It’s that time of the year again, two weeks until the NFL Draft, which is going ahead virtually for the world to watch. There’s no fanfare this year, for obvious reasons, but we could see more viewers than ever, especially with the lack of sport on our TV’s.
Over the past few months, I’ve been grinding away watching all the film in the world, which lead me to produce my first mock draft, and now the second version, which I’m going through today. So without further ado, let’s take it away.
1. Cincinnati Bengals – Joe Burrow – QB – LSU
I have had Quarterback listed as Cincinnati’s primary need all offseason, which is obvious, and with the top pick there are three really good options to choose from. First, there’s Tua Tagovailoa, the most accurate, but carries a not so great medical history and some may say a tad undersized.
Then there’s Justin Herbert, an intriguing prospect and the tallest of the three but some may be put off by his introverted personality. Finally, there’s Joe Burrow, the Heisman Trophy winner and now my Number 1 QB in the class, the only downside is his one good college season. Herbert and Tua have been known for a while now.
Due to the current COVID-19 situation, with teams not being able to complete a physical evaluation of the class in their own buildings, and many players not having a pro day or physical meeting, Burrow is the pick.
NFL Comparison – Russell Wilson
Burrow’s a unique prospect, there’s no one really like him in the NFL, especially with his leadership qualities.
Let’s start with measurements, size-wise he’s not too dissimilar from Andy Dalton, the longtime starting QB of you guessed it, the Bengals. He has an arm the same sort of strength as Ryan Tannehill and the mobility and pocket presence of Russell Wilson.
They’re both incredibly hard workers and are students of the game, good qualities to have in your franchise quarterback. That’s not all, Burrow’s main strength is his leadership, his teammates love him, just like Russell and his Hawks offense.
2. Washington Redskins – Chase Young – EDGE – Ohio State
Rumour has it Dan Snyder loves Young and doesn’t want to trade out of the Number 2 pick. He’s a generational talent that’s too good to pass on in this new Redskins regime.
The Skins have a quality front seven, meaning Young will join the likes of Matt Ioannidis, Da’Ron Payne, Ryan Kerrigan, and Montez Sweat in trying to get to the NFC East QB’s.
NFL Comparison – Julius Peppers, Bosa Brothers
I’ve watched more film, and I’m seeing the same comparisons as the first mock draft. Young and Peppers have similar skill sets, and with JP being a scheme fit in the Ron Rivera style defense, Chase Young seems too good to pass on.
What Young lacks in length on Peppers, he makes up in speed, he’s faster and just as powerful than Peppers ever was and will be double teamed in the NFL for a long, long time.
The Ohio State Buckeye will follow in the footsteps of the Bosa brothers by being another edge rusher to come out of the program and be selected in the top 10 of the draft.
Like Joey and Nick, Chase is exceptional with his hands and is used to shedding off blocks and double teams to reach the end goal, the pocket, and he does that really quickly, Young’s speed is unreal.
He has by far the best motor of any prospect in the class and has the explosiveness out the blocks to get past a good O-line in seconds, watch the Clemson tape, then you’ll understand. Best player in the draft, generational talent.
3. Detroit Lions trade pick to Los Angeles Chargers
DET gets picks 6, 37 in 2020 Draft, Chargers 2nd rounder in 2021
LAC gets picks 3, 67 in 2020 Draft.
Los Angeles Chargers – Justin Herbert – QB – Oregon
The Dolphins, the Chargers’ main competitor for a quarterback, seem genuinely content with drafting either Tua or Herbert and may very well sit at number 5, letting the draft come to them.
Just like in my last mock one of these teams is going to trade up to get their guy it’s just the matter of who. I go with the Chargers again, as they seem more desperate.
NFL Comparison – Carson Wentz
I really like Herbert, he’s my 3rd QB in my Top 50 players, but it’s a very good class, something we couldn’t say in the lead up to last year, where he would have certainly been a top 5 pick. The real question is, was it the right decision to stay in college?
Well yes, 2019 was his best college season by far and looks like a better prospect one-year later. Herbert completed 67% of his passes in 2019, for 3471 yards, 32 TD’s and 6 INT’s. He also lead Oregon to victory in the Rose Bowl, he was lacking that big game win before.
The Wentz comparison may surprise you, but if you go back and watch the film they move incredibly similarly both in and out of the pocket and have the intelligence required to work through progressions and not panic when the first read is covered.
He has great awareness and knows exactly when to scramble for a few extra yards. He also has height on the Eagles signal-caller, at 6 feet and 6 inches, he has the size that many evaluators like in their quarterback.
The only criticism with Herbert is off the field, the former Oregon Duck’s attitude has raised questions. Teams believe he is quiet and introverted, which aren’t great qualities for the biggest leaders in sports, those at the Quarterback position.
Many believe he lacks the killer instinct that the likes of Tom Brady, Russell Wilson and indeed Carson Wentz have.
4. New York Giants trade pick to Jacksonville Jaguars
NYG gets picks 9, 41 and 116 of 2020 NFL Draft
JAX gets pick 4 of 2020 NFL Draft
Jacksonville Jaguars – Jeff Okudah – CB – Ohio State
This is a very interesting one, but it could be very smart for the Giants with the way the draft is going. Dave Gettleman has never traded down in his time as GM, but a new regime may change that.
There are four premier offensive tackles, the position the Giants so desperately need, and the next three teams are highly unlikely to go for an offensive tackle. If NYG trades back to 9 they can grab one of the top guys at the position and grab an extra pick in days 2 and 3.
Jacksonville have lost their 2 starting DB’s and failed to come to terms with Darqueze Dennard in free agency, so urgently need to address the position in this draft. A good defense starts with a good secondary, and that’s the only area they’re truly lacking in, on that side of the ball.
NFL Comparison – Marshon Lattimore and Byron Jones
My number 2 overall player in this entire draft, and by far the best corner in the class. I see similarities to Byron Jones as his feet are incredibly light, whilst also having the freakish athletic ability, elite-level tackling, and great vision.
Lattimore is the most similar player and it’s not just because they come from the same school. The two of them have almost identical measurables and intangibles and track the ball well downfield, with great recoverability and height.
They run the route with the receiver and are excellent against the speed guys that some corners struggle against.
5. Miami Dolphins – Tua Tagovailoa – QB – Alabama
There’s uncertainty around Tua, which is no surprise when he’s coming off a major hip injury. We could see him fall even more and see the Dolphins wait another year, it’s a huge possibility.
I do see them taking him though, he’s the 2nd best QB in the class when healthy. Letting him sit behind Ryan Fitzpatrick, the perfect mentor for Mr. Tagovailoa is a good idea in Year 1.
There’s been the buzz around the NFL circles of the Fins interest in Tua for two years now, and the Dolphins get the QB they’ve been rumoured to have coveted since his walk-on National Championship win back in early 2018.
Brian Flores is a hard-working guy, and I like the GM Chris Grier. All this tank for Tua nonsense was put aside when they started to pick up wins, finishing 4-4 in the second half of the season.
NFL Comparison – Drew Brees
When Drew Brees’s surgically repaired shoulder was too much of a risk to put a deal on the dotted line the Dolphins passed on a future Hall of Famer, surely they don’t do it again.
With the two of them being considered undersized, they have to bank on their ball placement and zip to play at the highest level. Luckily for Tua, he’s one of the most accurate passers college football has ever seen and thrives in the pocket.
Speaking of the pocket, Tagovailoa has the best pocket presence in the class and doesn’t hesitate at all when the first read is covered, much like Brees. Some teams may not like the fact he’s left-handed as it will take time for their receivers to adjust, so maybe Miami is a perfect landing spot.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is coming off a decent year and will be the 2020 starter for the Fins, giving Tua a whole year to recover from his injury and get the likes of DeVante Parker acclimatised.
6. Detroit Lions (Chargers) – Isaiah Simmons – LB – Clemson
There are only two players I can see the Lions coming out of the first round with, Jeff Okudah, the best corner in the class, or Isaiah Simmons, my number 3 overall player in this draft. And with Okudah off the board, Simmons is the pick.
An extra second and Isaiah Simmons is great value. They can take a good corner such as Jeff Gladney with that pick. Simmons is a scheme fit and a Patriot type player, Matt Patricia will love his versatility. He can cover, he’s a great open-field tackler and is not only physical, he’s super fast
NFL Comparison – Lavonte David
Simmons is hands down the best pass coverage linebacker in the draft and there’s a huge drop off after him, but that’s not just it, he’s also an elite run stopper and has the size to get physical.
He and David are very similar players, Simmons is just taller, and teams won’t see that as a bad thing either, it’s always good to have length in your defense. Not only is Simmons tremendous in the run game being a sideline to sideline backer, but he’s also, as stated the best pass cover linebacker in the class.
There’s no either-or with him such as the likes of Raekwon McMillan, who’s an amazing run stopper but isn’t so great in the passing game. He possesses the rare speed and athleticism to be an elite 3 down linebacker, meaning he’s a value pick for all teams, much like Lavonte for the Bucs.
7. Carolina Panthers – Derrick Brown – DT – Auburn
The exact same pick as my first mock and for the exact same reasons, all rebuilds start by building the trenches. Take the Christian Wilkins pick for Miami last year, and Quenton Nelson to Indianapolis the year before.
Carolina is in the process of tearing it up and starting afresh under Matt Rhule. They could be in the QB market here but there’s a bit of a drop off to next couple guys as it’s too early to take Jordan Love, Jacob Eason or Jalen Hurts.
They’re incredibly thin on the defensive line with Efe Obada and Kawann Short being the only players of note, having Brown in there makes it an instantly deep group. The Panthers could double up later in the draft as it’s a deep defensive tackle class.
NFL Comparison – Danny Shelton
You could also compare Brown to Marcell Dareus, but Brown lacks in length compared to the former Buffalo Bill. I see Danny Shelton in the Auburn man, as the two of them can take over a game with the sheer amount of power they possess and their ability to shut down the run game and the inside of the field.
From watching his tape I like the way Derrick controls the one-on-one blocks he’s presented with, and how often he dominates when double-teamed. But it’s his explosiveness that’s the best part of his game.
He can get to the backfield within seconds stopping the rushing attack in the process, there’s no doubt he’s the best run-stopping defensive tackle in this draft. If Brown had come out last year, in an even stronger DT class I’d have him third.
It may have been a smart decision to stay at Auburn an extra year and be the top player at the position, there was actually a different reason for returning for his senior year though.
Brown wanted to finish his Business degree after his Dad always told him to finish whatever he started and that education was happening, and not an option.
8. Arizona Cardinals – Jedrick Wills Jr – OT – Alabama
Before free agency the pick would have been easy, I’d have Arizona drafting a receiver, probably Jerry Jeudy or Henry Ruggs out of Alabama to get Kyler Murray an extra weapon. Then the DeAndre Hopkins trade happened and K1 got the best receiver in the NFL.
The franchise looks in a much better place than it did 12 months ago, and will take another Crimson Tide prospect, only instead of Jeudy or Ruggs it’s their best lineman. It’s Jedrick Wills, the man who was in charge of protecting Tua Tagovailoa’s blindside
NFL Comparison – Brian Bulaga
Arizona could have signed Bulaga this week, but he ended up at the Los Angeles Chargers, who have an incredibly poor O-Line and are now without Russell Okung. He’s more of a right tackle, but their athleticism and size is very similar, as well as their blocking technique.
Wills will be able to play either side in the NFL, with him playing over on the right at Bama, protecting Tua’s blindside. He’s another great lineman to come out of Nick Saban’s coaching set-up and is terrific in the run game.
He’s going to need to work on picking up blitzes as he can be late to see them off the edge, but that could be down to his poor hand placement when pressured. Overall a very good run blocker, working with nastiness and power. O-Lineman come at a premium, Arizona draft one of the best in the class.
9. New York Giants (Jaguars) – Mekhi Becton – OT – Louisville
Last time out I had the Giants taking Becton at pick 4 which I feel is the most Dave Gettleman pick out of all the tackles, due to his size. No team in the top 6 or 7 picks is likely to take an OT as they have more glaring needs.
Their other big need would be an edge rusher, but Chase Young is off the board and it is too early to take the likes of K’Lavon Chaisson. They get the same guy they probably would have picked at 4. That makes the Louisville Cardinal the pick, he’s a giant of a man and a perfect fit, no pun intended.
NFL Comparison – Trent Brown
Becton is a raw prospect, but has monster-like athletic prowess and has the potential to be a quicker and better version of the Raiders tackle. Brown is a top 5 tackle in the league, and Becton has a greater upside, he could be an all-pro talent.
Speaking about upside, he’s got the biggest upside of all tackles in the class, the talent is there. For his size, Becton is surprisingly light and quick with his movement firing out of his stance very fast ready to protect his quarterback.
He’s also great in space, easily being able to hit blocks. The former Louisville Cardinal’s real strength is in the run game however, he’ll create extra space for Saquon Barkley. Becton generates movement in the run game, whilst overwhelming and manipulating the opposing defense.
His size could provide some issues however, he’s bigger than Brown and may even be too big for the NFL. Becton certainly has the biggest upside of the offensive tackle class, and knowing Gettleman he’s the developmental piece the Giants may like.
10. Cleveland Browns trade pick to Miami Dolphins
CLE gets picks 18, 56, 70 in 2020 Draft
MIA gets picks 10, 97, 115 in 2020 Draft
Miami Dolphins – Tristan Wirfs – OT – Iowa
Miami needs to work on the O-Line and need to address it in this very draft. Due to how the draft order was decided, there’s not going to be a top level tackle on the board at 18 or in fact 26.
A trade up is necessary if they are to protect Ryan Fitzpatrick, and then later on Tua Tagovailoa. Wirfs had an outstanding combine, the best of the class, earning the chance to be picked in the top 10 of the draft.
Wirfs may be asked to play at guard or tackle, which is why he’s the pick over Andrew Thomas. The Dolphins love to have versatile offensive linemen such as Jesse Davis, Ted Karras and Ereck Flowers who can all play in multiple positions. He’s got all-pro potential at guard.
NFL Comparison – Lane Johnson
He’s coming out of college as a tackle, so I’m going to evaluate Wirfs in that position. Starting off with the measurables, he’s around an inch smaller than Lane Johnson, with there only being a couple of pounds difference too, he’s already a natural comparison.
But it’s not just the size, they’ve got incredibly quick feet and were both gifted athletes coming out of Oklahoma and Iowa respectively. Johnson had one weakness coming out of college though, the lack of strength in the upper body to pick up blocks in the run game.
He’s one of the best in the league at that now, but he had to work on it. Wirfs on the other hand is rather good at that, an area that the Dolphins need very much. After all, Ryan Fitzpatrick was their leading rusher last year. Wirfs should be able to slot in right away.