On the heels of a two-game winning streak, the Miami Dolphins now find themselves slotted fourth in the current draft order. With three selections in the first round, the team has ample ammo to invigorate a largely flawed roster. There are no shortages of pass-catchers and defensive backs in this 2020 NFL mock draft version, with several omissions worthy of a first-round selection. Note: The draft order is as of Saturday, November 16.
#1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
The Bengals waste little time securing Andy Dalton’s successor with the first pick. Burrow showed remarkable poise and leadership in the heavyweight SEC tilt against Alabama, showcasing proper decision-making, elite pocket awareness, and stellar improvisational skills. They’ll need to address the porous offensive line via free agency or in the draft, but Bengals coach Zac Taylor gets his young quarterback to develop and grow with.
#2. Washington Redskins: Chase Young, DE, Ohio State
Washington has the pieces in place to become one of the better defensive lines in football for years to come, but 4.5 sacks are currently the highest total from any player on the unit. Adding Young to a line that already includes Jonathan Allen, Matt Ioannidis, Da’Ron Payne, and Montez Sweat will effectively improve a vulnerable backend — and possibly turn the tides in the battle for NFC East supremacy.
#3. New York Giants: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
The oft-maligned Giants offensive line has seemingly tried everything to patch things together in the trenches, often to no avail. Nate Solder, signed to a massive free agent deal in 2018, hasn’t quite lived up to his billing, and his bookend — Mike Remmers — is a less-than-ideal starter. Thomas is probably the safest player in this draft and should provide franchise quarterback Daniel Jones with exceptional protection for the next decade — a career that could very well land him in Canton when all is said and done.
#4. Miami Dolphins: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
The Miami Dolphins need a quarterback and in this scenario, they’ve gone to their backup plan. Herbert is a 6-foot-6 gunslinger that has shown remarkable adapability under three different offensive coordinators. The brutal hip injury to Tua Tagovailoa makes him way too risky to draft in this spot, but the Dolphins manage to land one of the marquee quarterbacks in this class.
#5. New York Jets: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
On opening day against the Buffalo Bills, Kelvin Beachum and Brandon Shell were announced as the Jets’ starting offensive tackles. To say both had their struggles would be putting it mildly — Shell, in fact, was benched against the Eagles in Week 5 in favor of rookie Chuma Edoga (the offensive line surrendered a staggering 10 sacks that afternoon). Here, the Jets snag their tackle of the future — in an effort to keep franchise signal-caller Sam Darnold upright for years to come.
#6. Atlanta Falcons: Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
Despite a secondary that features the talented Desmond Trufant and Isaiah Oliver, the Falcons are among the league-worst in interceptions. They need to add a playmaker in their secondary. Adding Okudah, a lengthy cornerback with three interceptions in eight games for the Buckeyes should move them up the list.
#7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
The NFL’s worst pass defense recently waived their former first-round CB, Vernon Hargreaves. They also have few developmental prospects in the pipeline. While they can put up points in bunches offensively, they don’t have the secondary equipped to sustain these all-too-frequent shootouts. Diggs will be an impact player from Day 1.
#8. Denver Broncos: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
Derek Wolfe doesn’t appear to be long for the Broncos, and Mike Purcell is having a nice season, but best served in a reserve role. The team gets a talent infusion with Brown, who adds length, pass-rushing ability, and unparalleled burst in the center of the Denver defensive line.
#9. Arizona Cardinals: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
With long-time lockdown cornerback Patrick Peterson almost assuredly on the outs, the Cardinals find his replacement in Fulton. Fulton (6-0, 200) is a tremendously fluid defensive back with the potential to grow into a shutdown player on the perimeter. The Cardinals’ recent history of identifying game-altering defensive backs continues.
#10. Detroit Lions: A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa
The Lions are currently ranked fifth-worst in total sacks (19). Free agent addition Trey Flowers has been fantastic, contributing 5 sacks, but the rest of the unit has been less-than-stellar. Epenesa is perhaps the second-best edge rusher in the draft and should help in getting to the quarterback.
#11. Cleveland Browns: Grant Delpit, S, LSU
Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams represent the Browns’ cornerback tandem for the next decade, but upgrades are needed at safety, where the aging Morgan Burnett and inconsistent Damarious Randall currently start. Delpit is a versatile safety that can play the run just as effectively as the pass, noted for his ball skills, and is a solid open-field tackler. He possesses an innate football IQ on the backend and is one of my highest-graded players in this draft.
#12. Los Angeles Chargers: Jordan Love, QB, Utah
In case you haven’t noticed, Philip Rivers is a shell of his former self. He is still as competitive as ever, don’t get me wrong, but he often appears indecisive when working through his progressions and is tossing interceptions at an alarming rate. The team selected Easton Stick in the fifth-round last April, but he is more of a developmental backup than a future starter.
Enter Jordan Love, a special talent that offers tremendous upside. He would be well-served spending a year to develop under Rivers.
#13. Jacksonville Jaguars: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
The Jags land my top receiver in this year’s draft. Though they’ve gotten a career year from D.J. Chark, and Dede Westbrook has flashed, they are ideally second-third options in an offense. Lamb, a prototypical WR1, boasts the size, speed, route running to transform an offense single-handedly. His ability to attack the catch-point on contested throws is truly a sight to behold. Whether it’s Nick Foles or Gardner Minshew, they’ll have little trouble getting the football to this potential Rookie of the Year candidate.
#14. Oakland Raiders: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
This just feels like a Raiders pick to me. I absolutely love Simmons’ game and feel his skill set translates well to the NFL’s current landscape. With more and more offenses looking to spread teams out, 12-personnel has become increasingly prevalent. to combat this, defensive coordinators deploy hybrid defenders in an attempt to mitigate the damage. Athletic defenders like Simmons have the versatility to cover tight ends down the seam or track running backs out of the backfield — essentially an invaluable asset in the modern-day NFL.
#15. Miami Dolphins: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
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.
#16. Tennessee Titans: Jacob Eason, QB, Washington
Ryan Tannehill has been a bright spot at times in his career resurgence, but the team desperately needs a young quarterback to develop. Eason boasts the big-time arm to attack teams vertically, a strong pocket presence, and an astute football IQ.