Gather round, friends. It's time to tell you a tale -- the story of how the 2019 NFL season ends...and more importantly how the 2020 NFL Draft begins. Pack up the jersey, clear your Sunday schedule and carry on with your life. This is how the 2019 NFL season will unfold.
(In all reality, I'm basing the draft order of this 2020 Mock Draft on the team's current records and my picks for each team's end result for each of the 14 (or 15) games remaining on their respective schedules.) There is no crutch for "Vegas odds" here. This is stone cold fact mixed with empowered predictions after a few games to base my opinions off of. I'm sure you'll all be rational.
Welcome to the 2020 NFL Mock Draft 1.0. We are now open for business.
1. Miami Dolphins (Projected record: 2-14) - QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama Crimson Tide
The #TankForTua campaign will not be in vain. The Dolphins have stripped the roster down to the studs with the intent of targeting a franchise quarterback with all of the intangibles necessary to be the face of the franchise.
Miami hopes Tua can let the ghost of Dan Marino rest -- for good. Ignore the helmet. Ignore the supporting cast. Tua checks all the boxes, on and off the field.
2. Arizona Cardinals (Projected record: 2-13-1) - OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia Bulldogs
Listen -- I get it. Kyler Murray has the mobility to force defenders to miss in the pocket. But. BUT! The Cardinals offensive line is in dire need of an upgrade. Blindside protector Andrew Thomas is a perfect blend of size, strength, power and polish. He's a plug and play starter who can help keep Arizona's new franchise quarterback on the field.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars (Projected record: 3-13) - WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama Crimson Tide
The Jaguars need a skill player who can put fear in the opposition. Right now they have a bunch of the same thing -- ideal wide receiver twos. Jeudy? This ain't no wide receiver two. He's a dynamic threat to all three levels and would further help to unlock more of the passing game for QB Nick Foles, who figures to be a fixture for Jacksonville in the short-term.
Would a new head coach covet a quarterback? Maybe. But Jeudy is an elite prospect -- he's currently my top player overall, regardless of position.
4. Cincinnati Bengals (Projected record: 3-13) - QB Justin Herbert, Oregon Ducks
Is Andy Dalton a *problem* for the Bengals? Well...no, I don't think he is. But is Andy Dalton an asset to the Bengals? He's a 31-year old, 9-year pro who will be a free agent after the 2020 season -- with a brand new head coach in house.
But is he an asset? No...I don't think he is. And the Bengals, for as fun as they've been in stretches early on, are ready for some fresh blood under center. Herbert has every physical tool you could possibly hope for.
5. Carolina Panthers (Projected record: 4-12) - S Grant Delpit, LSU Tigers
The Panthers are currently rolling with Eric Reid and Tre Boston on the back end. Getting someone with some more versatility to fill a plethora of roles would give them much more flexibility defensively -- protecting them from having to roll so quickly into sub-packages. Not to mention Delpit has pretty rare football instincts and a nose for the football. He's a game changing presence on the back end.
6. Oakland Raiders (Projected record: 4-12) - EDGE Chase Young, Ohio State Buckeyes
The Raiders have already spoken about how hard it is to land a premiere pass rusher in the NFL Draft. Remember, it was Jon Gruden who spoke about how hard they are to find shortly after trading away DE Khalil Mack. They get a good one here to pair with 2019 top-pick Clelin Ferrell -- only Young is more explosive and off to a torrid start this season.
This is a huge win for the Raiders to get their pick of the litter out of a loaded pass rush group.
7. Washington Redskins (Projected record: 4-12) - WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma Sooners
The Redskins drafted their hopeful franchise quarterback in the 1st-round of last year's NFL Draft in Dwayne Haskins. They also landed Terry McLaurin and Kelvin Harmon in 2019 -- that's an exciting start. But let's put Haskins in the best position to be successful, yeah? Enter CeeDee Lamb. Lamb has elite body control, ball skills and hands -- he'll compliment the speed of McLaurin quite well.
8. New York Giants (Projected record: 4-12) - EDGE AJ Epenesa, Iowa Hawkeyes
The Giants love themselves to heavy hitters up front. But I can't imagine Dave Gettleman wants to roll with his current situation on the edge. Right? Let's assume not. As tempting as it was to give the Giants a right tackle, I'll give them another Iowa Hawkeye, Epenesa. He's heavy handed, a great power rusher and super productive. That will check all the boxes Gettleman needs in order to add him to the Giants power-oriented front seven.
9. San Francisco 49ers (Projected record: 6-10) - CB Kristian Fulton, LSU Tigers
UPDATE: The 49ers earn an extra win in the amended schedule predictions after the news broke that Ben Roethlisberger will miss the final 14 games of 2019.
The 49ers are off to a 2-0 start! SURELY THIS IS THE YEAR THEY TURN IT AROUND! Well, hold your horses. The 49ers beat the Buccaneers and the Bengals, so I'm not going hog wild just yet. With that said, I like a lot of what the 49ers have been able to build. Offensively, they're turnkey in the run game and at wide receiver.
Perimeter corner? Ahkello Witherspoon is a work in progress with nice tools and they do have Richard Sherman there -- but give me a young gun in Fulton to learn from Sherman and maximize his rare physical tools.
10. Denver Broncos (Projected record: 6-10) - LB/S Isaiah Simmons, Clemson Tigers
Denver experienced some heartbreak in bidding farewell to LB Devin Bush in the 2019 NFL Draft -- remember, they traded out of the 10th pick to pick up extra picks. They'll get quite the linebacker at 10 this time around in Isaiah Simmons.
Imagine Simmons prowling on the second level in nickel packages! Is he coming, going, covering tight ends? Scientists don't even know. I'd love to see Fangio get his hands on Simmons in 2020.
11. New York Jets (Projected record: 6-10) - OT Tristan Wirfs, Iowa Hawkeyes
The Jets are weird. Their coach hire was weird. The timing of their front office changes was weird. Blowing a 16-0 lead vs. the Bills last week was weird and so too is QB Sam Darnold falling ill to mono.
What else is weird? How the Jets could enter the 2019 offseason with Kelvin Beachum and Brandon Shell as the starting tackles and leave the 2019 offseason with....Beachum and Shell as the starting tackles. No more. Give the Jets heavyweight Tristan Wirfs, the super athletic tackle who can serve as an asset in both the run and pass game.
12. Detroit Lions (Projected record: 6-9-1) - CB Bryce Hall, Virginia Cavaliers
Big Play Slay at corner is a huge plus. Opposite him? Not so much. Justin Coleman signed to play the nickel and the rest of the Lions' options to play outside in a division filled with good receivers needs work. Enter Bryce Hall, the tall, long corner with phenomenal ball skills and influence at the catch point. Hall is pro ready and should be considered a plug and play starter.
13. Miami Dolphins via Pittsburgh Steelers (Projected record: 7-9) - IOL Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin Badgers
UPDATE UPDATE: So the Dolphins and Steelers tried to hijack my Mock 1.0 by flipping this pick for DB Minkah Fitzpatrick on Monday night. NOT. SO. FAST. MY. FRIENDS. This pick as been updated to reflect Miami's control of Pittsburgh's selection.
UPDATE: So Ben Roethlisberger is out for the season and that's a recipe for a big ol' box of YIKES for Pittsburgh. Their initial W/L record of 10-6 has been amended to reflect his absence for the final 14 games of 2019.
The Dolphins added one Wisconsin Badger in the 2019 NFL Draft in Michael Deiter. And through two games, Deiter is the best of a bad group for Miami. And with a new franchise quarterback in town, Miami would be wise to load up the beef and protect their investment. Some Bucky is good, more is better! Biadasz is a monster in the middle who can play gap/power in the run game and anchor solo reps in pass protection.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Projected record: 7-9) - DL Derrick Brown, Auburn Tigers
Ndamukong Suh joined Tampa to play in Gerald McCoy's role in 2019 -- but Suh is something of a mercenary these days. He's signed his second consecutive 1-year deal to play in Tampa. Will he be in Tampa again next year? Who knows. But if the Bucs pick Derrick Brown, he'll certainly be there for years to come. Putting the twitchy, stout Brown next to Vita Vea will ensure LB Devin White stays clean to hunt the football between the tackles -- and gives Tampa a penetration presence on the inside.
15. Indianapolis Colts (Projected record: 8-8) - QB Jordan Love, Utah State Aggies
UPDATE: The Colts earn an extra win in the amended schedule predictions after the news broke that Ben Roethlisberger will miss the final 14 games of 2019.
The Colts did extend Jacoby Brissett at quarterback -- but it is still a short term deal. The opportunity to add the gifted Jordan Love is super exciting to me, especially because Brissett will be there in 2020 to ease Love's transition.
Love has all the skill in the world but needs a little polish with his decision making and operation within structure. Brissett serves as the pacifier for Indy to ensure he's not forced to play prematurely.
16. Tennessee Titans (Projected record: 8-8) - QB Jake Fromm, Georgia Bulldogs
Let's summarize the Titans' quarterback situation. Marcus Mariota: contract year, quite often hurt. Ryan Tannehill: contract year, quite often hurt. That's it. Not great, Bob!
And so I'd imagine Tennessee can and will retain one of these passers -- but landing Fromm here at 16 makes too much sense for me to pass. Fromm doesn't have the strongest arm, but he's accurate and smart as hell. He'd mesh well with big bodied receivers like Corey Davis and AJ Brown and inserting him into an offense that wants to run the ball is *chef's kiss*.
17. Buffalo Bills (Projected record: 8-8) - EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State Nittany Lions
UPDATE: The Bills earn an extra win in the amended schedule predictions after the news broke that Ben Roethlisberger will miss the final 14 games of 2019.
The Mafia boasts an invigorated defense through the first two games -- thanks in large part to the disruption of 2019 top-10 pick Ed Oliver. Hey, guess what? What if I told you the Bills could continue to add to their defense? Sean McDermott is a big defensive guy, after all.
Yetur Gross-Matos stepping into Buffalo to play next to Oliver and across from Jerry Hughes is, uh, terrifying to think about. Especially with Tremaine Edmunds' versatility prowling the front seven, too.
18. Atlanta Falcons (Projected record: 9-7) - DL Raekwon Davis, Alabama Crimson Tide
The Falcons' offensive line is on shaky ground again, but remember that the Falcons invested 1st-round picks in OG Chris Lindstrom (hurt) and OT Kaleb McGary in 2019. Their defensive line? Half of it is good: Grady Jarrett is a confirmed #stud and I like the potential for Takk McKinley still. But the other half? Let's get a monster in there who can play some end and some tackle while bringing some burst.
Davis fits the bill -- and has exciting upside and potential to blossom into a DeForest Buckner type of player.
19. Minnesota Vikings (Projected record: 9-7) - WR Henry Ruggs III, Alabama Crimson Tide
Honk if you can name a WR on the Vikings roster not named Diggs or Thielen.
No, it's fine. Go ahead and pull up Google, I'll wait.
You good? Kirk Cousins has come out lame the first two weeks of the season -- but you can't blame the receivers at his disposal. So let's give him something else to work with entering the final year of his contract, yeah? Ruggs is a terrific compliment to the style of play you get in Thielen and the speed of Diggs, he's one of the fastest prospects in all of college and can provide Minnesota of another explosive weapon for quick game.
20. Oakland Raiders via Chicago Bears (Projected record: 11-5) - LB Dylan Moses, Alabama Crimson Tide
But Kyle, Moses hurt his knee and is out for the year!
It doesn't matter to me. He will have 12 months of recovery before the start of his rookie season and he provides ample evidence on tape that he's fit to play at a super high level. The Raiders linebackers are, uh, not the most athletic group. Let's just put it that way.
Moses can help change that.
21. Cleveland Browns (Projected record: 11-5) - OT Lucas Niang, TCU Horned Frogs
Cleveland's offensive line is a problem. Let's call a spade a spade. Tretter and Bitonio are a great foundation but the boundary blockers shouldn't be considered long-term pieces. Niang plays right tackle for the Horned Frogs and he's super athletic. There's a ton of snap in his first step and he's got great natural strength. Want to train him to play the blind side? He's got the athleticism to do it. Want to keep him at right tackle? Great, he's plug and play!
22. Miami Dolphins via Houston Texans (Projected record: 11-5) - EDGE K'Lavon Chaisson, LSU Tigers
UPDATE: So the Dolphins and Steelers tried to hijack my Mock 1.0 by flipping this pick for DB Minkah Fitzpatrick on Monday night. NOT. SO. FAST. MY. FRIENDS. This pick as been updated -- Miami initially drafted Tyler Biadasz in this spot, but as you can now see, Biadasz was drafted by the Dolphins with Pittsburgh's pick at 13.
The Dolphins need some burst, speed and versatility off the edge. Enter Chaisson -- who has some Josh Allen (the linebacker) type skills and athletic ability in space. The only difference? Allen showed a huge boom in his senior season to illustrate more pass rush counters. Chaisson is still young -- but his versatility and skills in stunting, twisting, playing coverage or setting the edge are all attractive pieces for Brian Flores' multiple defense. Yes -- this is a terrific fit for Miami!
23. Green Bay Packers (Projected record: 11-5) - WR Tee Higgins, Clemson Tigers
The Packers have Davante Adams as their alpha receiver. And now that they've loaded up the secondary and the pass rush in 2019, getting a star player to play opposite Adams makes too much sense for me to go any other direction. The Packers like size at receiver, how about the best vertical/jump ball/size receiver in this year's class with Tee Higgins?
24. New Orleans Saints (Projected record: 11-5) - WR Jalen Reagor, TCU Horned Frogs
The Saints were initially much later in this draft order when I first started working on the schedule picks -- but Drew Brees' injured thumb looms large and his complete inability to pick up a football yesterday has me terrified. At the absolute best, Brees can play without missing time -- but the Saints have a tough test next week with Seattle.
The Saints have Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara as star skill players. Let's get another dynamic weapon to ensure continuity with speed down the field and playmaking ability in the open field. Reagor gives you both.
25. Los Angeles Chargers (Projected record: 11-5) - IOL Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma Sooners
The Chargers efforts to fix the offensive line haven't gone great. And while the issues at tackle are more pressing than at center, I'm totally taking youngster Creed Humphrey and then moving Mike Pouncey to play Guard, where his athleticism can shine more often as a blocker getting out in space.
26. Dallas Cowboys (Projected record: 11-5) - SAF Xavier McKinney, Alabama Crimson Tide
The Cowboys have a budding presence in Xavier Woods playing safety -- he's a nice player. Jeff Heath, though? He's not bad, but Dallas sure could use some more versatility in that role. McKinney gives it to them. He's a good fit to play coverage in the middle of the field and he's aggressive stepping up onto the edge of the defense. If he can sure up his tackling, look out...this might be a steal.
27. Seattle Seahawks (Projected record: 12-4) - CB Paulson Adebo, Stanford Cardinal
UPDATE: So the Dolphins and Steelers tried to hijack my Mock 1.0 by flipping this pick for DB Minkah Fitzpatrick on Monday night. NOT. SO. FAST. MY. FRIENDS. This pick as been updated -- Miami has snatched Seattle's initial pick of K'Lavon Chaisson with their extra 1st-round pick, forcing a waterfall effect that forced the Seahawks to make a new selection.
Stanford Cardinal cornerback touts football intelligence, physical play, tremendous ball skills and awareness in coverage. Meh. Seemed to work out pretty well the last time the Seahawks checked all those boxes with a corner -- why the hell not? Let's run it back!
Adebo stepping into Seattle's secondary is super enticing -- pairing he and Shaq Griffin gives Seattle two corners who I like a lot for their physical secondary. And Adebo slipping down the ranks this far is a huge steal -- draft need and depth of the corner class allows it to happen with Pittsburgh out of the defensive back market after their trade with Miami.
28. Baltimore Ravens (Projected record: 12-4) - WR Laviska Shenault, Colorado Buffaloes
The Ravens are thriving with a new look offense, one catered to weaponize spacing of the field and utilize speed to create explosive plays. That sound like anyone you know? The Ravens drafted the tiny but speedy Hollywood Brown this past year, now imagine a little more dense Shenault also thrown into the mix for underneath routes and as another burner vertically.
29. New England Patriots (Projected record: 12-4) - EDGE Curtis Weaver, Boise State Broncos
Quintessential Patriots pick. Yeah, Chase Winovich is likely to be a steal -- I liked him a ton coming out. But Belichick hammers the trenches with his drafts and Weaver has the same inside/outside versatility to really be a contributor for the Patriots defense.
I like his power components and subtle ability to dip the inside shoulder and turn the corner in speed rush situations.
30. Los Angeles Rams (Projected record: 13-3) - DL Rashard Lawrence, LSU Tigers
Donald. Brockers. Gaines. Smart. Fox. Joseph-Day. These are the Rams' interior defensive linemen. How about a little depth up front? Lawrence isn't a glamorous player, but my goodness is he fun. He's stout, he's quick and I think he's got more ability to win in penetration versus when he's been able to show at LSU.
31. Kansas City Chiefs (Projected record: 12-4) - CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama Crimson Tide
The Chiefs have made some notable upgrades to the defense this offseason. One place they didn't get better? Cornerback. Trevon Diggs, if healthy, has phenomenal talent with length, fluid hips and ball skills. He's a high-upside prospect who comes from a defense that will have him ready to play early in his pro career.
32. Philadelphia Eagles (Projected record: 12-4) - CB A.J. Terrell, Clemson Tigers
The Eagles can go a lot of different directions. I'll opt to give them more depth on the boundary -- there's no such thing as too much depth in the secondary. Hot off the heels of Philly's loss to Atlanta in a thriller, yes...the Eagles are still my current pick to win it all in February. For their troubles, they get a feisty corner in Terrell. Sidney Jones hasn't materialized as the Eagles may have hoped -- at least not yet. Terrell fits the mold of more of an outside defender anyway, giving their personnel more flexibility in coverage all around.