind a starter would allow him the time to improve his downfield accuracy, but there’s already evidence that he has much more potential to grow into, seeing as his passing looked improved after transferring to Oklahoma from Alabama. We know about his athleticism, a 4.59 40-yard dash and 35-inch vertical jump, but his combine workout showed he really has improved as a prospect.
He’s still raw, and whilst not at Lamar Jackson’s level, I do feel, like I did then, that he was being underrated and thought of as just an athletic specimen. Hurts also has displayed incredible leadership throughout his career, whilst his reaction to replaced in ‘Bama by Tua Tagovailoa has shown his strength of character, things that head-coaches will fall in love with.
New Orleans and Sean Payton are the perfect landing spot for Hurts, allowing his time to grow and a coach with the expertise to maximise his skillset, if things go well then Hurts could end up as a Dak Prescott style starter in the league.
25. Minnesota Vikings
Yetur Gross-Matos (EDGE, Penn State)
The Vikings need help across the offensive line and could go that way here, but I believe they’ll choose to address the pass rush and make Gross-Matos the pick at 25.
He’s got prototypical size for an EDGE and has shown a consistent ability to get after the passer. He showed great instincts and playmaking ability during his time in Happy Valley, and you can expect that to continue in the NFL.
Gross-Matos isn’t a flashy pick, but he can bring consistency in the pass rush to a Minnesota defense that is in need.
26. Miami Dolphins (from Texans)
D’Andre Swift (RB, Georgia)
At this point we’ve drafted the ‘Phins franchise QB of the future, we’ve protected him with an offensive lineman, now it’s time to give him some talent to play with.
The leading wideouts have gone, and there is plenty of Day Two talent available that they could grab at 39 or 56, especially given DeVante Parker’s performances last year and the promising rookie Preston Williams entering his sophomore year.
Instead, we’re taking a running-back, with D’Andre Swift the man to lead Miami’s ground game. The RB-corp in Miami is a mess, with Swift an upgrade on Kalen Ballage, and likely to beat out Jordan Howard for the starting job, with Howard on his third team in as many years.
Swift is a three-down back, capable of dominating in the receiving or rushing game, he’s got great hands, great vision and an ability to find a hole inside or use his speed around the outside.
27. Seattle Seahawks
Cesar Ruiz (IOL, Michigan)
The Seahawks need help across the offensive line and Michigan’s Cesar Ruiz gives them exactly that.
Ruiz is extremely versatile. He started 31 games for the Wolverines in his time in Ann Arbor, 26 at center and five at guard. His 6-foot-4 319-pound frame can anchor the interior of the Seahawks offensive line for years to come.
Ruiz is a great athlete for his size and an extremely powerful run blocker. He moves well laterally and should add to what the Seahawks can do on offense.
28. Baltimore Ravens
Zack Baun (LB, Wisconsin)
Yes, there’s the story of the diluted sample that could see Baun’s stock drop, but if we’re honest, the league doesn’t have exactly have the strictest policy on these things and I believe teams would let it slide for Baun’s upside.
The Ravens could use more defensive help and Baun, a second-team Associated Press All American, and first-team All-Big Ten, would help them immediately. He lacks the size of a prototypical NFL edge rusher but his play makes up for it, he’s twitchy and explosive. Importantly for the position he also has lateral quickness which will help close running lanes. It’s not the most inspiring pick but Baun will add real value to the Ravens defense.
29. Tennessee Titans
Kristian Fulton (CB, LSU)
There are some valid concerns about his past, Fulton missed his sophomore season after providing the NCAA with a sample from someone else during a drug test, but the talent is undeniable.
Fulton’s hips are fluid and he is great at the line in press coverage. He also has the size to play on the outside at 6-feet tall and 200 pounds. He can get physical with the bigger receivers when needed and is fast enough to run with the speedsters.
Tennessee would love a pass rusher here but there aren’t many left on the board. Fulton makes the most sense for the Titans based on who is still available.
30. Green Bay Packers
Ross Blacklock (DT, TCU)
Green Bay could address a number of concerns. They need to look for Aaron Rodgers’ successor at some point soon, and they certainly need to add a weapon besides Devante Adams in the passing game, but it’s the defense that needs sorting first.
In 2019 the Packers were 23rd in run defense efficiency, given that they’ve made no attempt to fix that problem in free agency, we will do so here. Blacklock had a strong combine, the highlights being a 4.9-second 40-yard dash and a 29-inch vertical leap. He does have some concerns with his injury history but this combination of speed and power is hard to find and he’d make a great addition to the Packers’ defense, even if he will need to pack on more size to play DT or NT at NFL level.
31. San Francisco 49ers
Damon Arnette (CB, Ohio State)
The 49ers come into the draft needing to address the wide receiver and cornerback position and they’ve done both now after taking Henry Ruggs III at 13 and grabbing Arnette at 31.
Arnette doesn’t have blazing speed, as showcased with his 4.56 40-yard dash at the combine, but he’s an incredibly physical corner that challenges receivers at the line. He has a solid frame, has played outside and in the slot and looks like he’ll be able to contribute right away for San Francisco.
This move makes an already great defensive unit even better, and Arnette gets to go to an already established team and learn from future Hall of Famer Richard Sherman.
32. Kansas City Chiefs
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB, LSU)
With Damon Arnette heading to the 49ers it means the Chiefs can’t take the corner they’d want here. Instead they’ll address one of the weaker areas on their roster, the running back position.
Damien Williams may be remembered in Kansas City for his Super Bowl heroics but the reality is that he’s not an elite back, and only managed 498 yards through the season. Taking Edwards-Helaire here gives the Chiefs a back they can rely on for the next few years, while paying very little.
He’s been described as one of the risers heading into the draft with his stock flying up. He’s quick and has great acceleration which belies his strength. He’s got good hands, as evidenced by his 55 receptions and 453 yards through the air to go along with the 1,414 yards and 16 TDs he managed on the ground. His skillset is scheme proof but a coach like Andy Reid would really get the best out of him and give them the best rusher they’ve had since Jamaal Charles.
First round picks by school:
5 - LSU
4 - Alabama
3 - Ohio State, Oklahoma
2 - Iowa, Georgia
1- Utah State, Clemson, Oregon, Louisville, Michigan, Wisconsin, Auburn, Florida, USC, TCU, South Carolina, Baylor, Penn State
Brian is a sports journalist with close to ten years of experience in the business. A lifelong Philadelphia sports fan with a passion for all things sports gambling.