DISCLAIMER: Didn’t include trade details outside of 2020 firsts, as Bill O’Brien has shown no one really knows trade value anymore. Let me know your thoughts on the rationale for your team’s picks!
#1 Bengals: Joe Burrow (LSU)
No need to try and be bold here with a trade, Burrow is the pick here for Cincinnati. Burrow is coming off the best season by a college QB ever and gives the Bengals an opportunity to rebuild and position themselves when BAL/CLE do not have their QBs on rookie deals. The Bengals can add the best player available at the top of the 2nd and enter the 2021 offseason among the league leaders in cap space.
#2 Redskins: Chase Young (OSU)
Young is the best player in the draft and gives Ron Rivera a tremendous young duo of EDGE rushers in Montez Sweat and Young. While a trade back is certainly an option here if they are wowed by an offer I think WAS would rather guarantee Young. He should emerge as a top EDGE by year 2 and the real value is having him there on a rookie deal, Passing on Tua gives you a chance to see a full year of Haskins in the same offense for the whole year. If he doesn’t look significantly improved you always have the option of making a move for Lawrence/Fields next Spring.
#3 TRADE —- Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama) [Lions move back to 5 in 2020 first round and pick up this year’s 1.18]
Miami filled a lot of needs in Free Agency by adding Byron Jones, Kyle Van Noy, Shaq Lawson. They also added some depth in Ogba, Roberts, Grugier-Hill, Karras, and Jordan Howard. Now they get their franchise QB as they look to compete for the AFC East in the post-Brady era. Tua has incredible physical tools and all of the upside as a QB and a redshirt year behind Fitzpatrick could be really beneficial to his long term success as a starting quarterback. This time lets him get 100% healthy, tweak his mechanics, and get more comfortable with NFL reads.
1#4 Giants: Jedrick Wills (Alabama)
While there have been a ton of reports of their interest in Simmons I think they pass on him at 4 after bringing in Blake Martinez and resigning David Mayo who impressed in 2019. Gettleman has received a lot of backlash publicly for taking Saquon Barkley at #2 and Daniel Jones at #6 the past couple of years. Wills should make both of these picks look a lot better as a plug and play starter at tackle. Wills may not be the strongest pass blocker but is the strongest run blocker in my opinion. New OC Jason Garrett should look to get the ball out of Daniel Jones’ hand as early as possible and run less 11 personnel than Shurmur did in 2019 . Jones had 18 fumbles in 2019 and while he needs to improve his ball security, a stronger run and quick passing game behind Wills should help.
#5 TRADE —- Lions: Jeffrey Okudah (OSU)
While every analyst appears to have their own thoughts on the top tackles in the class, there is a clear consensus that Okudah is CB1. Despite signing Trufant to a 2 year deal, the Slay trade has left an obvious need at corner. Okudah has elite physical tools and should develop into the lockdown corner that the Belichick/Patricia defense thrives with. Trading back and still walking away with Okudah would be a dream scenario for the Lions who also added Desmond Trufant and Duron Harmon to the secondary this offseason.
#6 Chargers: Tristan Wirfs (Iowa)
This pick will ultimately depend on how the Chargers feel about the rest of the QB class. While Tyrod Taylor isn’t the long term solution he has shown flashes over his career where you can feel ok about entering the season with him as your QB option. There are also the Jameis and Cam Newton options out there if they want to add another veteran. Adding Wirfs allows the Chargers to potentially kick Trent Scott inside to left guard opposite the newly acquired Turner or develop as a swing tackle behind Wirfs and Bulaga. This would give the Chargers a completely new look at the offensive line and I would argue the strongest trenches in the division.
#7 TRADE —- Jets: Andrew Thomas (Georgia) [Panthers move back to 11 in 2020 first round]
Absolute worst case scenario for Carolina is picking at #7 with the state of their roster. In their case with 2 of the top tackles off the board and the Browns sitting at 10 it would make sense for the Jets to move up to 7 to get their guy. Andrew Thomas was a 3 years starter at Georgia and has seen the top competition you could ask for coming out of college. Whether Joe Douglas and company believe Darnold is the long term solution at QB they will need a LT to protect him. They went out in Free agency and added a lot of help across their line but no one who is considered to be an above average left tackle.
#8 Cardinals: Isaiah Simmons (Clemson)
Resigning DJ Humphries and adding Hopkins gives the Cardinals a lot more flexibility heading into the draft. While a tackle to protect Kyler is definitely on the table, I don’t love the marriage of 6’7 Mekhi Becton and him. Simmons falling to Arizona at #8 would be an ideal scenario for them and is a great matchup weapon. His versatility as an off ball LB and Safety would be a great weapon against division rivals in San Francisco (Kittle) and Seattle who heavily utilizes their TEs. His sideline to sideline speed would also be crucial for the 4 games a year against the McVay and Shannahan offenses that utilize so many horizontal concepts.
#9 Jaguars: Derrick Brown (Auburn)
Jacksonville needs to get better upfront if they are going to rebuild and compete with the power run games of Tennessee and Indianapolis in that division. Derrick Brown is a monster up front and helps rebuild a defense that has traded away Jalen Ramsey, AJ Bouye, and Calais Campbell over the past year. Brown has the versatility to play in a 3-4 or 4-3 which could be desirable if Marrone’s inevitable exit brings a different defensive philosophy. While Kinlaw will be a better pass rusher from the inside, Brown is a safer pick and the Jags can take a reach on a riskier player at #22 if they want a sexier pick.
#10 Browns: Mekhi Becton (Louisville)
Despite paying huge money to Jack Conklin, the Browns still need help at Tackle. Baker is a completely different quarterback when he has time to throw. Adding vertical threats in OBJ and Austin Hooper over the last two years doesn’t mean much if their routes do not have time to develop. While I think Cleveland would prefer Wirfs or Thomas to still be on the board here there are worse consolation prizes than a 6’7 370lb tackle that showed up in Indy and ran a 5.1sec 40.
#11 TRADE —- Broncos: Ceedee Lamb (Oklahoma) [Panthers trade back again in the first round to pick up more draft capital including the 15th pick in the 2020 draft]
While there has been a ton of buzz for Henry Ruggs in the pre draft process I like Lamb as the pick for Denver. Lamb has had much better production in his college career and a more polished 3 tier game at this point. His ability to create seperation on short to intermediate crosses and slants should make for easier throws from Drew Lock. Denver’s Offense under new OC Pat Shurmur will likely use much more 11 personnel than they did in 2019. Ceedee is tremendous after the catch and will have the space to do so with Shurmur’s spread offence.
# 12 Raiders: Jerry Jeudy (Alabama)
The Raiders added one receiver in Nelson Agholor and will no doubt be adding another receiver with one of their 2 first rounders this year. Jerry Jeudy is a phenomenal route runner who creates separation on pro style routes. His ability to operate on the outside or in the middle of the field gives the Raiders something they do not have in Tyrell Williams, Agholor, or Renfrow. He should also help to create space for the 45 Tight Ends they have on their roster.
# 13 49ers: Javon Kinlaw (South Carolina)
Kinlaw is the best interior pass rusher in this year’s class and should create one on one situations for Dee Ford and Nick Bosa on the outside. The 5 years of control on a rookie deal should also be desirable for a team that is currently paying huge tickets to both Ford and Arik Armstead across the front 7. Ruggs is extremely tempting here after losing Emmanuel Sanders to New Orleans but they will have more options for a receiver at 31 than they will for an impact IDL.
#14 Bucs: Cesar Ruiz (Michigan)
With the top 4 tackles off the board, Ruiz is the only offensive lineman on the board who I think can make an immediate impact. Jones, Niang, and Cleveland all have huge upside but are not ready to play right now and they don’t have the luxury of time with a soon to be 43 year old quarterback. Brady is also tremendous at sliding in the pocket and sensing pressure on the outside, they can also help on the outside with TEs and Backs. The past few years Brady has played behind one of the top guard pairs in the league in Thuney and Mason. Ruiz would be a great upgrade at Guard and the ability to move to Center if Jensen leaves in Free Agency after 2021.
#15 TRADE —- Panthers: Josh Jones (Houston)
Jones is a raw developmental project at tackle and needs to sit for a year to fill out his frame and improve his technique. He had a different offensive line coach every year throughout his collegiate career but still showed improvements in his final year. His ability to pull and climb is a tremendous fit for CMC who will continue to be the focal point of the offense for years to come. Carolina moved guard Trai Turner for Russell Okung this offseason which allows you the luxury of having Jones redshirt. By trading back twice they get a player with huge upside and a lot of draft capital to fill the holes they have across their Defense and offensive line.
#16 Falcons: CJ Henderson (Florida)
The Falcons improved their pass rush by adding Dexter Fowler Jr to replace Vic Beasley, now they need to add CJ Henderson to replace Desmond Trufant’s departure. Henderson is a tremendous athlete with rare size for the position at 6’1 and 200lbs. He has the size and man coverage skills to match up well with division rivals Michael Thomas and Mike Evans. Henderson will need to improve his tackling at the next level but fits well next to hard hitting safety, Keanu Neal.
#17 Cowboys: K’lavon Chaisson (LSU)
The Cowboys bolstered their Defense with a few vets in Gerald McCoy and Dotnari Poe upfront and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the secondary (they also added a complete wildcard in the ineligible Aldon Smith). Chaisson is a freak athlete on the EDGE and gives them some speed on the outside opposite of Demarcus Lawrence. He has tremendous counters to win on the inside or outside and would be a nightmare on twist combos with McCoy. For a team that is or soon to be paying huge money to Dak, Cooper, and Zeke Elliott they could benefit from an impact rookie. They also need help at corner which they should address at 51 and a great pass rush will make that corner look significantly better.
#18 Lions: AJ Epenesa (Iowa)
Epensesa is a perfect mold of the EDGE defenders that Patricia has coached both in New England and now in Detroit with former Patriot, Trey Flowers. Epenesa does a tremendous job of setting the edge with polished technique and his 6’5 275lb frame. Coming out of the draft with Okudah and Epenesa and the additions of Jamie Collins, Duron Harmon, Danny Shelton, and Desmond Trufant the Lions will enter 2020 with a brand new defensive look.
#19 Raiders: Patrick Queen (LSU)
Despite signing Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski to 3 year deals this offseason they have an opportunity to add a 3 down linebacker in Queen. Queen is going to need to bulk up in the pros but has 4.5 speed and comparable processing speeds. He will be a major asset in coverage against tight ends and running backs alike. I have to imagine that Mayock and Gruden will be looking for his coverage abilities in a division with Trevor Kelce, Hunter henry, and Noah Fant. I could also see the Raiders double dipping at receiver in round 1 with Ruggs still on the board.
#20 TRADE —- Vikings: Henry Ruggs (Alabama) [Minnesota trades up from 22 with JAX to leapfrog Philadelphia]
The Vikings need to bolster their receiver room with the trade of Stefon Diggs. Ruggs is the explosive playmaker type of weapon that they need to pair with Theilen, Rudolph, and Irv Smith in the passing game. While he is significantly more raw than Jeudy or Lamb, Ruggs has the highest ceiling if he can improve his releases and separation. His 4.27 speed allows him to turn 5 yard slants and short crosses into explosive plays. Opposing defenses will need to respect Rugg’s speed which should open up the defense and allow Cook/Mattison room to work with Kubiak’s horizontal running game.
#21 Eagles: Denzel Mims (Baylor)
Alshon Jeffrey isn’t getting any younger and JJ Arcega-Whiteside hasn’t shown he can be a reliable receiver threat. Mims gives the Eagles another big body outside threat who can attack the ball at its peak. He ran a lot of vertical routes in Baylor’s offense and should be a viable deep threat if Jackson cannot stay healthy. Greg Ward was the lone bright spot of the Eagles receiver corps in 2019 and appears to be a legitimate slot option moving forward. A Mims pick would also give the Eagles the option to cut either Alshon or Desean before the final year on their deals in 2021.
#22 Jaguars: Kristian Fulton (LSU)
The Jaguars need to rebuild their secondary following the trades of Ramsey and Bouye, and Fulton is a tremendous man to man corner. Fulton has put up very impressive numbers in coverage particularly against well placed balls (per PFF). He Fulton should be an immediate upgrade over Herndon or Melvin on the outside opposite of DJ Hayden who played well in 2019. Brown and Fulton would be key pieces in helping the Jags get their defense back to where they were at in 2017 when they were among the league’s best.
#23 Patriots: Zach Baun (Wisconsin)
Baun’s versatility is a great fit for Belichick’s defense and he could slide into the void left by Kyle Van Noy’s departure to Miami. Belichick’s 3-4 defense has always had a dynamic outside linebacker who can play the run, rush the passer, and drop off into coverage. Baun can do all of these things and adds some of the speed to the Patriots Linebacker group that they lack in Hightower or Bentley. Derek Rivers was presumably drafted for this role and has yet to contribute playing in only 6 games since being drafted in 2017 missed all of 2017-2018 and 2019-2020 seasons to injury). Calhoun and Winovich have both shown flashers as rushers but don’t have the versatility to fill that 3-4 outside linebacker role.
# 24 Saints: Justin Herbert (Oregon)
The Herbert slide finally ends at 24 to New Orleans. Herbert has the arm and intelligence to run Sean Payton’s offense. The concerns over Herbert have largely surrounded his comfort in being the leader and his touch on short and deep passes. Drew Brees would be a tremendous mentor for Herbert and give the Saints a smooth transition plan. Despite the first round tender they put on Taysom Hill this offseason I can’t imagine they feel comfortable with him being “the guy”. He will also be pushing 32 at the end of Brees’ contract.
#25 Vikings: Trevon Diggs (Alabama)
The Vikings turned the 22nd pick they got for Stefon Diggs into his replacement in Henry Ruggs. They now use their first rounder to replace the missing Diggs in the locker room with his younger brother, Trevon Diggs. Diggs is about as long as a corner can get and excels in the press man coverage that Zimmer’s defenses typically run. He should be able to hold his own with the big body receivers in the NFC North between Allen Robinson, Davonte Adams, or Kenny Golladay. The Vikings defense will enter 2020 with as much turnover as they have seen under Zimmer’s tenure and can benefit from a smart corner with the Alabama pedigree.
#26 Miami: Austin Jackson (USC)
Miami moved up to #3 to get their franchise quarterback in Tua, now they need to get some help
on the line to ensure he can stay healthy. Jackson has the ability to develop into a starting left tackle and is a little more polished than Lucas Niang or Ezra Cleveland who are also still on the board. His athleticism gives him the ability to recover for the time being until his technique is refined. Jackson is rangy and can redirect rushers outside, he could benefit from playing in 2020 while Tua redshirts.
#27 Seahawks: Yetur Gross Matos (Penn State)
Yetur Gross Matos is a prototypical EDGE defender with proven production in one of the top conferences in the country. With reports that Clowney will not be returning to Seattle and Irvin & Mayowa being signed in free agency for short term deals it is time to get their next foundational end. Gross Matos needs to become more disciplined but has rare athletic abilities for an EDGE of his size. Seattle stole away Quinten Dunbar from the Redskins for a 5th now and now bolster their front 7 by paring Gross Matos with 2019’s first round pick LJ Collier.
#28 Ravens: Kenneth Murray (Oklahoma)
The Ravens would probably run to the podium if Murray is still on the board for them at #28. Murray is the missing piece of the Ravens defense between their stellar secondary and the DLine that added veterans Derrick Wolfe and Calias Campbell. Kenneth Murray is an athletic playmaker at the position and should greatly benefit playing behind the big bodies upfront. Baltimore’s coverage and strong pass rush should make the game easier for Murray as he improves his play recognition.
#29 Titans: Jeff Gladney (TCU)
Vrabel has built a very competitive culture since arriving in Tennessee,one in which Gladney fits right into. With Logan Ryan unlikely to return to Nashville Gladney can fill the new outside or as a nickel corner. He plays very aggressively and will have to dial it back a bit in the NFL as he will not be playing as much cover 4 as he did at TCU. Having the luxury of Byard over the top should allow Gladney and Malcom Butler to play their games and create turnovers.
#30 Packers: Justin Jefferson (LSU)
The Packers have invested heavily into rebuilding their defense both in free agency and the draft the past few years. They finally spend a top pick on some help for Rodgers at #30 with Justin Jefferson. Jefferson can do a little bit of everything but will likely thrive as a reliable possession receiver, I see him as an Anquan Bolden type. Funchess is a glorified TE at this point and MVS/Lazard are not ready to be full time receiving options yet. Jefferson and Sternberger working the middle of the field and underneath routes should allow more freedom from Davante Adams and MVS to work on the outside.
#31 49ers: Lavishka Shenault (Colorado)
Shenault is a player who has been mocked all over the place given his injury status during this irregular pre-draft process. With no immediate needs and grabbing Kinlaw at #13 the 49ers get to take a shot at a player with as high a ceiling as anyone. Emmanuel Sanders left in Free Agency and the 49ers need another reliable option opposite of Deebo Samuel. Not only is Schenault a physical specimen but he can line up inside or out and attack at all 3 levels. I love the fit with Shanahan who can scheme to his strengths and make him an impact player while he becomes a more well rounded receiver.
#32 TRADE —- Chargers: Jordan Love (Utah State)
Chargers trade back into the first to get their (hopeful) QB of the future in Jordan Love. Love has a ridiculous ceiling given his physical tools but has yet to show he can put it together reliably. He has really struggled with decision making both in and outside of the pocket. A year sitting behind a vet in Tyrod Taylor would be the best case scenario for Love. Taylor also came into the league with more raw athletic ability and has really improved as a consistent passer. By all reports Taylor handled the situation in Cleveland really well in the mentor role when Mayfield was drafted.