2020 NFL Mock Draft 4.0: The Final Mock

The 2020 NFL Draft is finally here. During a global pandemic, the NFL will give fans a bit of a respite. Roger Goodell, from the friendly confines of his Westchester home instead of Las Vegas, will announce the picks, with NFL front offices in their Zoom draft rooms. Yes, things are a bit different this year, but the NFL Draft will still go on. So here is my final 2020 NFL Mock Draft, my final predictions for the 2020 NFL Draft, my NFL Mock Draft 4.0: The Final Mock: 

  1. Cincinnati BengalsJoe Burrow, QB, LSU. Andy Dalton might still be a Bengal, but after finishing 30th in the NFL in Total QBR, Cincinnati is set on finding their quarterback of the future, and his name is Joe Burrow. Burrow might be the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck, having put up the best statistical season in NCAA history in 2019. While no prospect is a sure-thing, Burrow will be the No. 1-overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. You can take that to the bank.
  2. WashingtonChase Young, EDGE, Ohio State. “You can never have too many pass rushers.” Even with four first-round picks on its defensive line, Washington’s defense still ranked 24th in the NFL and 27th in Team Pass Rush Win Rate. So if a defensive line of Jonathan Allen, Da’Ron Payne, Montez Sweat and Ryan Kerrigan doesn’t scare opposing offensive lines, adding Chase Young just might. Arguably the best non-quarterback prospect in the 2020 NFL Draft, Young has all the tools to be a Pro Bowl-caliber edge rusher at the next level.
  3. Detroit LionsJeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State. The Lions had one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL in 2019, and that’s not going to change after trading Darius Slay and replacing him with the oft-injured Desmond Trufant. Similar to how he had Stephon Gilmore in New England, Matt Patricia needs a shutdown, CB1 in Detroit, and fortunately for him and Bob Quinn, Jeff Okudah could be just that. The former Ohio State Buckeye has all the makings of a No. 1 CB and perennial Pro Bowler.
  4. New York GiantsTristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa. If 2019 first-rounder Daniel Jones has any hope of succeeding, the Giants have to better improve his protection and OTs Nate Solder and Cameron Fleming aren’t going to cut it. After the Giants’ offensive line allowed 43 sacks and finished with the in the bottom half of the NFL in pass protection, Dave Gettleman needs to find one of his ‘hog mollies’ to shore up Jones’ blindside. The extremely-athletic Wirfs, fits the bill, having started at since day one, the first true freshman to start at either tackle spot under Kirk Ferentz at Iowa.
  5. Miami DolphinsTua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama. Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert, that is the question. Even though Ryan Fitzpatrick performed more than amicably under center for the Dolphins, Fitzpatrick is not Miami’s long-term starter. Brian Flores and co. have made quick work turnings things around, and the next step is finding a franchise QB. While there are some injury concerns, if Tagovailoa can stay healthy, he’s got All-Pro potential on a similar level to Burrow.
  6. Los Angeles ChargersJustin Herbert, QB, Oregon. After moving on from Philip Rivers, the Chargers have just two QBs on their 2020 depth chart: Tyrod Taylor and Easton Stick, neither of whom profiles as Los Angeles’ quarterback of the future. The Chargers have a talented roster, but no franchise QB to lead them back to the playoffs. Tom Telesco needs to find that guy, and it certainly could be Herbert. While not as developed as Burrow or Tagovailoa, Herbert is the next best prospect, with the physical tools and skill set to succeed in the NFL.
  7. Carolina PanthersIsaiah Simmons, LB/S, Clemson. Defensively, Carolina was one of the worst teams in football in 2019, ranking 25th overall, 11th against the run and 32nd versus the pass. The Panthers have holes all over their defense, but none might be bigger than the one left by the now-retired Luke Kuechly. Keuchly is the last linebacker the Panthers drafted in the Top 10, and Simmons could be the next. A versatile playmaker that Matt Rhule could lineup just about anywhere on defense, Simmons would give the Panthers their next, great linebacker.
  8. Arizona CardinalsJedrick Wills, OT, Alabama. With DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk and Kyler Murray commanding Kliff Kingsburg’s high-flying offense, Arizona could have one of the NFL’s best offenses in 2020. But that’s not going to happen unless the Cardinals improve an offensive line that ranked 26th in adjusted sack rate and 21st in adjusted line yards in 2019. Steve Keim signed LT D.J. Humphries to an extension, and Wills could be the Cardinals’ day one starter opposite him.
  9. Jacksonville JaguarsDerrick Brown, DT, Auburn. Two years ago, Jacksonville was coming off an AFC Championship game appearance with a defense that was among the best in the NFL. Now, after trading Jalen Ramsey and Calais Campbell, the Jaguars’ defense is a shell of its former self. The rebuild starts up front for the Jaguars, where Jacksonville needs both a lineman and edge rusher. Two years in-a-row Brown was one of the top interior defensive linemen in college football, and will quickly be one of the better defensive tackles in the NFL.
  10. Cleveland BrownsAndrew Thomas, OT, Georgia. With Baker Mayfield under center, the addition of Odell Beckham Jr. and Freddie Kitchens calling the plays, the Browns’ offense was supposed to be one of the best in the NFL in 2019. But that all fell apart with an offensive line that couldn’t protect Mayfield, especially off the edge. New Browns’ GM Andrew Berry shored up the right tackle spot with the addition of Jack Conklin. Next up is the left tackle spot, and Thomas, who was a three-year starter at Georgia in a pro-style scheme, would be a perfect fit.
  11. New York Jets: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville. If Sam Darnold is going to develop into the Jets’ franchise QB, New York needs to improve Darnold’s pass protection. The Jets’ offensive line was a sieve last year, finishing the year ranked 30th in pass blocking. And neither OG Connor McGovern nor OT George Fant, who the Jets signed in free agency is a long-term answer. At 6’7” 369 lbs., Becton is a massive, incredibly athletic offensive tackle who could protect Darnold’s blindside in the Meadowlands for years to come.
  12. Las Vegas RaidersCeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma. For Derek Carr, or whoever is under center in Las Vegas, to take the Raiders to the next level, Mike Mayock needs to find a WR1. Antonio Brown was supposed to be that guy last year, but Oakland had to move on from Brown will all his off-field issues. Drawing comparisons to DeAndre Hopkins and Davante Adams, Lamb won’t be a Pro Bowl wide receiver right away, but he certainly has the tools to be.
  13. San Francisco 49ers (via Indianapolis)C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida. Richard Sherman is 32-years-old and will be a free agent after the 2020 season, while Ahkello Witherspoon and Emmanuel Moseley both struggled opposite him. If the 49ers want to stay atop the NFC and NFC West, San Francisco needs to add to its secondary. Henderson is one of the best man-to-man cover corners in the NFL Draft and would give San Francisco a replacement-in-waiting for Sherman. 
  14. Tampa Bay BuccaneersJosh Jones, OT, Houston. With Tom Brady under center, Tampa Bay has to improve an offensive line that ranked 22nd in pass blocking and 23rd in run blocking. Brady struggled when pressured in 2019, and while the Buccaneers have better receivers then the Patriots, that’s not going to matter if Brady has no time to throw. A four-year starter for Houston, Jones is already an impressive pass protector and should develop into a top-notch tackle in the NFL.
  15. Denver BroncosJerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama. John Elway is looking for playmakers to pair with Drew Lock, and Jerry Jeudy could be a perfect fit. Though the Broncos’ offense improved down the stretch with Lock under center, Denver’s passing attack still ranked just 14th in the NFL. And while Lock has two targets in TE Noah Fant and Courtland Sutton, Denver doesn’t have a WR of Jeudy’s caliber, who’s drawn comparisons to Odell Beckham Jr. A dynamic receiver and great route-runner, Jeudy checks off all the boxes teams look for in a top-flight receiver.
  16. Atlanta FalconsJavon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina. The Falcons need to improve their pass rush. EDGEs Vic Beasley and Adrian Clayborn left via free agency, and while the Falcons signed Dante Fowler Jr., the former first-round pick alone won’t turn around a pass rush that ranked 28th. Atlanta needs another edge or interior rusher. Kinlaw, who was nearly unblockable at the Senior Bowl, projects as an uber-talented defensive lineman who could slide right in next to Grady Jarrett.
  17. Dallas Cowboys: K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU. With the losses of EDGE Robert Quinn and Michael Bennett in free agency, almost 40 percent of the Cowboys’ 2019 sack production is out the door. DeMarcus Lawrence is one of the better, and more expensive, edge rushers in the NFL, but if the Cowboys want to get to the top of the NFC East they have to improve a defense that ranked 19th in NFL. Chaisson, with his speed off the edge and ability to hold up in coverage and play the run, has the potential to be an elite edge rusher, especially when paired with Lawrence.
  18. Miami Dolphins (via Pittsburgh)Austin Jackson, OT, USC. No matter who’s under center in Miami in 2020, the Dolphins have to improve their offensive line. Miami’s offensive line ranked dead-last in pass block win rate and 29th in adjusted sack rate in 2019. And after adding a pair of guards in Ereck Flowers and Ted Karras in free agency, the Dolphins can add a tackle or two via the draft. A great athlete, Jackson will have to clean up some technique, but the potential is there to be a franchise cornerstone at left tackle.
  19. Las Vegas Raiders (via Chicago): A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson. After aggressive targeting linebackers and safeties in free agency, Oakland has begun to improve a defense that ranked 30th in the NFL, and 30th against the pass. But Mayock and co. still need more talent in the secondary at cornerback, especially in a division with Patrick Mahomes. And after drafting three Clemson Tigers in 2019, the Raiders add another in 2020 with the selection of Terrell a talented, press-man corner who twice garnered All-ACC honors, including a First-Team All-ACC selection in 2019.
  20. Jacksonville JaguarsJeff Gladney, CB, TCU. Replacing CB Jalen Ramsey will be a tall task, but with the 22nd-ranked pass defense in 2019, the Jaguars must shore up their secondary to rebuild its defense. Jacksonville signed former Lions CB Rashaan Melvin, but Melvin hasn’t graded as an above-average corner since 2017. While no corner can replace Ramsey, Gladney’s a ball-hawking, cover corner that can play both man-to-man and zone, with the potential to develop into a top-flight corner. 
  21. Philadelphia EaglesHenry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama. With the oft-injured Alshon Jeffrey and Desean Jackson sitting atop the Eagles’ depth chart, Philadelphia needs an upgrade at WR, and GM Howie Roseman seems set on finding one. Carson Wentz had to rely on Greg Ward and TEs Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert all too often, and the Eagles’ pass offense ranked just 17th. In a similar mold to Jackson, Ruggs III would give Wentz and Eagles a desperately needed vertical threat, capable of opening up Philadelphia’s entire offense.
  22. Minnesota Vikings (via Buffalo)Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU. Tajae Sharpe and Olabisi Johnson aren’t going to cut it at wide receiver behind Adam Theilen. If the Vikings want to keep up with Green Bay and remain among the Top 10 passing offenses in the NFL, they have to find Stefon Diggs’ replacement. Similar to Diggs when the former Viking was drafted in 2015, Jefferson isn’t much of an outside receiver yet, but with incredible ball skills, Jefferson has the potential to be a monster in the slot and an incredibly productive WR at the next level.
  23. New England Patriots: A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa. Predicting the Patriots’ selection with Bill Belichick at the helm is a bit of a fool’s errand. Yes, New England needs a QB but is Belichick really going to draft Jordan Love or trade-up for Justin Herbert? Defensively, the Patriots were again one of the best units in football, but after again losing a plethora of talent in free agency, the Patriots need to upgrade their front seven. While Epenesa didn’t test well at the combine, he’s exactly the type of player Belichick could draft: overlooked because of his poor athletic traits, but likely to be incredibly productive at the next level, just like he was at Iowa.
  24. New Orleans Saints: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU. The Saints came up just short of the Super Bowl each of the past two years, and after re-signing Drew Brees, the Saints are re-loading for another run. Defensively, the Saints could use a few upgrades on the backend of their defense, especially at linebacker where Kiko Alonso, Demario Davis, and Alex Anzalone are all free agents after the 2020 season. Queen, a native of Louisiana, is a fast, physical, sideline-to-sideline linebacker with a high-ceiling at the next level who’d be a perfect fit.
  25. Minnesota Vikings: Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah. Due to a salary cap crunch, the Vikings’ defense lost five starters and three key backups this offseason, including cornerbacks Xavier Rhodes, Mackensie Alexander and Trae Waynes. The Vikings’ defense ranked 7th in the NFL in 2019, but they’ll have to re-load, especially in the secondary, if they want to remain among the NFC’s best. A physical corner built for press coverage with his size, length and athleticism, Johnson has all the potential to be a lockdown, CB1 at the next level.
  26. Miami Dolphins (via Houston): Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama. The Dolphins had the worst defense and worst pass defense in the NFL last season, but already this offseason, the rebuild is on. Miami signed CB Byron Jones and added LB Kyle Van Noy and EDGE rushers Emmanuel Ogbah and Shaq Lawson to beef up their front seven. But while the Dolphins now have two of the top corners in the NFL, another safety is needed, especially after cutting Reshad Jones. McKinney, versatile and talented enough to play all across Miami’s secondary, could fill that void.
  27. Seattle Seahawks: Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State. Though Jadeveon Clowney remains a free agent, the former Seahawks doesn’t look like he’ll be wearing navy and green next season. That certainly won’t help a defense that ranked 18th in the NFL in 2019, and a pass rush that ranked 30th. For Seattle’s defense to return to it’s mid-2010’s form, upgrades on the edge and the secondary are needed. A highly-productive edge defender at Penn State, Gross-Matos, with some time and development, could develop into a terrific edge rusher in the NFL.
  28. Baltimore Ravens: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma. Though the Ravens had one of the best pass defenses in the NFL, their run defense was subpar, ranking 20th in the NFL in 2019. Gone are the days of Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs, as LBs LJ Fort and Chris Board currently sit atop the Ravens’ depth chart. And with EDGE Matthew Judon’s status unknown beyond 2020, the Ravens need to improve the backend of their front seven. Immensely talented and athletic with sideline-to-sideline ability, Murray has the potential to be a three-down linebacker in the NFL.
  29. Tennessee Titans: Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU. Trading away DT Jurrell Casey doesn’t make a lot of sense for a Titans defense that ranked 16th in the NFL and struggled to consistently generate a pass rush. While 2019 first-round pick Jeffrey Simmons proved more than capable, without Casey, the Titans’ interior defensive line is still lacking. Blacklock has all the traits to develop into a disruptive defensive lineman capable of playing anywhere along the Titans’ defensive front.
  30. Green Bay PackersDenzel Mims, WR, Baylor. Aaron Rodgers needs more help in Green Bay. The Packers’ passing attack ranked just 11th in the NFL, with Davante Adams as Green Bay’s only reliable wide receiver, and even he missed a few games due to injury. Signing Devin Funchess won’t help either, as Funchess has caught just 47 passes over the past two years while dealing with injuries. Mims, a late riser after his impressive Senior Bowl performance, has great contested-catch ability and would give Rodgers another big-play target on the outside.
  31. San Francisco 49ers: Cesar Ruiz, IOL, Michigan. With C Weston Richburg coming off a torn patellar tendon and former Jets OC Tom Compton slated to start at right guard, San Francisco’s offensive line is a little shaky on the interior. Further, even with solid OTs in Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey, the 49ers’ offense line ranked just 26th in pass block win rate. A three-year starter for the Wolverines, Ruiz is capable of playing either guard or center and looks to be an early starter at the next level.
  32. Kansas City Chiefs: Zach Baun, LB, Wisconsin. While the Chiefs return much of their high-powered offense, if Kansas City wants to get back to the Super Bowl, Brett Veach has to improve the Chiefs’ defense. Kansas City had the 14th-best defense in the NFL, while its run defense was among the worst, ranking 29th. Upgrading the front seven should be a priority for Kansas City, especially the Chiefs linebackers where both Anthony Hitchens and Damien Wilson struggled. Adding an aggressive, sideline-to-sideline linebacker like Baun, with his run-stopping ability, would help.

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