17) Dallas Cowboys – CJ Henderson, CB, Florida
After the announcement that Cowboys #1 cornerback Byron Jones will be hitting free agency, the position suddenly became one of their top priorities. In this scenario, the Cowboys land the prospect many see as the #2 cornerback in the class in CJ Henderson (4.39s forty-yard dash). After bursting onto the scene as a freshman with 4 interceptions, Henderson developed into a lockdown presence for the Gators.
18) Miami Dolphins – AJ Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa
Miami has a major need at pass rusher, as Taco Charlton led them in sacks last season with just 5. AJ Epenesa provides immediate upside in Brian Flores’ defense and would pair well with 2019 first-round pick Christian Wilkins to create a potentially dominant defensive line duo.
19) Las Vegas Raiders – Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
After going with a quarterback with their first selection, the Raiders would need to look to the defensive side of the ball with their subsequent pick. The Raiders have a need at linebacker, and Patrick Queen (4.50s forty-yard dash) is an athletic freak who can really pursue sideline-to-sideline.
20) Jacksonville Jaguars – Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
After trading away one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL in Jalen Ramsey, the Jaguars will look for a starting replacement during the 2020 NFL Draft. Kristian Fulton has been a projected first-rounder throughout the entire process, after being the best senior cornerback in the country this past season.
21) Philadelphia Eagles – Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
Philadelphia needs to upgrade their wide receiver core after a disastrous and injury-riddled 2019 at the position. They could use both a field-stretcher with speed and a boundary presence to replace Alshon Jeffery, so how about a prospect that can do both? Denzel Mims, fresh off his 4.38s 40-yard dash, is known for expanding his catch radius and making preposterous receptions along the boundary. After his performance at the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine, he’s put himself into the first round conversation.
The arm bar by Denzel Mims to hold Troy Pride Jr. away from the catchpoint was one of the most advanced WR techniques we’ve seen in Mobile this week pic.twitter.com/7brMzdZDiQ
— Brad Kelly (@BradKelly17) January 23, 2020
22) Buffalo Bills – Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
Expect an eventual run on wide receivers to happen during the NFL Draft, as this class is loaded with talent. In this scenario, the Bills go after a receiver who uses his body control to make plays away from his frame and fix accuracy. Buffalo has their speed threat in John Brown and their chain mover in Cole Beasley. The remaining aspect of their receiving core will be a size component. Higgins (6’3 ⅝, 6’9 wingspan) provides that in spades.
23) New England Patriots – Grant Delpit, SAF, LSU
While veteran safety Devin McCourty is a free agent, his return to New England is likely. Despite that, McCourty and long-term counterpart Patrick Chung will both be 33 years-old by Week 1. New England needs youth behind them, and Grant Delpit has a ton of potential with his range on the back-end.
24) New Orleans Saints – Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
After a season in Joe Brady’s offense at LSU, one that took a lot of concepts from the Saints, Justin Jefferson became one of the most productive receivers in the country. He’s an ideal fit in the Saints offense, and they’re in need of receiver help to compliment Michael Thomas.
Just a ridiculous rep from Justin Jefferson. With the play-action, he doesn’t get a zone dropper to his inside, so he starts working his stem off the free safety. Top of route rocker step gets the FS to take an extra leverage step, creating extra space for his break. Hands / YAC pic.twitter.com/S6aB2LE7eH
— Brad Kelly (@BradKelly17) January 30, 2020
25) Minnesota Vikings – Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
Once one of the premier cornerbacks in the league, Xavier Rhodes has regressed over the past two seasons, leaving a hole in the Vikings defense. While they could still improve the interior of their offensive line, there is quality at that position that should be available on Day 2 of the NFL Draft. That leaves the door open for Minnesota to go get one of the best cornerback prospects in the class with their first-round selection.
26) Miami Dolphins – Josh Jones, OT, Houston
After taking a quarterback in the top-5, Miami would almost certainly need to upgrade their offensive tackles to protect that young asset. Josh Jones had a good week at the Senior Bowl, which placed him in the first-round conversation. While he tested out just about average across the board athletically, his mobility in space should project well to the next level.
27) Seattle Seahawks – Zack Baun, EDGE, Wisconsin
While the Seahawks have been unpredictable with their recent first-round picks, we do know that they value versatility in their front seven. Baun broke out last season with 12.5 sacks and offers experience playing linebacker and blitzing on stunts. His varied skill-set would fit beautifully into Seattle’s defensive scheme.
28) Baltimore Ravens – Javon Kinlaw, IDL, South Carolina
After his strong and disruptive week at the Senior Bowl, South Carolina interior defensive lineman Javon Kinlaw should be an option for teams in the top-20 of the NFL Draft. With the way the board falls in this scenario, Kinlaw becomes available for the Ravens in the later stages of the first round. Baltimore didn’t get much interior pass rush last season, so Kinlaw’s disruption would be a natural fit.
29) Tennessee Titans – Cesar Ruiz, IOL, Michigan
With a strong overall roster, Tennessee could go in a number of different directions with their first-round pick. Without any value left at the EDGE spot, they can address their interior offensive line. Cesar Ruiz is a natural center who has experience starting at right guard, a position he could fill immediately in 2020 over Nate Davis. Following a similar path as former center prospects such as Frank Ragnow, I see Ruiz eventually moving to his more natural position as center Ben Jones ages.
30) Green Bay Packers – Matt Peart, OT, Uconn
With long-term starting right tackle Bryan Bulaga entering free agency, Green Bay should be looking for his potential replacement. Matt Peart had a solid week at the Senior Bowl after starting at right tackle for UConn for the past two seasons, and just posted an impressive 40-yard dash time, vertical jump, and bench press numbers at the NFL Scouting Combine. His power helps him project as a road-grader at the next level.
31) San Francisco 49ers – Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State
While San Francisco had one of the strongest defenses in the league this past season, their cornerback spot opposite Richard Sherman was a revolving door of Ahkello Witherspoon and Emmanuel Moseley in the playoffs. They could shore up their secondary with a cornerback prospect like Damon Arnette, who offers plus athleticism and fits the 49ers physical mold at cornerback.
32) Kansas City Chiefs – Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
Kansas City got by throughout the playoffs despite a lack of athleticism in the second-level of their defense, which had previously come back to bite them. Look no further to improving that aspect of their team than Oklahoma’s Kenneth Murray (4.52s forty yard dash). Murray can fly sideline to sideline, cover, and make plays in space with the best of linebacker prospects. While I take issue with some of his run fits, he fits a need for the Chiefs.