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NFL Mock Draft 2020: Latest Buzz, Team-Player Predictions

Mandela Namaste@@mandiba13Contributor IApril 18, 2020

Alabama wide receiver Henry Ruggs III (11) salutes the fans against LSU during the second half of an NCAA football game Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. LSU won 46-41. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)
Vasha Hunt/Associated Press

Though the NFL draft is going virtual, the player-evaluation process has continued apace, and as a result, the rumor mill remains abuzz.

With the Cincinnati Bengals officially on the clock as soon as Thursday, the draft picture is starting to take a bit more shape. Joe Burrow and Chase Young have more or less been confirmed as the top two picks, while other high-drafting teams seem to have zeroed in either a general position or a particular player of need.

Here we have tried to construct as accurate a mock draft as possible given the available rumors. Of course, many of these rumors could be smokescreens for a team's true draft-day intentions, but those smokescreens will fool other NFL GMs with real intel, so there's no shame in admitting our gullibility.

In addition, beneath the mock draft, we have highlighted three particular player-team combinations with significant buzz and elucidated whether those pairings have the makings for long-term success. Much thanks to Bleacher Report's own Brent Sobleski for collecting rumors on each team and writing about them Friday morning.

                           

2020 NFL Mock Draft

1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

2. Washington: Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State

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

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

5. Miami Dolphins: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

6. Los Angeles Chargers: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

7. Carolina Panthers: CJ Henderson, CB, Florida

8. Arizona Cardinals: Jedrick Wills, T, Alabama

9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn

10. Cleveland Browns: Tristan Wirfs, T, Iowa

11. New York Jets: Mekhi Becton, T, Louisville

12. Las Vegas Raiders: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

13. San Francisco 49ers (via IND): Andrew Thomas, T, Georgia

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: K'Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU

15. Denver Broncos: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

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

17. Dallas Cowboys: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama

18. Miami Dolphins (via PIT): CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

19. Las Vegas Raiders (via CHI): Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma

20. Jacksonville Jaguars (via LAR): Antoine Winfield JR., S, Minnesota

21. Philadelphia Eagles- Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU

22. Minnesota Vikings (via BUF): Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State

23. New England Patriots: AJ Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa

24. New Orleans Saints: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State

25. Minnesota Vikings: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

26. Miami Dolphins (via HOU): D'Andre Swift, RB, Georgia

27. Seattle Seahawks: Marlon Davidson, EDGE, Auburn

28. Baltimore Ravens: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU

29. Tennessee Titans: Cesar Ruiz, C, Michigan

30. Green Bay Packers: Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State

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

32. Kansas City Chiefs: Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU

                     

CJ Henderson, CB, Florida

One of the draft's steadiest risers, CJ Henderson may soon find his way into the top 10. Per Bleacher Report's Matt Miller, the Carolina Panthers' interest in the former Florida corner has become widely known throughout the league in recent days.

Though not a perfect prospect, Henderson was a first-team All-SEC member this year and would be a strong investment for a Carolina team seemingly in the midst of a rebuild. Given the magnitude of both Luke Kuechly's retirement and the release of Cam Newton, the Panthers' non-pursuit of James Bradberry was an under-the-radar story, but cornerback is quietly a major hole on the roster.

Selecting Henderson would go a long way toward addressing that need.

                 

Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Though they are moving to Las Vegas and in the midst of an ostensible 10-year run with Jon Gruden as head coach, the Raiders remain laser-focused on speedy wide receivers. It's been more than 10 years since the team infamously used the seventh overall pick on Darrius Heyward-Bey, but owner Mark Davis is reportedly keeping his late father's obsession with game-breakers alive, per SiriusXM's Adam Caplan.

Though Ruggs was not specifically highlighted in Caplan's report—and Jerry Jeudy, his college teammate, has actually been mentioned in connection with the Raiders—he's easily the fastest receiver in the draft and boasts plenty of skill to boot so would be a perfect fit in Las Vegas. Keep an eye on this flashy pairing.

                   

Jordan Love, QB, Utah State

Every year, there's a dark-horse quarterback who could be picked as high as the top 10 or slip into the fourth round. Guys like Ryan Nassib and Tom Savage come to mind in this vein. Jordan Love is this year's version, but unlike those two predecessors, he might get to go to Quarterback Heaven.

Per ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, one of the teams doing serious research on Love is the New Orleans Saints. In case you are unaware, New Orleans' incumbent quarterback is the 41-year old Drew Brees, and though he is a first-ballot Hall of Famer and remains a top-tier signal-caller, he's bound to decline soon.

With 2019 standout Teddy Bridgewater now helming the Carolina Panthers and Taysom Hill's status as a full-time quarterback very much in question, it would behoove Saints coach Sean Payton to get a look at Brees' potential successor. The Saints would also be a great fit for Love as well, as he's a tremendous raw talent who needs to be coached on his accuracy.

In the hands of Payton and Brees, who's completed 70 percent or more of his passes in four consecutive seasons, Love could make those improvements and extend New Orleans' title window for another half-decade or more.

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