With the NFL regular season about to enter the final month, and teams at the bottom of the standings scrambling for positioning at the top of the draft, I offer my first NFL mock draft of the 2020 NFL Draft season. Please note that this is my projected draft order at the end of the season, and not the one that is current heading into Week 12. Let the outrage commence!
Tony Pauline’s NFL Mock Draft 1.0
1) Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
I’m going off my board here and have my concerns, but there’s no denying the upward momentum of Burrow. He can seal the deal with a good outing at the Senior Bowl. Against Alabama, I noted that what had impressed me most was that he took what the defense gave him. He didn’t press, nor did he look overwhelmed by the situation. His playmaking ability, quarterback intellect, and toughness are impressive. You can’t help but admire the way Burrow has his finger on the pulse of that LSU offense and the way he’s so in tune with his receivers. His decision making and pass choices are top-notch.
2) Washington Redskins: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
The situation along the offensive line in Washinton is almost as atrocious as the handling of Trent Williams. Andrew 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.
3) New York Giants: Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
The Giants get the best player in the draft and fill a major need. In the Week 11 Game Day Blog, I ranked Chase Young as my number one draft prospect in 2020. Young is a quick, athletic edge rusher who beats opponents off the snap and displays great speed up the field. He’s fluid, covers a lot of areas, and easily makes plays in space.
4) New York Jets: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
In a perverse way, the injury to Tua Tagovailoa makes this pick more valuable. While I do believe the Jets and GM Joe Douglas will look to trade down, we’re going to stay put here in this mock draft. That said, if Tristan Wirfs stays in school (as he’s presently leaning), the pick here is Jeffery Okudah.
5) Miami Dolphins: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
The team liked Herbert a year ago and his low-key personality may be perfect for South Beach. In my mailbag last week, I said that you can justifiably make the case that Herbert has the least amount of downside risk of any quarterback who may be eligible in the 2020 NFL Draft. He’s the safest quarterback pick, though I don’t know he’s the most dynamic.
6) Atlanta Falcons: Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn
An edge rusher is the desired pick at this spot, but Brown improves the entire defense. He offers a tremendous combination of size, power, and athleticism. Brown is much more than a gap occupier, run defender or box lineman, as he has the power to overrun blockers, change direction and run down opposing quarterbacks or ball carriers in space.
7) Denver Broncos: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
Derrick Brown would be the guy if available. Jeudy adds much-needed speed and playmaking ability to the receiver unit in Denver. He’s a quick, sure-handed receiver who possesses game-breaking skills for the Crimson Tide. Opponents struggle to stay with Jeudy out of breaks, and he has the vertical speed to take it the distance.
8) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jeffery Okudah, CB, Ohio State
The Bucs desperately need offensive line help and may need a quarterback, but all are reaches at this point. Okudah gives the team a true number one corner. He possesses preferred cornerback size, athleticism, and speed.
9) Cleveland Browns: Grant Delpit, S, LSU
The Browns are another team in desperate need of offensive tackle help, but all would be reaches at this point. In Delpit, they get a bigger playmaker than former safety Jabril Peppers. He’s a complete defensive back who lays it on the line against the run and stands out in coverage. He’s athletic, intense, and generally plays smart football.
10) Arizona Cardinals: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
Kinlaw has been rising up draft boards and the Cardinals have a lot of holes on defense. He was highly considered by NFL scouts last year, but he decided to return to the Gamecocks for another season. Kinlaw offers tremendous size, growth potential, and athleticism for a man with his frame. However, I am concerned about his streaky play. Kinlaw looks the part and often times plays to it, but he also disappears for stretches, which is a concern.
11) Detroit Lions: Isaiah Simmons, OLB, Clemson
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. Simmons will be a top 20 pick if he enters the draft, something I expect he will do if Clemson makes a serious push towards the championship game.
12) Los Angeles Chargers: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
Unless a highly rated offensive tackle or cornerback falls in their laps, expect the Chargers to address the quarterback position early. In early October, I highlighted Love as my Mountain West Prospect of the Week. He’s a tall, athletic signal-caller with next-level physical skills and mental aptitude. However, he often presses when attempting to make plays, which has led to some mistakes
13) Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
Diggs is a bigger, physical corner with a tremendous upside. He is the second cornerback on my board and I’ve stamped him with a 4.07 draft grade, just shy of Okudah’s 4.10 grade. You can check out my top ten CB board from the Week 9 Game Day Blog in the 8:20 PM update.
14) Oakland Raiders (from CHI): CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
Lamb has played phenomenal football this season. The faster he runs in pre-draft workouts, the earlier he will be selected. Back in Week 7, I named his as one of my Risers following his dominant performance against the Texas Longhorns. In that game, he hauled in 10 catches for 171 yards and 3 TDs. The way he scored those touchdowns, breaking tackles along with some spectacular running after the reception, is what stood out.
15) Tennessee Titans: Tyler Biadasz, C, Wisconsin
The Titans have a lot of needs but present center Ben Jones has struggled with injuries recently, including a concussion, and is on the wrong side of 30 years old. Biadasz is a complete lineman who displays explosive strength at the point of attack and stands out blocking in motion. He’s a great zone blocking center who will only get better as he physically matures and gets stronger.
16) Indianapolis Colts: Raekwon Davis, DT, Alabama
The Colts defensive line is one of the weaker units on the team. The versatility brought by Davis will help in a variety of alignments. He’s a big guy in the middle of the line and easily holds his ground or occupies gaps. I’ve stamped him with a 4.05 draft grade behind Chase Young, who has a 4.25 grade.
NEXT: PICKS 17-32