The first wave of NFL free agency is in the books, which means it’s time for another mock draft. While the lack of Pro Days have limited the new information on prospects, free agency has dramatically changed the roster needs for a lot of NFL teams. Based on tape, combine results, and updated team needs, the following players should have a good chance of hearing their name called during the first round. Note that this mock draft does not include trades, since that’s just adding too many uncontrollable variables into the equation.
Post-Free Agency NFL Mock Draft
1. Cincinnati Bengals – Joe Burrow, QB
No changes here. The Cincinnati Bengals still need a quarterback, and Joe Burrow is still the best one available. No need to overthink this.
2. Washington Redskins – Chase Young, EDGE
Do the Washington Redskins pull the plug on Dwayne Haskins after just one season? Drafting Tua Tagovailoa is going to be tempting, but ultimately the Redskins take the best player available. Chase Young is a freak of nature and should develop into a top-five pass rusher at the NFL level. Tua obviously has the higher ceiling from a positional value standpoint, but Young has the safer floor and Haskins still has plenty of time to improve from his rookie season.
3. Detroit Lions – Jeffrey Okudah, CB
The Detroit Lions traded away Darius Slay for essentially nothing, leaving them with nothing but Desmond Trufant in the secondary. Jeffrey Okudah is easily the best cornerback in the draft class and plays one of the most important positions in football. This should be a no-brainer for the Lions.
4. New York Giants – Isaiah Simmons, Defense
Dave Gettlemen can’t possibly draft Derrick Brown after using the franchise tag on Leonard Williams…can he? The Giants have needs all across the roster and could easily invest one of the many offensive tackles on the board. However, considering the relative depth at the position, the Giants go with arguably the most versatile player in the entire NFL Draft. Isaiah Simmons is a freak of nature, and listing him as just a linebacker is insulting to his ability to truly do everything. He’s a versatile chess piece that can fit any defense and should thrive in New York.
5. Miami Dolphins – Tua Tagovailoa, QB
Tua Tagovailoa carries risk, but the upside of a true franchise quarterback makes him worth it. The Alabama product is reportedly on pace for a full recovery from his season-ending injury and should be ready to go for the start of the 2020. He’s not Peyton Manning by any stretch of the imagination, but he should develop into a solid starter.
6. Los Angeles Chargers – Justin Herbert, QB
The Los Angeles Chargers let Philip Rivers walk in free agency and didn’t sign another quarterback in free agency. This means that Tyrod Taylor is set to start in 2020, which means that the Chargers desperately need to bring in another arm. Herbert isn’t a top-10 talent in this class, but the positional importance allows him to soar up the draft board and hopefully be LA’s quarterback of the future.
7. Carolina Panthers – Derrick Brown, DT
The Carolina Panthers are another team with needs all over the roster and not enough resources to address them all. With that in mind, the team takes the best player available, and that player is Derrick Brown. While he doesn’t get after the passer as much as you’d like, Brown is a fantastic run stopper and should be a solid building block for Carolina’s defense.
8. Arizona Cardinals – Tristian Wirfs, OT
The Arizona Cardinals no longer need to address wide receiver after stealing DeAndre Hopkins from the Houston Texans. With the receiver position fully addressed, Arizona changes their focus to the offensive line. There are quite a few great prospects atop the board, but Tristian Wirfs is my personal favorite of the bunch. He blew up during the NFL Combine and should be able to come in and start right away.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars – Andrew Thomas, OT
The Jaguars decided to move forward with Gardner Minshew as their unquestioned starter under center. That’s a good first step, now they just need to make sure he stays upright in 2020. This NFL mock draft gives Jacksonville the blindside protection Minshew needs to build on his promising rookie season.
10. Cleveland Browns – Jedrick Wills, OT
Unless Jack Conklin can play both tackle positions simultaneously, the Browns still need to secure their offensive line. Wills should give the Browns all the support they need to keep Baker Mayfield upright for the duration of the season. With solid protection and an abundance of offensive weapons, Mayfield has no excuse to not succeed in 2020.
11. New York Jets – Jerry Jeudy, WR
With the run of tackles over, the New York Jets take the best wide receiver on the board. The 2020 NFL Draft has tons of wide receiver talent, and this mock gives New York the best of the bunch. Jerry Jeudy should immediately step in and serve as the top option for young quarterback Sam Darnold. The Jets still have a long way to go, but grabbing Jeudy is a good start to surrounding Darnold with enough talent to succeed.
12. Las Vegas Raiders – Ceedee Lamb, WR
The Raiders spent the majority of free agency addressing the defensive side of the ball, which means they should be able to go crazy on offense in the NFL Draft. Darren Waller is a legitimate stud, Hunter Renfrow showed plenty signs of life as a rookie, but this offense needs a true special piece on the outside. Ceedee Lamb has a chance to be that guy thanks to his advanced route running and ability to get open on all three levels of the field. Whether it’s Derek Carr or a rookie, they should be able to succeed with this supporting cast.
13. San Francisco 49ers – Javon Kinlaw, DT
The 49ers earned this pick in exchange for Arik Armstead, and this NFL mock draft has them using said pick to take his replacement. Javon Kinlaw obviously won’t be as good as Armstead right out of the gate, but he’s a great talent that can play the run and the pass at high levels. Essentially, Kinlaw can do 70-80% of what Armstead can do at a fraction of the cost.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Mekhi Becton, OT
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are legitimate Super Bowl contenders with Tom Brady calling the shots under center. This team has the best set of weapons in the league, a ferocious front seven, and a young secondary with plenty of room for growth. Drafting Mekhi Becton should give Brady all the protection he needs to elevate this team into a true Super Bowl contender.
15. Denver Broncos – Henry Ruggs, WR
Drew Lock put together some nice plays during his abbreviated run as a starter in 2019. He may or may not be the quarterback of the future, but the Broncos have to do everything in their power to increase his odds of success. In this case, that means adding the most explosive and dangerous player in the entire draft. Combining Henry Ruggs and his speed with Courtland Sutton and Noah Fant should give Lock all he needs to succeed at the NFL level. If he falls short in 2020, it’s time to look for the next guy.
16. Atlanta Falcons – C.J. Henderson, CB
The Atlanta Falcons always need a fix for their secondary and just lost Desmond Trufant to the Detroit Lions. C.J. Henderson doesn’t quite have that superstar ceiling, but he’s an above-average starter with the ball skills and coverage ability to contribute right out of the gate. The Falcons should have one of the better offenses in the league and should be in playoff contention as long as they can get average play out of their defense. Henderson goes a long way in moving the needle from “bad” to “average”.
17. Dallas Cowboys – Kristian Fulton, CB
With Byron Jones in Miami, the Dallas Cowboys desperately need to upgrade their secondary. Fortunately for the Cowboys, Kristian Fulton is the perfect fit and is a good value for this part of the NFL mock draft. With no other cornerbacks of note on the roster, Fulton should earn a starting job right out of the gate.
18. Miami Dolphins – Josh Jones, OT
The Dolphins got their quarterback with their first pick, now they need to get somebody to keep him upright. Josh Jones is the best tackle left on the board and should immediately improve one of the worst offensive lines in football. Combining him with Ereck Flowers and Ted Karras should give the Dolphins a serviceable offensive line and should put them in the hunt for a wide-open AFC East.
19. Las Vegas Raiders – Jordan Love, QB
The Las Vegas Raiders need to upgrade from Derek Carr, and Jordan Love could be the answer to their problem. Love has all the arm talent in the world and makes some of the most beautiful throws you’ll ever see. That said, he’ll also make some of the most head-scratching decisions of any quarterback in the class. Having him spend a season or two behind an established starter like Carr gives Love the best chance of succeeding down the road.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevon Diggs, CB
The Jacksonville Jaguars use the first of their picks received in the Jalen Ramsey trade to draft his immediate successor. With both Ramsey and A.J. Bouye out of town, the Jaguars need to essentially rebuild their entire defense from the ground up. Diggs is a solid building block that excels at press coverage and knows how to use his size.
21. Philadelphia Eagles – Tee Higgins, WR
The Eagles addressed their cornerback need with Darius Slay, and now they need to address the offensive side of the ball. Tee Higgins is probably the best receiver left on the board, although a case could be made for guys like Justin Jefferson and Laviska Shenault. Carson Wentz carried the entire team last season, and the Eagles need to make his life a little bit easier. Higgins is a perfect fit for what Philadelphia likes to do and should be able to play a supporting role right out of the gate.
22. Minnesota Vikings – Laviska Shenault, WR
The Minnesota Vikings decided that Stefon Diggs was no longer worth the headache, sending him off to Buffalo in exchange for a first-round pick, plus change. The Vikings will use this pick to select the heir to Diggs’ throne in Laviska Shenault. Shenault had a terrible day at the NFL Combine, but most of that was due to an existing injury. Assuming teams don’t overreact to that subpar performance, he should remain a first-round lock.
23. New England Patriots – Xavier McKinney, S
Duron Harmon is gone, and Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung are not getting any younger. New England needs to get younger at just about every position on defense, and McKinney is a perfect chess piece for Bill Belichick. The Alabama product can line up in the box, as a deep safety, and as a slot cornerback. This isn’t the sexy pick, but it rarely is with Bill Belichick.
24. New Orleans Saints – Justin Jefferson, WR
The New Orleans Saints just signed Emmanuel Sanders to a two-year deal, but he’s far from a long-term fix for the position. Justin Jefferson gives the Saints a long-term option across from Michael Thomas and his ability to get open in the short and intermediate part of the field is a perfect match for Drew Brees. It doesn’t hurt that he also happens to be one of the best in the class at hauling in contested catches.
25. Minnesota Vikings – A.J. Epenesa, EDGE
Do you trust the tape or the NFL Combine numbers? The answer to that question will determine how you feel about this selection. Prior to the combine, most has Epenesa going off the board in the 15-20 range. However, after posting some terrible testing numbers, most have him going off the board late in the first, and some even have him falling into the second. The Vikings take the risk here and get one of the better edge rushers in the class at a spot that could easily turn into a huge steal.
26. Miami Dolphins: Grant Delpit, S
With the offense addressed, the Dolphins turn their attention to the defensive side of the ball. Brian Flores comes from the Bill Belichick coaching tree, and Belichick is famous for always having high-caliber play at the safety position. Flores should be no different, and pairing Delpit with Byron Jones and Xavien Howard should give the Dolphins one of the better secondaries in the league.
27. Seattle Seahawks – Austin Jackson, OL
In what’s quickly becoming an annual NFL mock draft tradition, the Seattle Seahawks need to get more protection around Russell Wilson. Bringing in B.J. Finney and Cedric Ogbuehi simply isn’t good enough, so Seattle continues to attack the position with Austin Jackson. Jackson should step in right away and improve an offensive line that ranked 27th in PFF’s overall rankings.
28. Baltimore Ravens – Kenneth Murray, LB
The Ravens spent free agency bolstering up their front seven, and that trend continues with the selection of Kenneth Murray. Murray is more of a traditional stand-up linebacker but has the size and speed to chase down plays at an elite rate. Murray can move sideline-to-sideline with ease to track down ball-carries and, more importantly, can hold his own in coverage. Baltimore already had one of the best defenses in football, and this move should put them over the top.
29. Tennessee Titans – K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE
Harold Landry is starting to come into form, and now the Titans need to find someone to start on the opposite side of the formation. While injuries are something of a concern, Chaisson has a chance to be one of the better pass-rushers in the game. Combining those two should give the Titans the defensive front required to get back to the AFC Championship Game.
30. Green Bay Packers – Denzel Mims, WR
The Green Bay Packers have yet to add a legitimate wide receiver opposite Davante Adams. While they could still sign a guy like Robby Anderson, the Packers add a high-ceiling playmaker in this NFL mock draft. While Mims is something some a raw prospect, his physical tools are through the roof. He reportedly dominated at the Senior Bowl and might have been limited by Baylor’s uninspiring scheme. For the first time in a long time, Aaron Rodgers will finally have two reliable starting receivers.
31. San Francisco 49ers – Trey Adams, OT
Trey Adams probably won’t start right out of the gate, but he won’t need to. Joe Staley is still going strong, but he probably won’t play too much longer. Now entering his age-36 season, the 49ers need to think about life after Staley. Adams gives San Francisco a strong swing tackle in the short term and a potential franchise left tackle down the road.
32. Kansas City Chiefs – A.J. Terrell, CB
The reigning Super Bowl champions have the best offense in football, but the defense could stand to get better. The unit played above the sum of its parts last year, and you can’t bank on that happening again. A.J. Terrell would immediately be the best cornerback on the roster and should help limit opposing passing attacks. Kansas City’s defense doesn’t need to be elite to win another Super Bowl, it just needs to be adequate. Adding Terrell ensures that the defense will be good enough to compete for years to come.
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