NFL Mock Draft 2020: 1st-Round Projections for Most Exalted Prospects

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistFebruary 8, 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

While every NFL draft pick is a dice roll to some extent, top prospects are regarded as such for a reason.

They still have bust potential, but they are less likely to deliver nothing (and more likely to become an impact contributor).

The 2020 draft class has several different prospect tiers in the opening round, but we're focused on the elites. We'll break down the top three players on our board after laying out our mock first round.


NFL Mock Draft 2020

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: Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama

5. Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

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

7. Carolina Panthers: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson

8. Arizona Cardinals: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn

10. Cleveland Browns: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville

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

12. Las Vegas Raiders: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

13. Indianapolis Colts: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State

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

15. Denver Broncos: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

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

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

18. Miami Dolphins (via Pittsburgh Steelers): Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia

19. Las Vegas 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: K'Lavon Chaisson, Edge, LSU

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

25. Minnesota Vikings: Neville Gallimore, DT, Oklahoma

26. Miami Dolphins (via Houston Texans): Terrell Lewis, Edge, Alabama

27. Seattle Seahawks: Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU

28. Baltimore Ravens: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU

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

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

31. San Francisco 49ers: Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado

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


Top 3 2020 NFL Draft Prospects

Chase Young, Edge, Ohio State

A healthy Von Miller is a perennial Pro Bowler and the ultimate disruptive force. He's played nine seasons in the NFL and recorded double-digit sacks in seven of them. He earned MVP honors in Super Bowl 50 with 2.5 sacks, including two strip-sacks.

Why so much Miller talk to start our section on Chase Young. Well, we'll let ESPN's Todd McShay explain.

"Young is the best edge-rushing prospect I've seen since Von Miller entered the draft," McShay wrote.

That's high praise, but it's deserved. Young totaled 27 sacks the past two seasons. For comparison's sake, Miller had 27.5 his final two years at Texas A&M. If Young pans out, he's good enough to transform an NFL defense.


Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

You know the old adage about how it's not where you start but how you finish? That may as well be the title of Joe Burrow's college story.

He wasn't a top-250 recruit in high school (247Sports had him 280th in 2015). He couldn't see the field at Ohio State so he transferred to LSU as a redshirt junior in 2018. His first season with the Tigers was solid but in no way spectacular: 57.8 percent passing for 2,894 yards and 16 touchdowns with five interceptions.

Considering where he sits now, he obviously blew up this past seasonand even that's an understatement.

Frankly, he authored one of the finest college campaigns we've ever seen from a quarterback. He was 402-of-527 (76.3 percent) for 5,671 yards with 60 touchdowns and six interceptions. He threw at least four touchdown passes in nine different games, including the National Championship, when he burned the Clemson Tigers for five scores (plus a rushing touchdown) without an interception.

"Joe Burrow features a high-level skill set with the makeup of being a dynamic franchise quarterback," Joe Marino wrote for the Draft Network. "His blend of accuracy, ability to handle pressure, mechanics and mental processing skills are all blue-chip traits that make him NFL-ready in Year One."


Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State

Despite what our mock predicts, there's a decent chance Jeff Okudah isn't the third overall pick. He's the best cornerback in this class (comfortably), but the Detroit Lions might decide that's not enough to pass up the opportunity to trade down with a quarterback-needy club (and if the Lions find the right trade partner, they might still have a path to Okudah).

He's the latest product of DBU (or BIA, as in Best in America) and one of the better prospects to come out of this program. As a former Ohio State assistant coach who worked with Denzel Ward and Marshon Lattimore put it, "Okudah is what would happen if you combined their positive traits," per Bleacher Report's Matt Miller.

Ward made the Pro Bowl as a rookie. Lattimore has earned that distinction twice in three seasons. Again, we're looking at an elite prospect.

The 6'1", 200-pound Okudah is a shutdown corner in man coverage and capable of handling his zone. He's athletic, physical and mobile enough to mirror receivers' routes as they run them. He can handle the secondary's toughest assignment right now, and any defense will be glad to get him.