Marc and Cole’s NFL mock draft 2020
Updated: Apr 24, 2020
Cole and I sat down at the table and tried, as best we could, to predict how the NFL Draft, whose first round will be held tomorrow night and represents the first major sports event since the pandemic started .
1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow LSU QB
The Bengals ended the season last year limping to the finish line with Jeff Driskel (who?) playing quarterback, and have made Andy Dalton available to any and all suitors because the easiest call to make in this mock draft is LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, who won the Heisman Trophy last season and led the Tigers to the national championship. He’s a tall, strong-armed quarterback with an arm that reminds me of a young Cam Newton, with slightly more accuracy. He’s not as mobile as Newton, but Burrow has surprising agility for such a big guy and will be an immediate upgrade for the Bengals over Dalton, who will likely be cut after the draft and join Newton and Jameis Winston in the veteran quarterback free-agent pool.
2. Washington: Chase Young, Ohio State, DE
The best football player in this draft is probably Ohio State rush monster Chase Young, who terrorized quarterbacks in college football last season and will likely do the same in the NFL this season. There’s an outside chance Washington trades the pick, but Cole and I agree that Young will likely join a defensive line that might be the best in the NFL next season, joining Jonathan Allen, Da’Ron Payne, and Montez Sweatt. Having four guys who can get after the quarterback like that and generate pressure with four players represents the best way to win in today’s NFL if you don’t have an elite quarterback. The jury’s still out on Washington quarterback Dwayne Haskins, and I’m not all the way convinced they won’t take a quarterback here. But it’s a smart, safe pick for new coach Ron Rivera with Young in the 2 slot.
3. Detroit Lions Jeff Okudah, Ohio State CB
The Lions look to lock down half the field with Buckeyes all-world cover corner Jeff Okudah, and both his skills and his position dictate his being take this high. If you have Aaron Rodgers in your division and you’re in win-now mode – and make no mistake, if head coach Matt Patricia’s team doesn’t show some life this season, he’s likely gone. Okudah’s the pick here if the Lions don’t trade down. If they do, look for the Dolphins or the Chargers to trade into this slot to jump on Alabama QB Tua Tagavailoa. But the Lions traded Darius Slay away this off-season and have not replaced him on the roster
4. New York Giants: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
The Giants opt to protect their investments from the last two drafts, Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley, with the addition of long-armed Wirfs, who is not the consensus #1 tackle in the draft, but we like the Giants taking him here. The Giants spent big money on Nate Solder to play right tackle last season and if the Giants don’t take him, they might opt for Georgia tackle Andrew Thomas, who can step in and block Jones’ blind side at LT right away.
5. Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagavailoa QB, Alabama
The ‘Phins will end up getting their guy at the fifth overall pick. Tua should be able to step in right away and help the Dolphins rebuild from last season, where head coach Brian Flores eked out five wins from what was easily the worst roster of player talent in the entire league, almost stopping the Dolphins from being bad enough to secure their QB of the future. Almost. They’ll secure the most important building block in any NFL foundation and could well finally, mercifully, end the Patriots’ stranglehold on the AFC East.
6. Los Angeles Chargers : Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
Herbert becomes the third QB off the board in the first six picks. Herbert is considered to have a slightly less NFL-ready arm than Burrow or Tagavailoa, but is no less poised and may end up landing on the best existing roster of the teams drafting this high – and may be the difference for a group that cut ties with long-time starter Philip Rivers this past offseason. Herbert could be the difference for a team that has playoff aspirations for 2020.
7. Carolina Panthers: Isaiah Simmons LB, Clemson
In an offensive-lineman-heavy draft, the Panthers may opt for Georgia tackle Andrew Thomas or Alabama tackle Jedrick Wills, but the pick here should be Simmons, who can play anywhere on the defensive side of the ball, -- and did, all through his time at Clemson – and his polyvalence will replace Luke Kuechly in the Panthers’ defensive huddle and at his starting inside linebacker spot. (EDITOR’S NOTE: The Panthers could trade out of this spot if someone falls in love with one of the offensive lineman. I like the idea that someone will move up to grab Louisville OT Mekhi Becton, who has Hall of Fame athletic potential. )
8. Arizona Cardinals: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
The Cards stand pat and draft Wi8lls, who has Arizona GM Steve Keim’s favored mix of size and nastiness. It will also help protect the franchise’s investment from last season, Kyler Murray. No needs at receiver, as the roster boasts two HOF pass-catchers already so the pick here is an offensive lineman from a school that has churned out first-round O-lineman since 2009. Wills should be the day 1 starter at LT for the Cards, who have struggled to protect for the last few seasons.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
Brown is six-foot-five, and 326 pounds of pocket-collapsing power and strength and should be the guy for the Jags, who are two seasons removed from a berth in the AFC Championship Game and now have holes all over the roster. Cole likes them to take Brown here, but I have an inkling they could opt for Becton or Andrew Thomas here to help Gardner Minshew get more comfortable. The best value here is Brown, who was head and shoulders the best defensive player in the physical SEC last season.
10. Cleveland Browns: Andrew Thomas, OT Georgia
Andrew Thomas is the most NFL-ready left tackle on the board. He will step in and protect Baker Mayfield’s blind side in week 1 and should help the Browns QB regain his rookie-season mojo, now that Freddie Kitchens will no longer be calling plays and mangling clock management for the resurgent Browns, who may well take a couple steps forward if Mayfield doesn’t have to run for his life on every passing down. Thomas is the guy unless he comes off the board earlier. Look for the Browns to take Becton here if Thomas is gone.
11. New York Jets: Cee-Dee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
Lamb is not the top-ranked WR on the board, but he has high-risk, high-reward potential and could emerge as a deep threat for the Jets, who have not had a top QB/WR combo. He’s a deep threat that could be Sam Darnold’s Wesley Walker, so to speak. A lot of others think Jerry Jeudy might be the first receiver off the board, but we think that Lamb’s big-play ability will make him, the Jest; guy here after they let Robby Anderson walk in the off-season/. Lamb can stretch opposing defences, a must in today’s NFL.
12. Las Vegas Raiders, Jerry Jeudy, WR
This might be the best fit of player to scheme in the first round, other than Thomas to the Browns, as Gruden’s West Coast offence requires a disciplined and explosive route-runner and Jeudy is as good as there is in this year’s draft. Jeudy to the Raiders makes so much sense that they probably won’t do it. But the marriage of player and scheme is great. The Raiders had Antonio Brown in camp for a few weeks last season, and Jeudy can be just as good as the old AB, minus the crazy.
13. San Francisco (from Colts in DeForest Buckner deal) Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama
The Niners need one more playmaker to give their offence that extra boost to put in into elite territory and Ruggs’ top-end speed could be the piece that puts Kyle Shanahan’s play-action heavy offence to work. Look for Ruggs to come off the board here at 13.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers : Josh Jones, OT, Houston
After spending hue to bring in Tom Brady at QB, the Bucs will go all in on protecting him with the selection of Jones, whose elite length and handfighting skills will allow the Bucs to pencil him in as the week one starter at RT.
15. Denver Broncos: C.J. Henderson , CB, Florida State
At this point, we’ve seen quarterbacks, cornerbacks, receivers, edge rushers and offensive tackles to block those rushers come off the board, with two exceptions, and this pick continues that trend. Henderson ran a 4.37 40-yard dash at the combine, which seems like a million years ago right now.
16. Atlanta Falcons: K`lavon Chaisson , Edge , LSU
With the Falcons having a good offense but a terrible defense they would fill a need with this pick. He is a 6-3, 254-pound edge monster who can disrupt the great quarterbacks in the NFC South.
17.. Dallas Cowboys: Cesar Ruiz , C, Michigan
Now that Travis Frederick has hung up his cleats they have a hole at the centre spot and the hiring of Mike McCarthy they have a solid chance to make the playoffs.
18. Miami Dolphins: Javon Kinlaw , DT, South Carolina
Brian Flores being a defensive minded coach will be happy to add this SEC stud to the fold in Miami. Bear in mind, there is a lot of pre-draft chatter about Miami trading this pick to move up, but if they stand pat, Kinlaw's taking his talents to South Beach.
19. Las Vegas Raiders: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
Becton, a 6'7, 364-pound monster from your worst nightmares, ran a 5.11-second 40-yard dash at the combine and the Raiders stop his free fall here at 19. Becton will be a fixture at RT for the silver and black if he can keep in shape.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
Fulton continues the run on elite corners in the top 20, and Jacksonville may have taken the replacement for Jalen Ramsey with thius selection. There's also discussion that Jacksonville wants to move up to second overall and take Chase Young, packaging this pick and their 10th overall pick to move up in a trade.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
The Eagles draft their replacement for Alshon Jeffery here, opting for offensive help over defense. Their fans will likely be pretty happy with this one.
22. Minnesota Vikings: Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
The Vikes look to replace Stefon Diggs with a big, long, receiver from Baylor. He'll make an excellent target for Kirk Cousins.
23. New England Patriots: Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame
Now that Gronk is in Tampa Bay, the Pats have to start restocking their receiving corps. Kmet becomes the first tight end off the board to the Pats.
24. New Orleans: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
Queen will help the Saints bolster the back side of their defence, which struggled at times last season. Queen is a sure tackler who may struggle at times shedding good blocking, but scouts like his ceiling, saying he could be the most talented defender in the draft.
25. Minnesota Vikings A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa
Epenesa is a big strong end that can get off the ball quick. They may be able to move him in to DT at times in their pass-rush packages,and bolster a Vikings pass rush that struggled at turns last season.
26. Miami Dolphins: Austin Jackson, OT, USC
The Dolphins replace Laremy Tunsil with the highest-rated tackle left on the board.
27. Seattle Seahawks: Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia
The 6'6, 350-pound mammoth Wilson is a long-armed athlete who played RT at Georgia and could slide inside to guard if questions about his foot speed persist.
28. Baltimore Ravens: Yetur Gross-Matos, edge rusher, Penn State
Gross-Matos is a raw athlete who could prove to be the steal of the first round. If history and if the Ravens is any indication, he will be.
29. Tennessee Titans: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
Murray is a well-conditioned athlete who can play all over the field and will upgrade the Titans D right away.
30. Green Bay Packers: Jordan Love, QB, Utah
Love sneaks back into the first round and the Packers draft the replacement for Aaron Rodgers As Bears fans, we hope Jordan Love throws 10 million interceptions.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
They lock the other side of Richard Sherman
32. Kansas City Chiefs: De'andre Swift, Georgia
A quick smart pass catching RB to help the Chiefs in the screen game
Follow through the draft on the Live Blog post and leave your comments in real time.
See you all tonight