The NFL Draft is rapidly approaching, albeit in a virtual capacity due to the current world situation we find ourselves in. With that in mind i thought it was time to give my NFL Mock Draft 1st round.
With us being a few weeks away and the majority of FA finalised now is a great time to dive into a mock draft of the first round and discuss my thoughts on potential fits for each team. I will not be doing any trades in this mock but will highlight where I feel a team may move out of the spot.
So without further ado, The Cincinnati Bengals are now on the clock….
Easy selection here if the Bengals stay at one, I have a feeling that a certain Miami could look to make a move to the Nunber one overall for Burrow.
With the Tua injury it has made the selection of Burrow as the number one a relatively easy one. The senior out of LSU has a meteoric rise to the top consensus pick from a projected second rounder in early September.
Burrows possess incredible football IQ and although he does not have the best arm strength he can consistently find his targets at every level. One negative may potentially be the one year of production he showed in college.
Young is arguably the number one overall player in this year’s draft class. It would take a lot for the Redskins not to take the junior out of Ohio State at number two.
Young possess elite’s size and speed to go alongside the immense power. He is best in the pass rush and will come into the league as one of the top pass rushes straight out the gate. He can tend to focus on overpowering the O-Line rather than using pass rush moves which may not be as effective at the next level.
Young is undoubtedly an elite pass rushing but could use some improvement against the run which I am confident will come with time for this exceptional talent.
Two buckeyes off the board in the top 3 picks, Okudah is far and away the top CB in a deep class of Cornerbacks. He oozes self-confidence and it shows in his game.
He is at his best in the coverage games and is a long way ahead of any of his draft class when it comes to this. At 6’1” Okudah possesses top level size and speed for the NFL. His hands and height allow him to win a great deal of 50/50 balls against the receivers.
He has struggled at times in the run game and has shown issues with getting off the WR block. Penalties were another factor which can crop up in his game as he tends to be too grabby on downfield routes.
Protecting Daniel Jones has to be priority one for the Giants with this pick. At 4 they get the pick of the bunch and Wirfs in my opinion is the top lineman in this draft class.
Wirfs can play either right or left tackle and has an elite body type for an NFL Tackle. He explodes out of his stance and is effective in blocking up the field for the run game. He is very good with his hands and has the ability to punch and reset in quick time.
Although he possess dominant traits he at times does not utilities these and can leave pockets open when he over extends to block.
Wirfs is a ready made tackle for the next level and should provide cover off the block for Jones in the Giants O-Line.
Most people in the industry are seeing the dolphins take their future QB at this spot, the argument is between Herbert or Tua (unless they trade up for Burrows which I believe is a strong possibility). Dolphins have a number of needs across the whole team but QB has to be the first look.
Herbert has exceptional size, Mobility and arm strength and the senior from Oregon showed this many times in college. At Oregon he has shown impressive running and has the ability to throw on the run well. He can read the zone coverage and is confident running downfield when he is pushed out of the pocket.
At times in college he struggled to throw across the middle allowing linebackers to read and intercept him. He has been described as robotic by some critics and does not always show the fluid movement wanted from a franchise QB. He can sometimes hold onto the ball too long.
With Rivers out of the door the Chargers take their QB of the future and one that could well be a bargain at six if he can overcome his injury concerns. It is certainly not a stretch to say Tua could have been the number one pick had it not been for his injuries.
Tua is a bona fide dual threat QB and has the ability to beat any defence with his arm or legs. Many of the industry have Tua as the best deep passer in the class and shown this many times in college. Despite being a threat with his legs he is more than comfortable sitting in the pocket. Scanning the field when given time but can escape if that time is not allowed.
Injuries are a real concern for Tua and the dislocated hip is the fifth injury in his three years as a starter. His longevity has to be a viewed by teams when they look at Tua. When Tua does not escape the pocket he can rush a pass and put unnecessary pressure on his offence. He missed easy throws at times.
Tua has all the skills to be the best QB in the class. LA will be incredibly happy if he falls to them at six.
The Panthers could easily trade out of this spot and have a number of needs on defence. The selection of Derrick Brown out of Auburn is an easy one at seven for me.
Brown has a rare blend of elite size and strength, alongside impressive speed for a defensive tackle. This athleticism allows him to play across the line and in a number of defensive fronts.
He can control blockers and regularly requires double teaming. This allows his LB to exploit the gaps and has the ability to close the gap on a rusher. His quick hands into the chests of blockers give him a quick advantage and put his opposition on the back foot.
He can be stiff at times which prevents him from moving into the pocket and limit his rush ability. If he can improve his pass rushing he will be a pivotal defensive lineman for years to come.
Keeping Kyler Murray upright is imperative for Arizona in this draft. Here they get there pick of the remaining lineman behind Wirfs.
Becton is best in the run game and regularly gets to the second level. With his ability to move despite being 6’72 & 360+lbs unlike some of the other lineman who have come into the league at this size. His 7 foot wingspan is just terrifying for defensive personal. His long wingspan allows for him to recovery if he over or under reaches.
He can at times over extend in positional blocking and needs more patience in this aspect. He can open up outside early. Understandably for his size he can connect with the defender high and become unbalanced.
Jacksonville is looking to rebuild the once formidable defence and Simmons should be an easy fit in this scheme. He can line up in a number of positions, LB, Safety, slot corner and on the Edge but is best at the linebacker position. He is a DC dream with his versatility.
His elite athleticism enables him to line up against all skill positions (TE, RB & WR) and has high end sideline to sideline speed. He also can use his speed to close down the gaps in coverage.
One downside to his game in the past is his preference to hit people rather than wrap up in the tackle. He does not always engage in blocks and can be put off balance due to this.
With many key components gone from the Jags D, Simmons has the potential to be a leading man in his rookie year and beyond.
The Browns showed last season that trading away one of your best lineman is not a good idea. Even for one of the top wide receivers in the league! They look to rectify that mistake with the pick of Jedrick Wills out of Alabama.
Wills dominates as a run blocker and is another tackle with incredibly athleticism for his size. He plays with a chip on his shoulder and makes his presences now from the outset.
Pass protection needs improvement however and he loses his blocker due to over extending. His height is not ideal for a tackle but he made it work in college. His fluid movement makes up for this.
The Jets missed out of the top 3 lineman in the class. Their need at the position is so strong, that taking another need in Wide receiver would be a mistake. I can see them moving down if the top 3 OL are gone. In this draft though I have taken Andrew Thomas out of Georgia.
Thomas spent four years as a starter in college. Something which you do not tend to see nowadays and improved each year with Georgia. He has the ability to play at both right and left tackle. I see him being a left tackle in the NFL due to his flexibility and measurables.
Thomas has incredible hands and is a twitch mover which the defensive line will find challenging. He has the presents to reset himself mid rep to help with leverage and positioning.
Thomas has been found out in college by speed rushers which will need to be a focus for coaches in his development as well as his footwork which he struggles with at times.
The Jets need on the line allows the best wide receiver in the draft to drop into the Raiders lap. Something needed following the AB experience in 2019.
Lamb is a YAC fiend and consistently breaks tackle for big yardage. Training will improve his routes to beat coverage but his size and hangs will benefit him whilst he learns. He is phenomenal in contested catches and at times it looks like he isn’t even trying against defenders.
One negative for Lamb is he did not face press-man coverage in college which he surely will in the NFL. He will need to learn to play against this quickly to succeed. He does not have top end speed but the Raiders are not drafting him to be a field stretcher. His blocking is unimpressive due to his slender build.
I do not believe Lamb will be a top 5 WR in his career but will certainly be a WR1 for many years and if the raiders can build a core around him he will thrive.
Two wide receivers in a row, to teams that both have a need. The 49ers do not have many screaming needs in this roster. A top end WR could take them to the final level that they so narrowly missed out on last season. Jerry Jeudy is an easy selection here for them.
Jeudy is arguably the best route-runner in this draft class. Put alongside that his speed he consistently beats secondary’s and scored an impressive 23 touchdowns in his last 28 games. He has played in a pro style system in college for Alabama. This will give him an extra step coming into training camp. I mentioned it already but his route running is second to none and will give even the top corners a battle straight from the outset.
Much like Lamb he did not face top press coverage in college and can slow at times when locating the ball. Jeudy also struggled with drops in college which will need to be eliminated to succeed in the NFL. We also saw a slight drop off from 2018 to 2019 in terms of production.
I fully see Tampa trading down if the top 4 OL are gone. Or even look to move up if a couple come off the board early. For the purposes of this draft I am taking an area of need for Tampa. By taking the fifth lineman in the top 15 picks.
Jones is the most raw of the OT taken so far. With the pickup of Brady it may not be realistic in what appears to be a win now move for the Bucs. That being said Jones possess incredible potential and immense size. He transitions well to the next level in the run game and performs well against quicker edge rushers.
His main downside as already stated is he is a raw talent and will need time to develop. Although he showed improvement from 2018 to 2019. His strength has been called into question at times and improvement in run blocking will be a primary focus.
The Broncos have a number of needs and receiver here was a real possibility. However I could not pass up on Javon Kinlaw again and is a bargain for the Broncos at 15.
Kinlaw is an elite pass rusher which is surprising given his 6’5” 324 pound frame. He has shown the ability to overpower blockers and collapse the pocket. Kinlaw is another defensive tackle that can play across the line in various fronts.
Although pass rush is the best aspect of the his game he does at time get upright too early and can be moved about by lineman. If he does not beat them quickly enough and could do with adding more moves. He can at times rush in without much thought and lose sight of the Running Back or Quarterback in the back field.
Kinlaw has significant talent and potential and in the right scheme will allow him to become a top DL in the league.
Dan Quinn is hanging on by a thread and many expect him to be the first HC out the door this year. A big name on offence may help him in the fans eyes but Atlanta has a bigger need on defence. Kenneth Murray is the pick here for me filling a need for not only linebacker. He could be the potential leader of the defence alongside Deion Jones & newly acquired Dante Fowler.
Murray possesses elite sideline to sideline speed and was a tackle monster in college. He is also explosive towards the ball and his tackling is clean. He will look to fire into gaps and break up plays early and will take chances all across the field.
Although it pays off for him more often than not the chances Murray takes can sometimes lead him to be out of control and miss an open field play. Patience is a must for Murray to make it in the NFL as he has all the talent to do so.
The Cowboys can call upon a top tier offence in 2020 so the defence is an easy area to improve with the first pick in this draft. CB is one of their weakest positions as is the secondary as a whole. C J Henderson out of Florida is my number two corner and the pick here for Dallas.
Henderson has the size and speed wanted for an Elite NFL cornerback. C.J has a great ability of reading the Quarterbacks eyes and breaking up the play early. He is patient when playing the ball and strikes at the right moment. At college level he has played in a variety of coverage which will be a plus for many teams looking at him.
One aspect of his game that requires improvement is in the tackle. He can be wild at times when entering the tackle. Another concern for Henderson is he had a dip in form on tape from 2018 to 2019.
The Dolphins got their QB of the future at five and at 18 they look to find a man to protect him in Andrew Jackson out of USC. The Dolphins should be building for the future and Jackson is a prime candidate. Given he is raw and will need time to develop but has the traits to be succeed in the NFL.
Andrew Jackson has quick feet and significant twitch for his 6’5” frame. Jackson has room to put on mass which is likely required to take that next step. Along with this he is quick to the next level and hits the blocks downfield well. He has shown good recovery when he does make an initial mistake.
His technique will need to be worked on as you can see he is a raw player but showed flashes at times. Whether this will be unlocked will depend on his mind-set and his coaches.
The Raiders second first round pick focuses on defence and a need in the secondary. Kristian Fulton would be a great fit alongside Johnathan Abram.
Fulton thrives in press man coverage and on tape is rarely out of position at the top of the route. He has averaged an impressive 40 percent completion rate against him since 2018. He is always on his toes looking to make a play.
Off field may be a concern given he was suspended for the whole of 2017 after falsifying a drug test specimen. Although since that incident he has kept out of trouble from what I have seen.
Despite running a 4.46 at the combine his tape shows he can struggle on the deep speed of receivers. I would also like him to improve his strength if he is to succeed at the next level.
The Jaguars need on defence is not only in the LB core but also at Edge. Chaisson is an easy pick here for them.
A leader at LSU Chaisson may still be learning the edge position but has shown top level ability with his speed and power. He has high football IQ which shows in his play and decision making. He is better in the pass rush and overpowers Tight ends to pressure and hit the quarterback frequently.
Injuries were a setback for Chaisson’s development. Missing the whole of 2018 with a torn ACL and two games in 2019 with an ankle injury. He is still learning to read certain plays and allows blockers to hit his body instead of punching and swiping away.
Chaisson would be better to start slowly and continue his development. Something which he may not have time to do if the Ngakoue trade rumours become a reality.
The Eagles will be pinching themselves awake if Henry Ruggs falls to them at #21 in the draft. I strongly suspect the eagles to attempt a move up the draft to target a much needed wide receiver to help Carson Wentz.
Ruggs possess explosive speed and will likely be one of the fastest players on the field when he gets into the NFL. He thrives on yards after contact and can beat many defenders on all routes. Known for his safe hands Ruggs only dropped one ball in 2019 in an impressive campaign.
An aspect of his game that does need improvement is his route running which can come with the right coaching. His size may also make contested catches against NFL corners an issue to start with and may need to focus on this aspect of his game to truly succeed.
The Vikings first of two picks in quick succession see them target a need in cornerback. The fourth Corner taken in the first round. Jeff Gladney out of TCU.
The Vikings will be looking to Gladney to start quickly to replace the recently departed Xavier Rhodes. Gladney is best in the coverage game and plays much more physical than his size suggests at 5’10” and sub 200 lbs. He is a confident player in the tackle and assisting in the run support game. In his college career he showed impressive instincts and playmaking to the ball.
Size will be a concern coming into the NFL and Gladney will need to continue to play bigger than his size to break through. Although he is regularly in the right position against Quarterbacks he frequently dropped interceptions in college which will need to be corrected.
Gladney is a solid option and should be able to fit right into the Vikings Corner position from the outset.
A very un-Patriots like pick coming here. The loss of Tom Brady and some lack lustre options left in New England sees me selecting the next best QB off the board Jordan Love.
Love did not have the best 2019 season for Utah State. Throwing for 3,402 yards, 20 touchdowns and 17 interceptions which will have impacted his draft stock.
Love has shown he can make all throws across the field. In particular his deep lobbed balls where he trusts the receiver to make the play. He is secure with the ball when in the pocket and is athletic enough to escape the pocket on a scramble.
Outside of the dip in 2019 Love does tend to do a bit too much with the ball, forcing turnovers which could be avoided. He also made a habit of staring down his first receiver at times leading to those turnovers. A good coach should be able to correct these issues but the talent and potential is clearly there for Love.
The Saints may look to move down from this pick when the draft comes around. Here they select the next best available Linebacker. Which is arguably the biggest need for New Orleans in 2020.
Queen had an impressive 2019 in the LSU championship run. A defence which has provided a plethora of linebackers in recent years. Patrick Queen is the next LB off the conveyor belt.
Queen has shown his ability to diagnosis a play quickly. Coupled with his quickness from the snap lead him to jump ahead and make plays. He was also effective in pass defence and was impressive in his coverage drop-back. He is also confident in the tackle.
A negative for Queen is his one year as a starter and high production in college. He could also struggle in the pass rush game. Queen showed an inability at times to shed blocks and relied on his front men to keep men off him.
A year next to Demario Davis will help him transition to the NFL game.
The Vikings second first round pick sees them bring in a replacement for the recently traded Stefon Diggs. Higgins is my next best WR on the board and the selection here at 25.
Higgins has been compared to AJ Green by some experts in the NFL world. He has a huge catch radius. Higgins is an obvious red zone threat with his ability to out jump any defender and bring down the ball at its highest point. He is a miss-match against smaller corners and has been played in all WR positions at Clemson.
Although Higgins looked very impressive in college he did not face a great deal of competition from the Corners in the ACC. His inability to separate is an aspect of his game that will need to be improved once he lands in training camp and preseason. His 40 time was unimpressive at his pro day. On tape he appears to have enough speed for a player of his size and as a red zone threat.
Whether the Dolphins have three first rounder’s come draft day remains to be seen. The prospect of moving up is a real possibility. Another lineman was contemplated here. However, with the 26th pick I have targeted another area of need for them with A.J Espenesa.
A poor combine with his slow 40 and lacklustre bench will dent his draft stock. However Espenesa has the ability to play all across the front line. He is best at edge and has the ability to set the edge in the run game effectively. He uses his size and strength for effective pass rush moves.
On certain tapes he does disappear for periods of a game. Which in the Dolphins defence he cannot afford to do. He can also struggle when double teamed and need to speed up his ability to shed blockers to make an impact against the pass or run.
Allowing Espenesa time to develop may be best for his long term potential. Something he may not be afforded in Miami. I still see him being an effective end in the NFL with small improvements.
The Seahawks will be disappointed in missing out on the top WR’s and Lineman. As well as being pipped to Espenesa. However, at the 27 spot they take the next best DE in Yetur Gross-Matos.
Gross-Matos possesses all the traits for a prototypical Edge in the NFL with his size and athleticism. Impressive at Penn State in his two years as a starter. Posting 35 tackles for loss and 17.5 sacks.
What Gross-Matos has are top level hands and wiggle along with his strength that enables him to overpower tackles. Gross-Matos also has an incredible motor allowing him to see out games and motor all across the field on plays.
He is still learning the edge position and needs to be more explosive on his initial pass rush. As well as this he also has some off field issues. Including a suspension at the start of the 2019 season but appears to have corrected these mistakes leading up to the draft.
The Ravens would love to fill their biggest need at inside linebacker. However the remaining options would be too much of a reach. However they look to OLB/Edge for this selection with the pickup of Zack Baun. Although there is the potential to move him to inside if required.
Baun may be undersized to be an Edge in the NFL and a transition to inside could well be the direction to go in his development and fill an area that Ravens require.
Baun has shown he is solid in coverage and will also get after the passer in the pass rush game. He is a twitchy player that can be difficult to get to. Having the speed to contain Running Backs and the size to match up against the Tight End.
His lack of experience on the inside will mean a steep learning curve. However the Ravens have some great defensive coaches who can assist him in this.
The Titans may well go Edge here if the right player is on the board. With this pick I have taken possibly a bigger need in the IDL spot. The Titans select Ross Blacklock, DT.
The TCU D Lineman is very athletic and agile for his size and is best in the pass rush because of this. He has elite lateral movement to disrupt the line and target the passer. Ross has an impressive engine to see out the games.
Where he lacks is in the run game and defending the gaps. He can be knocked around by interior lineman and was on a ground a bit too much on some of his game tape. An Achilles tear also saw him miss all of 2018 which may have had a knock on his development.
Blacklock may be better in the NFL as a DE which will still fulfil an area of need for the Titans. He does have the potential to success in the NFL with certain improvements.
There have been rumblings that the packers could go for a Quarterback. Here however with the top 4 gone anyone else is a reach. In my opinion Green Bay’s top needs are Wide Receiver and Tight End. With this Tight End class the decision was easy to target WR.
Justin Jefferson out of LSU could easily be the 3rd or 4th WR off the board in the 2020. But in my mock the packers grab him at #30.
Jefferson much like Higgins previously has an incredible catch radius. He also possess consistent, albeit not exceptional route running which coaches will be keen to build on. Jefferson also made a habit of targeting the holes in coverage when he played in slot.
He will need time to develop his ability to separate and against the press as a pro due to not facing this a great deal in college. He also ran faster than expected at the combine and does not always play with that speed.
The 49ers are solid all over the field. They use their second first round pick to bring in a potential future star in Damon Arnette to sit and learn behind Richard Sherman.
I discussed Arnette in depth on my previous article The 2020 draft steals so make sure you go and check that out to see why I have given Arnette a first round grade and see him being a steal in the draft.
The sixth Corner off the board in the first round says it all about this CB draft class. The reigning champions do not have many holes but I would say corner is the biggest need for them.
Diggs has elite height, size and length to provide difficult against even the bigger targets in the NFL. He targets Receivers from the outset and looks to jab and ham them on the press. He is best in coverage due to his atheism, quickness and aggression.
Although his aggression can work against him at times. He will over stretch and go out of position or give up penalties down field. His tape showed he can lose the ball at times on the deep throws.
Joining the AFC will add some fire for Diggs and the prospect of facing his brother Stefon who recently signed for the Buffalo Bills.
End of Round One
And that concludes the first round of my 2020 NFL mock draft. You can check out more mock drafts from the 5 Yard team on the website. Also make sure you listen to the latest podcast which breaks down the UK Fan Mock draft which I was recently a part of.
Let me know how I got on and if you agreed or disagreed with certain picks on my twitter @Addicted2_FF.
Until Next time Rush Nation, Keep on Rushing
- Ash Goddard (@Addicted2_FF)