Carson Zorn’s NFL Mock Draft 3.0

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Credit to: Athlon Sports

Carson Zorn, Writer

With the NFL Draft premiering Thursday night, it is time for my third and final mock draft. These are my official final predictions for all 32 picks of the first round of the draft. These predictions are a little more likely to happen than my predictions in my mock draft 2.0, but still not 100% correct, because I can’t see into the future. Anyways, without any more introduction here is my final NFL 2020 mock draft.

 

1. Cincinnati Bengals-Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

The Bengals have all but directly said that they’re drafting Joe Burrow first overall. It makes perfect sense, the Bengals need a QB and Burrow is the best QB in the draft. If there is any doubt in your mind that the Bengals won’t take Burrow, keep in mind the Bengals have literally maxed out the amount of time they were allowed to talk with Burrow. So without a doubt, Burrow is going first overall.

 

2. Washington Redskins-Chase Young, DE, Ohio State

It is almost impossible for Washington to screw this pick up. Chase Young is a generational talent that will instantly change the Washington defense for the better.

 

3.Detroit Lions-Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State

Is there a strong possibility Detroit trades down? Absolutely, but I think when draft night hits, neither the Dolphins or Chargers will take the bait. So, the Lions will fill one of their many needs on defense and take Okudah to fill the vacant CB position left by Darius Slay.

 

4. New York Giants-Isaiah Simmons, ILB, Clemson

After much debating and deliberation I have finally decided that the Giants will take Simmons at four. Part of me still thinks they’ll take a lineman, but on the other hand, Simmons is too talented of a defensive player to pass on. He is so much more than a LB and his presence on the Giants defense would be felt.

 

5. Miami Dolphins-Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

Yeah, I don’t think the Dolphins will trade up. I think they’ll sit at five, and one way or another, a QB they want will fall to them at five. I think all the stuff about them trading back or drafting an O-Lineman, or even drafting Herbert over Tua, is all smoke and mirrors. The Dolphins want Tua, and if they sit at five, there is a really good chance they get Tua. I think the only way they miss out on Tua is if the Chargers trade up to take him, and I don’t think the Chargers will. The Dolphins will round out the top-five by securing their QB of the future.

 

6. Los Angeles Chargers-Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

I think this Chargers pick is really up in the air. They could go O-Line, D-Line, CB, or QB. I think I’ve finally settled on Herbert as the Chargers pick, because unless they sign Cam Newton or Jamies Winston before Thursday night, they need a QB. Sure Tyrod Taylor is serviceable, but the Chargers won’t make it to the playoffs with him at QB. So, they fill their need at QB with Herbert, and he can sit and learn behind Taylor for a couple games before being thrown into action.

 

7. Carolina Panthers-Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn

The Panthers need to start rebuilding their Defensive Line and Brown is the first step in a long process to make that defense look scary again. If Simmons falls to here, there is no doubt in my mind that the Panthers take him, but as far as this mock draft goes, Brown is the obvious choice for the Panthers at seven.

 

8. Arizona Cardinals-Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa

For about the last month I predicted the Cardinals taking Becton here, but then two things happened. One, I realized Wirfs is probably the best OT in the draft (only by a little bit though) and the Cardinals would want to take the best one. Two, Becton had his drug test at the combine flagged. So, I now think the Cardinals will take Wirfs at eight in order to give Kyler Murray more time in the pocket to throw.

 

PROJECTED TRADE: The Jacksonville Jaguars trade pick number nine to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and move back to pick number 14. (I won’t include trade details because it would likely involve multiple draft picks, which I don’t have enough information to speculate on. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if TE O.J. Howard is somehow involved in this trade)

 

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville

Even though the failed drug test does raise some concern, I think the Buccaneers won’t hesitate to pull the trigger to trade up and take Becton if he is available after the Cardinals pick. Becton is neck-and-neck with Wirfs in talent and the only thing that drops him below Wirfs is the failed drug test. But, if anyone can sort him out, it’s Bruce Arians and Co. The Buccaneers need to protect Tom Brady to make sure he is worth every dollar they spent, and Becton is the guy to do it.

 

PROJECTED TRADE: Cleveland Browns trade pick #10 to the Denver Broncos and move back to pick #15. (Again, no specifics other than that). 

 

10. Denver Broncos-Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

Courtland Sutton and Noah Fant are fantastic targets for Drew Lock to have, but a WR duo of Sutton and Jeudy would be fantastic for Lock in his second year. There are many rumors that the Broncos are trying to trade up to take Jeudy, and unlike most of the other draft rumors, I actually buy this one. The Broncos offense is looking really strong for the 2020 season, and adding Jeudy would possibly push the Broncos offense into the top 10 offenses in the NFL.

 

11. New York Jets-CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

While O-Line is a big need for the Jets, I just can’t shake the feeling they’ll take Lamb. My brain is telling me they’ll take O-Line, but my gut is telling me they’ll take Lamb, and I have to go with my gut. Lamb gives Darnold a key target to throw to, because the fact is, Breshad Perriman is not a WR1, and Lamb is.

 

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

The Raiders will be kicking themselves that their division rivals got Jeudy, but get the consolation prize of Ruggs. Ruggs is nothing to complain about. His speed matches that of Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman. So, while not the solid and steady WR1 the Carr needs (that Jeudy would’ve provided), Ruggs speed and field stretching ability will still revitalize that Raider’s offense.

 

PROJECTED TRADE: San Francisco 49ers trade pick #13 to the Atlanta Falcons and move back to #16.

 

13. Atlanta Falcons-C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida

There is a lot of noise that the Falcons are attempting to move up to draft either Henderson or Okudah. CB is a huge need for the Falcons as their secondary was burnt in almost every game last year. They will take advantage of the 49ers scrambling to figure out what to do following the top-3 receivers being drafted right in front of them, and trade up to the 13th pick to take Henderson. Henderson and Okudah are very similar in talent, and some NFL GMs have Henderson ranked over Okudah, so the Falcons are getting a game-changing secondary player at 13.

 

14. Jacksonville Jaguars-Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina 

The Jaguars need to rebuild their defensive line. It started when they drafted Josh Allen last year, but now they’ve lost almost every other key defensive player on their team. So now they will trade back and still be able to address a key defensive position on their roster. While he’s no Derrick Brown, Kinlaw has top ten talent in his one right. He’s a player that can easily disrupt any offense and with this pick the Jaguars begin their rebuild.

 

15. Cleveland Browns-Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia

The Browns are able to trade back to gain some more draft capital and still get a very promising O-Lineman that will be a staple in their offense for years to come. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it 100 times, the Browns need to protect QB Baker Mayfield, and the only way to do that is to better their O-Line. Thankfully for them, there is no shortage of O-Line talent in the draft.

 

16. San Francisco 49ers-Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU

After gathering themselves following their trade, the 49ers pick a solid CB in Fulton. There aren’t many positional needs on the 49ers but CB could be extremely helpful for the future. Richard Sherman doesn’t have too many years left as a starter and letting a rookie develop behind one of the best corners currently out there is a great idea for the 49ers.

 

17. Dallas Cowboys-K’Lavon Chaisson, OLB, LSU

Sean Lee isn’t getting any younger. Drafting Chaisson will secure the Cowboys an elite linebacker that will bolster a young and talented linebacking core for years to come, and lucky for the Cowboys, they might not even have to trade up to get him.

 

18. Miami Dolphins-Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama

Miami sits on their pick at 18 and still somehow secures one of the top OT talents in the draft. Wills may not be the guy who ends up there come draft day, but I can almost guarantee Miami takes an O-Lineman at 18. They’re drafting their QB of the future at 5 and getting some protection for your franchise QB is never a bad idea.

 

19. Las Vegas Raiders-Kenneth Murray, OLB, Oklahoma

The Raiders really need defensive help, and they especially need a LB. There is some question about which Linebacker is the best available at this point, but the Raiders love their hard-hitters and Murray is definitely a hard hitter. He can change that Raiders defense for the better if they let him and if I’m the Raiders I wouldn’t hesitate to draft Murray here.

 

20. Jacksonville Jaguars-Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU

The Jaguars traded away CB Jalen Ramsey to the Rams last year. They got a first round pick in return and it seems only fitting that they use it to secure their CB of the future. Gladney is a truly underrated talent who did amazing things at TCU last season. Gladney will improve the Jaguars questionable secondary while the Jaguars begin a full rebuild of their defense.

 

21. Philadelphia Eagles-Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU

The Eagles didn’t have many good recievers on their roster last year, and the few that were good got hurt. Basically, the Eagles need WRs, and luckily for them this draft is full of them. They can sit at 21 and get an exceptional WR no matter what. While the top three will likely be off the board at this point in the draft, Jefferson is in no way worth complaining about. Jefferson put up incredible stats at LSU last year and will provide QB Carson Wentz with a true number one receiver to throw to.

 

22. Minnesota Vikings-Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama

This pick would’ve worked out better if Trevon’s brother Stefon had stayed in town, but either way, the Vikings need a CB and Diggs will be the best one on the board at this point. It’s difficult to predict where Diggs will be drafted, some mock drafts have him going in the first round, and some in the third round. I think late first round is a pretty reasonable projection for Diggs, and the most CB-needy team in the late first round is the Vikings.

 

23. New England Patriots-Patrick Queen, OLB, LSU

Part of me really wants to put Jordan Love right after the word Patriots, but I just can’t. While the Patriots need a QB, I think they’ll wait until one of the later rounds to draft one. It worked out for them last time they did that. So, I think they address their need at LB with Patrick Queen, who will jump right in and be a difference maker on that defense instantly.

 

24. New Orleans Saints-Zack Baun, OLB, Wisconsin

The Saints pick here is somewhat of a mystery, because they don’t have many positions that need improving on. But one that could use a little bit of help is the linebacking core, and while Queen and Murray won’t be there, Baun will be and the Saints shouldn’t hesitate to scoop him up.

 

25. Minnesota Vikings-Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor

I think everyone has begun to jump on the Denzel Mims hype train. He had a great year at Baylor, and his combine stats were very impressive. He is a great receiver that barely ever drops, and the Vikings are looking for that kind of guy to add to their offense. If Mims is there at 25, I wouldn’t hesitate to draft him. 

 

26. Miami Dolphins-Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin

With their third and final pick in the first round, I think the Dolphins will continue to build their offensive talent by drafting a franchise running back. Taylor is a true workhorse that would play every down if they let him. His speed and elusiveness are off the charts making him (possibly) the best RB in the draft. Miami desperately needs an RB and they can get one with pick 26.

 

27. Seattle Seahawks-A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa

With Clowney likely gone the Seahawks are once again in need of an edge rusher. Apart from Chase Young, there doesn’t look to be too many edge rushers going in the first round, leading to Epenesa landing right in the Seahawks lap at 27.

 

28. Baltimore Ravens-Josh Jones, OT, Houston

The Ravens really need a LB, but at this point any LB they draft would seem like a reach. So, they turn to improving their O-Line. While the O-Line doesn’t need a lot of help, it’s never a bad idea to add O-Line talent in a run heavy offense.

 

29. Tennessee Titans-Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State

I personally think Gross-Matos is the second best edge rusher in the draft, but Epenesa just fits the Seahawks scheme a little better than Gross-Matos. The Titans look to be a promising team next year but adding a truly exceptional edge rusher would make their team even better. Gross-Matos will be a name to watch for in the defensive rookie of the year conversation, and if the Titans develop him right, he will wreak havoc on O-Lines for years to come.

 

30. Green Bay Packers-Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU

I originally had the Packers going O-Line here, but had a last second change of thought. The Packers really do need a WR2 for Aaron Rodgers to throw to, and even in a deep WR class, they can’t pass up on a first round talent at WR. They need a receiver that can make an immediate impact on the team, and Reagor can be that guy. It also wouldn’t surprise me if they took Mims if he fell to 30, but as it stands I have them taking Reagor.

 

31. San Francisco 49ers-Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

After missing out on a WR earlier, the 49ers regroup and take Higgins at the end of the first round. While many have Higgins going much later in the draft, I think he’s too talented for the 49ers to pass on. I wouldn’t be surprised if they try to trade out of this pick, but if they stay put, WR is definitely in the cards, and I think Higgins could be an instant difference maker on that offense.

 

32. Kansas City Chiefs-Cesar Ruiz, C, Michigan

The Chiefs maintained 20/22 of the starters from their Super Bowl winning team, so they don’t need to address much in the draft. However, by drafting Ruiz they provide extra protection for Mahomes, who is definitely going to be made the highest paid QB in the NFL at some point. If a team is going to make a huge financial investment in a QB, they’ll want to make sure he gets hit as little as possible, and that’s what this draft pick does for the Chiefs.

 

Well, that’s my final mock draft. Be sure to tune in to round one of the 2020 NFL Draft on Thursday night at 8pm EST.