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2020 NFL Draft: Post-free agency 7-round mock draft

2020 NFL Draft: Post-free agency 7-round mock draft
Photo Credits: Chuck Cook, John David Mercer/USA TODAY Sports

[Update] Click to view my most recent 2020 NFL Mock Draft that was published on April 11. This mock draft was published on March 22 and is below. Now that the NFL free agency period has taken place and team needs are more transparent, it becomes slightly easier to project what teams will do in the 2020 NFL Draft. One thing that hasn’t changed is the reality that teams like the Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins, and Los Angeles Chargers are still desperate for a franchise quarterback. In this 7-round 2020 NFL post-free agency mock draft, we will take a look at how those teams fill their quarterback needs and much more.

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ROUND ONE

1-Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB LSU

The Bengals’ franchise is desperate for a charismatic player to be the face of their team. Joe Burrow is coming off of one of the best seasons for a quarterback in college football history, so I think it’s safe to say that he fills this void.

2-Washington Redskins: Chase Young, Edge Ohio State

Don’t buy into the rumors, the Washington Redskins like Dwayne Haskins, and they also love pass-rushing phenom Chase Young. It won’t take long before Young is one of the most feared defenders in the NFL.

3-Detroit Lions: Jeff Okudah, CB Ohio State

Now that they officially traded Darius Slay, the Detroit Lions really need a shutdown cornerback. Jeff Okudah is one of the best cornerback prospects we’ve seen in a decade and the Lions should run to the podium with this pick.

4-New York Giants: Tristian Wirfs, OT Iowa

Giants’ GM Dave Gettleman never trades out of a pick and is always looking to build in the trenches. The Nate Solder signing just hasn’t worked out and finding a player that can protect Daniel Jones is paramount.

5-Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB Alabama

This is a match made in heaven. The Dolphins have coveted Tua Tagovailoa and they are able to snag the elite prospect without having to trade up. If healthy, Tagovailoa has a chance to be one of the NFL’s best players.

Related | Tony Pauline’s 2020 NFL Draft Top 300 Big Board

6-Los Angeles Chargers: Justin Herbert, QB Oregon

After swinging and missing on Tom Brady, finding a franchise quarterback is the Chargers’ most pressing need. I know Justin Herbert has his critics, but he has been marvelous this draft season and has the elite tools needed to be successful in the NFL.

7-Carolina Panthers: Isaiah Simmons, LB Clemson

The surprise retirement of all-pro linebacker Luke Kuechley created a major hole in the middle of the Panthers defense, but selecting an athletic marvel like Isaiah Simmons here diminishes that problem.

8-Arizona Cardinals: Mekhi Becton, OT Louisville

The Arizona Cardinals stole DeAndre Hopkins from the Houston Texans, giving Kyler Murray a legitimate receiving threat. Now, the focus moves onto protecting Murray.

9-Jacksonville Jaguars: Derrick Brown, DT Auburn

As I mentioned in my recent piece about the Jaguars, replacing a franchise player like Calais Campbell is no easy task; however, Derrick Brown is one of the best players in the 2020 NFL Draft and should blossom into a franchise player quickly.

10-Cleveland Browns: Jedrick Wills, OT Alabama

The Browns did a solid job of addressing their offensive line in free agency by acquiring right tackle Jack Conklin. With that said, they still have a major hole at left tackle. Problem solved.

11-New York Jets: Andrew Thomas, OT Georgia

The Jets have had a horrible start to free agency, practically missing out on every player they targeted. For now, their best offensive lineman is George Fant and that is a major issue.

12-Las Vegas Raiders: Jerry Jeudy, WR Alabama

The Raiders are starved for a game-breaking receiver. Jerry Jeudy is the most NFL-ready receiver in this draft class, as he is a pristine route runner and always seems to be open. There is no doubt that adding a player the caliber of Jeudy’ will really help Derek Carr in 2020.

13-San Francisco 49ers: Henry Ruggs III, WR Alabama

The 49ers completed a blockbuster trade with the Indianapolis Colts to acquire this pick and while Javon Kinlaw is an interesting option to replace the departed DeForest Buckner, the 49ers made a bold move to add a new dimension to their offense. To say that Henry Ruggs III is fast would be quite the understatement, he has game-changing speed and is a threat to take it the distance every time he touches the ball.

14-Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Javon Kinlaw, DT South Carolina

Tom Brady is a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. I repeat, Tom Brady is a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. While Tampa has certainly found their quarterback, they still need to find someone to replace Ndamukong Suh at defensive tackle.

15-Denver Broncos: CeeDee Lamb, WR Oklahoma

CeeDee Lamb has no business being on the board here, but the Broncos won’t complain. Adding a talented player like Lamb will give Drew Lock a significant go-to target opposite of Courtland Sutton.

16-Atlanta Falcons: CJ Henderson, CB Florida

The Atlanta Falcons released Desmond Trufant and don’t have much else going on at the cornerback position. CJ Henderson is a smooth operator, who should be an instant plug-and-play for the Atlanta defense.

17-Dallas Cowboys: K’Lavon Chaisson, Edge LSU

After losing Robert Quinn to the Chicago Bears in free agency, the Dallas Cowboys suddenly have a need at pass-rusher. Chaisson has jaw-dropping explosiveness and if he can find a way to stay healthy, this will be a home-run selection for the Cowboys.

18-Miami Dolphins: Xavier McKinney, S Alabama

A staple of a Brian Flores defense is dedicating significant resources to the secondary. Miami also made a big splash in free agency by signing Byron Jones and now they get it a do-it-all safety that will take the Miami defense to the next level.

19-Las Vegas Raiders: Patrick Queen, LB LSU

There is no bigger need in the NFL than the Las Vegas Raiders need at the linebacker position. They added a good player in Cory Littleton during free agency, but there is work to be done here.

20-Jacksonville Jaguars: Josh Jones, OT Houston

Is Cam Robinson a franchise left tackle? This is a question that the Jacksonville Jaguars must ask themselves and the selection of Josh Jones here answers that question.

21-Philadelphia Eagles: Justin Jefferson, WR LSU

After missing out on one of the “big three” wide receivers in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Eagles get the next best one. Justin Jefferson shined during the 2019 season from the LSU Tigers and can give Carson Wentz a bonafide weapon.

22-Minnesota Vikings: Kristian Fulton, CB LSU

The Vikings no longer have Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes or Mackensie Alexander, so it is safe to assume that Minnesota will prioritize cornerback in round one of the 2020 NFL Draft.

23-New England Patriots: Jordan Love, QB Utah State

Ladies and Gentlemen, Tom Brady has left the building. Unless you’re a Jarrett Stidham believer, the Patriots dynasty as we know it looks to be over. Finding the next franchise quarterback will be key for Bill Belicheck. Jordan Love oozes potential and has star qualities that should excite the New England fan base.

24-New Orleans Saints: Jeff Gladney, CB TCU

Eli Apple was a pleasant surprise for New Orleans during the 2019 season, but he just signed a deal with the Las Vegas Raiders. Finding a shutdown cornerback to play opposite of Marshon Lattimore is a must.

25-Minnesota Vikings: Ross Blacklock, DT TCU

Xavier Rhodes isn’t the only player that needs to be replaced in Minnesota, as the Vikings also release long-tenured defensive tackle Linval Joseph. Ross Blacklock is an ascending player and gives Minnesota a jolt of youth on the defensive line.

26-Miami Dolphins: Austin Jackson, OT USC

After trading Laremy Tunsil to the House Texans for a trove of high draft picks, the Dolphins created a need for left tackle. Austin Jackson is a very talented player whom NFL front offices are very high on.

27-Seattle Seahawks: A.J. Epenesa, Edge Iowa

There was a time and place when A.J. Epenesa was considered a top-ten selection; however, a pedestrian NFL Scouting Combine has his draft prospectus heading in the wrong direction. With that said, Epenesa is a very talented player, who presents great value to the Seahawks here.

28-Baltimore Ravens: Kenneth Murray, LB Oklahoma

After what looked to be the best season in franchise history, the Baltimore Ravens were embarrassed by the Tennessee Titans in the divisional round of the playoffs. Derrick Henry ran through the Baltimore defense like a knife goes through hot butter. The Ravens need better play from the linebacker position in 2020 and Murray can give them that.

29-Tennessee Titans: Yetur Gross-Matos, Edge Penn State

Yetur Gross-Matos flashes dominance but must find a way to be more consistent. The Titans just released Cameron Wake, so finding a pass rusher to lineup opposite of Harold Landry is priority number one.

30-Green Bay Packers: Denzel Mims, WR Baylor

Aaron Rodgers is a great quarterback, yet he cannot do it all on his own. The Packers’ brass must find a way to provide more weapons. Outside of Davante Adams, the receiver group in Green Bay leaves a lot to be desired.

31-San Francisco 49ers: Cesar Ruiz, OL Michigan

San Francisco came within minutes of being Super Bowl 54 champions; however, they were not able to outlast Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. The 49ers are a very talented team and will find themselves right back in the hunt. Drafting a mauler like Cesar Ruiz to be the focal point of the San Francisco offensive line would be money well spent.

32-Kansas City Chiefs: Noah Igbinoghene, CB Auburn

The Chiefs have all the offense in the world, so spending resources to continue to build their defense would be wise. Noah Igbinoghene is an athletic and quick cornerback, who possesses the tools to become a quality starter at the next level.

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