2020 NFL Mock Draft: 1st-Round Predictions for Top Prospects After Week 15

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 16, 2019

FILE - In this Dec. 7, 2019, file photo, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (9) warms up before the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game against Georgia, in Atlanta. Burrow is a unanimous selection as the offensive player of the year on The Associated Press All-Southeastern Conference football team, Monday, Dec. 9, 2019.(AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
John Bazemore/Associated Press

Once the 2020 NFL draft kicks off in late April from Paradise, Nevada, expect the 1-13 Cincinnati Bengals to be selecting first, and it will likely come down to LSU QB Joe Burrow or Ohio State defensive end Chase Young.

Below is a look at how the first round could shake out, though inevitable trades and end-of-season order reshuffling will of course change things:


1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

2. Miami Dolphins: Chase Young, DE, Ohio State

3. Washington Redskins: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia

4. New York Giants: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

5. Detroit Lions: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State

6. Arizona Cardinals: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson

7. New York Jets: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa

8. Jacksonville Jaguars: Grant Delpit, S, LSU

9. Los Angeles Chargers: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

10. Denver Broncos: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

11. Carolina Panthers: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

12. Atlanta Falcons: A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa

13. Oakland Raiders: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn

14. Cleveland Browns: CJ Henderson, CB, Florida

15. Indianapolis Colts: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

16. Philadelphia Eagles: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama

18. Oakland Raiders (from Chicago): Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford

19. Tennessee Titans: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina

20. Jacksonville Jaguars (from Los Angeles Rams): Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU

21. Dallas Cowboys: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama

22. Miami Dolphins (from Pittsburgh): Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado

23. Miami Dolphins (from Houston): Tyler Biadasz, C, Wisconsin

24. Minnesota Vikings: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama

25. Buffalo Bills: Curtis Weaver, DE, Boise State

26. Kansas City Chiefs: Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State

27. New Orleans Saints: Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia

28. San Francisco 49ers: Terrell Lewis, LB, Alabama

29. New England Patriots: D'Andre Swift, RB, Georgia

30. Green Bay Packers: Raekwon Davis, DT, Alabama

31. Seattle Seahawks: Austin Jackson, OT, USC

32. Baltimore Ravens: K'Lavon Chaisson, LB, LSU


NFL.com's Ian Rapoport passed along some thoughts from a collection of general managers, executives and scouting directors who spoke highly of the Heisman Trophy winner Burrow, and one NFL official said:

"I think he goes No. 1 if a team that needs a QB has the pick. If the Giants end up with the pick, it's probably Chase Young. I think (Burrow) has proven this year that he's the best guy in this draft class. Smart, tough as (heck), accurate, and his team obviously loves him since they carried him off the field last week."

Another added:

"If it's Cincy, no doubt he's first overall. He's improved his leadership, grit and overall accuracy and decision-making since 2018. ... (Passing game coordinator Joe Brady) coming over from New Orleans really helped his growth tremendously and shows he can operate a pro system. ... Much better athlete than given credit for."

Quarterback is one of the many areas in which the Bengals have struggled, with veteran Andy Dalton and fourth-round rookie Ryan Finley rotating as the starter.

If first-year head coach Zac Taylor wants to move on from Dalton, he has the perfect opportunity to do so with Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert available. Fittingly, Burrow is from Ohio and started his collegiate career at Ohio State.

Cincinnati needs one loss in its final two games versus Miami or Cleveland to secure the No. 1 pick.

The race for the No. 2 selection is "competitive," with the Giants, Dolphins and Redskins all sitting at 3-11. With losses to New York and Washington, Miami has the inside track, but that could change if the Dolphins beat the aforementioned Bengals in Week 16. The Redskins and Giants also play Sunday.

If Burrow is gone, Young is the obvious pick, and some draft experts, like B/R's Matt Miller, have him ranked No. 1.

After that, Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, Ohio State defensive back Jeff Okudah and Georgia offensive tackle Andrew Thomas could round out the top five.

Once the combine and predraft workouts take place, we will have a clearer idea of which prospects stand out beneath the clear-cut top two. The third pick may be a player off our radar, just like Clelin Ferrell was before Oakland took him at No. 4 in April.


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