NFL Mock Draft 2020: Breaking Down Early Forecast for Entire 1st Round

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJanuary 18, 2020

Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons (11) during the first half of the Fiesta Bowl NCAA college football game against Ohio State, Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri).
Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

Now that the deadline has passed for underclassmen to declare for the 2020 NFL draft, we have a clearer picture of how the first round may play out.

A majority of the players who announced their intentions before the deadline came from the Clemson Tigers and LSU Tigers. In addition to projected No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow, as many as five participants from the College Football Playoff National Championship could be chosen in the first round.

Clemson's Isaiah Simmons has the potential to be the first linebacker off the board, while Grant Delpit could join the long list of LSU defensive backs taken in the opening round.


2020 NFL 1st-Round Mock Draft

1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU 

2. Washington Redskins: Chase Young, DE, 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, LB, Clemson

8. Arizona Cardinals: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia 

10. Cleveland Browns: A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa

11. New York Jets: Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama

12. Oakland Raiders: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn

13. Indianapolis Colts: Grant Delpit, S, LSU 

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: CJ Henderson, CB, Florida

15. Denver Broncos: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa

16. Atlanta Falcons: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina

17. Dallas Cowboys: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU 

18. Miami Dolphins (from Pittsburgh): Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

19. Oakland Raiders (from Chicago): Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado

20. Jacksonville Jaguars (from Los Angeles Rams): Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama

21. Philadelphia Eagles: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama

22. Buffalo Bills: Curtis Weaver, DE, Boise State

23. New England Patriots: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU 

24. New Orleans Saints: Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State

25. Minnesota Vikings: Raekwon Davis, DT, Alabama

26. Miami Dolphins (from Houston): Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia

27. Seattle Seahawks: Austin Jackson, OT, USC 

28. Baltimore Ravens: Julian Okwara, EDGE, Notre Dame

29. Tennessee Titans: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville 

30. Green Bay Packers: Tyler Biadasz, C, Wisconsin

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

32. San Francisco 49ers: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma

Positions 29-32 will be determined by the remaining NFL playoff games. 


Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson 

Luke Kuechly's retirement could play a role in the Carolina Panthers' draft strategy.

With quarterbacks Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert possibly off the board at No. 7, first-year head coach Matt Rhule could turn to Simmons to be the anchor of the defense.

The junior from Clemson is one of the most versatile players in the draft, as Draft Network's Jordan Reid pointed out during the first few drives of the CFP National Championship:

Jordan Reid @JReidNFL

Isaiah Simmons position counter through 3 drives: • Inside LB: 4 • Outside LB: 3 • Slot CB: 2 • Defensive End: 1 • Outside CB: 1 2 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 QB pressure, 1 pass breakup. #11 is a unicorn. There is no comparison for him.

Simmons finished as the third FBS player since 2005 with more than 100 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, eight sacks and two interceptions in a single season, per Clemson assistant athletic director for football communications Ross Taylor:

Ross Taylor @ClemsonFBRoss

Per data from @collegefb_ref, Isaiah Simmons is only the third FBS (and first Power Five) player since 2005 with 100+ tackles, 16+ TFLs, 8+ sacks and 2+ INTs in a season. Before Isaiah, it had most recently happened in 2013. The player? Khalil Mack.

The linebacker earned career highs in tackles, sacks, interceptions and passes defended as he helped the Tigers return to the title clash. In the final three games of his collegiate career, Simmons racked up 20 tackles, three passes defended, two interceptions and a sack.

If the Panthers spend the No. 7 pick on him, they could have another generational defensive player at their disposal.

Kuechly left a high standard to fill, as he produced 1,052 tackles, 18 interceptions and 12 sacks in his eight-year career.

If Simmons somehow drops past what seems to be a natural fit with Carolina, the Arizona Cardinals or Jacksonville Jaguars could use him. No matter where he lands, Simmons is expected to have a Kuechly-like impact on his NFL suitor because of how tenacious he plays.


Grant Delpit, S, LSU 

Delpit could end up as a solid addition for a team with a secondary need in the middle of the first round.

The Oakland Raiders might take him if they view Delpit as the best player available, but they selected Johnathan Abram at safety in the first round last year.

The Indianapolis Colts might be a good fit for the Jim Thorpe Award winner; his arrival would bolster their secondary around cornerbacks Pierre Desir and Kenny Moore II. Adding Delpit to a defensive backfield that also includes 2017 first-round pick Malik Hooker and 2019 second-round pick Rock Ya-Sin would give the Colts a young foundation to thrive with for years to come.

Delpit was effective in his final few games for the national champion, as he made 10 tackles and did not miss one in the SEC Championship and College Football Playoff, per Pro Football Focus College Football:

PFF College @PFF_College

Grant Delpit made 10 tackles and didn’t miss a single one throughout the conference championship and playoffs. He came through when it mattered most. https://t.co/f9xHSGdPWD

In the championship game, he was part of a LSU secondary that limited Clemson duo Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross to eight catches.

Delpit is in line to be the seventh LSU defensive back selected in the NFL draft in the past five years, and he could be the first taken in the first round since Jamal Adams and Tre'Davious White went No. 6 and No. 27, respectively, in 2017.


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90Statistics obtained from ESPN.com.