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    NFL End of Regular Season Mock Draft: Skill players dominate the first round

    Now that the 2020 NFL Draft order is set for the non-playoff teams, it's time to publish our first round mock draft consisting of inside information and analysis.

    The NFL regular season is over. Let that sink in for a second. It seems as if it was just yesterday when the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears were kicking off on Thursday Night Football to begin the NFL’s 100th season. 17 weeks later, there are only 12 teams left who are vying for a Super Bowl title. With the draft order set for non-playoff teams, here’s a 2020 mock draft to get your juices flowing as we head into the offseason for 20 teams.

    As the founder and CEO of Pro Football Network, I’m not going to pretend that I have the ability (or time) to scout and analyze all of the draft prospects. I leave that up to our fantastic draft staff, led by Tony Pauline. However, I do have a good idea of what is being talked about within scouting circles and in NFL circles – even pieces of information that we may have not previously reported here at PFN.

    In the mock below, I’ll lead with a few sentences regarding the player’s fit for that team, dropping any inside information we have where applicable. For player analysis, I’ll lean on our staff and what they’ve had to say in their recent mock drafts.

    #1. Cincinnati Bengals: QB Joe Burrow, LSU

    There’s no way the Bengals can mess this up, right? An Ohio boy coming back home to Ohio to save the franchise. Of course, we’ll need to see if his game translates to the NFL. While I think it will, the coaching staff that is tasked with developing him plays just as much of a factor. I’m not completely sold on head coach Zac Taylor and his assistants getting the job done.

    Nick Farabaugh: 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.

    #2. Washington Redskins: DE Chase Young, Ohio State

    All signs point to Ron Rivera being named the next head coach of the Washington Redskins and we all know that Rivera loves defense. So, there’s no way he can pass up on Chase Young, right? Washington shouldn’t have to think about this for more than 30 seconds. Young is the best player in the draft, even better than Burrow.

    Ian Cummings: Young has 16.5 sacks so far this season, and Ohio State has at least one more game to go in the College Football Playoff. Young, standing at 6-foot-5, 265, is an edge rusher in the same vein as some of the most athletically gifted defenders to enter the NFL in recent years. He’s dominated almost every opponent he’s faced, and in the NFL, his mix of burst, length, power, and relentlessness will come at a premium price. 

    #3. Detroit Lions: LB Isaiah Simmons, Clemson

    Head Coach Matt Patricia is back for another season and while there are some media pundits who have talked about the Lions drafting a quarterback, the reality is that Patricia needs to win to save his job. A rookie quarterback sitting behind Matt Stafford isn’t going to make that happen. While this might be a little high for Simmons, he’s going to be a chess piece that Patricia can move around his defense. 

    Tony Pauline: Simmons is the off the ball linebacker the Lions need. He brings great athleticism and ball skills, something he showed as a redshirt freshman when he lined up at safety. 

    #4. New York Giants: DT Derrick Brown, Auburn

    While the status of HC Pat Shurmur and GM Dave Gettleman is not known at the time of this mock being published, signs are pointing to at least Shurmur being out. If Baylor head coach Matt Rhule is ready to jump to the NFL, the New York Giants are his preferred destination. While the Giants will miss out on Chase Young, Derrick Brown isn’t the worst consolation prize. 

    Nick Farabaugh: 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. 

    #5. Miami Dolphins: QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama

    The Miami Dolphins entered the 2019 season with their eyes set on Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. This has not changed. Based on everything I’ve heard in recent weeks, I firmly believe that as long as the medicals check out, this will be the pick for the Dolphins at fifth overall.

    Ian Cummings: Tagovailoa is a very exciting prospect, possessing the athleticism to produce in multiple phases, as well as throw with accuracy both off-base and in structure. Tagovailoa is a very efficient passer to all three ranges of the field, and his skill set will be welcome in Miami. 

    #6. Los Angeles Chargers: OT Andrew Thomas, Georiga

    The Chargers are going to undergo many changes this offseason with personnel. With the team expected to move on from Philip Rivers, one may think this pick would be a quarterback. However, as we’ve reported here on PFN, they are expected to be in the Cam Newton sweepstakes. In fact, rumor has it that they prefer a veteran quarterback. Thomas will provide protection for the Chargers new quarterback and give him a chance to succeed in the pocket.

    Tony Pauline: Thomas has done a great job of protecting QB Jake Fromm this season, and is the purest left tackle prospect in the 2020 NFL Draft. He’s an athletic pass blocker who also displays terrific skill blocking in motion. I am incredibly impressed with his athleticism, fundamentals, and ability to slide off the edge or block in space.

    #7. Carolina Panthers: QB Jordan Love, Utah State

    Don’t panic, Panthers fans. Rumor has it that Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Beiniemy is one of the early favorites to be the next head coach of the Panthers. If that is the case, I can see him pushing for Jordan Love. Why? He’s been compared to Patrick Mahomes, the QB Bieniemy has helped develop in Kansas City

    Ian Cummings: Love’s raw stats from 2019 aren’t inspiring, but beyond the surface, he’s a very intriguing prospect with a ceiling that rivals the highest in the draft. Love provides utility as a runner, and near limitless potential as a thrower, with the arm talent to make every throw. It’s not so much a slight to Newton, but instead a needed transition in a hard reset. 

    #8. Arizona Cardinals: CB Jeffery Okudah, Ohio State

    The Arizona Cardinals have plenty of needs on defense and with Kliff Kingsbury running the show, the front office may place enough trust in him to get the most out of his offensive skill players. Additionally, rumors are that defensive coordinator Vance Joseph may be on his way out. With a new coordinator in place, he may want to get a jump start on getting the right players for his scheme. Thus, the pick here is on the defensive side of the ball. 

    Ian Cummings: Okudah is an elite athlete with an attitude, and in 2019, he completed his game by adding ball production to his resume. Quarterbacks dared not throw his way, and when they did, they suffered the consequences. Okudah has the mirroring ability to stick in man coverage, and he has the closing speed to capitalize on opportunities in the blink of an eye. He has blue-chip potential, and the Cardinals can’t afford to pass up that kind of upside.

    #9. Jacksonville Jaguars: WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama

    If Doug Marrone is fired, one name to keep an eye on is San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh. But despite his knack for defense, I believe that the team will do what they can to give quarterback Nick Foles a few weapons to succeed. Despite some saying that they think CeeDee Lamb is the best wide receiver in the draft, word in some pockets of the scouting community is that Jeudy is seen as WR1. That said, there’s still a few months to go before this all shakes out.

    Andrew DiCecco: Easily the most efficient route runner in the draft, Jeudy is tremendously smooth in and out of breaks and boasts exceptional ball skills. The nuanced route runner should be able to navigate through NFL secondaries with relative ease — even as a rookie.

    #10. Cleveland Browns: OT Jedrick Wills, Alabama

    Freddie Kitchens has been fired and some are pointing to Mike McCarthy or Josh McDaniels as the next head coach. Whoever it is, expect it to be someone who is offensive-minded and can help continue to help Baker Mayfield develop as a franchise quarterback. Wills can help protect Mayfield and give him the time he needs in the pocket to execute the offense.

    Matt Valdovinos: Wills stock has skyrocketed as the season has gone on. Wills was always a dominant run blocker, but this season he has developed into a smooth and consistent pass protector. Some analysts believe Wills has overtaken Thomas and Wirfs as the top tackle in the class.

    #11. New York Jets: DE A.J. Epenesa, Iowa

    Head Coach Adam Gase will surely push for offensive talent, particularly at wide receiver. But general manager Joe Douglas is smart enough (I think) to build his team beginning in the trenches. A.J. Epenesa is that guy to fulfill that vision.

    Matt Valdovinos: Epenesa was actually more productive than Chase Young coming into the season, and some thought he would be the best edge defender in the class. Opinions have since changed, but don’t let it lead you to believe Epenesa is not a great player. He’s dominant at the point of attack and rushes the passer with his great length and natural power. Pairing him with Quinnen Williams would be a scary problem for opposing offensive lines.

    #12. Oakland Raiders: WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma

    The Raiders tried to help their wide receiver group with the addition of Antonio Brown, but we all know how that worked out. If you’ve been hibernating, we can tell you it didn’t work out well.

    Ian Cummings: Lamb is a special talent. Smooth before the catch, powerful at the catch point, and electric after the catch, Lamb’s multifaceted approach to his position is something few prospects have in a complete sense. Thus, he’ll be a coveted weapon on draft day and a welcome addition.

    #13. Indianapolis Colts: QB Justin Herbert, Oregon

    The Colts need a quarterback to replace Jacoby Brissett and Herbert could be that guy. With one of the better offensive lines in the league and a host of skill players, Herbert will be able to come in and be set up for success. 

    Ian Cummings: Herbert is a frustrating evaluation at times, but his upside is very apparent. He has the size and athleticism to hurt teams with his off-script ability and pocket mobility, and he has an excellent arm. If incubated by a competent coaching staff (which the Colts have), Herbert could attain more consistency, and reach his true potential. He has the unteachable traits, as well as the character and the drive. If drafting is projecting what players can be, then Herbert deserves to be in the same conversation as the best.

    #14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: OT Alex Leatherwood, Alabama

    This might be a little high for Leatherwood, but we’re going to have the Buccaneers slightly reach here. Head Coach Bruce Arians is going to continue to build the offense in his vision and the Buccaneers need some help on the offensive line to protect the quarterback, whoever it may be. Enter Alex Leatherwood.

    Tony Pauline: Leatherwood, a Week 7 Riser, is a great building block at left tackle. Last year, Leatherwood displayed plenty of next-level skill lining up at guard for the Crimson Tide, but his game has taken off since he moved to left tackle. He displays impressive footwork, fundamentals, and balance.

    #15. Denver Broncos: OT Tristan Wirfs, Iowa

    The Broncos need someone to protect the blindside for potential franchise quarterback Drew Lock. And we’ve heard that the Broncos are very much interested in Wirfs. This pick would seem like a no-brainer as head coach Vic Fangio continues to build this team back into an annual contender.

    Nick Farabaugh: 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.

    #16. Atlanta Falcons: DT Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina

    Dan Quinn was able to save his job and we can speculate that he’ll want to go to what he knows best to continue to get his team back on track – defense. Kinlaw offers great size and athleticism. While some may be concerned about his inconsistency, Quinn is a guy who can get the most out of the defensive lineman.

    Nick Farabaugh: 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.

    #17. Dallas Cowboys: CB C.J. Henderson, Florida

    The Cowboys have many decisions to make this offseason. The first one is deciding who their head coach will be. After that, it will be what players to keep. But with Jerry Jones running the show, we have an idea of how some of this will play out, even if Lincoln Riley is their number one target to take over as head coach.

    Tony Pauline: Henderson plays feisty football and shows outstanding athleticism as well as speed in his game. He effectively tracks the ball in the air and possesses the ball skills necessary to beat out opponents.

    #18. Miami Dolphins (via Pittsburgh): LB Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma

    The Dolphins got their quarterback in Tua Tagovailoa, but they also need a guy who they can move around on the defensive side of the ball. Isaiah Simmons would’ve been a dream, but they’re going to face enormous pressure from ownership to draft a quarterback. Murray isn’t a bad consolation prize.

    Tony Pauline: Murray, one of 2019’s breakout players, has impressive physicality and range at the linebacker position, and he always gives one-hundred percent effort on every play. He can help elevate any defense he’s on. 

    #19. Oakland Raiders (via Chicago): CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama

    After selecting CeeDee Lamb 12th overall, the Raiders turn to the defensive side of the ball and get some cornerback help in Trevon Diggs.

    Matt Valdovinos: From a playstyle perspective, Diggs is the closest player to Jalen Ramsey in this draft. Now, I don’t think Diggs is the functional athlete that Ramsey is, but he’s a long press corner with ball skills to boot. 

    #20. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Los Angeles Rams): CB Kristian Fulton, LSU

    While the Jaguars went offense in the early part of the first round, they’ll get their defensive playmaker here. Remember, keep an eye on Robert Saleh of the San Francisco 49ers and if it’s not him, owner Shahid Khan may lean towards defense if he does in fact decide to replace Doug Marrone.

    Tony Pauline: Fulton’s acquisition helps numb the loss of Jalen Ramsey, and while almost no one is as transcendent of an athlete as Ramsey, Fulton offers his own favorable profile. He’s got smooth hips and he can generate substantial momentum with his first step, and he can close gaps with ease. Fulton can help the Jaguars forget about Ramsey in a hurry.

    #21. Philadelphia Eagles: WR Henry Ruggs III, Alabama

    The Eagles desperately need help at the wide receiver position and it would be a surprise if they didn’t target one in the first round. Here, they take the next WR on my board.

    Matt Valdovinos: Ruggs has arguably the highest ceiling of any receiver in this draft class. He currently lacks refinement, but his game-breaking speed is otherworldly.

    #22. Tennessee Titans: DE Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State

    The Titans are back in the playoffs and the defensive-minded head coach in Mike Vrabel isn’t going anywhere. In need of a pass rusher, the Titans grab an athletic player who can develop into a nice player. 

    Nick Farabaugh: Gross-Matos is an athletic monster that can be just that. He is raw, but the ceiling for him is going to draw NFL teams to him, big time. Gross-Matos has proven his electric first step can win off the jump of the snap, but he has to learn how to use his hands and construct a pass rush plan. 

    #23. Buffalo Bills: C Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin

    Head Coach Sean McDermott has the Bills in a nice place on defense but they are still lacking in several areas on the offensive side of the ball. That starts with giving QB Josh Allen the protection he needs to execute the offense. 

    Ian Cummings: With the 2019 Rimington Trophy serving as proof of his exploits, Wisconsin interior lineman Tyler Biadasz has the amalgamation of traits that all teams look for in their blockers. Biadasz is tough, quick off the snap, and very physical in the trenches. He’s also technically proficient with his strike placement and pad level.

    #24. Minnesota Vikings: LB Dylan Moses, Alabama

    The Vikings will look to continue to shore up their defense with the selection of Dylan Moses. We know Mike Zimmer loves tough, defensive players and Moses fits that mold. 

    Andrew DiCecco: Moses, coming off a torn ACL, will be eight months removed from the injury by draft night. Though he may have to be brought along gradually in the early-going, Moses is a three-down linebacker with All-Pro potential.

    #25. Miami Dolphins (via Houston), S Grant Delpit

    If Grant Delpit is still on the board – which he is in this mock – the Dolphins need to run to the podium as soon as they are on the clock. Adding Delpit to the defense along with Murray will set up head coach Brian Flores and his defensive staff for much success in the years to come. 

    AJ Schulte: Tricky eval with a regression from 2018 to 2019, but has had nagging injuries, which could be the explanation for sudden regression. Delpit is an elite athlete at safety who has displayed elite instincts in coverage and has shown versatility to play multiple roles in coverage. Delpit has the range and skills in coverage to be a Pro Bowl player right away and could develop into an All-Pro if he improves his tacking.

    #26. Seattle Seahawks: OT Austin Jackson, USC

    The Seattle Seahawks always seem to need offensive line help and they’ll get some here with the selection of Austin Jackson. However, we all know that the Seahawks like to sometimes think out of the box. So, when the actual draft rolls around, don’t discount someone you may have thought that wouldn’t be selected in the first round. 

    Nick Farabaugh: Jackson has fantastic movement skills in space and in his pass sets. His feet are lightning quick, and his functional athleticism is impressive. Jackson plays with some nasty in his game too. He can set the tone along the offensive line.

    #27. New England Patriots: QB Jacob Eason, Washington

    With Tom Brady’s contract expiring, and the chances of him moving on are growing increasingly likely, it’s time for the Patriots to look to the future. Although they have Jarret Stidham in place, there is no guarantee that he’ll turn out to be the franchise quarterback they think he will be. 

    Ian Cummings: Eason is a big guy with a big arm, and he’s up with the best of the 2020 class in terms of cultivating raw velocity with that arm. Eason can fit the ball into some tight windows, and he’s mobile enough to manipulate the pocket and extend plays. 

    #28. San Francisco 49ers: C Cesar Ruiz, Michigan

    The 49ers seem to be clicking on all cylinders and there aren’t many weak spots on this team. However, shoring up their offensive line is never a bad idea, and Ruiz can be that player to inject some attitude into the 49ers offense. 

    Tony Pauline: There are some scouts who have Ruiz graded higher than Wisconsin’s Tyler Biadasz. I named Ruiz a Week 9 Riser after his dominant performance against Notre Dame. His blocking was near flawless and he helped pave the way for 303 rushing yards by the Wolverines during their 45-14 victory over the Irish. Ruiz is athletic, strong and tough as nails.

    #29. Kansas City Chiefs: RB J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State

    J.K. Dobbins put on a show in the Fiesta Bowl and he’ll continue to rise up the draft boards over the next few months. While some may argue that D’Andre Swift is the RB1, I think Dobbins holds that title. The Chiefs need a young running back who can complement Patrick Mahomes, and Dobbins can be that guy. 

    AJ Schulte: Dobbins is a pro-ready running back with an elite combination of vision, patience, and instincts. Dobbins has plenty of big play ability with his speed but it’s his toughness as a runner that stands out. Dobbins checks off all necessary boxes to be a star NFL back and he’ll be Mr. Reliable for a team in both the run game and pass game no matter where he lands. 

    #30. Green Bay Packers: WR Tee Higgins, Clemson

    The Packers have the chance to add some weapons for QB Aaron Rodgers and at the end of the first round, Higgins provides good value. 

    Matt Valdovinos: Higgins has the length and athletic ability to go up and grab it, while also possessing the ball tracking and body control to adjust to inaccurate passes.

    #31. New Orleans Saints: C Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma

    Will Drew Brees be back for another season? That remains to be seen, but he has shown no signs of slowing down. While a Super Bowl victory could convince him to ride off into the sunset, we have not seen any hints of retirement from him. Adding a player of Humphrey’s caliber can go a long way to keeping Brees playing at an elite level for the 2020 season, at the very least. 

    Nick Farabaugh: Humphrey is the best interior offensive lineman in this draft, and he is impressive. A great anchor and good athleticism allow Humphrey to be a natural pass protector but also a straight-up mauler in the running game. 

    #32. Baltimore Ravens: EDGE Curtis Weaver, Boise State

    The Ravens have the luxury of selecting the best available player and at this point in the first round, that’s Curtis Weaver. He’ll provide a nice boost to the already solid Ravens defense. This is actually the third mock here at PFN where we’ve had Weaver slotted to the Ravens in the first round.

    Ian Cummings: There are very few holes on the Ravens team overall, so the albeit manageable void at edge rusher stands out. Even if the team re-signs Matt Judon, they need a pass rusher to provide pressure on the other side. With his size, burst, and motor, Weaver projects well in the NFL, and especially on a team that has a solid supporting cast around him.

    For more 2020 NFL mock drafts, visit Pro Football Network’s mock draft homepage. Be the smartest person in the room when talking about the 2020 NFL Draft. Click here for more analysis, news, and inside information courtesy of Tony Pauline and the PFN Draft Crew.

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