Let’s go a little off the rails, shall we? Here’s one of the more crazy, yet plausible mock draft you’ll see in 2020.
The 2020 NFL Combine is officially in the books and now teams will have a chance to build their big boards. Granted, while some teams are blessed to have limited options at the top, others will continue to build their rosters by looking at every option out.
One option is by trading up or down to solidify the pick they hope will become the next big name for the franchise. The biggest problem with selections like that is it will cause a ripple effect that sees more teams moving up before someone beats them to the punch. Sure, some players will move down on big boards, but teams that feel they need to add one final piece will always do what it takes to bring their roster to a championship mentality.
Mock drafts are always fun, but trades make them better. If a run on quarterbacks or tackles begins to take control, the top 10 selections could look different when April rolls around. While this likely won’t happen, I figured let’s have some fun and figure out which franchises could be moving up to select their next big name star in 2020.
Feel free to rip this apart later because, hey, I’m sure one person will be blown away and hate this mock — you know, because that always happens.
And with the first pick…
1. Cincinnati Bengals: QB Joe Burrow, LSU
This mock is offering a somewhat extreme view of what might happen in April, but it also has to be smart. No way are Cincinnati going anywhere but Joe Burrow at pick No.1. Sorry to Joe, but let’s hope you like the harsh conditions under the Brown family.
“I LOVE this out of Joe Burrow. This is leadership.” pic.twitter.com/gxlJnkErVS
— BENGALS TALK (@BengalsTalk) March 2, 2020
2. TRADE: Carolina Panthers: QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
Washington receives: (7th overall pick, 38th overall pick, 2021 1st round pick, 2021 3rd round pick, 2021 4th round pick)
Carolina receives (2nd overall pick, 2021 6th round pick)
Ok, now it’s time to start shaking things up. Yes, this trade is going to mean a haul of resources for one team as the other bets on their future.
While Washington could be onto something with drafting Tagovailoa at No.2, that just means the positioning. Dan Snyder gave just one first-round grade out to quarterbacks last season and was involved in the selection process of the first round. Dwayne Haskins was always his choice and outside of Uncle Jerry, he’s perhaps the most talked-about owner in football.
The team Ron Rivera was working for last not only axed him but will be rebuilding a new roster of young talent. The final move could be to cut Cam Newton this offseason and look for their gun-slinger of the future. If Tagovailoa’s medical reports and numbers come back fine, this could be something to watch for Matt Rhule and the Panthers.
Tua Tagovailoa (my #1 rated QB in this 2020 NFL draft Class)
Just sit back and enjoy… pic.twitter.com/QHVgfdFeqX
— 𝐂𝐅𝐁𝐋𝐢𝐯𝐞𝟐𝟒𝟕TM (@CFBLive247) February 26, 2020
If Newton is healthy, the Panthers could still roll with him for a season, waiting for Tagovailoa to be at full strength. With Joe Brady, who helped instigate one of the top passing units in college football history, the Alabama quarterback would be able to thrive in the offensive system that handed him his only regular-season loss.
Newton could play, earn some money for the free agency and eventually head out on his own terms, leaving being a team being rebuilt under Matt Rhule. Tagovailoa will very likely be ready in year two. This is a big haul for a player, but Tua isn’t JUST a player.
3. TRADE: Miami Dolphins: QB Justin Herbert, Oregon
Detroit receives: (5th overall pick, 56th overall pick, 2020 6th round pick 2021 3rd round pick)
Miami receives (3rd overall pick, 2021 5th round pick)
All it takes is one domino for the rest to keep crumbling down. With Tagovailoa off the board, Las Vegas, Tampa Bay, and Indianapolis will be in play for Herbert from the mid-range of the first round. Detroit also has been rumored to be enamored by the Oregon product’s production.
In the end, Miami needs a quarterback for their future, and for comparison we can look at the deal between the Chicago Bears and San Francisco 49ers in 2017 when the Bears went after Mitch Trubisky. It may very well have ended up horrible for both, but those numbers are similar.
Justin Herbert is dropping deep dimes 💪 @OregonFootball
— NFL (@NFL) February 28, 2020
The Lions would be able to move back and have options with the fifth pick. Meanwhile, Miami will be in the market for a spread offensive quarterback under new offensive coordinator Chan Gailey. Herbert, a west coast guy, fits the bill like the mascot of his college.
This trade works for both sides. The Lions add picks while Miami gets their man of the future. Who says no? Well, probably Dolphins fans because they love to complain that they won’t get Tua.
4. New York Giants: EDGE Chase Young, Ohio State
Dave Gettleman is a senile old man who loves to talk jibber-jabber about how using the run matters. So does stopping it Big Game Dave. Young is the best player in the class far and away, yet he’s still available at No.4.
Chase Young today:
4 sacks, 5 TFL, 2 forced fumbles
— Buckeye Videos+ (@BuckeyeVideos) October 26, 2019
The Mara family should be in the room with Gettleman when he drafts because, as much as I love Isaiah Simmons, this needs to be the pick. If he goes any other direction, just tell Dave to start packing. Surely no one is that stupid.
Right? Oh please, for Giants fans everywhere be right.
5. Detroit Lions – DEF Isaiah Simmons, Clemson
Ok Lions fans, before you come for my head, let’s have a chat.
The Lions have multiple holes around their defense with Matt Patrica in a “prove-it” year. Jarrad Davis is at best an above-average linebacker who still has his inconsistencies. Meanwhile, the team will need to find help at the safety position for their future.
Simmons has firmly placed himself in the conversation as a top-five pick.
ISAIAH. SIMMONS. 🔥
— NFL (@NFL) March 1, 2020
For Detroit, the Clemson product would likely play on the back end in coverage. After taking over 100 snaps at four different positions in college, the 6-foot-4 hybrid player ran a 4.39, demonstrating his speed tracking receivers. Pairing Simmons with Davis, Christian Jones and Jahlani Tavai would allow a three-man blitz, plus a roamer in the middle of the field for drags and slants.
The reality is Simmons can play anywhere and the Lions have needs everywhere. If they are still picking in the No.3 slot, I’d veto it but it’s No.5. That makes it a little more viable and it does make sense to bring in a versatile weapon.
6. TRADE: Las Vegas Raiders: QB Jordan Love, Utah State
Los Angeles receives: (12th overall pick, 81st pick, 91st pick, QB Derek Carr)
Las Vegas receives (6th overall, 2020 6th round pick)
I’ll tell you what man; that trade is crazier than Cupid singing “Hallelujah” in the City of Angels that looks like hell.
Yes. I’m a mad man.
The Chargers have missed out on Herbert as the Dolphins jumped up and snagged him early. Is the team sold on Love as the second option? The difference between the two players isn’t as much as some would think since both have flaws, but one season of strong work makes them both a first-round target.
Jordan Love’s ceiling might be higher than any QB in this draft. Imagine him sitting a year behind Brees 👀 pic.twitter.com/SAjIw6yD69
— Chris Rosvoglou (@RosvoglouReport) February 28, 2020
Someone will consider moving up after falling in Love with Jordan (sorry, not making that stupid pun). ESPN’s Todd McShay compared him to a poor-mans Patrick Mahomes based on the arm strength and ability to connect on the whim. Mahomes needed help to learn the mechanics with Andy Reid and he has developed into the ultimate game-changer. Let Jon Gruden have his own Mahomes and compete for a playoff spot in the ever-growing AFC West.
As part of this deal the Chargers, who have multiple holes to fix this offseason, get to add a veteran quarterback with proven experience and gain multiple picks with which to fix their offensive line. There should still be a tackle available at 12, but they also have ammunition with the second 3rd round pick to move up if they need to.
If Love isn’t their Prince Charming, Los Angeles should trade back and add more to their seven-man draft class. The only question will they allow a division rival to move up?
7. Washington (Via CAR): CB Jeffery Okudah, Ohio State
Let’s not waste time; I’d honestly consider Okudah for the No.2 pick if I’m Washington. The team finished last season with just 13 interceptions, and need a game-changer on the outside to replace Josh Norman. His backpedal and break are things NFL Draft gurus dream of daily.
Yes, they dream of his legs rather than their kids!
Not sure any corners tackle better than Jeffery Okudah. pic.twitter.com/iJ6b3gs9KZ
— Travis Wingfield (@WingfieldNFL) September 28, 2019
This would be a win for Washington in back to back drafts for Day 1.
8. Trade: Indianapolis Colts: DL Derrick Brown, Auburn
Arizona receives (13th overall pick, 44th pick)
Indianapolis receives (8th overall pick)
The good news for Arizona is that they signed DJ Humphries to a three-year extension. The bad news; it’s still DJ Humphries. Still, with a need at wide receiver and the report the team’s in love with all three of the main option still available, Steve Keim could maybe trade back, get his man and picks, or settle for the next best thing.
The Colts are Scrooge McDuck swimming in a pool full of money. This offseason, the team will be able to address their needs at quarterback, pass rusher and still fix their offensive line. The question is what will they do in the trenches on the defensive side of the ball should they miss out on a big name that hits the market.
Brown is one of the top defensive linemen that has been on offer over the past three drafts. The Auburn-bred defensive tackle is simply a terror for an offensive lineman. His bull-rushing skills will put pressure in any backfield while his play speed will allow him to track down running backs and quarterbacks outside the pocket. Despite an iffy combine, the tape does not lie.
If you’re ever sad just remember the time Derrick Brown threw an All-American guard into the Heisman Trophy winner pic.twitter.com/fiJzwoXffV
— Grief Counselor (@sheabooskyy) February 26, 2020
Should he begin to slip, teams will be calling to move up to nab him. Ballard could win in free agency while giving up little to grab Brown for the future of the interior of the defense.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars: CB CJ Henderson, Florida
I would go wide receiver here or even defensive tackle should Brown still be on the board. Instead, it’s hard not to bring up a cornerback after the team traded away both their opening day starters from 2019 in the last six months. With AJ Bouye and Jalen Ramsey finding homes out West, Dave Caldwell will need to address the position with a prospect that is close to home.
CJ Henderson was already a fringe top-15 player on some big boards, but his combine outing might solidify his status as the CB2. A 4.39 40 time along with 20 reps on the bench demonstrates how much of a complete player the former Gator in terms of speed and strength. His cover skills aren’t flawless, but his ability to win with his burst towards the ball could have him as an early starter.
— Michael Kist (@MichaelKistNFL) February 26, 2020
Caldwell is known for nailing early draft selections. With the status of Javon Kinlaw up in the air and a slew of late-gem offensive tackles, Henderson would be a smart play for the secondary. If Brown is gone and the team believes in Cam Robinson, Caldwell should have another slam dunk in the first round.
10. Cleveland Browns: OT Tristian Wirfs
This is an easy one. Cleveland needs two offensive tackles and all four big names are still on the board. The exact pick will depend on how Kevin Stefanski wants to run the team, but athleticism is always a desired trait in an offensive tackle.
Did anyone else watch Tristan Wirfs combine? Yeah, he proved he’s athletic enough to play on either side of the ball.
Wirfs set records in the vertical jump (36.5 inches), a 10-foot-1-inch result in the broad jump while posting the top time among offensive linemen in the 40 (4.85). A freshman starter for Kirk Frerentz on the offensive line is unheard of, but Wirfs background in wrestling made him a top-notched pass protector and mauler against defenders.
4.86 at 320lbs
OK, Tristan Wirfs!
— PFF (@PFF) February 28, 2020
If he’s better in pass protection, play him at left tackle. If his skills are better suited against the run, right side it is. No matter how you phrase it, he’d be a perfect fit on either end. Guess what? Baker Mayfield and Nick Chubb will need massive help on both sides if the Browns offense is going to succeed. This position will likely be their pick and they would love to have the pick of all four options while not having to move up at all.
Does any of this happen? Probably not, but man, this would be an epic start to a historic weekend in Las Vegas come draft weekend.
Cole Thompson is the Lead NFL writer for Pro Football Network. Follow him on Twitter at @MrColeThompson.