One thing I'll say is that the person who leaked "Justin Herbert" to 'Mando, and the person who leaked the Stafford trade in Detroit are smiling big right now.
Mel Kiper (ESPN Insider) wrote:
1. Cincinnati Bengalshttp://insider.espn.com/nfl/draft2020/i ... ailoa-more
Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
I don't see this changing over the next two months, and ESPN's Adam Schefter has already reported that the Bengals have no intention of trading down. The Heisman Trophy winner will immediately become the face of the franchise. It's time to move on from Andy Dalton -- could they get back a draft pick in a trade? -- but Cincinnati stills needs to put some more pieces around Burrow, starting with franchise-tagging or extending A.J. Green. The Bengals also have to draft an impact player with the first pick of the second round.
2. Washington Redskins
Chase Young, DE, Ohio State
Likewise, Young is likely to remain No. 1 overall on my Big Board through the draft, and Washington is in a great spot to add an edge rusher with All-Pro potential. He has rare physical ability and outstanding production, two traits that aren't always a guarantee at the top of the draft. Am I crazy to think the Redskins aren't that far away from being a contender in the NFC East? They have some nice defensive pieces such as Jonathan Allen, Montez Sweat and Landon Collins. If they can sort out their offensive line issues -- bring back Trent Williams and re-sign Brandon Scherff -- and get a Year 2 jump from Dwayne Haskins, Ron Rivera's team should be much improved in 2020.
3. Detroit Lions
Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
The Lions say they're not shopping quarterback Matthew Stafford, but there is some buzz that they like Tagovailoa, who might not work out for teams before April's draft because of his hip injury. Is that just a smoke screen? We're still two months away from the draft, of course. Stafford's contract is extremely tough to trade in 2020 -- the team could have up to a $32 million dead-cap hit -- but what if Detroit likes Tagovailoa so much that it keeps Stafford on the roster for another year? This pick also seems like the perfect spot for a team to trade up to get a quarterback, whether that's Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert or someone else. Could the Chargers or Raiders or Jaguars move up to jump the Dolphins at No. 5 and get their guy? Everything is in play here, and since I'm not going to project trades, I'll stick with Tagovailoa at No. 3.
Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, Oklahoma receiver CeeDee Lamb and Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah ESPN
4. New York Giants
Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State
So if Tagovailoa jumps into the top three, that means the Giants could choose between Okudah and Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons, whom I mocked to New York in my first projection of picks 1-32. And after the Giants cut Janoris Jenkins in December, cornerback surged to the top of the team's needs. First-round pick DeAndre Baker had a rough rookie season, racking up nine penalties and getting burned badly at times. Let's get Okudah to New York in this scenario, locking down one side of the field with the clear top corner in this class. Edge rusher and offensive tackle are also positions this team must address in the offseason.
5. Miami Dolphins
Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
With five picks in the first two rounds of this draft, Miami has to add a quarterback, right? What's tough to predict is whether the Dolphins will instead look to the deep quarterback class in free agency, where they will have almost $100 million to spend. Would they rather have someone like Jameis Winston, if he doesn't return to Tampa? What about Andy Dalton, who is likely to be cut by Cincinnati? Luckily, free agency happens before the draft in the NFL, so we'll know in a month. For now, I think they should go with the top quarterback on the board, and that's Herbert. I said during the season that he is a maddening evaluation because of his inconsistencies as a thrower, but he is rising after an MVP week at the Senior Bowl. Herbert has the highest ceiling of any of the quarterbacks in this class.
6. Los Angeles Chargers
Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
Remember a year ago when the Chargers were coming off a 12-4 regular season and a playoff win? We're a long way from that, and now stalwart quarterback Philip Rivers won't return, and they have several decisions to make on free agents, including tight end Hunter Henry, running back Melvin Gordon and linebacker Jatavis Brown. This is a team with some talented pieces but a few glaring holes, so let's fix one of them with Wills, an elite left tackle prospect who could start immediately on the right side, too. Russell Okung has one year left on his contract, and Wills could be the franchise blindside protector (unless L.A. ends up with Tua Tagovailoa). A quarterback obviously makes sense here too, but with Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert off the board, they shouldn't reach. They could instead look to free agency for their 2020 starter, or stick with Tyrod Taylor, who won't turn the ball over.
7. Carolina Panthers
Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
As I mentioned in my Mock Draft 1.0, Carolina could lose a slew of defensive linemen in free agency, with Gerald McCoy, Mario Addison, Bruce Irvin, and Vernon Butler all on the market. That makes this pick obvious, as the 6-foot-5 Brown could literally and figuratively fill a huge void for Matt Rhule's team. He's not Aaron Donald, but he does have the explosive athletic ability to penetrate past centers and guards, and he'll make things easier for Brian Burns & Co. I also thought about linebacker Isaiah Simmons here, but he's a totally different player than the recently retired Luke Kuechly and is a better fit as an outside linebacker/safety hybrid. If James Bradberry leaves in free agency, cornerback becomes a big need, too.
8. Arizona Cardinals
Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
This is a really good class for high-end offensive tackles -- there could be five or six who go off the board in Round 1. That's good news for Arizona, which has a hole even after it decided to bring back left tackle D.J. Humphries. Veteran right tackle Marcus Gilbert is set to hit free agency, while Justin Murray, who ended the season as the starter, is a former undrafted free agent who has bounced around the league. Wirfs played primarily on the right side for the Hawkeyes, and he had a dominant career. I expect him to test off the charts at the combine. Offensive Rookie of the Year Kyler Murray had a great first season, but the Cardinals need to add some more infrastructure around him to get Kliff Kingsbury's offense to the next level.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars
Isaiah Simmons, OLB, Clemson
The good news for the Jaguars: With two first-round picks thanks to the Jalen Ramsey trade, they can upgrade two positions and try to get instant-impact players. The bad news? One of their biggest holes is now at cornerback, where they have to find a capable starter to fill Ramsey's spot. After Okudah, I don't have another cornerback ranked among the top 10 prospects, so Jacksonville could wait until No. 20 to target a corner. I also look at its brutal run defense from last season -- the defense gave up 5.1 yards per carry, which ranked 31st in the league -- and see room for improvement. Enter Simmons, a versatile run-and-cover linebacker who is perfect for an NFL that craves three-down, rangy linebackers. The Jags never replaced Telvin Smith, who abruptly retired last May, and so Simmons would slot in perfectly.
10. Cleveland Browns
Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
This one is easy: I'm sticking with my pick, because the Browns' need at left tackle is so obvious. The 6-7, 370-pound Becton can be an immediate starter on Baker Mayfield's blind side, and he'll be a beast in the running game in front of Nick Chubb. One other thing to keep an eye on is the new Cleveland front office led by Andrew Berry trying to trade back to pick up more picks. If one of the quarterbacks drops to No. 10, Berry & Co. should be open for business. The Browns also have holes at safety, tight end and receiver.
11. New York Jets
CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
Can Sam Darnold get some help, please? With Robby Anderson potentially departing in free agency and Quincy Enunwa's future up in the air, Darnold's top receivers are Jamison Crowder and ... Le'Veon Bell? That's not an ideal situation for a third-year quarterback who stagnated in Year 2. Lamb can be the Jets' top wideout -- he is stellar after the catch and can run every route in the tree. Jets quarterbacks averaged just 6.6 yards per attempt last season (27th in the NFL), but that would rise with Lamb on the field. This team is likely to see massive turnover along the offensive line this offseason, so it could target a tackle here, too, depending on what happens in free agency.
12. Las Vegas Raiders
Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
The Raiders had big defensive issues last season, but in their 1-5 swoon to close out 2019, they scored just 14.7 points per game, which ranked last in the league. So let's help Jon Gruden's offense with this pick, then address the defense with the team's second Round 1 pick (No. 19). Darren Waller emerged as a really good tight end last season, but the Raiders don't have a true No. 1 receiver. Jeudy, a polished route runner and smart receiver, would instantly become their best pass-catcher. And with a nucleus of Jeudy, Waller and Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas would have one of the NFL's best young WR-RB-TE combos to help whomever starts at quarterback in 2020.
13. Indianapolis Colts
Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
The Colts, a surprise playoff team in 2018, took a step backward last season, but it wasn't just on the offense. No, Jacoby Brissett wasn't Andrew Luck, but injuries decimated Brissett's receiving core. And injuries hurt the defense too, with Darius Leonard, Kenny Moore II, Malik Hooker and Jabaal Sheard among the starters who missed time. The result was a league-average unit overall but one that allowed quarterbacks to complete 70.1% of their passes, which ranked 31st in the league. This defense needs depth. The Colts could target a corner here, but this might be Kinlaw's floor, and he'll help the back end of the defense, too. A massive, 6-6 interior penetrator, Kinlaw was one of the best prospects in the Senior Bowl.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
K'Lavon Chaisson, OLB, LSU
I mentioned in my Mock Draft 1.0 the Bucs' possible departures along the defensive line -- Ndamukong Suh, Carl Nassib, Jason Pierre-Paul and Beau Allen are all free agents -- and Chaisson would be a perfect fit as an outside linebacker in Todd Bowles' 3-4 defense. Chaisson had just 9.5 sacks in his college career, but this is a bet on a terrific upside for a twitchy pass-rusher who should test well at the combine later this month. After taking Devin White in the first round last year, Tampa can go back to the LSU well here with Chaisson.
15. Denver Broncos
Josh Jones, OT, Houston
It's probably time to end the Garett Bolles era at left tackle in Denver; the 2017 first-round pick led the league in holding penalties in each of the past three seasons, and he hasn't gotten better. Jones, a four-year starter for the Cougars, is rising after dominating at Senior Bowl practices. He has the potential to be an All-Pro left tackle. The Broncos also have needs in the secondary and could lose a couple starters along the defensive line to free agency.
16. Atlanta Falcons
A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa
We already know that Vic Beasley Jr. won't return to Atlanta, as the Falcons will let the former first-round pick enter free agency, but this team needed pass-rushers even before parting ways with him. As I mentioned in my Mock Draft 1.0, their 28 sacks last season tied for second fewest in the league and Takkarist McKinley didn't make a jump in Year 3, finishing with 3.5 sacks. At 6-6, 280, Epenesa is big enough to play tackle or end in a 4-3 defense, and he has some juice and power as an edge rusher. If Atlanta loses Austin Hooper in free agency, a huge void opens at tight end, though I don't have one ranked this high.
17. Dallas Cowboys
Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
So much about the Cowboys' offseason is unresolved. Will they sign quarterback Dak Prescott to a huge contract extension? Will they lock up star receiver Amari Cooper? What about free-agent defenders Byron Jones, Robert Quinn and Michael Bennett? Will veterans Jason Witten and Sean Lee return on short-term deals? The good thing is that we'll know about all of these players before the draft. For now, I'm betting on Jones being the odd man out among the guys who have to get paid this offseason. That opens up holes at corner, of course, but also accentuates the need at safety, where Dallas has struggled the past few years. The versatile McKinney, who had three interceptions and four forced fumbles last season, is my top-ranked safety in this class.
18. Miami Dolphins (from PIT)
Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
With the Dolphins still in the beginning stages of their teardown-and-rebuild project, they have a lot of positions they could upgrade. This is one of the worst rosters in the league. And with three first- and two second-round picks, they have a chance to add some immediate starters. If I'm giving them a quarterback at No. 5, let's help Justin Herbert here with a left tackle. Thomas has dropped a little bit since he went in the top 10 in my Mock Draft 1.0 last month, but that's because this tackle class is so good at the top. A pure left tackle with great feet, Thomas doesn't have the ceiling of Laremy Tunsil, but he's a really solid player. Given its depleted roster, Miami should go with the best prospect available in Round 1, and that's Thomas at No. 18.
19. Las Vegas Raiders (from CHI)
Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
I'll stick with a Vontaze Burfict replacement here with Murray, a big and physical inside linebacker who put up gaudy tackle numbers for the Sooners. Jon Gruden loves aggressive defenders, and Murray, a good blitzer with great athleticism, fits the bill. Cornerback is another position to watch for the Raiders, but I should also mention the possibility of Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock packaging their two first-round picks to move up for a quarterback. It's doable. Las Vegas is a team to watch for quarterbacks in free agency -- Derek Carr's contract won't prohibit it from moving on if it likes someone else -- and in the top 10 of this draft.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars (from LAR)
CJ Henderson, CB, Florida
Finally, the second corner goes off the board; there are some good cornerbacks in this class, but it's more deep than elite. I mentioned earlier the Jags' Jalen Ramsey-sized hole at the position, and Henderson could help fill it. The word I've used to describe Henderson's tape is "natural." He is smooth in coverage, flipping his hips with ease to run with run with receivers. He didn't have an interception in 2019, but he had six total in the two previous seasons. I don't expect free-agent Yannick Ngakoue to leave Jacksonville this offseason, but pass-rusher would become a priority if he does.
21. Philadelphia Eagles
Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
I just like the fit with Higgins in Philadelphia, as he has great size (6-4) and elite ball skills, boxing out defenders to high-point the ball on sideline routes. We know all about the Eagles' problems at receiver last season, so this fills a massive void. If Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson can stay healthy -- and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside can take a leap in Year 2 -- this position could go from a weakness to strength. Safety is another position to keep an eye on in Philly, with Malcolm Jenkins' unhappiness (and age -- 32) and Rodney McLeod potentially leaving in free agency.
22. Buffalo Bills
Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
John Brown and Cole Beasley each were targeted more than 100 times last season. Can you name the Bills pass-catcher who ranked third on the team in targets? That would be rookie tight end Dawson Knox, who came on at the end of the season, finishing with 28 catches on 50 targets. So let's get Josh Allen another speedy target in Ruggs, who might be the fastest player in the entire 2020 class. I've been told to expect a time under 4.30 in the 40-yard dash at the combine. Ruggs is more than a speed guy who will catch deep balls; he improved as a route runner in 2019 and can break tackles after the catch.
23. New England Patriots
Jacob Eason, QB, Washington
Yes, that's right, I'm now going with a quarterback for the Patriots, who still don't know if they'll have Tom Brady under center in 2020. Even if the 42-year-old free agent returns on a short-term deal, the Pats have to address the position on the first two days of the draft, so why not do it now? I like 2019 fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham's potential, but I'm not sold on him as a long-term starter. Eason has been getting a lot of buzz from people I talk to in the NFL lately, though he's not a lock to be the fourth quarterback taken; he's still battling with Utah State's Jordan Love, but I'll give the 6-6 Eason the edge for now. He has the best arm of any signal-caller in this class, though he can be erratic at times. It'd be ideal if he got a year or two to sit behind Brady, but he has a much higher ceiling that Stidham. Safety and linebacker are other positions to keep an eye on for New England's top pick.
24. New Orleans Saints
Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn
This is a really tough pick to project. Like the Patriots, the Saints' longer-term quarterback situation is murky. Drew Brees is set to return, but Teddy Bridgewater is an unrestricted free agent and Taysom Hill is a restricted free agent. For now, I'll stay away from QBs in this mock draft and focus on another need with Eli Apple and P.J. Williams free agents. Veteran Janoris Jenkins is the other starter at cornerback opposite Marshon Lattimore, but the Saints can get a young player to compete with Jenkins. Igbinoghene is a track athlete who is still developing his technique, but he has the traits to be a star.
25. Minnesota Vikings
Antoine Winfield Jr., S, Minnesota
Yes, this is the son of that Antoine Winfield, who was drafted by the Bills in Round 1 in 1999 and played nine seasons for the Vikings. The junior Winfield had seven interceptions last season, and while interceptions can sometimes be misleading as a projection tool for prospects, he was more than a ball hawk; he also had 88 tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles. Winfield showed great range and instincts at the position, and I really liked watching his 2019 tape. Let's hope he's past the hamstring and foot injuries that prematurely ended his 2017 and 2018 seasons for the Golden Gophers. Safety might not appear to be a priority position for the Vikings, but they have salary-cap issues and could lose Anthony Harris to a big offer in free agency.
26. Miami Dolphins (from HOU)
D'Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
That's three first-round picks, three offensive players for the Dolphins, with Swift taking over as the No. 1 running back to help Justin Herbert and run behind Andrew Thomas. Swift is the best receiving back in this class, and as I mentioned last month, I have a higher grade on him than I did on Josh Jacobs last year. This is a great way to build the Miami offense, though it still needs some pieces to get back on track. If an edge rusher like A.J. Epenesa falls to this pick, don't be surprised if this team pounces.
27. Seattle Seahawks
Justin Madubuike, DT, Texas A&M
Get to know Madubuike's name, because I expect him to rise at the combine. The 6-3, 305-pound defensive tackle put up stellar numbers as an interior penetrator for the Aggies the past two seasons, racking up 11 sacks and 22 total tackles for loss. He wreaked havoc on SEC offensive linemen. Seattle could see huge turnover along its defensive line with Jadeveon Clowney, Ezekiel Ansah, Jarran Reed, Quinton Jefferson and Al Woods all free agents, so Madubuike would help it reload after a down season in which the Seahawks had just 28 sacks. They have an extra second-round pick to help them restock.
28. Baltimore Ravens
Patrick Queen, ILB, LSU
I love the fit with Queen in Baltimore, which lost C.J. Mosley in free agency last offseason and could replace him a year later with a sideline-to-sideline run-and-hit inside linebacker. This is one of the NFL's best rosters -- look no further than the Ravens putting 12 players in the Pro Bowl -- so it's tough to find a position outside of middle linebacker that could see a rookie come in and start on day one. Keep an eye on a possible trade-down situation here with teams trying to trade into Round 1 to get their guy.
29. Tennessee Titans
Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State
Tennessee's list of positions to target could look drastically different a month from now after general manager Jon Robinson and coach Mike Vrabel settle on what to do with free-agent starters Ryan Tannehill, Derrick Henry, Logan Ryan and Jack Conklin. But edge-rusher will still be on that list, and the Titans can address it with Gross-Matos, who had 17.5 sacks over the past two seasons. At 6-5, 265, Gross-Matos would be a great fit as an outside linebacker in their 3-4 defense.
30. Green Bay Packers
Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Aaron Rodgers isn't getting any younger; it's time for the Packers to use a first-round pick on a receiver. Davante Adams was the only Green Bay pass-catcher to have more than 53 targets last season, and he had 127. This team needs a competent No. 2 wideout. Jefferson broke out in a big way last season, catching 111 passes for 1,540 yards and 18 touchdowns. You might remember him from his four-touchdown performance against Oklahoma in the College Football Playoff semifinal. He led the FBS in total catches and first-down receptions (66). If Green Bay cuts Jimmy Graham, it would become a candidate to take the first tight end off the board in this class.
31. San Francisco 49ers
Grant Delpit, S, LSU
As I mentioned last month, the 49ers have to get this pick right because they don't have another selection until the fifth round. No pressure, general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan. Delpit struggled through an ankle injury last season and needs work as a tackler, but I'm betting on his upside as an athletic, versatile safety. The Niners could lose Jimmie Ward in free agency, and Delpit would help fill that void. Wide receiver is also an interesting position to keep an eye on for San Francisco, which could let free-agent Emmanuel Sanders walk and replace him with a playmaker from a super-deep class.
32. Kansas City Chiefs
Cesar Ruiz, C/G, Michigan
I really like Ruiz's film from last season, and I have a higher grade on him now than I did on the 2019 class' top center Garrett Bradbury last year. It's just tough to project where centers will land because few teams actually need them. Ruiz, who also started a few games at guard in college, is an outstanding pass-blocker. The Chiefs could upgrade at center over Austin Reiter or put Ruiz at guard in place of veteran Stefen Wisniewski, who is a free agent. Both had tough games in the Super Bowl win against a spectacular 49ers defensive line. Edge-rusher and cornerback are other possibilities here.