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

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistMarch 27, 2020

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JANUARY 01: Denzel Mims #5 of the Baylor Bears catches a pass over DJ Daniel #14 of the Georgia Bulldogs during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at Mercedes Benz Superdome on January 01, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Normally at this time of the year, fans are becoming more familiar with some of the top NFL draft prospects because of pro day coverage and pre-draft visits. That isn't the case in 2020, as the league's ban on visits and travel has left fans looking to the collegiate season, the Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine for their information.

This isn't a factor for the serious college football fans who have followed these prospects over the past several years. For casual fans, however, this could leave them a little less informed on players who haven't been national stars—the Joe Burrows, Tua Tagovailoas and Chase Youngs of the world.

This does not mean that your favorite team isn't getting a gem in the first round by drafting a player with whom you are less familiar.

Here we will dig into some of the overlooked potential first-rounders who are worth watching. First, though, an updated Round 1 mock.


2020 NFL Mock Draft

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

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

7. Carolina Panthers: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson

8. Arizona Cardinals: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa

9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn

10. Cleveland Browns: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville

11. New York Jets: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

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

13. San Francisco 49ers (from Indianapolis): Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia

15. Denver Broncos: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

16. Atlanta Falcons: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama

17. Dallas Cowboys: K'Lavon Chaisson, Edge, LSU

18. Miami Dolphins (from Pittsburgh): Austin Jackson, OT, USC

19. Las Vegas Raiders (from Chicago): CJ Henderson, CB, Florida

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

21. Philadelphia Eagles: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU

22. Minnesota Vikings (from Buffalo): Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah

23. New England Patriots: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State

24. New Orleans Saints: Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor

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

26. Miami Dolphins (from Houston): A.J. Epenesa, Edge, Iowa

27. Seattle Seahawks: Joshua Jones, OT, Houston

28. Baltimore Ravens: Curtis Weaver, Edge, Boise State

29. Tennessee Titans: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU

30. Green Bay Packers: Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame

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

32. Kansas City Chiefs: Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State


Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor

Casual fans are likely familiar with wide receivers like Alabama's Jerry Jeudy and Oklahoma's CeeDee Lamb. They may be less familiar with Baylor wideout Denzel Mims, however.

For one, Mims played on a Baylor team that was awful in 2018, so there wasn't a lot of buzz coming into this past season. Though the Bears finished 11-3 and ranked 13th in the nation, they were not title contenders. Still, Mims was extremely productive in 2019—he had 1,020 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns—and he's consequently likely risen up draft boards throughout the pre-draft process.

"Mims was dominant throughout multiple practices, illustrating more diverse route running abilities than what many of his reps at Baylor involved," Kyle Crabbs of the Draft Network wrote of Mims' practices at the Senior Bowl.

The 6'3", 207-pound pass-catcher then ran a 4.38-second 40, put up 16 reps on the 225-pound bench press, logged a 38.5-inch vertical and a 131-inch broad jump at the combine.

It's difficult to know which teams are high on Mims given their inability to attend pro days or schedule individual visits. In what is considered a deep wide receiver class, however, he's going to be a sneaky-good pickup for someone.


Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State

Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

While Ohio State cornerback Damon Arnette was often in the national spotlight this past season, he's been largely overshadowed by teammate and potential top-five draft selection Jeff Okudah.

Okudah is expected to be a Day 1 starter and a perennial Pro Bowl talent. Arnette, on the other hand, isn't viewed as a near-can't-miss prospect. However, this doesn't mean that he won't be a fantastic pro.

Arnette appeared in at least 13 games in each of his collegiate seasons. He finished this past season with 35 tackles, eight passes defended, a forced fumble and am interceptions that he took 96 yards the other way for a touchdown.

Possessing good ball skills and physicality, Arnette can be a reliable starter in the NFL, though he isn't a fit for every scheme the way Okudah is.

"He plays with good awareness in space and has the physicality in run support that zone defenses look for," NFL Media's Lance Zierlein wrote.

Don't be surprised if Arnette sneaks into the first round, landing with a defense heavy on zone concepts.


Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin

Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor wasn't carrying a ton of draft buzz into the scouting combine—though to be fair, running back isn't considered one of the standout positions in this draft class. Even though he averaged more than 2,000 rushing yards per season in college, Taylor has been largely overlooked.

Bleacher Report draft analyst Matt Miller ranked Taylor third among running backs, behind Georgia's D'Andre Swift and LSU's Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

Yet Taylor could be best suited among this year's rookies to be an early star. He has had a heavy workload, yes, but he's also proved himself to be productive and durable. Additionally, he showcased an impressive skill set at the scouting combine.

After measuring in at 5'10" and 226 pounds, Taylor produced a 4.39-second 40-yard dash, 17 reps on the bench press, a 36-inch vertical and a 123-inch broad jump.

Big, explosive and fast, Taylor has the potential to be an immediate starter and to have a Josh Jacobs-type impact as a rookie. He may be a long shot to go in the first round, but don't be shocked if a team falls in love with him and pulls the trigger on opening night.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.