Mike Freeman's 10-Point Stance: Tua? Herbert? Love? NFL Mock Draft Answers All

Mike Freeman@@mikefreemanNFLNFL National Lead WriterApril 22, 2020

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (13) passes against Texas A&M during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019, in College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/Sam Craft)
Sam Craft/Associated Press

This is almost certain to be one of the wildest drafts in the history of the NFL.

Not just because it's the first virtual draft in league history. Or because it could get hacked. Or because there might be numerous, delicious glitches.

All of that could be fun, for sure. But even more entertaining could be some serious jockeying by franchises to get a quarterback.

That's the main theme of this special edition of 10-Point Stance as we mock our way into a draft coma like we just had too much Thanksgiving turkey.

LSU's Joe Burrow is a lock for the Bengals at No. 1. After that, beauty is in the eye of the evaluator. Tua Tagovailoa's injuries are worrisome to some teams, but not as much to others. Oregon's Justin Herbert isn't as hot on franchises' draft boards, several teams say, as has been portrayed elsewhere in the media. There are still plenty of other teams, though, that believe he'll be a star.

Utah State QB Jordan Love also has the league divided into those who can't ignore his talent and others who say he lacks discipline and isn't a first-rounder.

What remains consistent no matter the opinion is the sense of desperation everyone in the NFL has about finding a franchise quarterback. That's why many draft observers and decision-makers think at least one franchise will make some type of dramatic move to get one of these quarterbacks, and some of these teams think this is the year for the Patriots to do it.

It's difficult to believe Bill Belichick will go into the season with Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer as his quarterbacks, goes the thinking in some league circles. ESPN's Matt Bowen says to watch New England and the University of Washington's Jacob Eason. 

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The point is, while the Patriots are always huge players in the draft because, well, they're the Patriots and they've won seven trillion Super Bowls, this might be one of their more aggressive drafts as they begin maneuvering in a post-Tom Brady world.

Whatever happens, this will be more wild than usual, especially when the Russians hack the draft and have the Bengals picking Ivan Drago

So how will Thursday's Round 1 play out? Let's take a look based on the latest intel to come across the 10PS radar:

         

1. Bengals—QB Joe Burrow, LSU: Can't find anyone in the league who believes Burrow is going anywhere but Cincinnati. I don't think the Bengals would trade Burrow if God offered them planet Earth.

2. Washington—DE Chase Young, Ohio State: "[Washington is] always a wild card because of that owner," one AFC general manager says of Daniel Snyder. "But they seem locked on [Young]."

3. Lions—CB Jeff Okudah, Ohio State: I've heard several assistant coaches describe Okudah as one of the more physically gifted players they've seen in the past four or five years.

4. Giants—OL Jedrick Wills, Alabama: This pick makes the most sense of almost any in the draft. Get a great offensive lineman to protect a young QB. However, some team personnel people believe the pressure on general manager Dave Gettleman to do something, anything, smart puts pressure on him to make some type of move—and he normally doesn't make huge moves in the draft. So watch this space.

5. Dolphins—QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama: The Dolphins really like Tagovailoa—despite what you may hear. Not saying it's a done deal, but they like him.

6. Chargers—LB Isaiah Simmons, Clemson: "You're going to see teams in the AFC West load up on defensive athletes because of the Chiefs," said one NFC scout. "Simmons typifies the versatile and explosive athlete."

Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons is widely expected to be drafted within the first 10 picks on Thursday night.
Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons is widely expected to be drafted within the first 10 picks on Thursday night.Chuck Burton/Associated Press

7. Panthers—DL Derrick Brown, Auburn: A decimated defense needs a big-time player on that side of the ball. Several scouts also added we could see the Panthers move down several spots to get another good defensive player. With so many holes to fill, they could go in a lot of different directions.

8. Cardinals—OL Tristan Wirfs, Iowa: "They are building a nice passing offense," one AFC assistant GM said. "Protect the quarterback. Pretty simple."

9. Patriots (after trade with Jaguars)—QB Justin Herbert, Oregon: "I find it hard to believe the Patriots go into this season with just those two quarterbacks [Stidham and Hoyer]," one NFC scout said. "If there was ever a year for them to make a big move, this is it."

10. Browns—OL Mekhi Becton, Louisville: Some of the problems with quarterback Baker Mayfield's pass protection came from his holding on to the football too long, but some of it was simply poor line play. This pick will help fortify one of several Browns needs.

11. Jets—OL Andrew Thomas, Georgia: Said one NFC scout: "I wouldn't be shocked if they moved way back in the first round and took an offensive lineman there and then a receiver in the second round. Or two of them in the second round."

12. Raiders—WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama: The Raiders need a lot more offensive firepower. Note that some team officials think the Raiders go quarterback here despite Oakland, er, Las Vegas, adding Marcus Mariota.

13. 49ers—WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma: A good replacement for Emmanuel Sanders, who went to New Orleans.

14. Buccaneers—OL Josh Jones, Houston: Protect Brady. Repeat. Protect Brady.

15. Broncos—WR Henry Ruggs III, Alabama: The AFC West is in the midst of an arms race, and the Broncos are starting to assemble a ton of offensive talent. Ruggs adds to an already deep attack.

16. Falcons—QB Jordan Love, Utah State: "To me, the Falcons taking a quarterback is a no-brainer," said one NFC assistant coach, who added the reason he thinks that is Matt Ryan's play is beginning to deteriorate. 

17. Cowboys—CB C.J. Henderson, Florida: The Cowboys get a steal and fill a big need. Also, teams say they don't believe rumors Dallas is interested in a quarterback here.

18. Dolphins—DE K'Lavon Chaisson, LSU: After getting their QB, the Dolphins get a talented pass-rusher.

19. Raiders—S Xavier McKinney, Alabama: The Chiefs' air attack isn't going to stop itself.

20. Jaguars—DL Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina: It's expected Yannick Ngakoue will be gone eventually, as his Twitter beef with team exec Tony Khan this week made clear. While Kinlaw isn't an edge-rusher, he's the best interior pass-rusher in the draft, and the Jaguars really like him. (And—spoiler alert—they have another pick in first round.)

South Carolina defensive lineman Javon Kinlaw may be the best interior pass-rusher in the draft and would be a good fit for a Jacksonville team that's trying to revamp its roster.
South Carolina defensive lineman Javon Kinlaw may be the best interior pass-rusher in the draft and would be a good fit for a Jacksonville team that's trying to revamp its roster.Sean Rayford/Associated Press/Associated Press

21. Eagles—WR Justin Jefferson, LSU: "He's as good as any receiver in the draft," one AFC scout said.

22. Vikings—WR Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State: When Stefon Diggs was shipped to Buffalo, it put the Vikings in the market for a wideout.

23. Jaguars (via trade with Patriots)—QB Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma: "I don't think the Jaguars leave the first round without a quarterback," one AFC scout said.

24. Saints—LB Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma: Some teams don't believe the Saints will take a quarterback because they think New Orleans sees Taysom Hill as the replacement for Drew Brees.

25. Vikings—CB Jeff Gladney, TCU: Gladney would be almost guaranteed to start for Minnesota next year.

26. Dolphins—OL Ezra Cleveland, Boise State: More help for an offensive line that sorely needs it.

27. Seahawks—DE Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State: If the Seahawks don't trade out of this spot and into the second round—and they probably will—they'll address a potentially huge need should they not come to an agreement with Jadeveon Clowney.

28. Ravens—LB Patrick Queen, LSU: The Ravens have few holes on the entire roster. Linebacker is one of them.

29. Titans—CB Kristian Fulton, LSU: The Titans are a Super Bowl contender; the only thing lacking is depth in their defensive backfield.

30. Packers—WR Jalen Reagor, TCU: I've heard teams are higher on Reagor than most know. He's fast, a good route-runner and would pair well with Aaron Rodgers

31. 49ers—CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama: Another team without an abundance of weaknesses. Diggs will add to one of the most athletic defenses in the sport.

32. Chiefs—OL Cesar Ruiz, Michigan: Everyone thinks the Chiefs will trade out of this spot. One scout told me he thinks they'll trade back and get Georgia running back D'Andre Swift. But other teams think Ruiz is the pick here.

                  

Mike Freeman covers the NFL for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter: @mikefreemanNFL.


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