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

Martin FennContributor IIJanuary 26, 2020

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow holds the Heisman Trophy that is being presented to the school during a celebration of their NCAA college football championship, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge, La. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

While the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs are preparing for the Super Bowl, the 30 other NFL teams are gearing up for the offseason.

As odd as it might seem, the NFL Scouting Combine is just one month away. Players from around the country will have the opportunity to showcase their abilities in front of a host of pro scouts in the hopes of making an impact and boosting their draft stock.

NFL insiders believe LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is all but guaranteed to go No. 1 overall to the Cincinnati Bengals after he had one of the greatest seasons of any collegiate signal-caller in history.

But what about some of the other top prospects? How will Tua Tagovailoa's hip injury impact his stock? Who among star wideouts Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb and Tee Higgins will be off the board first?

Here is a look at how the first round of the 2020 NFL draft might play out plus some additional insight into where the top players could land.

2020 1st-Round Mock Draft

1. Cincinnati Bengals: QB Joe Burrow, LSU

2. Washington Redskins: EDGE Chase Young, Ohio State

3. Detroit Lions: CB Jeffrey Okudah, Ohio State

4. New York Giants: OLB Isaiah Simmons, Clemson

5. Miami Dolphins: QB Justin Herbert, Oregon

6. Los Angeles Chargers: QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama

7. Carolina Panthers: OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia

8. Arizona Cardinals: WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma

9. Jacksonville Jaguars: DT Derrick Brown, Auburn

10. Cleveland Browns: OT Mekhi Becton, Louisville

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

12. Las Vegas Raiders: WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama

13. Indianapolis Colts: WR Tee Higgins, Clemson

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: EDGE A.J.  Epenesa, Iowa

15. Denver Broncos: WR Henry Ruggs III, Alabama

16. Atlanta Falcons: DT Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina

17. Dallas Cowboys: CB C.J. Henderson, Florida

18. Miami Dolphins (from Pittsburgh): OT Tristan Wirfs, Iowa

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

20. Jacksonville Jaguars (from Los Angeles Rams): EDGE K'Lavon Chaisson, LSU

21. Philadelphia Eagles: WR Laviska Shenault Jr., Colorado

22. Buffalo Bills: WR Justin Jefferson, LSU

23. New England Patriots: S Xavier McKinney, Alabama

24. New Orleans Saints: WR K.J. Hamler, Penn State

25. Minnesota Vikings: CB Noah Igbinoghene, Auburn

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

27. Seattle Seahawks: DT Neville Gallimore, Oklahoma 

28. Baltimore Ravens: LB Patrick Queen, LSU

29. Tennessee Titans: EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State

30. Green Bay Packers: WR Michael Pittman Jr., USC

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

32. Kansas City Chiefs: CB Kristian Fulton, LSU

  

Redskins Need Plenty, But Young Too Good to Pass Up

Young is one of those rare edge rushers likely to be selected in the top three.
Young is one of those rare edge rushers likely to be selected in the top three.Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

Barring some kind of unforeseen circumstance—like a blockbuster trade for a quarterback, possibly—Chase Young will be the second player off the board after Burrow.

Young dominated in 2019, leading the nation with 16.5 sacks and seven forced fumbles despite missing two games as the result of a suspension due to improper acceptance of a personal loan. 

The 20-year-old has tremendous speed and lateral quickness off the edge, and he is one of those generational pass-rushers that is capable of making an immediate impact.

Washington's defense ranked towards the bottom of the NFL in defense-adjusted value over average (DVOA), according to Football Outsiders, which detracts from their sack and takeaway totals. 

Young could transform Washington's defense into the stingiest in the NFL because of his ability to terrorize opposing quarterbacks. That is probably too much to pass up, even if the Redskins might debate making a move for a quarterback of their own.

   

Chargers Draft Tua as Rivers' Successor

How will Tua's hip injury impact his draft stock?
How will Tua's hip injury impact his draft stock?Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press

There is no telling whether the Chargers will decide to bring back veteran quarterback Philip Rivers, who will be a free agent this spring and is coming off an immensely frustrating season.

Regardless, Los Angles might draft a quarterback with the sixth pick. Even if they bring Rivers back, he is only likely to be the gatekeeper for a season or two. This makes Tua Tagovailoa the perfect selection.

Sure, there is no telling yet how the hip injury might impact his mobility or throwing motion, but the Alabama star is one of the better quarterback prospects in recent memory. 

Tagovailoa was on track for the best season of his collegiate career in 2019, throwing for 2,840 yards and 33 touchdowns (against just three interceptions) through nine games. Tua also completed over 71 percent of his pass attempts, and he finished his Crimson Tide career as the NCAA's all-time leader in passing yards per attempt (10.9) and adjusted passing yards per attempt (12.7), according to Sports Reference.

There is also the chance the Dolphins could select Tagovailoa with the No. 5 overall pick, but the guess here is they pass on him due to concerns about the injury, paving the way for the Chargers to take Tua with the next selection.

    

Lamb Reunited with Kyler Murray

Lamb might be reunited with former college QB, Kyler Murray.
Lamb might be reunited with former college QB, Kyler Murray.Jeffrey McWhorter/Associated Press

    

The Cardinals could certainly use some upgrades on the offensive line to protect Murray. They conceded 50 sacks last season, according to NFL.com. However, Arizona are also in desperate need of offensive playmakers.

Outside of Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk, the Cardinals lack reliable wideouts that can create separation and provide home-run touchdown catches at the drop of a hat. Lamb is that kind of talent.

Murray's former teammate had a huge junior season, catching 62 passes for 1,327 yards while leading the Big 12 in yards per reception (21.4) and receiving touchdowns (14). Lamb also established a good rapport with Murray in 2018, when he caught 65 balls for 1,158 yards and 11 scores.

Moreover, Lamb is a capable special teams player. He led the Big 12 with 12.8 yards per punt return in 2018, offering value even beyond his receiving abilities.

It might not be a surprise for Kliff Kingsbury to go after Lamb, who might be the best receiver in the draft and already has chemistry with Arizona's franchise quarterback.

   

All stats obtained via Sports Reference, unless otherwise noted.

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