Rory Daniels: 1st Round Mock Draft
The NFL Draft is upon us and despite how different it’s going to look and feel the excitement is the same. In year’s past I have done multiple mock drafts in the build-up to the big event but this year this is my one and only. So enjoy…
Disclaimer: I have included trades in this draft but I haven’t given the exact details of the trades. The one trade that could have resulted in a first rounder this year being swapped was the Lions and Dolphins one. However, due to the ammunition the Dolphins have later in the draft as well as next year, I think they can make the move without losing a first rounder.
1. CINCINNATI BENGALS
Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
Zac Taylor’s first year as an NFL Head Coach was a disaster. The only bright side is that the Bengals can now take their franchise QB of the future. Burrow’s accuracy and intelligence means the Bengals could turn things around quickly.
2. WASHINGTON REDSKINS
Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
The Redskins have needs in other positions but you simply cannot turn down the opportunity to take the best player in the draft. Adding an elite pass rusher like Young would be difficult for defensive minded head coach Ron Rivera to pass up on.
3. MIAMI DOLPHINS
Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
TRADE! The Dolphins move up from pick 5 in exchange for the Lions pick 3.
The Dolphins make their move for a quarterback. The small jump up from the fifth pick doesn’t cost them one of their three 1st rounders. However, the selection may surprise. With a lack of meetings and medical checks they grab Herbert over Tua Tagovailoa.
4. NEW YORK GIANTS
Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
This may seem as a shock pick. Thomas has dropped down the pecking order in this tackle class. Although he might not be the flashy name, he is polished and pro-ready. The Giants need to help Daniel Jones now and take a fairly safe shot with Thomas.
5. DETROIT LIONS
Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
*Received from the Dolphins.
The Lions trade back, pick up draft capital and still get the player they likely would have taken at the third spot. Okudah is an elite athlete and projects to be a top tier cornerback in the league. A ready made replacement for Darius Slay.
6. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
Another QB pressure point. Could the Chargers get nervy about Tua’s injury history? Anthony Lynn has been bullish about Tyrod Taylor so the Chargers take Tua’s chief protector at Bama Jedrick Wills. Having played right tackle for the Crimson Tide he can play there straight away and develop into a top left tackle.
7. CAROLINA PANTHERS
Isaiah Simmons, LB/S, Clemson
Having lost Luke Kuechly to retirement, replacing him with Simmons would be a fantastic option for the Panthers. Simmons’ versatility could see him go off the board earlier but I don’t see him falling much further than Carolina.
8. ARIZONA CARDINALS
Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
While Kliff Kingsbury has been linked with offensive playmakers at this spot the Cardinals go for defensive tackle Derrick Brown. Kingsbury likely feels he can scheme up offense so adding a playmaker on the defensive line should be a priority.
9. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
TRADE! The Buccaneers move up from pick 14 in exchange for the Jaguars pick 9.
If you have a particular offensive tackle in mind and he is still on the board at this point it’s time to pick up the phone. The Bucs leapfrog the Browns to take Mekhi Becton. It gives Tom Brady additional help in his final years in the league.
10. CLEVELAND BROWNS
Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
Luckily for the Browns there remains a top tier tackle remaining on the board. Wirfs could be an immediate starter at tackle but could be a perennial Pro Bowler on the interior as well. Wherever they put him he will upgrade the line instantly.
11. NEW YORK JETS
Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama
The Jets have a physical receiver in Quincy Enunwa and a solid slot in Jamison Crowder. They take Henry Ruggs here giving them elite speed at the position. Ruggs can take the top off defenses and be a massive help for Sam Darnold.
12. LAS VEGAS RAIDERS
Tua Tagovailoa, WR, Alabama
It’s hard to see Derek Carr lasting for a long time at the Raiders QB spot. With a second first rounder in his pocket Mike Mayock can end Tua’s slide. Carr can play for the time being while Tua gives the Vegas fans an exciting future at the position.
13. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
TRADE! The Eagles move up from pick 21 in exchange for the 49ers pick 13.
Let’s put two pre-draft rumours together here. The 49ers are short on picks this year and therefore they could be seeking to trade back. Meanwhile, the Eagles nearly always get mocked a receiver. So Howie Roseman gets aggressive and grabs a top tier receiver in CeeDee Lamb.
14. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
CJ Henderson, CB, Florida
*Received from The Buccaneers.
The Jaguars have shifted back here with exactly this pick in mind. It’s a position of need and they fill it with the best player left on the board at CB. Other than some questions over tackling, Henderson should be a solid replacement for the losses of Ramsey and Bouye.
15. DENVER BRONCOS
Jerry Jeudy. WR, Alabama
The Broncos will likely make some sort of a play to move up the board come draft day. If it fails and they stick at 15, Jerry Jeudy is a great pick. A smooth route runner to put across the field from Courtland Sutton.
16. ATLANTA FALCONS
Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
The Falcons are desperate for a cornerback but rather than force a pick they stick to their draft board here. It would be somewhat of a surprise if Kinlaw is still available. A physical freak who should help an underwhelming defensive line.
17. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
Josh Jones, OT, Houston
TRADE! The Seahawks move up from pick 25 in exchange for the Cowboys pick 17.
We are used to seeing the Seahawks make moves backward in the NFL Draft, but here’s a change of pace. They move up to jump the Dolphins for offensive tackle Josh Jones. He might not be technically perfect but he is difficult to beat.
18. MIAMI DOLPHINS
K'Lavon Chaisson, Edge, LSU
Despite being most people’s number 2 edge rusher Chaisson sees a bit of a slide here. The Dolphins still need difference makers on defense and Chaisson offers great value. We’ve seen the talent he just needs to improve the consistency.
19. LAS VEGAS RAIDERS
Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
Simon Carroll had the Raiders grabbing Fulton in his mega mock and it seems an easy fit. Fulton helped himself at the combine and is a feisty man cover corner. A leader from a big school who fills an obvious need on their roster. Makes too much sense.
20. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
Ashtyn Davis, S, California
Perhaps somewhat of a surprise as Cal’s Ashtyn Davis becomes the first safety off the board. As long as teams are comfortable with the injury history they may fall in love with the skill set. Davis is a track athlete who can come downhill or play deep in coverage, fits nicely in tandem with hitter Ronnie Harrison.
21. SAN FRANCISCO 49ers
Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah
*Received from The Eagles.
Jaylon Johnson might not have tested amazingly at the combine but that’s not what his game is about. He is a big, physical corner. His long speed may not be elite but it hasn’t hampered his production. Sound familiar? Learning from Richard Sherman would be great for Johnson’s development.
22. MINNESOTA VIKINGS
Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
The Vikings need a replacement for Stefon Diggs and Baylor’s Denzel Mims fits the bill. Mims can go deep and showed top end speed in the NFL Combine. Not only that his big frame means he can box out defenders. It keeps Kirk Cousin’s arsenal stocked.
23. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
Versatile and intelligent. Sounds like someone that the Patriots would value highly. McKinney took on plenty of responsibility in the Crimson Tide defense. Don’t think that buddies Nick Saban and Bill Belichick haven’t discussed how McKinney could be used all over the Pats defense.
24. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
The Saints roster quality means they have options here. While it would seem likely they look for a piece to take them over the edge they could see the opportunity to find Brees’ replacement. I’m not buying the Taysom Hill buzz and Love needs to play backup for one or two years before taking over.
25. MINNESOTA VIKINGS
Yetur Gross-Matos, Edge, Penn State
The Vikings turn from offense with pick 22 to defense at this spot. Penn State’s Yetur Gross-Matos arrives to be a running mate for Danielle Hunter. Not as sudden as Hunter, Gross-Matos should benefit from the attention being elsewhere.
26. MIAMI DOLPHINS
Lucas Niang, OT, TCU
It’s not the first round if someone doesn’t go a lot higher than most project. The Dolphins need to build protection around Justin Herbert. Having been unable to resist the falling Chaisson, they have had to wait until here to get a tackle. Niang is raw but someone may fall in love with the upside.
27. DALLAS COWBOYS
Grant Delpit, S, LSU
*Received from The Seahawks.
The backend of the first round seems like a sweet spot for the safety spot this year. If the Cowboys are comfortable with a few of the top prospects at the position then adding draft capital is sensible. They’ll hope Delpit brings his game from 2018 and not this year. If he does he will be a steal who finally fills a problem spot on the ‘Boys roster.
28. BALTIMORE RAVENS
Josh Uche, LB, Michigan
Another name that only sporadically appears in first round mocks. Uche and the Ravens seem ideal partners. The Ravens lose pass rushers regularly and simply plug guys back in. Uche is versatile enough to play off the edge or drop as an off-ball backer. The chess piece a team like the Ravens covet.
29. TENNESSEE TITANS
Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
If the Titans remain unsure about committing long term to Derrick Henry then a first round running back could be in play. Ryan Tannehill needs a strong running game and a physical back like Taylor would help. Excellent through contact but with finishing speed Taylor could negate big investment at the position. For another five years at least.
30. GREEN BAY PACKERS
Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Time to give Aaron Rodgers some high-end help. Davante Adams can’t do everything on his own. Justin Jefferson is an elite playmaker who suffers from being considered a ‘slot’ only. Just because he spent a lot of time there don’t discount a player with his size and speed being the all round package at the next level.
31. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise State
The 49ers could make the most of the last couple of picks being highly valued and trade back. If they don’t then the search for a Joe Staley replacement could end here. Boise State tackle Ezra Cleveland is getting some buzz and could play on the interior or tackle.
32. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
The Chiefs defense improved greatly in 2019 and it paid off with a Super Bowl victory. Adding a player like Patrick Queen to the mix will only further that progression. Queen is lightning fast as well as instinctive. He could become dominant on an already elite team.
formerly writing for the inside zone, rory will be breaking down college tape and keeping you up-to-date with all things CFB for the touchdown. an avid bengals fan, you can also find some of rory’s work at stripehype.com