If 2019 was the year of the defensive lineman and 2018 the year of the quarterback, the 2020 NFL Draft could be the year of the wide receiver.
Just two wide receivers were taken in the first round of the draft this year with Marquise Brown going at No. 25 to Baltimore and N’Keal Harry at No. 32 to New England. If the best juniors-to-be go pro, that could change in a big way in 2020.
In this initial 2020 mock draft, seven wide receivers are taken in the top 32. Of course these early mock drafts are a total crapshoot. They’re just for fun and to start establishing a baseline of players and potential needs.
Take my first 2019 mock draft from April 2018, for instance. It had Clemson defensive picking Dexter Lawrence first overall. It gets better! It had several players who weren’t even in the draft this year. I did kinda call Drew Lock to Denver, though.
There are a couple things we do know about next year’s draft. Alabama is loaded once more. After having 10 players drafted this year, the Crimson Tide will have plenty again in the 2020 draft. That starts with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
We also know Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence won’t be in it. Just a true freshman last season, he’s not eligible for the draft until 2021.
For now, here are 32 players who are eligible and where they could land.
And before you get mad, the draft order is based on the latest future Super Bowl odds released by the FanDuel Sportsbook.
1. Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
Poor Josh Rosen. But if the Dolphins are at No. 1 in the 2020 draft, they likely won’t hesitate to take a quarterback. Tagovailoa has been destined for the top of the draft since his star-making freshman season at Alabama.
2. Arizona Cardinals: Chase Young, DE, Ohio Sate
Ohio State has another potential top-two pick at pass rusher. Young is a big athlete who had 9.5 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss in 2018. Oh, and he’s bigger and maybe more athletic than former teammate Nick Bosa.
3. Cincinnati Bengals: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
If the Bengals are drafting inside the top five, Andy Dalton would be coming off a disastrous season. Ryan Finley was a solid pickup in the fourth round this year, but Herbert has superstar potential.
4. Detroit Lions: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
Brown surprised a lot of people by going back to Auburn despite likely being a first-round pick this year. He could jump inside the top five if the Lions need to replace Damon Harrison after this season.
5. Buffalo Bills: A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa
Although the Bills have taken several defensive linemen high in the draft recently, they still need a defensive end who can rush the passer. Epenesa has size at 6’6 and 280 pounds and brings power off the edge.
6. Washington: Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado
Washington may have just drafted Terry McLaurin in the third round, but Shenault can be Dwayne Haskins’ lead receiver. Shenault has size at 6’2 and 220 pounds, and had 86 receptions for 1,011 yards and six touchdowns a season ago despite being slowed by a toe injury.
7. New York Giants: Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama
Meet the next star linebacker from Alabama. Moses is a big, speedy player with experience inside and outside. A Butkus Award finalist, he led Alabama last season with 86 tackles.
8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Raekwon Davis, DT, Alabama
The Buccaneers were rumored to take a defensive tackle with the No. 5 pick this year. If Gerald McCoy is in his final season in Tampa, the 6’7, 300-pound Davis is a fit next to Vita Vea.
9. New York Jets: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
To this point, the Jets still haven’t put a lot of talent around quarterback Sam Darnold. Jeudy had 68 receptions for 1,315 yards and 14 touchdowns last season en route to winning the Fred Biletnikoff Award.
10. Denver Broncos: Nick Coe, DE/DT, Auburn
The Broncos picked up the contract option on defensive end Derek Wolfe, but he’s had some health troubles in the past. At 6’5 and 291 pounds, Coe is a fit in Vic Fangio’s defense.
11. Las Vegas Raiders: Grant Delpit, S, LSU
Safety Karl Joseph is in his contract year for the Raiders, and Delpit would be a nice replacement. He was an All-American last season, and a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Award.
12. Tennessee Titans: Albert Okwuegbunam, TE, Missouri
By this time next year, Okwuegbunam could be talked about the same way T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant were this year. And you’ll know how to spell his name without looking it up.
13. Carolina Panthers: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
D.J. Moore is a solid player and running back Christian McCaffrey generates a lot of yards receiving, but the Panthers could use a legit No. 1 target for Cam Newton.
14. Baltimore Ravens: Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia
Hall surprised some people by returning to Virginia for his senior season. With Brandon Carr and Jimmy Smith free agents at the season, the Ravens could be looking for a new corner opposite Marlon Humphrey.
15. Jacksonville Jaguars: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
That’s right, two Alabama wide receivers inside the top 15. Ruggs is a speed receiver and the 1b to Jeudy’s 1a. Last season Ruggs averaged 16.1 yards per catch and had 11 touchdowns.
16. Seattle Seahawks: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
Left tackle Duane Brown will be 34 when the season starts, so the Seahawks may start to look for his eventual replacement. Thomas has started a season each at right and left tackle.
17. San Francisco 49ers: Walker Little, OT, Stanford
Joe Staley is in the final year of his contract so San Francisco could be in the market for a left tackle (assuming the 49ers don’t put 2018 first-round Mike McGlinchey there). The first-team all-conference left tackle has the size at 6’7 and 313 pounds the NFL loves.
18. Houston Texans: C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
Lonnie Johnson was a solid pickup in the second round this year, but the Texans may want even more help at cornerback. Henderson has size at 6’1 and 191 pounds and six interceptions in his career.
19. Minnesota Vikings: Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
This one is a bit of a projection, but Okudah is a former high-rated recruit who could be the latest Ohio State cornerback to go in the first round. New Ohio State secondary coach Jeff Hafley turned down an NFL job to be in Columbus and could turn Okudah from a raw project into a star.
20. Atlanta Falcons: Justin Madubuike, DT, Texas A&M
The Falcons strangely punted on defensive tackles in the 2019 draft. Maybe they’ll take one next year. Madubuike is the standout player on Texas A&M’s defensive line for his power and ability against the run.
21. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah
Drafting Justin Layne in the third round was a good move by the Steelers, but don’t forget that Joe Haden and Artie Burns are free agents after the season. Layne, Johnson, and Steven Nelson would give the Steelers three quality cornerbacks.
22. Dallas Cowboys: Collin Johnson, WR, Texas
The Cowboys will have decisions to make after the season with Amari Cooper, Allen Hurns, and Randall Cobb. That could lead them to Johnson, a 6’6, 220-pound receiver, in next year’s draft.
23. Green Bay Packers: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
Curiously, the Packers didn’t select a wide receiver in the draft this year. They could take advantage of the strength of the position next year with Lamb.
24. Philadelphia Eagles: Isaiah Simmons, S/LB, Clemson
Simmons is an athletic, hybrid defender who is comfortable at linebacker and safety. With Nigel Bradham’s pending free agency, Simmons could play on the weak side for the Eagles.
25. Indianapolis Colts: Yetur Gross-Matos, Edge, Penn State
Second-round pick Ben Banogu gives the Colts a good young end, and 2018 pick Tyquan Lewis is sold. A player like Gross-Matos, who had 20 tackles for loss and eight sacks last season, could round out their pass rush.
26. Las Vegas Raiders (via Chicago Bears): Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia
The Raiders stuck with Derek Carr after many questioned it leading up to the draft this year. But if he struggles, a quarterback like Fromm could be an option.
27. Los Angeles Chargers: Jacob Eason, QB, Washington
Eason sat out last season after transferring from Georgia, where he was stuck behind Fromm. Eason is a tall quarterback at 6’6 and 228 pounds and is still unproven, but the potential is there.
28. Cleveland Browns: Alaric Jackson, OT, Iowa
The offensive line for the Browns changed last season when Greg Robinson supplanted Desmond Harrison at left tackle. Robinson is only on a one-year contract, though, and the Browns could look toward 2020 for a franchise left tackle.
29. Los Angeles Rams: Kenny Willekes, DE, Michigan State
If the Rams don’t want to re-sign defensive linemen Michael Brockers and Dante Fowler Jr. next offseason, they could find a replacement in the draft with Willekes.
30. Kansas City Chiefs: Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State
If Tyreek Hill is done in Kansas City, the Chiefs may need more than Mecole Hardman to replace him. Last season Wallace had 86 receptions for 1,491 yards and 12 touchdowns.
31. New Orleans Saints: Tyler Biadasz, OL, Wisconsin
If Andrus Peat prices himself out of New Orleans next offseason, the Saints could replace him with Biadasz, an interior blocker who can play multiple spots. A quarterback is obviously intriguing here if they fell.
32. New England Patriots: Lorenzo Neal, DT, Purdue
New England’s defensive group could use some young talent next offseason, and Neal could develop into a first-round player with another strong season at Purdue.