Pickard’s Mock Draft 1.0: NFL Combine Solidifies Prospects’ Statuses

Pickard’s Mock Draft 1.0: NFL Combine Solidifies Prospects’ Statuses

by March 10, 2020 0 comments

The NFL Scouting Combine has passed and the opening week of free agency is almost here. Not long after free agency kicks off, the football community will be immersed in draft hype and the stocks of players rising and falling. Before free agency, we take a quick look at one potential way the 2020 NFL Draft could go down.

Note: this mock will not include trades. Trades will be featured in the mock drafts released closer to draft day.

1. Cincinnati Bengals select Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

This one is a no-brainer. Burrow is a college standout with an extreme level of intelligence that is hard to come across in football. Burrow has mastered the art of reading opposing defenses before plays begin and efficiently adjusting the strategy. Burrow to Cincy is a lock.

2. Washington Redskins select Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State

This one is not as much of a guarantee as Burrow to the Bengals but still seems likely. Young has a great build and is a terrific pass-rusher who makes every play seem like a talent show. Young can be a franchise pass-rusher and he should find his way to D.C.

3. Detroit Lions select Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State

Okudah’s name has not garnered as much attention as Young and the quarterbacks, but he is arguably the greatest player in this draft despite being projected to fall to No. 3. A beast in man coverage, his zone work could use some improvement but his ability to stay on a man makes him a promising future star.

4. New York Giants select Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama

Wills is easily the best offensive lineman in this draft and he owns otherwordly blocking abilities that will make you want to watch his highlight reels all day long. He is a tough, rowdy beast with smooth, quiet feet. His main weakness is that he gets handed false start penalties at an unideal rate. Other than that … wow.

5. Miami Dolphins select Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

This is the portion of the draft where the uncertainty appears. Tagovailoa could slide further due to his injury uncertainty, but he also has many dominant traits, such as his mobility, ability to stay calm under pressure, and football IQ. If the Dolphins take a QB here, Tagovailoa is the right choice.

6. Los Angeles Chargers select Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

Herbert is patient and calm under pressure with the ability to tuck it and run if necessary, although one weakness of his is relying on running when his primary receiver isn’t open. Still, the Chargers don’t have a quarterback and Herbert, who could make an immediate impact, is a good fit.

7. Carolina Panthers select Derrick Brown, IDL, Auburn

Brown is an explosive and powerful lineman who can sneak through gaps in an offensive line with precision and speed. While he occasionally struggles to stay in control of his body, for the most part, he is a force to be reckoned with as he focuses on powering through opposing linemen.

8. Arizona Cardinals select Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

Jeudy will be the first receiver to go and the Cardinals have a vacancy at wideout. Jeudy is fast and explosive with the ability to make quick cuts and leave opposing defenders in the dust. His hands could use improvement but overall, he has the skillset to be a future Pro Bowler in a system that needs that breakout star.

9. Jacksonville Jaguars select Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson

Simmons is 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds but still managed to run a 4.38 40-yard dash. His massive wingspan and high football IQ make him a beast on defense as he tackles opponents and thwarts plays. His coverage is not as good as his tackling skills, but he would still slot in nicely with a Jacksonville defense that is getting a makeover.

10. Cleveland Browns select Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville

This kid is a beast. At 6-foot-7 and 135 pounds, he ran a 5.1 40-yard dash and has both the power and elusiveness as well as the strong football IQ needed to succeed on an NFL offensive line. There’s not much to dislike about Becton, and he could benefit a Browns team that needs to give Baker Mayfield as much time as possible in the backfield.

11. New York Jets select CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

With a guy like Lamb, his lack of speed isn’t worthy of concern because what he lacks in speed, he makes up for with hands, IQ, and overall athleticism. The Oklahoma product would take away the pain of losing Robby Anderson and bring promise to a Jets offense that lacks a star with explosiveness at the wide receiver position.

12. Las Vegas Raiders select Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

Speed isn’t always the best way to judge a receiver, but Ruggs isn’t your average wideout. Ruggs is willing to put his body on the line to make a catch in traffic. He’s a versatile pass-catcher who can serve as a deep threat who can move a team into scoring position or a short threat who can move the chains and pick up extra yardage. Vegas is ready to make a splash.

13. Indianapolis Colts select Javon Kinlaw, IDL, South Carolina

It was tempting to give the Colts a quarterback or receiver here, but they will likely solidify their defense with someone like Kinlaw, A.J. Epenesa, or K’Lavon Chaisson. Kinlaw has speed that just doesn’t seem humanly possible for such a big guy, mixed with elusiveness, and he would fit nicely with the Colts.

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa

There is so much uncertainty regarding the Buccaneers so they get pegged with the best player available. Wirfs has great power, balance, athleticism, and quick feet but could improve his overall strength. Nonetheless, he would be great in front of whoever Tampa Bay employs at quarterback next year.

15. Denver Broncos select Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia

Thomas deserves to be ranked higher but it seems likely that he will slide to the middle of the round. With quick feet, a high IQ, excellent power, and fabulous balance, there aren’t many negatives with the Georgia product. He’d be a great fit in Denver, where he could protect Drew Lock.

16. Atlanta Falcons select A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa

Epenesa has great physical traits as he is strong and powerful and can shred through opponents. He also has weaknesses, though, as he struggles to stay balanced and his footwork is not the best. However, he’s the best EDGE behind Chase Young and should find himself being selected in the middle of the first round.

17. Dallas Cowboys select Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU

Fulton is a beast in man coverage and has proven he can dominate against opposing receivers who try to test him. He doesn’t allow much separation but does have trouble defending the run. He’s still a great weapon and Dallas seems like a perfect fit.

18. Miami Dolphins select K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU

If it weren’t for his ACL injury in 2018, Chaisson could be a top-three pick. However, the injury set him back in the football growth department and could improve his vision and strength. Still, he has a great build with mighty footwork and should be a threat once he gets acclimated to NFL life.

19. Las Vegas Raiders select C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida

Despite being cornerback, Henderson has shown promise in a utility type of role where he can cover a receiver or be a decoy as a blitzer, a role in which he has succeeded. His worst trait is his tendency to be man-handled, but that can be fixed. Henderson seems like a good fit in Vegas’s defense.

20. Jacksonville Jaguars select Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama

McKinney is a young safety with great football IQ, and he could be the leader in a Jaguars defense that is being rebuilt. He has areas that need to be improved, such as his man coverage and his overall ability to not be beaten, but everyone has their flaws.

21. Philadelphia Eagles select Laviska Shenault, Jr., WR, Colorado

Shenault is a big-bodied wideout with immense strength and power. He has struggled with deep passes, but that seems to be more on the quarterback. Shenault should see drastic success in an NFL system that needs a dominant receiver.

22. Buffalo Bills select Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State

Gross-Matos doesn’t have a great football IQ, but he makes up for that with his strength, power, and ability to shred through opposing offensive lines. The Bills need to spend this offseason adding to a defense that is already the best in the league, and they can do that with Gross-Matos.

23. New England Patriots select Grant Delpit, S, LSU

Delpit, who was once projected to be a No. 1 pick, has immensely fallen down the rankings. That’s good for the Patriots, though, as Bill Belichick must be trusted to find Delpit’s talent and expose his skill again.

24. New Orleans Saints select Patrick Queen, LB, LSU

Queen is a linebacker with speedy legs and a fast brain that come together to create a formidable defender. He does lack strength but that is not too concerning. The LSU product could quite possibly find himself continuing his football career in Louisiana come April.

25. Minnesota Vikings select Josh Jones, OT, Houston

Jones is a big-bodied lineman with great awareness. His ability to see the whole field and act one step ahead of opponents could be the best out of all linemen in this draft. His footwork and ability to extend are concerning, but he’s the best lineman still available and the Vikings will likely take a chance with Jones.

26. Miami Dolphins select D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia

It’s tough to tell what the Dolphins will do here having already made two selections, so they likely take the biggest playmaker on the board in Swift. He is extremely explosive and owns fabulous running traits. His two biggest weaknesses are that he is injury-prone and a mediocre pass-catcher, at best. Still, he’d be a good fit for the rebuilding Dolphins.

27. Seattle Seahawks select Neville Gallimore, IDL, Oklahoma

Gallimore has passion and may be one of the hardest workers in the draft. He struggles to hold his own ground but he makes up for that with his surprising ability to escape through gaps. This could be a risky pick, but Seattle is a great fit.

28. Baltimore Ravens select Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma

Murray is a relentless linebacker who has speed and athleticism. This translates to one amazing show on the field. His football IQ could be improved, but quite frankly, he doesn’t have many weaknesses. Murray could fall to No. 28 and land on the Ravens’ lap.

29. Tennessee Titans select Terrell Lewis, EDGE, Alabama

Lewis has a great wingspan and flexibility who wins battles and uses his explosiveness to get to the offensive backfield. He can be sloppy at times, but he has a promising future. He could wreak havoc for years to come in the Tennessee defense.

30. Green Bay Packers select Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

Higgins excelled in the Clemson offense with his ability to fight for the ball on every play. He is a terrific red zone receiver who has solid length. His overall aggressiveness could be improved, but there’s not much lacking with Higgins.

31. San Francisco 49ers select Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State

Arnette is a cornerback with great athleticism and an impressive ability to stop both the passing and running games. His biggest inconsistency is his low interception total. While that could be tough to improve in the NFL, he still has pro-caliber talent and could be a good fit out west in Santa Clara.

32. Kansas City Chiefs select Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU

Gladney is a great cornerback who excels at tackling tight ends and running backs, which isn’t a guarantee with most young cornerbacks. He is also great in coverage, rarely being unable to finish a play. He occasionally panics which in turn causes him to get handsy and be charged with a penalty, but overall, he should be highly-coveted and would be a great fit for the Chiefs.

Andersen is a teenage sports writer and reporter whose articles have appeared across the Sports Illustrated Kids, Prime Time Sports Talk, and SB Nation platforms. He has also received credit from RotoWorld, CBS Sports, ESPN, Bleacher Report, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, The Athletic, SB Nation, NBC Sports, NY Post, and dozens of other sports sites for his reporting work.

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