NFL Mock Draft 2020: Post-CFP Championship Predictions for 1st-Round Prospects

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 14, 2020

TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA - OCTOBER 26:  Jerry Jeudy #4 of the Alabama Crimson Tide carries this reception in for a touchdown in the first half against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 26, 2019 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The 2019 college football season concluded Monday with LSU's win over Clemson in the 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship Game.

For a handful of players, the predraft process begins. The NFL Scouting Combine, which begins Feb. 23, will be the next opportunity for the top prospects in the 2020 class to impress NFL coaches and executives.

With the focus for football fans turning slowly toward draft season, here's an updated mock draft and a few burning questions.


2020 First-Round Mock Draft

1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

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

3. Detroit Lions: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

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

5. Miami Dolphins: Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State

6. Los Angeles Chargers: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia

7. Carolina Panthers: Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama

8. Arizona Cardinals: A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa

9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn

10. Cleveland Browns: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson

11. New York Jets: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

12. Las Vegas Raiders: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

13. Indianapolis Colts: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Grant Delpit, S, LSU

15. Denver Broncos: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

16. Atlanta Falcons: K'Lavon Chaisson, OLB, LSU

17. Dallas Cowboys: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

18. Miami Dolphins (via Steelers): Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State

19. Las Vegas Raiders (via Bears): Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado

20. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Rams): Austin Jackson, OT, USC

21. Philadelphia Eagles: Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina

22. Buffalo Bills: J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio State

23. New England Patriots: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State

24. New Orleans Saints: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU

25. Minnesota Vikings: Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford

26. Miami Dolphins (via Texans): Josh Jones, OT, Houston

27. Seattle Seahawks: Terrell Lewis, OLB, Alabama

28. Baltimore Ravens: AJ Terrell, CB, Clemson

29. Tennessee Titans*: Julian Okwara, DE, Notre Dame

30. Green Bay Packers*: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma

31. Kansas City Chiefs*: D'Andre Swift, RB, Georgia

32. San Francisco 49ers*: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama

Draft order is via Tankathon.


How Much Does Tagovailoa Announcement Impact First Round?

TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA - NOVEMBER 09: Tua Tagovailoa #13 of the Alabama Crimson Tide looks to pass during the second half against the LSU Tigers in the game at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 09, 2019 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Ima
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Few were surprised when Tua Tagovailoa announced his decision to enter the 2020 draft. Despite dislocating his hip in November, the Alabama quarterback is still widely viewed as a first-round prospect.

With Tagovailoa now in the draft pool, there seems to be a gulf between the top three passers and the rest of the class.

In his most recent big board, Bleacher Report's Matt Miller ranked Tagovailoa (No. 7), Joe Burrow (No. 2) and Justin Herbert (No. 28) among the top 32 prospects. Jordan Love (No. 45) and Jacob Eason (No. 46) were the only other QBs in the top 50.

Doctors expect Tagovailoa will be able to start throwing again in the spring, which means teams will have little opportunity to evaluate how he looks prior to the draft. That may not matter too much based on the scarcity of elite quarterback prospects.

NFL Network @nflnetwork

"I don't think any team that has a QB question is off the board for making a big splash for this guy." - @PSchrags What is Tua Tagovailoa's value after he declared for the 2020 #NFLDraft? 📺: @gmfb https://t.co/WPP0zrYPYy

One of the Washington Redskins, Detroit Lions or New York Giants could hold all of the cards should teams attempt to move up in the first round in order to get Tagovailoa. None of those three is in desperate need of a quarterback, so it could make sense to move back and collect an extra pick or two for the trouble.


How Many LSU, Clemson Underclassmen Declare Following Title Game?

BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA - NOVEMBER 30: Grant Delpit #7 of the LSU Tigers in action during a game at Tiger Stadium against the Texas A&M Aggies on November 30, 2019 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Sean Gardner/Getty Images

For obvious reasons, none of the top underclassmen from LSU and Clemson have announced their intentions to either return to school or make the jump to the NFL for next season. The floodgates should start to open with the national championship concluded.

Clemson can probably count on losing Isaiah Simmons and Tee Higgins.

Simmons is a jack-of-all-trades on defense who had 95 total tackles, 14 tackles for loss, seven sacks and three interceptions entering Monday. Higgins is the team's leading receiver with 56 receptions for 1,115 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Head coach Dabo Swinney might lose his leading rusher as well since it's hard to see what Travis Etienne would gain in terms of his draft stock by spending one more year with the team.

On the other sideline, Jim Thorpe Award winner Grant Delpit and K'Lavon Chaisson could potentially be off the board in the first round. Justin Jefferson helped himself with his 227-yard, four-touchdown effort in the Peach Bowl as well.

SportsCenter @SportsCenter

Only 6 players have ever caught 4 TDs in a bowl game. Justin Jefferson did it in ONE HALF. (📍 @SamsungUS) https://t.co/vErUa0ynjr

Clyde Edwards-Helaire will be a wild card too. A hamstring injury limited the junior in the playoff semifinal, but he had 1,290 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns in the regular season.

Joe Burrow's departure could allow Edwards-Helaire to assume a larger role in 2020, thus showcasing him for the 2021 draft. Edwards-Helaire might also think LSU's offense could take a step backward without Burrow, and what better time to make the jump than after a run to the national title game.


Will Anybody Overtake Joe Burrow for the No. 1 Spot?

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - DECEMBER 28: Joe Burrow #9 of the LSU Tigers plays against the Oklahoma Sooners during the College Football Playoff Semifinal in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 28, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Gre
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bengals will in all likelihood attempt to find a new quarterback this offseason, somebody who can be the long-term successor to Andy Dalton.

Cincinnati benched Dalton midway through the 2019 season, which allowed head coach Zac Taylor to take a look at 2019 fourth-round pick Ryan Finley. Finley threw for 474 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in three appearances.

Dalton has one more year left on his contract, so it doesn't make much sense to stick with him for 2020 when the Bengals have the No. 1 overall pick. Teams with playoff aspirations that strike out in free agency would probably view Dalton as a short-term fix at quarterback.

All of that is to say Burrow can probably start house-hunting in Cincinnati already.

The Bengals are so bad they can go in a number of directions in the first round and address a roster need.

AJ Green is a free agent, so Jerry Jeudy or CeeDee Lamb could step right in and be the No. 1 wideout. Chase Young could play opposite former teammate Sam Hubbard to give Cincinnati a dynamic pass-rushing duo. Jeffrey Okudah would be an upgrade over Dre Kirkpatrick and William Jackson III.

Perhaps the Bengals trade down in the belief more draft picks would equal more overall value.

And yet, finding a franchise quarterback is so hard that it's hard to see how Cincinnati would turn down the opportunity to build around Burrow. Beyond what he'd do on the field, he'd energize the fanbase after a year in which the team had the NFL's second-worst attendance.