Off the Gridiron: NFL mock draft

With the 2020 NFL Draft beginning on April 23, months of speculation will soon come to a close. Until then, here is my final mock draft projection for the first round. 

  1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow

The Bengals can finally move on from Andy Dalton; Burrow is the future of the franchise.

  1. Washington Redskins: Chase Young

By securing the best player in the draft, the Redskins add to their talented defensive front.

  1. Detroit Lions: Jeff Okudah

With Okudah, the Lions fill the huge hole left by Darius Slay.

  1. New York Giants: Mekhi Becton

General Manager Dave Gettleman and head coach Joe Judge are committed to old-fashioned football, a smash-mouth style and love Becton’s colossal frame.

  1. Miami Dolphins: Justin Herbert

The Dolphins take Herbert, not willing to risk Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s injury history.

  1. Los Angeles Chargers: Tua Tagovailoa

Arguably the class’ most talented quarterback will fall to the Chargers, who will have plenty of weapons to work with.

  1. Carolina Panthers: Isaiah Simmons

Drafting Simmons is a huge step toward filling the void left by linebacker Luke Kuechly and rebuilding this defense.

  1. Arizona Cardinals: Derrick Brown

Though head coach Kliff Kingsbury is known for his offensive creativity, the Cardinals need to start emphasizing the other side of the ball.

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars: CJ Henderson

Though it might be considered a reach, the Jaguars have a lot of questions in their secondary and Henderson can be an immediate impact player.

  1. Cleveland Browns: Jedrick Wills

Wills can help the Browns fulfill their identity as a zone-run team under head coach Kevin Stefanski.

  1. New York Jets: Tristan Wirfs

Though it might be tempting to snag one of the wide receivers here, the Jets have to invest in an offensive lineman that can protect QB Sam Darnold.

  1. Oakland Raiders: CeeDee Lamb

Lamb gives Derek Carr a legitimate threat on the outside with his strength and ability after the catch.

  1. San Francisco 49ers: Jerry Jeudy

Jeudy’s precise route running makes him the most pro-ready and therefore the best fit for the 49ers who are in win-now mode.

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Andrew Thomas

This is a dream come true for the Buccaneers as they get one of the most elite and pro-ready offensive lineman to protect Tom Brady.

  1. Denver Broncos: Henry Ruggs III

The Broncos get a speedster to play across from Cortland Sutton, giving Drew Lock two dangerous weapons.

  1. Atlanta Falcons: Javon Kinlaw

With this pick, head coach Dan Quinn gets a top-10 talent to bolster his defense and cause disruption along the line of scrimmage.

  1. Dallas Cowboys: K’Lavon Chaisson

With Chaisson, the Cowboys give Demarcus Lawrence some help in the pass-rush and are adding a player with incredible upside.

  1. Miami Dolphins: Josh Jones

Though not one of the elite tackles, Jones is almost underrated, and he showed at the Senior Bowl that he is capable of being a starting caliber left tackle.

  1. Las Vegas Raiders: A.J. Terrell

After the Eli Apple signing fell through, General Manager Mike Mayock looks to the lengthy and strong Clemson cornerback A.J. Terrell.

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Patrick Queen

Addressing their secondary with the No. 9 pick, the Jaguars now turn to replenishing their line-backing corps by adding Queen to pair with Myles Jack.

  1. Philadelphia Eagles: Justin Jefferson

This year Carson Wentz cannot be throwing to guys the Eagles signed off of the street; Jefferson gives Wentz a game-changing and versatile target in the passing game.

  1. Minnesota Vikings: Jaylon Johnson

With the departure of Tre Waynes and Xavier Rhodes, the Vikings look to add another big corner, passing up Texas Christian University’s Jeff Gladney for Utah’s Jaylon Johnson.

  1. New England Patriots: Yetur Gross-Matos

It’s impossible to predict what the Patriots will do, but adding a stellar pass-rusher would help them strengthen an already elite defense.

  1. New Orleans Saints: Kenneth Murray

The Saints’ Super Bowl window is shrinking by the day, and Kenneth Murray fills a need at linebacker in the present and for the future.

  1. Minnesota Vikings: Denzel Mims

After trading Stefon Diggs to the Bills, the Vikings can give Kirk Cousins a big target on the outside to play across the quick-twitch Adam Thielen.

  1. Miami Dolphins: Isaiah Wilson

Overshadowed by teammate Andrew Thomas, Wilson is a first-round talent who fills a huge need for the Miami squad.

  1. Seattle Seahawks: Cesar Ruiz

It seems like the Seahawks’ offensive line always leaves Russell Wilson out to dry, so they can invest in the Michigan center to help bring some stability to the unit.

  1. Baltimore Ravens: Zach Baun

After missing out on Kenneth Murray, the Ravens will opt for the best linebacker available, Wisconsin product Zach Baun.

  1. Tennessee Titans: A.J. Epenesa

After losing Jurrell Casey, head coach Mike Vrabel is looking to replace that presence along the defensive line with the disruptive defensive end/defensive tackle A.J. Epenesa.

  1. Green Bay Packers: Jordan Love

The Packers hope that the Rodgers and LaFleur combination can help develop Jordan Love into the next franchise quarterback.

  1. San Francisco 49ers: Xavier McKinney

With Richard Sherman aging, the 49ers need to address their secondary, but rather than finding a future replacement, they can find a Swiss-army-knife-type player for their secondary.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs: D’Andre Swift

The Chiefs are not content with their Super Bowl, and adding the most talented tailback gives their offense yet another scary dimension.