Ah, yes. It's never too early for a mock draft as some of the hopes for your team have already dwindled, while others are off to a fast start. We are already inching closer to draft season, but there's a long way to go in the process. Plenty of prospects are proving their worth and living up to the offseason hype, but there are also some others who have shown to be pretenders more than contenders through the first quarter of the season.
With that being said, here's the first version of my 2020 NFL Mock Draft.
*IMPORTANT NOTE: The draft order reflects the most recent Vegas Super Bowl odds prior to the Week 3 slate of games. Hopefully you read this before noticing the draft order.
1. Miami Dolphins - Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama QB
The 2019 Dolphins may go down as the worst team in NFL history. That's how bad they have looked through the first three weeks of the season. From the Jimmy Johnson Cowboys to the Sashi's Brown experiment with the Browns, but we haven't seen a team strip their roster down to the studs and attempt to build it up like general manager Chris Grier will attempt to do over the next few seasons.
With an expected $100-plus million in cap space and five first-round picks over the next two years, the franchise has more ammo than Batman's utility belt. The team starts off their retooling of the roster with the most important position in sports. Tagovailoa adds a face to the franchise under-center that the team has lacked since another No. 13 was setting records in Dade County.
2. Cincinnati Bengals - Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
Needs: QB, LB, OT
Despite being winless, the Zac Taylor tenure is off to a promising start. For a team that has talent on the roster, it's encouraging to see them remain competitive even if it doesn't show up in the win column. Andy Dalton has played better so far this season, but it's obvious that he's not the long-term solution in Cincy. In 2020, Dalton enters the final year of his contract -- with a $17.7 million cap hit. The key though is that he doesn't have any dead money attached to it. Meaning he's the ideal bridge option into the next phase.
Selecting Herbert at No. 2 overall ushers in a new era and attaches Zac Taylor, general manager Duke Tobin, and the Ducks signal-caller at the hip. An ideal fit as Herbert fits best in an offense that utilizes open sets and surrounded by weapons, which the team has in spots. Continuing to build up the offensive front will remain a point of emphasis. Getting 2019 first-round selection Jonah Williams back next season will help.
3. Washington Redskins - Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
Needs: OT, CB, WR
While Tagovailoa and Herbert will ultimately be compared during the duration of their careers because of their draft slots, the team who's selecting third will have a more than satisfying consolation prize. Still a rookie, but Montez Sweat's career has gotten off to a slow start, but Ryan Kerrigan enters the final season of his contract. While edge rusher may not be a primary need such as offensive tackle and cornerback in the Redskins case, taking the best player available should be paramount.
Nicknamed "The Predator", Chase Young has surpassed all of the early expectations that were placed upon him entering this season. Yet to be blocked, he recorded two highlight strips sacks last week to improve his total to 7.0 sacks on the season. That type of edge rush presence are what teams salivate over and with the Ohio State's edge rusher's measurables, it makes him an easy selection at this spot.
4. Arizona Cardinals - Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
Needs: OT, OG, EDGE
Although the season hasn't transpired as swiftly as the team had hoped, Kyler Murray has given life to a franchise that hasn't had excitement at the position since the glory days of Carson Palmer. With an innovative and exciting play-caller like head coach Kliff Kingsbury, the marriage between the two has already shined through the first three games of the year. Now that it appears that their franchise quarterback is in place, it is now time to protect the franchises investment.
Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs is the perfect edge protector to place in Kingsbury's offense because of his athleticism and upside that he brings to the table. Still a very young player, but Wirfs upside is monstrous. Already forced to play both right and left tackle this year, he figures to be a significant upgrade over what the team currently has on the roster.
5. New York Jets - Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
Needs: OT, CB, EDGE
After splurging in the offseason in free agency, the team hasn't seen an early return on its investment as a whole. Le'Veon Bell looks to be fully back from his year off, but Sam Darnold has been fighting mononucleosis. With general manager Joe Douglas locked into a six-year deal with the team, the emphasis will be building up the trenches -- just like during his days with the Eagles.
Bringing in Andrew Thomas to be the long-term answer at the left tackle spot would make Darnold feel much more comfortable throwing from the pocket, but he'll also have a lasting effect on Bell as a run blocker. Thomas brings a bruising and physical demeanor, which is an attitude that the team has lacked upfront in seasons past.
6. Denver Broncos - Grant Delpit, SAF, LSU
Needs: LB, CB, SAF
After investing heavily on the offensive side of the ball, head coach Vic Fangio may pound the table for John Elway to return to drafting and valuing the side of the ball that helped the team experience success in seasons past. With Von Miller leading the way, the defense is the identity that this franchise has thrived on over the past few years.
Having a playmaker on the back-end is an area that they have sorely lacked. Adding Grant Delpit into the equation will quickly ease a lot of those concerns that the franchise currently has in that area. The LSU safety doesn't just bring value at the safety spot, but he's the ultimate chess piece that Fangio could utilize in many different positions in his well diverse scheme.
7. New York Giants - Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
Needs: EDGE, WR, LB
Many may be wondering why or how Jeudy slipped to this spot. It's very rare to see a wide receiver go inside of the top-5 selections. Prior to Corey Davis being selected fifth-overall by the Tennessee Titans in the 2017 draft, the last time we saw a receiver selected inside of the top-5 was Amari Cooper (2015), Sammy Watkins (2014) and Justin Blackmon (2012). So, while it happens every now and then, it is sporadic. That's not to say that Jerry Jeudy won't break the mold though.
The Daniel Jones era is one week in and while there's excitement in the Big Apple, it's clear that the perimeter weapons are scarce. Already with a promising offensive core in place, headlined by Saquon Barkley, adding Jeudy into the fold quickly provides an upgrade and dynamic option for Jones. Heavily involved in quick slants and the run-pass option game from the slot, Jeudy's video-game like playing style would provide for plenty of eye-popping plays in MetLife Stadium.
8. Oakland Raiders - Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State
Needs: LB, EDGE, CB
2017 first-round selection Gareon Conley has shown glimpses of stardom and the consistency in order to be counted on as a reliable option on one side of the field. After investing two-of-three first-round picks a season ago on the defensive side, general manager Mike Mayock once again continues to build up his defense.
The franchise elects to dip its toes into the waters of Buckeyes cornerbacks yet again by selecting Jeff Okudah. Forming a formidable duo of Conley and Okudah gives the two team potential lockdown options outside. Recording his first career interception in Saturday's contest against Miami (Ohio).
9. Jacksonville Jaguars - CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
Needs: WR, LB, TE
A team that's already had an interesting start to the season to date, after Nick Foles suffered a broken clavicle, it made way for Gardner Minshew. The sixth-round selection has made the most of his opportunity in three games of action. Showing off the swagger, poise, and decision making necessary to survive as a starting signal-caller in the NFL.
D.J. Chark and Dede Westbrook have shown promise in spurts, but there remains to be a leader in the current receiving corps. Lamb adds a potential WR1 dynamic that the team lacks for whoever may be the answer under-center for the team going forward. With his combination of catch consistency, body contortion, and maturity, Lamb is an ideal top target for the offense.
10. Carolina Panthers - Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
Needs: CB, SAF, LB
One of the more disappointing starts to the season has been the Panthers. Cam Newton is clearly not healthy as he sat out against the Cardinals while nursing a foot sprain and still coming off of a second consecutive offseason shoulder surgery. While the offense needs to make strides, the defense has left a lot to be desired as well. The secondary has been carved a part during the early stages of the year and lacks promising long-term pieces. Donte Jackson has shown promise, but his consistency has remained a question mark.
With James Bradberry scheduled to become to become an unrestricted free agent following the season, there's a need for secondary help. The Panthers have taking a liking to LSU defensive backs and adds Fulton to the list. Already adding to the "DBU" moniker, Fulton has flashed the potential of being a lockdown corner. Locating the ball in flight and playing it out of the air remains his biggest flaw.
11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa
Needs: EDGE, OT, IOL
A team that seems to draft defensive backs at some point every season finally takes a different route. The Bruce Arians tenure came with plenty of hype and the results have matched the excitement so far. Jameis Winston has shown to still be prone to high variance plays and making head scratching turnovers, but Arians has still supported him throughout. No matter what some may think, now that Jason Licht has signed a new five-year extension to match the deal given to Arians, Winston will most likely be the face under-center for this team for the foreseeable future.
With that being said, the resources poured into this defense continues. With Jason Pierre-Paul's future in question and the Noah Spence experience coming to an end, the franchise still lacks a consistent threat off of the edge outside of Shaq Barrett. Adding A.J. Epenesa could prove to be the answer that the team was searching for. Still in the beginning stages of his first season as a full-time starter for the Hawkeyes, the star rusher shows lots of favorable traits. In a division with Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, and Cam Newton, generating consistent pressure off of the edge is a necessity.
12. Detroit Lions - Isaiah Simmons, LB/SAF, Clemson
Needs: CB, WR, LB
The second year under head coach Matt Patricia is already off to a much better start than his first season. After mixed opinions, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell's offense looks lively and exciting. The defense still lacks speed on the second level though. Playing good defense while remaining consistent on offense is Patricia's forte and how he wants to win games.
In order to provide more urgency on the defensive side, adding Isaiah Simmons is a tremendous boost. A jack-of-all trades type of prospect, he is best listed as being position-less. Most of his success has come as a weak side linebacker where could project right away and become an immediate contributor, but there are other positions that he can fulfill as well.
13. Buffalo Bills - Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
Needs: EDGE, CB, LB
Edge rusher is a large need for the Bills, but there just isn't one worthy of the spot here. Instead, the team opts to take advantage of what could turn out to be one of the best receiver classes that we have seen in quite some time. Josh Allen continues to take positive steps in his development despite the onslaught of backlash during the pre-draft process.
Surrounding him with protection and as many weapons as possible were the prime objectives of the offseason and it should continue in 2020. Zay Jones will be entering the final year of his contract next season and there is yet to be a true WR1 in that receiver room. Higgins brings that type of potential and the playing style that matches perfectly with the skill set of Allen.
14. Indianapolis Colts - Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
Needs: SAF, WR, IDL
Quarterback has been a common pick in this slot, but it seems as if the team is fully behind Jacoby Brissett and providing him with every opportunity in order to prove that he's the long-term solution under-center. So far, he hasn't done much to provide the front office with negative thoughts about his outlook going forward. A potential middle of the road starter, which is perfect for keeping the ship afloat in Indy and the wide open AFC South.
The Colts didn't address the interior of their defensive line at all a year ago, which came as a surprise. Denico Autry has been terrific since coming over from the Raiders. Margus Hunt was recently re-signed to a two-year, $10 million extension, but that seems to be more of a band-aid than him being in the teams long-term plans. Brown brings a massive presence in the middle of Matt Eberflus' defense. Often mistaken for being simply a run-stuffer, he's much more than that, as he brings plenty of volume as a pass rusher as well.
15. Miami Dolphins (via Pittsburgh Steelers) - Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
The Dolphins rebuild is a multi-year process that will take quite a bit of time and patience in order to see the finished product. Grier has a treasure trove of assets in his back pocket and while having the picks are nice, cashing in on them is the important part. Tua Tagovailoa is already in place. It is now time to find him protection and weapons. With over $100-plus million in cap space, I still firmly believe that this team will buy a lot of their protection up front through free agency.
With that line of thinking, it's clear that Alabama has the best receiving corps in the country. One player that's seen his stock go through the roof is Henry Ruggs III. The chemistry between the two has been unstoppable so far this season. What better way to make your new face of the franchise more comfortable than to bring along a familiar target. This is the best way to set him up for immediate success.
16. Tennessee Titans - Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
Needs: QB, IDL, EDGE
It's year five and the teams still left wanting more from Marcus Mariota. Having four offensive coordinators in five seasons is no easy task for any quarterback to overcome, but it seems like it's too steep of a hill for the former Oregon thrower to climb. In a dreadful 20-7 loss to the Jaguars on Thursday Night Football, the offense as a whole looked inept. It may be time to hit the reset button at the position and look to move on to the next experiment under general manager Jon Robinson and head coach Mike Vrabel.
There arguably hasn't been a player in the country that's helped themselves more this season than Joe Burrow. The grad transfer from Ohio State has flourished during his tenure at LSU and is experiencing a breakout season. Already up to 1,750 passing yards and an 80.6% completion percentage combined with 17 touchdowns to only two interceptions. We may be looking at a prospect who ends up being a top-10 pick, but for now, we'll simmer our expectations and keep him just outside of it.
17. San Francisco 49ers - Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia
Needs: IOL, CB, SAF
Ahkello Witherspoon has come along nicely in his second season as a full-time starter and Richard Sherman is a future hall of famer, but after that, the roster is bare with secondary talent. Preparing for life after Sherman is a real possibility and an area that the team should prepare for in advance even though he's playing at a fully dependable level. Hall is the perfect prospect to bring along to eventually become the heir apparent to Sherman on the outside.
You will be hard pressed to find a cleaner prospect off of the field than Hall and he has the game to match it. The 6-1 corner uses his length to his advantage with his technique at the line of scrimmage and impressive ball skills. Teams have been quite shy with throwing the ball in his direction this season, but he continues to rack up solid outings. Adding him to the secondary provides the teams with an intriguing future duo.
18. Oakland Raiders (via Chicago Bears) - Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama
Needs: LB, EDGE, CB
After securing a new dynamic duo at cornerback, the Raiders elect to upgrade the talent on the second level of the defense. Linebacker is an area that the team has been aiming to fix for many years and while it comes with a bit of a risk, Moses is too good of a talent to pass up. The Alabama linebacker tore his ACL prior to the season opener against Duke, but as we've seen in years past, that hasn't kept talented players at the position from being selected early.
19. Minnesota Vikings - Raekwon Davis, DT, Alabama
Needs: IDL, WR, CB
It's been an inconsistent start to the season for the Vikings. After a dominating Week 1 performance in a win over the Falcons, the team looked the exact opposite against the Packers. The team we saw during the first game reappeared in the Week 3 victory over the Raiders. A top-heavy roster that has elite players in spots, but the franchise is never shy about adding pieces to their defense even if it's years before being necessary. After Sheldon Richardson left via free agency to the Cleveland Browns, the team brought back former seventh-round pick Shamar Stephen.
A placeholder in a sense, Stephen is good enough to get the job done. Drafting Raekwon Davis here gives the team a versatile option that can play multiple spots along the front four. While he's had an up-and-down career in Tuscaloosa, there isn't a team that develops defensive lineman better than in Minnesota. Adding Davis to Danielle Hunter, Everson Griffen and Linval Joseph gives the team a formidable defensive front.
20. Seattle Seahawks - Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford
Needs: IDL, IOL, CB
Head coach Pete Carroll has been a defensive back lifer, which is one position where he's known to keep the deck stacked. That hasn't been the case since the downfall of the Legion of Boom, but general manager John Schneider has done an admirable job with retooling the roster overall. In the NFC West, a division filled with explosive offenses and entertaining young quarterbacks, having dependable options in the secondary is a requirement.
Paulson Adebo has been a roller coaster so far this season, but he oozes likeable traits, plus being an ideal fit in the Seahawks defensive scheme. Known for their previous work with finding consistency within secondary prospects, Adebo would be a perfect fit with the franchise.
21. Miami Dolphins (via Houston Texans) - Tyler Biadasz, C, Wisconsin
As I stated earlier in the teams previous selections, I think that the team will mix and match some of the options with building their offensive front between draft picks and free agents. Already with their QB of the future in Tua Tagovailoa and a familiar added weapon in Henry Ruggs III, it is now time to build up the wall in front of their new lefty signal-caller.
Biadasz gives the offense a new heartbeat and operator at the heart and soul of the controls. Brute strength, smarts, and awareness are his strongest suits. While the rebuild will take multiple years, coming out of the first-round with three plug and play prospects may help provide some extra excitement down south.
22. Atlanta Falcons - Alton Robinson, EDGE, Syracuse
Needs: EDGE, IDL, LB
After getting off to a scorching hot start, the Vic Beasley experiment has come to it a woeful stage. Basically becoming non-existent for stretches, this team is in dire need of help off of the edge. There's plenty of intriguing pieces on both sides of the ball and general manager Thomas Dimitroff has established one of the most athletic rosters in the NFL. The payoff has yet to come to fruition since the Super Bowl debacle.
A draft class that doesn't possess nearly as much depth at edge rusher as last year, but there are plenty of intriguing prospects in spots. Alton Robinson is the example of that. A player who randomly ended up at Syracuse is flourishing with in his second opportunity. The type of player that the Falcons need on a defensive line led by Grady Jarrett along the interior.
23. Los Angeles Chargers - D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
Needs: RB, LB, IOL
Melvin Gordon has remained strong with his contract demands while holding out from the team. There doesn't seem to be an end in sight and the team clearly has moved forward from him. Trade rumors have been swirling, but there still haven't been any takers for the former first-round selection.
Seeming reluctant to pay Gordon, the team opts to move in a different direction with taking Swift. The Bulldog rusher brings an explosive dynamic to the table not only as a rusher, but as a pass catcher as well. Continuing to load up on weapons as Philip Rivers is in the twilight of his career.
24. Cleveland Browns - Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
Needs: OT, IOL, SAF
With a disappointing 1-2 record, it's been somewhat of an underwhelming start for one of the most hyped up teams of the offseason. A loaded roster, but still searching to find continuity up front as the offensive line is a clear achilles heal of the team thus far. Going away from their identity, which was running the offense through Nick Chubb in a sense to open up other parts of the scheme, the team has utilized more 10 and 11 personnel sets with Odell Beckham Jr. now in the picture.
If that is the course that the team wants to take, drafting a blindside protector for Baker Mayfield will be paramount. Greg Robinson was re-signed for one-year and is in the middle of a do-or-die season. After playing guard during his first two seasons for the Crimson Tide, Alex Leatherwood transitioned to left tackle and has not looked back since. Leatherwood provides the team with a possible long-term solution while protecting the teams former top overall selection.
25. Baltimore Ravens - Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
Needs: LB, CB, WR
The Ravens have carried on the mantra of playing tough defense and utilizing a ground and pound attack on offense. Lamar Jackson has showed promising strides in his development, but there's still more improvements to be made in multiple spots on the roster. After losing C.J. Mosley and Eric Weddle in free agency, the defense is still trying to recover.
After being sidelined with a foot injury during the 2018 season, Trevon Diggs has rebounded nicely this season. Returning back to his home state would serve for a nice homecoming while filling a position of need on one of the leagues best defenses.
26. Green Bay Packers - Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado
Needs: WR, TE, LB
Davante Adams is a proven stud and now recognized as one of the best receiving threats throughout the league. Marquez Valdes-Scantling has come along nicely as the team second option, but the options are limited following that. With as much 12 personnel sets as head coach Matt LaFleur wants to employ, finding another viable option on the perimeter may prove to be vital.
Shenault is the ultimate weapon for Colorado as he's experienced every position on offense outside of offensive line. Considering how creative the Packers offense has proven to be already and the down the field dynamics that Shenault brings to the table, he is the perfect complement to the teams other top options.
27. Philadelphia Eagles - Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
Needs: CB, IDL, EDGE
Through three weeks, the Eagles have been demoralized with injuries. The interior of the teams defensive line has endured a massive hit after Malik Jackson suffered season-ending surgery for a Lisfranc injury and Timmy Jernigan is already expected to be out for nearly a month with a broken foot.
Jernigan is set to hit the free agent market following the season and Jackson remains an unknown in the teams scheme following his injury. Kinlaw begins a youth movement along the interior and is a very solid complement opposite of Fletcher Cox. For a team that's known for rotating its defensive front, the Gamecocks interior rusher would be a nice fixture to add into the rotation.
28. New Orleans Saints - Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
Needs: LB, IOL, WR
Wide receiver has been a common positional selection here and that's not to say that the team couldn't elect to go that route. Originally, I had TCU WR Jalen Reagor slotted here, but it's seriously time for the team to think about an heir apparent to Drew Brees. He's already sidelined following thumb surgery will be entering the final season of his deal prior to the 2020 season. Brees will also be 41 years old and although still playing at a high level, it's never too early to start training for life afterwards. Teddy Bridgewater is currently in the middle of an audition for other teams around the league in order to once again possibly become a starter. There really isn't a reason for him to return following this season if he plays well.
With Bridgewater possibly exiting to seek an expanded role elsewhere, Jordan Love makes a ton of sense here. Still raw, but possessing plenty of traits, his game overall is very rough around the edges. Coverage disguises and nuances of the position are still areas where he needs to improve. Sitting behind Brees and watching the waning moments of his career will buy him plenty of time to improve and eventually take over and lead the team into the next era whenever that may be.
29. Dallas Cowboys - Xavier McKinney, SAF, Alabama
Needs: SAF, TE, CB
Will McClay is one of the best evaluators in the business and the teams recent draft success has translated onto the field. A secondary that's been spotty at best has been searching for an answer on the back-end of the defense for multiple seasons. McKinney brings a dependable presence to the table and one that checks many boxes in multiple areas of the game. Already with one of the more dynamic offenses in the game, the team elects to continue to build up the defense and spend resources in the secondary. McKinney is known for his play violence and mentality that he exemplifies on the third-level of the defense.
30. Kansas City Chiefs - A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson
Needs: CB, IOL, LB
The Chiefs defense was in bad shape prior to last season and it ultimately was their demise. In order to improve on their biggest weaknesses, they traded for Frank Clark, Emmanuel Ogbah, and added Tyrann Mathieu. The additions have already paid dividends as they are off to a 3-0 start. Although improved, the secondary is still a question mark. Adding a younger option with length and upside could do justice for one of the most exciting teams in the league.
As quiet as it's been kept, Terrell has been excellent so far this season. Rarely mentioned with some of the other top cornerback names in this class, he continues to be a bright spot for the top ranked team in the country. Terrell's combination of length, patience, and polished technique could make him the best player at the position on the roster early on during his career.
31. Los Angeles Rams - K'Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
Needs: LB, EDGE, TE
After suffering a torn ACL during the opening week of the season a year ago against Miami, he has spearheaded the Tigers attack early on this year. Even though he has only recorded one sack to date, he has generated plenty of pressure, but failed to get home on multiple occasions. Clay Matthews and Dante Fowler Jr. are the current top options on the depth chart, but the options quickly fizzle out as you move down the list. Chaisson brings a high amount of upside to the table and another added presence off of the edge to make up for the depth that the team sorely lacks.
32. New England Patriots - Jared Pinkney, Vanderbilt TE
Needs: OT, TE, EDGE
It's always tough to predict what the most unpredictable team in the league will do during the opening night of the draft, but it's no secret that the team is still attempting to fill the void of Rob Gronkowski. Pinkney is a very reliable option with soft hands, twitchy routes, and a serviceable blocker in the running game. There aren't many glaring weaknesses on the roster, but tight end is definitely one that could use some fresh talent.