Mike Freeman's 10-Point Stance: NFL Coach Dishes on 1st-Round Draft Predictions

Mike Freeman@@mikefreemanNFLNFL National Lead WriterFebruary 19, 2020

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (9) wams up before the first half of the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game between LSU and Georgia, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
John Bazemore/Associated Press

Yes, we know you're already sick of mock drafts. But you won't be sick of this one.

In this special mockity mock drafty 10-Point Stance, we take our shot at predicting the first round with the unique analysis of a current NFC coach.

If there's one certainty in this year's draft, it's that the quarterback position will be front and center. That's often the case, but this year the QB draft order may be subject to the unusually large number of veteran throwers who may be on the move. Names like Teddy Bridgewater, Tom Brady and Philip Rivers may get some front offices to reconsider their draft boards. (Ironically enough, Rivers' Chargers are the team I keep hearing attached to Bridgewater.)

But all of that talk is theoretical at this time.

For now, let's get down to some of the best guesswork you'll find in this written space. But at least it's educated guesswork.

So enjoy and try not to drown in an abundance of mocks. Or at least have a beer while reading them. 


1. Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

Coach's take: "He's one of the more mentally tough college players I've ever seen. I'd think he'd be successful anywhere except Cincinnati. So many careers have died there. His probably will, too."


2. Washington: Chase Young, DE, Ohio State

Coach's take: "Will be Rookie of the Year next season."


3. Lions: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

Coach's take: "They're not picking a quarterback here. They can trade back and still get a top one. But I agree the Lions need a quarterback from this draft. [Matthew] Stafford is at the end. This is a chance for the Lions to make a [pick] who can finally make them competitive in the division."


4. Giants: Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama

Coach's take: "He's one of the best pure athletes in the draft." (Wills is 6'5" and 320 pounds.)


5. Dolphins: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

Coach's take: "He should be a second- or third-round pick. He was inconsistent as a player. He's so physically gifted (Herbert is 6'6" and an excellent runner) that teams will take chances on him. He's a two-year project, minimum."


6. Chargers: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State

Though the team's decision to part ways with Philip Rivers would appear to open the door to a quarterback here, I'm hearing more and more that Los Angeles wants to sign Bridgewater instead of drafting a new QB.

Coach's take: "I think [Okudah] goes to the Giants."


7. Panthers: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson

Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons had 67 solo tackles and eight sacks last season.
Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons had 67 solo tackles and eight sacks last season.Chris Seward/Associated Press/Associated Press

Coach's take: "His versatility will make him a high pick. A super athlete and fast."


8. Cardinals: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

Coach's take: "This is the second- or third-best wide receiver class of the past 20 or 30 years. That means a lot of teams might trade back because there are so many good ones. I wouldn't be stunned if there were only a few wide receivers taken in the first round. You don't need to draft them high."


9. Jaguars: Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn

Coach's take: "Derrick Henry not gonna stop himself." (Assuming Henry stays in Tennessee, which, as you'll read later, is no sure thing.)


10. Browns: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville

Coach's take: "That offensive line is a dumpster fire."


11. Jets: J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio State

This is a reach on my part. I get it. But Dobbins is far better than people know (at least that's the view of people in the league I talk to). There's also the fact that the Jets keep leaking nasty things to the media about Le'Veon Bell.

Coach's take: "The Jets have to decide as an organization if they want [Bell] or not. They don't seem to know."


12. Raiders: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa

If Brady doesn't re-sign with New England, this is where I believe he'll end up.

Coach's take: "What I feel pretty confident about is I'd be stunned if [quarterback] Derek Carr was the starter next season." 


13. Colts: Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina

Coach's take: "They're probably going quarterback here."


14. Buccaneers: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State

Coach's take: "Love is a third-round pick."


15. Broncos: K'Lavon Chaisson, DL, LSU

Coach's take: "They can get [quarterback Drew] Lock a good receiver in the second round. That defense needs more firepower." 


16. Falcons: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

Alabama's Jerry Jeudy hauled in 77 passes for 10 touchdowns in 2019.
Alabama's Jerry Jeudy hauled in 77 passes for 10 touchdowns in 2019.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

I know they already have one of the best receivers in the league in Julio Jones, but that offense needs another spark.

Coach's take: "They need a pass-rusher."


17. Cowboys: Grant Delpit, S, LSU

Coach's take: "Just look at Tyrann Mathieu to see how an athletic and smart safety can transform a defense."


18. Dolphins: Andrew Thomas, OL, Georgia

Coach's take: "He's very versatile. Just a solid player. Not spectacular but is the kind of guy you can always rely on."


19. Raiders: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU 

Coach: "We focus a lot on [Jon] Gruden and that offense, but they are actually building a solid defense."


20. Jaguars: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU

Coach's take: "He's a top-10 pick to me. If he falls this low, a team will get a nice bargain. He'll be one of better rookies next year."


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

Coach's take: "That entire receiving group needs an overhaul."


22. Bills: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

Coach's take: "If the Bills draft another good offensive player, that offense could be one of the best in football next year."


23. Patriots: A.J. Epenesa, DL, Iowa

Coach's take: "He's just OK. He benefitted more from a lot of the players around him."


24. Saints: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

Coach's take: "Just want to stress how many good receivers there are in this class. You could have Pro Bowlers picked in every round."


25. Vikings: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama

Coach's take: "If the Vikings can shore up their secondary, that's a Super Bowl team. It's not about [Kirk] Cousins. It's about that defense."


26. Dolphins: Josh Jones, OT, Houston

Houston's Josh Jones may be one of four offensive tackles to be drafted in the first round this year.
Houston's Josh Jones may be one of four offensive tackles to be drafted in the first round this year.Butch Dill/Associated Press/Associated Press

Coach's take: "Get a QB and then stock that offensive line."


27. Seahawks: Julian Okwara, DL, Notre Dame

Coach's take: "If the Seahawks can add more explosiveness to their defense, they would be really scary."


28. Ravens: Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU

Coach's take: "Put him with Lamar [Jackson], and an already great offense is even better."


29. Titans: Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin

Coach's take: "I think the Titans are going to let Derrick Henry go because they think he's too expensive." 


30. Packers: Jordyn Brooks, LB, Texas Tech

Coach's take: "Doesn't have the natural instincts but he can be taught. If he learns, could be a powerful addition to that defense."


31. 49ers: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama

Coach's take: "Very physical guy who would fit perfectly with what the 49ers do on defense."


32. Chiefs: Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU

Coach's take: "One of the fastest guys in the draft."


 Mike Freeman covers the NFL for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter: @mikefreemanNFL.