1. Cincinnati Bengals – QB Joe Burrow (LSU)
The Dolphins are reportedly making a “godfather” option to the Bengals to move up to #1. They have the draft capital over the next two years to make a very appealing offer (although they wouldn’t have had to do this if they had benched Ryan Fitzpatrick for the final two games of the season), but the Bengals seem pretty set on Burrow, who they have been talking to weekly over video for the past month. Either way Burrow would be the pick here, most likely to Cincinnati, but you never know.
2. Washington Redskins – DE Chase Young (Ohio State)
There may be some trade chatter here too, but ultimately the Redskins are expected to stay put and take Chase Young, the draft’s consensus top defensive player. It would likely take a similar “godfather” offer from a team for the Redskins to be willing to move down and give up the opportunity to draft Young.
3. Miami Dolphins (TRADE) – QB Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama)
I’ve had the Lions trading down from this spot since my initial mock draft and it seems likely to happen. Teams will want to move up to this spot to secure their favorite of the remaining quarterbacks and the Lions will want to move down because they have a bunch of needs and can still get one of their target defensive players a few spots later. The Dolphins have always been the favorite to move up here, assuming they want to, over teams like the Chargers, Jaguars, and Raiders.
Not only do they have the fewest spots to move up, but they also have more draft capital than any team in the league. They have a whopping 5 first round picks in the next two drafts and, with four second round picks as well, they might not have to give up a single one of those first rounders to get this deal done. Draft day reports suggest a trade is close for the Dolphins to move up to this spot, either with an ultimate goal of moving up all the way to 1 or to secure their 2nd ranked quarterback on their board at 3. There has been a lot of smoke tying the Dolphins to both Justin Herbert and Tua Tagovailoa, but I’m sticking with my original pick of Tua here.
4. Los Angeles Chargers (TRADE) – QB Justin Herbert (Oregon)
With Tua off the board, that could prompt one of the other teams looking at a quarterback to also move up in order to secure their quarterback. Like the Dolphins are favored to move up to 3, the Chargers should be favored to move up to 4. The Chargers don’t have as much draft capital as the Dolphins do, but with only two spots to move up, they should have enough to get this deal done. The Giants wouldn’t need a king’s ransom just to move down a couple spots and select a player they likely would have taken at 4. The Chargers like Tyrod Taylor as a short-term solution, but he’s going to be a free agent next off-season and a franchise quarterback on a rookie contract is the most valuable asset in football, so they won’t hesitate to move up to secure Herbert if they like him enough.
5. Detroit Lions (TRADE) – DT Derrick Brown (Auburn)
The Lions’ trade down works to perfection as they still have the same choices on defense as they would have had if they had stayed put at 3. I’ve gone back and forth between defensive tackle Derrick Brown and cornerback Jeff Okudah, who would both fill massive needs, with linebacker Isaiah Simmons also a possibility, but I’ve heard more tying Brown to the Lions in recent days than Okudah and this is a deeper cornerback class than defensive tackle class in the second round. With Damon Harrison, A’Shawn Robinson, and Mike Daniels all gone from last year’s team, the Lions badly need someone like Brown to go with free agent acquisition Danny Shelton and holdover Da’Shawn Hand.
6. New York Giants (TRADE) – OT Andrew Thomas (Georgia)
I’ve had the Giants taking a defensive player in the past, but there has been more buzz about an offensive tackle here lately. They need immediate help at right tackle and long-term help at left tackle, where Nate Solder is expensively paid and going into his age 32 season. They’ll likely have their pick of any of the top offensive tackles in this class and could start what some are predicting is going to be a run on tackles in the top-10. With the Chargers and Dolphins both taking quarterbacks, that run becomes less likely, but Thomas is still expected to hear his name called very early and he’d make sense at this spot for the Giants.
7. Carolina Panthers – OLB Isaiah Simmons (Clemson)
With Luke Kuechly’s sudden retirement, the Panthers have a big hole to fill at linebacker. Simmons is a similar player to Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson, their other every down linebacker with Kuechly last year, which could make Simmons an odd fit on the Panthers, but I think the pairing could work. The Panthers would have as much speed and coverage ability at linebacker as any team in the league and could use one or the other as a safety or slot cornerback depending on the situation. Cornerback Jeff Okudah is also an option here, as the Panthers are in a good spot to sit back and pick between the defensive players who fall to them after the quarterbacks go high.
8. Atlanta Falcons (TRADE) – CB Jeff Okudah (Ohio State)
The Cardinals are also in a good spot to sit back and wait for a defensive player to fall to them, although not necessarily to take themselves. There is a lot of talk about the Falcons wanting to move up into the top-10 for a defensive player and the Cardinals, who lack a second round pick after trading it for DeAndre Hopkins, seem like an obvious trade partner. On the trade value chart, the Falcons giving up 16 and 47 to the Cardinals for 8 is about an even trade, so they won’t have to get terribly creative with this deal either. In the past I’ve had the Falcons moving up for Isaiah Simmons, but cornerback Jeff Okudah seems to be the target now if he slips out of the top-6.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars – CB CJ Henderson (Florida)
The Jaguars got leaped by the Falcons for this draft’s top cornerback Jeff Okudah, but Henderson is getting his own top-10 buzz of late, so they might be happy with either cornerback. With Jalen Ramsey and AJ Bouye both being traded, the Jaguars desperately need to reload at the cornerback position. Henderson could be their top cornerback even as a rookie. The Jaguars have another pick at 20, which they got for Ramsey, but they can’t afford to wait on a cornerback.
10. Cleveland Browns – OT Tristan Wirfs (Iowa)
I’ve had this as a trade spot in past mocks, with teams looking to leap the Jets for a wide receiver and the Browns potentially feeling they can still get a good tackle later in the first. That could still happen, but it would require a team being so in love with one particular wide receiver that they can’t sit back and wait for a deep wide receiver class to come to them, which may not happen. If the Browns stay put, they’ll have their choice of the remaining tackle prospects, with Wirfs possibly moving into the #2 spot after a dominant combine. Wherever the Browns pick, I’d be shocked if they took anything other than a left tackle, with a glaring hole in their starting lineup at that position and up to 6-7 offensive tackles projected to go off the board in round 1.
11. New York Jets – WR CeeDee Lamb (Oklahoma)
The Jets signed Breshad Perriman to replace Robby Anderson in free agency, but the Jets also need to replace free agent Demaryius Thomas in three wide receiver sets. Perriman is also only signed to a one-year deal and isn’t the long-term #1 option the Jets need to give Sam Darnols. If no one moves up into the top-10 for a wide receiver, the Jets could easily be the first team to dip into the wide receiver pool and take one at 11 overall. It’s between CeeDee Lamb and Jerry Jeudy to be the top wide receiver off the board, but recent buzz has had Lamb higher.
12. Las Vegas Raiders – WR Jerry Jeudy (Alabama)
The Jets take a wide receiver one pick earlier and now the Raiders follow suit by taking Jerry Jeudy. The Raiders added Antonio Brown for a reason last off-season and, while that didn’t work out, they definitely could have used his help opposite Tyrell Williams and still have a big need at that position after only taking a flier on Nelson Agholor in free agency this off-season. The Raiders found a steal with slot receiver Hunter Renfrow in the 5th round of the draft last year. Now they find an outside receiver.
13. Miami Dolphins (TRADE) – OT Jedrick Wills (Alabama)
The 49ers have a pair of first rounders after acquiring this pick from the Colts for DeForest Buckner, but they somehow don’t pick again until the 5th round, so they’ll almost definitely be looking to move down from one of their two first rounders in order to accumulate more picks. The Dolphins have already moved up to secure their quarterback, but they have so much draft capital that they can afford to move up again. They desperately need a left tackle to protect whoever their quarterback ends up being and it’s unlikely that one of the top-4 guys will still be there at 18. To make this move up, the Dolphins send the 49ers their 3rd and 4th round picks and the 49ers send back one of their three 5th rounders to the Dolphins.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – OT Mekhi Becton (Louisville)
The Buccaneers landed Tom Brady and now will have to make sure they protect the soon-to-be 43-year-old. Right tackle is still a glaring hole with long-term veteran starter Demar Dotson still unsigned ahead of his age 35 season, so the Buccaneers may be planning on filling this hole early in the draft with one of the top tackle prospects.
15. Denver Broncos – WR Henry Ruggs (Alabama)
This draft class lacks a clear elite wide receiver prospect as it’s unlikely any wide receivers go before the 10th pick, but there could be as many as 7 wide receivers that go in the first round in total. The Broncos could easily be one of the teams that takes a wide receiver, as they don’t have much at the wide receiver position behind Courtland Sutton after trading away Emmanuel Sanders mid-season and not addressing this position in free agency.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars (TRADE) – DE K’Lavon Chaisson (LSU)
The Cardinals got this pick in their trade down with the Falcons, but they’re not done making moves. They have a young franchise quarterback on a cheap rookie deal and, as we’ve seen teams in that situation do in the past, they could be very aggressive about maximizing their chances of winning while their quarterback is still cheap. They’ve already added DeAndre Hopkins via trade, but they still have a projected 80 million in cap space for 2021, and could add another veteran like disgruntled Jaguars franchise player Yannick Ngakoue.
The Jaguars are currently looking for a first round pick and more for Ngakoue, but no one has offered them even a first round pick, so they may have to get creative with trade proposals for a player who clearly wants out. In this scenario, Jacksonville wouldn’t get the 16th pick straight up from the Cardinals, but they’d get the second rounder that the Cardinals got from the Falcons (47th) and a swap of the 20th pick and the 16th pick.
In this trade, Ngakoue would be valued as equivalent to the 33rd overall pick on the trade value chart, which might be the most the Jaguars could hope for, and the Jaguars would have the ability to move up and grab a replacement for Ngakoue in K’Lavon Chaisson, who likely wouldn’t have been available at 20 (the Cowboys at 17 are known to like him). The Jaguars have now added a top cornerback prospect, a top edge rusher prospect, and still have another 2 picks in the top-50, their own second rounder and the Falcons’ second rounder.
17. Dallas Cowboys – WR Justin Jefferson (LSU)
The Cowboys get jumped for the defensive end they likely would have taken, so they address another need. The Cowboys had one of the most explosive passing games in the league last season, but without Randall Cobb, who signed with the Texans in free agency, they lack a good 3rd receiving option. The Cowboys should look to add a 3rd receiver or a pass catching tight end early in the draft to fill that need and with the wide receiver class being deeper than the tight end class I suspect they’d go that route early. Taking Jefferson here also has the added benefit of keeping him away from the division rival Eagles, who are known to be high on him.
18. San Francisco 49ers (TRADE) – DT Javon Kinlaw (Mississippi)
The 49ers trade down with the Dolphins and are still able to address their biggest need with a player who would have been in consideration at 13, so their trade worked out well. With DeForest Bucker being sent to the Colts in order to get that 13th pick in the first place, the 49ers are very thin at defensive tackle, so they will be happy if they can get a blue chip defensive tackle prospect from that pick and replenish later picks at the same time.
19. Las Vegas Raiders – CB AJ Terrell (Clemson)
The Raiders have added some nice young pieces on defense in the past couple drafts, but need to keep building their defense, especially the back seven. The Raiders are very thin at cornerback, so a highly drafted rookie can start for them from week 1. Their first pick at 12 is probably too high for a cornerback unless Okudah or Henderson fall, but cornerback is a strong possibility at 19.
20. Arizona Cardinals (TRADE) – OT Josh Jones (Houston)
The Cardinals trade down twice and, through a couple trades, essentially get the franchise tagged Yannick Ngakoue for doing so. Ngakoue won’t be cheap to keep long-term, but the Cardinals have an inexpensive franchise quarterback and the financial flexibility long-term to make an aggressive move like that to try to make a big leap as a team in Kyler Murray’s second season in the league. In addition to the cost of Ngakoue’s contract, the Cardinals miss out on one of the top-4 tackle prospects in this draft, but there’s enough depth at the position for the Cardinals to still find a needed upgrade at right tackle later in the first round.
21. Philadelphia Eagles – WR Denzel Mims (Baylor)
Wide receiver was a major problem for the Eagles in 2019. They should get more from 2019 2nd round pick JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson should hopefully be healthier next season, but they still need to address this position through the draft. Jeffery and Jackson are both injury prone and will be in their 30s next year with big salaries, so their days with the team may be numbered and they need insurance for them in the short-term.
22. Minnesota Vikings – DE Yetur Gross-Matos (Penn State)
The Vikings got this pick from the Bills for Stefon Diggs. It’s a trade that makes sense for both sides. The Bills are in win now mode and need a legitimate #1 receiver like Diggs, while the Vikings are tight on cap space and are a run heavy team that doesn’t need to commit significant money to their quarterback and top-2 wide receivers. The move leaves the Vikings thin at wide receiver, but this is a deep wide receiver class and the Vikings have three picks in the first 2 rounds, so they don’t need to find a replacement for Diggs right away. Instead, they use this pick to replace Everson Griffen and fill a big need at defensive end.
23. New England Patriots – MLB Kenneth Murray (Oklahoma)
This could be a spot for a quarterback, but the Patriots seem to at least somewhat like Jarrett Stidham as a developmental prospect, so it makes more sense that the Patriots would add a veteran stopgap in free agency rather than using a high draft pick on a quarterback. Lost in the story of Brady’s departure from New England is the story of all of the Patriots losses at linebacker, with Jamie Collins, Kyle Van Noy, and Elandon Roberts signing elsewhere this off-season. The linebacker position should be a priority on draft day.
24. New Orleans Saints – QB Jordan Love (Utah State)
The Saints clearly value Taysom Hill, giving him a first round tender this off-season, but even the first round tender is only worth 4.641 million, so that’s not necessarily a sign that they view him as a quarterback of the future. His salary is more than justifiable by his role as a “gadget” player and special teamer and it’s telling that when Drew Brees was hurt last year the Saints turned to a traditional quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and actually scaled Hill’s usage down significantly. If they don’t view Hill, who is already going into his age 30 season, as a long-term quarterback option, they may add one through the draft this year. We know the Saints were interested in taking Patrick Mahomes a few years ago before the Chiefs moved up ahead of them and took him. Jordan Love has drawn some comparisons to Mahomes as a prospect. He enters the league very raw, but would benefit from sitting a year or two on the bench behind Brees.
25. Minnesota Vikings – CB Jeff Gladney (TCU)
The Vikings have had a history of taking defensive backs early, even when they don’t need to, taking Xavier Rhodes in the first round in 2013, Trae Waynes in the first round in 2015, Mackenzie Alexander in the second round in 2016, and Mike Hughes in the first round in 2018. This off-season, they need to, so it would make sense that the Vikings would take another cornerback early. Waynes and Alexander both left as free agents this off-season, while Rhodes was a cap casualty after two down seasons. Hughes is still on his rookie deal, but has had an injury plagued two years in the league thus far. Even if he pans out, they still need a long-term starter opposite him.
26. Miami Dolphins – S Xavier McKinney (Alabama)
The Dolphins got this pick from the Texans for Laremy Tunsil, but one of their extra first round picks comes from their trade of Minkah Fitzpatrick to the Steelers, a trade the Dolphins never really wanted to have to make, and a trade the Dolphins seemed to regret after Fitzpatrick broke out with the Steelers. Without Fitzpatrick, the Dolphins lack an impact making safety, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if they used one of their later two first round picks on the position.
27. Green Bay Packers (TRADE) – MLB Patrick Queen (LSU)
It wouldn’t be a trades mock draft if I didn’t include the Seahawks moving down. Somehow, the Seahawks have not drafted at their original pick in the first round since 2012 and over that stretch have selected just three times total in the first round, with one of those first rounders coming from the Chiefs in the Frank Clark trade. Expect them to trade down and accumulate more picks, possibly trading down more than once as they’ve done several times in recent years. The Packers moving up here to leap the Ravens for Patrick Queen makes sense. Both the Packers and Ravens desperately need middle linebacker help and the middle linebacker class drops off significantly after Murray and Queen.
28. Baltimore Ravens – G Cesar Ruiz (Michigan)
The Ravens miss out on the middle linebacker they likely would have been targeting here, so they address another need instead. Losing right guard Marshal Yanda to retirement is a huge blow because he was still playing at a high level in 2019. Look for them to replace him early in the draft. Ruiz is the consensus top interior offensive lineman in this draft and is on the 1st/2nd round border, possibly being pushed up into the first out of positional need in a thin guard class.
29. Tennessee Titans – OLB Zack Baun (Wisconsin)
The Titans need to improve their pass rush, with only one player on the roster having more than 5 sacks last season. Harold Landry, their 2018 2nd round pick, led the way with 9, but they need a long-term option opposite him. They signed Vic Beasley in free agency, but only on a one-year deal and he’s been highly inconsistent in the past. Even if he has a strong season in 2020, the Titans will likely still need a long-term option because Beasley could price himself out of the Titans’ range with a bounce back 2020 campaign.
30. Seattle Seahawks (TRADE) – DT Ross Blacklock (TCU)
The Seahawks re-signed Jarran Reed, but they lost Quinton Jefferson and Al Woods, leaving them thin at the defensive tackle position. The Seahawks could target that position after trading down. Blacklock would also make sense as their pick at 27 if they have to stay put.
31. San Francisco 49ers – OT Austin Jackson (USC)
The 49ers need a long-term replacement for Joe Staley, who is going into his age 36 season. Jackson can start his career at right guard, where he could be an immediate starter, and would be a long-term bookend for Mike McGlinchey whenever Staley is no longer around.
32. Kansas City Chiefs – RB Jonathan Taylor (Wisconsin)
Damien Williams scores a lot of touchdowns in the playoffs, but he mostly just picks up what’s blocked on probably the easiest offense in the league to run on, given how much defenses have to respect the pass. The Chiefs have lacked an explosive back since getting rid of Kareem Hunt and could target one of the top backs in this draft class at the end of the first round. Jonathan Taylor could add another dimension to an already deadly offense.