By Henry Featherston
Round 1, Pick 1: The Cincinnati Bengals select Joe Burrow, Quarterback out of Louisiana State University. This is the easiest pick to make for any GM. While Chase Young may be more talented, National Championship and Heisman winner Joe Burrow has what it takes to turn this team around. The Bengals had a strong offseason retaining AJ Green and formulating a winning defense. With Joe Mixon and AJ Green by his side, this team will be a contender in a few short years. Burrow’s arm strength may not make your jaw drop, but he’s a highly intelligent and accurate passer with sneaky athleticism. And once again, he won a Natty ad College Football’s prolific award, the Heisman which shows teams that he’s a winner. If you’re making some draft day bets, lock this one in and win some of the easiest money you will ever make.
Round 1, Pick 2: The Washington Redskins select Chase Young, Defensive End out of the Ohio State University. This pick is almost as safe as Joe Burrow’s, but not quite a lock. Chase Young is far and away the most talented player in this class and will give opposing offensive coordinators nightmares, so he’ll be a hard guy to pass up on, but rumors have been circulating that the Redskins are doing their due diligence on both quarterbacks and potential trade partners. When draft day rolls around, it will be one year since the Redskins drafted former Buckeye’s QB Dwayne Haskins, who by the way beat Joe Burrow for the job. It’s hard for a team to admit their mistake, especially just one year after they selected him, though with a new head coach, you never know. Just last year, we saw the Cardinals trade away Josh Rosen after one underwhelming year to select Kyler, and that’s certainly not out of the question here, especially after seeing the Chicago Bears fail to admit their mistake and have their Super Bowl window close without any signs of improvement from Mitchell Trubisky. The difference between the Bears and the Redskins, however, is the Bears had the pieces to make that Super Bowl run, which the Redskins do not, so the Redskins hang onto Dwayne Haskins for at least one more year and draft an absolute stud in the form of a 6’5 athletic freak.
Round 1, Pick 3: *Trade Alert* The Detroit Lions trade the third overall pick to the Miami Dolphins, who select Justin Herbert, Quarterback out of Oregon. This is where the craziness begins. First, I’ll address the elephant in the room, the Miami Dolphins were tanking for Tua, not Herbert, but here we are, on draft day, with Roger Goodell announcing the Oregon products name. The reasoning being, in the midst of rumors flying around that Tua’s stock is falling because he’s “the product of a system” and the fact that the Corona Virus is preventing teams from checking on Tua’s medical condition. Plus, in the offseason, while Tua’s been rehabbing, Herbert has put on a show at the Senior Bowl game and at the combine. Not to mention that Herbert is an excellent leader, has an absolute cannon for an arm, and his potential is insanely high. The Dolphins will be getting a superstar with this pick, and Herbert is getting a coach that managed to squeak out a few wins with almost no talent on the roster, a revitalized team that will contend in short time, and a seasoned veteran for a mentor in Ryan Fitzpatrick. There may be some boos on draft night, but the moment Herbert hits the field in Miami, the fans should see some promise.
Round 1, Pick 4: *Trade Alert* The New York Giants trade the fourth overall pick to the Los Angeles Chargers, who select Tua Tagovailoa, Quarterback out of Alabama. Here’s where I may have gotten a little too creative. It’s pretty well know that the Chargers are going to go after whoever the Dolphins pass on, but after the Dolphins shock NFL fans, the Giants are going to be receiving a lot of calls. The issue is, they still want to get their guy, Isaiah Simmons. They know that the Lions won’t be taking him, but they also know that the Lions will be willing to trade back more to someone who will take Simmons. So, the Giants find themselves making a trade on draft night with the Chargers, but not until they know that they can get the fifth pick from the Lions. The Chargers are going to have to be aggressive to grab a quarterback because they aren’t the only ones looking. It would be no surprise if the Jaguars or Raiders give the Giants a call, and nobody know what’s going on inside Bill Belichick’s head. At the end of the day, the Chargers are in win now mode with Austin Ekeler, Keenan allen, Hunter Henry, and a respectable defense, and now’s the time to do what they couldn’t do with Phillip Rivers, win a Super Bowl. And man oh man they lucked out on the Dolphins taking Herbert because Tua is a better option for a team that’s looking to win now. It won’t be an easy division for the Alabama product to play in, after all, playing last year’s Super Bowl winning team and my darkhorse for next year, the Denver Broncos, but don’t count him out. Don’t forget that he managed to win the National Championship as a freshman.
Round 1, Pick 5: *Trade Alert* The Detroit Lions trade the fifth overall pick, originally held by the Miami Dolphins, to the New York Giants, who select Isaiah Simmons, Linebacker out of Clemson. I have a few things to say about this. First off, yes this is two draft day trades for both New York and Detroit. I don’t think the Giants would be willing to make the first trade without knowing this second trade would work out. And I am especially certain of that fact since Gettleman has never traded in the first round of the draft. Secondly, while this may be stressful for the fans and the members of each organization, if this were to happen then both teams will be tremendously applauded for what they have done. Even though the Giants have to trade up here, at the end of the night, they end with a net gain of picks and get their guy in Isaiah Simmons. And as for the Lions, they don’t just get one of the best players in the draft (see next pick), they acquire an abundance of picks that will be sure to turn around their underwhelming team. Now, about this pick. Calling Isaiah Simmons a linebacker isn’t fair because he’s so much more. This man managed to run in stride with Clemson’s RUNNING BACK, Travis Etienne, one of the nation’s most explosive playmakers. He is an absolute freak of nature who, paired with Jabrill Peppers, will give the Giants one of the most versatile defenses that the NFL has ever seen. The average linebacker at the NFL combine ran a 4.71, Simmons, one of only two linebackers to run under a 4.4, rand a 4.39. At 6’3 5/8!!! And if you’re wondering just how versatile, in 2019 he lined up as a safety for 218 snaps, a slot corner for 286 snaps, an oustide linebacker for 160 snaps, an inside linebacker for 120 snaps, and an outside corner for 17 snaps. And he did not embarrass himself. Don’t believe me? Check his stats. 104 tackles. 16.5 tackles for a loss. 8.0 sacks. 3 interceptions. 8 passes deflected. 2 forced fumbles. These are stats that should make Giants fans drool and should fix up the hole in the center of the giants defense. And it won’t just solve the linebacker issue, if Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams reach their full potential, the Giants will fulfill the big three rule. This rule was created by Richard Dent, who said that a team needs not one, not two, but three elite defenders in the front seven. This will mean that opposing offenses simply won’t have enough blockers to stop the pass rush and will often end in drive-killing sacks. And if you don’t trust him, watch Super Bowl 20 in which he was Super Bowl MVP and the Bears got 7 sacks for 61 yards and held the Patriots to 0.6 yards per carry. That’s right, 0.6.
Round 1, Pick 6: *Trade Alert* The New York Giants trade the sixth overall pick to the Detroit Lions who select Jeff Okudah, cornerback out of the Ohio State University. The Lions pull off two trades, get their guy who is the best cornerback prospect of the past few years, and pull in a haul of draft picks. Kudos to their front office, because these trades could turn their sub-par franchise around. The second buckeye off the board and possibly the second best player in the draft is sent out to Detroit with a hefty paycheck. We already went over the Giants and Lions motives to trade in the picks above, so let’s just jump to the chase. Jeff Okudah is a lockdown corner. It’s as simple as that. Few receivers will get by him and the second a quarterback gets sloppy, he’ll make them regret it. He’ll have his fair share of interceptions as long as Trubisky’s in the NFC North so don’t worry about him. And though a cornerback may be a tough position to build around, Okudah may be a rare exception.
Round 1, Pick 7: The Carolina Panthers select Javon Kinlaw, Defensive Lineman out of South Carolina. Finally. After 4 straight picks with trades, a team picks a player with their original pick. It would’ve been nice if they got to leapfrog the Giants and steal away Simmons, but this’ll do. Kinlaw is a beast against the run and is far from incompetent in pass rush. He’ll be a new defensive anchor to build around with Kuechly gone. He may come as a shocker to some, as it’s been seeming like Derrick Brown is the number one defensive linemen, however, rumors have been circulating around the scouting community that Brown is loved more by the media than by scouts.
Round 1, Pick 8: The Arizona Cardinals select Tristan Wirfs, Offensive Tackle out of Iowa. Before the offseason this pick was pretty much either receiver or offensive line, but with Hopkins on the team, it’s safe to say that the Cardinals are going to take an offensive lineman. Kyler is very promising, but being a mobile quarterback under 6’0 in an air raid makes you as susceptible to injuries as you could possibly get, so he’ll need all the protection he can get. And believe me, this pick will not be enough, as the Arizona O-Line is filled with holes. At this point, guessing which offensive tackle will go first is a shot in the dark, however, I believe Wirfs is a strong match for Arizona. Drafting O-Line is far from a lock of a successful pick as college blocking schemes are very different from NFL blocking schemes, however, Wirfs’ skill set combined with his intelligence would be a safe pick for protecting Kyler.
Round 1, Pick 9: *Trade Alert* The Jacksonville Jaguars trade the ninth overall pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who select Jedrick Wills, Offensive Tackle out of Alabama. Once again, I’d like to say I’m taking a shot in the dark with which offensive linemen get taken first between Becton, Willis, and Wirfs, but I believe Willis is the safest pick. He has been an anchor to protect Tua and pave the way for the abundance of productive running backs who played in Tuscaloosa these past few years. The Buccaneers go aggressive to protect Tom Brady. This is an important move for Tampa as they are in win now mode. I’m not sure that there could be any more of an indication of win now mode than signing a G.O.A.T. over 40 years old. Brady’s managed to play at such a high level for this long by having a strong offensive line year in and year out, and this year, when he finally has receivers who threaten being as good as the 2007 Pats receiving core, he has a weak offensive line unit. Grabbing Willis will give Brady a chance to prove he’s not just a product of Belichick’s system.
Round 1, Pick 10: The Cleveland Browns select Mekhi Becton, Offensive Tackle out of Louisville. What should your takeaways be of this pick? Maybe that there have been three offensive linemen in a row? Yup. How about that the Jets didn’t have a chance to select one of the top three offensive linemen? Another interesting surprise. How about why did both of those things happen? Well, the answer is quite simple, this is a strong offensive line class with a drop off at third, so once one gets taken off the board, other teams get antsy and don’t want to miss out on the top end talent. Especially at such a crucial position that isn’t especially strong league-wide. All good points. So why do the Browns decide to grab Becton? Aside from talent and the schematic fit, the Browns are under pressure. They have one of the most talented rosters and didn’t even manage to make the playoffs. Their 2019 season was an insult to the word disappointing. After years of putting their fans in misery after trying to build around an offensive tackle (Joe Thomas), they have the talent, so where’s the tackle. If Becton lives up to the hype, Head Coach Kevin Stefanski is legit, and the players put in the work this offseason, the Browns will show the league that the Ravens aren’t the only AFC North team to fear. Becton operated in a college scheme that was run heavy and relied on play action which will match well to Baker, Chubb, and Hunt’s skill set. If Becton plays close to as well as he was in college, this Browns offense may live up to the hype this year.
Round 1, Pick 11: The New York Jets select CeeDee Lamb, Wide Receiver out of Oklahoma. By all means, the Jets have the assets to move up and grab an offensive linemen, but CeeDee Lamb is high up their board and I think they’d be just fine letting him fall into their lap. Plus, with offensive line having such streaky history of panning out, CeeDee Lamb would look good for Adam Gase and co. if he finds himself on the hot seat next year. Not to mention the lack of receiving talent for the Jets.
Round 1, Pick 12: The Las Vegas Raiders select Jerry Jeudy, Wide Receiver out of Alabama. The Derek Carr-John Gruden relationship seemed doomed from the start, but here Carr is again, getting bailed out by lackluster QB talent. This should not be taken as an insult to Jordan Love because he has the talent to be a truly special player, but for that to happen, he’s going to need at least a year on the bench with a seasoned veteran as a mentor. Derek Carr does not seem like he will be receptive to that and taking Love seems to have the potential to blow up the team. So, the Raiders snag a truly special wide receiver, who is one of the most talented players in the draft. Maybe next year they’ll grab their QB of the future.
Round 1, Pick 13: *Trade Alert* The San Francisco 49ers trade the 13th overall pick, originally held by Indianapolis to the Green Bay Packers, who select Jordan Love, Quarterback out of Utah State. It’s time. The 49ers are too talented to pick this high and Aaron Rodgers is slowly getting worse. The Packers can’t believe it. Love slipped this far. It won’t be cheap to trade up here, but they know it’s time for them to go aggressive and get Rodger’s successor. After his injured season, Aaron Rodgers hasn’t come back the same, regardless, he still has a few years left in the tank, and during that time the Packers will groom his successor. After winning the division in his first year, Matt Lafleur’s job is safe and he doesn’t need to worry about losing his job. The Packers will have the opportunity to do the same thing they did with Rodgers, let him sit for a while against an all star quarterback. And believe me, if done right, fifteen years from now, we will all be sitting at home, watching Jordan Love and questioning how the Packers managed to have Favre then Aaron Rodgers then Jordan Love. And as for Jordan Love, this should be a dream come true. He gets to learn behind arguably the most talented quarterback of all time, and a coach nicknamed the “quarterback whisperer” who coached RGIII in his rookie season and Matt Ryan. Not only that, his talents line up with Rodgers as athletic quarterbacks with strong arms, and he doesn’t even have to spend hours waiting in the green room! Believe me, once this kid gets better at making reads, he will be a name to fear in the NFL. Above any other pick on draft night, this would be the match made in heaven. As long as Rodgers decides to be receptive to his role as a mentor, which is not a guarantee, this will be great. Trading up here, they could grab Ruggs to give Rodgers some more options, but this class is so talented it makes just as much sense to wait and grab a solid player in the later rounds. Plus, few teams can afford to draft a player who won’t see the field for years, but the Packers team is unfairly talented. Personally, as a Bears fan, I would absolutely hate to see this happen.
Round 1, Pick 14: *Trade Alert* The Tampa Bay Buccaneers trade the 14th overall pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars, who select Derrick Brown, Defensive Linemen out of Alabama. Holy cow the Jaguars defense fell apart. A few years ago looking at their roster, you could see defensive line, linebackers, and secondary all dominant. So now, without any quarterback options to jump start their offense, it’s time to rebuild the D and Derrick Brown can make the greatest impact for them. Another player they could grab would be Henry Ruggs to give the offense some speed, but I think it makes sense to build up the defense first. Yet another possibility would be getting elite run bocker, Andrew Thomas, but yet again, I think it makes more sense to build up the defense first. This mock scenario just might set a record for most trade in the first round, but that’s what you get with this talented of a class.
Round 1, Pick 15: The Denver Broncos select Henry Ruggs, Wide Receiver out of Alabama. It hasn’t been a well kept secret that the Broncos love Ruggs. And his speed will bail out Lock while he still gains experience in the NFL. There isn’t much to say about this pick other than how talented Ruggs is, and how much he could change the Broncos offense. Drew Lock, Melvin Gordon, Courtland Sutton, and Henry Ruggs would make an incredibly talented offense that will strike fear into opposing defenses.
Round 1, Pick 16: The Atlanta Falcons select CJ Henderson, Cornerback out of Florida. The combine standout corner managed to slip down to the Falcons and they couldn’t be happier. After getting rid of Desmond Trufant, they manage to replace him with a high potential lockdown corner who could make an impact on day one. This pick would be an absolute A+ for them, not only because of need, but also talent
Round 1, Pick 17: The Dallas Cowboys select Justin Jefferson, Wide Receiver out of LSU. The Cowboys could go a couple directions with this pick. They could draft a cornerback, strengthen their offensive line with the retirement of Travis Frederick, but instead, I’ve mocked a wide receiver to them for a few reasons. One being the obvious talent in Justin Jefferson being greater than the remaining cornerbacks, now that CJ Henderson has been taken. Also, looking at the tendencies of Head Coach Mike McCarthy, he has consistently prioritized offense over defense. And before I get into my last reason, I would like to say one thing; Dak is not given enough credit. Granted he’s been given all the pieces for success that one could dream of, but calling him a bad quarterback is unfair as he has been serviceable to the Cowboys. The only person to be blamed for the shortcomings of the Cowboys in recent years is Jason Garret. That being said, he is still not elite and could really use a second, reliable option to bail him out.
Round 1, Pick 18: *Trade Alert* The Miami Dolphins trade the eighteenth overall pick, originally held by the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Philadelphia Eagles, who select Denzel Mims, Wide Receiver out of Baylor. The Cowboys beat their division rivals to getting Justin Jefferson, and now the Eagles are under pressure, and knowing they can’t come out of the first round without getting a receiver, they grab Denzel Mims. It’s not who they hoped they would get, but regardless, it’s a good pick.
Round 1, Pick 19: The Las Vegas Raiders use their nineteenth overall selection, originally held by the Chicago Bears to select Trevon Diggs, cornerback out of Alabama. After an underwhelming defensive season in 2018, the Raiders managed to recover from the lack of pass rush with the departure of Khalil Mack. Diggs will buy some time for the pass rushers to get to the quarterback, and Diggs will benefit from the front sevens pressure and turn the QB pressures into turnovers. He will be a huge addition for the improving defense.
Round 1, Pick 20: The Jacksonville Jaguars use their twentieth overall select ion, originally held by the Los Angeles Rams to select K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE out of LSU. It’s ridiculous how much the Jaguars defense has fallen apart. This team is far from a contender, but they have to do whatever they can to build a respectable defense, and Chaisson is the best available for them right now. Remember that rule of three we talked about with the Giants pick? If they could build that using their two first round selections, they will be on their way towards a successful rebuild.
Round 1, Pick 21: *Trade Alert* The Philadelphia Eagles trade the twenty-first overall pick to the Miami Dolphins, who select Andrew Thomas, Offensive Tackle out of Georgia. Dolphins fans should be taking a sigh of relief. The team is finally addressing their disaster of an O-Line. And while Thomas is a flawed pass blocker, he has room to grow and is a stellar run blocker. If the Dolphins recent offensive line signings pan out, this could be a solid unit to protect third overall selection, Justin Herbert. Plus, managing to get this guy after trading back is a laudable accomplishment on its own and will do numbers for the rebuild, especially considering the Dolphins moved up for Herbert.
Round 1, Pick 22: The Minnesota Vikings use their twenty-second overall selection, originally held by the Buffalo Bills, to select Lloyd Cushenberry, Offensive Guard out of LSU. At this point in the draft, no receivers are worth the twenty second overall pick considering the depth of this class, so instead the Vikes bolster their very frail O-Line. Hopefully this will allow Cook to play all 16 games and maybe even let Kirk Cousins win a Monday Night Game.
Round 1, Pick 23: The New England Patriots select Yetur Gross Matos, Edge out of Penn State. The Pats lost Kyle Van Noy and need to replace that hole. As long as their pass rush is strong, Stephen Gilmore and his fellow members of New England’s secondary will hold their own. If the Pats manage to miraculously find a talented Quarterback – like they did with Brady – like they did with Garoppollo – like they did with Brisset – this defense is more than capable for a Super Bowl run.
Round 1, Pick 24: The New Orleans Saints select Cesar Ruiz, center out of Michigan. As adamant as the Saints are about trusting Taysom Hill, Brees needs to be protected. And especially when Hill’s time comes, a running QB absolutely needs strong protection.
Round 1, Pick 25: The Minnesota Vikings select Kenneth Murray, linebacker out of Oklahoma. The NFC North’s defenses are downright dominant and with Chicago’s stellar front seven led by Khalil Mack and Green Bay’s elite defense with Jaire Alexander picking off QB’s left and right, the Vikings excellent defense is lagging behind. Murray is a heat seeking missile and is the best available at this pick. Heck he was best available at pick 17 and he’s still on the board. Middle Linebacker may not be the Vikings biggest need, but defense wins championships and this defense may not make it to the playoffs until it comes closer to Chicago’s and Green Bay’s.
Round 1, Pick 26: The Miami Dolphins use the twenty-sixth overall selection, originally held by the Houston Texans, to select D’Andre Swift, running back out of Georgia. Remember Andrew Thomas? The elite run blocker who the Dolphins picked a few picks earlier. This is the guy who benefitted from him. Though he by no means needed him. This guy has tremendous vision, is an incredible athlete, and — just look at his last name, that describes what he looks like on the field. A running backs relationship with O-Line is important and Swift should hit the ground running in Miami and have Jordan Howard by his side as a complement. And while drafting three offensive players in the first round may be risky, the Dolphins stocked up on D this offseason and could use some explosiveness in their offense which is already riddled with holes. The Dolphins have the opportunity to do what the Raiders tried last year, but for the Dolphins, they were blessed with an elite draft class and productive offseason, contrary to the Raiders. The Dolphins probably could have traded back and grabbed Swift, but at this point in the Dolphins rebuild, you do not want to bank on probably.
Round 1, Pick 27: The Seattle Seahawks select Josh Jones, Offensive Tackle out of Houston. The Seahawks O-Line is downright bad so this is a must to address come April. Jones is already used to blocking for a mobile Quarterback, D’Eriq King, and he should fit seamlessly into the Seahawks blocking scheme.
Round 1, Pick 28: The Baltimore Ravens select Brandon Aiyuck, Wide Receiver out of Arizona State. We all heard Lamar shut down the haters saying, “Not bad for a runningback,” but regardless, he is not a perfect passer and he’ll need a little more help than Marquise Brown and Willie Snead IV on the outside. Aiyuck was a guy who’s stock skyrocketed after the season ended, but has now begun to fall because of Corona Virus preventing teams from examining him up close. One thing is for certain, this guy is talented and can be a gamechanger in the NFL.
Round 1, Pick 29: The Tennessee Titans select Jeff Gladney, cornerback out of TCU. Derrick Henry and Ryan Tannehill make up a great Titans offense, but with the departure of Logan Ryan, the defense has a hole that they hope to fill with Jeff Gladney. Gladney exhibited speed, great instincts, and coverage skills that should make him a formidable replacement for Logan Ryan.
Round 1, Pick 30: *Trade Alert* The Green Bay Packers trade the 30th overall pick to the San Francisco 49ers, who select Bryce Hall, cornerback out of UVA. With virtually zero holes in their team, the 9ers find themselves in a similar situation to the Eagles in the 2018 class, however, after trading down 17 picks, it might be nice to stock up on some talent as we’ve all seen the Eagles fall apart. Hall will be the perfect complement to Richard Sherman. Like Sherman, he’s tall, well built, and an absolute ball-hawk. He fits perfectly into their zone-coverage defensive scheme and should be serviceable from day one.
Round 1, Pick 31: *Trade Alert* The San Francisco 49ers trade their 31st overall selection to the Dallas Cowboys, who select AJ Terrell, cornerback out Clemson. The Cowboys passed up on a corner with their own first round selection, but with all these corners being taken off the board, Jerry Jones and co. know they can’t miss out. Terrell had a very successful career at Clemson and should do very well in the NFL.
Round 1, Pick 32:The Kansas City Chiefs select AJ Epenesa, Defensive End out of Iowa. If somebody told me Epenesa would be going this late a few months ago, I would have called them crazy. But after a poor showing at the combine his stock really dropped. Regardless of that fact, the Chiefs choose to focus on his production at Iowa that not only led to sacks but led to pressures forcing turnovers. He should be a key piece in the Chiefs defense for the next few years.