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NFL Mock Draft 2020: Scott Smith’s Final Projections for Round 1

NFL Mock Draft 2020: Scott Smith’s Final Projections for Round 1 article feature image

Christian Petersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs

  • Looking for an updated 2020 NFL mock draft just a few hours before things kick off? Look no further.
  • Scott Smith, the most-accurate mock drafter of the past two seasons, delivers his final projections for Round 1.

In a special collaboration with The Action Network, you’ll find the final edition of Scott Smith’s 2020 NFL mock draft below.

Scott is a football analyst who has written for Rotoviz and Player Profiler. He’s been the No. 1 mock ranker over the past two years at Mock Draft Database.

Final 2020 NFL Mock Draft

1. Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

The 2019 Heisman Trophy winner led the LSU Tigers to a national championship and has put himself in position to the top pick of the draft. Burrow has been the chalk as the top pick on everyone’s boards.

His ability to create chunk plays with his off-schedule moxie will bring a sorely needed offensive identity to a team that ranked last in explosive play rate.

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2. Redskins: Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State

Young is widely considered the best player in this draft after coming off a season with 16.5 sacks. That’s good news for a team that is often ranked near the bottom of the league.

Ron Rivera starts his regime in Washington by selecting a player he hopes to form his defensive identity around.

3. Lions: Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State

For longer than a week, I have laid out a case for this pick to be Derrick Brown. But I think Okudah gets the nod here by a hair — he’s simply a clean prospect at a position of need for the Lions.

Speculation has Miami trading up to secure this pick. What compensation Detroit would accept remains to be seen.

4. Giants: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa

Dave Gettleman elects to play it safe and help both Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones. Wirfs displayed good athleticism at the combine and has the ability to move inside to guard if things don’t work out at tackle.

5. Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

For months now, there has been speculation between Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert. In recent days, rumors have swirled linking Miami to Georgia tackle Andrew Thomas as well. But Tagovailoa will be the pick here.

tua tagovailoa-dynasty-rookie-fantasy-football-projections-freedman
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images. Pictured: Tua Tagovailoa

If medically cleared, the Dolphins cannot risk alienating their fan base by passing on a superior talent at QB. Ultimately, I expect them to trade up with Detroit to make Tagovailoa the third player off the board.

6. Chargers: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

Tyrod Taylor starting at QB in Los Angeles could be a real possibility in 2020.

Herbert remains on the west coast, where his skill set is a good fit for a downfield passing offense that features Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Hunter Henry.

7. Panthers: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson

Simmons would bring speed and versatility to a Panthers defense searching for an identity after the retirement of Luke Kuechly. New coach Matt Rhule had success using a similar athlete in Hassan Riddick at Temple.

8. Cardinals: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama

With left tackle D.J. Humphries locked in for the next three years, it’s important to solidify the right side of the offensive line. Wills brings a nasty demeanor and should be a stalwart on the right side.

Allowing Kyler Murray more time in the pocket to process is exactly what Kliff Kingsbury’s offense needs to make a jump in 2020.

9. Jaguars: Derrick Brown, IDL, Auburn

Brown has all the tools to become a disruptive force along the defensive line. Brown’s presence should bring immediate help to a Jaguars defense that struggled to stop the run on early downs.

10. Browns: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia

The Browns occupy prime real estate in the draft for teams that are looking to trade up for a tackle or receiver. They’ve been linked to multiple potential trade scenarios, some of which include the acquisition of veteran tackle Trent Williams.

If the Browns make this pick, Thomas may be the most complete option among the top tackles. If not, the Browns have also been heavily linked to Ezra Cleveland, who may be a better fit for Kevin Stefanski’s zone-blocking scheme and can be had later in the draft.

11. Jets: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville

The Jets grab the last of the top tackles here with Becton. Protecting Sam Darnold should be paramount for a New York offense that ranked near-bottom in yards per play and pressure allowed.

12. Raiders: Cee Dee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

The Antonio Brown experiment was a disaster. Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden attempt to rectify that by taking Lamb, who projects similarly to DeAndre Hopkins.

13. 49ers: Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama

Ruggs is the true enigma of this draft.

Light on production and heavy on athletic traits, Ruggs has the speed (4.28-second 40) that coaches covet in the modern NFL. After seeing their championship aspirations dash away in the arms of Tyreek Hill, John Lynch gives Kyle Shanahan a gift that could push the San Fransisco offense to the next level.

14. Buccaneers: Austin Jackson, OT, USC

The Bucs are all in with Tom Brady in 2020. The top priority will be protecting their $50 million investment.

Unfortunately in this scenario, the top tackles are off the board. The Bucs settle for Jackson in order to protect Brady at all costs. Trading up to secure one of the top tackles is also a very likely scenario to monitor.

15. Broncos: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

Jeudy is at the top of many evaluation boards among WRs. Some scouts have concerns about Jeudy primarily succeeding in the slot at Alabama, which could cause him to slip behind both Lamb and Ruggs.

Recent reports have John Elway anxiously trying trade up to select one of the top WRs in this draft. Jeudy would be an excellent fit for a Broncos team that already features Courtland Sutton as their alpha.

16. Falcons: Javon Kinlaw, IDL, South Carolina

The Falcons have holes across their entire defense. Kinlaw displayed insane potential before shutting it down at the Senior Bowl. While Kinlaw displays top-10 potential, he’s still a bit raw and few teams need help along the interior defensive line.

Javon Kinlaw
John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Javon Kinlaw

Atlanta has been among the most active teams making attempts to move up the board. Jacksonville could be a prime partner.

17. Cowboys: CJ Henderson, CB, Florida

This is a dream scenario for the Cowboys. After losing Byron Jones to Miami, Henderson immediately fills the void in the Dallas secondary. The talent gap between Henderson and Okudah may be closer than many realize.

18. Dolphins: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama

After shipping Minkah Fitzpatrick to Pittsburgh, Miami replaces him with another Crimson Tide safety. McKinney brings versatility in all three phases of the defense and checks many of the boxes coaches are looking for.

McKinney brings so much to the table that I could just as easily see the Dolphins making this pick at 26 if a tackle drops to 18.

19. Raiders: AJ Terrell, CB, Clemson

Mike Mayock loves shopping at Clemson. Here he grabs another Tigers defender to help out a secondary that has Nevin Lawson and Trayvon Mullen penciled in as starters.

20. Jaguars: K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU

The situation with Yannick Ngakoue has gotten ugly. He has consistently made it known he is not happy in Duval. Chaisson would give the Jaguars a suitable replacement, allowing them to trade Ngakoue.

21. Eagles: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU

Eagles fans have been clamoring for this pick all offseason.

Jefferson may be a questionable fit for Philadelphia when you consider the other weapons on the Eagles’ roster, but his combine showing gives hope he can play on the outside at the next level.

22. Vikings: Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State

Gross-Matos offers immediate help as a plug-and-play run defender. Minnesota has little talent along the edge after Danielle Hunter. Gross-Matos brings the length and athletic ability that could see him turn into a high-ceiling pass rusher for the Vikings.

23. Patriots: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma

The post-Brady era has begun in New England, and many fans will be clamoring for a QB here in Jordan Love, but the simple truth is Love doesn’t fit what Bill Belichick looks for at the position. Also at the forefront is an aging defense that needs help along the front seven.

Murray brings a toughness and attitude that fits the Patriot way and would instantly help a shallow LB corps.

24. Saints: Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State

Drew Brees was all but retired during the offseason and is likely playing his final year in 2020. With a stacked roster and minimal needs, Sean Payton and Co. add speed opposite of Michael Thomas.

brandon aiyuk-dynasty-rookie-fantasy-football-projections-freedmanbrandon-aiyuk
Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Brandon Aiyuk

25. Vikings: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU

Gone are Trae Waynes, Xavier Rhodes and Mackensie Alexander. Fulton should compete for starting reps early in Minnesota after being tested in the SEC.

26. Dolphins: Cesar Ruiz, C, Michigan

Ruiz is the lone interior linemen with the talent to be considered in the opening round. While the Dolphins will certainly be searching for tackle help along the offensive line, Ruiz projects as an All-Pro center for the next decade.

27. Seahawks: Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise State

Cleveland is a player who has been on the rise after showing upper-level athleticism at the combine. Multiple teams have been linked to the offensive lineman and Seattle certainly offers a spot for teams that may want to move up to select him. However, the Seahawks are also a team that needs tackle help and Cleveland could certainly fill that gap here.

28. Ravens: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU

The Ravens have little at LB outside of Matt Judon. Queen would be an instant upgrade at LB for a Baltimore team that desperately needs an infusion of speed on defense. Queen brings sideline-to-sideline speed and elite athleticism to a position of need to Baltimore.

29. Titans: Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia

Tennessee was a surprise team in 2019. After re-signing Ryan Tannehill and retaining Derrick Henry via the franchise tag, it’s important that they keep the momentum rolling.

Losing Jack Conklin to Cleveland leaves a massive hole on the right side of the Titans’ offensive line. Wilson brings an impressive blend of size, mobility and power that would help the Titans continue their smash-mouth style of offense.

30. Packers: Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU

The Packers have spent multiple years trying to find a replacement for Jordy Nelson. With failed experiments and Allen Lazard penciled in as a starter, it’s time to step up and spend the requisite draft capital to fill the void.

Reagor is the explosive straight-line athlete the Green Bay offense needs to help take some of the pressure off Davante Adams.

31. 49ers: Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU

The 49ers reportedly are interested in moving out of this selection. If they decide to stay, Gladney offers the versatility in both man and zone coverage John Lynch would appreciate. If the 49ers do move this pick, Gladney’s toughness and football IQ should still be coveted by teams looking to move up.

32. Chiefs: Ross Blacklock, IDL, TCU

Blacklock finishes off the final pick of the first round as the third straight selection from TCU.

The Chiefs have few needs at this stanza after winning the Super Bowl in 2019. With Chris Jones’ contract situation looming, Blacklock could help ease the transition along the defensive interior.

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