If a team doesn’t get a quarterback in the first round, there’s still a possibility of landing a franchise quarterback beyond the top 32. That’s the scenario explored in this week’s mock draft.
The 2020 NFL Draft features three sure-thing first-round quarterbacks: Joe Burrow of LSU, Justin Herbert of Oregon, and Tua Tagovailoa of Alabama. Utah State quarterback Jordan Love is often considered a first-round player, but he fell out this week. It wasn’t on purpose. That’s more of a product of not doing trades in this mock. But things will be interesting for him if the Patriots and Saints — two quarterback-needy teams picking in the 20s — don’t take him.
After those top four, could any quarterback in this draft be someone who leads his team to the playoffs? With compensation picks announced recently, this week’s mock draft goes three rounds deep, and that means more quarterbacks. Three more, in fact, with Jacob Eason of Washington, Jake Fromm of Georgia, and Jalen Hurts of Oklahoma all landing in the top 100.
1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
Here are the knocks on Burrow: He’ll be 24 years old during his rookie season and he doesn’t have a rocket arm. That is pretty much it. That’s not to say he’s a flawless prospect, but he destroyed several top-10 teams last season, threw for more than 5,000 yards in an NFL-style offense, and accounted for 60 passing touchdowns. The hype is legitimate.
2. Washington: Chase Young, DE, Ohio State
A defensive end has gone in the top six in each of the last seven drafts, and Young will obviously extend that streak. The question is how he compares to players like Joey Bosa and Nick Bosa, Jadeveon Clowney, Bradley Chubb, and Myles Garrett. Those are the players he’ll be judged against. Speaking solely on how they were considered as prospects coming out of college, it’s hard to say Young is better than Clowney. But he’s certainly in the conversation with the others.
3. Detroit Lions: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
Whomever the Lions view as the second-best defensive prospect in the draft should be the choice for them. That includes Simmons, Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown, and Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah. They all fit a need for Detroit. Simmons’ versatility could be utilized by Lions head coach Matt Patricia.
4. New York Giants: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
Wirfs is arguably the best offensive tackle in the draft and would be a perfect fit at right tackle for the Giants next to guard Kevin Zeitler. Wirfs is a smooth-moving monster athlete who could even get put at left tackle.
5. Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
The coronavirus outbreak is adding another layer to Tagovailoa’s oddball draft journey. With all pre-draft workouts canceled due to the pandemic, team doctors won’t get a deeper look at Tagovailoa. It’s to be determined if that’s a real concern.
6. Los Angeles Chargers: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
There’s actually been some speculation that Herbert could be drafted in front of Tagovailoa. Whichever quarterback is left for the Chargers, they should take him. It would allow them to make a smooth transition from the Philip Rivers era, with Tyrod Taylor acting as a bridge.
7. Carolina Panthers: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
Okudah should be in play for the Panthers considering veteran James Bradberry is expected to leave in free agency and Donte Jackson has only been average as a second-round pick in 2018. But Brown is a game changer on the defensive line who can overpower single blockers and break the pocket open.
8. Arizona Cardinals: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
Lamb to the Cardinals is starting to pop up in more mock drafts. After signing left tackle D.J. Humphries earlier this offseason, it slightly lessens the need for a blocker. Reconnecting Lamb and Kyler Murray would accelerate the quarterback’s development.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State
The Jaguars stripped away yet another player on defense, this time dumping Calais Campbell for a fifth-round pick. As long as the value is there with the No. 9 pick, it would make sense for the Jaguars to take the best defensive player available. Far and away that is Okudah in this scenario. South Carolina defensive lineman Javon Kinlaw would be an intriguing choice as well.
10. Cleveland Browns: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
The Browns will be happy if only one offensive tackle goes in front of them with the No. 10 pick. Becton would be an easy choice for a team that’s greatly in need of two starting offensive tackles. Becton fits in new head coach Kevin Stefanski’s offense with his ability to get out on the move on the edge.
11. New York Jets: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
You really can’t go wrong giving the Jets an offensive tackle or a wide receiver with the No. 11 pick. Although Wills predominantly played right tackle at Alabama, he could make the switch to the left in the NFL. That could let the Jets move 2019 third-round pick Chuma Edoga to right tackle or guard.
12. Las Vegas Raiders: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
Ruggs on the Raiders is just too much fun to pass on. As a speed receiver and arguably the fastest player in the draft, Ruggs would be a nice tribute to Al Davis in a year when the Raiders are on the move. That means he’d also be in Las Vegas instead of Denver, adding fuel to the rivalry considering how many Broncos fans seem to want Ruggs.
13. Indianapolis Colts: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
The Colts are pressing to get a veteran quarterback this offseason, which could allow them to pass on the position in the first round. Combining a proven quarterback and a receiver like Jeudy should help the Colts get back into the playoffs.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
This has become a common pick for the Buccaneers in mock drafts, and it makes sense after the team put the franchise tag on Shaquil Barrett. Thomas could supplant Donovan Smith at left tackle, and give the Buccaneers a classic left tackle who could be a Pro Bowl player with some tweaks to his technique.
15. Denver Broncos: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
The Broncos need defensive line help, and Kinlaw would be a steal with the 15th pick. In three years at South Carolina, the long-limbed Kinlaw had nearly as many passes broken up (10) as sacks (10.5). For a 320-pounder, Kinlaw moves around with ease. He can play end in three-man fronts and has the size to plug gaps.
16. Atlanta Falcons: K’Lavon Chaisson, Edge, LSU
In a year when a smaller pass rusher, Shaquil Barrett, led the NFL with 19.5 sacks, Chaisson should be popular to plenty of suitors. For the Falcons, if he’s used correctly, he could be what they hoped they were getting out of Vic Beasley and Takk McKinley.
17. Dallas Cowboys: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
Byron Jones is set to exit Dallas in free agency, and with him goes a defensive back with the ability to play multiple positions. McKinney is versatile in a different way. He’s comfortable playing a single-high safety role, but he can also come down and play the run. He played a lot of nickel linebacker for Alabama last season, too.
18. Miami Dolphins (via Pittsburgh Steelers): Austin Jackson, OT, USC
Jackson is a naturally gifted left tackle who some thought before the season was destined to be a top-10 pick. Jackson is an athletic blocker, but needs to play with more power in the NFL. While he’ll take some time to develop, Miami would be the perfect spot to let him do so.
19. Las Vegas Raiders (via Chicago Bears): Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
A wide receiver and a linebacker would be a terrific one-two for the Raiders with their pair of first-round picks. Murray is an attacking linebacker who moves fluidly around the field to find the ball.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars: (via Los Angeles Rams): A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa
Now that’s Campbell gone, and Yannick Ngakoue possibly to follow, the Jaguars need help up front. Epenesa is a good all-around defensive end. With Josh Allen on one side, the Jaguars don’t necessarily need a speedy rusher like Chaisson. Epenesa would give the Jaguars a more rounded option.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Even though DeSean Jackson will be back, the Eagles badly need playmakers on offense. Jefferson can play in the slot or the outside, and showed last season he knows how to get into the end zone.
22. Buffalo Bills: Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado
The Bills have a good deep-ball threat (John Brown) and a solid slot receiver (Cole Beasley). What they need is a more well-rounded wide receiver who can do a little of everything. That is Shenault in a nutshell.
23. New England Patriots: Julian Okwara, Edge, Notre Dame
Okwara is a little bit of a mystery because he was banged up last season, didn’t participate in the NFL Scouting Combine, and won’t be able to do private workouts. But if you go off his performance from 2018, you see an impressive standup edge rusher who can get off blocks. He needs to get better playing the run, but he would get good coaching in New England.
24. New Orleans Saints: CJ Henderson, CB, Florida
Some think Henderson could be a top-15 selection, so the Saints would be fortunate to get him at No. 24. The question is whether or not to take a cornerback or a wide receiver instead of Utah State quarterback Jordan Love.
25. Minnesota Vikings: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
Diggs is a fringe first-round player, but the Vikings could get desperate to land a cornerback. They released Xavier Rhodes, while Mackensie Alexander and Trae Waynes are free agents. Diggs needs to be developed, but he has tools.
26. Miami Dolphins (via Houston Texans): Grant Delpit, S, LSU
The Dolphins released veteran safety Reshad Jones, which pushes safety higher up on the team’s list of needs. Delpit has top-10 talent, but his play faltered some last season while he battled injury.
27. Seattle Seahawks: Josh Jones, OT, Houston
If there isn’t a pass rusher the Seahawks like with this pick, they could take an offensive tackle like Jones at No. 27. Left tackle Duane Brown will be 35 at the start of next season, but he is signed for two more seasons. Jones could start on the right side, replacing Germain Ifedi and eventually replace Brown.
28. Baltimore Ravens: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
By acquiring Campbell, the Ravens got a player who will help them get after the quarterback with four down linemen. That makes a linebacker like Queen an even better option. He can patrol the middle of the defense and rely on his athleticism to track down the ball.
29. Tennessee Titans: Terrell Lewis, Edge, Alabama
The Titans really struggled last season getting after the quarterback, relying on players like the 38-year-old Cameron Wake and Kamalei Correa, a 2016 second-round pick who finally came on last season as he enters free agency. Lewis plays with a lot of aggression, which is good and bad, but should be able to contribute early in his career.
30. Green Bay Packers: Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
Seeing Queen and Jefferson gone is bad news for the Packers. But Aiyuk is a decent consolation prize. Although Aiyuk was something of a one-year wonder at Arizona State, he showed enough skill as a catch-and-run receiver to be worth a first-round pick.
31. San Francisco 49ers: A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson
Don’t let one game fool you: Terrell is a quality cornerback. Everyone knows that Terrell got torched by LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase in the national championship game. Just about everyone got beat by the potential top-10 pick in 2021. Terrell has solid size and will get aggressive at the catch point.
32. Kansas City Chiefs: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
Fulton fits the same profile as former LSU teammate Greedy Williams in that he’s a quick cornerback with length who can mirror and play tight man coverage. Like Williams, he’s also a suspect tackler. But if a team can coach some toughness into his game, he can cover lead opposing receivers.
33. Cincinnati Bengals: Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
34. Indianapolis Colts (via Washington): Neville Gallimore, DT, Oklahoma
35. Detroit Lions: Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
36. New York Giants: Yetur Gross-Matos, Edge, Penn State
37. Los Angeles Chargers: Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah
38. Carolina Panthers: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
39. Miami Dolphins: D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
40. Arizona Cardinals: Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia
41. Cleveland Browns: Antoine Winfield Jr., S, Minnesota
42. Jacksonville Jaguars: Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU
43. Chicago Bears (via Las Vegas Raiders): Jacob Eason, QB, Washington
44. Indianapolis Colts: Josh Uche, Edge, Michigan
45. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Marlon Davidson, DL, Auburn
46. Denver Broncos: K.J. Hamler, WR, Penn State
47. Atlanta Falcons: Lloyd Cushenberry, OG/C, LSU
48. New York Jets: Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
49. Pittsburgh Steelers: Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame
50. Chicago Bears: Kyle Dugger, S, Lenoir-Rhyne
51. Dallas Cowboys: Jordan Elliott, DT, Missouri
52. Los Angeles Rams: Curtis Weaver, Edge, Boise State
53. Philadelphia Eagles: Cameron Dantzler, CB, Mississippi State
54. Buffalo Bills: Khalid Kareem, Edge, Notre Dame
55. Atlanta Falcons (via New England Patriots): Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State
56. Miami Dolphins (via New Orleans Saints): Jonathan Greenard, Edge, Florida
57. Houston Texans: J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio State
58. Minnesota Vikings: Cesar Ruiz, G/C, Michigan
59. Seattle Seahawks: Jason Strowbridge, DE, North Carolina
60. Baltimore Ravens: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
61. Tennessee Titans: Raekwon Davis, DL, Alabama
62. Green Bay Packers: Zack Baun, LB, Wisconsin
63. Kansas City Chiefs (via San Francisco 49ers): Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU
64. Seattle Seahawks (via Kansas City Chiefs): Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia
65. Cincinnati Bengals: Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise State
66. Washington: Prince Tega Wanogho, OT, Auburn
67. Detroit Lions: Matt Peart, OT, Connecticut
68. New York Jets (via New York Giants): Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn
69. Carolina Panthers: Malik Harrison, LB, Ohio State
70. Miami Dolphins: Justin Madubuike, DT, Texas A&M
71. Los Angeles Chargers: Lucas Niang, OT, TCU
72. Arizona Cardinals: A.J. Green, CB, Oklahoma State
73. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia
74. Cleveland Browns: Akeem Davis-Gaither, LB, Appalachian State
75. Indianapolis Colts: Saahdiq Charles, OT, LSU
76. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Lamar Jackson, CB, Nebraska
77. Denver Broncos: Trey Adams, OT, Washington
78. Atlanta Falcons: Davon Hamilton, DT, Ohio State
79. New York Jets: Darrell Taylor, Edge, Tennessee
80. Las Vegas Raiders: Reggie Robinson, CB, Tulsa
81. Las Vegas Raiders (via Chicago Bears): Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame
82. Dallas Cowboys: Adam Trautman, TE, Dayton
83. Denver Broncos (via Pittsburgh Steelers): Robert Hunt, G, Louisiana
84. Los Angeles Rams: Cam Akers, RB, Florida State
85. Philadelphia Eagles: Jeremy Chinn, S, Southern Illinois
86. Buffalo Bills: Netane Muti, G, Fresno State
87. New England Patriots: Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma
88. New Orleans Saints: Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR, Michigan
89. Minnesota Vikings: Antonio Gandy-Golden, WR, Liberty
90. Houston Texans: Larrell Murchison, DL, NC State
91. Las Vegas Raiders (via Seattle Seahawks): James Lynch, DL, Baylor
92. Baltimore Ravens: Matt Hennessy, C/G, Temple
93. Tennessee Titans: Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
94. Green Bay Packers: Amik Robertson, CB, Louisiana Tech
95. Denver Broncos (via San Francisco 49ers): Leki Fotu, DT, Utah
96. Kansas City Chiefs: AJ Dillon, RB, Boston College
97. Cleveland Browns (via Houston Texans): Ashtyn Davis, S, California
98. New England Patriots: Jared Pinkney, TE, Vanderbilt
99. New York Giants: Logan Wilson, LB, Wyoming
100. New England Patriots: Devin Duvernay, WR, Texas
101. Seattle Seahawks: Colby Parkinson, TE, Stanford
102. Pittsburgh Steelers: Bradlee Anae, Edge, Utah
103. Philadelphia Eagles: Jabari Zuniga, Edge, Florida
104. Los Angeles Rams: Ben Bartch, OT/G, St. John’s (Minn.)
105. Minnesota Vikings: Rashard Lawrence, DT, LSU
106. Baltimore Ravens: Damien Lewis, G, LSU