NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JANUARY 13: Joe Burrow #9 of the LSU Tigers reacts to a touchdown against Clemson Tigers during the third quarter in the College Football Playoff National Championship game at Mercedes Benz Superdome on January 13, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NFL Draft
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

The 2020 NFL Draft is less than a month away. With little time left and information now scarce, it’s time to take a look around the league. 

Kyle Newman

The NFL Draft is right around the corner. Usually around this time, the media has some idea of what teams are thinking about. Looking at private visits and pro days usually gives a hint in regards to who teams may be targeting.

That obviously can’t happen in 2020 due to COVID-19. Pro Days, private workouts, and private visits are all canceled. Teams will have to go off of the tape, combine workouts/meetings, and Skype calls.

It severely limits the knowledge the media has going into the major event. That just means fans will have to be creative in their thinking as the draft creeps closer.

This mock was built with that in mind.

1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

The Bengals need a new starting quarterback. Andy Dalton has been a steady starter for nine years, but his time is up. The team needs a change and Joe Burrow is the best quarterback prospect in a long time. This is a no-brainer.

2. Washington Redskins: Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State

The Redskins are lucky enough to have the best player in the draft fall to them at No. 2. Edge rusher isn’t the biggest need for them, but Young is a generational prospect. With Chase Young and Montez Sweat, the Redskins will have one of the scariest and youngest pass-rushing duos in the NFL. The latest 2020 NFL Draft Odds list the Redskins has massive -375 favorites to select Chase Young.

3. Detroit Lions: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State

The Lions traded Darius Slay earlier in the offseason, creating a gaping hole at cornerback. Jeff Okudah should slot in and fill that hole right away. Okudah is arguably the best corner prospect since Jalen Ramsey and his press-man style is a perfect fit for head coach Matt Patricia’s defense.

4. New York Giants: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa

The Giants dedicated much of their offseason to fixing the linebacker position and ignoring their hole at right tackle. Tristan Wirfs would come in and start at that position day one and immediately improve the Giants’ run blocking. Protecting Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley is the team’s top priority and the uber-athletic Wirfs is the best man for the job.

5. Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

The Dolphins can’t afford to let Ryan Fitzpatrick start for a second straight year. They need a quarterback for the future in order to take advantage of DeVante Parker and an improved defense.

Tua Tagovailoa makes perfect sense. Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores comes from the Bill Belichick coaching tree and his offense shows it. Tua ran a similar system with fellow Belichick coaching disciple Nick Saban at Alabama. The Dolphins are -150 odds to draft Tua at DraftKings Sportsbook.

6. Los Angeles Chargers: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

After 16 years of certainty at quarterback, the Chargers are now at a loss. Philip Rivers left for the Colts in free agency, leaving the Chargers with Tyrod Taylor as their presumptive starter. That’s not good enough for a team known for their stability at the position.

Thus, look for them to fill that hole immediately.

Justin Herbert has a strong and accurate arm along with the mobility that a modern quarterback needs. He’ll need time to adjust to NFL schemes, but if he can acclimate, he could become a star.

7. Carolina Panthers: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson

The Panthers lost future Hall of Fame linebacker Luke Kuechly to retirement this offseason. There isn’t a better player to replace him than the ultra-athletic and versatile Isaiah Simmons.

The Clemson linebacker can play any defensive position at a high level. He would have some big shoes to fill in Carolina, but if anyone is up to the task, it’s him.

8. Arizona Cardinals: Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama

Kliff Kingsbury has been building around Kyler Murray all offseason. They retained D.J. Humphries and traded for DeAndre Hopkins. Their biggest hole left on offense is the right tackle spot, and that’s where Jedrick Wills Jr. comes in.

Wills is a stud pass and run blocker who is only limited by his average athleticism. He should slot in as a solid right tackle on day one.

9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn

The Jaguars need help all over the field. Their offense is in shambles and they tore down their defense. They have to go with the best player available at No. 9, and in this scenario, that’s Derrick Brown.

The defensive tackle is a stud in the run game who should clog the middle of the field against any opponent. The pass rush is a work in progress, but he effectively replaces Marcell Dareus at less than half the price.

10. Cleveland Browns: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville

The Browns are stacked with talent on both sides of the ball. Their biggest weaknesses in 2019 were consistency and offensive line play. Hopefully, new head coach Kevin Stefanski will fix those issues. On the offensive line, the Browns added Jack Conklin to fix the right tackle spot, but left tackle remains a huge need.

Mekhi Becton is a physical monster. He’s huge and athletic on a scale the NFL hasn’t seen before and that makes him valuable despite his raw technique and lack of pass blocking reps at Lousiville. Becton is a play for the future as Cleveland continues their search to replace Joe Thomas.

11. New York Jets: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

Jets general manager Joe Douglas is going to bring the first shocker of the draft. Douglas has been talking all offseason about the team’s need to add explosive weapons and head coach Adam Gase wants speed on his offense. Gase also loves to run a short passing offense with receivers who can make things happen with the ball in their hands.

That’s essentially a description of Henry Ruggs III.

Ruggs is the fastest receiver in this class and will be one of the fastest in the NFL. His special ability to gain yards after the catch has many comparing him to Tyreek Hill. With the top three offensive linemen off the board, Douglas takes a chance on the speedster who fits perfectly into Gase’s offensive system.

12. Las Vegas Raiders: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

The Raiders didn’t have a single wide receiver put up 700 yards in 2019. Their top wideout was Tyrell Williams, who racked up just 651 yards. If the Raiders offense is going to build off a promising 2019 season, they’ll need a true No. 1 wide receiver.

Jerry Jeudy would fill that slot well.

He’s an excellent route runner and has the speed necessary to separate at the next level. Put him opposite an elite deep threat like Williams and Jeudy could immediately elevate the Raiders offense.

13. San Francisco 49ers: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

The 49ers won the NFC in the 2019 campaign on the back of their defense and run game. That system isn’t sustainable in the modern-day NFL and that proved to be true in the Super Bowl. The first step to remedying that is finding Jimmy Garoppolo a true No. 1 receiver.

CeeDee Lamb is the only elite wideout left on the board at No. 13 and the selection of him would make Kyle Shanahan very happy. Lamb isn’t the greatest route runner, but his hands, physicality, and unbelievable ability to win 50-50 balls make him a special player.

Put him in the hands of the foremost offensive mind in the NFL today and it shouldn’t be long before Lamb is a star.

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia

The Bucs have stolen the headlines this offseason with the signing of Tom Brady. With Brady and their elite receiving core, Tampa Bay’s offense looks set to be one of the best in the NFL. The only thing that could hold them back is their poor tackle situation.

In this scenario, Andrew Thomas falls to them and they gladly pick him up to protect their investment and give Brady as much time as he needs.

15. Denver Broncos: CJ Henderson, CB, Florida

The Broncos desperately need to help Drew Lock, but none of the elite receivers are left on the board. That forces John Elway to turn his attention to the team’s aging and declining defense, where he needs to address the cornerback position now that Chris Harris Jr. is gone.

CJ Henderson is the best corner on the board and his combination of size, speed, and press-man coverage skills make him an ideal fit for head coach Vic Fangio’s aggressive defense.

16. Atlanta Falcons: K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU

Falcons head coach Dan Quinn needs to get back to his roots. He found his most success when building a strong defense that effectively pressured the quarterback. They added Dante Fowler Jr. in free agency, but that’s not enough.

K’Lavon Chaisson is an athletic edge rusher who should be a better pro than college player. He has all the tools to be an elite edge rusher and pairing him with Fowler should help make up for Atlanta’s poor secondary.

17. Dallas Cowboys: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina

The Cowboys get one of the steals of the first round in Javon Kinlaw. The South Carolina standout is a top-10 talent that fell due to a lack of need at defensive tackle and desperation of teams in front of Dallas.

He’s a strong run-stopper who has growing pass-rushing skills. Kinlaw will slot in next to Maliek Collins on the Dallas front-four, creating one of the scariest defensive lines in football if he reaches his ceiling.

18. Miami Dolphins: Josh Jones, OT, Houston

With a rookie quarterback already on-board, the Dolphins turn their attention towards the offensive line. Josh Jones is an athletic pass blocker who figures to play left tackle at the next level.

He has some technique-related issues and his run blocking is a big question mark. None of that matters to the Dolphins though. Their only concern is protecting their injury-prone rookie quarterback and Jones is the best guy left for the job.

19. Las Vegas Raiders: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU

The Raiders addressed offense earlier in the round and now they look to fix their defense. Las Vegas’ secondary is a black hole. Their starting corners heading into the 2020 season are currently Trayvon Mullen and Nevin Lawson. Not an inspiring group, to say the least.

They slightly reach here to select Kristian Fulton, who should slot next to Mullen in their secondary. That would create a young and volatile defensive backfield in Vegas, but one with a high upside.

20. Jacksonville Jaguars: Austin Jackson, OT, USC

The Jaguars look to build in the trenches in the 2020 class. With Derrick Brown anchoring their defensive line, the Jags select Austin Jackson to bolster their offensive line. Jackson would immediately slot in at left tackle, where he would replace the wildly disappointing Cam Robinson.

Jackson is an athletic tackle who needs work on his technique. He’s a better pass blocker than run blocker, but he’ll likely be poor at both in his rookie year. Selecting Jackson is a bet on a high ceiling.

21. Philadelphia Eagles: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU

Carson Wentz became the first 4,000-yard passer without a 500-yard receiver in NFL history in 2019. That kind of success is unsustainable as teams look to lock down tight ends and running backs more and more. It’s vital that the Eagles make a move to get Wentz a legitimate weapon at wide receiver.

Justin Jefferson would be a solid and versatile option. He can play in the slot or split wide and would provide Wentz with a second or third option to open up the passing game.

22. Minnesota Vikings: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama

The Vikings lost both of their starting corners from 2019 to free agency, along with their primary slot corner. They can’t afford to leave this draft without at least one starter in the defensive backfield.

Trevon Diggs is the last first-round graded corner on the board. Diggs should fill the Vikings No. 1 corner spot from day one, a role he’s familiar with from his time at Alabama.

23. New England Patriots: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State

For the first time in what seems like forever, the Patriots have a question mark at quarterback. After Tom Brady left in free agency, the team is left with just Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham on the roster, and neither is built to be a starter.

The Patriots break character and take a bold step in selecting Jordan Love. The Utah State standout is a prototypical strong-armed athletic quarterback. He’s raw and needs work, but if any head coach in the NFL can get the most out of a player like that, it’s Bill Belichick.

24. New Orleans Saints: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU

The Saints don’t have a lot of needs. They return much of their roster from a stellar 2019 season that ended in heartache and controversy. Addressing the linebacker position makes sense from a value and need standpoint. They did indeed lose A.J. Klein in free agency and haven’t replaced him.

Patrick Queen would slot into Klein’s role and be groomed to replace Demario Davis, who’s 31-years-old and in the final year of his contract. Queen is a three-down linebacker who excels in coverage and in open space. It would be a perfect fit next to Davis as the Saints look to make a Super Bowl push in 2020.

25. Minnesota Vikings: Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor

With cornerback already having been addressed, the Vikings can look to replace Stefon Diggs. They do so by selecting the quickest rising receiver in the draft, Denzel Mims.

The talented wideout from Baylor possesses rare size and speed characteristics that make him a perfect complement to Adam Thielen. Mims has work to do as a route runner and the hands are an issue, but he would be a strong second option in Minnesota where he would be given time to develop.

26. Miami Dolphins: A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa

The Dolphins pass rush was atrocious in 2019. They had a league-low 23 sacks and their team-leader in that statistic, Taco Charlton, had just five. They addressed edge rusher slightly in free agency by adding Kyle Van Noy, but they still don’t have a player who can consistently get after the quarterback.

A.J. Epenesa could be that guy.

The Iowa edge rusher was a playmaker during his last two seasons in college. He can disappear from games and his lack of athleticism can hurt him, but he always seems to find a way to make impact plays. Miami can’t pass that up at the end of round one.

27. Seattle Seahawks: Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State

The Seahawks additionally had an awful pass rush in 2019. They tied for 29th in the NFL with 28 sacks and their team leader had just four. To make matters worse, Jadeveon Clowney is still a free agent and may not return.

Yetur Gross-Matos should help fill that void.

The Penn State Nittany Lion is very similar to Clowney. He’s a stronger run defender than pass rusher, but his pass-rush ability is there and improving. He would immediately replace Clowney, and while Gross-Matos wouldn’t replace what Jadeveon brought immediately, he’d have the chance to develop into that type of player.

28. Baltimore Ravens: Cesar Ruiz, C, Michigan

The Ravens lost future Hall of Fame offensive guard Marshal Yanda to retirement this offseason. They need to replace him to keep their strong line intact as that’s the foundation of their offense.

Cesar Ruiz should be able to step in and be a starter on day one.

He likely won’t be able to fill Yanda’s shoes, but he should be solid enough that he doesn’t drag down the play of the line. He should also be able to transition to center in 2021 when Matt Skura’s contract expires, giving the Ravens much-valued flexibility.

29. Tennessee Titans: Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU

The Titans let Logan Ryan test free agency and haven’t replaced him yet. They’re in need of some help at cornerback and defensive youth in general. Jeff Gladney would be a fix and a perfect fit in head coach Mike Vrabel’s system.

Vrabel has a very complex defense that mixes zone and man coverage to confuse offenses and stay unpredictable. Gladney is a scheme fluid player who can play both man and zone coverage with the high football IQ to adapt quickly. He may not be the most athletically gifted corner in the class, but Gladney has all the mental tools to be a starting corner in the NFL.

30. Green Bay Packers: Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU

Aaron Rodgers is increasing in age and the Packers’ title window is closing with it. They finally have an elite defense, but now they lack offensive weapons. Davante Adams is still a dominant receiver. Besides that, there’s little else.

Jalen Reagor is explosively athletic and putting him next to Adams should open another dimension of the passing game for Green Bay.

31. San Francisco 49ers: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama

The 49ers addressed their offense early in the draft and now they’ll address their defense. San Francisco only has one starting safety on the roster, and Xavier McKinney would solve that issue.

He’s a versatile defensive back who can cover and play against the run. In a weaker draft class, he may go in the top-15. The 49ers get a steal here and bulk up the back half of their secondary.

32. Kansas City Chiefs: Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn

The Chiefs wrap up round one with a project cornerback in Noah Igbinoghene. Noah is an athletic and physically strong cornerback with a ton of work needed. He’s only played the position for two years and his instincts and cover skills aren’t quite there yet.

He’s survived on his physicality in coverage and in the run-game to this point, but in the NFL, he’ll need to develop true cover skills. The Super Bowl champions should be able to hide him on defense as he develops his rookie year. He could then reward them handsomely in year two.

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