Coming out of the NFL’s conference championship weekend, the draft order for Round 1 is set with the exception of the Chiefs and the 49ers, who will play on Feb. 2 for the Lombardi Trophy.
While that provides some additional clarity, keep in mind that much can and will change from a January mock draft to April’s final version. Teams will (or won’t) address pressing needs on their rosters, prospects will improve their draft stock with strong performance in this week’s Senior Bowl and more.
For now, here’s an updated look at how the first round of the 2020 NFL draft could play out:
1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
Not only is there no change here from my last mock draft, it will likely be a wire-to-wire Burrow-to-Cincinnati selection at the top of this mock through April. Following his historic season, Burrow returns to his home state to become the Bengals franchise quarterback as the club can move on from Andy Dalton without any cap hit this offseason.
Winning the Heisman Trophy in a landslide and leading LSU to a national championship, Broadway Jeaux threw 60 touchdowns—and rushed for five more—while throwing just six interceptions. Facing seven top-10 opponents throughout the season, he was at his best in his toughest matchups yet maintained remarkable consistency all season. Poised under pressure and accurate to all levels of the field, Burrow eclipsed the 70% completion mark every week except in the championship game, where he accounted for 521 total yards, six touchdowns and no turnovers.
2. Washington Redskins: Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
The top prospect on my NFL draft big board, Young is a virtual lock to be the first non-QB selected in 2020. With former teammate Nick Bosa sidelined down the stretch in 2018, Young stepped up to finish his true sophomore campaign with 10.5 sacks. Nearly impossible to block this past season, Ohio State’s explosive edge rusher led all of college football with a school-record 16.5 sacks and seven forced fumbles.
3. Detroit Lions: Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
Positioned well to move back to acquire more draft capital, the Lions could potentially auction off this slot to the Dolphins to secure Tua Tagovailoa’s services or to a QB-needy team that wants to get in front of Miami. If they hold steady here, this pick could come down to Auburn’s Derrick Brown or Okudah, who led the Buckeyes with three interceptions and passes defended in 2019. The Lions are one of three defenses to record a league-low seven interceptions in 2019, and Darius Slay is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after the ’20 season. Okudah has the size (6′ 1″, 200 pounds), fluidity and athleticism to develop into a lockdown corner.
4. New York Giants: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
Right tackle Mike Remmers is about to be a free agent, and left tackle Nate Solder hasn’t lived up to the free-agent deal that he signed in 2018. A two-year starter at right tackle for Alabama, Wills is a dominant run blocker who also improved significantly as a pass blocker in 2019.
5. Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
Armed with three first-round picks and six in the top 70, the Dolphins are stocked with ammunition to move up if they feel it’s necessary to land Tagovailoa. Clearly, there are durability concerns—not only because of the hip injury that ended his collegiate career (even though early reports have been positive), but he’s had ankle surgeries in each of the past two seasons as well. When healthy, however, Tua has elite anticipation, accuracy and touch on all levels of the field, and he’s expected to throw for teams prior to the draft.
6. Los Angeles Chargers: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
Slated to become a free agent in March, it’s possible that Philip Rivers has thrown his last pass as a Charger. Even if he returns, the Chargers will look to find a long-term replacement for the declining 16-year veteran. While the consistency isn’t there for Herbert, who has started the past four seasons for the Ducks, he has all of the tools—prototypical frame, arm strength, mobility and intelligence—to entice a team to take a chance on him in the top 10.
7. Carolina Panthers: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
The Panthers allowed a league-worst 5.2 yards per carry and 31 rushing touchdowns in 2019. While the (soon-to-be) 31-year-old Kawann Short landed on IR after Week 2, Gerald McCoy will be a free agent in March and Dontari Poe could be a cap casualty. Surprising many by returning to school in 2019, Brown is dominant against the run and moves well for his size.
8. Arizona Cardinals: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
One of seven teams to allow at least 50 sacks last season, the Cardinals could opt for one of the top offensive tackles here. Even though Arizona invested three picks at wide receiver in last year’s draft, and Larry Fitzgerald decided to return for his age-37 season, Lamb has the ability to be a true No. 1 receiver, which allows Christian Kirk to move into a complementary No. 2 role. While he doesn’t possess elite speed, Lamb is a precise route runner and possesses enough speed to create separation to go along with his outstanding hands and body control as he reunites with his former quarterback in Kyler Murray.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
There are a number of spots above this where Simmons will get a long look by front offices—Giants, Panthers and Cardinals, etc. The converted safety won the Butkus Award, given to the nation’s top linebacker, but Simmons is the most versatile prospect in this year’s draft class. The ultimate defensive chess piece, Simmons lined up for more than 100 snaps each at defensive line, box linebacker, slot corner and free safety, as PFF notes, and had 104 tackles, 8.0 sacks, three interceptions and two forced fumbles in 2019.
10. Cleveland Browns: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
Numerous factors led to the Browns falling short of their hype-filled preseason expectations including poor offensive line play. Cleveland could be in the market to upgrade both tackle spots. Left tackle Greg Robinson was briefly benched midseason and is again a free agent while right tackle Chris Hubbard graded out as PFF’s 76-best offensive tackle (out of 81 qualifiers) last season. A three-year starter at Georgia, Thomas has experience at both left tackle (2018 and ’19) and right tackle (’17).
11. New York Jets: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
The Jets ranked in the bottom three in Football Outsiders offensive line rankings in both run blocking (31) and pass blocking (30) in 2019. While giving third-year quarterback Sam Darnold a dynamic weapon like Jerry Jeudy would make sense, I expect Joe Douglas to invest in the team’s offensive line if one of the top three offensive tackles are still on the board. Topping Bruce Feldman’s “Freaks List” in 2019, Wirfs would be an immediate upgrade at right tackle.
12. Las Vegas Raiders: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
Darren Waller had a breakout season (90/1,145/3) and the Raiders have a featured back in Jeudy’s former teammate Josh Jacobs. Trading for Antonio Brown turned out to be a failed experiment, but Mike Mayock, Jon Gruden & Co. have an opportunity to add an alpha wide receiver without Brown’s baggage. Ending his collegiate career on a high note (6/204/1 vs. Michigan), Jeudy is a polished route runner with breakaway speed.
13. Indianapolis Colts: A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa
Even though the Colts have used several early-round picks in recent drafts on pass rushers, the team’s starting defensive ends—Jabaal Sheard and Justin Houston—are both in their 30s and set to become free agents in 2020 and ’21, respectively. While not the most explosive off the line, Epenesa possesses a nice blend of power, length and heavy hands and closed 2019 with eight sacks and four forced fumbles over his final five games.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
In his first season in Tampa, Shaq Barrett led the NFL in sacks (19.5) and is scheduled to become a free agent, although Bruce Arians has said that Barrett “ain’t going anywhere.” In addition to Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul (8.5 sacks) and Carl Nassib (6.0) are both impending free agents. Chaisson tore his ACL in the 2018 season opener, but the 20-year-old has elite speed off the edge and came on late in ’19—4.5 sacks in final four games—to lead LSU in sacks, tackles for loss and QB hurries.
15. Denver Broncos: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
The Broncos have five defensive linemen slated for free agency, including Derek Wolfe and Shelby Harris. A first-team AP All-American as a senior, Kinlaw (6′ 6″, 310 pounds) has a nice combination of quickness and power and has generated 10 sacks over the past two seasons, including six in 2019.
16. Atlanta Falcons: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
I considered slotting Penn State’s Yetur Gross-Matos here as only the Dolphins recorded fewer sacks than the Falcons in 2019. While the lack of a pass rush impacts coverage, Atlanta’s defense ranked bottom 10 in both yards per pass attempt and passer rating allowed. Desmond Trufant played only nine games and ended the year on IR, but Isaiah Oliver and Kendall Sheffield graded out as PFF’s 83 and 114 corners (out of 119).
17. Dallas Cowboys: Grant Delpit, S, LSU
The Dallas defense ranked top-10 in yards per pass attempt allowed, but their defense was tied with the Lions and Cardinals for the league low in passes intercepted (seven). Inconsistent tackling was an issue at times for Delpit, but he’s a rangy playmaker with eight interceptions and 24 passes defended in his three seasons in Baton Rouge.
18. Miami Dolphins (via PIT): Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
Not only did the Dolphins trade away left tackle Laremy Tunsil during the season, the team could use multiple upgrades in their offensive line, which finished last in Football Outsiders offensive line rankings in 2019. Becton has incredible agility and movement skills for a man his size (6′ 7″, 369 pounds), which led his former coach Bobby Petrino to once compare Becton to Jonathan Ogden.
19. Las Vegas Raiders (via CHI): Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
With two first-round picks, the Raiders fill their two biggest needs with Jeudy at No. 12 and Murray here. A tackling machine for the Sooners, Murray has outstanding instincts, a non-stop motor and sideline-to-sideline range.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars (via LAR): Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
The Jags own this pick (and others) after trading Jalen Ramsey to the Rams. The younger brother of Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs, (Trevon) Diggs has an ideal blend of size (6′ 2″, 207 pounds) and athleticism. As a senior, Diggs had three interceptions and led Alabama in pass breakups (eight).
21. Philadelphia Eagles: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
Given the depth at receiver in this year’s draft class, one of the best in recent memory, it’s possible some of them get pushed down a bit. A top-12 prospect on my big board, Ruggs would provide the Eagles with the vertical element their passing attack has lacked. A legitimate threat to the NFL combine’s 40-yard dash record, Ruggs scored on one of four touches over his collegiate career.
22. Buffalo Bills: Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State
Four Bills had at least five sacks in 2019 and two were defensive tackles—Jordan Phillips (9.5) and Ed Oliver (5.0)—and another (Shaq Lawson, 6.5) will be a free agent in March. Meanwhile, both Jerry Hughes and Trent Murphy are already or will turn 30 this year. With his length, agility and first step, Gross-Matos has been a productive pass-rusher for Penn State with 17 sacks and 34.5 tackles for loss combined over the past two seasons.
23. New England Patriots: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
Will 42-year-old Tom Brady be back in 2020? Will the Patriots take a chance on the upside of Jordan Love here? Regardless of what happens with the team’s quarterback situation, the Patriots could use more weapons in the passing game. While he’s not the fastest, Higgins (6′ 4″, 215 pounds) has a large catch radius, attacks and high points the football well and is a weapon in the red zone (27 career TD receptions).
24. New Orleans Saints: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
Given how quarterbacks with tantalizing traits get pushed up the board, Love may not even last this long; I’ve considered slotting him into the mock with several earlier picks—Colts (13), Buccaneers (14), Raiders (19) and Patriots (23). A three-year starter coming off a disappointing 2019 season (17 interceptions), this could be an ideal fit as Drew Brees is 41, Teddy Bridgewater is an unrestricted free agent (as is Brees, technically) and Taysom Hill is a restricted free agent.
25. Minnesota Vikings: CJ Henderson, CB, Florida
Both Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander are scheduled to become free agents and the play of Xavier Rhodes has regressed significantly. While he isn’t the most reliable tackler, Henderson’s size (6′ 1″, 202 pounds) and elite athleticism will serve him well as a press-man corner at the next level. Even though he had no interceptions in 2019, Henderson had six interceptions over the previous two years combined.
26. Miami Dolphins (via HOU): D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
Miami has holes all across their roster and can go in a number of directions here, but they had the league’s worst rushing attack—72.3 yards per game and 3.3 yards per carry. Upgrading the offensive line is necessary as well (see No. 18), but Swift is an elusive runner with great burst and an accomplished receiver (73 receptions) to give the Dolphins a three-down back to take pressure off of Tua.
27. Seattle Seahawks: Julian Okwara, EDGE, Notre Dame
Only the Dolphins (23) recorded fewer sacks than the Seahawks (28) in 2019 and both Jadeveon Clowney and Ezekiel Ansah are potential free agents. Okwara’s season was cut short (fibula) and he has lacked consistency, but he’s a long and explosive athlete that has racked up 13.5 sacks and 19.5 TFL in 22 games over the past two seasons.
28. Baltimore Ravens: Terrell Lewis, EDGE, Alabama
The Ravens lost Za’Darius Smith (13.5 sacks in 2019) last offseason and the team’s sack leader in 2019 (Matthew Judon, 9.5) is scheduled for free agency in 2020. Lewis missed virtually all of 2018 (ACL) and ’17 (elbow), but the former five-star recruit had a healthy and productive season this year. With outstanding length and an explosive first step, Lewis had a team-high 16 QB pressures in 2019.
29. Tennessee Titans: J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio State
If you look up workhorse back in the dictionary, you’ll see Derrick Henry’s picture. Not only did Henry win the rushing title, but he racked up 1,342 rushing yards over Tennessee’s final nine games including the postseason. Dobbins could slide into that workhorse role if the Titans and Henry are unable to agree to a deal to keep him in Nashville. Breaking Eddie George’s single-season rushing record at Ohio State, Dobbins has tremendous vision, balance and power and is a capable receiver (22-plus catches in all three years in Columbus).
30. Green Bay Packers: Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado
Outside of Davante Adams, Green Bay has struggled to find consistent production from its wide receiver corps. Built more like a running back (6′ 2″, 225 pounds) than a wide receiver, Shenault’s physical style and acceleration make him dangerous after the catch.
31. Kansas City Chiefs: Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
Several of the Chiefs’ cornerbacks—Kendall Fuller, Morris Claiborne, Bashaud Breeland, etc.—will become free agents in the offseason. While he’s not the biggest corner (183 pounds), Gladney plays more physical than his weight and is exceptionally fast (4.34 40-yard time). Gladney has five career interceptions and 26 passes defended over the past two seasons at TCU.
32. San Francisco 49ers: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
Jimmie Ward is set to become a free agent, and McKinney has the versatility to both safety spots as well as nickel corner. Adept in both run support and as a pass defender, McKinney had three interceptions for the Crimson Tide this season.
Question or comment? Email us at email@example.com.
Kevin Hanson joins SI for the 2020 NFL draft season. His NFL Mock Drafts have graded as the most accurate over the past five years, per The Huddle Report. His 2015 NFL mock draft graded as the most accurate and his 2019 NFL mock draft was the second-most accurate out of 101 draft analysts.