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

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistFebruary 9, 2020

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (9) works against Oklahoma during the first half of the Peach Bowl NCAA semifinal college football playoff game, Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)
John Amis/Associated Press

The NFL offseason has officially arrived, and with it comes the pre-draft process. The Senior Bowl and East-West Shrine Game are both in the rearview, and the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine is on the near horizon.

The list of 337 combine participants was announced Friday.

While the combine won't feature every potential 2020 draft selection—33 players who didn't receive invites were drafted last year—it is a good starting point for fans looking to familiarize themselves with the top prospects.

On the first night of the draft (April 23), 32 of those top prospects will officially become members of the National Football League.

                    

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: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State

4. New York Giants: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

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:  Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn

10. Cleveland Browns: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia

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

12. Las Vegas Raiders: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

13. Indianapolis Colts: Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina

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

15. Denver Broncos: Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama

16. Atlanta Falcons: K'Lavon Chaisson, Edge, LSU

17. Dallas Cowboys: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama

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

19. Las Vegas Raiders (from Chicago): Patrick Queen, LB, LSU

20. Jacksonville Jaguars (from Rams): Julian Okwara, DE, Notre Dame

21. Philadelphia Eagles: CJ Henderson, CB, Florida

22. Buffalo Bills: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

23. New England Patriots: Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado

24. New Orleans Saints: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State

25. Minnesota Vikings: Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia

26. Miami Dolphins (from Houston): Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma

27. Seattle Seahawks: Curtis Weaver, DE, Boise State

28. Baltimore Ravens: Zack Baun, Edge, Wisconsin

29. Tennessee Titans: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville

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

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

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

              

Is Joe Burrow Down on Cincinnati?

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is likely to be taken No. 1 overall by the Cincinnati Bengals. This doesn't necessarily mean that he wants to be, however. While Burrow hasn't openly said that he would like to avoid the franchise, he hasn't thrown his support Cincinnati's way, either.

Burrow's father, Jimmy Burrow, tried to change the narrative but largely failed to do so.

"Not sure where that information is coming from," Jimmy Burrow told FOX19 NOW. "We are all excited that Joe has put himself in a position to be considered as a possible high draft choice."

This too is not a ringing endorsement of the Bengals. Burrow is training with Jordan Palmer ahead of the draft, per The MMQB's Albert Breer. Palmer is the brother of former Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer, who recently ripped the Bengals organization.

"I never felt like the organization was really trying to win a Super Bowl," Palmer told CBS Sports Radio.

It's not like Burrow has to fall all over himself giving the Bengals love, either. He simply needs to give off the idea that he would be willing to embrace the franchise and the city of Cincinnati.

Two years ago, Baker Mayfield refused to shy away from the prospect of being drafted by the Cleveland Browns—an even more dysfunctional franchise than Cincinnati.

"I'd love that," Mayfield said, per Bleacher Report's Alec Nathan. "...They're very close. They have the right pieces. I think they just need one guy at quarterback to make that difference."

Burrow may not have a problem with going to Cincinnati. Until he says as much, however, speculation about his desire to be drafted elsewhere will continue.

                  

Patriots Will Need to Add Weapons

There's a chance that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will be playing for a different franchise in 2020. If the Patriots hope to keep him—and keep him happy—they need to upgrade the talent around him. Simply paying him likely won't be enough.

"He has always wanted to make whatever money he makes but to make sure they have weapons," NFL Media's Ian Rapoport told WEEI. "It seems to me like making sure the team is better is as important, if not more important to Brady than maximizing every dollar."

A lack of weapons is largely what kept New England from advancing past the Wild Card Round in 2019. Having a patchwork offensive line didn't help, but the Patriots struggled to stretch the field or even threaten to do so. This led to a one-dimensional offense that often struggled to find running room, strike quickly or come from behind. Brady won't want to walk back into a similar situation.

Expect New England to aggressively pursue pass-catchers in free agency and to consider them again early in the draft.

The Patriots will likely take a different approach if Brady goes elsewhere in free agency, A quarterback like Utah State's Jordan Love could then be the selection. Assuming Brady is back, however, a prospect like Colorado's Laviska Shenault Jr. could be the perfect pick.

Shenault is an athletic, speedy receiver who can play outside or in the slot. That's the sort of schematic versatility head coach Bill Belichick loves, and he would be a fantastic complement to 2019 first-round pick and possession man N'Keal Harry.

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