It’s creeping towards late April, which can only mean one thing: it’s mock draft time here at DraftAmerica. A look now at special contributor Robert Waugh’s 2020 edition:
By Robert Waugh
Special to DraftAmerica
1. Bengals- Joe Burrow QB LSU– This is the most boring pick I’ve ever made. No reason to think Cincy is going in a different direction. Burrow to the Bengals. Write it down. In ink. Or chisel it in stone. Hieroglyphics maybe?
2. Redskins- Chase Young EDGE OSU- I really want to predict a trade here, but alas, I cannot. Everyone and their mother thinks Young is the best player in this draft and Rivera is a defensive minded coach. Washington has a TON invested in their D-line, but Young could be a generational player and Ryan Kerrigan is in the final year of his deal.
3. Chargers- TRADE-Tua Tagovailoa QB Alabama– Thought this would be Miami, didn’t you? Yeah, me too. Miami has the draft capital to make it happen, but the Chargers make the move. They have a strong roster and always seem to be one of the favorites to come out of the AFC. Unfortunately QB hasn’t been the strongest of positions for L.A.’s newest franchise so they go get their guy in Tua. They give up their 2nd round pick this year as well as their 2nd next year. As far as compensation goes, that’s steep, but the Lions hold the cards.
4. Giants- Tristan Wirfs OT Iowa– The G-men need O-line help and get their pick of the litter. Nate Solder wasn’t who they thought he’d be when they signed him, so they go and get Wirfs, who put on a historic showing at the combine.
5. Dolphins- Justin Herbert QB Oregon– Tua who? Miami secretly liked Herbert just as much, if not more than, his counterpart in Alabama. Herbert has plenty of time to work on his flaws playing behind Ryan Fitzpatrick this year, but I would bet that he sees the field by midway through through the season.
6. Lions- TRADE- Jeff Okudah CB OSU– It was a no-brainer for the Lions to trade down here. They need a lot of help defensively and barring some crazy happenstance they were going to get either Okudah or Isaiah Simmons, so they‘ll be more than happy to gain a couple picks and get their replacement for Darius Slay.
7. Panthers- Isaiah Simmons LB Clemson– Simmons is no Luke Kuechly (who is?), but he is the most versatile player in the draft and the best defensive talent on the board. This should be an easy pick for Carolina.
8. Cards- Jedrick Wills OT Alabama– There’s no point in trading for DeAndre Hopkins if Kyler Murray doesn’t have the time to get him the ball. Wills is a monster and will help protect Murray and improve Arizona’s offense Week 1.
9. Jets- TRADE- Jerry Jeudy WR Alabama– The Jets signed Breshad Perriman during free agency, but he‘s no one’s Jerry Rice. If Gang Green wants Sam Darnold to take the next step, they have to give him a true number one receiver to throw to. Juedy fits the bill, but costs the Jets their 3rd round pick to jump up a couple spots to draft him.
10. Browns- Andrew Thomas OT UGA– Unlike Darnold and the Jets, the Browns and Baker Mayfield have the weapons on offense, they just lack the O-line to give Mayfield time to get the ball to them. Signing Jack Conklin was a huge step in the right direction, but he plays right tackle. Thomas steps in and takes care of the blindside so that OBJ and company can put some points on the board.
11. Jags – TRADE-Derrick Brown DL Auburn– After losing Calais Campbell and Marcell Darius this offseason, the Jaguars have to get better up front. Brown is a force to be reckoned with at 326 lbs. He is a much needed addition to Jacksonville’s once daunting defense.
12. Raiders- CeeDee Lamb WR Oklahoma– I really hope Jon Gruden doesn’t get cute here. The Raiders haven’t had a number one receiver since they traded away Amari Cooper in 2018. Insert Lamb here.
13. Falcons- TRADE- K’Lavon Chaisson EDGE LSU– When is the last time Atlanta had an effective, consistent pass rush? I don’t know either. Chaisson should help them out as the second best Edge player in the draft, but it’s Atlanta, so we’ll see. This move will cost Atlanta the first of their two 4th round picks.
14. Bucs- Mekhi Becton OL Louisville– Simply keeping Tom Brady on his feet should add 2-3 wins for the Bucs. Bruce Arains has no choice but to try and do that. Hopefully Becton will be able to keep the G.O.A.T. upright.
15. Broncos-Tee Higgins WR Clemson– A lot of people are projecting Ruggs here, but when you have a young QB who has accuracy issues you need to have receivers who are big targets. Adding the 6’4 Higgins to the equally-large Cortlund Sutton should help Drew Lock see the improvement that the Broncos need if they want to make it to the playoffs any time soon.
16. 49ers- TRADE- Javon Kinlaw DL South Carolina– If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The Niners got to the Super Bowl this year after building from their D-line from the ground up. Kinlaw is a top 10 pick who fell to them, even after trading back (and acquiring a 4th-round pick from Atlanta). What a get for San Francisco. The rich get richer.
17. Cowboys- C.J. Henderson CB Florida– I could see Dallas going with an edge rusher here, but I think the hole left by Byron Jones’ departure, as well as Henderson being the best corner in the draft not named Okudah, is the reason for this pick. Jerry Jones, however, does what he wants, so we’ll see.
18. Dolphins- Grant Delpit S LSU– O-line makes all the sense in the world here, but Miami doesn’t need to reach. They have so many holes they can take just about anyone. Delpit has been labeled a “soft” player, but his 2018 film shows a better tackler than his injury-riddled (so they say) 2019 does.
19. Raiders- Jordan Love QB Utah St.– This is one of my least favorite picks, but the Raiders do weird things and Jon Gruden swears he’s a quarterback whisperer, so I think Las Vegas drafts Derek Carr’s (or Marcus Mariota’s) successor. Love can take a redshirt year while getting his NFL feet wet and dive into 2021 as the new face of Sin City.
20. Jags- Kristian Fulton CB LSU– With Jalen Ramsey and AJ Bouye out the door, cornerback, which was once a strength, is now a weakness. Fulton will join fellow first rounder Derrick Brown as the eternally-rebuilding Jags focus on their Defense.
21. Seahawks- TRADE- Yetur Gross-Matos– No one knows what is happening with Jadaveon Clowney so the Seahawks send their 3rd-round pick to Philly to hop up six spaces and get some insurance on the edge. Gross-Matos has work to do, but his potential is sky high and should do well playing for Seattle, even if they do end up re-signing Clowney.
22. Vikings- Henry Ruggs III WR Alabama– After running the fastest 40-yard dash at the Combine with a 4.27, Ruggs was expected to go sooner than this, but Minnesota is rightfully happy he didn’t. The Vikings will be pleased to pair this speedster with the possession receiver they already have in Adam Theilen and force teams to defend the entire length of the field.
23. Pats- Kenneth Murray LB Oklahoma– New England is always a threat to trade down, but I think Murray is a guy Belichick will like. He can use some help in coverage, but he plays sideline to sideline and can tackle anything. In fact, he set the school record for most tackles in a game in 2018 against Army with 28. Yes, Army runs the ball virtually every play, but 28 tackles is, well, 28 tackles.
24. Saints-Xavier McKinney LB Alabama– I really wanted to go with LSU’s Linebacker Patrick Queen here. Who doesn’t like the story of the hometown kid playing for his hometown team? McKinney is the better pick though. He’s not a freak athlete, but he’s versatile and can play deep, in the slot, or even at linebacker if needed.
25. Vikings- A.J. Terrell CB Clemson– He’s long, he’s fast, and he can cover. The hope is that with a little Mike Zimmer-applied polish, Terrell will be able to shadow opposing teams’ number one receivers and eliminate them from the game plan. Only time will tell.
26. Dolphins- Jonathan Taylor RB Wisconsin– He has a lot of miles on him, I get it. He was a workhorse at Wisconsin, but guess what? He stayed healthy. Running backs don’t last long in the NFL regardless, but Taylor hasn’t shown anything to make us think he can’t play at a high level in the pros. Plus, the kid ran a 4.39 40-yard dash at the combine. At 226 lbs. Yeah, he’s legit.
27. Eagles- TRADE- Justin Jefferson WR LSU– After trading back and regaining the 3rd-round pick they gave up in the Darius Slay trade, the Eagles end up with the guy they wanted all along. No one in the NFL had worse receivers last year than Philly. Alshon Jeffery has arguably the worst contract in all of football and who knows what DeSean Jackson has left. Finally, Carson Wentz has a talented receiver he can throw to.
28. Ravens- Patrick Queen LB LSU– I don’t know who’s happier, the Ravens, who may have found a replacement for CJ Mosely, or Queen, who is headed to a place where defensive players shine. The former LSU Tiger should step right in and help the always-tough Ravens defense continue to give opposing offenses fits.
29. Colts- TRADE- Denzel Mims WR Baylor– After checking out the landscape, the Titans decide to move back several picks and acquire the Colts 4th-rounder in the process. This move allows the Colts to jump ahead of a few receiver needy teams and take the big and fast former Baylor Bear. Mims blew up the combine and rocketed up draft boards. Finally, the Colts have someone to take the heat off of TY Hilton, and Philip Rivers has his new Vincent Jackson.
30. Packers- Josh Jones OL Houston– Not the sexiest pick in the world, but keeping Aaron Rodgers standing tall is the most important thing in Green Bay. Anytime they can do that, they have a chance to win.
31. 49ers- Austin Jackson OL USC– San Fran already addressed the D-line, so now it’s the O-line’s turn. A receiver would’ve been nice here, but the best one left is Leviska Shenault and he’s basically a mirror image of Deebo Samuel. As always, the Niners decide to go big, so they don’t have to go home (in the playoffs). See what I did there?
32. Chiefs- Travon Diggs CB Alabama– The stars continue to align for this years’ Super Bowl combatants. The reigning champions’ biggest need is at corner and one of the best in the draft fell right into their lap. The Chiefs to the rest of the NFL world: Good luck.