2020 NFL Mock Draft: Early Predictions for Top 32 Prospects

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistDecember 27, 2019

Ohio State defensive end Chase Young plays against Michigan in the first half of an NCAA college football game in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Paul Sancya/Associated Press

Watching your favorite NFL team miss out on the postseason doesn't have to destroy your holiday spirit.

Remember, there's always a chance your favorite holiday gift won't arrive until April in the form of a potentially franchise-saving draft prospect.

Maybe it's a rocket-armed quarterback or jet-fueled receiver to juice your stagnant offense. Or perhaps your wet-paper-bag defense can finally find that explosive edge-rusher, shutdown corner or sideline-to-sideline linebacker it so desperately needs.

Help could be coming soon, but for now, cling to the hopes our latest mock draft provides, which is followed by a breakdown of the top three defensive prospects on our board.


2020 NFL Mock Draft

1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

2. Washington Redskins: Chase Young, DE, Ohio State

3. Detroit Lions: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

4. New York Giants: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State

5. Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

6. Jacksonville Jaguars: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn

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

8. Carolina Panthers: Isaiah Simmons, OLB, Clemson

9. Arizona Cardinals: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

10. New York Jets: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia

11. Denver Broncos: Austin Jackson, OT, USC

12. Cleveland Browns: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville

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

14. Las Vegas Raiders: Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado

15. Dallas Cowboys: Grant Delpit, S, LSU

16. Indianapolis Colts: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: D'Andre Swift, RB, Georgia

18. Las Vegas Raiders (from Chicago Bears): Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State

19. Miami Dolphins (from Pittsburgh Steelers): Curtis Weaver, DE, Boise State

20. Jacksonville Jaguars (from Los Angeles Rams): Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford

21. Tennessee Titans: Julian Okwara, DE, Notre Dame

22. Buffalo Bills: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

23. Minnesota Vikings: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU

24. Seattle Seahawks: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina

25. Philadelphia Eagles: C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida

26. Miami Dolphins (from Houston Texans): Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa

27. Kansas City Chiefs: Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin

28. Green Bay Packers: Dylan Moses, ILB, Alabama

29. New England Patriots: Raekwon Davis, DT, Alabama

30. New Orleans Saints: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU

31. San Francisco 49ers: Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama

32. Baltimore Ravens: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama


Top 2020 Defensive Draft Prospects

Chase Young, DE, Ohio State

Need a one-man wrecking crew on your defensive line? Look no further than Chase Young, who has recorded 27 sacks and seven forced fumbles since the start of the 2018 season.

"Young is the best edge-rushing prospect I've seen since Von Miller entered the draft," ESPN's Todd McShay wrote.

That's the kind of comparison worthy of a spit-take. If it didn't make your eyes pop out of your head cartoon-style, here's the reason why they should: The 30-year-old Miller is an eight-time Pro Bowler and three-time first-team All-Pro with 105.0 career sacks, 27th most in NFL history and second most among active players.

Granted, there is no guarantee Young engineers an equally prolific career, but he has the tools to do it. He aces the eye test with a drool-worthy blend of power, length and quickness, and as an added bonus, he excels at setting the edge as a disciplined run-stopper.


Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State

Since 2000, only five cornerbacks have been selected among the top five picks.

Among that quintet, only Quentin Jammer (fifth in 2002) failed to make a Pro Bowl. Terence Newman (fifth in 2003) went twice, Patrick Peterson (fifth in 2011) has gone eight times, Jalen Ramsey (fifth in 2016) is a three-time selection and Denzel Ward (fourth in 2018) made it as a rookie.

In other words, if you're willing to take a player at this position so high, usually it means you're adding an elite.

Jeff Okudah has the chance to continue that trend. The 6'1", 200-pounder has true shutdown potential. His size, speed and instincts are all top-level traits on their own, and when combined together, they make him, as B/R's Matt Miller put it, the "top [cornerback] talent since Jalen Ramsey."

"Pat Pete. Ramsey. Whoever you want to compare him to, go ahead," an area scout for Ohio State told Miller. "He's better than any dude that's come out of there."

Ward and Marshon Lattimore, a two-time Pro Bowler, are among those dudes. That's high praise, but it's warranted.


Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn

Had Derrick Brown bolted for the big league a year ago, he could've been a top-10 selection. By returning to school, he solidified that status with a leap year showcasing all the skills and physical gifts packed into his 6'5", 318-pound frame.

He's not just the jumbo-sized tackle who takes on multiple blockers and helps plug gaps. He's a legitimately disruptive force who can shed blockers and get into the backfield. His four sacks don't jump off the page on their own, but all came against top-20 teams, as did his two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

Brown has the strength to power through offensive lineman, but his acceleration and agilityboth unfair for his sizealso allow him to sprint past or dance around blockers. He's still raw as a prospect (he hasn't consistently shown he can knock down quarterbacks), but any risk attached to his development is overshadowed by a mountain of potential rewards.

"Brown fits the prototype of a three-down interior defensive lineman," Jacob Infante wrote for Draft Wire. "He's still a bit of a work in progress, but his hand usage and his physical attributes should see him get drafted pretty early when the draft rolls around."