The second marquee event of the NFL pre-draft process came to a close in Indianapolis Sunday night and the NFL Draft picture is becoming clearer.
The NFL Combine is one of the biggest factors in where a player is drafted and it, once again, put the stock of multiple prospects in flux. A number on big names declined to participate but a number of the ones that did showed out. The players dropped blazing-fast 40s, springloaded jumps, and showed some world-class talent on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium. There were many winners and losers at the combine but perhaps the thing that was most evident this year was the level of true athleticism in this year’s class. This year’s class is one of the most freaky in recent memory and it showed on the field this past weekend.
With the NFL Combine concluded, here is a look ahead to who could be selected in the first round of the upcoming NFL Draft.
NFL Mock Draft 2020: Post-Combine
1. Cincinnati Bengals – Joe Burrow (LSU) – Quarterback
Burrow not participating at the Combine really didn’t matter, but the more intriguing scenario of him not wanting to go the Bengals should also be downplayed. He has never been a sought after player, basically going all the way back to high school, and has not publically commented on the matter in a way that would make you think he’d refuse to go to Cincinnati if picked first-overall. Finding a perfect place has never been easy for Burrow so it’s hard to imagine he turns down the Bengals. The quarterback room at Ohio State was crowded and LSU hasn’t produced a viable NFL-caliber starting quarterback debatably since Bert Jones. Until Burrow personally says something, he’s locked to Cincinnati.
2. Washington Redskins – Chase Young (Ohio State) – Edge
When it comes to scouting Young, finding flaws in his game is simply nitpicking. His biggest knock was that he did not record a sack over his last three games but if you watch the Clemson game tape, he got his hands on Trevor Lawerence a number of times. Young did not participate in the Combine but if Washington isn’t going with a quarterback, they need to take the best player in the draft. He is a player that should lead their defense for the next decade and they can’t take the risk on him ending up on the division-rival New York Giants.
3. Detroit Lions – Isaiah Simmons (Clemson) – Linebacker/Safety
If you watched Simmons fly all over the field for Clemson in 2019, it was no surprise that he tested so well at the Combine. Simmons was one of the most outstanding players of the weekend, placing top-three in the 40-yard dash, broad jump and vertical jump amongst linebackers. Running a 4.39 at 6’4″ 238 pounds is insane. Lions general manager Bob Quinn has made it clear they are not going to move Matthew Stafford and Simmons is maybe the most dynamic three-down defensive player in the draft. Taking the best player available should be the strategy for Detroit.
4. New York Giants – Jedrick Wills Jr. (Alabama) – Offensive Tackle
The 2020 offensive tackle class is absolutely loaded but Wills stood out as one of the most athletic at the Combine. Wills agility and power were both on display — potentially cemmenting him as the OT1 going into the draft. He ran the eighth-fastest 40 (5.05s) amongst offensive lineman and popped the pad against the trainer in one of the on-field drills. The Giants need a lot of everything but getting a player like Wills that could play both sides of the line and keep their young quarterback clean is integral to creating a contender.
5. Miami Dolphins – Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama) – Quarterback
There’s a good chance that the Dolphins are going to have to trade up for Tagovailoa but with no trades in this mock draft, he lands in Miami at fifth-overall. While Tagovailoa didn’t participate in the workouts, the biggest thing for the Bama quarterback were the positive reviews he got when undergoing physicals at the Combine. “Tagovailoa received overwhelmingly positive reports on his dislocated hip from teams who examined him” tweeted NFL Network insider Ian Rapaport. The MRIs on his hip also came back clean. The Dolphins need to find their franchise quarterback in the 2020 draft.
6. Los Angeles Chargers – Justin Herbert (Oregon) – Quarterback
If Herbert does manage to fall all the way to six, the Chargers are likely a lock to take him. Herbert did himself another favor in the draft-process by standing out as probably the most impressive quarterback to participate in the Combine. He threw a very clean deep ball and finished third amongst quarterbacks in the 40-yard dash (4.69s). Add this to his Senior Bowl MVP and Herbert looks like a lock to be QB3 in April. The Chargers need to find quarterback help in some facet this off-season and Herbert displays all the traits you like the see in a franchise quarterback.
7. Carolina Panthers – Jeffrey Okudah (Ohio State) – Cornerback
Okudah didn’t have a bad weekend but his injury at the Combine allowed a number of other players to get ahead of him in the draft. After running a 4.48s 40, he hit his head falling to the ground while tracking a ball in the on-field drills. Luckily, the injury isn’t something to worry about going forward and he still showed off the skills that will make him the first corner off the board in April. Carolina’s secondary is very thin with James Bradberry and Tre Boston both hitting free agency and Okudah could form a great pairing with Donte Jackson for a long time.
8. Arizona Cardinals – Derrick Brown (Auburn) – Defensive Tackle
While there is hype building towards CeeDee Lamb being reunited with Kyler Murray, taking another receiver this early doesn’t make much sense for the Cardinals. They selected three alone in last year’s draft and Christian Kirk has been solid when he’s been healthy. Brown is maybe one of the top-five most talented players in the entire draft. He’s an absolute freak athlete for a man of his size and his combine showing only furthered that fact. Arizona finished dead last in total defense last season and getting the best defensive player on the board at number-eight couldn’t hurt.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars – Jerry Jeudy (Alabama) – Wide Receiver
The Jaguars quarterbacks did a good job with the receivers they were given in 2019 but they are badly in need of a real number-one option. Jeudy is the best receiver in this class and is one of the smoothest route running prospects of the last decade. He can do everything you want in a number-one receiver and showed his ability at the Combine. Jeudy looked smooth in the toe tap, during the on-field drills and had a solid 4.45 40 time. Pairing Jeudy with DJ Chark could give the Jaguars one of the best young receiving duos in football.
10. Cleveland Browns – Tristan Wirfs (Iowa) – Offensive Tackle
Greg Robinson was awful in 2019 and Wirfs is looking like the most athletic tackle in the draft. His calling card has been his nimble feet but few analysts expected him to run all the way down in the mid 4.8s (4.86s official). This was proceeding Wirfs finishing first in both the broad and vertical jumps. Though Wirfs did not play the left side in college, the Browns need tackles on either side.
11. New York Jets – CeeDee Lamb (Oklahoma) – Wide Receiver
The Jets were mightly impressed with both Tristain Wirfs and Mekhi Becton‘s 40s but getting Lamb as late as 11th-overall is great. They can also address parts of the offensive line in free agency. Lamb isn’t the Combine warrior-type but he still looked like a top-10 player in the on-field drills. He made the craziest catch of the weekend in the toe-tap and had maybe the cleanest gauntlet of any player at the combine. Sam Darnold needs a real number-one receiver.
12. Las Vegas Raiders – Henry Ruggs III (Alabama) – Wide Receiver
Ruggs moving up boards after running a 4.27 at the combine is only natural. He then recorded the all-time highest vertical jump (42.0 inches) of any player with sub 4.3 speed. NFL teams love speed — just ask John Ross. The Raiders need more quality at the receiver position and Ruggs would be a player that Jon Gruden would love to get the ball to. He has good hands and his blazing speed would add a threat over the top that the Raiders could badly use. Ruggs has the ability to take the ball to the end zone every time he gets it –whether its 50 yards downfield or five yards behind the line of scrimmage.
13. Indianapolis Colts – Andrew Thomas (Georgia) – Offensive Tackle
While the Colts already have one of the best offensive lines in all of football, an Anthony Castonzo-sized hole would be a big challenge to fill. He’s been the biggest leader on the line basically since he was drafted and would create a lot of questions about the blindside security of whoever is playing quarterback for them in 2020. With some of the other high-end tackles stealing the show at the Combine, the most refined tackle in the class falls to the Colts. Thomas started 41 straight games for Georgia and could start day-one on the left side for the Colts if they choose to keep Braden Smith on the right.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Javon Kinlaw (South Carolina) – Defensive Tackle
It sounds like the Bucs are going to place the franchise tag on Shaquil Barrett and adding Kinlaw to the pass rush would make Tampa’s defensive line very scary. Kinlaw didn’t participate at the Combine but nailed the interview process according to a number of reports. His backstory of growing up homeless is incredibly inspiring and could help him translate into a Gerald McCoy-like leader in the future. If last year’s draft wasn’t so deep at defensive interior, Kinlaw would be a top-10 selection in 2020.
15. Denver Broncos – Grant Delpit (LSU) – Safety
Delpit’s stock seems to be slipping by the day but he’s still the best safety in the class and reigning Thorpe Award winner. He has crazy range from the safety position and dissects plays with great anticipation. All he has to do is get better at finishing tackles. Delpit could replace Justin Simmons if he signs elsewhere in free agency and start day-one for the Broncos. If he is able to replicate the form he had in 2018 in the NFL, Delpit’s ceiling is one of the highest of any player in the entire draft.
16. Atlanta Falcons – A.J. Epenesa (Iowa) – Defensive End
Epenesa had a good on-field Combine but his measurables were flat-out bad. For someone who wins the way Epenesa does, his 17 reps on the bench press (worst amongst edge rushers) were shocking. He’s still big enough to play the edge in the NFL but his rank as EDGE2 in the draft is looking shakier after the weekend. Atlanta needs pass rushers that can win 1-on-1 and Epenesa has proven over his college career that he’s very good at that.
17. Dallas Cowboys – Xavier McKinney (Alabama) – Safety
The Cowboys are going to lose Byron Jones in free agency and already needed to upgrade the secondary. McKinney wasn’t able to fully participate due to suffering a leg cramp at the Combine but still seems to be locked in as a top-two safety in the draft. He ran a 4.63 and tested well enough in the drills he took part in for a player known for his versatility. Dallas could use McKinney in both the slot and in the box as a rookie.
18. Miami Dolphins (via Pittsburgh Steelers) – Josh Jones (Houston) – Offensive Tackle
The Dolphins need a whole lot of everything but protecting their franchise quarterback has to be off-season priority number-one behind finding that quarterback himself. Jones had himself a decent Combine but in a class so flushed with good tackles, he failed to stand out. His play at Houston still says he’s a project but has a lot of room to become an elite left tackle in the NFL.
19. Las Vegas Raiders (via Chicago Bears) – C.J. Henderson (Florida) – Cornerback
Trayvon Mullen and Johnathan Abram made a solid impact as Oakland moved out of the bottom-10 in total defense this past season but adding Henderson could give the Raiders a very promising young secondary in 2020 and beyond. Henderson had one of the best Combines of any player in attendance. He recorded a 4.39s 40 (tied for second amongst corners) and showed great fluidity in all of the on-field drills. Henderson’s combine might have just secured his spot as a top-20 player in the draft.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Los Angeles Rams) – K’Lavon Chaisson (LSU) – Outside Linebacker
This might seem like an odd fit but with Yannick Ngakoue making it known he doesn’t want to remain in Jacksonville, the Jaguars could add another player to put pressure on the quarterback. The Jaguars are also short on linebackers since Telvin Smith decided to step away from football. Chaisson demonstrated incredible versatility at LSU and Doug Marrone could deploy him in a number of spots. He has the ability to both drop in coverage and rush the passer from multiple positions.
21. Philadelphia Eagles – Kristian Fulton (LSU) – Cornerback
While Fulton isn’t the kind of corner that jumps off the screen at most people, he’s someone who quietly goes about his business and shuts down good receivers. His Combine was never going to be what made him so appealing. Fulton has the ball skills, patience, and anticipation that NFL defensive coordinators look for in a shutdown corner. The Eagles badly need reinforcements in the secondary and need to take at least a couple of shots at corner in the draft.
22. Buffalo Bills – Laviska Shenault Jr. (Colorado) – Wide Reciever
For a receiver of Shenault’s size, 6’1″ 227 lbs, it’s rare that a player can shake the way he does. He’s the best open-field receiver in this draft class and would provide the Bills with a player that can make others miss and go up and snag the ball over defender’s heads. Shenault’s Combine didn’t go the way most expected but he still managed to run a solid 4.58 40-yard dash and tied for seventh in the bench press. He was testing through a core muscle injury and will require surgery — keeping him out of action for at least four weeks. Buffalo’s receiving corps is supremely lacking in size and Shenault brings that, plus a lot of elusiveness.
23. New England Patriots – Mekhi Becton (Louisville) – Offensive Tackle
Becton’s draft stock fluctuates depending on who you talk to, but a man that stands 6’7″, weighs 364 lbs, and runs a 5.1 40 (fourth amongst offensive lineman) is freaky. He weighed in as the heaviest of any the offensive lineman. The Patriots offensive line was the subject of a lot of criticism in 2019 and the draft is the best way to reinforce the unit with a limited free agent class. You can’t teach size and though it might take Becton a while to develop into a serviceable starting NFL tackle behind a veteran, his ceiling is incredibly high. If Bill Belichick is willing to be patient with a prospect this year, Becton could be a stud down the line.
24. New Orleans Saints – Jalen Reagor (TCU) – Wide Receiver
The longer the draft process goes on, the more this pick seems like a perfect match. Drew Brees is coming back to the Saints and at 41 years old, he needs another good target outside of Michael Thomas. Reagor didn’t have himself a great Combine but still ran a 4.47 40 and finished second amongst receivers in both the vertical and broad jumps. He could be the deep threat complimentary to Thomas the Saints have been fishing for over the last few seasons. Don’t let his dropoff in production last season scare you, Reagor has never had a quarterback close to the quality of Brees.
25. Minnesota Vikings – Trevon Diggs (Alabama) – Cornerback
Stefon Diggs is united with his brother as the Vikings suddenly have a pressing need at corner. With the cliff Xavier Rhodes hit and a number of other pieces in the secondary set to hit free agency, Minnesota needs reinforcements and quick. Diggs is the kind of corner that NFL coaches love. He has the long frame and ball skills to hang with number-one receivers at the next level and looked good in the on-field drills at the combine. The Vikings have already taken a couple of swings at corner over the past five years but they still need to keep trying to find consistent contributors.
26. Miami Dolphins (via Houston Texans) – Tee Higgins (Clemson) – Wide Receiver
While Higgins could be considered the WR3 in this years draft, the insane athleticism of some of the other receivers and his absence at the Combine pushes him down to the Dolphins. Miami gets a steal here with a player that will make life very easy for whichever quarterback they decide to go pick in the top half of the draft. Coming in at 6’4″ and 216 pounds, Higgins is a jump-ball/back-shoulder specialist who can win downfield as well as in the red zone. The Dolphins need to draft good players and the value with Higgins doesn’t get much better.
27. Seattle Seahawks – Yetur Gross-Matos (Penn State) – Edge
The Seahawks have both of their starting defensive ends set to hit free agency in a few weeks and though they have L.J. Collier waiting in the wings, they likely need another edge defender if they want to have any pass rush next season. Gross-Matos and his long frame (tied for the longest arms of any defensive lineman) could make a big impact on Seattle’s defensive line, not only in his first year but one of two years down the road. He’s ferocious with his hands and has explosive power in his bull rush.
28. Baltimore Ravens – Kenneth Murray (Oklahoma) – Interior Linebacker
Whether the Ravens decide to bring back Matt Judon or not, it looks like the Ravens are going to try to address the pass rush in free agency more so than interior linebacker. Murray showed everyone what many assumed already at the Combine; he’s fast. The former-Sooner ran a 4.52 40 and showed off his hops with a 38″ vertical jump. If he hadn’t pulled up with a hamstring injury during his second attempt at the 40, he likely would’ve dominated the on-field drills as well. Both Patrick Onwuasor and Josh Bynes are set to hit the open market and the Ravens’ linebacking corps badly needs another quality starter going into next season.
29. Tennessee Titans – Curtis Weaver (Boise State) – Outside Linebacker
For a guy who some people believe carries ‘bad weight’, Weaver showed a lot of people he’s more athletic than first thought at the combine. His three-cone time of 7.0s was tied for sixth and his 4.27s 20-yard shuttle time ranked seventh amongst all linebackers and defensive lineman. This is all on top off of the burst he demonstrated at Boise State. The Titans need someone to fill Cameron Wake‘s role and Weaver’s production in college was some of the most impressive amongst any player in the entire draft class.
30. Green Bay Packers – Brandon Aiyuk (Arizona State) – Wide Reciever
The general consensus coming out of NFL circles right now is that Aiyuk is seen as a first-round talent. Aiyuk’s jumping ability was on display at the Combine, as he finished in the top-six in both the broad and vertical jump. Green Bay needs to find receiving help for Aaron Rodgers that can pick up yards after the catch. As a bonus, Aiyuk could the help the Packers need in the return game. Judging by the way he has shown improvement every year since being in JUCO, Aiyuk could be special if he hits his ceiling.
31. San Fransisco 49ers – Antoine Winfield Jr. (Minnesota) – Safety
Winfield may not have been a lot of first-round draft radars at the beginning of the draft process but he showed why he should be at the Combine. The former-Golden Gopher annoucned himself by running a 4.45s 40-yard dash before looking like the most fluid safety in attendance during the on-field drills. The 49ers secondary turned around in a big way in 2019 but have Jimmie Ward set to hit the open market with hopes of a big pay day. Winfield led the Big Ten in interceptions (seven) and could bring more ball-hawking ability to a team that finished as the league’s best passing defense.
32. Kansas City Chiefs – Jaylon Johnson (Utah) – Cornerback
The Chiefs have three corners set to hit free agency in 2020 and need to find more secondary help in the draft. Johnson was one of the best looking corners during the on-field workouts at the Combine. He had very few bad games his junior season and has the intangibles to be a very good zone-corner in Steve Spagnuola‘s defense. Kansas City was ranked 17th in total defense in 2019 and cannot solely rely on Patrick Mahomes‘ magic to keep them competitive year-in and year-out.