The NFL playoffs have moved to the divisional round. Meanwhile, the underclassmen declaration deadline for the 2020 NFL Draft is approaching, practice for the Shrine Game commences on Monday, and Senior Bowl week is just around the corner. The time is right for my second mock draft of the 2019-2020 season.
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Tony Pauline’s NFL Mock Draft 2.0
1) Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
I’m going off my board here and have my concerns. But there’s no denying the upward momentum of Burrow. In the SEC Championship Live Blog, I noted that Burrow’s decision making and ability to make quick decisions under duress (decisions which are right on the money more often than not) is most impressive.
His poise under the rush and ability to see the field, make proper reads, and spread the ball around will excite next level decision-makers.
2) Washington Redskins: Chase Young, Edge, Ohio State
In one of my recent weekly mailbag sessions, I said that it is my belief that Chase Young is a great pass rusher and an athletic talent who is effective making plays in space but really needs to develop a complete game. He needs to get stronger and improve his play against the run.
That said, the word I am hearing from sources close to the situation is that the new Redskins regime loves “The Predator.”
3) Detroit Lions: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
This would be a major boost for the defensive line as Damon Harrison won’t last much longer and could possibly retire this offseason. Brown is a prospect I’ve gushed over the past two years and someone I graded as a top-12 pick a year ago before he decided to return to Auburn.
Presently listed third on my big board, Brown is a scheme versatile defender who can line up at multiple spots up front.
4) New York Giants: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
The Giants need a ton of help on defense and on the offensive line. In a recent Q&A session here at PFN, I was asked where I ranked Thomas in terms of draft grade among offensive tackles relative to the top offensive tackles that have come out over the past five years.
My answer? The only tackle who may have ranked higher than Thomas is Lane Johnson, and he was the third tackle selected in 2013. No tackle drafted in the past five years compares to Thomas athletically. The closest I can think of is Greg Robinson, and that was six years ago, but Thomas was a much more polished prospect at the position.
5) Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
The injury concerns me, but Tua played much better than any quarterback not named Burrow in 2019. Tagovailoa possesses all the physical skills to play on Sundays. He has a next-level arm, makes all the passes and, at the same time, easily makes plays with his legs.
That said, there are still many questions to be answered before the 2020 NFL Draft, which I have talked about in recent weeks on our Draft Insiders Podcast here at PFN.
6) Los Angeles Chargers: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
This is earlier than I would like to place Jeudy, but his speed and big-play ability improves the Chargers receiving unit. He’s a sure-handed receiver who possesses game-breaking skills. Opponents have often struggled to stay with Jeudy out of breaks, and he has the vertical speed to take it the distance. Jeudy reminds me of a slightly taller version of DeSean Jackson.
7) Carolina Panthers: Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
The Panthers fill a need with the best player at the position. Okudah gives the team a true number one corner. He possesses preferred cornerback size, athleticism, and speed. After Okudah, I see a big drop off in corners, so the Panthers would be smart to grab a cornerback here.
8) Arizona Cardinals: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
There’s still a question whether or not Wirfs enters the draft. But if he does, Arizona is a good fit. Wirfs is a big, strong right tackle who easily controls defenders at the point. He uses his hands very well to steer opponents from the action and makes good use of positioning and angles to shut down opponents.
However, he also lacks agility and mobility and does not always present himself as anything other than a small-area blocker. He has made strides this season, but from what I’ve heard, he is still deciding whether or not to enter the 2020 NFL Draft.
9) Jacksonville Jaguars: Isaiah Simmons, OLB, Clemson
An explosive run to the ball defender, Simmons immediately improves the Jaguars linebacker group. He brings great athleticism and ball skills, something he showed as a redshirt freshman when he lined up at safety.
The league has put a high value on the smallish but explosive run and chase linebackers in the draft, and Simmons’ versatility is part of his appeal. That said, there are concerns around his instincts. We’ll see if that makes any difference in the 2020 NFL Draft.
10) Cleveland Browns: Grant Delpit, S, LSU
With no offensive tackles available, the Browns fill a need at safety. Delpit is a complete defensive back who lays it on the line against the run and stands out in coverage. He’s athletic, intense, and generally plays smart football.
11) New York Jets: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
I expect the Jets will try to trade down but for the intent of this mock draft, the pick here is CeeDee Lamb. Lamb has played great football this season, but one of his most dominant performances in 2019 came against the Texas Longhorns. Against the Longhorns, he had 10 receptions for 171 yards and 3 touchdowns.
What stood out the most for me was the way he scored those touchdowns in that game, breaking tackles along with some spectacular running after the reception.
12) Las Vegas Raiders: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
The Raiders are ready to move on from Derek Carr. Herbert had a nice game against Wisconsin, but there will still be many questions about him as we lead up to the 2020 NFL Draft. Simply, he needs all the other pieces working around him.
As I’ve mentioned before this season, Herbert has all the tools to be a big-time passer but there’s not a ton of wow factor to his game. Additionally, it’s hard to trust that he’s going to come through in the clutch when it matters most.
13) Indianapolis Colts: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
Love needs a ton of work and is not NFL ready but comes with a tremendous upside. But remember – this was basically the book on Mahomes when he entered the 2017 NFL Draft.
I’m a big fan of Love, and I understand why some scouts grade him higher than Tagovailoa based on his upside. However, I also realize he’s going to need time and a real good quarterback coach at the next level, just like Mahomes. The Colts, under head coach Frank Reich, would be a nice fit for him.
14) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
Diggs is a big, physical, and athletic corner that Todd Bowles will love. That said, I had high hopes for Diggs prior to the season, which I wrote about, but he was too inconsistent for him to be in the top twelve selections, which I initially believed to be possible.
15) Denver Broncos: Raekwon Davis, DT, Alabama
Last year’s starter Mike Purcell was a stop-gap player. Davis is versatile, which will help in a variety of alignments. At the same time, he’s a big guy in the middle of the line, which allows him to easily hold his ground and occupy gaps.
16) Atlanta Falcons: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
The Falcons can go anywhere on the defensive line, but Kinlaw is the nimble defensive tackle that best fits their system. Kinlaw is athletic, offers great size, and has a lot of upside. However, there are some concerns about his streaky play. While he looks the part and often plays to it, he also disappears for stretches.
17) Dallas Cowboys: C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
This is a bit early for Henderson. But he comes with great upside and fills a need. Henderson is a guy who plays feisty football while showing outstanding athleticism and speed. Not only does he possess the necessary ball skills to beat opponents, but he is also able to effectively track the ball in the air.
18) Miami Dolphins (from PIT): D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
The Dolphins fill their running back hole with the top player at the position. Swift constantly shows the ability to blow open blase games with huge runs from the line of scrimmage. He combines big-play ability while paying attention to the details of the game.
19) Las Vegas Raiders (from CHI): K.J. Hamler, WR, Penn State
Receiver is a need for the Raiders and they harken back to the days of Al Davis with the speedy Hamler. While Hamler is a small, explosive receiver, he has home-run-hitting speed. He has a burst that he turns on in a step and leaves defenders in the dust to stretch the field. Hamler is also a terrific receiver who catches the ball with his hands and competes to make the tough catch.
20) Jacksonville Jaguars (from LAR): Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
The Jags use the selection they received from the Rams for Jalen Ramsey to select his replacement. In the Week 14 Game Day Blog, I noted that I was really impressed with the week to week improvement shown by Fulton after a difficult start to the season.
What’s most impressive about Fulton is his ability to backpedal and stay on the WR’s hip out of breaks. Also equally impressive are his fundamentals and burst to the ball.
21) Philadelphia Eagles: Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado
If he stays healthy, Shenault could be the steal of round one. While he didn’t have the season many expected him to, there is no denying his great size, speed, and pass-catching skills. In fact, one of the traits that stand out to me is the way he works, even when he’s not involved in the action. Shenault will have an opportunity to impress scouts in his predraft workouts.
22) Buffalo Bills: Yetur Gross-Matos, Edge, Penn State
Receivers and offensive linemen are serious considerations, but both starting defensive ends will be on the wrong side of 30 next season. In the Week 7 Game Day Blog, I noted that Yetur Gross-Matos reminds me of a poor man’s version of Ohio State’s Chase Young.
He’s athletic like Young but to a lesser degree. He’s explosive like Young but to a lesser degree. He makes plays up the field and laterally but plays with less suddenness than Young. Like Young, Gross-Matos is a bit rough around the edges, must get stronger and must complete his game.
23) New England Patriots: A.J. Epenesa, Edge, Iowa
There’s still some question as to whether or not Epenesa enters, but he’s a great fit for the Pats’ scheme. He is a big, strong three-down defender and though not the pure edge rusher many make him out to be, he plays tough, smart football and offers a large degree of scheme versatility.
24) New Orleans Saints: Jacob Eason, QB, Washington
It’s time to look to the future and address the quarterback position. In a recent mailbag session, I said that at the time that Eason scares me and has a lot downside. There is just too much inconsistency and too small of a body of work. Matched up with Sean Payton and sitting behind QB Drew Brees for a year could do a lot for Eason’s development.
25) Tennessee Titans: J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio State
This pick will depend on whether or not the Titans tag or resign the 2019 rushing champion, Derrick Henry. If they don’t re-sign Henry, Dobbins makes a lot of sense here.
In the CFB Playoffs Game Day Blog, I noted that Dobbins had made several nice plays. However, what stood out to the most was actually an incomplete pass. However, Dobbins did a great job picking up the blitz and protecting his quarterback. He is a complete player at the running back position as a ball carrier, pass catcher and blocker.
26) Minnesota Vikings: Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State
I’m higher on Arnette than most and there are a number of scouts that have first-round grades on the Buckeye senior cornerback. While everyone talks about Jeffrey Okudah when talking about the Ohio State secondary, I think too many are sleeping on Arnette. He’s a terrific combination of size, ball skills, and upside.
27) Miami Dolphins (from HOU): Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama
Wills does not grade as highly on my board in comparison to others but is a good fit for the Dolphins. For perspective, I grade Wills a distant fifth or sixth after Andrew Thomas and Tristan Wirfs. I grade his teammate and fellow Alabama Crimson Tide offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood much higher than Wills. However, Leatherwood ultimately decided to return to Alabama for the 2020 season.
28) Seattle Seahawks: Julian Okwara, Edge, Notre Dame
Jadeveon Clowney may ultimately end up to pricey for the Seahawks, which would then put Okwara in play here.
29) Kansas City Chiefs: Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
J.K. Dobbins would be a better fit. Regardless, the Chiefs need a consistent ball carrier as they finished the season ranked 23rd in rushing, averaging less than 100 yards per game. The ultra-productive college ball carrier is a terrific straight-ahead runner that would be a great fit in a power-gap running scheme.
30) Green Bay Packers: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
BJ Goodson is slated for free agency and Murray brings a lot more speed to the position. His style is what NFL teams want in a linebacker these days; slightly undersized but quick, explosive and a defender who plays sideline to sideline.
31) San Francisco 49ers: Tyler Biadasz, C, Wisconsin
Biadasz would give the 49ers an immediate upgrade at the center position. He’s a great zone blocking center who will only get better as he physically matures and gets stronger. He can slide in space and hold the point in pass protection and plays smart, tough football.
32) Baltimore Ravens: Cesar Ruiz, C, Michigan
Injured Matt Skura is slated for free agency and the team has gotten as much as they can from Patrick Mekari. Ruiz is quick, very explosive and incredibly effective on his feet and blocking in motion. He doesn’t show great power but has growth potential and a lot of upside.