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2020 NFL mock draft: How even more trades could blow up the first round

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We’ll probably see some moves for quarterbacks in the draft, but teams might jockey for offensive tackles too.

A collage of NFL Draft OL prospects Mekhi Becton, Jedrick Wills, and Andrew Thomas, superimposed on an orange background with white squiggly lines
The OT prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft include Mekhi Becton, Jedrick Wills, and Andrew Thomas.

In the 2020 NFL Draft, six first-round picks have already changed hands. By the time the first 32 picks are complete, expect more than that. Last year’s first round saw 12 picks get traded, while it was half the first-round picks in 2018.

With that in mind, this week’s mock draft explores six more trades that could happen on Day 1 of the draft. Of course, that action could be for quarterbacks. That is pretty normal.

But this year, teams could be jockeying to draft offensive tackles. We could see four offensive tackles taken in the top 10 picks. That run might force teams to jump up to get the blocker they need.

Here’s a look at the first round this week, and some trades that could shake up the first round.

1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

Over the past few weeks leading up to the draft, some have flirted with the idea of the Bengals trading the No. 1 pick. That would be idiotic. The most valuable asset in professional sports is a franchise quarterback on a rookie contract. The Bengals badly need that asset. Even getting multiple first-round picks would be hard to accept if it meant passing on Burrow.

2. Washington: Chase Young, DE, Ohio State

Washington is similar to Cincinnati in that it would be idiotic for the team to trade this pick. “Generational” is the dumbest word in draft parlance, so I won’t use it to describe Young. But he’s special. Players his size shouldn’t be able to move around as well as he does. What really sets Young apart is his explosiveness. He’s first off the ball and does it consistently.

TRADE: The Chargers trade pick Nos. 6, 37, and a 2021 second-rounder to the Lions for pick No. 3

3. Los Angeles Chargers: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

The details of this trade are similar to the deal between the Jets and Colts in 2018 that led to New York landing Sam Darnold. Trading in the draft is all about desperation. The Jets were desperate for a quarterback in 2018, just as the Chargers are this year. Los Angeles has a roster full of stars to make a push for the playoffs. If the Chargers like Tagovailoa, they need to go up and get him.

4. New York Giants: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville

This continues to be the pick for the Giants. Becton checks all the boxes you want in an offensive tackle. He’s massive and shockingly nimble for his size. Those aspects of his game are obvious. But what makes him stand out is his hand usage. Becton gets his hands on players quickly and knows how to use them. He’s not a perfect technician, but he’s as good as you need to be. When you add in his size and footwork, you have a starting NFL left tackle.

5. Miami Dolphins: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

While the Dolphins might be tempted to move up for Tagovailoa, there could be some strategy to holding at No. 5. Herbert got better as last season progressed and did well for himself at the Senior Bowl. He’s not a rah-rah player like Burrow or Tagovailoa, but not all quarterbacks need to be that type. Instead, Herbert goes about his business and makes plays. And if the Dolphins decide they don’t like him, they could go after another quarterback next year, when they still have two first-round picks.

6. Detroit Lions: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State

Even if the Lions can’t land Okudah in the draft, they can do no wrong by trading down. They could still grab a defensive tackle like Auburn’s Derrick Brown or linebacker like Isaiah Simmons of Clemson.

TRADE: The Buccaneers trade pick Nos. 14, 45, a 2021 third-rounder to the Panthers for pick No. 7

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa

With Tom Brady in the fold at quarterback, the Buccaneers could get aggressive to bolster their offensive line. Giving Brady time in the pocket is imperative, and Tampa has a wide-open hole at right tackle. Trading their first two picks is a steep price, but obviously the Buccaneers are in win-now mode.

8. Arizona Cardinals: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama

If the Cardinals suspect a team will leap them for an offensive tackle, they could try to move up themselves. General manager Steve Keim is a willing trade partner, but I held Arizona at No. 8 in this mock draft. If Keim is unsuccessful moving up in the real draft, taking Wills would still give them the right tackle they need.

TRADE: The Jets trade pick Nos. 11 and 68 to the Jaguars for pick No. 9

9. New York Jets: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia

Not every draft trade has to be complicated. The Jets wouldn’t have to give up too much to jump two spots and secure a blocker for Darnold. Thomas is a classic left tackle. He’s athletic on the outside to mirror pass rushers, and he plays with enough pop in his game to stop bull rushers.

TRADE: The Broncos trade pick Nos. 15 and 46 to the Browns for pick No. 10

10. Denver Broncos: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

Last year the Broncos traded out of the No. 10 spot in the deal that Pittsburgh made to acquire linebacker Devin Bush. This year they could jump up to No. 10 to get their choice of wide receiver. For me, that wide receiver is Jeudy. He’s a reliable pass catcher and route runner, and has good on-field speed.

11. Jacksonville Jaguars: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson

There is risk, of course, for Jacksonville dropping out of the top 10. If the Browns stayed at No. 10, they may have taken Simmons. Be that as it may, the Jaguars in this scenario get a defensive stalwart and an extra third-round pick to rebuild their roster.

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

With two first-round picks and three third-round picks, the Raiders could get creative. But in a draft featuring three elite wide receiver prospects, they could hold on to their picks and risk it. I continue to go back and forth on the order the top three receivers will come off the board.

13. San Francisco 49ers (via Indianapolis Colts): CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

After getting the No. 13 pick from the Colts, the 49ers may think about dealing it to try and get back into the second round this year. It might make the most sense for the 49ers to utilize this pick to land a sure-thing playmaker and trade the No. 31 pick. Lamb would give the 49ers a superstar wide receiver to pair with Deebo Samuel. Along with tight end George Kittle, San Francisco would have one of the best receiver groups in the NFL.

14. Carolina Panthers: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn

Somehow, the way this mock played out, the Panthers were able to drop deep and still get Brown. Getting extra draft picks over two years will help new head coach Matt Rhule build the roster in his vision.

15. Cleveland Browns: Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise State

Trades in front of them could really doom the Browns. If they see four offensive tackles go ahead of them, a trade back makes sense. It gives the Browns an extra second-round pick, though it means passing on Simmons. But considering how badly the Browns need a left tackle, any other position is a tough sell. There’s some strategy behind the choice of Ezra Cleveland. He’s an exceptionally athletic offensive tackle, something an analytics-driven front office has to realize.

TRADE: The Eagles trade pick Nos. 21, 103, and 127 to the Falcons for pick No. 16

16. Philadelphia Eagles: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU

This trade is somewhat similar to the one between the Seahawks and Packers last year, when Green Bay traded three picks to move up from No. 30 to No. 21. This is a slightly sweeter deal because it is a higher pick. Philadelphia could be compelled to trade up from No. 21 to land the wide receiver it needs.

17. Dallas Cowboys: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina

With a lot of action in front of them, the Cowboys will be an interesting spot with the No. 17 pick. There are some true edge rushers they could consider, but if Kinlaw is available he would be hard to pass up. He can play on the inside and be used some on the outside. That versatility would give the Cowboys a player who can rush the edge, and let veterans like Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe get some snaps off.

18. Miami Dolphins (via Pittsburgh Steelers): K’Lavon Chaisson, Edge, LSU

If five offensive tackles fly off the board before the Dolphins pick, they could fall back on a defender at No. 18 and go after a blocker with their third first-round pick. Although the Dolphins have loaded up on defenders this offseason, Chaisson could be brought in purely as a speed rusher off the edge.

19. Las Vegas Raiders (via Chicago Bears): CJ Henderson, CB, Florida

The Raiders should be happy to walk away from the first day of the draft with new starters at wide receiver and cornerback. That’s what they get out of this mock draft. Henderson is a player with top-15 talent who could slide due to all the offensive tackles and wide receivers getting picked.

20. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Los Angeles Rams): Austin Jackson, OT, USC

Jackson is a raw offensive tackle who surprised many by deciding to go pro. While he has to get stronger, there’s a lot to work with in his game in terms of quickness at the edge and the ability to mirror defenders.

21. Atlanta Falcons: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama

Diggs is a little bit of a controversial player. While he played last season at cornerback for Alabama, he’s played safety in the past and that’s where some prefer him in the NFL. That might actually work well in Atlanta. Diggs and Ricardo Allen could be interchangeable at the safety and cornerback spots based on matchups.

22. Minnesota Vikings (via Buffalo Bills): Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU

I continue to be stuck on Fulton to the Vikings with the No. 22 pick. Fulton is the type of cornerback who will not hesitate getting physical with receivers and is a sure tackler. That, combined with his ability to play man coverage, makes him an attractive target. If he didn’t have some character issues in his past, he might be considered a more highly rated player.

23. New England Patriots: Yetur Gross-Matos, Edge, Penn State

If the Patriots don’t take Utah State quarterback Jordan Love here, what do they do with the pick? A pass rusher like Gross-Matos is a possibility. Last offseason, the Patriots watched Trey Flowers leave and this offseason it was Kyle Van Noy. While second-year end Chase Winovich is expected to take a step forward, the Patriots could use more talent in the defensive front seven.

24. New Orleans Saints: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma

The Saints have smartly added safety Malcolm Jenkins and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders this offseason, eliminating arguably their two biggest needs. They could still use a linebacker on the outside who can make plays. Rushing the passer from that position isn’t a necessity for the Saints. They need someone who can fly around the field and make splash plays. That is Murray, who would fit perfectly in coordinator Dennis Allen’s defense.

25. Minnesota Vikings: Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU

After trading Stefon Diggs, the Vikings could use some help at wide receiver. Reagor is a big play waiting to happen. He is an aggressive pass catcher who will battle at the high point to make a catch. He’s just behind Jeudy in terms of route runners in this class, and has value as a punt returner.

26. Miami Dolphins (via Houston Texans): Josh Jones, OT, Houston

For as much love as this year’s wide receiver class gets, the offensive tackle class should get just as much. This OT crop is extremely top heavy, but there are six or seven who could be selected in the first round. That’s good news for the Dolphins, who could potentially land a starter with their third first-round pick.

TRADE: The Colts trade pick No. 34 and a 2021 second-rounder to the Seahawks for pick No. 27

27. Indianapolis Colts: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State

Sure, the Colts went out and acquired Philip Rivers, but he’s only on a one-year contract. Colts general manager Chris Ballard could get aggressive to snag a potential future franchise quarterback. It should come as no surprise, however, to see Seattle drop out of the first round.

28. Baltimore Ravens: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU

This is a pick I keep making for Baltimore. The Ravens are sorely lacking athleticism in their linebacker group, and Queen would be the perfect fit in their defense. While he’s more C.J. Mosley than Ray Lewis, Queen is a quality football player who should start straight away.

29. Tennessee Titans: Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia

The monstrous Wilson would be a good match for Tennessee’s run-oriented offense. He can slide into Jack Conklin’s right tackle spot with ease. Wilson plays with a nasty demeanor and Derrick Henry will love running behind him.

30. Green Bay Packers: Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado

Jefferson or Reagor may be the preferred choices for the Packers, but quarterback Aaron Rodgers and head coach Matt LaFleur should be able to get the most out of Shenault. He’s a player who can line up at multiple positions and take advantage of a big frame and enough speed.

31. San Francisco 49ers: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama

On a defense that likes to confuse offenses with varied secondary looks before the snap, McKinney could be a weapon for the 49ers. He’s capable of playing safety and cornerback, and comes out of a system at Alabama that should have him pro ready.

32. Kansas City Chiefs: Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah

The Chiefs need some help in the secondary as Bashaud Breeland remains a free agent and Kendall Fuller signed with Washington. Johnson is a classic outside cornerback. He has tremendous ball skills and knows how to properly play press coverage.