NFL Mock Draft 2020: Latest 1st-Round Projections for Top College Prospects

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJanuary 14, 2020

Ohio State defensive end Chase Young (2) during the first half of the Fiesta Bowl NCAA college football game against Clemson, Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri).
Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

As the 2019-20 NFL playoff field keeps slimming down, the 2020 draft board continues to crystallize.

This weekend's ouster of four teams—including the AFC's top-seeded Baltimore Ravens—meant that picks 25 through 28 have now been disbursed. Only the round's final four selections are up for grabs, although the four teams attached to them are chasing a slightly more important target.

But with nearly the entire opening round locked in, this is the perfect time to refresh our mock first round and break down the top three defensive prospects on our board.


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

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5. Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

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

7. Carolina Panthers: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn

8. Arizona Cardinals: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia

9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson

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

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

12. Oakland Raiders: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

13. Indianapolis Colts: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

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

15. Denver Broncos: Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado

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

17. Dallas Cowboys: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina

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

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

20. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Los Angeles Rams): CJ Henderson, CB, Florida

21. Philadelphia Eagles: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

22. Buffalo Bills: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU

23. New England Patriots: Curtis Weaver, Edge, Boise State

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

25. Minnesota Vikings: Neville Gallimore, DT, Oklahoma

26. Miami Dolphins (via Houston Texans): D'Andre Swift, RB, Georgia

27. Seattle Seahawks: Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU

28. Baltimore Ravens: Terrell Lewis, Edge, Alabama

29. Tennessee Titans: Julian Okwara, Edge, Notre Dame

30. Green Bay Packers: Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama

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

32. San Francisco 49ers: Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State


Top 2020 NFL Defensive Prospects

Chase Young, Edge, Ohio State

Can't-miss prospects don't exist, but elite ones come awfully close to eliminating any bust potential. No one is closer to that level in this draft than Chase Young.

Physically, he has the total package. He can overwhelm blockers with strength, or race around them with speed. His agility and balance almost feel unfair for a 6'5", 265-pounder. His mechanics are still coming along, but he's a quick thinker and reads plays at a rapid rate.

Young worked around ankle injuries as a sophomore and still produced 10.5 sacks. As a junior, he was suspended two games and still led the country with 16.5 sacks. Incredibly, his film looks even better than his video-game numbers.

"Sack numbers are great, but that persistent disruption is better than any production numbers you can find in the box score," The Athletic's Dane Brugler told's Ethan Greenberg. "Chase Young is consistently disruptive, he can beat you in multiple areas with his power, quickness and his hands."


Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State

While team needs might make it tricky to determine Jeff Okudah's likely draft slot—he makes sense for the Lions, but Detroit seems a logical candidate to trade down—there is no disputing his placement at his position.

When it comes to 2020 cornerback prospects, it's Okudah and then everyone else.

"I was there for [Denzel] Ward and Marshon [Lattimore]," a former Ohio State assistant coach told B/R's Matt Miller. "Okudah is what would happen if you combined their positive traits."

Other than interception production (three in three years), he comes with everything evaluators want. He has size and athleticism, toughness and instincts, and his quiet leadership could give him control of a secondary (or even a locker room) sooner than later.


Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn

Despite being a regular in many top 10s and several top fives in the mock-draft world, Derrick Brown might still be underappreciated.

"In conversations with scouts this week, my belief that Auburn's Derrick Brown is being criminally overlooked was met with agreement," Miller wrote in December. "... Were it not for the dominance of Chase Young, Brown would be the clear-cut choice as the best lineman in the 2020 draft."

At 6'5" and 318 pounds, Brown certainly looks the part of an interior force. He's also a nimble mover for his size. Pro Football Focus didn't have him with a single missed tackle all season.

His burst off the ball is impressive, but the fact it didn't lead to more shiny statistics might contribute to the overlooked thing. He had 8.5 sacks over the past two seasons combined, or 0.5 more than Quinnen Williams—the No. 3 pick and top defensive tackle in last year's draft—tallied in 2018.


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