2020 NFL Mock Draft: Ideal 1st-Round Predictions for Top Prospects

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistJanuary 9, 2020

FILE - In this Nov. 30, 2019, file photo, Ohio State defensive end Chase Young plays against Michigan in the first half of an NCAA college football game, in Ann Arbor, Mich. Record-setting defensive end Chase Young is leaving Ohio State early to enter the NFL draft, a widely expected move. The junior Heisman Trophy finalist made the announcement Friday, Jan. 3, 2020, on Twitter. He says he looks forward to
Paul Sancya/Associated Press

The 2020 NFL draft picture isn't completely clear just yet, as several prospects have yet to declare and eight teams remain alive in the postseason.

Most of the top prospects have already been identified, though, along with the top three-quarters of the draft slots.

The mystery at the top of Round 1 lies in the potential pairings between players and teams. The Cincinnati Bengals appear to be a near-lock to take LSU quarterback Joe Burrow at No. 1, but things remain cloudy after that.

Here we'll take a look at some of the most ideal pairings that could come at the top of Round 1. We'll also dig into the draft order and an updated first-round mock.


2020 NFL Mock Draft

1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

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

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

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

5. Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

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

7. Carolina Panthers: Isaiah Simmons, OLB, Clemson

8. Arizona Cardinals: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia

9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn

10. Cleveland Browns: Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama

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

12. Oakland Raiders: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

13. Indianapolis Colts: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: K'Lavon Chaisson, Edge, LSU

15. Denver Broncos: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa

16. Atlanta Falcons: A.J. Epenesa, Edge, Iowa

17. Dallas Cowboys: Grant Delpit, S, LSU

18. Miami Dolphins (from Pittsburgh): J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio State

19. Oakland Raiders (from Chicago): Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma

20. Jacksonville Jaguars (from Rams): Curtis Weaver, DE, Boise State

21. Philadelphia Eagles: Julian Okwara, DE, Notre Dame

22. Buffalo Bills: Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado

23. New England Patriots: Jacob Eason, QB, Washington

24. New Orleans Saints: CJ Henderson, CB, Florida

25. Tennessee Titans: A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson

26. Minnesota Vikings: Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia

27. Miami Dolphins (from Houston): Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU

28. Seattle Seahawks: Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford

29. Green Bay Packers: Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina

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

31. San Francisco 49ers: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama

32. Baltimore Ravens: Terrell Lewis, Edge, Alabama


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

To be fair, this pick has less to do with being an ideal fit—and offensive tackle might make the most sense, given the need to protect Dwayne Haskins—but the Washington Redskins may find Chase Young too talented to pass on.

The Ohio State pass-rusher is the top defensive player in this class and one of the best edge-rushing prospects in recent memory. Yes, he may have even more upside than last year's No. 2 pick, Nick Bosa.

Young is the rare defender that opposing coaches have to game-plan around. In the Fiesta Bowl, for example, Clemson put a lot of resources toward limiting him.

"After multiple chip attempts, Clemson used cut blocks combined with quick game passes to try to nullify the threat of Young," The Athletic's Mark Bullock wrote.

While the 20-year-old wouldn't fill a dire need for the Redskins, he would provide them with a franchise building block on defense. A line rotation featuring the likes of Jonathan Allen, Montez Sweat and Young would be a handful for opposing offensive lines


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

Paul Sancya/Associated Press

Now, pairing the Detroit Lions with Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah would make for an ideal fit. The secondary was one of Detroit's biggest weaknesses in 2019, and the team ranked dead-last in pass defense.

Young would also be a tremendous fit here, should he happen to fall. That is a realistic possibility, as a team could trade up with Washington to secure a quarterback. However, Okudah would be a fine choice who could immediately impact the Lions' pass defense.

At 6'1" and 200 pounds, he has the size to go up against bigger NFL receivers such as Chicago Bears wideout Allen Robinson. He's also a skilled technician who will hold his own against shifty pass-catchers and savvy route-runners.

By partnering Okudah with Darius Slay and Justin Coleman, the Lions would instantly give themselves a strong trio on the back—the kind Matt Patricia was used to coaching with the New England Patriots.

This would be a tremendous first step toward fixing Detroit's struggles against the pass.


5. Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

The Miami Dolphins are one of the teams that could trade up for a quarterback. However, if they're sold on a guy like Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa, they may also be able to stay put and land him. The Redskins, Lions and New York Giants are all unlikely to draft a signal-caller in Round 1.

There's a big caveat with Tagovailoa, and it's that he's coming off a dislocated hip and carries injury concerns. If the Dolphins are happy with the medical checks, though, he would make for an ideal fit at the top of the draft.

Why? To put it simply, the Dolphins haven't had a quality franchise quarterback since the days of Dan Marino. Tagovailoa has the potential to change that.

Accurate, mobile and possessing a high football IQ, Tagovailoa has all the traits needed to be a successful NFL quarterback. This past season, for example, he passed for 2,840 yards, 33 touchdowns and three interceptions in nine games. He completed a ridiculous 71.4 percent of his passes.

Naturally, medical checks will be the deciding factor here, but the Dolphins should be thrilled to have a crack at Tagovailoa after their 2019 tank job didn't land them the No. 1 pick.