The world has hit the pause button on sports (and a lot of other things for that matter). But on April 23rd, the NFL draft will be here and many sports fans may begin to feel a sense of normalcy coming back into their lives.
This draft, however, will be a little different than normal. NFL executives, coaches, and even Commissioner Roger Goodell will be working remotely on Thursday night at 8 PM to kick off a virtual draft. The draft will be administered virtually to uphold the necessity to distance ourselves and maintain compliance with regulations surrounding this COVID-19 pandemic. The WNBA had their virtual draft the other night as a matter of fact.
This is actually my first Turf article I have written during this COVID-19 pandemic. And so I just want to say to anyone reading this mock draft – I hope you are staying safe, keeping in touch with your loved ones – whether its by phone, email, social media, Skype, or other means – and finding creative ways to help each other and your own body and mind.
Normally each year, I do at least one mock draft, but never more than two. This mock draft is my first one this year, and this is it…this will be the only one. But lucky for you, I have provided you THREE ROUNDS of total fun, chaos, and (honestly) guessing! Because let’s face it, after the first two picks in this draft, no one knows what the hell is going to happen. But that’s what makes this all so fun.
Also, please check out fellow Turf Writer Tim Olsen’s NFL Mock Draft here.
So let’s get right to it, shall we?
1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
I think we can safely say that the Bengals will be taking Burrow first overall. I said earlier this year that Burrow was the best college QB prospect I’ve seen since Andrew Luck. I think he was that good at LSU. The question is, how good will he be at the next level? I don’t see any way Burrow can be bad. I think he will be at least a decent QB. However I do have one major concern, and it doesn’t necessarily even relate to his skills or capabilities as a quarterback. My biggest concern with Burrow is that he will be in a division that arguably has the best defensive lines in football. The Steelers, Ravens, and Browns ALL have great defensive lines. So it is very possible that Burrow gets knocked around in his rookie year. Hopefully, he is able to overcome that.
2. Washington Redskins: Chase Young, DE, Ohio State
I think Washington will at least listen to calls from other teams. But I think they will take Young, who could end up being the best player in this draft. Some people say that Young could be even better than former Buckeye defensive end Nick Bosa. It’s possible. I don’t think Young uses his hands as well as Bosa does on the line, but I do think Young is more explosive and his crazy athleticism at 6’6 is hard to ignore.
Miami Dolphins (via mock trade with Lions): Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
Ah! Our first trade of the draft. I think all that talk about the Dolphins not being sold on Tua and preferring Justin Herbert over him is a crock of crap. I’m not only calling the bluff here, but I think Miami even trades up with the Lions to get him. So Miami sends their 5th and 39th overall picks to Detroit to grab Tua.
4. New York Giants: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
Dave Gettleman listens to trade offers, but ultimately stays put here to take a big and athletic o-lineman in Wirfs. Giants need o-line help not only for protecting Daniel Jones, but also for Saquon Barkley in the running game. The day will come when the Giants have to make a big decision on Barkley. Do they pay him?
5. Detroit Lions (via mock trade with Dolphins): Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
The trade with Miami works out for Detroit. After the departure of Darius Slay heading to Philly, the Lions grab the best corner in the draft. Even with the addition of Desmond Trufant, I still think the Lions take Okudah here. After all, if the Lions really wanted to become the Patriots 2.0, you gotta have a quality secondary, right?!
6. Los Angeles Chargers: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
If head coach Anthony Lynn believes Tyrod Taylor can be the starting QB this season and next, why would he take a QB this high? I don’t think it’s a smokescreen. I think Lynn genuinely trusts Tyrod Taylor at QB…for now. So what do the Chargers do here? They address their biggest weakness: The o-line. And Thomas is the most pro-ready offensive tackle in this draft. The Chargers can always take a QB with their early second-round pick.
7. Carolina Panthers: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
The Panthers get Simmons who can potentially be Luke Kuechly‘s replacement…or not. Simmons can play anywhere on the field. Who knows if he’ll be linebacker or some other position. The Panthers love his versatility.
8. Arizona Cardinals: Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama
9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
Honestly, I think Brown at the 9th spot is a steal. This is a guy who could go as high as #3.
10. Denver Broncos (via mock trade with Browns): Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
Broncos GM John Elway is prioritizing two things this draft: Getting his QB Drew Lock weapons, and getting him protection. The Broncos send Cleveland the 15th overall pick, a third-round pick (83rd overall), and a sixth-round pick to move up and grab the best receiver in the draft.
11. New York Jets: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
Often times a team’s activity in the offseason is an indication of what they plan to do or not do in the draft. The Jets have signed five offensive linemen this offseason. So while some people think the Jets could take an offensive lineman, I don’t think they do here at the 11th spot; at least not this early in the draft. Sam Darnold needs weapons, so I think they take a receiver here. New York also signed receiver Breshad Perriman, but that’s not going to be enough. The Jets take CeeDee Lamb, and the word going around is that the Jets love him.
12. Las Vegas Raiders: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
I’m not gonna lie, it feels weird to write “Las Vegas” Raiders. But that is what they have become now, and quite frankly, it’s pretty exciting.
I think the Raiders should probably take a corner like C.J. Henderson here, but they won’t because Mayock and Gruden want a top receiver so badly, they’re licking their chops. And honestly, Tyrell Williams is not a WR1. So the Raiders hope Ruggs III can be that guy. Ruggs III has serious speed and has even been compared to Tyreek Hill.
13. San Francisco 49ers: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
The 49ers traded DeForest Buckner to the Colts to get this 13th overall pick. So I think the 49ers use the pick to basically get Buckner’s replacement. Kinlaw is a beast who is capable of playing anywhere on the line. The NFL’s best defense gets a really nice addition here.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
I think Tampa Bay will be looking to trade up, but won’t find any takers. Luckily for them, Becton is available and the Bucs are able to add protection for Tom Brady.
15. Cleveland Browns (via mock trade with Broncos): Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise State
The Browns allegedly are in love with Ezra Cleveland and he becomes an instant favorite with the last name…Cleveland. Leave it to Cleveland to have a Cleveland in Cleveland.
16. Atlanta Falcons: C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
Like the Bucs, I think the Falcons will look to trade up, but find no takers. But it works out in the end, because C.J. Henderson is pretty much what the Falcons need. As far as cornerbacks go, Jeffrey Okudah and C.J. Henderson are clearly the top-2 corners in the draft. Then after that, I think it’s completely up in the air and debatable.
17. Jacksonville Jaguars (via mock trade with Cowboys): Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
The Jaguars initially were not planning on taking a QB in the first round. But they cannot believe Herbert falls this far. The Jaguars have 12 picks this draft, so they have plenty of ammunition to go make a move. They send the 20th and 42nd overall picks to the Cowboys. Jacksonville will give Gardner Minshew a shot at the starting role. But now he has legitimate competition in Herbert, who could end up being the starter after all.
18. Miami Dolphins: K’Lavon Chaisson, DE, LSU
After securing his QB early, head coach Brian Flores turns his attention to defense, and grabs a talented defensive player in Chaisson.
19. Las Vegas Raiders: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
Back-to-back LSU picks here at 18th and 19th. The Raiders celebrated their Jerry Jeudy pick, but now it’s back to business and getting serious about addressing that pitiful secondary. The Raiders take a chance on Fulton.
20. Dallas Cowboys (via mock trade with Jaguars): Cesar Ruiz, C, Michigan
Cowboys’ All-Pro Center Travis Frederick retired this offseason at the age of 29. Frederick was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease a couple years ago which unfortunately has caused him to walk away from the game. But his health should be a priority, so good for him and all the best to him. Also I think we are going to see him in Canton one day. Frederick will be a Hall of Famer – you can count on it.
Frederick’s departure leaves a major void at center for the Cowboys. But word is going around that Dallas really likes Cesar Ruiz, the center out of Michigan. Dallas doesn’t waste time in getting a replacement at center, and takes Ruiz 20th overall.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
The Eagles were so decimated at receiver this past season that I thought they would try and get VincePapale out of retirement. Yeah, it was that bad. We all know Philly needs to take a receiver, and so they do here by taking Jefferson.
22. Minnesota Vikings: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
The Vikings need a lot of help on defense. But seeing that the Patriots and Saints – two teams who could both take wide receivers – have the next two picks before the Vikings pick again, Minnesota decides to not risk missing out and selects Higgins, who has a major catch radius and can be a serious threat in the red zone. The Vikings will load up on defense. But first, they take a receiver after trading away Stefon Diggs.
23. New England Patriots: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
No, the Patriots are not going to take a QB with their first pick, and no, they won’t trade up for one either. I don’t get it…every single year draft experts and other analysts always have the Patriots taking a QB early.
Bill Belichick will be patient. He will grab a QB late in the draft who he really likes and who he can get at a great value. With their first pick, New England takes Kenneth Murray, who I think could end up being the best linebacker in this draft. Isaiah Simmons has freakish athleticism and is very versatile, but I think Murray is actually a more technically-sound linebacker.
24. New Orleans Saints: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
Queen remains in New Orleans. Only this time a teammate of Drew Brees instead of Joe Burrow.
25. Minnesota Vikings: A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson
Now it’s time for Minnesota to address their defense which has absolutely been blown up this offseason. Terrell and Higgins – both Clemson guys – are back together as teammates.
26. Miami Dolphins: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
The Dolphins traded safety Minkah Fitzpatrick to the Steelers for a first round pick last season. But Miami will take McKinney, who actually reminds me a lot of Fitzpatrick and he too also played at Alabama.
27. Denver Broncos (via mock trade with Seahawks): Josh Jones, OT, Houston
I forget where I saw it, but I read somewhere that one NFL executive said that there are three sure things in this year’s draft: Joe Burrow goes #1, Chase Young goes #2, and Seattle will trade down out of the first round. I thought that was pretty funny. Seattle tends to always trade down in the draft, and funny enough, I think it happens again.
The Broncos make another trade! They send a second-round pick (46th overall), a third-round pick (95th overall) and a seventh-round pick to Seattle to move up and take Jones. I think Jones can be really good, and to trade up and get him at 27th might pay off for Denver.
28. Baltimore Ravens: Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
Baltimore gets Lamar Jackson a weapon. Aiyuk is a tough receiver who actually reminds me a bit of another former ASU receiver, N’Keal Harry. Hopefully Aiyuk is able to stay healthy in his rookie year.
29. Tennessee Titans: Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State
I think Gross-Matos is a little raw, but he’s an athlete who has a tremendous motor. Mike Vrabel will love him.
30. Green Bay Packers: Zack Baun, LB, Wisconsin
You know how many wide receivers the Packers drafted last year?
The Packers should have drafted a receiver last year, but they didn’t. Green Bay’s front office has a tendency to oddly not throw Aaron Rodgers a bone when he needs it. And that’s why for the past couple years I’ve said that Rodgers should want out…he should want a trade. If he stays in Green Bay, I don’t think he wins another Super Bowl. But I will leave that for another discussion or Turf article.
The Packers decide again to skip on a receiver and get a local linebacker out of Wisconsin in Baun. I do think Baun is a good pick, and the Packers could use a linebacker especially after losing Blake Martinez.
31. Philadelphia Eagles (via mock trade with 49ers): Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
Another first round trade! The Eagles desperately need help in their secondary, even after adding Darius Slay this offseason. It was that bad. But here they send a second-round pick (53rd overall) and a third-round pick (103rd overall) to the 49ers and grab Trevon Diggs, who is a big time playmaker. He is also the brother of Stefon Diggs.
32. Kansas City Chiefs: Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
The Chiefs get needed help in their secondary. There’s a reason the Chiefs were in the mix for Jalen Ramsey last season.
33. Cincinnati Bengals: Lloyd Cushenberry III, C, LSU
Well whaddya know…Burrow gets his center back. Cushenberry III can also move to a guard position if needed as well.
34. Indianapolis Colts: Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
The Colts are finally able to pick at 34th overall, but boy it’s a good one. Philip Rivers will be really pumped for this one.
35. Detroit Lions: Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU
Matt Patricia continues to build that Detroit defense.
36. New York Giants: A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa
He didn’t have a good combine, but Epenesa has first round talent. He had 11.5 sacks last season for Iowa. This is a good pick by Gettleman.
37. Los Angeles Chargers: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
The Chargers are patient and they are still able to grab Love early in the second round. He’ll sit behind Tyrod Taylor to start, but Love has tremendous upside.
38. Carolina Panthers: Neville Gallimore, DT, Oklahoma
This guy is a beast with a serious motor, and I can tell you teams are going to be bummed when they see him taken off the board.
39. Detroit Lions (via mock trade with Dolphins): Curtis Weaver, DE, Boise State
This is part of the Tua trade. Patricia continues to build up the defense, and Weaver was super productive for Boise State last season. He had 13.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for a loss in 14 games. Yeaaaah…not too bad.
40. Houston Texans: Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn
The Texans have had an interesting offseason to say the least. Houston’s secondary was not so good last season. They go out and get Igbinoghene with their first pick in the draft.
41. Jacksonville Jaguars (via mock trade with Browns): Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah
Woah what is this?! The Jaguars finally trade Yannick Ngakoue to the Browns (of course) for this second-round pick. I like Jaylon Johnson a lot. He does have a shoulder injury, but he should be good to go Week 1. The Jaguars hope he can be the Jalen Ramsey replacement. The Jaguars sent their 42nd overall pick to the Cowboys, received their 17th overall pick, and then made a trade with another team to step right in front of them at 41. Talk about some cold-blooded wheelin’-and-dealin’ right there.
42. Dallas Cowboys (via mock trade with Jaguars): Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State
The corners continue to fly off the board. Cowboys really need help in their secondary.
43. Chicago Bears: Grant Delpit, S, LSU
Chicago’s defense up front is strong, but they do need help in the secondary too.
44. Indianapolis Colts: Jacob Eason, QB, Washington
The Colts don’t have a quarterback on their roster who is under contract for more than another year. They gotta take a QB at some point. Eason has a cannon for an arm, but I don’t think he’s quite ready to be an NFL starter yet. Maybe in a couple years or so.
45. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
Jeez this is a helluva week for Tom Brady. He gets his old pal Gronk back to join him, his team takes a top-tier offensive lineman in the first round, and then he gets the best running back in the draft in the second round. The Bucs are in it to win it.
46. Seattle Seahawks (via mock trade with Broncos): Josh Uche, DE, Michigan
This is part of the trade that moved the Broncos to the 27th overall pick. Seahawks get a pass-rusher who is a little undersized, but plays well off the ball.
47. Atlanta Falcons: Marlon Davidson, DL, Auburn
I’m not really sure what Davidson is quite frankly. He could be a DE or DT. I think at the pro level, he may be more of a DT, but at this point I don’t think Atlanta cares…they just want talent on defense. They need it.
48. New York Jets: Austin Jackson, OT, USC
The Jets will still address their o-line after taking a receiver first.
49. Pittsburgh Steelers: Justin Madubuike, DT, Texas A&M
Steelers use their first pick on replacing Javon Hargrave, who signed with the Eagles in the offseason.
50. Las Vegas Raiders (via mock trade with Bears): Antoine Winfield Jr., S, Minnesota
There are rumors that the Raiders want to trade to get a pick in the second round, because right now they don’t have one. The Raiders make a trade with the team they once sent Khalil Mack to, and instead of trading down from the first round, they trade up – sending two third round picks to the Bears (80th and 91st overall picks).
The Raiders’ secondary needs some serious revamping. Winfield Jr. had SEVEN interceptions last season.
51. Dallas Cowboys: Terrell Lewis, DE, Alabama
Lewis is long and athletic. He does have an injury history, but the Cowboys take a chance on the big fella from Bama.
52. Los Angeles Rams: Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia
The Rams’ o-line was a disaster last season. Their first pick should address that.
53. San Francisco 49ers (via mock trade with Eagles): Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
Reagor is going to be a great fit in Kyle Shanahan‘s offense.
54. Buffalo Bills: Julian Okwara, DE, Notre Dame
Okwara is the first Notre Dame player off the board. And he joins a strong Buffalo defense.
55. Baltimore Ravens: Tyler Biadasz, C, Wisconsin
The Ravens use their second pick to get Lamar Jackson some interior protection.
56. Miami Dolphins: Lucas Niang, OT, TCU
The Dolphins got their QB, a couple pieces on defense, and now they must get protection for Tua.
57. Los Angeles Rams: Jordyn Brooks, LB, Texas Tech
The Rams get a pass rusher and the first Notre Dame player off th
58. Minnesota Vikings: Jonathan Greenard, DE, Florida
The Vikings get a decent pass rusher out of Florida.
59. Seattle Seahawks: Lloyd Cushenberry III, C, LSU
The Seahawks add to their o-line. Not sure if Cushenberry will start right away, but time will tell.
60. Baltimore Ravens: Tyler Biadasz, C, Wisconsin
Biadasz will join his Wisconsin teammate Jonathan Taylor in Baltimore.
61. Tennessee Titans: Jordan Elliott, DT, Missouri
Vrabel continues to add big bodies to the d-line.
62. Green Bay Packers: Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma
Just when you thought the Packers would take a receiver, this time they take a QUARTERBACK in the second round. It is at this point when you really wonder how much longer Aaron Rodgers will be in a Green Bay uniform. The Packers hope Hurts will be Rodgers’ successor. Meanwhile, Rodgers will start plotting an escape from Lambeau….which sounds way too much like a 70s Sci-Fi. ESCAPE FROM LAMBEAU!
63. Kansas City Chiefs: Robert Hunt, OT, Louisiana-Lafayette
This is a BIG boy who’s versatile along the offensive line. I’m sure Mahomes will appreciate the extra protection.
64. Seattle Seahawks: Matt Peart, OT, UConn
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