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2020 NFL Mock Draft: 1st-Round Predictions and Prospects to Watch

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistMarch 1, 2020

Clemson LB Isaiah Simmons
Clemson LB Isaiah SimmonsMichael Conroy/Associated Press

The 2020 NFL Scouting Combine is almost at an end. Defensive backs will work out on Sunday, and then all prospects, agents and NFL decision-makers will depart Indianapolis and move on to the next stages of their respective offseasons.

This doesn't mean that the combine is finished making its mark on the pre-draft process, though. On the contrary, it's just getting started.

Teams now have even more to consider. The workouts, interviews and medical evaluations of the past week have placed several players under the proverbial microscope—for reasons both positive and negative—heading into the final stretch before April's draft.

      

Mock Draft

1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

2. Washington Redskins: Chase Young, Edge, Ohio State

3. Detroit Lions: Isaiah Simmons, OLB, Clemson

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

5. Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

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

7. Carolina Panthers: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State

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: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

12. Las Vegas Raiders: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

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

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

15. Denver Broncos: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia

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

17. Dallas Cowboys: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama

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

19. Las Vegas Raiders (from Chicago): Zack Baun, Edge, Wisconsin

20. Jacksonville Jaguars (from Rams): Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama

21. Philadelphia Eagles: CJ Henderson, CB, Florida

22. Buffalo Bills: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

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

24. New Orleans Saints: Jacob Eason, QB, Washington

25. Minnesota Vikings: Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia

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

27. Seattle Seahawks: Yetur Gross-Matos, Edge, Penn State

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

29. Tennessee Titans: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU

30. Green Bay Packers: Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado

31. San Francisco 49ers: Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU

32. Kansas City Chiefs: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma

     

Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson

Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons is the epitome of a modern NFL hybrid defender. He played both linebacker and defensive back for the Tigers and excelled in virtually every scenario and role. Some believed that a strong combine showing would place him in the early first-round conversation.

"I genuinely believe Simmons will receive top-5 overall buzz after the combine," CBS Sports Chris Trapasso wrote.

Well, the time for that buzz has come. Simmons absolutely destroyed his workouts on Saturday, posting a 39-inch vertical, an 11-foot broad jump and a 4.39-second 40-yard dash.

To put that last number into perspective, only three wide receivers ran faster than a 4.39 at this year's combine.

Because of the value of edge-rushers, Simmons probably won't overtake Chase Young as the top defensive prospect in this class. However, teams could be eager to trade up and get him, and the 21-year-old's rise will be worth following over the next two months.

    

CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

Like Simmons, Alabama wide receiver Henry Ruggs III was one of the combine's stars because of his speed—he posted a 4.27-second 40. Oklahoma wideout CeeDee Lamb was a few ticks slower, running a 4.5 flat, but he could still wind up being the first receiver off the board.

At 6'2" and 198 pounds, Lamb has archetypal size for an outside NFL receiver, and his ability to go up and get the ball is reminiscent of DeAndre Hopkins.

"He is one of the best contested-catch guys that I've ever scouted, and his hand-eye coordination is off the charts," NFL.com's Bucky Brooks wrote. "As a big-play specialist, Lamb combines his exceptional pass-catching skills with explosive running ability in the open field."

Teams could spend the next few months deciding whether Lamb or Alabama's Jerry Jeudy deserves to be at the top of their draft boards.

While Lamb wasn't a top performer in the 40-yard dash, his playing speed is what should matter to prospective NFL employers. Expect teams to pore over his game film—likely talking themselves into Lamb along the way.

     

Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado

Teams will be evaluating Colorado wideout Laviska Shenault Jr. over the next two months, though for a different reason. The 21-year old is expected to undergo core muscle surgery following the combine, according to Mike Klis of 9 News Denver:

Mike Klis @MikeKlis

Source confirms reports CU WR Laviska Shenault Jr. having core muscle surgery Tuesday. Explains why he ran disappointing 4.58 40 at Combine Thursday then didn’t take second 40 attempt. No Pro Day in two weeks at CU. #9sports

This is problematic for teams hoping to evaluate Shenault's physical toolbox. As Klis pointed out, the wideout ran a disappointing 40 and won't be a part of Colorado's pro day. Shenault completed 17 reps of the 225-pound bench press but didn't participate in other drills.

Teams will now have to pursue other avenues to evaluate Shenault ahead of the draft.

The 6'1", 227-pound pass-catcher produced 764 yards on 56 receptions for the Buffaloes last season. While those raw numbers might not seem impressive, it's worth noting that Shenault was responsible for more than 26 percent of Colorado's receiving yards in 2019.

Surgery could affect Shenault's stock, but it would be a surprise if he fell past the second round.  

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