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 February 11, 2020
NFL Mock Draft for 2020 – Round 1
Pick 1 / Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Burrow / QB / LSU
There’s been some talk that Cincinnati might entertain offers for the first pick. The backlash here is all about the Bengals being a horribly-run organization. You listen to offers as a way to see if a team will give you the house. That’s all this amounts to.
The LSU standout absolutely dominated Oklahoma in the national semifinal and Clemson in the national title. Burrow is an elite talent with the ability to make every throw. Cincinnati will hold on to the first pick and run to the podium to select Burrow No. 1 overall in Vegas come April.
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
Tua Tagovalioa / QB / Alabama
Why in the world would the Lions take Tua Tagovailoa at No. 3 overall when they still have Matthew Stafford under contract for three more years? Because rebuilding this franchise will take more than complementary pieces around Stafford, who has put up huge stats over his career but has not been able to consistently win.
Tagovailoa knows how to win, will be much cheaper than Stafford and fits the modern game to perfection. The Lions absolutely should consider trading Stafford and rebuilding from scratch, with Tagovailoa as the centerpiece.
Pick 4 / New York Giants
Jerry Jeudy / WR / Alabama
This is where a potential trade could get interesting. Let’s say, for some reason, the top-three picks pass without Tua being selected. While that’s highly unlikely, it would lead to multiple teams looking to move up in front of the Dolphins for his services. The Chargers and Panthers, picking sixth and seventh, respectively, make sense.
Though, that’s not how this mock plays out. Instead, New York grabs the consensus No. 1 overall receiver in the draft. Jeudy would help fill out an elite skill-position group with impressive young quarterback Daniel Jones and former NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, running back Saquon Barkley. It just makes too much sense.
Pick 5 / Miami Dolphins
Justin Herbert / QB / Oregon
The Dolphins would certainly love to land Tagovailoa, but the front office will be more than happy to draft Herbert. This is a quarterback that Miami has scouted thoroughly and he’s more than capable of becoming the franchise quarterback.
Herbert didn’t have to go to the Senior Bowl this offseason. The senior’s status as a top-12 pick was already cemented, but he wanted to prove himself in front of NFL scouts and coaches. Herbert put on a show throughout the week, coming away with MVP honors and leaving a lasting impression on everyone. From his talent to his leadership and work ethic, Herbert is everything the Dolphins need for the future.
Pick 6 / Los Angeles Chargers
Javon Kinlaw / DT / South Carolina
With Burrow, Tagovailoa and Herbert already off the board, the Chargers will abstain from reaching for a second-tier quarterback and bolster their defensive front instead.
Though the duo of Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa on the edge is a nightmare, Los Angeles’ defense was pretty squishy in the middle. Adding Kinlow would change that up in a hurry. He’s an absolute beast who can dominate the run and pass, and he’d give the Chargers one of the best defensive lines in football.
Pick 7 / Carolina Panthers
Andrew Thomas / OT / Georgia
Regardless of who is under center for 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.
Short of head coach Matt Rhule trading up for a franchise quarterback, left tackle makes the most sense. Thomas has the experience going up against elite-level college in the SEC as a three-year starter. He helped create tremendous passing lanes for Jake Fromm. We’re talking about a plug-and-play tackle for Carolina.
Pick 8 / Arizona Cardinals
Tristan Wirfs / OL / Iowa
Arizona must protect its franchise quarterback at all costs. While the chance to pair CeeDee Lamb with Kyler Murray is attractive, this team needs a building block at tackle far more than a receiver. The 2020 draft class is deep at receiver anyways, which allows the Cardinals to draft Wirfs.
Wirfs is also intriguing because he can be moved inside to guard. He not only brings the immediate talent to start right away for the Cardinals, but his versatility along the offensive line is an even greater bonus. Wherever the Cardinals decide to play him, Wirfs is exactly the player Murray needs protecting him.
Pick 9 / Jacksonville Jaguars
CeeCee Lamb / WR/ Oklahoma
DJ Chark and Dede Westbrook are a couple of young stars, but adding a receiver like CeeDee Lamb to Jacksonville’s offense would give whomever is under center one of the best receiving trios in the NFL. An after-the-catch monster, Lamb can take any play the distance. During his time at Oklahoma, he routinely turned plays that looked dead into long touchdowns, thanks to his open-field brilliance.
Pick 10 / Cleveland Browns
Austin Jackson / OT / USC
It’s become readily apparent that Cleveland plans on targeting an offensive tackle at 10. While the team hopes Thomas falls to this selection, it can’t afford to pass up on a high-upside player in Jackson.
Baker Mayfield was sacked 40 times a season ago after going down just 25 times as a rookie. If first-year head coach Kevin Stefanski wants to see his enigmatic young quarterback improve, he needs to get Mayfield a potential franchise blindside protector. Jackson might be a bit raw, but he has the ability to be just that.
Pick 11 / New York Jets
Jedrick Willis, Jr. / OT / Alabama
This is everything the Jets dreamed of. The front office desperately wants to find an elite tackle to help protect Sam Darnold and Willis Jr. falls right into their laps with the No. 11 pick. He simply brings all of the tools a coach could look for from an offensive tackle and he’s not a player who needs time to develop. New York can start him at left tackle the day he arrives for camp and feel confident knowing Darnold will be given more time to throw for years to come. It’s the most crucial need for the Jets to address this offseason and this is the perfect fit.
Pick 12 / Las Vegas Raiders
Isaiah Simmons / OLB / Clemson
Though Clemson was blown out by LSU in the College Football National Championship Game, Isaiah Simmons showed out in a big way and was clearly the best player the Tigers had on the field.
A dynamic coverage linebacker with sideline-to-sideline speed and very good instincts, he’s exactly the type of linebacker to combat the top offenses in the NFL. Adding him to a young core group of defenders would give the Raiders a huge boost, especially with safety Jonathan Abram coming back with a vengeance in 2020.
Pick 13 / Indianapolis Colts
Henry Ruggs III / WR / Alabama
We’re going to assume for a second that Indianapolis goes out there and finds a veteran quarterback to replace Jacoby Brissett. While the team still needs to add a long-term option, it does have two second-round picks to entice teams picking in the bottom half of Round 1 in a trade-up scenario.
Rather than moving up here, the Colts get that potential No. 1 receiver to help their unnamed starter. The 6-foot Riggs put up 18 touchdowns over the past two seasons with Alabama. He’s a speedy and shifty receiver, who can be electric in the open field. That’s what the Colts could use initially opposite TY Hilton.
Pick 14 / Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jeffrey Okudah / CB / Ohio State
This scenario is beyond Tampa Bay’s wildest dreams. Arguably a top-five prospect in the draft, at an area of great need, slides all the way down to the No. 14 pick. Forget about potentially taking a chance on a rookie quarterback, the Buccaneers won’t pass on Okudah’s talent.
He is the best defensive back in this class and he could quickly emerge as a shutdown corner in the NFL. Tampa Bay has always needed a No. 1 corner who can line up against Michael Thomas and Julio Jones – now they have it. This selection can change everything for the defense and it’s a pick the Buccaneers will celebrate like crazy if it happens.
Pick 15 / Denver Broncos
Tee Higgins / WR / Clemson
Drew Lock is going to get his shot to lead Denver’s offense from the start of the 2020 season, and he has one very good receiver to work with already in Courtland Sutton. Tight end Noah Fant also showed some promise last year as a rookie. So, there are pieces to build around.
However, if the Broncos are going to improve enough on the offensive side next season, Lock needs more help. Clemson receiver Tee Higgins is the perfect addition to an offense that can challenge defenses deep down the field.
Pick 16 / Atlanta Falcons
A.J. Epenesa / DE / Iowa
Vic Beasley is set to become a free agent and will not return to the Falcons next season. 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 experienced pass rusher in Epenesa who can fit right in immediately in Dan Quinn’s defense. The upside might not be there in comparison to other edge rushers in this class, but Atlanta simply can’t afford another bust at this position. This former Hawkeyes standout recorded 31 tackles for loss and 22 sacks in his final two collegiate seasons.
Pick 17 / Dallas Cowboys
Derrick Brown / DT / Auburn
If the Cowboys want to become Super Bowl contenders in 2020, upgrading the defense must be a priority. Fortunately for Dallas, one of the best players in the draft is available at a huge area of need.
Brown is an unstoppable force on the interior line. Whether it’s taking away running lanes and throwing down running backs or creating inside pressure on opposing quarterbacks, he can do it all. Pairing Brown and DeMarcus Lawrence together would take this defense to a whole new level. Combine that with an efficient offense and Dallas might finally have a contender.
Pick 18 / Miami Dolphins (from Steelers)
Grant Delpit / S/ LSU
Having landed the quarterback of the future in Justin Herbert, the Dolphins can simply go best player available the rest of the way. Grant Delpit is arguably the best safety in the 2020 NFL Draft. He can play down in the box as well as he covers on the back end and would be an instant starter in Miami.
Pick 19 / Las Vegas Raiders (from Bears)
Justin Jefferson / WR / LSU
The more we here about the possibility in Vegas this offseason, the more clear it becomes that Jon Gruden and the Raiders are targeting a veteran quarterback to ultimately replace Derek Carr. What does this mean? Quarterback is likely out of the question barring a trade up.
Whoev Las Vegas has under center, it needs some more pass catchers. Tyrell Williams was somewhat of a bust after signing a lucrative contract last year. Let’s not even mention the downright bust that was Antonio Brown. The 6-foot-3 Jefferson has an ability to make the contested catch, something we saw big time during a brilliant 1,500-yard season for the national champion LSU Tigers last season. He’s legit a perfect fit in Gruden’s offense. Don’t think twice about this selection.
Pick 20 / Jacksonville Jaguars (from Rams)
K’Lavon Chaisson / EDGE / LSU
While Jacksonville might love to land a cornerback to replace Jalen Ramsey, pressure off the edge can be even more impactful than a shutdown corner. We saw what the Jaguars got out of Josh Allen in his rookie season and we now add Chaisson to that mix.
The 6-foot-4 edge rusher is the perfect project for NFL coaches. He brings the size, athleticism, intelligence, motor and length to one day become an All-Pro edge rusher. Even as a rookie, he can be a situational player that will be on the opposite side of Allen and create nightmares for opposing teams.
Pick 21 / Philadelphia Eagles
Michael Pittman Jr. / WR / USC
Is there any doubt that the Eagles need help at the receiver position? There are a few different ways they can accomplish that in 2020, and one of them is taking advantage of the absolutely stacked draft. Here, they land USC product Michael Pittman Jr., who is a beast in the red zone and made big plays look easy deep downfield for the Trojans.
He’s not as touted as many of the other top receivers in this year’s draft class, but when it’s all said and done, Pittman may be one of the elites at the next level.
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
Jordan Love / QB / Utah State
It’s becoming a real possibility that Tom Brady leaves New England this offseason. Even if the Patriots can find a short-term solution to replace him, now is the time to land and develop the quarterback of the future.
Love is far from a finished project as a passer. He must improve his ability to read the field, make quick decisions and avoid costly mistakes before he’s ready to start for an NFL team. However, Love’s arm strength is off the charts and he brings the mobility that teams now want at quarterback. The ceiling is quite high for Love and the Patriots’ coaching staff can get the best out of him.
Pick 24 / New Orleans Saints
Patrick Queen / LB / LSU
The Saints could go a number of different ways here, possessing a very strong overall roster. Looking at how the board has played out here in this mock draft, landing LSU linebacker Patrick Queen was a gimme.
A player who came on so strong last year as a junior, Queen has perhaps the best instincts of any linebacker in the 2020 NFL Draft. He reads plays and reacts so quickly that he often blows up screens before they can develop and is a monster against the run. The Saints, having already invested on defense in recent drafts, would be giddy to land this playmaker.
Pick 25 / Minnesota Vikings
Cesar Ruiz / G / Michigan
Our last version of this mock had Minnesota going cornerback in Round 1 for the umpteenth time. Given that Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander are set to become free agents and the Vikes will move on from Xavier Rhodes, that makes sense.
Not so fast. Minny needs to find an upgrade a long the interior line to help Kirk Cousins under center. The team is invested in Cousins. And based on this unit’s performance in the NFC Playoffs, guard is of an utmost need. Ruiz has been a fast riser up the draft boards and could solidify this position for years to come.
Pick 26 / Miami Dolphins (from Texans)
Mekhi Becton / OT / Louisville
This is exactly the scenario the Dolphins planned for a year ago. Draft their franchise quarterback and find a pillar at left tackle to protect him for the next decade.
Becton is ready to start at left tackle in Week 1 and his combination of strength and athleticism can make him an All-Pro caliber tackle. The Dolphins know they need to build this team the right way and Becton is the perfect player to protect Herbert.
Pick 27 / Seattle Seahawks
A.J. Terrell / CB / Clemson
One of the least hyped players who may go in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, Clemson cornerback A.J. Terrell has the game to become one of the NFL’s best in time. And it would be just like the Seahawks to land a guy many people haven’t talked about at all as a first-rounder. Not to mention, Seattle has a big need on the defensive side of the ball after watching opposing offenses have way too much success through the air last year.
Pick 28 / Baltimore Ravens
Laviska Shenault / WR / Colorado
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 Shenault who can make the contested catch. He stands at 6-foot-2 and holds down a 220-pound frame. We could not ask for a better fit next to Brown for Jackson and Co. moving forward.
Pick 29 / Tennessee Titans
Yetur Gross-Matos / EDGE / Penn State
Tennessee’s defense surprised everyone during the playoffs, but the wheels eventually fell off in the AFC Championship Game. Before the Titans can even get a potential shot at the top once more, they must improve their pass rush. Gross-Matos can be used as a rotational player to begin his NFL career. While he’s much more of an athlete than a polished player at this point, that just means his potential is even higher than most picks at this spot.
Pick 30 / Green Bay Packers
K. J. Hamler / WR / Penn State
This may feel like a reach, but the Packers absolutely have to improve the talent pool around Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay.
K.J. Hamler played in a Penn State offense the past couple of years that was much more about the run than the passing game. But when he got his chances to shine for the Nittany Lions, he did just that with some of the most electric playmaking we saw around the nation.
Pick 31 / San Francisco 49ers
Kristian Fulton / CB / LSU
It became clear late in the season and during San Francisco’s Super Bowl run that it needs young talent and depth at cornerback. Ahkello Witherspoon is not the answer. Emmanuel Moseley is unproven. Richard Sherman is getting up there in age.
A likely top-10 pick ahead of the 2019 season, Fulton would be an absolute steal at 31. He has great man coverage skills and can play press, the latter of which is important in Robert Saleh’s defense. This would be a match made in heaven.
Pick 32 / Kansas City Chiefs
D’Andre Swift / RB / Georgia
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 a dynamic back to an offense that propelled Kansas City to the title last season?
This is exactly what the electric Swift 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.