NFL Mock Draft 2020: 1st-Round Predictions, Landing Spots for Rising Prospects

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistMarch 30, 2020

LOUISVILLE, KY - SEPTEMBER 29: Mekhi Becton #73 of the Louisville Cardinals in action during the game against the Florida State Seminoles at Cardinal Stadium on September 29, 2018 in Louisville, Kentucky. Florida State won 28-24. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The 2020 NFL draft isn't set to get underway until April 23, but it feels like we already have a solid grasp on how the first few picks may unfold.

The Cincinnati Bengals will likely grab LSU quarterback Joe Burrow. The Washington Redskins will either trade out of the No. 2 slot, take Ohio State edge-rusher Chase Young or shock everyone and replace Dwayne Haskins as their next quarterback of the future. Alabama signal-caller Tua Tagovailoa and Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert could both be top-five selections, and a team may trade up to take one of them.

Outside of the first handful of selections, though, the picture is a bit foggier. The needs for each franchise are well-known, but a large number of high-end prospects and players on the rise make it difficult to predict exactly who will be selected with each pick.


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): Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

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

15. Denver Broncos: Austin Jackson, OT, USC

16. Atlanta Falcons: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama

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

18. Miami Dolphins (from Pittsburgh): Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina

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

20. Jacksonville Jaguars (from Rams): Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah

21. Philadelphia Eagles: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU

22. Minnesota Vikings (from Buffalo): Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU

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

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

25. Minnesota Vikings: A.J. Epenesa, Edge, Iowa

26. Miami Dolphins (from Houston): Yetur Gross-Matos, Edge, Penn State

27. Seattle Seahawks: Joshua Jones, OT, Houston

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

29. Tennessee Titans: Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU

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


10. Cleveland Browns: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville

The Cleveland Browns entered the offseason needing an upgrade at each tackle position. They addressed the right side by adding former Tennessee Titans star Jack Conklin. Their next move has to be adding a new blindside blocker for Baker Mayfield.

This is where Louisville offensive lineman Mekhi Becton comes in. A massive 6'7", 364-pound blocker, he has a combination of size and athleticism that should serve him well at the next level. However, the former Cardinals standout is not a particularly polished product.

"Becton's combination of movement and force should allow him to fit easily into all running schemes, but he needs to play with better patience in order to control and redirect all that mass into centered blocks in both run and pass," NFL Media's Lance Zierlein wrote.

Becton started to really make noise as a potential top-10 prospect at the scouting combine. In Indianapolis, he produced 23 reps of the 225-pound bench press and ran a 5.1-second 40-yard dash. For a man his size, that's impressive.

The Browns reworked Chris Hubbard's contract this offseason in order to keep the swing tackle onboard. This gives Cleveland an insurance policy in the event a tackle prospect like Becton isn't ready to start Day 1.


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

Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

Will the New England Patriots take a quarterback in this year's draft? That is one of the big mysteries heading into April, as the Patriots search for the heir to Tom Brady.

With the 42-year-old now a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New England is left with the likes of Brian Hoyer, Jarett Stidham and Cody Kessler on the roster. There isn't a lot of cap room to work with, either, as the Patriots are roughly $2 million under the cap.

If they are going to add another quarterback, it's probably going to happen in the draft. A rising prospect like Utah State's Jordan Love could make sense at 23 overall.

While the 21-year-old didn't enter the predraft process with as much hype as Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert, he started to pick up steam during Senior Bowl Week.

"I think he has the highest ceiling of any quarterback in this draft," Senior Bowl director Jim Nagy said, per Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post. "I equate him to Patrick Mahomes in the sense that they both have playmaking ability and really natural arm talent."

Love isn't likely to be ready to start Day 1. By bringing back Hoyer, though, the Patriots may have given themselves the veteran presence needed to bring along a project like the Utah State product slowly.


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

In a draft class loaded with big-name receiver talent—from Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III to CeeDee Lamb and Tee Higgins—Notre Dame's Chase Claypool may not initially stand out. However, he is beginning to gain traction as a first-round pick.

Bleacher Report draft analyst Matt Miller recently tabbed the Notre Dame product as his "biggest riser" among receivers.

A big part of Claypool's ascent is the 4.42-second 40 he produced at the scouting combine. For a 6'4", 238-pound pass-catcher, that's phenomenal.

Claypool has enough burst to threaten vertically and enough size to reel in contested balls deep down the field. That makes him a perfect fit for the Green Bay Packers, who lack a reliable deep threat opposite Davante Adams.

Green Bay signed Devin Funchess in free agency, but he is almost exclusively a possession guy. Claypool can be a versatile and productive No. 2 receiver for the foreseeable future.


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