The NFL will continue it’s offseason virtually this season with the draft on April 23-25. It will be held by the Commissioner “via an in-home camera in the basement of his home in Westchester County” among several other remote locations.
NBC Sports Peter King broke how this process will go down better than I ever could:
“Each team’s designated drafter will be connected to the league’s official Microsoft Teams private and encrypted draft channel, and will make the pick through that channel. There are two fail-safes: A GM can call [NFL’s vice president of player personnel Ken] Fiore or a member of his team directly by landline or cell with the pick. Also, there will be a conference call for the length of the draft with club officials muted; the club official designated to make the pick can unmute his/her line and announce the pick. If the pick is made through Microsoft Teams, Fiore or his representative will announce on the conference call that a pick has been made and the next team is on the clock.”https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2886378-peter-king-explains-how-teams-will-make-their-selections-during-2020-nfl-draft
According to ESPN.com. the NFL decided to go through with this for two reasons: 1. It’s unclear when social distancing guidelines and quarantine guidelines will change and 2. Fans are thirsting for sports normality. Who doesn’t love the NFL Draft anyway?
There have been objections, however to this going through. Some GM’s have been very upset about this process because they haven’t been able to formally interview prospects in-person leaving the draft to be more of a crapshoot. Steelers GM Kevin Colbert suggested the draft should go 10 rounds to help with this, while others are worried that their teams’ draft boards and picks may be hacked.
The NFL continued with it’s mission, however- Bring our fans this Draft.
So, in brief, out are the “war rooms”, way too long commissioner handshakes, terrible Deion Sanders draft interviews, Jets and Giants fans booing all night long among other things. In comes a pre-draft mock, a “virtual moment” with the commissioner for virtual draftees and a possible look into how this could go in the future.
Both ESPN and NFL Network will do a combined broadcast. (Cool!) Here is the full schedule, with all three days on ABC, ESPN, NFL Network, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio:
- Round 1 on Thursday, April 23, from 8-11:30 p.m. ET
- Rounds 2-3 on Friday, April 24, from 7-11:30 p.m. ET
- Rounds 4-7 on Saturday, April 25, from noon-7 p.m. ET
Now let’s move onto my Two-Round Mock Draft
1. Cincinnati – Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
Easy choice- don’t second guess this.
2. Washington- Chase Young, Edge, Ohio State
The most dominant force of a player in this draft. Ron Rivera feels pretty good starting off his tenure with a defensive cornerstone in Young.
3. Detroit- Jeffrey Okudah, Cornerback, Ohio State
Lions are hoping that some team will give them a haul to trade back or or that Chase Young will fall. Otherwise, the possibility of getting a lockdown corner doesn’t happen often.
4. NY Giants- Isaiah Simmons, Linebacker/Safety, Clemson
It’s a tackle or Simmons. Simmons is the “swiss-army-knife” of this draft, a tackling machine and able to play multiple positions. A lot of experts are mocking Tristian Wrifts here to protect Daniel Jones and Saquan Barkley. I just don’t see a linebacker anywhere as good as Simmons available in round 2. We will see…
5. Miami- Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
Word is that Miami is split in the clubhouse between Herbert and Tua Tagovailoa. Personally I believe this will come down to medicals on draft day. Even though Herbert started four years for Oregon, he is likely not a day one starter. The Dolphins have some time to let him sit and learn behind Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen.
6. LA Chargers- Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
The first surprise of this draft. The Chargers need a franchise QB. Love presents a developmental project with super high potential (Some compare his throws to Patrick Mahomes) and no injury history. While this seems super high, the draft over the last 10-years has shown us that needy teams will reach for franchise QB’s. The Tua watch begins.
7. Carolina- Derrick Brown, Defensive Tackle, Auburn
I was so tempted to go WR here due to the new addition of Joe Burrow’s former offensive coordinator Joe Brady. The Panthers hoped for Simmons to fall but will be happy to take a defensive anchor for the next decade.
8. Arizona- Tristan Wirfs, Tackle, Iowa
Possibly the best tackle in the draft. Wrifs will provide stability at the right tackle position, protecting Kyler Murray and allowing him to throw touchdowns to DeAndre Hopkins.
THERE IS A TRADE— Tampa Bay sends picks 14, 76 and 162 to Jacksonville for pick #9
9. Tampa Bay – Jedrick Wills Jr., Tackle, Alabama
Tampa Bay does not want to risk not getting top-tier protection for Tom Brady at this point, especially with a possible run on tackles.
10. Cleveland- Mekhi Becton, Tackle, Louisville
Ideal fit in their new system/coach and keeping Baker upright is a must.
11. NY Jets- CeeDee Lamb, Wide Receiver, Oklahoma
Lamb is the one of the most dynamic receiver in this draft and will give the Jets a #1 receiver for Sam Darnold.
12. Las Vegas- CJ Henderson, CB, Florida
To pick a corner or a receiver…? This WR class is deep and Las Vegas can afford to bring in someone at a later pick. Henderson is the fastest corner in the draft.
13. San Francisco- Javon Kinlaw, Defensive Tackle, South Carolina
The world is torn on this one- do you give Kyle Shanahan an offensive weapon the caliber of Henry Ruggs or bring in a perfect, cheap replacement for DeForest Buckner? Luckily the 49ers have another pick at 31.
14. Jacksonville (via trade)- Andrew Thomas, Tackle, Georgia
Jags are dancing as they got more picks and they filled a huge need. The team is looking forward to protecting future first overall pick Trevor Lawrence.
15. Denver- Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
The Broncos run up to the podium and grab a man with 4.28 speed.
AND WE HAVE A TRADE– The Philadelphia Eagles are trading picks 21, 103 and 169 to the Atlanta Falcons for the 16th pick
16. Philadelphia Eagles- Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
The Falcons lost out on CJ Henderson (who they really wanted) and the Eagles came calling for Jeudy after he fell. Jeudy is a very crafty route runner whom some compare to Amari Cooper. In most drafts he is a top-8 pick.
17. Dallas- Cesar Ruiz, Center, Michigan
Dallas lost all-pro center Travis Frederick to retirement this offseason. They are apparently “loves” Cesar Ruiz and he is clearly the #1 center in this class. I was so torn between him and Chaisson here.
18. Miami- Josh Jones, Tackle, Houston
Jones is being picked about 10 picks too early here but Miami has a need at Offensive Tackle. Jones is tough and should bring some nastiness to Miami’s OL.
AND WE HAVE A TRADE– New England is sending picks 23, 87 and 100 to Las Vegas for picks #19 and 91
19. New England – Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
All offseason New England took the stance of being content with 2nd year QB Jared Stidham and veteran Brian Hoyer. NE can take a risk here and rumors say they could even move into the top 5. Bill Belichick knows Nick Saban very well and will have the intel on Tua. Tua could sit on the bench for a year and fully recover from his injuries.
“NFL teams will leak information to make Tua fall even further, which will make teams second guess on Tua. He said this is a tough part of his business and hates to see any player got bad advice especially when a player has true potential to be the top pick in the draft if he was healthy.”https://247sports.com/Article/Tua-Tagovailoa-NFL-Draft-decision-Alabama-Crimson-Tide-stock-could-fall-141721432/
20. Jacksonville- Jeff Gladney, Cornerback, TCU
Jacksonville brings in a tough, rangy CB to replace the departed Jalen Ramsey.
21. Atlanta (via trade)- K’Lavon Chaisson, Edge, LSU
Atlanta trades back and gets the “sack guru” they wanted in Chaisson while also replacing Vic Beasley Jr.
22. Minnesota- Yetur Gross-Matos, Edge, Penn State
Vikings bring in a potentially dominant replacement to Everson Griffen.
23. Las Vegas- (VIA TRADE) Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma
On paper this sounds insane– Remember, we are dealing with John Gruden and Mike Mayock so nothing is out of the realm of possibility for their justification of this pick. The Raiders STUNNED the draft world last year by selecting Clelin Ferrell at #4 overall. Also, rumors are that the Raiders might be in love with Hurts.
24. New Orleans- Patrick Queen, Linebacker, LSU
New Orleans takes Patrick Queen ahead of Kenneth Murray. This season Queen had 85 tackles including 12 for loss at LSU, showing his ability to blitz with three sacks while also excelling in pass coverage.
25. Minnesota- Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Minnesota brings in their Stephen Diggs replacement. Jefferson was a perfect #2 to Ja’marr Chase at LSU and dominated inferior competition with a tremendous ability to gain yards after the catch. Questions remain if he a product of the LSU system and Joe Burrow.
26. Miami- Xavier McKinney, Safety, Alabama
It’s safety or running back here. I think they go safety as there will be 2-3 RB options at 39 and 56. McKinney would be a perfect replacement to Minkah Fitzpatrick and is the best overall safety in this class.
27. Seattle- Zack Baun, Edge, Wisconsin
Baun’s stock has been rising and the Seahawks need major help at outside linebacker/rushing the passer.
28. Baltimore- Kenneth Murray, Linebacker, Michigan
The rich get richer- best middle linebacker goes to the team with the best offseason. Murray is a 3-down linebacker who will help replace CJ Mosley.
29. Tennessee- Josh Uche, Edge, Michigan
Titans need an edge to replace Jurrell Casey. Uche’s stock has been rising in the past couple of weeks and he could sneak into the late first.
30. Green Bay- Michael Pittman Jr., WR, USC
A bit of a surprise here but Pittman fits their system perfectly as a strong possession receiver with yards after the catch ability.
31. San Francisco- Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
San Francisco picks up possibly the best receiver in the draft at 31.
AND WE HAVE A TRADE- Indianapolis trades picks 34 and 161 to Kansas City for pick 32.
32. Indianapolis- Jacob Eason, QB, Washington
Head Coach Frank Reich (former Eagles OC) sees some Carson Wentz in Eason. Colts move up to grab one more year of Eason under contract, similar to what Baltimore did with Lamar Jackson.
33. Cincinnati- Kristian Fulton, Cornerback, LSU
34. Kansas City (via trade)- AJ Terrell, Cornerback, Clemson
Kansas City brings in a proven winner and dynamic CB to replace the departed Kendall Fuller.
35. Detroit- Terrell Lewis, Edge, Alabama
36. NY Giants- Austin Jackson, Tackle, USC
37. LA Chargers- Ezra Cleveland, Tackle, Boise State
38. Carolina- Damon Arnette, Cornerback, Ohio State
39. Miami- De’Andre Swift, Running Back, Georgia
40. Houston- Ross Blacklock, Defensive Tackle, TCU
Bringing in Brandin Cooks allows the Texans to consider replacing the departed DJ Reader with this pick.
41. Cleveland- Jeremy Chinn, Safety, Southern Illinois
42. Jacksonville- Marlon Davidson, Defensive Tackle, Auburn
WE HAVE A TRADE: LA Rams trade picks 57 and 84 to Chicago for #43.
43. Los Angeles Rams- Brandon Aiyuk (via trade with Chicago)
Rams trade up 9 spots to grab a super-fast receiver who isn’t injury prone.
44. Indianapolis- Tee Higgins, Wide Receiver, Clemson
45. Tampa Bay- Jonathan Taylor, Running Back, Wisconsin
46. Denver- Lloyd Cushenberry, Center, LSU
47. Atlanta- Jaylon Johnson, Cornerback, Utah
48. NY Jets- Netane Muti, Guard, Fresno State
49. Pittsburgh- A.J. Esperanza, Edge, Iowa
The Steelers stop one of the draft’s biggest free falls for Esperanza. Pittsburgh can do a few things: Best player available, replace their newly retired offensive tackle Ramon Foster or replace defensive tackle Javon Hargrave who left in free agency.
WE HAVE A TRADE- Chicago trades #50 overall to Baltimore for picks #55 and #106
50. Baltimore- Lavisha Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado
51. Dallas- Grant Delpit, Safety, LSU
52. LA Rams- (via trade with HOU)- Robert Hunt, Guard, Louisiana Lafayette
53. Philadelphia- Noah Igbinoghene, Cornerback, Auburn
54, Buffalo- Antoine Winfield Jr., Safety, Minnesota
#BillsMafia would lose their mind if Winfield was drafted by Buffalo. His father was a fan favorite and a former first round pick.
55. Chicago (via trade)- Isaiah Wilson, Tackle, Georgia
Bobbie Massie and Charles Leno Jr. inspired 0 confidence last season. The Bears pick the best tackle on the board who can provide some attitude up front and possibly fill in at guard at points this upcoming season.
56. Miami- Jalen Reagor, Wide Receiver, TCU
57. Chicago (via trade)- KJ Hamler, Wide Receiver, Penn State
58. Minnesota- Cameron Dantzler, Cornerback, Mississippi State
59. Seattle- Lucas Niang, Offensive Tackle, TCU
60. Baltimore- John Simpson, Guard, Clemson
61. Tennessee- Bryce Hall, Cornerback, Virginia
62. Green Bay- Ben Bartch, Tackle, St. John’s
63. Kansas City- Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Running Back, LSU
64. Seattle- JK Dobbins, Running Back, Ohio State
ALSO CONSIDERED: Jake Fromm, QB Georgia, Curtis Weaver, OLB, Boise State, Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame, Solomon Kindley, OG, Georgia, Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame and others.
Guys, thanks for reading my mock draft. Look out for a 7-rounder coming before the draft happens next week!
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