Section: Football

NFL 2020 mock draft

NFL 2020 mock draft

The NFL Draft is one of the most captivating and polarizing events of the NFL season. Each year, each of the 32 teams get seven rounds to select from the best 254 players in college football.

Now, with the NFL Draft less than three weeks away, the Collegian’s three sports editors have decided to create their own mock draft of the first 15 picks. We have also invited Andy Allison, the Lords offensive coordinator, and Thomas Merkle ’20, the Lords’ starting quarterback and one of the most decorated players in Kenyon football history, to contribute their own predictions as well.

The Editors’ picks:

1) Cincinnati Bengals—Joe Burrow, QB, Louisiana State University

Joe Burrow is the clear number-one pick and best quarterback in this year’s draft class. Burrow will immediately become the face of the franchise and look to right the ship of a Bengals team that has not won a playoff game since 1991.

2) Washington Redskins—Chase Young, DE, Ohio State University

Clearly the best defensive player on the draft board, Chase Young is a sure thing at the number-two pick. Washington is in need of an edge rusher and Young can make an immediate impact with All-Pro potential. Young racked up 32 tackles and 16.5 sacks last year at Ohio State, earning a place on the Associated Press All-American first-team roster.

3) Detroit Lions—Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State University

The Lions are in dire need of a defensive back, and Okudah is the consensus top cornerback in this year’s draft following a stellar 2019 season with the Buckeyes. A unanimous first-team All-American, Okudah recorded two forced fumbles, three interceptions and nine passes defended, along with 28 solo tackles.

4) New York Giants—Mekhi Becton, OT, University of Louisville

General manager Dave Gettleman will be too tempted to pass up on Mekhi Becton, a mammoth of a man, standing at 6 feet, 7 inches tall and weighing 368 pounds. While experts have voiced concerns about Becton’s lack of experience as a left tackle as well as his footwork, his upside is as high as any player in the draft.

5) Miami Dolphins – Tua Tagovailoa, QB, University of Alabama

The Dolphins are looking for a franchise quarterback, and arguably have been since Dan Marino retired in 1999.  Tagovailoa’s numbers with the Crimson Tide speak for themselves: In 2018, he led Alabama to the National Championship, throwing for 38 touchdowns He followed up in 2019 with an equally impressive season, throwing 33 touchdown passes and just three interceptions before suffering his season-ending injury in week 10.

6) LA Chargers—Justin Herbert, QB, University of Oregon

The Phillip Rivers era is over. Now, the Anthony Lynn-led Chargers will be quarterbacked by Justin Herbert, a 6-foot-6-inch quarterback with a cannon for an arm. There are still questions about his ball security and decision making, but with a supporting cast of Keenan Allen, Hunter Henry and Mike Williams, Herbert will have all the assets necessary to succeed.

7) Carolina Panthers—Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson University

Following the surprise retirement of Carolina’s All-Pro defensive leader Luke Kuechly, the Panthers will look to replenish their linebacking core and take Isaiah Simmons with the seventh pick in this year’s draft. Simmons is quite possibly the most versatile player available, putting on a jaw-dropping performance at last month’s combine, recording a time of 4.39 seconds in the 40-yard dash. In 2019, Simmons made 104 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss, had eight sacks and three interceptions.

8) Arizona Cardinals—Tristan Wirfs, OT, University of Iowa

After completing a blockbuster trade for All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins, General Manager Steve Keim and the Cardinals now end up with arguably the most physically gifted offensive linemen in the class, tallying a sub-4.9 40-yard dash and 36-inch vertical at the NFL Combine. This mobility will be key with second-year head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s unique college-style offense and will help quarterback Kyler Murray finally get the protection he needs.

9) Jacksonville Jaguars—Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn University

Just two years removed from a tight AFC Championship game in Foxborough, the Jaguars have completely dismantled their roster for a collection of high-stock draft picks. Weighing over 325 pounds, Derrick Brown is the best run stopper in this year’s draft. His combination of quickness and power allows him to easily slice through teams’ offensive lines and force opposing teams to double him. In 2019 Brown recorded 33 tackles, four sacks and two force fumbles for Auburn.

10)  Cleveland Browns—Jedrick Wills, OT, University of Alabama

The Browns have spent their offseason thus far looking to lessen the burden on their young quarterback Baker Mayfield. Cleveland added offensive tackle Jack Conklin from the Titans to bolster a formerly very shaky offensive line in 2019. Drafting Wills is the perfect next step for continuing to improve the protection for their franchise quarterback. At 6 feet, 4 inches, and 315 pounds, Wills could immediately slide in at left tackle on Mayfield’s blind side.

11) New York Jets—Andrew Thomas, OT, University of Georgia

New General Manager Joe Douglas has shown he values offensive linemen after signing Connor McGovern, Alex Lewis, George Fant and Greg Van Roten in free agency. However, talent-wise, the group still leaves a lot to be desired. That’s where Thomas comes in. A three-year starter at Georgia, Thomas was routinely graded as the top offensive tackle in Pro Football Focus’ (PFF) college player database. Thomas is a plug-and-play left tackle and will be Sam Darnold’s best friend every Sunday afternoon.

12) Las Vegas Raiders—Henry Ruggs III, WR, University of Alabama

It’s no secret that the Raiders love speed. Henry Ruggs III has it, and some. Tallying a 4.27-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, Ruggs will slide in nicely into a Raiders offense that boasts Darren Waller, Josh Jacobs, Tyrell Williams and Derek Carr. Ruggs recorded 746 yards and seven touchdowns last year for Alabama. He will be the first wide receiver off the board in what might possibly be one of the strongest wide-receiver classes we have ever seen.

13) San Francisco 49ers—CeeDee Lamb, WR, University of Oklahoma

After a season in which the 49ers came just short of a title, San Francisco is looking for the piece that will get them over the hump. Lamb’s elusiveness and speed makes him consistently capable of extending completions into chunk plays, which would help ease the pressure on quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

14) Tampa Bay Buccaneers—D’Andre Swift, RB, University of Georgia

It’s a new era in Tampa Bay. Out goes former first overall pick Jameis Winston, who threw 30 interceptions last season, and in comes Tom Brady, perhaps the greatest quarterback to ever play the game. While an offensive tackle is a pressing need, the Bucs elect to go with D’Andre Swift, an explosive back out of Georgia, who can beat defenders in the run and pass game. The Bucs offense, now boasting Brady, Swift and the tandem of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, is going to give the other 31 defenses in the league nightmares.

15) Denver Broncos—Jerry Jeudy, WR, University of Alabama

With the departure of Joe Flacco, this marks the beginning of the Drew Lock era at Mile High. The Broncos will look to do everything they can to ease the pressure on their young quarterback, and acquiring a highly talented receiver is certainly a way to do that. Jeudy will immediately provide explosiveness to the offense.

 

Merkle’s picks:

1) Cincinnati Bengals—Joe Burrow, QB, Louisiana State University

All signs point to Burrow being a generational QB; can’t pass him up.

2) Washington Redskins—Chase Young, DE, Ohio State University

Haskins is not the QB answer for the Redskins… but again, Young is too good for anyone to pass up.

3) Detroit Lions—Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State University

Need a CB after trading Slay to the Eagles. Okudah is definitely the best DB available.

4) New York Giants—Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson University

Good enough player to be a number-one pick most years. Would be the second defensive player off the board if Lions didn’t need a CB.

5) Miami Dolphins—Tua Tagovailoa, QB, University of Alabama

I have no idea. Most signs are pointing towards him going here. The Redskins should maybe take him at number two though.

6) Los Angeles Chargers—Justin Herbert, QB, University of Oregon

Seems like Herbert would fit in in San Diego. I think this draft pick will happen unless the Chargers get Cam [Newton]…

7) Carolina Panthers—Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn University

Just makes sense.

8) Arizona Cardinals—Tristan Wirfs, OT, University of Louisville

Protect your franchise QB, Kyler Murray.

9) Jacksonville Jaguars—Jedrick Wills, OT, University of Alabama

Protect Minshew!!

10) Cleveland Browns—Mekhi Becton, OT, University of Louisville

The Browns will continue to stink regardless of who they pick because their organization is… bad. Their OL is scarce so they might as well add a top-10 pick to add depth. They have plenty of weapons elsewhere.

11) New York Jets—Javon Kinlaw, DL, University of South Carolina

Jets could use OL but having him on their roster will only help.

12) Las Vegas Raiders—Jerry Jeudy, WR, University of Alabama

This is where the draft will start to get fun with all the WRs on the board. Jeudy looks to have the most promise out of everyone.

13) San Francisco 49ers—CeeDee Lamb, WR, University of Alabama

You can’t go wrong with any of these top six through eight WRs, but CeeDee is so fast for as big as he is. Get him for Jimmy G.

14) Tampa Bay Buccaneers—Kenneth Murray, LB, University of Oklahoma

As bad as the Bucs need depth at offensive line to keep Brady healthy, their defense has holes. Pick the best available defensive player, this savage, then pick an OL in the second round.

15) Denver Broncos—Henry Ruggs III, WR, University of Alabama

Get Drew Lock, a top-tier young target.

 

Allison’s picks:

1) Cincinnati Bengals—Joe Burrow, QB, Louisiana State University

2) Washington Redskins—Chase Young, DE, Ohio State University

3) Detroit Lions—Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State University

4) New York Giants— Jedrick Wills, OT, University of Alabama

5) Miami Dolphins—Tua Tagovailoa, QB, University of Alabama

6) Los Angeles Chargers—Justin Herbert, QB, University of Oregon

7) Carolina Panthers—Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson University

8) Arizona Cardinals—C.J. Henderson, CB, University of Florida

9) Jacksonville Jaguars—Javon Kinlaw, DT, University of South Carolina

10) Cleveland Browns —Mekhi Becton, OL, University of Louisville

11) New York Jets —Tristan Wirfs, OT, University of Iowa

12) Las Vegas Raiders—Jerry Jeudy, WR, University of Alabama

13) San Francisco 49ers—CeeDee Lamb, WR, University of Oklahoma

14) Tampa Bay Buccaneers—Andrew Thomas, OT, University of Georgia

15) Denver Broncos—Henry Ruggs III, WR, University of Alabama

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