Nate's NFL Mock Draft 2.0
1. Cincinnati Bengals - Joe Burrow, QB, LSU - This is pretty much a done deal at this point, even if I don’t agree with it. It is funny how his narrative changed from thinking he could choose his destiny in the draft to saying he would play anywhere after his hands measured in at just nine inches. Nine inch hands are less than desired as that’s below the league average. I’m not a Joe Burrow guy and I’ve been very vocal about that, including my mock draft 1.0. He doesn’t go through a full progression and goes to his first option more often than not. Some of that could be due to the system in LSU, but how does that translate to the NFL? No matter how I think about him, he’s still the consensus first overall selection after having one of, if not the greatest college football season of all time.
Previous Pick: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
2. Washington - Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State - I’m not buying this smoke that Washington is targeting a quarterback with the second overall pick after taking Dwayne Haskins a year ago. The only thing that has me leery is that the Cardinals opted to take Kyler Murray a season ago after taking Josh Rosen tenth overall just a season prior. Haskins is better than Rosen is and you simply can’t pass on the talent of Chase Young. You don’t find that type of talent often. It’s like last year when the 49ers were able to get Nick Bose with the second overall pick, yet better. That’s Young. If anyone can realize how important Young is, it’s new Head Coach Ron Rivera.
Previous Pick: Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
3. Detroit Lions - Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State - Back-to-back Ohio State players going in to the top three. The Lions find themselves in an interesting spot. They could very well trade out of this spot for a quarterback hungry team and still get a player they need. However, without projecting trades in my mocks, the Lions look to replace the inevitable departure of Darius Slay. If it’s not this year, it’ll be next year. I don’t see Slay staying in Detroit in the long term. Anyhow, if by somehow they are to retain him, the combination of Slay and Okudah would be absolutely insane. They could easily assemble one of the league’s best corner duos.
Previous Pick: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
4. New York Giants - Isaiah Simmons, LB/S, Clemson - Simmons may be my favorite player in this entire draft. If you tuned into the NFL Combine or logged into Twitter, you probably saw part of why this man is so intriguing. He’s 6-foot-4 and 238 pounds but has 4.39 speed. That, my friends, is what we call insane. He’s in the 93rd percentile for height, 92nd percentile for vertical (39”), 98th percentile for broad jump (11’) and 98th percentile for the 40-yard-dash. This man is a specimen. The Giants need a defensive playmaker and that’s exactly what Simmons is. He’s versatile and can play pretty much anywhere on the field.
Previous Pick: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
5. Miami Dolphins - Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama - The Dolphins may have to move up to get their guy but as things sit in this mock, he’s there at five. I’m not buying the smoke that Washington or even Detroit could opt to go quarterback. Tua has been linked to Miami for way too long for this to not pan out. Miami is one of the destinations where Phillip Rivers could possibly play but I see him more of Bruce Arians’ type in Tampa than taking over a young team in Miami. It’s time Miami gets their quarterback and look to build around him with their two other first round selections in this same draft.
Previous Pick: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
6. Los Angeles Chargers - Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia - Many people like to mock a quarterback here, and I’m partially guilty of that. However, I still see the Chargers as a free agency destination for a quarterback opposed to them finding one via the draft. On top of that, next year’s draft class is more enticing than this one. Anyhow, whoever is the Chargers’ quarterback, they’ll struggle behind it’s current offense line, just as Phillip Rivers did a year ago. The Chargers recently traded two-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle Russell Okung for five-time Pro Bowl offensive guard Trai Turner. Turner is a former Carolina Panthers’ captain and is under contract for two seasons. Drafting Thomas, who I believe to be the best of the linemen in the draft, will help the Charger build their offensive line from the inside out. Thomas’ footwork is the best of the bunch. That kind of stuff can’t be taught.
Previous Pick: Isaiah Simmons, S/LB, Clemson
7. Carolina Panthers - Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn - If the Panthers are looking to go best player available at this point, they’re going to go with Brown. The team stated that they are going to stick with Cam Newton for at least another season, so you can knock quarterback off their list. They could use an upgrade on their defensive line as both Gerald McCoy and Vernon Butler are free agents. Former head coach Ron Rivera also refused to break away from his 3-4, despite the team’s personnel fitting a 4-3 more. The team’s new defensive coordinator Phil Snow is more flexible and will adapt to what he’s giving. Imagine Brown and Dontari Poe in the middle of a defensive line.
Previous Pick: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
8. Arizona Cardinals - Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville - I’ve seen a plethora of mock drafts, including my Mock Draft 1.0, that has a receiver going to the Cardinals at eight. Let’s not forget that the Cardinals drafted three receivers a year ago (Andy Isabella, Hakeem Butler and KeeSean Johnson) and have a third-year Christian Kirk. Kyler Murray was sacked the third most times of any quarterback in the league a year ago. It’s hard for any quarterback to succeed, especially a young one, if they’re being sacked as much as Murray was in 2019 or being chased from the pocket. Adding weapons is fun and all, but when you don’t have time to get the ball to them, it doesn’t work out. Becton was one of the biggest winners of the NFL’s Combine. He ran a 5.1 40-yard-dash at 6-foot-7 and 364-pounds. He also has 17-percent body fat at that height and weight. That's insane.
Previous Pick: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
9. Jacksonville Jaguars - Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina - The Jacksonville Jaguars love defensive versatility and athleticism. That’s what you’re getting with Kinlaw. He’s 6-foot-6 and 310 pounds of muscle. The Jags have tagged Yannick Ngakoue, keeping him with the team for at least another year. Adding Kinlaw helps return the once scary Jaguars’ defensive line to its former state. The defense has been lacking something for some time and with the team adding Josh Allen via the draft last year to address its pass rush, adding a presence on the interior is a must. Kinlaw can also play any position along the defensive front.
Previous Pick: Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
10. Cleveland Browns - Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa - The Cleveland Browns made a bunch of moves to, on paper, improve their offense last year. We saw how that worked for them. Baker was sacked 40 times last year, good enough for ninth most in the league. The Browns failed to address their offensive line a year ago when improving their offense, heck, they even made it worse. It’s time they address that and give Mayfield a fighting chance in the pocket to get the ball out to the likes of Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. An improved offensive line also helps Nick Chubb drastically, who is one of the best young backs in the league.
Previous Pick: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Alabama
11. New York Jets - Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama - I previously mocked Jerry Jeudy here, but since, I think the team goes the route of offensive line. Jets’ quarterbacks were sacked a combined 51 times last season. That would have been good enough for third most in the league. A new weapon does make sense but so doesn’t protecting Sam Darnold and not allowing him to get sacked 40+ times a season or constantly chased from the pocket. Wills is an extremely athletic tackle. His length isn’t ideal and less than average, but his footwork and extreme athleticism makes up for that in the long run. Don’t worry about it, he’ll be just fine at the next level.
Previous Pick: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
12. Las Vegas Raiders - Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon - There’s no question that the Raiders want to move on from Derek Carr. Now’s the chance to do that. Sitting at 12 they get the chance to find their next franchise quarterback. Justin Herbert is a west coast guy with a cannon for an arm. He also has great athleticism where he ran a 4.68 40-yard-dash at the NFL combine. Jon Gruden has yet to get his guy since taking over the Raiders and this is finally his time to do so. I think he does well with what Herbert can offer, despite me not being a Herbert fan. The Raiders need a new face for the team, especially with their move to Las Vegas. Let’s be honest, Herbert fits that mold.
Previous Pick: Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina
13. Indianapolis Colts - Jordan Love, QB, Utah State - Quarterbacks go back-to-back here in the early teens. There’s no chance Jordan Love makes it past the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts are in the market for a quarterback. They may be a free agency destination, but if they don’t land one, Love would be an ideal fit. Jacoby Brissett is a suitable starter, but he isn’t going to win you much. Love is a game changer. Extreme athleticism with a cannon for an arm. He makes any throw on the field and does the impossible. I like to compare him to Patrick Mahomes. If you know me, you know I’m all over Love.
Previous Pick: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida - I previously mocked A.J. Epensea here, as the Bucs lack much of a pass rushing threat. They also lack much of a defensive threat period. Their biggest weakness is definitely their secondary and they need to do something to address that. Henderson had one heck of a combine, where he ran a 4.39 40-yard-dash. He’s 6-foot-1 and has the length to hang with the best of the league’s receivers. I’m a big Henderson guy and if it wasn’t for the pure dominance of Jeffery Okudah in this draft, Henderson would be the draft’s best, and would be valued much higher. The Bucs would love to bring this guy in.
Previous Pick: A.J. Epensea, DE, Iowa
15. Denver Broncos - Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama - The Broncos need offensive line help in a desperate way, but they’ll take a different route here and look to bolster it’s offense with the 15th overall selection. Sit back and think about this. A receiving core consisting of Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy and Noah Fant. That’s a dream come true for anyone, especially a sophomore quarterback such as Drew Lock, who is set to become the new face of the Denver franchise. CeeDee Lamb and Jeudy are interchangeable by most as the WR1 in this class, but I give the edge to Jeudy. We haven’t seen as fluid of a route runner as Jeudy coming out of college in a long-long time. This move would make John Elway look like a competent general manager.
Previous Pick: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
16. Atlanta Falcons - A.J. Epensea, DE, Iowa - The Falcons are in desperate need of pass rushing help. In comes one of the most underrated players in this draft, A.J. Epensea. He doesn’t get the love he deserves in my opinion, but luckily for the Falcons, he’s available for them to benefit from at 16. He’s the second best pass rusher in the draft to only Chase Young, which is never a bad thing.
Previous Pick: Curtis Weaver, EDGE, Boise State
17. Dallas Cowboys - Grant Delpit, S, LSU - There’s an argument of who is the best safety in the draft between Grant Delpit and Xavier McKinney. I give it to Delpit and he’s exactly what the Cowboys need. Deplit can successfully cover wide receivers, tight ends and running backs at the next level. You don’t find that every day. He’s low key one of the best defensive players in the entire draft but due to his position, won’t be drafted extremely high. Lucky for the Cowboys, he’s in a position of need and fits right into their defense.
Previous Pick: Grant Delpit, S, LSU
18. Miami Dolphins (via Pittsburgh Steelers) - Austin Jackson, OT, USC - Austin Jackson isn’t getting the credit he deserves. I think he’s in the mix with the consensus top four linemen in this draft. Jackson is a great athlete with quick feet and excellent agility for a 6-foot-5 322-pound man. He will rise the draft boards during the draft process, I can promise you that. I projected that the Dolphins would go Tua Tagovailoa with their first of three first round selections. Now they have to protect him. Not only did Tagovailoa suffer a season ending hip injury a year ago, he’s left handed. The Dolphins need to produce a good offensive line for him to succeed and stay healthy.
Previous Pick: Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State
19. Las Vegas Raiders - Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma - The Raiders used the first of two first round picks to get their franchise quarterback. Now, they’ll use their second pick to get their franchise defensive quarterback. The need and value of extremely athletic middle linebackers is greater than ever. Murray fits that mold perfectly. He’s a sideline-to-sideline player with an extremely high motor. He does well in dropping into coverage too. He’s the cream of the crop when it comes to linebackers in this draft and I wouldn't be surprised if he was well gone by 19 come draft day.
Previous Pick: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
20. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Los Angeles Rams) - Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU - The Jaguars moved Jalen Ramsey mid-season to acquire this pick and more recently moved AJ Bouye, leaving a few holes to fill in the secondary. In this mock I have the team going defensive line with their first selection so going for secondary help with the 20th overall selection makes sense. I like Fulton a lot actually. He ran a 4.46 40-yard-dash at the combine and had a fantastic three-cone-drill, which may be even more important for a corner prospect. He allowed just a 40-percent completion rate since 2018 playing in the toughest conference in college football. He’s a fantastic player and would be a welcomed addition in Jacksonville.
Previous Pick: K'Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
21. Philadelphia Eagles - CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma - Many are entranced with this receiver class. It is very good and very deep. I’m in love with Jerry Jeudy due to his fluid route running for a player coming out of college. Others have deemed Lamb a top ten selection. He has the talent to be, don’t get me wrong. On the other hand, taking a receiver in the top ten is a major risk. In the past ten years, 11 receivers have gone in the top ten. Of those 11, four (A.J. Green, Julio Jones, Mike Evans and Amari Cooper) have gone on to be Pro Bowlers. That’s just 36-percent. Lamb does have some special talent and the Eagles are in what we call desperate need for a receiver. The organization and their fans would be riding high if they called Lamb’s name on draft day.
Previous Pick: Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado
22. Buffalo Bills - K'Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU - Chassion is a player with one of the biggest question marks on him going into the draft. He’s extremely athletic and fits the part of an NFL pass rusher, but he’s raw and inexperienced. He’s already missed a season due to a torn ACL and missed games with an ankle injury. The Bills have one of the league’s best defenses, especially in the secondary. What they lack is the ability to get to the quarterback. Chassion would change that. Chaisson is built much like an Aldon Smith. Thick lower body with a long and lengthy upper body. He’s smooth yet aggressive and athletic enough to hit the corner with ease. This could end up being one of those steal picks that we talk about down the road.
Previous Pick: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
23. New England Patriots - Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama - This is not Bill Belichick-esk at all. Heck, last year was the first time in his career that he had ever taken a receiver in the first round. This will also be the first time in forever that he may be without Tom Brady so he has to get a bit more creative. It’s no secret that the Patriots’ weapons are limited, especially the receivers. Yes they have some unproven young guys, but they lack a game changer like Ruggs. Ruggs has world class speed, running a 4.27 40-yard-dash at the combine. If the Patriots want a chance at keeping Brady, adding someone like Ruggs may sweeten the deal. Imagine what Belichick can do with Ruggs in his system.
Previous Pick: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
24. New Orleans Saints - Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU - The Saints take the chance on the instate guy and go Jefferson here. Drew Brees’ days are numbered and the team needs to add as much around him as possible to keep their window open for a chance at a title for as long as possible. Jefferson is a guy who burst onto the scene this year, as he went from no catches in 2018 to an 111 reception, 1,540 yards and 18 TD season in 2019. He also has 4.43 speed. Line this guy up next to Michael Thomas and the opposing defense will have some problems on their hands.
Previous Pick: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
25. Minnesota Vikings - Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama - Imagine the practices between brothers Trevon and Stefon (if he stays.) What a sight that would be. Besides the possibility of brothers being teammates, Diggs is a fantastic cornerback prospect, a position that the Vikings so desperately need to address. He comes into the draft with elite height, weight and most importantly, length for the cornerback position. He can match up with any sized receiver, as his strength allows him to guard even the strongest of opponents. This is the physical type player that the Vikings need to bring back in and help rebuild their once feared defense.
Previous Pick: CJ Anderson, CB, Florida
26. Miami Dolphins (via Houston Texans) - Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State - Part of me wants to project a running back here but I like a lot of the options later in the draft and the Dolphins do have an early second round pick. With that being said, they can go ahead and go best player available since they have a plethora of holes to fill on their roster. They used their first two first round picks in this draft to get their quarterback and an offensive lineman to protect him. Now they’ll go to the other side of the football and get one of the best defensive talents in the draft at 26. Yetur Gross-Metus is what you want when you make an NFL edge rusher in a lab. Long, strong, agile and athletic as they come. The only thing wrong with his game is inexperience. He’ll get there though. What better way to develop then joining the youthful Dolphins where you’ll get every chance in the world to be an impact from day one.
Previous Pick: Tyler Biadasz, OG, Wisconsin
27. Seattle Seahawks - Neville Gallimore, DT, Oklahoma - By the start of the 2020 NFL season, the Seahawks’ defensive line could look completely different due to free agency. They need to get creative to find replacements for next season. It’s impossible to think that they will bring everyone back. Gallimore is extremely explosive off the ball and will fit perfectly in the Seahawks’ 4-3 base scheme. He’s ideal for a team looking to rebuild a defensive line on a budget.
Previous Pick: Austin Jackson, OT, USC
28. Baltimore Ravens - Patrick Queen, LB, LSU - The Ravens are in need of some linebacking help, especially on the interior. They lack the sideline-to-sideline presence and leader that many teams possess in today’s NFL. That’s where Patrick Queen comes into things. He ran a 4.5 40-yard-dash at the NFL combine, so you know he has the speed. He’s shown in his time at LSU that he has the ability to drop back into coverage and do so well. This is the perfect pick for the Ravens’ defense to take that next step.
Previous Pick: A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson
29. Tennessee Titans - Terrell Lewis, EDGE, Alabama - Terrell Lewis is a bit raw of a prospect but has your ideal body for an edge rusher at the next level. He’s 6-foot-5 and 262 pounds. Ideally, we’d like to see more out of his wingspan but he makes up for that with pure athleticism. The Titans are a team trending in the right direction but what their defense lacks is a dominating pass rushing presence. Cameron Wake is also in his 11th season and the likes of Kamalei Correa is a free agent.
Previous Pick: Terrell Lewis, EDGE, Alabama
30. Green Bay Packers - Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson - The Packers need to add weapons around Aaron Rodgers. They do have Davante Adams and Aaron Jones who are two of the best players in the league at their respective positions. Beyond that, the Packers don’t have much of anything in terms of offensive weapons. This was evident when Adams missed time a year ago. Higgins is a huge target for Rodgers. He’s 6-foot-4 and has the ability to go up and get the ball. He’s a match-up nightmare. He’s been tagged with the best NFL comparison to A.J. Green. Imagine a Green-like receiver along Adams with Rodgers at quarterback. That’s scary.
Previous Pick: Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
31. San Francisco 49ers - Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama - The 49ers are working on a deal to lock Arik Armstead in long term. This would leave no money to bring back Jimmie Ward. With that being said, they’ll have to find a cheap replacement and that could be McKinney. Many have him ranked about Grant Delpit as the draft’s best safety. I don’t see that but that doesn’t mean McKinney isn’t a very good player in his own right. The 49ers are one of the most complete teams in the league so it’s easy to pinpoint points of weakness, and that’s safety.
Previous Pick: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
32. Kansas City Chiefs - Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin - The Kansas City Chiefs get significantly better with bringing in Jonathan Taylor in the draft, despite as hard as that is to believe. They won a Superbowl without much of a running game. A year prior when they had Kareem Hunt, they were a much better football team, which is scary. Taylor is the best of the options in this draft. He’s a former track star. He ran a 4.39 40-yard-dash at the combine. This would be dangerous for the NFL. The Chiefs with a three-down back who can catch the football is a dangerous formula.
Previous Pick: D'Andre Swift, RB, Georgia