By Simon Carroll

Deciding who ‘won the draft’ is a fools errand. Most analysts say it will be at least three years before we truly know whether a draft pick was a success or not, and history tells us that a 50% strike rate is par for the course when it comes to scouting prospects.

What we will do is add some context to each pick – whether it fills a team need and how, schematically, a franchise’s latest star will fit into their system. We can also look at the value of each selection in relation to common perception, i.e. was he a steal or did a team reach for him? And if there was a trade involved, what was the cost of doing business?

We start with round one:


Cincinnati Bengals 2020


Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

We can take away the asterix next to this assumed pick now. A remarkable 2019 saw Burrow break all manner of records en route to a National Championship in Louisiana. With a new dawn in Cincinnati, Andy Dalton’s time was up. Zac Taylor gets his franchise QB, and The kid from Athens, Ohio returns home.

Burrow is a perfect fit for an offense we expect to evolve much more into a ‘Sean McVay’ mould. His quick mental processing at the line of scrimmage and excellent pocket awareness will allow him to get the ball out quickly, and with a strong receiving corps and dynamic running back this unit should bounce back nicely in 2020.

Redskins, Washington Redskins


Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State

Another well-mocked pick turns into reality as The Redskins pick up the consensus best player in the draft. Hardly a position of need, Washington will be hoping that adding Young to a deep and talented defensive line will have a similar effect that Nick Bosa did last year in San Francisco. Whilst a Super Bowl run may be a tad unrealistic, Redskins fans should still be able to expect to see one of the best defensive fronts in the NFL next year.

Young is a phenomenal edge rusher in nearly every facet. He led the nation in nearly every statistical category last year despite missing two games through suspension. Young possesses elite size and speed, and with good technique knows how to get into the backfield. He just crushes the pocket in the run game and treats double teams with absolute disdain. A home run pick for Washingoton

Lions, Detroit Lions 2020


Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State

No trade back here for Detroit, who may have been hoping somebody came up for a quarterback. Instead, they stand pat and take a phenomenal prospect in Jeff Okudah. Okudah, to me, is the best player in this draft class and the best corner I have ever scouted. He excels in any alignment, in any coverage, at any depth. He’s smooth mirroring routes, has the speed to match up with the quickest receivers, and has elite ball playing skills. Quite simply, he’s a shutdown corner who can neutralise an offense’s most dangerous weapon.

The Lions needed corner help way before they traded Darius Slay to Philly. Okudah can come in and play opposite Desmond Trufant in a new look secondary in Detroit.

Giants, New York Giants 2020


Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia

Did you know that this is the first time that Dave Gettleman has ever picked an offensive lineman in the first round? For a guy that preaches building the trenches I found that astonishing. But this year he avoids the lure of Isaiah Simmons and addresses one of the biggest needs on this roster.

Andrew Thomas might not have the upside of some tackle prospects in this class, but hehas the highest floor. He;s able to play on both sides of the line and despite not quite looking the part he’s very effective in both run blocking and pass protection. In unprecedented times with little likelihood of rookie mini-camps, getting the guy most ready was a priority. Thomas likely replaces Mike Remmers on the right this year before switching to the blind side once Nate Solder is done.

Dolphins, Miami Dolphins 2020


Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

Take everything emenating from the Dolphins camp the last 48 hours and throw it in the bin – Tua has been the apple of this organisation’s eye for roughly two years, and this selection marked the culmination of an extensive rebuild and plan to go get him.

Twelve months ago, Tua was the consensus #1 QB in this class. Injuries may have derailed his season and hurt his draft stock slightly, but more concerning was his durability going forward. Miami had no such worries and a rumoured tumble down the draft was averted. The Dolphins finally have their guy, and with Ryan Fitzpatrick in the building don’t need to rush him onto the field.

Los Angeles Chargers


Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

Anthony Lynn’s insistence that he was happy to roll into 2020 with Tyrod Taylor was probably not a total lie. Taylor has proven to be a capable bridge QB during his time in Buffalo and Cleveland, and he’ll likely be asked to do the same for the Chargers with the selection of Justin Herbert.

Herbert brings some very blatant qualitites to the position – huge arm, football smarts and plus athleticism. He’s by no means the finished article, but he proved a lot of naysayers wrong in the pre-draft process, showcasing his leadership and competitiveness at every stage. He joins a talented team who, much like Miami, needed a long-term answer under center but are in no rush to throw him to the wolves.

Panthers, Carolina Panthers 2020


Derrick Brown, IDL, Auburn

Another team rumoured to be interested in trading back, The Panthers’ new regime started their rebuild in the trenches with the selection of Derrick Brown. Carolina’s defense has been decimated through retirement and free agency so it’s no surprise to see the early focus from Matt Rhule on that side of the football.

Derrick Brown is one of the elite, blue-chip prospects in this draft class. Perceived positional value saw him fall to seven and it could have been worse, but make no mistake – The Panthers have got themselves one hell of a football player here. He’s an absolute bully at the line of scrimmage who knows how to get into the backfield and can destroy the run too. He fills a hole on that line and could be a mainstay for a decade in Carolina.

Cardinals, Arizona Cardinals 2020


Isaiah Simmons, LB/S, Clemson

After completely rebuilding the offense in Kliff Kingsbury’s image, we expected the Caridnals to focus on Defense in this draft. And they did just that in the first round with the acquisition of Simmons – the most versatile player in the draft.

Simmons truly is a chess piece that you can move around the defense to create mismatches. He can play slot corner, both safety positions, linebacker and even edge rusher – he played over 100 snaps at each of those positions for Clemson last year to an elite level. Arizona’s defense is starting to look almost as fun as their offense.

Jaguars, Jacksonville Jaguars 2020


CJ Henderson, CB, Florida

With Jalen Ramesy moving on halfway through last season, and AJ Bouye traded to the Broncos, cornerback was an inevitable area of focus for the Jaguars in this draft class. They struck early with the selection of Henderson, who had been climbing draft boards of late with rumours teams were interested in trading up for him.

Henderson is an athlete. The former Gator can match receivers stride for stride. He excels in man coverage, be it press or off, and shows excellent timing to fight for the football and displace the pass. There are definite questions regarding his tackling and effort levels, but the talent is unquestioned. He immediately upgrades this Jaguars defense.

Cleveland Browns Season, Cleveland Browns 2020


Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama

No surprise that the Browns aimed for a tackle here – protecting Baker Mayfield and allowing Chubb and Hunt to dominate on the ground is the priority for Cleveland. They brought in Jack Conklin in free agency to take care of the right side, and it was always likely this pick would address the other.

The new analytics-based front office must have no qualms about Wills playing at left tackle, something he never did at Alabama. But in Tuscaloosa he was protecting Tua, a left handed quarterback, so in effect he already is a blindside blocker. If the transition to the left is seamless, the Browns should be instantly improved on offense this season.

Jets, New York Jets


Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville

With some decent money already spent on offensive line in free agency, I half-expected The Jets to give Sam Darnold one of the elite receivers to throw to here. But truth be told that line still needed a premier tackle to protect their franchise quarterback.

350lb men who can run 40 yards in 5.1 seconds are always going to attrasct attention. Becton couples those measurables with a nasty demeanour. He’s dominant in the run game, just flicking would-be tacklers away with ease. Plenty of work to do in pass-protection – when he gets it right he’s fine but there are plenty of instances of catastrophe on tape that he needs to address. The upside is huge for this kid though, and he could be the best blocker of the lot in three years.

Raiders, Las Vegas Raiders


Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama

It feels like Mike Mayock has been trying to provide John Gruden with an elite speedster since they teamed up in the silver and black. Anotnio Brown was an unmitigated disaster for The Raiders, but they’ve finally found the piece that this receiving corps needed in Ruggs.

The Alabama wideout has unparalleled speed, but to call him just a burner does a disservice to his game. He’s the first pass catcher off the board for a reason – he is competitive at the catch point and brings the ball in every time it’s thrown his way. With a little refinement on his route-running he will be an elite weapon for Derek Carr to throw to.

Buccaneers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2020


Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa

The Buccaneers trade up one spot to thirteen, presumably to fend off other suitors for the last of the four premier tackles in this draft class. The University of Iowa is a production line of huge, athletici tackles and Wirfs is the latest – this 320lb man who can lift a car jumps out of four foot swimming pools – full swimming pools – and runs forty yards in 4.8 seconds. That, simply, defies the laws of physics.

The Buccs are all in on the Brady era, firstly trading for Gronk and now moving up to help protect him. This is a move that suggests they believe they are very much in a two year Super Bowl window.

49ers, San Francisco 49ers 2020


Javon Kinlaw, IDL, South Carolina

After executing the trade back with Tampa and adding much needed mid-round draft capital, The 49ers take one of the most exciting prospects in the draft. Javon Kinlaw is a human wrecking ball, destroying everything in his wake as he careens into the backfield. Still a little raw, he can take his game to an even higher level and possibly has more upside than Derrick Brown.

The 49ers got this pick by trading DeForest Buckner to the Colts. Kinlaw, in essence, is a ready-made replacement who is much more affordable. This 49ers defense doesn’t miss a beat.

Broncos, Denver Broncos 2020


Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

It always felt that, sitting at fifteen, it was likely that The Broncos would land one of the premier receivers in this draft class. It turns out two were still on the board, and John Elway will be delighted to bring Jeudy to Mile High Stadium.

Jeudy has been performing at an elite level for Alabama for two seasons. He’s the best route-runner in this draft class, gaining short-area separation with ease. Adding him to emerging possession receiver Courtland Sutton, along with tight end Noah Fant and the dual threat running game of Melvin Gordon and Philip Lindsay – Drew Lock is given a star-studded cast to operate with.

Falcons, Atlanta Falcons 2020


AJ Terrell, CB, Clemson

The first big surprise of the evening sees Thomas Dimitroff pass over the opportunity to address their pass rush with Javon Kinlaw and instead take a corner. AJ Terrell is, for some, a borerline day 1/2 prospect but i’m a big believer in the Clemson cornerback. He came  under fire for being troubled by Jamar Chase in the National Championship Game, but he won’t be the last to suffer that fate. He’s got good length and fluidity and has repeatedly suffocated receivers during his time at Clemson.

The Falcons cut Desmond Trufant and have needed to reinforce this secondary for a while. Terrell should help them in a division with Drew Brees and Tom Brady.

Cowboys, Dallas Cowboys 2020


CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

If you thought the last pick was a shock, this one blew it right out of the water. It wouldn’t be the Dallas Cowboys if Jerry Jones didn’t make a splash move, and this was exactly that. An offense with a solid line, franchise quarterback, strong run game and two productive receivers really didn’t need any more ammo, particularly when you look at all the holes on defense. But when a talent like Lamb falls, sometimes you just have to pull the trigger…

CeeDee Lamb is a physical receiver with a ridiculous catch radius. He makes the hardest grabs look easy with a combination of strong hands and excellent timing. Adding him to Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup gives The Cowboys one of the best passing attacks in the NFL.

Dolphins, Miami Dolphins 2020


Austin Jackson, OT, USC

When you draft a franchise quarterback, the first order of business is to get him some protection. When he has some durability concerns, that need becomes even more of a priority. Miami missed out on the top tier tackles in this class, but weren’t afraid to plump for Jackson with the eighteenth pick, which may be considered a little high for a prospect of his calibre.

Austin Jackson brings some very desirable traits to The Dolphins. He’s a pure left tackle with excellent quickness and length. He dedicates good instincts and feel for the position and should develop into a premier blindside blocker. He lacks the alpha dog mentality and competitiveness you’d like to see, and Brian Flores will be hoping they can instill that in him as he finds his feet in Miami.

Raiders, Las Vegas Raiders


Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State

With some very acute needs it was no surprise to see the Raiders attack receiver and cornerback with their first two picks in this draft. The corner of choice maybe raised a few eyebrows though…

Mike Mayock has never been afraid to defy convention with his selections and this is one of those moments. Arnette was considered by most to be a second round pick, but he has some very  ‘Raider’ traits that will endear him to the Silver and Black faithful. He;s extremely aggressive and ultra-competitive who fights for everything. With Trayvon Mullen on the opposite side, Gruden will be hopipng his new CB tandem can instill a winning culture on this defense.

Jaguars, Jacksonville Jaguars 2020


K'Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU

This draft has fallen quite nicely for the Jaguars, who addressed corner early and now attack another area of defense witht heir second first round pick. With Calais Campbell traded to Baltimore and Yannick Ngakoue forcing his way out of town, Jacksonville needed an edge rusher to line up opposite last year’s first round rookie Josh Allen.

How about an Allen clone in Chaisson? The LSU pass rusher is a human torpedo, firing into the backfield to the football. He can step into this defense from day one as a situational rusher, and when he’s developed his run game can become a three-down player on this unit.

Eagles, Philadelphia Eagles 2020


Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU

Shock pick number three. With Justin Jefferson still on the board the Eagles bring in Jalen Reagor, the diminuitive gadget receiver instead. Reagor has good play speed and is lethal with the ball in his hands, offering an alternative style of pass catcher to Alshon Jeffrey. With DeSean Jackson at the end of his career Reagor is the ideal replacement.

But what about Jefferson? Many people had him mocked to Philly and he was regarded as the fifth best pass catcher in this class. He had to wait one more pick to hear his name called…

Vikings, Minnesota Vikings


Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU

The Vikings will have been absolutely delighted to see Jefferson still on the board at 22. Fresh off trading Stefon Diggs to Buffalo, Minnesota were looking to find a complement to Adam Thielen and they got their guy.

Jefferson is a pass-catching machine that can line up inside or outside. A true chain-mover he offers something a little different than Diggs but is no less effective. Kirk Cousins will be keen to create a rapport with his new weapon as The Vikings look to challenge in the NFC North.

Los Angeles Chargers


Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma

In a move that will surprise absolutely nobody, the Patriots trade out of the first round and allow The Chargers to come up for Murray, a rangy linebacker who combines impressive athleticism with ruthless physicality upon contact. A leader on the Sooners defense, Anthony Lynn will be hoping he can set the tone on a very talented unit.

The move up cost The Chargers a third round pick, valuable draft capital when they likely still need to fortify tackle and cornerback. But the value of Murray at this point is fair and the talent undeniable.

Saints, New Orleans Saints 2020


Cesar Ruiz, IOL, Michigan

A leftfield selection from The Saints, who have one of the most complete rosters in the NFL. They had the opportunity to take the best player on their draft board and they did that with the selection of Ruiz.

Despite re-signing Andrus Peat to a long-term deal, bolstering the interior of this line is smart. One of the best offensive fronts in football is getting older and contracts are coming up. Bringing in Ruiz gives them options going forward and further bolsters the protection for Drew Brees.

49ers, San Francisco 49ers 2020


Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State

After moving down earlier, The 49ers come up from 31 to grab the receiver of their choice in Brandon Aiyuk. Aiyuk is a classic Shanahan receiver; a gadget-type weapon who you want to give the ball in space. He’s got a low center of gravity and if he sees the open field he’s gone.

With Emmanuel Sanders moving on in free agency, bringing in another target in the passing game was a priority. Aiyuk joins Deebo Samuel and offers this creative offense even more diversity.

Packers, Green Bay Packers


Jordan Love, QB, Utah State

WOW. Talk about a shock. In a move reminiscent of fifteen years ago, Green Bay identify their quarterback of the future late in the first round of the draft. Back then it was Aaron Rodgers. Now Rodgers sat at home as his team took his heir apparent in Jordan Love.

This seems remarkably premature to me. Rodgers is 35 but doesn’t seem like he’s going anywhere soon. Love is no sure thing, possessing tantalising arm strength and athleticism but also a penchant fortoo many turnovers. With other team needs on a Super Bowl ready roster, Packers fans may not be too pleased with the long-term view of this draft pick.

Seahawks, Seattle Seahawks 2020


Jordyn Brooks, LB, Texas Tech

This time last year, Seattle reached for a pass rusher at the bottom of the first round. 12 months later and in my opinion they have done the same for an off the ball linebacker. Jordyn Brooks is an exciting, ‘ speedy and physical linebacker with impressive production at Texas Tech. He’s extremely raw and a project, which made him a day two pick in most people’s eyes. This will have Seahawks fans raising their eyebrow at John Schneider, who has a spotty recent record in the draft.

Seattle are desperate for help on both lines and taking a developmental talent at a position that isn’t a need is peculiar. But there’s no denying the promise that Brooks flashed in his college career.

Baltimore Ravens


Patrick Queen, LB, LSU

Baltimore have had sustained success taking the best player available in the draft. It just so happens that this year that fills one of their needs. Patrick Queen rose to prominence this season, leading the LSU defense as they marched to the National Championship. He’s extremely athletic and shows impressive anticipation and pre-snap play diagnosis.

The Ravens never really replaced CJ Mosley, who left for The Jets fifteen months ago. Queen can slide straight into this defense and keep the Ravens one of the teams to beat in the AFC.

Titans, Tennessee Titans 2020


Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia

With Jack Conklin defecting to Cleveland in free agency, tackle was a priority for Jon Robinson and Mike Vrabel entering this draft. Finding a right tackle at the bottom of the first round was ideal.

Isaiah Wilson has enjoyed a rise in his draft stock late in the process. An absolute mauler in the run game, his skillset will marry nicely with an offense intent on running the hell out of the football. With Derrick Henry returning in 2020 the addition of Wilson allows them to pick up where they left off last year.

Dolphins, Miami Dolphins 2020


Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn

The Dolphins have already allocated a lot of money to their cornerbacks, so seeing them attack the position was a bit of a surprise. Trading back with the Packers, they get Igbinoghene at much better value than at 30.

Igbinoghene has only played corner for two seasons after switching from receiver at Auburn. He’s a natural, with impressive speed and ball skills as you’d expect. He’s still got to refine his game and that will come with time. Expect him to line up in the slot where he can showcase his physicality.

Vikings, Minnesota Vikings


Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU

Some impressive draft manouevring sees the Vikings move back and still grab one of the top cornerbacks at this point in the first round. Much like receiver, corner was an area they needed to address with the losses of Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander this offseason.

Gladney is the epitome of a Mike Zimmer corner. He’s slightly undersized but is feisty as hell and will be a pest for receivers every step of the route. Most importantly for hi shead coach – he can tackle. I expect him to be a day one starter on this defense. Minnesota fans should be very pleased with the first day of this draft.

Chiefs, Kansas City Chiefs 2020


Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU

At this stage it’s reasonable to wonder whether it’s actually fair to allow Clyde Edwards-Helaire to join the Chiefs. The versatile running back is as proficient in the passing game as he is the run game, proving to be a valuable outlet for Joe Burrow at LSU. He bounces off tackles and moves the chains for an offense.

This Chiefs attack was one running back away from being unplayable. Andy Reid has decided not to worry about re-tooling his defense and is simply challenging the rest of the field to keep up. God help us all.

Mock Draft