Mike Fanelli | December 19th, 2019
We are just a few days away from week 16 of the 2019 NFL season. That means there are only two weeks of regular season football left and the majority of teams have been eliminated from playoff contention. Those fan bases are already looking ahead to the offseason and most notably the 2020 NFL draft. With a loss in one of their final two games, the Bengals will lock up the top draft spot and will be on the clock.
Since everyone loves mock drafts and can’t get enough of them, here is my mock draft 1.0 where I will predict (or at least try to) all the picks in the first round. For an added wrinkle, I have included five trades in this mock draft along with two in the top-10, neither of which is for a quarterback. Without further ado, the Cincinnati Bengals are on the clock.
1) Bengals – Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
Once the Bengals lose one of their last two games, we can start writing this pick in permanent marker. Andy Dalton is an upcoming free agent, Ryan Finley clear isn’t the long term answer, and Burrow has been easily the best quarterback in college football this season. Short of a serious injury during the CFB playoffs, Burrow is a lock to end up in Cincinnati next year.
2) Giants – Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
This is where the mock drafts really start. Not so much what player as Young is all but a guarantee to be the first non-quarterback taken in April but rather which team will be selecting second overall. The Giants, Dolphins, and Redskins all have a shot to pick second and this draft spot may be decided this weekend when the Giants and Redskins both “try” to win the game.
3) Dolphins – Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
The medical check will be critical to Tua’s draft stock. Unless there is concern his hip injury could threaten his career, Tua will be a first-round pick and likely a top-five pick. If the Dolphins have concerns with Tua’s hip, they could take another quarterback here or decide to give Josh Rosen one more shot and draft a quarterback in 2021.
*** Redskins trade pick #4 to the Jets for picks #7 and #44 ***
4) Jets (via Redskins) – Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
After trading away their second-round pick in a draft day trade last year for Montez Sweat, the Redskins should look to move back and add picks if they don’t end up able to select Young. The Jets believe Sam Darnold is their franchise quarterback but if he isn’t protected, he will never get the chance to develop. The Jets’ offensive line is one of the worse, if not the worst, in the league. Adding Thomas would be the first step in fixing that unit.
5) Lions – Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
Darius Slay is still playing at a high level but Rashaan Melvin on the other side has struggled and will be a free agent this spring. Despite a horrible record as the head coach, Matt Patricia will be back in 2020 according to the owner. With Patricia back, expect the Lions to spend their first-round pick on the defensive side of the ball (as they should) and Okudah is easily the top cornerback in this draft class.
6) Cardinals – Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
Starting left tackle D.J. Humphries is a pending free agent and hasn’t shown enough to warrant a big contract. Kyler Murray has been one of the most sacked quarterbacks this season and while part of that is him holding onto the ball for too long, the Cardinals’ offensive line is easily their worst unit on offense. Wirfs would start from day one and hopefully can keep Murray upright more often in 2020.
7) Redskins (via Jets) – Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
The jury is still out on Dwayne Haskins but it’s clear the Redskins found a star in Terry McLaurin. However, outside of him, the Redskins’ wide receiver unit is a big question mark. Fellow rookies Kelvin Harmon and Steven Sims Jr. have flashed at times this season but neither has the upside Jeudy does. Pairing McLaurin with Jeudy and a veteran tight end in free agency would give Haskins plenty of weapons entering year two.
8) Jaguars – Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
Ever since the Jaguars traded away Jalen Ramsey their defense hasn’t been the same. A.J. Bouye has been very good but Tre Herndon starting on the other side is a major problem. Furthermore, D.J. Hayden will likely be a cap casualty as the Jaguars are projected to have little cap space and the team can save $6 million dollars by cutting him in the offseason. Fulton would step in day one and immediately improve a struggling defense.
9) Chargers – Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
There are questions about whether Philip Rivers will be re-signed after the season. His play has fallen off and at 38 years old, the Chargers may not want to invest $30 plus million dollars in him for next season. Tyrod Taylor can fill in as the “bridge gap” quarterback, which would allow Herbert to sit for at least part of next season. Even if Rivers is re-signed, expect the Chargers to seriously consider using their top-10 pick on a quarterback.
*** Broncos trade picks #10 and #92 to the Browns for picks #15 and #46 ***
10) Browns (via Broncos)- Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama
Some draft evaluators view Wills as the best offensive tackle prospect in this draft. Whether he is the top offensive tackle or not on the Browns’ draft board, they need to upgrade both offensive tackle spots in this draft. Baker Mayfield has seriously regressed in year two and part of that is that he faces pressure on most of his snaps. At the cost of flipping a second-round pick for a third-round pick, the Browns can jump over the Panthers and Colts, who could be in the offensive tackle market and secure Wills.
11) Panthers – Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn
I believe the Panthers will move on from Cam Newton and instead of drafting a quarterback, they will sign Teddy Bridgewater in free agency. With the quarterback position taken care of, the Panthers turn to their other big need, defensive line help. They have been one of the worst teams against the run this year. To make things worse Gerald McCoy and Vernon Butler are free agents in March and the Panthers can cut Dontari Poe and save almost $10 million dollars. With so much uncertainty on the defensive line, adding Brown is critical.
12) Falcons – A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa
How many years in a row now have we said, “the Falcons can’t rush the passer”? Vic Beasley is a free agent and hasn’t shown enough to be re-signed, while Takkarist McKinley has 16.5 sacks in his three-year career. Epenesa has registered nine or more sacks in two straight seasons and would start day one for the Falcons.
13) Raiders – Isaiah Simmons, LB/SAF, Clemson
Other than Tahir Whitehead, what Raiders’ linebacker belongs in the league let alone starting? Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden clearly like Clemson players as two of their top four picks from last year (Clelin Ferrell and Trayvon Mullen) were Clemson defenders. Simmons can play in multiple spots and would be a three-down impact player from day one for the Raiders.
14) Colts – CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
Assuming they re-sign Anthony Castonzo, the Colts can go in multiple directions with this pick. A lot of Colt fans want them to take a quarterback but there is no quarterback is worth the pick here. Unless a trade develops, the Colts will go with the best player available. However, giving Brissett some more help would be nice. Devin Funchess got hurt week one and didn’t play the rest of the season and while T.Y. Hilton is a stud when healthy, he has struggled with injuries the past few years. Lamb would be the perfect guy to start out opposite of Hilton and take over as the WR1 when Hilton is a free agent after the 2020 season.
15) Broncos (via Browns) – Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
If the Colts didn’t take Lamb, he would be the pick here. However, Chris Harris Jr. is a pending free agent and before the season started the team wasn’t able to come to a long term deal with him. If Harris is allowed to walk, the Broncos will need a replacement to pair with 2018 third-round pick Isaac Yiadom.
*** Eagles trade pick #16 to the Dolphins for picks #22 and #68 ***
16) Dolphins (via Eagles) – Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State
The Dolphins have plenty of draft currency over the next two years so why not use some of it to get players they really want. Gross-Matos has been rising up draft boards over the last couple of months and the Dolphins lack any consistent pass rushers. With the Buccaneers potentially having two open starting spots at edge rusher, the Dolphins happily give up their third-round pick to jump them for Gross-Matos.
17) Buccaneers – K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
Shaquil Barrett, Carl Nassib, and Jason Pierre-Paul have all played at least 47% of the snaps so far this season, and all three are upcoming free agents. Bruce Arians has already stated that Barrett won’t be going anywhere but between re-signing (or franchise tagging) him and potentially either Jameis Winston or another quarterback, the Buccaneers probably won’t have the cap space to keep Nassib and Pierre-Paul. Chaisson might be a reach at this point but two positions get pushed up come draft time, quarterbacks and edge rushers.
18) Raiders (via Bears) – Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
Ruggs will challenge the fastest 40 time at the combine and the Raiders love speed. Darren Waller has been a great surprise for the Raiders but Tyrell Williams has been too inconsistent and obviously, Antonio Brown won’t be welcomed when the team moves to Las Vegas this spring. Ruggs might be a reach at this point in the draft but the Raiders need someone opposite of Williams and Hunter Renfrow in the slot.
19) Titans- Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
Expect the Titans to franchise tag one of Ryan Tannehill or Derrick Henry, and come to a long term deal with the other. After doing both, the Titans won’t have a ton of cap space to play with and probably won’t re-sign starting tackle Jack Conklin. Even if they have space, Conklin has been inconsistent throughout his career. Leatherwood would step in day one to replace Conklin and keep a solid offensive line unit rolling in 2020.
20) Jaguars (via Rams) – Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina
The Jaguars are going to be one of the tightest for cap space teams in the league this offseason. They can release Marcell Dareus and save $20 million dollars (which is likely to happen). They could also release Abry Jones and save $4 million dollars. Assuming one or both are released, the Jaguars will need someone to pair with former first-round pick Taven Bryan at defensive tackle. Kinlaw will be at the Senior Bowl in a few weeks and with a good showing, he could end up being a top-20 pick.
21) Cowboys – Grant Delpit, SAF, LSU
Some might be surprised to see Delpit slide this far but there aren’t a lot of top-20 teams with a major need at safety and Delpit hasn’t played great this season. However, the Cowboys tried to trade for Jamal Adams at the trade deadline and if they can’t get a former LSU safety, they will happily take the current one. Delpit would be an instant upgrade over Jeff Heath and Darian Thompson.
22) Eagles (via Dolphins, Steelers) – Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State
The Eagles have two major needs they have to address this offseason; the secondary and depth at wide receiver. With no wide receiver worth taking at this point, the Eagles turn to the secondary (their bigger need). Wade hasn’t made a decision on entering the draft or not, and as a redshirt sophomore, he can easily return to school for up to two more seasons. However, if picked by the Eagles, he would be their best cornerback starting day one.
23) Dolphins (via Texans) – Tyler Biadasz, iOL, Wisconsin
If the Dolphins are going to select Tua, they need to protect him and right now they might have the worst offensive line in the league. The Dolphins drafted former Wisconsin offensive lineman Michael Deiter in the third-round last year and pairing him with his college teammate in Biadasz would make a lot of sense. You have to protect the franchise quarterback and Biadasz is easily the best offensive lineman on the board.
24) Vikings – Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford
Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander are pending free agents while Xavier Rhodes has seriously regressed this season. The Vikings will probably release Rhodes and open up $8.1 million dollars in cap space for next season but that won’t be enough to keep both Waynes and Alexander, leaving the Vikings having to replace two of their top cornerbacks. Former first-round pick Mike Hughes should step into a starting role but adding Adebo would give the Vikings some more depth and youth at cornerback.
*** Bills trade pick #25 to the Saints for picks #30 and #94 ***
25) Saints (via Bills) – Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama
Unfortunately, Alex Anzalone can’t stay healthy and other than Demario Davis, the Saints’ linebacker group is very underwhelming. The Saints are projected to be tight against the cap but can save almost $8 million dollars by releasing Kiko Alonso. Pairing Moses with Davis and hopefully, a healthy Anzalone would give the Saints one of the better linebacker trios in the league.
26) Chiefs – D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
Over the last few weeks, the Chiefs’ defense has played some excellent football. However, the Chiefs have one big issue on the offense; a lack of a running game. Since the release of Kareem Hunt, the Chiefs have struggled to consistently run the ball. Damien Williams, LeSean McCoy, and whatever other Williams haven’t gotten the job done. If there is going to be a running back taken in the first round, Swift is most likely to be that back. Swift joining an explosive Chiefs’ offense would be borderline unfair.
27) Packers – Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado
Unless they are unable to re-sign Bryan Bulaga, the Packers need to address the wide receiver position early in the draft. Geronimo Allison is a pending free agent while Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard haven’t done enough to keep the Packers from drafting a wide receiver early. Davante Adams can’t be the only weapon that scares defensive coordinators and Shenault should be the favorite to lock up the WR2 role by training camp.
*** 49ers trade pick #28 to the Colts for picks #35 and #79 ***
28) Colts (via 49ers) – Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
You didn’t think I would let the Colts leave this mock draft without taking a quarterback, did you? While Brissett did make the pro bowl as an alternative, that just shows how weak the AFC is at quarterback this season. Unless Andrew Luck is coming out of retirement, the Colts need to find a replacement at quarterback in this draft. Love is raw and will need time to develop, but his ceiling is on par with any quarterback in this class. Giving up a third-round pick allows the Colts to get the fifth-year option on Love instead of waiting to grab him with their early second-round pick.
29) Patriots – Prince Tega Wanogho, OT, Auburn
The Patriots are at a crossroad. If Tom Brady is back in 2020, they will be all on trying to win another title. However, if he retires or plays somewhere else (he is a free agent) in 2020, the Patriots will likely use this pick differently. Since Brady hasn’t said he will retire or play elsewhere in 2020, I’m going to assume he will be a Patriot. The offensive line has been killed with injuries this year and the depth has been tested. On top of that, starting guard Joe Thuney is a free agent and likely won’t be re-signed. Wanogho is the best offensive lineman left on the board and could kick inside to guard if needed.
30) Bills (via Saints)- Terrell Lewis, EDGE, Alabama
Already one of the best units in the league, the Bills should continue to build up their defense. While getting Josh Allen a big wide receiver would be nice, to take a wide receiver at this point would be a reach. Instead, they turn to an edge rusher, who could find his way into the top-15 come draft day. Shaq Lawson is a free agent and won’t be re-signed while Trent Murphy is a free agent after next season and Jerry Hughes will be 32 years old when next season starts. With Darnold, Brady, and now Tua in the division, having depth at edge rusher is critical.
31) Seahawks – C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
The Seahawks’ secondary doesn’t have the same names it did a few years ago, nor are teams afraid to challenge them anymore. Shaquill Griffin and Tre Flowers are solid cornerbacks but the depth behind them is underwhelming. Henderson may be the most polarizing first-round cornerback in this draft class but the Seahawks couldn’t care less about the public’s opinion after they reached for L.J. Collier last year.
32) Ravens – Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
This Ravens defense is very good and they must re-sign Marcus Peters. Assuming they do that, they can go in several directions with this pick including trading it to a team looking to get the fifth-year option on a rookie contract. However, if they stay put, Murray could be the surprise pick to close out the round. Both starting inside linebackers, Patrick Onwuasor and Josh Bynes are pending free agents, and Murray would be an upgrade over both while saving the Ravens some money.
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