NFL Mock Draft 2020: Latest 1st-Round Predictions for Top Prospects in Class

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistMarch 9, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 27: Quarterback Jordan Love of Utah State throws a pass during the NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 27, 2020 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

With the combine behind us and NFL free agency just hitting peak rumors phase, the 2020 NFL draft is starting to come into focus. 

We aren't there quite yet. Teams' offseason plans are still shrouded in mystery and anonymous-source reporting. Still, the combine and the accompanying rumors are there to shape perceptions about how the first round will shake out come April. 

Names like Joe Burrow, Chase Young and even Jeff Okudah are likely unaffected unless blockbuster trades happen, but there are plenty of big names who have seen their pre-draft momentum shift and move up mock drafts across the league. 

Here's a complete rundown of the first round and a look at some of the storylines that will shape the draft this season surrounding top prospects.  


2020 NFL Mock Draft

1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

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

3. Detroit Lions: Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State

4. New York Giants: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson

5. Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

6. Los Angeles Chargers: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State

7. Carolina Panthers: Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn

8. Arizona Cardinals: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama

9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville

10. Cleveland Browns: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa

11. New York Jets: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

12. Las Vegas Raiders: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

13. Indianapolis Colts: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina

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): Josh Jones, OT, Houston

19. Las Vegas Raiders (from Chicago): Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU

20. Jacksonville Jaguars (from Rams): CJ Henderson, CB, Florida

21. Philadelphia Eagles: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

22. Buffalo Bills: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU

23. New England Patriots: A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa

24. New Orleans Saints: Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU

25. Minnesota Vikings: Austin Jackson, OT, USC

26. Miami Dolphins (from Houston): J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio State

27. Seattle Seahawks: Lucas Niang, OT, TCU

28. Baltimore Ravens: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU

29. Tennessee Titans: Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin

30. Green Bay Packers: Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU

31. San Francisco 49ers: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama

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


Jordan Love vs. Justin Herbert: The Battle to be the Third Quarterback

The overwhelming conventional wisdom is that Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa are going to be the first and second quarterbacks taken in April. Whether someone will trade up to take the Alabama product is an interesting storyline, but there seems to be little doubt he'll be the second signal-caller taken. 

The third quarterback taken is where the real intrigue starts. 

If the draft order remains (unlikely), then the Chargers are likely going to be the team that decides who goes third. With Philip Rivers walking out the door, the future is now in Los Angeles. 

In one corner is Herbert. He's big (6'6" 236 pounds), he has a strong arm and was generally a good decision-maker at Oregon (single-digit interceptions every year for four seasons). 

In the other is Love, who also has prototypical size (6'4" 224 pounds), a quicker release and a penchant for extending plays. 

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

Here we go: @McShay13 bet @MelKiperESPN $5,000 that Jordan Love will go ahead of Justin Herbert in April’s draft; loser of the bet sends $5,000 to the @TheVFoundation. https://t.co/Ix5dDnPFgt

Herbert actually tested as the better athlete at the combine. His 40-time and three-cone drill were faster than his counterpart, but Love shows more willingness to improvise. Of course, that improvisation has led to issues with turnovers. 

He had 17 interceptions in his final season at Utah State. But teams may convince themselves they can coach him out of those mistakes or that was a result of sub-par talent surrounding him. 

The Chargers just got done with a big, strong-armed quarterback in Rivers. Love might not be a better prospect, but he is the one who is further removed from their former quarterback's game. Love's ability to improvise, throw from different angles and make "wow" plays are dangerously close to the kind of things Patrick Mahomes did at Texas Tech. 

That's not saying he is Mahomes. It is saying that he could convince an NFL franchise he could be. 


How Many Running Backs will Go in the First Round?

Every year it seems like the value of running backs gets discussed around the NFL draft. 

There is a difference in talent at the running back position, no doubt, but the impact that has on production is up for debate. So the question of whether first-round running backs will still be a thing come April is an interesting topic. 

Last season, Josh Jacobs was the only one as the Raiders took him with the 24th pick. This year, there's a trio of backs who could be taken in the top 32: Georgia's D'Andre Swift, Ohio State's J.K. Dobbins and Wisconsin's Jonathan Taylor.

In this mock, Dobbins goes first because of one thing: explosiveness. If you're going to spend a top pick on a running back, it better be on someone who can create big plays, and Dobbins was one of the most explosive players in college football last season. 

The Ohio State product was tied for second in the nation for runs of more than 20 yards. Only Malcolm Perry of Navy had more. Jonathan Taylor is the big name right now because he ran a 4.39 at 226 pounds. Dobbins elected not to run at the combine, but the tape speaks for itself. 

Next Gen Stats @NextGenStats

Who were the most productive running backs in college from the 2020 draft class? Jonathan Taylor (Wisconsin) and J.K. Dobbins (Ohio State) sit atop our Production Score rankings, which represents the on-field statistics that best predict NFL success. https://t.co/66AeR7gJKB

As for Taylor, he could also find a home in the first round. The Titans have a tough decision ahead with Derrick Henry. The bruising back led them to the AFC Championship Game, but he's set to become a free agent. 

If they elect to franchise Henry and make one more run with their stud running back, they'll still need a long-term answer at the position. If they elect to give him a long-term deal, they'll need to develop more depth at the position so they don't wear him down over the course of the contract. 

If they let him walk entirely, they'll need a new bell-cow. 

Either way, Taylor makes a lot of sense if Mike Vrabel wants to continue the Titans' reputation for wearing opposing defenses down with a brutal run game so they can hit defenses over the top with AJ Brown.