NFL Mock Draft 2020
Welcome everyone to CZ Sports 2020 NFL mock draft! This will be mock draft #3024 on the internet this year, but that’s okay since most of them are unique in their own way while also being completely wrong by draft day, and this one won’t be much different in that regard. This mock draft will offer some fun facts and insight on these prospects from a new perspective as each team looks for their next difference maker. This mock draft is based on what I would do if I were in the GM role of these teams. I understand there are players projected to go higher or lower than my placement on this mock draft, but it’s not as interesting for me at least to go pick based on what the actual teams will do on draft night. I can wait till the actual draft to find that out. There are also no trades in this draft. Round 1 gives a breakdown on the player selected and their fit while rounds 2 and 3 are just going to show the team selection of each player.
Let’s get into this 2020 mock draft!
No point of talking your head off about why Joe Burrow should be #1, since this was inevitable from November 2019 on. He has great pocket presence, can fit throws into the tightest of windows, and has the swagger & leadership to carry a franchise on its shoulders. He also keeps his eyes downfield and makes multiple progressions, something that’s a problem for most QB’s entering the league. I’ll admit that before last college season that I wasn’t sold on Joe Burrow as a player but watching him dominate the SEC last year while learning a pro-style offense from OC Joe Brady showed the leap that he’s made. I still don’t know if Burrow becomes an elite quarterback at the next level, but his skill set currently fits perfect in a west coast scheme. Burrow should bring a new form of leadership & confidence to a Bengals organization that needs some juice.
Many have Chase Young as the top player on their overall draft boards and for good reason. Young has a get-off that’s a nightmare for Offensive Tackles. He has elite athleticism to bend around the outside, while having enough strength to rip through the inside. He’s just a disruptive force that has a natural feel for the game overall. He’s a three-down player as he can also chase down running backs from the backside, although he does lose commitment in his gap sometimes. That shouldn’t hold him back from being an All-Pro caliber player though as he should be a 15+ sack guy for multiple years to come in Washington.
With the Lions trading Darius Slay to the Eagles, this pick is easy for Detroit. Jeff Okudah has been touted as the best DB prospect since Jalen Ramsey, which makes sense when both players are well-rounded and can play any style. Okudah has the size and physicality to press up and play with bigger wideouts, but also has lateral quickness and light feet to stay with vertical threats. Similar to his college teammate Chase Young, Okudah has All-Pro potential and should provide great play for many years in Detroit, as long as Matt Patricia doesn’t belittle him like he did Slay (Patricia probably won’t make it after 2020 if we’re honest).
The Giants could use this pick in many different ways come draft time. They could go offensive line here in a deep o-line class, trade the pick down to acquire more assets, or take a blue-chip prospect in Isaiah Simmons. I went with the third option since Simmons is as much of a guarantee as you can get , and when you watch Simmons play, you’ll agree. He can play anywhere from strong safety, to weak side linebacker, to even an occasional edge rusher. At 6 feet 4 inches & 238 pounds, Simmons has the size to intimidate skill players in the middle of the field as well. A smart player with sideline to sideline speed, the Giants should be in good hands with Simmons, as they desperately need an impact player on defense.
I have a feeling that the Chargers could trade up to 3 come draft night, and the Lions could still get a blue-chip talent in Okudah, which may lead to the Lions feeling comfortable with trading down. If the Chargers don’t move up, then the Dolphins will select Tua. I believe Tua is the best Quarterback talent in this draft, but he falls because of the obvious hip injury that some believe could shorten his career. He also has problems with his knee and playing for an abysmal Dolphins o-line wouldn’t be ideal to start out. Expect him to sit for the first season so that he can learn the game and hopefully get some more protection in the following offseason. Tua at his best provides great pocket awareness, a beautiful deep ball, good mobility, and the aggressiveness to challenge defenses through four quarters. This is a long-term play here for the Dolphins, and one that should pay off if they play their cards right.
I’m expecting the Chargers to go Justin Herbert at this pick come draft time, but I think that would be a big mistake for the team. They have a lot of players in their primes, and with a lot of contracts coming up soon, they don’t have a lot of time to wait for a project QB. Herbert has a lot of flaws in his mechanics and decision making that will take years of patience to clean up. Anthony Lynn would be gone by then. So instead of that route, I went with Tackle Jedrick Wills to sure up the offensive line. Wills has stood out as the no.1 offensive lineman on most big boards in a deep offensive line class. He’s light on his feet and has ready hands, combined with unmatched power on the point of attack. He rarely if ever gets crossed up on his feet and has a high IQ that helps him snuff out pass rushers tendencies early. He played right tackle at Bama, but was the blindside blocker for the lefty Tua Tagovailoa, showing that he has potential to transition to left tackle if need be. The Chargers have an avenue to get some o-line help right here in Wirfs and potentially sign a veteran QB left in free agency (Winston, Newton, Dalton) which may help keep their productive offense intact.
I felt like I was a broken record when talking about the Panthers poor run defense last year, and with Simmons off the board there is no other option but to take Derrick Brown here. Brown can be a true nose tackle, play the 3-Tech, or be a base defensive end in a 3-4 scheme. He’s a great space eater in the interior, using his hand technique, length, and quickness to shoot inside gaps. He also has a solid bull rush which makes him a true three-down lineman that can get inside pressure. Combine that with his high motor and you get a foundational interior lineman that can be an anchor of the front seven.
The Cardinals could choose between Thomas and Tristen Wirfs from Iowa, and both picks would be solid here, but my preference leans toward Thomas. Andrew Thomas is a sturdy blocker who has boxer heavy hands that work wonders in the run game and can transition his movement into power very quickly. He has high awareness in pass protection and comes off blocks when needed. He has his weaknesses like keeping his hands to high on blocks and being overly aggressive which can get him beat on counter moves, but he has been someone who has progressed in each of his three seasons at Georgia and he can continue to grow on the NFL level. He already has the tools to be an early starter for this Cardinals team that’s on the rise and can be a stalwart of the o-line for years to come.
Javon Kinlaw is personally one of my favorite prospects in this whole draft. He has the physical traits that can disrupt offenses by himself when used correctly. He also has that high motor, high energy style of play that wears down the o-line. His technique still has room to grow, and he’ll need to be more disciplined in containing backside action as he gets too aggressive when charging for the ball carrier. With the right coaching however, that shouldn’t be much of a problem going forward, and Jacksonville can get their Calais Campbell replacement in Kinlaw.
This would be a no-brainer at this point in the draft. Wirfs is as reliable a prospect as they come and can start immediately for Cleveland. He has quick and agile feet to mirror any speed rusher. His athleticism also allows him to get to the second level of the defense quickly in the run game. He can quickly reset his hands and position himself to win one on one matchups. Wirfs upside is high, and his skill set fits the current NFL. The Browns get their tackle to pair with free agent Jack Conklin in hopes to protect Baker Mayfield better than last year.
Becton finishes the big group of top o-line prospects. I was close to grabbing a wide receiver for the Jets as they desperately need it, but the offensive line is just as bad, and they need to go with the foundational piece here to protect QB Sam Darnold and help RB Le’Veon Bell bounce back from a down year. Becton is a freak athlete at 6’8 and 365 pounds with a 7-foot wingspan. Becton is able to use that size to his advantage with his athleticism and upper body power. He’s my number four tackle prospect because the boom or bust nature of Becton. His weight can quickly become a disadvantage if not managed well, as his size has already provided some limitations when guarding stunt blitzes and twists. The upside is high enough however to justify the Jets selecting him here, and hopefully provide more stability to a lackluster offense.
CeeDee Lamb is the first receiver off the board at number 12. The Raiders have some decent weapons on offense but are missing their no.1 receiver. Lamb provides that with his sleek route-running, soft pillow hands, and field awareness. Lamb has unbelievable balance only matched by guys like Devante Adams and Alvin Kamara, allowing Lamb to turn a five-yard drag route to a 20-yard chunk play. Lamb doesn’t have blazing speed and his slight frame allows him to get pushed around in press coverage, but outside of that I can find too many negatives here for Raiders with this pick.
The 49ers need some receiver help with Emmanuel Sanders heading over to New Orleans. Enter Jerry Jeudy, who’s arguably the most complete receiver entering the draft over the last 3 years. CeeDee is in the same tier as Jeudy and is selected one pick higher thanks to his ability to create big plays after the catch for the west coast offense for the Raiders. The 49ers run a west coast scheme as well but have Deebo Samuel who has worked as the YAC receiver for the offense. Jeudy give the team an outside threat and can line up in the slot if need be. He knows how to position his body and get open at any spot on the field, and should help Jimmy Garoppolo, who has to throw into some difficult windows last year.
Epenesa has been mocked as a late first to early second round talent due to his lack of upside, but he’s a sure-fire power rusher who can play immediately for a win-now Bucs team. The Bucs could go offensive line here, but the top four linemen have been picked, and Tampa had a top-10 pass blocking unit last season according to Pro Football Focus. Epenesa can pair with Shaquille Barrett and cause problems for opposing offensive lines. You know what you are getting with him, which is important for this team and their short window.
Henry Ruggs is the fastest player in this draft class by far and pairing him up with a strong-arm quarterback in Drew Lock will stretch the field for Denver tremendously. The Broncos have seen the benefit from the fast target and big arm combo with the Chiefs, and in the thin air of Denver, defenses would be dog-tired of guarding Ruggs for four quarters. As long as they are creative with how they use Ruggs and don’t fall into the trap of making him an outside deep threat, the Broncos should have a well-rounded receiving group with Ruggs, Courtland Sutton, and TE Noah Fant.
The Falcons have been touted as one of the more aggressive teams in this draft as they want to get an impact defensive player early. In this mock however, they don’t have to trade up as CJ Henderson goes of the board here. Henderson is a long corner who uses his downhill speed and long arms to get in front of throws. He can bait quarterbacks to throw in areas that he can close out quickly once the ball is in the air, similar to Antonio Cromartie back in the day. That aggressive nature will get him beat on some plays though, so he will have to pick his spots wisely at the next level. Some scouts have an issue with Henderson’s tacking effort, however that was only an issue in the 2019 season as Henderson may have been playing it safe for his draft stock (plus he’s a cornerback so I’m more worried about his coverage you know?). Henderson would be the aggressive outside corner the Falcons need in an NFC South filled with high-end receiving talent.
The Cowboys have three secondary starters whose contracts will expire after the season, plus with Byron Jones gone to Miami, the Cowboys could lose 3-4 secondary pieces in a two-year stretch. They have to get secondary help now to combat this, and with a perfect fit in Xavier McKinney right here, Dallas should pounce on the opportunity. McKinney is aggressive in coverage and plays downhill, helping him close out the middle of the field. He has great timing on his hits and can anticipate where the Q1 is going with the football. McKinney does struggle with deep range covering, so expect him to play inside the box more often than not, but the versatility of McKinney is there. Dallas gets a solid safety here at pick 17.
The Dolphins need more offensive line help than anyone else right now. If the Chargers do trade up for Tua, I think Miami should go with one of the key o-line guys at pick 5 (Wirfs,Wills,Thomas) instead of Herbert which they sadly might do. Since Miami did get Tua in this draft, they wait and take Austin Jackson here at pick 18. Jackson is one of the best pass protectors in this class with a solid bend and good athleticism. He has raw power at the point of attack and has the length to recover on the outside rush. His technique is still shaky as he has to gain consistent hand placement, but he will have a whole season to work on it while Tua is on the sideline. Jackson can then develop into a solid tackle that helps this Dolphins offense going forward.
The Raiders have slowly built up their secondary over the last few seasons, but they still need an outside corner who has consistency in his technique. Kristian Fulton is that guy, as his floor is high as a reliable outside corner. A huge part of playing corner is hip flexibility, and Fulton’s hip mobility may be the best in this class. He uses his hips to quickly react to movement and keep with his man on breaking routes, helping him standout from a corner class that’s heavy with downhill cover 3 guys. Fulton is also confident in coverage and trust his ability to stay with the top receivers one-on-one. That has led him to focus too much on the individual matchup sometimes, which follows with his matchups winning tightly contested catches since he’s not on top of the ball. The Raiders can help Fulton grow with his ball instincts, which could make Fulton a dangerous corner at the next level.
With another corner gone, the Jaguars rush to take Trevon Diggs here at 20. Jacksonville has to address the corner position with both Jalen Ramsey and AJ Bouye gone, and Trevon Diggs fits the cover 3 scheme for the Jags. Diggs is exceptional at zone coverages, understanding spacing and timing for when to close throwing windows. He also has that physical press coverage aspect to his game that can frustrate smaller outside threats. Right now, he’s a one trick pony, as his man coverage skills are still raw. He’ll need to work on his hip mobility as he has trouble guarding in-routes. He can also get too aggressive with the press, allowing for receivers to slip by him as he’s beaten downfield. This is definitely more of a scheme pick then anything, but I see Diggs playing a key part in revitalizing the Jaguars defense.
This was one of the easier selections I had to make in this draft. The Eagles need a receiver badly, especially one who can crisply run short to intermediate routes and give a quick option for Carson Wentz. Justin Jefferson fits that mold right here. He can track the ball down whether open or contested and can operate outside or in the slot. He also has the balance to make plays after the catch. Jefferson isn’t an elite athlete and he has a limited ceiling, but his skill set will find him on NFL rosters for a long time, and it’s a skill set that the Eagles would appreciate at pick 21.
Head Coach Mike Zimmer doesn’t like playing most of his rookies year one, but with the changes going on in the secondary, and with AJ Terrell’s skill set, I can see Zimmer giving in early on. He’s a strong man coverage corner with solid hip mobility and hand usage. He can also read the quarterbacks eye while staying in range with his man, allowing him to drive on the ball and disrupt tight throws. Some scouts believe he’s too conservative in coverage, leaving interceptions on the table for deflections, but that’s a minor issue that’s salvageable. Terrell offers a reliable option for the Vikings as they go through this overhaul in the secondary.
No, I’m not going quarterback here with the 23rd pick. The Patriots are transitioning from 20 years of Tom Brady, and they shouldn’t settle for a Herbert or Love prospect at 23 without a quality veteran starting (Brian Hoyer is not an option). I think they should wait till the 3rd or 4rd round for a young quarterback and play Stidham/ The Mid Round Pick for a year and let them sink or swim. Someone either becomes the guy or they go 5-11 and get in a position to draft an elite quarterback prospect like Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields. As for Kenneth Murray, he possesses the range and downhill aggression that the Pats are missing in that middle. His physicality and fundamental tackling make him an asset at the second level, preventing gash plays inside. His technique for getting past blocks needs to improve, and he can play too aggressive at times, but he’s an every down player who make key impact plays as a MIKE Linebacker for New England.
I don’t think it’s a good idea for the Patriots to take a quarterback because of the lack of a quality veteran. Well the Saints have a hall of fame level quarterback that Jordan Love can learn behind. Love isn’t day one ready, so learning behind one of the best quarterbacks over the last 15 years for a few seasons can only help him. Love can extend plays with his feet and fire the football on the run with ease. He also keeps his eyes downfield and can sense pressure quickly. His big problem however is adjusting to coverage rotations. He sometimes envisions how the play is going to go pre snap without taking into account the coverage and alignments. This leads to some careless throws that can take his team out of the game. Love has Jameis Winston Syndrome right now but watching Drew Brees prepare in practice and learning from him in film study can help Love grow his IQ, and when Brees hangs it up, Jordan Love can pick up right where Brees left off.
Not only would this pick give some nostalgia the local Minnesotans by grabbing the son of a player that had many great seasons for the Vikings, but it would give the Vikings a Swiss Army knife DB who you can line up at nickel corner, at box safety, or as the high safety. They can also move on from Anthony Harris after the season with this pick. Antione Winfield plays with a high sense of urgency like every play is the final play of the game, which helps in tackling open runners and tracking down footballs. Winfield was projected as a third-round talent for most of the 2019 season due to his injury history in 2017 and 2018 respectively, but a healthy 2019 and some good tape allowed Winfield to come back stronger than ever, and he could provide similar production to his father for multiple seasons.
The Dolphins dip their toe in the o-line waters again, this time grabbing center Cesar Ruiz from Michigan. Ruiz is a solid athlete who can reach the second level of the defense and making him an asset in zone blocking. He has excellent body control that helps him keep his hands-on interior pass rushers. His timing however is a little of in pass protection, forcing him to play catch-up. Ruiz can play center or guard and should add some more stability along with Austin Jackson for an abysmal offensive line.
The Seahawks grab their Jadeveon Clowney replacement here at pick 27. Chaisson is one of the best athletes in this draft. He has a great first step with a solid bend that will make it tough for tackles to contain. He can also drop back into coverage and bat down short passes. There’s a lot of issues I have with Chaisson, however. For starters, he’s 6’3 and 250 pounds flat, which doesn’t make me feel comfortable playing him as every down defensive end. For every Von Miller or TJ Watt, there’s about 10 Barkevious Mingo’s, Dion Jordan’s, and Vic Beasley’s roaming around. He’s also yet to develop a counter-move to help him get inside leverage. He gets comfortable working upfield that he can take himself out of plays when tackles get that quick jump and are able to get their hands on him. Overall Chaisson is a project that will take a few years before he can show signs of a viable pass-rusher. The Bucs could take him at 14, but with such a narrow window for winning, Chaisson doesn’t really fit what they need now. The Seahawks will have Russell Wilson for another decade and have the time and patience to make Chaisson work.
I had Denzel Mims at this spot for Baltimore, but it looks more and more likely that the Ravens will move Matthew Judon to a new home. With Michael Pierce gone too, the Ravens will have a close eye on defensive line prospects on day 1,2, and 3. Yetur Gross-Matos is their first player taken in this draft. Gross-Matos is a long fella at 6’5 with a long wingspan. He’s disciplined enough to keep his pad level down as well and not live or die by his size. He’s big enough to play interior line but excels at winning on the outside. He does have a similar problem to Chaisson however in needing to develop a counter move to make him unpredictable for tackles. He also leaves his assignment too often on running plays, and his processing is not developed right now. He should start as a pass-rushing exclusive for the Ravens to get him comfortable before transitioning to a three-down player in the future, but Yetur has a high ceiling that can easily be maximized in a development friendly team in the Ravens.
Josh Jones is a nasty tackle with some experience as a four-year starter at Houston. He’s got range to block outside rushes. He also gains leverage effectively in the run game to help widen up gaps, something the Titans would love in their offense. Jones is raw in his technique which hinders his athleticism. His hands are often too low in pass protection and he gets tripped up on his feet. For my money, guys like Ezra Cleveland and Jack Driscoll are more polished tackles, but Jones is more effective in the run game, which plays to the Titans strengths here. Jones can grow as a pass blocker overtime to become a reliable guy for the Titans.
The Packers need a wide receiver who can get open for Aaron Rodgers and not another generic 6’4 lob it up kind of guy. KJ Hamler can play in the slot and provide quick targets for Rodgers. Hamler has the sub 4.40 speed and can use that to run crosses in middle of the field to attract defenses to him, freeing up underneath routes. Hamler is a small guy at 5’9 which may raise concerns of long-term durability, but the positives are too good for the Packers to go anywhere else here. You could argue that Michael Pittman, Denzel Mims, or even Devin Duverney are more complete receivers, but they don’t move the needle for the Packers offense. Jalen Reagor fits the mold for a field stretcher, but he’s a little rawer and the Packers will want to maximize their window. Hamler should bring some more diversity to the Packers.
Jeff Gladney is a corner that can play in any scheme, and he should get adequate play time for a contenting 49ers squad. Gladney has great instincts combined with solid route-recognition. He his reliable in man coverage, or he can come in on a nickel blitz, using that versatility to his advantage. Gladney is only 5’10, but he still plays big and can exceed that limit. Gladney plays aggressively inside which leaves him vulnerable to double moves. He’s definitely limited in his ceiling, but he still has some room for improvement. He can play for San Francisco early and contribute to one of the top defenses in Football.
Patrick Queen is a great coverage linebacker who can quickly snuff out running backs on underneath dump-offs. He’s a similar mold to Deion Jones, another LSU product, in his instincts and size. The Chiefs had nobody to cover the middle of the field last season, and this pick could plug the hole up quickly while taking one of the best players left on the board. Queen can get manhandled at the second level in the run game, but the Chiefs have a lot of run stopping linebackers currently on the team to fill that hole. Queen can lockdown the middle of the field and help the Chiefs defense.