NFL Drat Mock Draft, Round One, from The Rob Brown Show

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The Rob Brown Show 2020 Mock Draft - The First Round

It's Christmas Day for NFL fans - what will be under your team's tree?

The Rob Brown Show
April 23, 2020 - 11:02 am
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There's one day every year where every fan of every team is excited. There's one day where expectations and hopes are equally high, where fans approach the future with optimism and excitement, previous records and historical trends be damned.

That day, fortunately, is today. And in the midst of a global pandemic forcing the majority of us to remain inside and sheltered, our optimism for the future may be higher than it's ever been before on draft day.

So, will your favorite team draft the next NFL superstar? Or are you on the cusp of a bust that will disappoint you for years to come?

Let's get to it - the first round as it plays out in my eyes!

The only rule: no trades. Although I suspect there will be far more trades than most do, I will not predict them here - meaning my mock draft will be wrong. But, let's have a little fun anyway!

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1.) Cincinnati Bengals

Pick: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

If this pick doesn't go through, the people of Cincy ought to storm the Bengals headquarters with torches and pitchforks. And if anyone else was to trade into this spot (they won't) and pick anyone else (they won't,) then THEIR fans ought to storm THEIR headquarters with torches and pitchforks.

The Ohio native could become the states even-more-chosen son if he can take the Bengals to the next level after decades of ineptitude. The Bengals have done a sneaky good job of amassing talent via a very active free agency, and if Andy Dalton is willing to stay on one more year and serve as mentor to Joe Burrow, the former LSU Tiger might get an even bigger head start. There aren't many lessons I'm concerned Burrow will be unable to learn on his own and most of those are off the field, where Dalton can walk him through the process. There are only a few "can't miss" prospects in this draft, and I firmly believe the quarterback coming off of the best single season in college football history against the toughest single schedule in college football history in the toughest conference in college football overall is one of them.

 

2.) Washington Redskins

Pick: Chase Young, DE, Ohio State

Young, in my opinion, is the most talented player in this draft not named Joe Burrow, and he may very well end up with a better career. In the "skill vs. need" debate, I go player by player. And in this case, the player is so talented I don't care what you need - you have to take him. He'll add to an incredibly talented DL in DC, which already boasts Ryan Kerrigan, Montez Sweat, Jonathan Allen, and Da'Ron Payne. Look at what Nick Bosa has done in San Francisco for all the evidence that you need to see a top tier defensive end can be a franchise player.

 

3.) Detroit Lions

Pick: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State

When Matt Patricia was in New England, he ran with a defense that was built around exceptionally talented cornerbacks - names like Ty Law and Asanta Samuel were the cornerstone of some very talented defenses that helped fill up the fist of The Hoodie with rings. Okudah is the next great CB who will fill that gap. In 2018 the Lions were one of the best pass defenses in the league quietly, but after losing talent and chemistry on defense, that number fell off last year. Patricia will try to fix up that aspect of the game, and turn his attention back to offense later in the draft.

 

4.) New York Giants

Pick: Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama

Wills is a monster, and easily my favorite offensive lineman in this draft. He's as strong as they come and has the ability to turn any defender away from running lanes. But, he's exceptionally balanced, and with a strong leg kick, can set himself up as an exceptional pass blocker to protect Daniel Jones as the G-Men continue to develop him. There's not another OL in this draft as capable of holding down every aspect of the game as Wills.

 

5.) Miami Dolphins

Pick: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

I do not like this pick at all. Tua's entire career has been plagued by injury, despite being behind of the most rough and tumble offensive lines in all of college football. He's just hurt too often to trust as it is, and Miami might have the weakest line in the entire NFL, though I suspect they'll be bulking it up in the rest of the draft if they do indeed go with Tua here. I would rather see them take Justin Herbert later in the first round, and use this pick on Andrew Thomas, the OL from Georgia to protect him, but the pressure is on to build on the incredible momentum Miami found in the second half of the season last year, so the Dolphins must gamble, and if Tua DOES stay healthy, he will be the prize QB of this draft. But a fragile QB behind a terrible offensive line is not a recipe for success in my mind.

 

6.) Los Angeles Chargers

Pick: Andrew Thomas, OL, Georgia

Anthony Lynn seems to believe that Tyrod Taylor is his guy, and has been very bold in his statements to that line. And, if that's true, as he's outwardly expressed repeatedly, then they'll want to keep him clean - and Thomas is the best man for that role at this position.

 

7.) Carolina Panthers

Pick: Isaiah Simmons, LB/S, Clemson

The hometown kid stays in the Carolinas, moving just a few hours up the road to Charlotte. As mentioned, there are only a few can't miss prospects in this draft to me. Burrow and Young are two off the board already, and Simmons is the third. I'm shocked he doesn't go higher than this, but those teams have specific needs addressed by top tier talent. Carolina does too, needing to replace Luke Kuechly, and this is the cat to do it. Plus, with the catatstrophe that was the handling of the Cam Newton situation, Matt Rhule might want to build up some goodwill - and taking a Clemson stud to be a Carolina Panther might help him.

 

8.) Arizona Cardinals

Pick: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa

Wirfs is a versatile lineman that can play inside or outside OL, and after adding Houston's best WR to the mix, Arizona is ready to finally unleash the pass happy offense that Kliff Kingsbury was hired to install. It will be required to give Kyler Murray time to develop plays if that is the case, and Wirfs can help provide that time.

 

9.) Jacksonville Jaguars

Pick: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn

The Jaguars are terribly mismanaged by an owner that I firmly believe is trying to move them to London, and believes angering fans in Duuuuval enough to stop coming to games will be the key to pulling it off. But, even if that's the case, the Jaguars will have to put on the appearance that they are, of course, trying. The Jaguars were already bad against the run, and that was before the departure of Calais Campbell and Marcell Dareus, and the drama between the son of the owner and Yannick Ngakoue that will end in a trade will make it worse. Brown is the best interior lineman in this draft and while he may not have the star power of Chase Young, he will clog holes as well as anyone in this draft can.

 

10.) Cleveland Browns

Pick: Mekhi Becton

Unlike the Jaguars, who (please hold while I put on my tin foil hat) are building a terrible team intentionally, the Browns are just inept. But, with the addition of Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry at the WR spots, and the knowledge that Baker Mayfield has one more run before the Browns have to try ANOTHER another QB, they'll need to do all they can to give him no excuses. By drafting the last top tier OL in the draft, and putting the 6'7", 364 lb. monster in front of Mayfield, the Browns remove one more excuse for a lack of success. Becton is as nimble as a dancer and can block in any scheme the Browns attempt to run with two exceptionally talented wide receivers and a decently stacked backfield.

 

11.) New York Jets

Pick: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

The Jats want an OL, but the only ones remaining on the board are low first round picks. I suspect the Jets will trade down from this spot and stockpile some mid-round picks here, but, Lamb is the best overall WR in this draft, and he might be tempting to put alongside Sam Darnold, who the Jets believe in. This is a big time red zone target who can elevate above most DB's, catch nearly anything thrown within the suburbs of the Meadowlands. 

 

12.) Las Vegas Raiders

Pick: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

Another trade down opportunity is here for anyone looking to jump up and take involve themselves in the WR run I suspect is about to happen, but then again, Jeudy is the most balanced WR in the draft, and I don't think Chucky will be able to skip out on him. Jeudy is one of the best route runners to enter the draft in recent years, and does so with a sub 4.4 set of legs under him.He reminds me of Michael Thomas, but with greater top end speed, and the Raiders need a top target. He can be that.

 

13.) San Francisco 49ers

Pick: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

The WR run continues here with Jimmy G getting a new toy for his offense. The 'Niners lost Emmanuel Sanders to New Orleans and must replace his productivity if they want even a shot at another run deep in the playoffs. Ruggs is the fastest player on an Alabama team that was stocked to the brim with talent on the perimeter, and is a threat on every route he runs, even if they're not as crisp as Jeudy. Adding him to the breakout star that is Deebo Samuel creates one of the most dynamic tandems in the game, before they even strap on the lids.

 

14.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Pick: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina

Tom Brady. Gronk. One of the best WR tandems in the game. A steady run. The Bucs are going to be capable of scoring points in bunches - but so are the other top two teams in the NFC South. To try and prevent Brees/Brady or Ryan/Brady shootouts, the Bucs will add one of the most impressive inside rushers in the game. Kinlaw provides a disruptive force in the middle and will limit the ability of teams to utilize the run if the Bucs go into the nickel/dime formation in a pass happy division. I would take a DB here, but Kinlaw is too talented to pass on.

 

15.) Denver Broncos

Pick: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU

The last of the guaranteed day one WR's, Jefferson is a versatile weapon who's showed he's not afraid to cross the middle when needed. The Broncos have a breakout star in Courtland Sutton and a dependable TE in Noah fant, and have added Melvin Gordon to play alongside Phillip Lindsay. If they want to round out a star studded cast for Drew Lock, you might as well take the last guy who can score from anywhere on the field.

 

16.) Atlanta Falcons

Pick: K'Laivon Chaisson, OLB, LSU

It has been made very clear that Atlanta is willing to move way up or way down in this draft depending on who they're targeting, but they've given no clues as to which direction is more likely. But, if they are to pick here, Chaisson is the only pick that makes sense. Chaisson provides an edge rusher who can hopefully get to Brees and Brady and help slow the deluge of points that is sure to make up the NFC South. (But, again, Atlanta will not pick here, and will instead either trade up for a stud who better fits their needs, or trade down to stock up on second and third day picks.

 

17.) Dallas Cowboys

Pick: CJ Henderson, CB, Florida

Henderson is a true number one CB, and I don't think he'll fall this far when trades get into play. But, this is Dallas's biggest need (as well as center after the surprising retirement of Travis Frederick earlier in the year.) Henderson is a shutdown corner, and I suspect he won't be available at this pick. But if he is, Jerry will be on the phone as if there was money to be made on the other end of it. (Don't be surprised if he ends up with the Jags, Jets, or Raiders before this spot.)

 

18.) Miami Dolphins

Pick: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama

After taking their QB of the future earlier in the first round, it would make sense for the Dolphins to take an offensive lineman or seven before the end of this draft. I suspect the Dolphins will trade down into the back half of the first round (if they can find a partner,) and look for some of the late first round lineman instead. But, if they are stuck here, adding to the DB's will be a must after Bryon Jones left in the offseason. McKinney, an over the field talent, fits the mood.

 

19.) Las Vegas Raiders

Pick: AJ Terrell, CB, Clemson

Eli Apple was supposed to be a Raider but that deal fell through before it could be signed. So the Raiders find themselves still desperately in need of help in the third level. This is the best available player remaining for that purpose, and can be paired with another former Tiger, Tayvon Mullen, developing some chemistry on the back half of the defense that should help.

 

20.) Jacksonville Jaguars

Pick: Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State

This is a bit of reach for me, as he's more of an end of the first day or early second day talent. Jacksonville needs to help Gardner Minshew if they have officially decided he's the guy, and this is the best player remaining at this point who can help him open up the offense. There are a few other teams coming up who covet a WR, so this move is forced upon the Jaguars. Aiyuk is a YAC monster with top end speed who can double as a kick returner, giving some added value to the pick for JAX.

 

21.) Philadelphia Eagles

Pick: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU

The Eagles want a WR, but would have to also reach as the Jaguars did to take Aiyuk. It's also likely a bit too early for Tee Higgins here, forcing the Eagles to address another position of need at LB. This is a good spot for Philly to trade back, but Queen is a versatile player who can provide lateral coverage across the entire field, and fill a position the Eagles lack depth at.

 

22.) Minnesota Vikings

Pick: Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah

This is another reach for me, as Johnson appears to be an early second round guy. But this is where we reach the "needs over skill" portion of the draft, as most of the teams in the bottom half of the draft are closer to success. The Vikings have lost three of their top players across the defensive backfield and are desperate to replenish it, which makes them a potential trade partner for many, many teams towards the top of the first round - and I suspect they will move up. But, if they do not, Johnson is the best DB remaining and his selection may force a few other teams in need of a DB to draft players early as well. 

 

23.) New England Patriots

Pick: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

After Tua comes off the board, competition for Herbert, who is not considered as much of a guaranteed success, will not be fierce. There may be some teams interested, but most of the teams in this range already have their man under center. It has been said by many that Herbert would be perfect under The Hoodie's mentorship, and with a year to grow, Herbert could be the heir to the Brady throne in the long run. However, the Chargers could surprise everyone and snag him at #6, and rewrite the draft. 

 

24.) New Orleans Saints

Pick: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

The Saints and Tampa Bay are in an arms race this offseason, and will be running races to 50 points throughout the year. If Patrick Queen, who is coveted by the Saints, is taken before, then the Saints will not be upset to go with an offensive player. Adding Higgins to an already loaded offense that includes Michael Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Jared Cook, and Alvin Kamara will give Brees a third WR option with exceptional interior route running ablity. The rich get richer.

 

25.) Minnesota Vikings

Pick: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama

After upsetting the Saints in the wildcard round the Vikings feel that they are very close. In order to ensure their defense can run with an improving set of offenses in the NFC, the Vikings add to their depleted defensive backfield with a big, nasty shudown corner. The only question? Diggs is the younger brother of Stefon, who of course, had a relationship that fell apart with the Vikings before being shipped out. Will Trevon hold this against the Vikings, or can they move past it for mutual success?

 

26.) Miami Dolphins

Pick: Joshua Jones, OT, Houston

With three picks in the first round, Miami does have options, but no position is more important then OL at this stage, to keep their new franchise player clean. This is another bit of a reach for me, but Jones is the best OL remaining, and Miami needs no position worse than this. I don't see many teams looking to trade into this range, so trading back may not be a possibility for the 'Fins here. 

 

27.) Seattle Seahawks

Pick: Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State

This is a value pick for Seattle, though I assume they'll trade down and still be able to pick up their replacement for Jadeveon Clowney - who they will not resign despite outward statements that it's still on the table. 

 

28.) Baltimore Ravens

Pick: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma

Murray is a long, rangy LB, the kind that the Ravens love. And considering this position is a must draft for the Ravens, this pick makes perfect sense.

 

29.) Tennessee Titans

Pick: Zack Braun, OLB, Wisconsin

Baun has shown to be a top tier run stuffer, and towards the end of the season, began to show growing proficiency against the pass. While the Titans brought in Atlanta stud Vic Beasley to fill the gap after the loss of Cameron Wake, Baun can help ease the pressure if he continues to grow as a pass rusher on the outside as well.

 

30.) Green Bay Packers

Pick: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State

There are questions about just how far Love might fall, and some think he may even be available in the middle of the second round. But, while Green Bay does have needs, life with Aaron Rogers is becoming more and more real to them, and with the ability to sit for a year or two and grow, Love might provide them the heir apparent before it's time to panic. If only Green Bay had experience with how to handle the QB of the future backing a future Hall of Famer in the twilight of his career...

 

31.) San Francisco 49ers

Pick: Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU

DeForest Buckner must be replaced if the 'Niners want to replicate the success of last season. Since SF went offensive early, shoring up the defense isn't an awful idea. The 293 pound monster can demand double teams in the middle of the line, and stuff runs as well as anyone else in this position at the early stages of the draft.

 

32.) Kansas City Chiefs

Pick: Cesar Ruiz, C/G, Michigan

The formula for the defending Super Bowl champions is very simple: if you have the most valuable QB in the game, you protect him. This is a bit of a stretch for Ruiz, who I think is a top or mid second round pick, but he is the best OL available, and if you're the Chiefs, you take every risk you need to take to keep Patric Mahomes happy, and clean.... 

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