I began this mock draft in 2012 (for the 2013 NFL draft) and one of the first things I decided was I wouldn’t do trades.
There are just too many variables and I’m already projecting so much. I make up for it by discussing the possibility within the analysis of each pick.
Still, there’s a deal brewing that has been obvious for a while. It appears, by all accounts, Tua Tagovailoa is well on his way to receiving a clean bill of health. This means the Dolphins or Chargers will almost certainly have to trade up to secure the Crimson Tide signal-caller.
The first two picks are locked in at this point because neither the Bengals or Redskins could trade down and still land their current targets (Quarterback Joe Burrow or edge rusher Chase Young).
This leaves the Lions with the No. 3 overall pick as an ideal trade partner. GM Bob Quinn could slide down two or three spots, stockpile draft capital and still land an elite defensive prospect (cornerback Jeff Okudah, linebacker Isaiah Simmons or defensive lineman Derrick Brown).
If the Chargers want to truly make a splash by landing their quarterback-of-the-future in this draft (Justin Herbert and Jordan Love bring with them just as many questions as answers), they’ll have to leapfrog the Dolphins to do it.
If the Dolphins truly covet Tagovailoa, like many have suspected for a long time, it would behoove them to preemptively beat the Chargers to the punch and make the deal with Detroit to take such a move off the chess board.
I believe it’s not a matter of if, but when this will happen.
The NFL draft has become a nice appetizer before our main course in September (cross your fingers). A mock version of said draft is meant to educate, and even entertain. At very least, it helps you pass the time.
The closer we get to draft day, the more I attempt to match what teams will actually do with their draft picks as opposed to what I believe they should do.
Last season, I was the fifth most accurate (out of 101) — most accurate in print — NFL draft prognosticator according to The Huddle Report. I’m 18th over the past five years.
Follow me on Twitter @UTEddieBrown so we can continue the conversation.
Here’s an updated version of my 2020 NFL mock draft, now through four rounds:
1. Cincinnati (2-14) — Joe Burrow, QB, LSU, Sr.
The Bengals are showing Burrow they mean business by securing another season of All-Pro wide receiver A.J. Green’s services with the franchise tag and adding talent to a bad defense (Defensive tackle D.J. Reader and cornerback Trae Waynes). Top needs: QB, OL, LB
2. Washington (3-13) — Chase Young, Edge, Ohio St., Jr.
The latest reports have Redskins owner Daniel Snyder being “infatuated with” Young. The former Buckeye remains the top prospect in this draft class. Top needs: OL, LB, WR
3. Detroit (3-12-1) — Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio St., Jr.
Pairing Okudah with Pro Bowler Desmond Trufant should help mitigate the loss of All-Pro Darius Slay. Top needs: OG, CB, WR
4. N.Y. Giants (4-12) — Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa, Jr.
There’s been a lot of smoke about GM Dave Gettleman preferring to trade down (although he never has before in the first round). Wirfs is the best pass protector in this class, and talented enough to play multiple positions on the line. The Giants were fans before his historical performance in Indy. Top needs: OL, Edge, CB
5. Miami (5-11) — Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama, Jr.
It seems the Dolphins have signed every position other than quarterback in free agency already. A healthy Tagovailoa compares favorably to Russell Wilson. Top needs: QB, OL, WR
6. L.A. Chargers (5-11) — Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson, Jr.
The Chargers should strike a deal with free agent Cam Newton and target a developmental quarterback on day two if they miss out on Tagovailoa. Such a scenario would allow them to draft Simmons. The only defensive position he’s ill-equipped to play is nose tackle. He’s an athletic unicorn who can rush the passer, patrol sideline to sideline and make an impact in coverage. The combination of Simmons and Derwin James would definitely get Patrick Mahomes’ attention. Top needs: QB, OL, RB
7. Carolina (5-11) — Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn, Sr.
The Panthers have focused most of their attention on offense during free agency. Brooks is a run-away train who never wears down. He’s just as active in the fourth quarter as he is in the first. A mediocre performance at the combine could lower his draft stock a bit (but it shouldn’t). Top needs: DL, LB, CB
8. Arizona (5-10-1) — Jedrick Wills, OL, Alabama, Jr.
The Cardinals fleeced the Texans for All-World wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins so they can continue to focus on upgrading Kyler Murray’s protection. Wills is a powerful player who is versatile enough to play guard and showed some serious growth at tackle his junior season. He only allowed one quarterback pressure in his last five games, according to Pro Football Focus. Top needs: OL, Edge, CB
9. Jacksonville (6-10) — K’Lavon Chaisson, Edge, LSU, Soph.
The Jaguars’ front-seven is currently being rebuilt. Calais Campbell and Marcell Dareus are gone with Yannick Ngakoue likely being traded before long. Chaisson features one of the highest upsides at any position in this draft class. He’s a natural speed rusher who is capable of dropping into coverage and can be an asset in defending the run. The one knock is his durability. Top needs: Edge, CB, DL
10. Cleveland (6-10) — Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia, Jr.
The Browns added right tackle Jack Conklin, but they need more. Thomas is a big, powerful, athletic lineman with springy footwork and quick hands who’s a dynamic closer in both the run and pass game. Top needs: OL, LB, Edge
11. N.Y. Jets (7-9) — Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama, Jr.
Jeudy is the crown jewel of what is shaping up to be a special 2020 class of receivers and a legit upgrade over Robby Anderson. Top needs: OL, WR, Edge
12. Las Vegas (7-9) — CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma, Jr.
Antonio Brown’s breakdown left a sizable hole in the Raiders’ depth chart at receiver. Lamb has elite hands and ball skills. Top needs: WR, CB, OG
13. San Francisco from Indianapolis (7-9) — Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama, Jr.
The NFC champs have been busy right out of the gate. GM John Lynch sent All-Pro defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to Indy in a surprising blockbuster for this pick. Ruggs is pure electricity with the football in his hands. He scored 25 total touchdowns on 100 touches in his Crimson Tide career. Top needs: WR, CB, OL
14. Tampa Bay (7-9) — Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville, Jr.
The Buccaneers did the impossible by luring Tom Brady away from New England. Now they can focus on protecting the G.O.A.T. You can’t teach Becton’s size (6-7, 369) and he’s surprisingly nimble, especially as a run blocker. Top needs: OL, CB, DL
15. Denver (7-9) — C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida, Jr.
The Broncos find a replacement for All-Pro cornerback Chris Harris instead of reaching for a receiver. It’s nitpicking to say Henderson is a shy tackler in the run game. Shutdown corners aren’t charged with shutting down running backs. They’re supposed to shut down wide receivers and he has no problem doing that. Top needs: WR, CB, LB
16. Atlanta (7-9) — Zach Baun, OLB, Wisconsin, Sr.
The Falcons need to bolster their linebacker corps and pass rush. Baun is a natural chasing down the quarterback and is versatile enough to be utilized all over the front seven to create match-up problems. Top needs: CB, Edge, LB
17. Dallas (8-8) — Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU, Sr.
All-Pro cornerback Byron Jones was the odd man out after the Cowboys resigned Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper. Don’t cry for Jones, Argentina. He earned himself a significant pay raise from Miami ($82.5 million over five years). Fulton is an elite athlete who was the top cornerback prospect coming out of high school in 2016, and has lived up to the hype (for the most part). Top needs: CB, Edge, C
18. Miami from Pittsburgh (8-8) — Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama, Jr.
McKinney is very similar to Minkah Fitzpatrick, the defensive back the Dolphins dealt to earn this selection. Top needs: QB, OL, WR
19. Las Vegas from Chicago (8-8) — Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina, Sr.
The Raiders copy their former neighbors in the bay area by stockpiling talent on the defensive line. Kinlaw has the potential to be a force against the pass and run at the next level. Top needs: WR, CB, OG
20. Jacksonville from L.A. Rams (9-7) — Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon, Sr.
I sincerely doubt the Jaguars will simply anoint Gardner Minshew without providing some legit competition for the position. Herbert has all the physical attributes (prototypical size and elite arm talent) the position requires, but consistency has been his bane. This is where he should go, but he’ll likely be drafted much higher because demand ALWAYS beats quality when it comes to quarterbacks in the draft. Top needs: Edge, CB, DL
21. Philadelphia (9-7) — Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU, Jr.
The Eagles’ wide receiver corps is in shambles. The inconsistent Nelson Agholor signed with the Raiders while DeSean Jackson isn’t getting any younger (or healthier). Reagor is a burner who is capable of scoring from anywhere on the field. Top needs: WR, LB, S
22. Minnesota from Buffalo (10-6) — Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU, Sr.
Trae Waynes signed with Cincy and the Vikings released Xavier Rhodes. Gladney is a press master who plays a physical game. Top needs: CB, WR, S
23. New England (12-4) — Patrick Queen, LB, LSU, Jr.
The Patriots replenish a depleted linebacker corps and fight the urge to reach for a quarterback. Queen is a three-down, sideline-to-sideline terror with an elite football mind who should make up for the free agent losses of Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins. Top needs: LB, QB, TE
24. New Orleans (13-3) — A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson, Jr.
This pick would likely push Janoris Jenkins inside to nickel duty. Terrell’s performance in Indy made up for his poor performance against LSU in the title game. Top needs: CB, OG, Edge
25. Minnesota (10-6) — Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado, Jr.
The Vikings need a receiver after trading Stefon Diggs to the Bills. Durability concerns have hampered Shenault’s draft stock, but he remains one of the most dynamic playmakers in this draft class. Top needs: CB, WR, S
26. Miami from Houston (10-6) — A.J. Epenesa, Edge, Iowa, Jr.
Epenesa racked up 11.5 sacks and forced four fumbles despite facing persistent double-teams last season. The AP All-American should boost a pass rush who only recorded a measly 23 sacks last season. Top needs: QB, OL, WR
27. Seattle (11-5) — Yetur Gross-Matos, Edge, Penn St., Jr.
The Seahawks need an edge rusher who can take advantage of Jadeveon Clowney’s presence, assuming he returns. Gross-Matos needs to add some strength to his frame, but he’s a gifted pass rusher with elite athleticism and a nose for the ball. Top needs: Edge, OL, S
28. Baltimore (14-2) — Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma, Jr.
The Ravens finally find a replacement for C.J. Mosley in the middle of their defense. Murray is an explosive athlete who developed elite instincts during his three seasons in Norman. Top needs: WR, Edge, LB
29. Tennessee (9-7) — Lucas Niang, OT, TCU, Sr.
The Titans lost Jack Conklin in free agency. Niang possesses the size, strength and athleticism needed to excel at the next level. He’ll just need to refine his footwork a bit. Top needs: OT, Edge, CB
30. Green Bay (13-3) — Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU, Jr.
Davante Adams was the Packers only effective wideout in 2019. A surprising 4.43 40-yard dash in Indy likely helped Jefferson’s draft stock. Top needs: WR, LB, OT
31. San Francisco (13-3) — Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama, Sr.
The 49ers likely will trade this pick to the highest bidder, considering they won’t be on the clock again until the fifth round. If they stand pat, Diggs (Stefon’s little brother) is still raw, but he features elite size (6-foot-1, 205 pounds) and a physicality that burdens receivers. Top needs: WR, CB, OL
32. Kansas City (12-4) — Cesar Ruiz, OL, Michigan, Jr.
The champs need an infusion of talent on the interior offensive line. Ruiz is an upgrade at center and would provide depth at guard. Top needs: CB, LB, RB
33. Cincinnati — Lloyd Cushenberry III, OL, LSU, Jr.
34. Indianapolis from Washington — Jordan Love, QB, Utah St., Jr.
35. Detroit — Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU, Jr.
36. N.Y. Giants — Grant Delpit, S, LSU, Jr.
37. L.A. Chargers — Jonathan Taylor, RB Wisconsin, Jr.
The Chargers paid Austin Ekeler, but they still need a primary runner. Taylor’s 4.39 40-yard dash in Indy reminded everyone he was an elite athlete on top of the elite production he’s known for. Top needs: QB, OL, RB
38. Carolina — Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn, Jr.
39. Miami — Josh Jones, OT, Houston, Sr.
40. Houston from Arizona — Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona St., Sr.
Aiyuk is a run-after-the-catch dynamo who would have some huge shoes to fill for the Texans. Top needs: WR, CB, Edge
41. Cleveland — Antoine Winfield Jr., S, Minnesota, So.
42. Jacksonville — Justin Madubuike, DT, Texas A&M, Jr.
43. Chicago from Las Vegas — Jeremy Chinn, S, Southern Illinois, Sr.
The athletic small school prospect would pair nicely with Eddie Jackson to solidify the back-end of a once elite defense. Top needs: OG, DB, TE
44. Indianapolis — Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson, Jr.
45. Tampa Bay — D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia, Jr.
46. Denver — K.J. Hamler, WR, Penn St., So.
47. Atlanta — Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah, Jr.
48. N.Y. Jets — Austin Jackson, OT, USC, Jr.
49. Pittsburgh — Neville Gallimore, DL, Oklahoma, Sr.
Gallimore’s speed off the ball (he ran a 4.79 40-yard dash in Indy) and scheme fit would make him the perfect replacement for Javon Hargrave. Top needs: OL, Edge, CB
50. Chicago — Robert Hunt, OL, Louisiana-Lafayette, Sr.
51. Dallas — Ashtyn Davis, S, California, Sr.
52. L.A. Rams — Prince Tega Wanogho, OT, Auburn, Sr.
The Rams offensive line needs an overhaul if the offense hopes to return to its lofty status of 2018. Tega Wanogho is still very raw, but he handled his own in the talent-rich SEC. Top needs: OL, LB, Edge
53. Philadelphia — Kyle Dugger, S, Lenoir-Rhyne, Sr.
54. Buffalo — Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU, Jr.
The Bills dropped out of the first round, but landed a true No. 1 wide receiver (Stefon Diggs) in a trade with Minnesota. Edwards-Helaire would be a nice compliment to Devin Singletary and give Josh Allen another versatile weapon on offense. Top needs: Edge, CB, OG
55. Baltimore from Atlanta — Josh Uche, Edge, Michigan, Sr.
56. Miami from New Orleans — J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio St., Jr.
57. Houston — Julian Okwara, Edge, Notre Dame, Sr.
58. Minnesota — Raekwon Davis, DL, Alabama, Sr.
59. Seattle — Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR, Michigan, Jr.
60. Baltimore — Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor, Sr.
61. Tennessee — Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio St., Sr.
62. Green Bay — Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame, Jr.
63. Kansas City from San Francisco — Troy Pride Jr., CB, Notre Dame, Sr.
64. Seattle from Kansas City — Jonah Jackson, OL, Ohio St., Sr.
65. Cincinnati — Malik Harrison, LB, Ohio St., Sr.
66. Washington — Brycen Hopkins, TE, Purdue, Sr.
67. Detroit — Van Jefferson, WR, Florida, Sr.
68. N.Y. Jets from N.Y. Giants — Terrell Lewis, Edge, Alabama, Jr.
69. Carolina — Jordyn Brooks, LB, Texas Tech, Sr.
70. Miami — Matt Hennessy, OL, Temple, Jr.
71. L.A. Chargers — Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma, Sr.
Hurts fits the mold coach Anthony Lynn prefers at quarterback — strong arm and mobility — and could carry Cam Newton’s clipboard for a bit until he’s ready. Top needs: QB, OL, RB
72. Arizona — Curtis Weaver, Edge, Boise St., Jr.
73. Jacksonville — Cameron Dantzler, CB, Mississippi St., Jr.
74. Cleveland — Troy Dye, LB, Oregon, Sr.
75. Indianapolis — Adam Trautman, TE, Dayton, Sr.
76. Tampa Bay — Davon Hamilton, DT, Ohio St., Sr.
77. Denver — Akeem Davis-Gaither, LB, Appalachian St., Sr.
78. Atlanta — Marlon Davidson, DL, Auburn, Sr.
79. N.Y. Jets — Nick Harris, OL, Washington, Sr.
80. Las Vegas — Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia, Sr.
81. Las Vegas from Chicago — Ben Bredeson, OL, Michigan, Sr.
82. Dallas — Khalid Kareem, Edge, Notre Dame, Sr.
83. Denver from Pittsburgh — Ben Bartch, OT, St. John, Sr.
84. L.A. Rams — Bradlee Anae, Edge, Utah, Sr.
The Rams lost Dante Fowler Jr. to free agency. Anae wins with hustle and physicality. He was highly productive (30 career sacks in four seasons) for an elite Utes defense. Top needs: OL, LB, Edge
85. Detroit from Philadelphia — Netane Muti, OL, Fresno St., Jr.
86. Buffalo — Darnay Holmes, CB, UCLA, Jr.
87. New England — Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia, Jr.
88. New Orleans — Willie Gay Jr., LB, Mississippi St., Jr.
89. Minnesota — Darrell Taylor, Edge, Tennessee, Sr.
90. Houston — Leki Fotu, DT, Utah, Sr.
91. Las Vegas from Seattle — Terrell Burgess, S, Utah, Sr.
92. Baltimore — Tyler Biadasz, OL, Wisconsin, Jr.
93. Tennessee — Eno Benjamin, RB, Arizona St., Jr.
94. Green Bay — Evan Weaver, LB, California, Sr.
95. Denver from San Francisco — Jonathan Greenard, Edge, Florida, Sr.
96. Kansas City — Jordan Elliott, DL, Missouri, Jr.
97. Cleveland from Houston — Rashard Lawrence, DL, LSU, Sr.
98. New England — Bryan Edwards, WR, South Carolina, Sr.
99. N.Y. Giants — Jabari Zuniga, Edge, Florida, Sr.
100. New England — Thaddeus Moss, TE, LSU, So.
101. Seattle — Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia, So.
102. Pittsburgh — Jacob Eason, QB, Washington, Jr.
103. Philadelphia — Damien Lewis, OL, LSU, Sr.
104. L.A. Rams — Cam Akers, RB, Florida St., Jr.
Akers brings size, power and athleticism to the table which would pair nicely with Darrell Henderson to create a dynamic backfield for the Rams. Top needs: OL, LB, Edge
105. Minnesota — Matthew Peart, OT, UConn, Sr.
106. Baltimore — Michael Pittman Jr., WR, USC, Sr.
107. Cincinnati — Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise St., Jr.
108. Washington — Amik Robertson, CB, Louisiana Tech, Jr.
109. Detroit — Kenny Willekes, Edge, Michigan St., Sr.
110. N.Y. Giants — Logan Wilson, LB, Wyoming, Sr.
111. Houston from Miami — Shane Lemieux, OL, Oregon, Sr.
112. L.A. Chargers — Jake Driscoll, OL, Auburn, Sr.
Driscoll is a versatile technician who will benefit from a NFL conditioning program. Top needs: QB, OL, RB
113. Carolina — K’Von Wallace, S, Clemson, Sr.
114. Arizona — Albert Okwuegbunam, TE, Missouri, Jr.
115. Cleveland — Alex Highsmith, Edge, Charlotte, Sr.
116. Jacksonville — Brandon Jones, S, Texas, Sr.
117. Tampa Bay — K.J. Hill, WR, Ohio St., Sr.
118. Denver — Logan Stenberg, OL, Kentucky, Sr.
119. Atlanta — John Simpson, OL, Clemson, Sr.
120. N.Y. Jets — Michael Ojemudia, CB, Iowa, Sr.
121. Las Vegas — Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame, Sr.
122. Indianapolis — Jason Strowbridge, DL, North Carolina, Sr.
123. Dallas — Darryl Williams, OL, Mississippi St., Sr.
124. Pittsburgh — Saahdiq Charles, OL, LSU, Jr.
125. New England from Chicago — Alton Robinson, Edge, Syracuse, Sr.
126. L.A. Rams — J.R. Reed, S, Georgia, Sr.
The Rams need to fill voids left by Eric Weddle and Marqui Christian. Reed is a solid tackler with enough athleticism to contribute in coverage. Top needs: OL, LB, Edge
127. Philadelphia — Shaquille Quarterman, LB, Miami, Sr.
128. Buffalo — Zack Moss, RB, Utah, Sr.
129. Baltimore from New England — Quintez Cephus, WR, Wisconsin, Jr.
130. New Orleans — Devin Duvernay, WR, Texas, Sr.
131. Arizona from Houston — Solomon Kindley, OL, Georgia, Jr.
132. Minnesota — Alohi Gilman, S, Notre Dame, Sr.
133. Seattle — James Lynch, DL, Baylor, Jr.
134. Baltimore — Lamical Perine, RB, Florida, Sr.
135. Pittsburgh from Miami — Nick Coe, Edge, Auburn, Jr.
136. Green Bay — Larrell Murchison, DL, NC State, Sr.
137. Jacksonville from Denver — Quartney Davis, WR, Texas A&M, Jr.
138. Kansas City — Antonio Gibson, RB, Memphis, Sr.
139. Tampa Bay — James Morgan, QB, Florida International, Sr.
140. Jacksonville from Chicago — Harrison Bryant, TE, Florida Atlantic, Sr.
141. Miami — Tyler Johnson, WR, Minnesota, Sr.
142. Washington — Collin Johnson, WR, Texas, Sr.
143. Atlanta from Baltimore — A.J. Dillon, RB, Boston College, Jr.
144. Seattle — Antoine Brooks, S, Maryland, Sr.
145. Philadelphia — Lamar Jackson, CB, Nebraska, Sr.
146. Philadelphia — Anfernee Jennings, Edge, Alabama, Sr.
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