You wanted the best? Well, just like the band KISS, you got the Best NFL Mock Draft for 2020. The draft starts on April 23 in Las Vegas and we’re diving into draft season with a full first-round mock draft that contains a few surprises.
Sportsnaut’s NFL team led by Jesse Reed, Vincent Frank, and Matt Johnson have you covered with a mock draft of the first round.
Updated January 14, 2020
NFL Mock Draft 2020 – Round 1
Pick 1 / Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Burrow / QB / LSU
After dealing with a dreadful season under first-year head coach Zac Taylor, Bengals fans will get a reprieve once April comes calling. The reigning Heisman winner, Burrow is as clear of a consensus No. 1 overall pick as we have seen in some time.
The LSU standout absolutely dominated Oklahoma in the national semifinals and has proven himself to be an elite talent in the offensive backfield. He could start out of the gate, providing the Bengals with their most-talented natural passer since Carson Palmer.
Pick 2 / Washington Redskins
Chase Young / EDGE / Ohio State
Washington began its offseason on the perfect note by firing president Bruce Allen and hiring head coach Ron Rivera. Now, Rivera lands the best prospect in the draft and someone who can revitalize this defense.
The 20-year-old edge rusher is an unmatched force off the edge. Young is not only the best prospect in this draft, but he’s also arguably a top-five prospect across the past three years. Quarterback and edge rusher are the two most important positions in football, Washington has both spots in great hands with the Ohio State duo of Dwayne Haskins and Young.
Pick 3 / Detroit Lions
Jeffrey Okudah / CB / Ohio State
Head coach Matt Patricia wants to continue building a dominant defense to pair with an offensive attack that’s very potent with Matthew Stafford under center. Selecting Ohio State star Okudah would give the Lions one of the best 1-2 punches at cornerback in short order, pairing him with Darius Slay. A technician who shines bright in press-man coverage, Okudah would be an instant starter and should be a big upgrade for this defense.
Pick 4 / New York Giants
Jerry Jeudy / WR / Alabama
The Giants’ success towards the end of the regular season pretty much ended the possibility that they would land Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young. That has long been the target of GM David Gettleman and Co.
Instead, New York gets its impressive young quarterback a legit receiving option on the outside. Daniel Jones worked wonders with a lackluster set of receivers as a rookie. Imagine what he might be able to do with a player in Jeudy who compares favorably to former Giants star Odell Beckham Jr…without the attitude.
Pick 5 / Miami Dolphins
Tua Tagovalioa / QB / Alabama
Miami’s front office almost certainly celebrated the moment Tagovailoa declared for the draft. The Dolphins are in the perfect spot at No. 5, barring another team trading up, to land their franchise quarterback.
The NFL comparisons to Drew Brees make sense. Tagovailoa possesses incredible accuracy and demonstrated that he already has NFL-caliber touch and timing on his throws. He reads the defense like a veteran NFL quarterback and reacts quickly to anything that comes open. While his durability is a concern, with his recent hip surgery the biggest question in medical evaluations, the risk is worth the reward. This is the scenario Miami dreamed of it when it planned out its rebuild. now is the time to put the pieces together.
Pick 6 / Los Angeles Chargers
Justin Herbert / QB / Oregon
There is a ton of scuttlebutt within NFL circles that the Chargers may look to move on from Philip Rivers, and that Tom Brady could be signed in free agency as an immediate replacement. Even if that does happen, the Chargers should take advantage of this high draft slot and target the quarterback of the future.
Pegged as the top pick last winter before he decided to stay at Oregon for his senior season, Herbert has a world-class arm and a big frame, measuring in at 6-foot-6 and 237 pounds. Not only can he throw deep, but he can make plays on the run — perfect for today’s NFL.
Pick 7 / Carolina Panthers
Tristan Wirfs / OT / Iowa
Regardless of who is under center and coaching the Panthers next season, their offensive tackle position needs to be fixed. Daryl Williams just didn’t have it after returning from a serious injury. Dennis Daley can’t be seen as a legit long-term option, either.
It’s in this that the Panthers bring in a left tackle that could hold down the fort over the next decade. At 6-foot-5 and 322, Wirfs has the build to hold up at the NFL level. Not only is Wirfs a dominating physical presence, he’s surprisingly agile for someone his size. That’s needed at left tackle in today’s NFL with so many athletic edge guys on the other side.
Pick 8 / Arizona Cardinals
CeeDee Lamb / WR / Oklahoma
There are few better fits you’ll find than Lamb and the Cardinals. Oklahoma’s star receiver made incredible things happen with Kyler Murray at quarterback in college, now they can be reunited to bring that same attack to Kliff Kingsbury’s offense.
Lamb fits the mold perfectly as a No. 1 receiver in an electrifying offense. The 6-foot-2 receiver is a big-play threat with outstanding hands and incredible agility in open space. Imagine a player who can do things like this, this and this being moved around in this offense with a quarterback he already has chemistry with.
Pick 9 / Jacksonville Jaguars
Jedrick Willis Jr. / OT / Alabama
Jacksonville’s defense took significant steps backward this past season, despite some strong play from individuals up front, such as rookie Josh Allen. With an eye toward building this defense back up to an elite level, the Jags could do a lot worse than adding Willis, who’s a veritable force of nature.
With Willis wrecking things inside for Jacksonville, the team’s edge rushers would be even more effective. Heck, this 6-foot-5, 318-pound defensive tackle may end up going even earlier than this once April comes around. He’s a dominating presence inside and will be highly coveted.
Pick 10 / Cleveland Browns
Andrew Thomas / OT / Georgia
There’s very little doubt that Cleveland will target a blindside protector for struggling young quarterback Baker Mayfield in April. Mayfield was sacked 40 times this season compared to just 25 during his rookie campaign.
With Wirfs off the board, these Browns don’t hesitate in selecting a left tackle that went up against elite SEC competition in college, protecting Jake Fromm’s blindside in the process. Thomas has everything you look for in a potential franchise left tackle. He would be the perfect fit at No. 10 overall.
Pick 11 / New York Jets
A.J. Epenesa / DE / Iowa
New York would certainly love to protect its franchise quarterback with a top left tackle. Once the top three pass-protectors came off the board, the Jets would shift their focus to causing problems for opposing quarterbacks.
Epenesa started the 2019 season slow then exploded late in the year and put his top-10 talent on display. The 6-foot-6 defensive end can overpower tackles on the edge and bend them to his will before getting around them to hit the quarterback. From his talent to his persona, he’s perfect for Gregg Williams’ defense and would make an immediate impact in New York.
Pick 12 / Las Vegas Raiders
Isaiah Simmons / OLB / Clemson
The Raiders are desperate for playmaking linebackers. That’s exactly what Simmons is, too. He’s an athletic marvel who will only get better with time as he gets into an NFL training room and starts adding bulk to his 6-foot-4, 230-pound frame. The best aspect of his game is that he’s so athletic that he can play a hybrid safety spot in certain packages and is a coverage specialist. The Raiders would be giddy to land this guy and team him up with his college teammate, Clelin Ferrell, once again.
Pick 13 / Indianapolis Colts
Derrick Brown / DT / Auburn
Defense might not be as pressing of a need for the Colts as say quarterback. Despite this, general manager Chris Ballard has made it a goal of his to target value in his first couple drafts in that role. If Brown were to somehow fall to 13, there’s no reason Indianapolis wouldn’t jump on him.
Boasting All-Pro potential, the 318-pound Brown can be an absolutely dominant physical force along Indy’s defensive line. He’s explosive, can stop the run and is hard to move at the point of contact. It’s a match made in heaven with Darius Leonard in the Colts’ front seven.
Pick 14 / Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Kristian Fulton / CB / LSU
The Buccaneers must improve their defense this offseason, there’s simply no other way around it. In a division with Julio Jones, D.J. Moore and Michael Thomas, cornerback becomes the obvious area to address with this selection.
Fulton can step in immediately and become Tampa Bay’s top cornerback. He brings the size, strength, athleticism and instincts to quickly develop into a shutdown cornerback. While he might not be a playmaker, helping contain No. 1 receivers is all you can ask for from a corner.
Pick 15 / Denver Broncos
Tee Higgins / WR / Clemson
With Drew Lock coming on strong as the franchise passer in Denver, the Broncos have to continue supporting him with protection up front and weapons in the passing game. Courtland Sutton was a rising star in 2019. Adding Clemson’s Tee Higgins, who’s absolutely dynamite in the red zone and on the sidelines, to Denver’s offense would give Lock a dynamic duo at receiver and help him grow even more next season.
Pick 16 / Atlanta Falcons
Yetur Gross-Matos / EDGE / Penn State
Vic Beasley is set to become a free agent and has not lived up to expectations after a breakout sophomore campaign in 2016. Takkarist McKinley has also failed to live up to the hype with 16.5 sacks in three seasons. It’s led to an anemic performance from Atlanta’s pass-rush group in recent years.
Enter into the equation an absolute freak of an athlete in Gross-Matos, who might boast the most untapped potential of any edge defender in the class. The Penn State product could make an initial impact as a pass-rush specialist due to the numerous moves he already boasts at the line.
Pick 17 / Dallas Cowboys
Grant Delpit / S / LSU
This is the scenario the Cowboys dreamed of. New defensive coordinator Mike Nolan needs chess pieces to make his defense work and few better players fit that exact mold than Delpit.
LSU’s star safety proved himself in a variety of roles this season. He excelled in coverage, thrived when being sent to blitz and showed the instincts and aggressiveness to help against the run. He needs NFL coaching to clean up his tackling, but Delpit is the piece that can make a good Cowboys’ defense into a great one.
Pick 18 / Miami Dolphins (from Steelers)
Kenneth Murray / LB / Oklahoma
After landing the quarterback of the future with the fifth-overall pick, the Dolphins can simply take the best player available here in the middle of Round 1. Murray is a phenomenally gifted, supremely athletic linebacker who flies around and has a knack for being in the right place at the right time. He’d immediately become a starting linebacker for the Dolphins, who need all kinds of help in their front seven.
Pick 19 / Las Vegas Raiders (from Bears)
Henry Ruggs III / WR / Alabama
Jon Gruden loves himself some offensive weapons. Jon Gruden loves himself some speed. He gets the best of both worlds in the insanely fast 6-foot Ruggs, who is absolutely dynamic in the open field. It’s something the Raiders have been missing at wide receiver.
Think Deebo Samuel with even more seasoning. That’s what Ruggs III could bring to the table as a rookie. He’d provide Las Vegas with an immediate threat to take it the distance every time. We couldn’t imagine a better fit at 19 for the Raiders.
Pick 20 / Jacksonville Jaguars (from Rams)
Trevon Diggs / CB / Alabama
It’s only fitting that the Jaguars use the first-round pick they acquired for Jalen Ramsey to land his replacement. Diggs is ready to start the moment he arrives for camp and he’d provide needed stability in this secondary.
The 6-foot-2 corner relies on physicality and it helps him knock receivers off their route early. Even if he gets beat off the first step, Diggs offers the speed to cover the distance and knock down passes. While his physicality might occasionally draw some penalties, it’s worth it for the caliber of player the Jaguars are landing.
Pick 21 / Philadelphia Eagles
CJ Henderson / CB / Florida
Have you seen the Eagles try to defend the pass lately? Despite a very good front line, Philly’s pass defense needs help in the worst way. Henderson is a tough guy who doesn’t shy away from taking on blockers and defending the run. But the reason he’s going to be a first-round pick this coming April is that Henderson brings that same physicality to defending the pass. And that’s the kind of cornerback the Eagles so desperately need.
Pick 22 / Buffalo Bills
Solomon Kindley / G / Georgia
We already know that head coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane are looking to build a bully in Buffalo. It helped this physical team to a 10-6 record and playoff appearance in 2019.
Dion Dawkins has solidified the tackle position for the Bills after a surprising 2019 season for the team. That enables Sean McDermott and Co. to get physical with a mauler and potential All-Pro performer at guard. While we originally went with Creed Humphrey, he’s returning to Oklahoma. Kindley provides the same type of physicality inside for Josh Allen and Co.
Pick 23 / New England Patriots
K’Lavon Chaisson / EDGE / LSU
The Patriots will consider a quarterback with their first-round pick, especially if Tom Brady leaves this offseason, but the chance to add Chaisson is too much to pass on. Edge rusher is one of New England’s greatest needs and Chaisson’s potential is off the charts.
Athleticism, length and size are the raw tools coaches covet from an edge rusher. Chaisson has them all and Belichick could view him as a player that can be molded into an All-Pro pass rusher. New England could use him in situational downs early and the coaching staff could be the perfect group to improve his technique and unlock a defensive star that will dominate for years.
Pick 24 / New Orleans Saints
Laviska Shenault / WR / Colorado
Funny enough, as potent an offense as the Saints feature, this team lacks a consistent playmaker in the passing game outside of Michael Thomas. Tre’Quan Smith is decent, but he has yet to really evolve into that true No. 2 option. Considering Sean Payton’s love of diverse playmakers who can do multiple things very well (like Taysom Hill), bringing in this electric receiver out of Colorado would be a fun move that could spark an offensive boom in 2020.
Pick 25 / Minnesota Vikings
A. J. Terrell / CB / Clemson
Minnesota’s blowout loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Divisional Playoffs made a couple things clear. It needs more help at cornerback and must get younger with an aging roster. Mike Zimmer is expected to do just that.
Someone who has not been afraid to draft corners in the past, expect Zimmer to get into Rick Spielman’s ear ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft. If so, the 6-foot-1 Terrell makes sense. He has plus-level ability in press and man coverage, something the Vikes value. This would be a perfect fit for Zimmer’s defense.
Pick 26 / Miami Dolphins (from Texans)
D’Andre Swift / RB / Georgia
Miami has needs everywhere and certainly could look to bolster the offensive line, but the opportunity to add Swift is too hard to pass by. A backfield with Tagovailoa and Swift, two of the best players in college football, could be unstoppable for years to come.
We’re not just talking about a dominant runner. Swift is simply a game-changing playmaker however you put the ball in his hands. He can excel as a receiving back or stay in the backfield and handle 18-plus carries. Just feed him the football. If Miami can pair Swift and Tagovailoa together, it needs to be done.
Pick 27 / Seattle Seahawks
Michael Pittman Jr. / WR / USC
For the love of all that’s good and holy, the Seahawks need to unleash Russell Wilson like the elite quarterback he is, and provide him with the weapons to succeed. Landing D.K. Metcalf in the bottom of Round 2 was a gift. Tyler Lockett is electric. But Wilson needs another big target who can move.
That’s exactly what Pittman can do. He’s also outstanding at winning 50/50 balls and bringing in in contested catches. A red-zone monster, Pittman hauled in 17 touchdowns the past two seasons at USC.
Pick 28 / Baltimore Ravens
Justin Jefferson / WR / LSU
A lot was made of Lamar Jackson’s struggles in Baltimore’s shocking playoff loss to the Titans. However, he got much more of the blame than he deserved. Outside of the promising Marquise Brown, there’s major issues at receiver for the Ravens.
Enter into the equation a big-bodied receiver in Jefferson who can make the contested catch. He dominated late in his LSU career and would be a perfect fit with Brown. At 6-foot-4, Jefferson is just what Jackson needs to take that next step.
Pick 29 / Tennessee Titans
Terrell Lewis / EDGE / Alabama
Tennessee’s defense has surprised everyone during the playoffs, especially in the divisional round when it neutralized Baltimore’s offense. There’s clearly plenty of talent on this unit, but the Titans would benefit from strengthening their pass rush.
Lewis is a 6-foot-5 weapon off the edge. He plays with a tenacity and motor that can’t be taught and is particularly important to have in a rookie. He’s far from a finished product and must be taught the finer points of creating pressure, but he’d be a great addition in Tennessee.
Pick 30 / Green Bay Packers
Donovan Peoples-Jones / WR / Michigan
Packers fans know how explosive the team’s offense could be with another elite receiver running around on the same field as Davante Adams. Green Bay has struggled to pair Adams with a viable No. 2 for the past couple of seasons and the entire offense has suffered.
Peoples-Jones is going to be a better pro than he was at Michigan. Especially if he is playing with an elite quarterback like Aaron Rodgers.
Pick 31 / Kansas City Chiefs
J.K. Dobbins / RB / Ohio State
It became apparent during the regular season that Kansas City’s offense needs a do-it-all running back. The Chiefs need a player who can thrive in Andy Reid’s scheme and eat up yards with opposing teams trying to stop Patrick Mahomes. So, why not add one of the best running backs in college football history?
This is exactly what the electric Dobbins can bring to the table. He’s a threat to take it the distance on every play and has made an impact in the passing game. We could not envision a better fit for the NFL’s highest-powered offense.
Pick 32 / San Francisco 49ers
Xavier McKinney / S / Alabama
San Francisco could easily take a running back here or bolster its offensive line and protect Jimmy Garoppolo. Instead, general manager John Lynch can pick the best player available and add a chess piece to Robert Saleh’s defense.
Conveniently, McKinney can also step in at safety and allow the 49ers to let Jimmie Ward leave in free agency. Saleh can use the 6-foot-1 safety all over the field, matching him up in man coverage, roaming deep down the field or just filling whatever task he is given. Simply put, the rich get richer and one of the NFL’s best defenses gets even more talent with this pick.