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2020 NFL mock draft: First-round projections

Did the Dolphins just tank at tanking?

I guess we can’t accuse them of that anymore after they beat the Jets pretty handily on Sunday.

Unless, they’ve put in so much work to make themselves bad … they’re just inherently bad at everything now, including tanking, the one thing they intended to be good at. Such a tangled web.

Regardless, the Bengals are the NFL’s lone winless team and front-runners for the top overall pick in next April’s draft.

The NFL draft has become a nice appetizer before our main course in September. A mock version of said draft is meant to educate, and even entertain. At very least, it helps you pass the time.

This is an early attempt at identifying the best players available in this season’s draft class, and which teams they match up well with considering the updated draft order (according to

The closer we get to draft day, the more I attempt to match what teams will actually do with their draft picks as opposed to what I believe they should do.

Last season, I was the fifth most accurate (out of 101) – most accurate in print – NFL draft prognosticator according to The Huddle Report. I’m 18th over the past five years.

Follow me on Twitter @UTEddieBrown so we can continue the conversation.

Here’s my updated 2020 NFL mock draft:



1. Cincinnati (0-8) – Joe Burrow, QB, LSU, Sr.

Andy Dalton is a free agent after the 2020 season and has been benched in favor of rookie Ryan Finley. Burrow’s draft stock is powered by rocket fuel. He’s currently the Heisman front-runner with 30 touchdowns against only four interceptions and a QBR of 91.2. He’s the type of quarterback that aces the intangible checklist, but doesn’t feature any physical qualities I’d consider elite. The Bengals are the type of organization who would totally take Burrow over Tua Tagovailoa. Top needs: QB, OL, LB

2. Washington (1-8) – Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia, Jr.

Seven-time Pro Bowl tackle Trent Williams will certainly be traded in the off-season and need to be replaced. You’d get Thomas if you could Weird Science an offensive tackle. He’s a big, powerful, athletic lineman with springy footwork and quick hands who’s a dynamic closer in pass protection and the run game. Top needs: OT, WR, CB

3. Miami (1-7) – Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama, Jr.

The Dolphins fall to third and still get their guy. Back-to-back seasons with an ankle injury will give us something to talk about until April (and the Bengals an excuse for passing on him). Mostly, because people will tire of talking about how prolific and precise the southpaw is. Some will try to compare Tagovailoa to Mike Vick, but he’s closer to a lefty (and taller) version of Russell Wilson. Top needs: QB, OT, Edge

4. N.Y. Jets (1-7) – Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama, Jr.

Jeudy and edge rusher Chase Young are the top two players on my latest big board. This would be a fascinating dilemma for a team who needs both positions. I do Sam Darnold a solid and draft his top target for the forseeable future. Jeudy’s the crown jewel of what is shaping up to be a special 2020 class of receivers. He’s the best prospect at the position in almost a decade. Top needs: OT, WR, Edge

5. Atlanta (1-7) – Chase Young, Edge, Ohio St., Jr.

The Falcons only have seven sacks in eight games, including four games without a single sack. Young has 13.5 sacks and five forced fumbles in eight games and has recorded at least a half sack in all eight. Top needs: Edge, OG, LB

6. N.Y. Giants (2-7) – A.J. Epenesa, Edge, Iowa, Jr.

The G-Men had scouts at the Michigan-Iowa game. Epenesa normally faces double and triple teams because of his overwhelming bull rush. NFL opponents would have a hard time doing that with interior teammates Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence demanding attention. Top needs: Edge, DB, WR

7. Cleveland (2-6) – Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa, Jr.

A mediocre offensive line is the main culprit holding Baker Mayfield and the Browns back. Mayfield is clearly pressing. Wirfs is the best pass protector in this class and I expect GM John Dorsey to continue his pursuit of Trent Williams in the off-season. Top needs: OT, OG, LB

8. Tampa Bay (2-6) – Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon, Sr.

I’d be surprised if the Jameis Winston era continues past 2019. Herbert has all the physical attributes (prototypical size and arm strength) Bruce Arians normally requires in a quarterback. Bucs scouts have been spotted at Ducks games. Top needs: QB, OT, RB

9. Denver (3-6) – Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson, Jr.

Head coach and defensive mastermind Vic Fangio could utilize Simmons’ versatility to take the heat off of pass rushers Von Miller and Bradley Chubb. The Butkus Award semifinalist is an athletic unicorn (equally adept at safety or linebacker) with incredible range and instincts. Top needs: OT, DB, LB

10. Las Vegas from Chicago (3-5) – Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio St., Jr.

The Raiders recently traded former first-rounder Gareon Conley to the Texans. GM Mike Mayock takes another dip in the Buckeyes talent pool here. Okudah is an elite athlete who has proven proficient in man coverage and is only scratching the surface of his potential. Top needs: WR, LB, CB

11. Arizona (3-5-1) – Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU, Sr.

All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson is another candidate to be traded this off-season. Offensive tackles Thomas and Wirfs are off the board so they find a replacement for Peterson. Fulton is an elite athlete who was the top cornerback prospect coming out of high school in 2016. Top needs: OL, Edge, CB

12. Detroit (3-4-1) – Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama, Sr.

There’s a better than 50-50 chance the Lions trade two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay in the spring. Diggs (Stefon’s little brother) is still raw, but he features prototypical size (6-foot-2, 205 pounds) and athleticism. Top needs: DB, OL, RB

13. Tennessee (4-5) – Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn, Sr.

The Titans would be fortunate to land Brown here. He would have been a first-round selection had he left school last year. He’s the most talented interior defensive lineman in this draft class, by far. Top needs: DL, OG, QB

14. L.A. Chargers (4-5) – Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma, Sr.

It’s clear Philip Rivers has enough talent left in the tank for a few more seasons, but I’m not sure how much longer he’d want to play behind a sub-par offensive line. Head coach Anthony Lynn has never been shy about his affinity for mobile quarterbacks. It appears Lincoln Riley’s magic dust has transformed Hurts into so much more than a quarterback who can run. He has passed for 21 touchdowns against only three interceptions and a QBR of 94.7 (second in the nation). Top needs: OT, OG, QB

15. Jacksonville (4-5) – Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama, Jr.

The Jaguars have had success taking linebackers who suffered knee injuries the final season of their collegiate career (Myles Jack). The 2018 Butkus Award finalist suffered a torn ACL during an August practice. Moses will likely be a day two selection, but he would have been a top-fifteen pick had he not hurt himself and the Jags are a team to watch when it comes to securing his services. Top needs: CB, LB, OT

16. Las Vegas (4-4) – CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma, Jr.

Antonio Brown’s antics left a pretty big gap in the depth chart. Lamb has elite hands and ball skills (he’s special with the ball in the air). He can also contribute as a blocker. Top needs: WR, LB, CB

17. Miami from Pittsburgh (4-4) – Yetur Gross-Matos, Edge, Penn St., Jr.

The Dolphins landed their quarterback with the third overall pick. Now they address the pass rush. Gross-Matos needs to add some strength to his frame, but he’s a gifted pass rusher with elite athleticism and a nose for the ball. Top needs: QB, OT, Edge

18. Philadelphia (5-4) – Grant Delpit, S, LSU, Jr.

A combination of sub-par performances and injuries have doomed the Eagles secondary once again. It’s in desperate need of playmakers. His first two seasons in Baton Rouge, Delpit had 134 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss, six interceptions, five sacks and 17 passes defensed. He’s a dangerous center fielder in coverage, but is also capable of being utilized as a blitzer. Top needs: DB, LB, OG

19. Jacksonville from L.A. Rams (5-3) – Prince Tega Wanogho, OT, Auburn, Sr.

It has to be an off-season priority for the Jaguars to add talent to a mediocre offensive line. Wanogho is a giant ball of clay (he’s 6-foot-7, 305 pounds and relatively new to the game of football), but there’s plenty of natural ability to mold and he’s been very good in the SEC despite being so raw. Top needs: CB, LB, OT

20. Carolina (5-3) – Tyler Biadasz, C, Wisconsin, Jr.

The Panthers continue to strengthen their offensive line by selecting Biadasz, an interior mauler with very few flaws in his game. He is also the heart and soul of one of the nation’s perennially top offensive lines. Top needs: OG, C, DB

21. Dallas (5-3) – Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina, Sr.

The Cowboys are only a few pieces away from fielding a top five defense. An interior wrecking ball like Kinlaw gets them pretty close. Top needs: S, DT, TE

22. Indianapolis (5-3) – Julian Okwara, Edge, Notre Dame, Sr.

Both starting defensive ends Justin Houston and Jabaal Sheard could potentially be free agents after the season. Okwara is an athletic talented technician off the edge. Getting after the quarterback is his specialty, but he could improve in other aspects of his game. Top needs: DT, Edge, WR

23. Minnesota (6-3) – Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford, Jr.

Trae Waynes is a free agent after this season. Adebo is a former wide receiver with elite ball skills who plays with an intense physicality. Sounds like a perfect fit for the Vikings. Top needs: DT, CB, OG

24. Miami from Houston (6-3) – Alex Leatherwood, OL, Alabama, Jr.

The Dolphins address quarterback (Tagovailoa), the defensive line (Gross-Matos) and offensive line with their three first-round selections. The former five-star recruit needs to sharpen his technique, but his elite athleticism and strength usually carries the day. He’s a natural left tackle who excelled at right guard his sophomore year. Top needs: QB, OT, Edge

25. Kansas City (6-3) – D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia, Jr.

LeSean McCoy is a free agent after this season and turns 32 next year anyways. Swift is a shifty back able to bounce it outside or handle the rigors of running between the tackles. He’s also a weapon out of the backfield (he had 32 receptions and three touchdowns as a sophomore). Top needs: OL, CB, RB

26. Buffalo (6-2) – Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado, Jr.

An offense featuring Josh Allen, Devin Singletary and Shenault could get really creative. His size (6-foot-2, 225 pounds), speed (he could run a sub-4.4 40 at the combine) and nose for the end zone (he had six receiving and five rushing touchdowns last season) could catapult him into the top-ten discussion. Top needs: WR, OG, Edge

27. Baltimore (6-2) – Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama, Jr.

How do you cover Marquise Brown and Ruggs on the field at the same time? Ruggs is pure electricity with the football in his hands. He’s scored 24 total touchdowns on 85 touches in his Crimson Tide career. Top needs: LB, SS, OG

28. Seattle (7-2) – Creed Humphrey, OG, Oklahoma, Soph.

It seems the Seahawks offensive line is in constant need of upgrading. Humphrey’s wrestling background explains his mastery of leverage. Top needs: CB, OG, TE

29. Green Bay (7-2) – Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma, Jr.

The Packers continue to build an exciting front-seven. Murray is an explosive athlete who has developed elite instincts during his three seasons in Norman. Top needs: DE, LB, OG

30. New Orleans (7-1) – Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU, Jr.

The Saints add another dynamic playmaker to their offense. Reagor is one of the most impressive athletes at any position in this draft class. He’s special with the ball in his hands. Top needs: WR, LB, TE

31. New England (8-1) – Albert Okwuegbuham, TE, Missouri, Jr.

The Patriots have gotten almost zero production from their tight ends since Gronk retired. The Mizzou product has caught 23 touchdowns out of a career 90 receptions. Top needs: OL, TE, LB

32. San Francisco (8-0) – Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson, Jr.

The 49ers are still searching for a true No. 1 wideout despite drafting Deebo Samuel and trading for Emmanuel Sanders. Higgins is a big-play machine with elite size (6-foot-4, 200 pounds) and speed. He has an “above the rim” mentality as a former basketball player. Top needs: WR, OG, CB

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LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (9) throws against Florida at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La., on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019. (Marianna Massey/Getty Images/TNS)

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (9) throws against Florida at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La., on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019. (Marianna Massey/Getty Images/TNS)

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