NFL Mock Draft 2020: Projections for 1st-Round Prospects Post-Free Agency Week 1

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistMarch 22, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 27: Quarterback Jordan Love of Utah State looks on 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

After months of mock draft projections, the first week of NFL free agency moved around the potential pieces to the puzzle again. Beyond the top two, maybe three, picks, the first round remains a mystery.

Joe Burrow and Chase Young seem like locks to go Nos. 1 and 2 to the Cincinnati Bengals and Washington Redskins, respectively. Perhaps the Detroit Lions select Jeffrey Okudah after dealing cornerback Darius Slay to the Philadelphia Eagles.

The rest is up to your imagination.

Following the first week of free agency, we will take a look at possible outcomes for the top 32 picks. We will then dig deeper into three teams that may have new draft plans because of splashy acquisitions or an active run on the open market.


2020 1st-Round Mock Draft

1. Cincinnati Bengals: QB Joe Burrow, LSU

2. Washington Redskins: EDGE Chase Young, Ohio State

3. Detroit Lions: CB Jeffrey Okudah, Ohio State

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

5. Miami Dolphins: QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama

6. Los Angeles Chargers: QB Justin Herbert, Oregon

7. Carolina Panthers: Isaiah Simmons LB/S, Clemson

8. Arizona Cardinals: OT Tristan Wirfs, Iowa

9. Jacksonville Jaguars: WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama

10. Cleveland Browns: OT Mekhi Becton, Louisville

11. New York Jets: OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia

12. Las Vegas Raiders: WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma

13. San Francisco 49ers (from Indianapolis): DT Derrick Brown, Auburn

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: QB Jordan Love, Utah State

15. Denver Broncos: WR Henry Ruggs III, Alabama

16. Atlanta Falcons: CB C.J. Henderson, Florida

17. Dallas Cowboys: DE A.J. Epenesa, Iowa

18. Miami Dolphins (from Pittsburgh): OT Josh Jones, Houston

19. Las Vegas Raiders (from Chicago): S Xavier McKinney, Alabama

20. Jacksonville Jaguars (from Los Angeles Rams): CB Kristian Fulton, LSU

21. Philadelphia Eagles: LB Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma

22. Minnesota Vikings: WR Justin Jefferson, LSU

23. New England Patriots: EDGE K'Lavon Chaisson, LSU

24. New Orleans Saints: LB Patrick Queen, LSU

25. Minnesota Vikings: DE Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State

26. Miami Dolphins: RB D'Andre Swift, Georgia

27. Seattle Seahawks: C Cesar Ruiz, Michigan

28. Baltimore Ravens: S Grant Delpit, LSU

29. Tennessee Titans: DL Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina

30. Green Bay Packers: WR Denzel Mims, Baylor

31. San Francisco 49ers: WR Tee Higgins, Clemson

32. Kansas City Chiefs: CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama


49ers Keep Defensive Line Strong with DL Derrick Brown

Butch Dill/Associated Press

The San Francisco 49ers traded defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts for the 13th overall pick on Monday. That transaction puts general manager John Lynch in a position to consider multiple quality options.

The 49ers can target a starting-caliber wide receiver, pick up a top cornerback to slot behind Richard Sherman and Ahkello Witherspoon, who are going into contract years, or replenish talent on the defensive line.

In this mock, several teams selected quarterbacks and offensive tackles within the top 10, leaving a blue-chip prospect on the board at No. 13. The 49ers can't say no to Derrick Brown in this spot—especially following Buckner's exit.

Brown isn't an elite athlete with gaudy sack numbers on the collegiate level, but he's a solid addition to a 49ers front line that ranked 17th against the run last year. The Auburn product would also occupy blocks to keep linebackers Kwon Alexander and Fred Warner clean in their pursuit to make plays.

We can't dismiss Brown's ability to rush the passer. He's not an agile 6'5", 326-pounder, but the Auburn product possesses the raw power and strength to manhandle finesse offensive linemen in the trenches. The burly interior tackle will win some one-on-one matchups on passing downs.

Arguably the best defensive lineman in this year's class, Brown goes to San Francisco and joins a strong unit. The talent around him should help to elevate his game.


Buccaneers Select QB Jordan Love as Tom Brady's Potential Successor

Eli Lucero/Associated Press

Tom Brady shocked the NFL landscape with his choice to leave the New England Patriots for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Despite all the buzz around the organization, general manager Jason Licht must devise a plan for the future at the position with a soon-to-be 43-year-old starting signal-caller.

In a draft loaded with talent at offensive tackle, the Buccaneers can add a second-round prospect to compete with Joe Haeg for the starting spot on the right side.

Licht could also take a running back to pair with Ronald Jones II or an interior defensive lineman on Day 2. Both positions are needs, but the Buccaneers must find Brady's potential successor early if they are expecting to pick late in rounds while he's under center for the next couple of years.

Tampa Bay is the perfect spot for Jordan Love. He can sit for two years and learn behind one of the greatest to play the quarterback position.

Love possesses all the physical tools to find success on the pro level. His arm strength, mobility and pocket presence check the boxes for a potential starter. Yet the Utah State product has to put all his attributes together and marry them with more field savvy and anticipation.

Even though Love completes plays all over the field, he could do a better job at throwing receivers open rather than waiting for wide-open windows. With a hesitation to let the ball go, he will allow more turnover possibilities. The young signal-caller could sponge knowledge from Brady, which may help him in those areas.

In 2019, Love had a down year, but he lost his head coach, offensive coordinator, top two wide receivers and starting running back. After two years in the same system behind Brady, he should be ready to take the helm. This pick is more about the Buccaneers' future than the 2020 season.


Raiders Add S Xavier McKinney to Bolster Secondary 

Sam Craft/Associated Press

Overall, the Las Vegas Raiders acquired a solid group of free agents. More importantly, team brass addressed the roster's biggest need at linebacker, signing arguably the top player at the position in Cory Littleton, as well as Nick Kwiatkoski.

Still, you win can't win them all. The Raiders missed on cornerbacks Byron Jones and Chris Harris Jr. And the front office went cold on Slay because of the potential cost for his new deal, per Vic Tafur of The Athletic.

"The Eagles then extended Slay's contract and made him the NFL's highest-paid corner with a three-year, $50 million contract," Tafur wrote. "It's my understanding that the Raiders weren't going to go that high, as they thought Jones was clearly better."

The Raiders will try to tap into cornerback Eli Apple's potential. The 2016 first-rounder has had good moments mixed with some missed opportunities, which sums up an inconsistent four-year showing. Although he's not a lock to start opposite Trayvon Mullen, the 24-year-old will have a chance at the spot.

The Raiders didn't re-sign Karl Joseph, who signed with the Cleveland Browns, and Johnathan Abram has played one NFL game after a torn labrum ended his rookie campaign.

While many mock-drafters may lock into a cornerback for the Raiders in the first round, don't overlook the safeties following Joseph's departure. Abram is still an unknown on the pro level.

Xavier McKinney should gain more traction as a possibility for Vegas. In two years with the Raiders, defensive coordinator Paul Guenther has used one defensive back as a chess piece. In 2018, Marcus Gilchrist played both safety spots and the slot. In the second half of the last season, the coaching staff used Daryl Worley as a hybrid safety.

McKinney can play both safety roles and line up in the slot. The Alabama product's natural football instincts, coverage ability, efficient tackling and game speed should see him excel at all three positions in the NFL.

In three collegiate terms, McKinney did it all, logging 175 tackles, 13 for loss, six sacks, five interceptions and 15 pass breakups. Together, he and Abram could become a strong safety duo. If the Raiders have a change of heart and move Lamarcus Joyner to the deep middle, the rookie can effectively man the slot.


All signings and extensions are relayed from Spotrac.