NFL Mock Draft 2020: 1st-Round Projections and Storylines for Top Prospects

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistApril 10, 2020

FILE - In this Sept. 28, 2019, file photo, Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (13) throws a pass during the first half of the team's NCAA college football game against Mississippi in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Tagovailoa’s agent says the quarterback is healthy and will be ready for training camp. Tagovailoa held a virtual pro day with former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer on Thursday, April 9, after the former Alabama star’s personal pro day was canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak. Tagovailoa injured his hip on Nov. 15 and had season-ending surgery two days later. He is expected to be among the top five picks in the NFL draft later this month. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt, File)
Vasha Hunt/Associated Press

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is not expected to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft, but he is the prospect receiving the most attention ahead of the event. 

The left-handed quarterback has been talked about more than LSU's Joe Burrow because of his health and speculation surrounding the Miami Dolphins' interest in him.

If the Cincinnati Bengals select Burrow at No. 1, Miami is the next team in the draft order with a major need at quarterback. 

However, there is a chance the links between Tagovailoa and the Dolphins come to nothing.

The two factors that could halt the southpaw and the AFC East side from joining forces are Tagovailoa's health and a team offering a large amount in a trade to move ahead of Miami.


2020 NFL 1st-Round Mock Draft

1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

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

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

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

5. Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

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

7. Carolina Panthers: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn

8. Arizona Cardinals: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville

9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa

10. Cleveland Browns: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama

11. New York Jets: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia

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

13. San Francisco 49ers (from Indianapolis): CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida

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

16. Atlanta Falcons: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina

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

18. Miami Dolphins (from Pittsburgh): Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama

19. Las Vegas Raiders (from Chicago): Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU

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

21. Philadelphia Eagles: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU

22. Minnesota Vikings (from Buffalo): Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State

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

24. New Orleans Saints: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma

25. Minnesota Vikings: Josh Jones, OT, Houston 

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

27. Seattle Seahawks: A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa

28. Baltimore Ravens: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

29. Tennessee Titans: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU

30. Green Bay Packers: Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor

31. San Francisco 49ers: Zack Baun, LB, Wisconsin

32. Kansas City Chiefs: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama


Storylines For Top Prospects

Will Miami Land Tua Tagovailoa? 

Miami is viewed as the favorite to land Tagovailoa, according to Caesars Palace, which has the odds at -150 (bet $150 to win $100) that the two sides will unite April 23.

Bleacher Report's Matt Miller and ESPN.com's Todd McShay project the Alabama star will land with Miami at No. 5. 

But there is a possibility the Dolphins lean in the direction of Oregon's Justin Herbert.

NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah projects Herbert will land at No. 5, and Miller reported there are "strong signals" from Miami that its scouting department prefers Herbert.

The Athletic's Michael Lombardi reported on his podcast, The GM Shuffle, at least one team failed the physical given to Tagovailoa and there are concerns about the quarterback's ankle, hip and wrist. 

Tagovailoa's agent, Leigh Steinberg, hit back at recent reports by saying the "health concerns are overblown" in an interview with 790 The Ticket (h/t ESPN.com's Cameron Wolfe).

The recent news could be posturing by the Dolphins to turn some teams away from trading up for Tagovailoa, which would allow them to remain at No. 5, or there could be a real movement inside the franchise in Herbert's direction.

The truth will be revealed in Miami's draft plans, and if no trades for No. 2, No. 3 or No. 4 occur, it will be in position to choose between Tagovailoa and Herbert. 

But Miami may be forced to move up if teams circle around the Detroit Lions' No. 3 selection.

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Lions "had discussions with teams about potentially moving back from their slot and that teams wanting to move up have been receptive." 

Miami is in possession of the most draft picks with 14, so if it had to move up to No. 3, it has enough draft capital to do so without mortgaging an entire draft. 

In 2018, the New York Jets gave up a pair of second-round picks and a future second-round selection to move up from No. 6 to No. 3 to take Sam Darnold. 

If the Dolphins pass on Tagovailoa, the Los Angeles Chargers would be the likely landing spot for the Alabama star at No. 6. 

Tyrod Taylor is projected to be the Chargers starting quarterback, but it could be hard to let Tagovailoa slide as the team tries to find a new franchise signal-caller after Philip Rivers' departure. 


Will Isaiah Simmons Land With Giants Or Panthers? 

Most mock drafts are in agreement that Burrow will go first to Cincinnati, Chase Young lands at No. 2 with Washington and Detroit selects Jeff Okudah at No. 3. 

If no trades happen before the Lions pick, that should be the order, and it would leave the New York Giants with the most intriguing decision of the top 10.

Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons is the most versatile defensive player in the draft class, as he lined up in all three tiers of defense for the Tigers. 

However, the Giants could use more protection for Daniel Jones, and there are four premier offensive linemen available. 

Miller's April 1 projection had Simmons landing at No. 4, but Jeremiah had the Giants taking Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs. 

Pro Football Focus' Michael Renner also predicted New York will go with an offensive lineman, as he has Louisville's Mekhi Becton going fourth.

If Simmons does not land with the Giants, the Panthers are the obvious fit since they need a replacement for the retired Luke Kuechly.

Simmons has the biggest difference between draft ceiling and floor of the top prospects because the Dolphins and Chargers are expected to land quarterbacks at No. 5 and No. 6. 

If he somehow falls past No. 7, it would be one of the top surprises of the first round.


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90


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