Some Senior Bowl invites have been sent out, and the College Football regular season is coming to an end. In the NFL, the playoff picture is beginning to take shape, with some teams already eliminated from playoff contention altogether. That means draft season is starting to get into full swing around fanbases and the league. I will be using the current NFL standings as of December 1 at 8 AM EST, and thus, that will eliminate all subjectivity in terms of the draft order. In terms of where players are selected, I will not be using my personal big board, but instead, be predicting draft picks where I believe players will go here in our latest 2020 NFL Mock Draft.
2020 NFL Mock Draft
#1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
This feels like a slam dunk considering just how well Burrow has performed this year at LSU. It is clear as day that Burrow has risen to the occasion on every challenge thrown in his way. He dominated Alabama, took it to Florida, and has looked like the best quarterback in the nation against every other team that the Tigers have faced this year.
Burrow’s strides of improvement from his junior to his senior season are going to draw teams to him. But even more so, Burrow has enough arm talent, mobility, and feel of the pocket to improvise outside of the pocket. He possesses the accuracy to make the easy plays routine and still make some great throws into tight windows. The Bengals have made it clear that they are ready to turn over a new leaf and move forward with a new face of the franchise. Burrow is that guy.
#2. New York Giants: Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
This is a no brainer for the Giants at this point. Young is the clear best prospect coming into the draft. Still, it is not just the fact that he is the best player in the draft that makes this pick make so much sense. The Giants traded Oliver Vernon to the Browns in the offseason and have had problems getting a consistent pass rush all season. Young solves that issue and more for the Giants, who will get a franchise cornerstone to build around on the defensive side of the football in Young.
#3: Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
Tank for Tua was a success, Miami. While it might not have come under the best circumstances given the health concerns surrounding Tagovailoa’s hip injury, Miami has gotten the man that they have been linked to all season long. Tagovailoa has great mobility combined with outstanding accuracy and ball placement. The mental lapses are a thing to watch with him, but there is no doubt that he has the electrifying skill set that can turn the Dolphins into a contender in no time. As long as the medicals check out, I do not think Miami can pass up on their guy in Tagovailoa.
#4: Washington Redskins: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
Our own Tony Pauline had this exact pick in his mock draft two weeks ago. I am not sure what other direction Washington can go with Chase Young off the board now. The Trent Williams situation is not getting any better for them, and they have to first and foremost protect Dwayne Haskins. The Redskins need to have to build around him and protect their 2019 first-round pick from an onslaught of pressure. They could go cornerback or even wide receiver here, but when a franchise-caliber tackle prospect with Thomas’s athleticism, footwork, and violent hands comes by, you don’t pass up on the opportunity to take him.
#5: Atlanta Falcons: Derrick Brown, IDL, Auburn
Derrick Brown is such an easy pick here. I love his fit with the Falcons, and he could cause some serious havoc on the interior with Grady Jarrett. Brown’s a freaky athlete with great mental ability as well in his pass-rush plan. He is a student of the game through it all. His hand usage is as seasoned as it could be for a college defensive lineman, and even more so, combine that with a twitchy first step. The ability to disrupt offenses through a two-headed monster is just too good for Atlanta to pass up, especially with a somewhat ailing defense.
#6: Denver Broncos: Tristian Wirfs, OT, Iowa
Wirfs may not come out this year, but until he says he is going back, this lock-and-key fit makes far too much sense for the Broncos, especially with their issues at the tackle position. The fact of the matter is that Garrett Bolles has not been successful up to this point, and the Broncos have to solve the tackle position before Drew Lock or any other quarterback that steps under center. Wirfs has incredible athleticism for his size. Given his technical proficiency, specifically with how good his hand placement combines with his good pad level, this one is a slam dunk pick.
#7: Detroit Lions: Isaiah Simmons, ILB, Clemson
This one might be the first semi-surprise of the mock draft. A.J. Epenesa is there for the taking if the Lions wanted to get even stronger up front, but they are absolutely starved for linebackers right now. Jarrad Davis has not progressed like they thought he would. Jahlani Tavai has not been bad at all in his rookie year, but they need the guy who can be a game-changer at the second level. Simmons fixes a plethora of coverage issues over the middle for them. With the infusion of his athleticism and speed to the second level of their defense, they can start to mesh together a talented defensive unit.
#8: Arizona Cardinals: Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
The offensive line play in Arizona has improved to a degree this season. However, they still need improvement, and D.J. Humphries could walk this offseason. There must be upgrades along this offensive line, and a guy like Alex Leatherwood can help give Murray cleaner pockets to throw from. Leatherwood has great footwork and pass sets and a mauler mindset in the running game. He should be a welcome addition to the Arizona offensive line.
#9: Jacksonville Jaguars: Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
Congratulations, Jacksonville, you have just been gifted the steal of the draft thus far! There is no denying the fact that the Jaguars have other needs aside from cornerback, but Okudah is an absolute steal here, and being able to put him on the outside just months after trading Jalen Ramsey would be a great deal for the Jaguars defense. Okudah brings length and ball skills to this Jaguars defense. He is the best cornerback in this draft class by far and is scheme diverse due to his high football IQ and fluidity in zone coverage. This is a sprint-to-the-podium pick.
#10: New York Jets: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
The Jets have a ton of uncertainty about the wide receiver room after this year. Demaryius Thomas is anything but young, Robby Anderson could walk, and they still do not have a true number one receiver. Teams are just keying in one Le’Veon Bell, and it has not opened up the offense enough for Sam Darnold and company. Jeudy’s route running skills and big-play skillset can bring that true number one option to the Jets offense and really help Darnold and this team moving forward.
#11: Los Angeles Chargers: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
The most divisive quarterback in this class perhaps is Herbert, but the arm talent and ability to pull off great stuff out of structure has to allure teams in no matter what truly happens overall. There are certainly doubts about what he could be, but the Chargers have to make a move themselves at quarterback. Father time is undefeated, and it is knocking on Phillip Rivers’s door. Herbert can energize this offense with his dynamic skill set and can even learn for a year under Rivers to help him develop past his inconsistencies.
#12: Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
The other Alabama tackle is now off the clock, folks. Wills is a superb natural athlete in pass protection. All signs point to Jameis Winston returning as the starter next year. With all the trouble the Buccaneers have had in protecting him during his tenure in Tampa Bay, Wills is a much-welcomed addition to the offensive line.
#13: Philadelphia Eagles: Ceedee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
The Eagles need a wide receiver so, so badly. Alshon Jeffrey does not look like himself at all, Nelson Agholor drops far too many passes, and otherwise, this wide receiver corps as not been inspiring at all. J.J. Arcega Whiteside has been a disappointment as well. Lamb is considered the best receiver in this class by some. With his ability to separate and make big plays after the catch, this pick makes far too much sense. Carson Wentz can now celebrate as he gets a true number one receiver.
#14: Cleveland Browns: Grant Delpit, S, LSU
The Browns have had their fair share of struggles at tackle, but the tackle position at this point has been raided. They can not afford to make such a gigantic reach here, especially when the best safety is on the board, and there is a gaping hole at safety on their defense. Morgan Burnett just went down with a season-ending Achilles injury, and behind him, there has not been much talent. Delpit has had his fair share of struggles on the season, especially in the tackling department, but there is no doubt that Delpit is a playmaker who can shore up a weakness in this safety group.
#15: Carolina Panthers: Javon Kinlaw, IDL, South Carolina
I love this fit for Carolina. With so many question marks beyond this season along the defensive line, it seems like the Panthers might need to invest along the defensive line, and what better way to do it than by getting an absolute game wrecker in Javon Kinlaw. Kinlaw’s fantastic first step and power give you glimpses of a potential top ten player in this class if he pans out. He is a bit on the rawer side of things with his hands, but when you hear from analysts that he could be the next Chris Jones, they are not kidding. Kinlaw has all the traits to be a stud for the Panthers here.
#16: Las Vegas Raiders (via Chicago): Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
This is a home run pick for the Raiders here. The need at corner, especially after the Gareon Conley failure, is as clear as day for them. Thus, enter the best cornerback on the board, and a guy who brings playmaking ability with his length and ball skills in Trevon Diggs. Diggs has wide receiver like ball skills and great athleticism on top of it to stick with some of the fastest receivers out there. This is a natural fit in a Raiders defense that loves intensity, which Diggs brings.
NEXT: PICKS 17-32