NFL Draft 2020: Updated Mock Draft Ahead of Conference Championships

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistJanuary 16, 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

There's one more round of NFL playoff action before Super Bowl LIV. By the end of Sunday evening, we'll know which two teams have a shot at this year's crown.

For the 28 teams that no longer have a chance—those not named the San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs, Tennessee Titans or Green Bay Packers—the focus is already on trying to make it to Super Bowl LV in Tampa.

Making the right choices in this year's draft will go a long way toward helping teams in the 2020 season and beyond. It all starts with the Cincinnati Bengals and the No. 1 pick, and here, we'll examine how the first round might unfold, along with some of the latest draft-related buzz.


2020 NFL Mock Draft

1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

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

3. Detroit Lions: Isaiah Simmons, OLB, Clemson

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

5. Miami Dolphins: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

6. Los Angeles Chargers: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

7. Carolina Panthers: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State

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: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama

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

19. Oakland Raiders (from Chicago): Julian Okwara, DE, Notre Dame

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

21. Philadelphia Eagles: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma 

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

23. New England Patriots: Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia

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

25. Minnesota Vikings: CJ Henderson, CB, Florida

26. Miami Dolphins (from Houston): Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU

27. Seattle Seahawks: Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU

28. Baltimore Ravens: Terrell Lewis, EDGE, Alabama

29. Tennessee Titans: Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State

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

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

32. San Francisco 49ers: Grant Delpit, S, LSU


A.J. Epenesa Makes It Official

Orlando Ramirez/Associated Press

Though he isn't expected to be the first pass-rusher off the board—that will be Ohio State phenom Chase Young—Iowa's A.J. Epenesa projects as a near-lock for the first round.

The Hawkeyes standout possesses a great combination of length (6'6", 280 lbs), physicality and quickness off the edge. He also had the sort of consistent production that will catch the eye of NFL decision-makers: 10.5 sacks and 16.5 tackles for a loss in 2018 and 11.5 sacks and 14.5 tackles for a loss this past season.

Fortunately for teams in need of edge-rushing help, Epenesa made his entry into the draft pool official earlier this week: "I have decided to follow another childhood dream and enter the 2020 NFL draft."

Teams without a realistic shot at Young are likely to study Epenesa intensely over the next few months.


Bengals Are Intrigued by Burrow

David J. Phillip/Associated Press

Young is talented enough of a pass-rusher that the Bengals will likely at least consider him with the No. 1 pick. However, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, who just capped perhaps the best-ever season by a collegiate quarterback, may force Cincinnati to go with a signal-caller.

While quarterback is not the Bengals' biggest weakness, Burrow has the potential to be a perennial Pro Bowler at the next level. That's a difficult possibility to pass up, and the Bengals coaching staff is already intrigued by the possibility of grasping it.

"He definitely checks off a lot of boxes early on in the evaluation process," Bengals quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt said, via the team's official website. "He obviously looks like a very intriguing guy."

Conventional wisdom would suggest that the Bengals scoop up the Ohio native and solidify the team's most important position for the next decade. However, Cincinnati will have options. Trading away a shot at Burrow would likely earn Cincinnati multiple players and first-round picks in return.

For a franchise that needs to upgrade multiple positions on its roster, the potential to turn one pick into many will also be intriguing.


Jake Fromm Might Be a 1st-Round Pick

Bill Feig/Associated Press

With Burrow almost certain to go No. 1 and Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa likely to be an early pick if healthy—he's expected to throw for teams prior to the draft—at least two quarterbacks appear set for the first round. Oregon's Justin Herbert could be the third, and according to ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay, Georgia's Jake Fromm might be the fourth.

McShay recently listed Fromm as his 28th overall prospect.

"There's a reason talented quarterbacks such as Justin Fields and Jacob Eason kept transferring out of Georgia," McShay wrote. "Though he is the least physically gifted of the top five quarterbacks in the class, Fromm is the type of QB who will always find a way to win and excel with high-end football intelligence. He is an elite competitor, a tough kid and a real grinder."

Fromm, who announced his entry into the draft last week, should interest teams at the bottom of Round 1 or early on Day 2. As McShay mentioned, Fromm doesn't leap off of film physically, but he'll have an opportunity to change the perception at the NFL Scouting Combine.


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