Nat L. Faybian’s 2020 NFL Mock Draft Version 3.0, Round 1

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Round 1

1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

Photo: © For The Win 

Nothing has changed in the past four months, Burrow still looks to be the first player taken in the NFL Draft and headed to Cincinnati.

2. Washington Redskins: Chase Young, DE, Ohio State

Washington has a new defense-minded head coach in Ron Rivera. He’s got to be thrilled to start building the foundation of his defense with a player of Young’s caliber.

3. Detroit Lions: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State

Quarterback Matthew Stafford was placed on I.R. with bone fractures in his back in December. The Lions went 0-8 without him in the starting lineup. Time to draft the quarterback of the future?

I wouldn’t be surprised. Conventional wisdom though says they take cornerback Jeff Okudah. Detroit’s pass defense was one of the absolute worst in 2019.

***

QB | RB | WR | TE | OT | OG | OC

Nat L. Faybian’s NFL Draft Players Position Rankings

DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S | ST

***

4. New York Giants: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa

The New York media has been reporting that Giants GM Dave Gettleman has fallen in love with Iowa tackle Trista Wirfs. Shortly after the Combine, I had written, “Wirfs showed enough athletic ability at the Combine for the Giants to feel comfortable moving him to the left side.” I’ll stand on that.

5. Miami Dolphins: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia

With five picks in the first two rounds, Miami can load up in this draft. They have several options with this pick, including a quarterback, but they will most likely upgrade their offensive and defensive fronts as the rebuild continues.

Miami plays it safe, grabbing the top proven left tackle in the class. Thomas has long arms, a high football IQ, and rarely gets beat.

6. Los Angeles Chargers: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

Photo: University of Oregon Athletics

Herbert had a very good Senior Bowl, followed by an excellent Combine. For those that questioned his leadership, Herbert really helped himself by returning to school and leading his team to No. 6 in the rankings. He’s got prototypical size, good pre-snap read, and has a strong arm.

7. Carolina Panthers: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn

Carolina has a new head coach, Matt Rhule; and a new offensive coordinator, Joe Brady (of LSU fame). One would think that Rhule and Brady would be eager to starting adding additional weapons their offense right off the bat. However, Carolina had one of the worst run defenses in the NFL. Brown was the winner of the 2019 Lott IMPACT Trophy.

8. Arizona Cardinals: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama

Arizona has needs on both lines. Protecting last year’s number one overall pick, QB Kyler Murray, would seem to be a priority in this offseason. Wills is an excellent run blocker and an improving pass protector. He should continue to improve with good coaching.

9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson

The Jags need help on the defensive side of the ball. They could go for a corner here, but linebacker is also a need for Jacksonville. Losing Telvin Smith (retirement) and Myles Jack (season-ending injury) last year really hurt this team. Simmons’ leadership and high character will be welcomed, along with his exceptional athletic ability.

10. Cleveland Browns: Mikhi Becton, OT, Louisville

Baker Mayfield, much like Kyler Murray, has found out he’s not in Oklahoma anymore. These guys are running for their lives play-after-play. Since Cleveland needs help all across the line, they’ll certainly find the best spot to plug the raw Becton into.

11. New York Jets: C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida

The Jets finished 26th in the league in sacks per attempt, Epenesa would be a great addition. One way to improve that number is to improve coverage down the field. Henderson had an excellent Combine and keeps moving up the boards because of his excellent playing speed.

12. Las Vegas Raiders: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

Las Vegas needs a No. 1 receiver, Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy can do all the little things you want in a receiver. He seems to glide across the turf; has deceptive speed; shows excellent nuanced route running; possesses terrific hands; and remarkable body control. I like Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb, a lot, too. I just think Jeudy is more ready to step in and be a No. 1 receiver.

13. San Francisco 49ers (from Indy): Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

The Indianapolis Colts sent the No. 13 overall selection to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for defensive tackle DeForest Buckner.

I had Ruggs going to Indy with this pick prior to the trade. The question seems is it possible Ruggs could go before Lamb? 4.27 speed can do that.

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: K’lavon Chaisson, OLB, LSU

Almost all other mock drafts have Tampa Bay taking an offensive tackle. However, in this draft, the top four are already off the board. That leaves Tampa in a position where they could trade down for Josh Jones.

I would be inclined to think they’d take a DE/OLB hybrid like K’lavon Chaisson. Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles has his defense going in the right direction and expects a leap from year one to year two. Chaisson has a lot of upside, and could learn a lot from Shaq Barrett and JPP.

15. Denver Broncos: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

Denver would be thrilled to land a potential top ten pick at fifteen. Lamb has exceptional body control, strong hands, and good long speed. Lamb also takes pride in his run blocking. Denver, much like Tampa, would like to grab a tackle here. So that’s still a possibility.

16. Atlanta Falcons: Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State

The Falcons are getting some pressure upfront with Jarrett, McKinley, and Beasley, but not enough. They finished 28th in the league in sacks. Getting some help along the defensive line should be a priority. Gross-Matos has prototypical build with long arms, quickness, and bend.

17. Dallas Cowboys: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina

Dallas needs a stud upfront. We know that Kinlaw visited Dallas back at the end of February. Kinlaw is strong, athletic, and a known disruptor.

18. Miami Dolphins (from Pitt): Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

Playing it safe, Miami finds their quarterback still on the board at No. 18. While Tua was cleared medically at the Scouting Combine, however, team’s would prefer their own doctor’s take a look before investing too much. I think Tua will be here at No. 18, other’s think he’ll be off the board by No. 5. We’ll see. It’ll be fun to watch!

19. Las Vegas Raiders (from Chi): Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama

Las Vegas GM Mike Mayock went to Alabama for his first pick and grabbed Crimson Tide WR Jerry Jeudy. With their second first round pick, the Raiders grab Alabama cornerback Trevon Diggs. Diggs has a great combination of size, speed, and agility. He’s not a finished product, so he’s got the potential to get better.

20. Jacksonville Jaguars (from LAR): Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama

Jacksonville looks to rebuild the backend of their defense. McKinney gets after the ball, either in the air or on the ground. He’s got a good football IQ and takes good angles to the ball. His coverage skills make him a full time player.

21. Philadelphia Eagles: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU

The Eagles will look to bolster their defense. LSU has been putting quality linebackers in the NFL for a number of years now. Queen can blitz, is fluid in coverage, and has shown excellent sideline-to-sideline range. He can give the Eagles a powerful presence in the middle.

22. Minnesota Vikings (from Buf): Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU

Buffalo sent the 22nd overall pick, along with a fifth-round pick (No. 155 overall) and a sixth-round pick (No. 201 overall) in 2020, along with a 2021 fourth-round selection to Minnesota for WR Stefon Diggs.

The Vikings need to get better in their run defense. While Blacklock isn’t a stout anchor, he’s a quick-footed 3-tech that knows how to get in the backfield and disrupt the action.

23. New England Patriots: Zack Baun, LB, Wisconsin

On draft day, Bill Belichick rarely does what you expect him to. What we do know is that the Patriots have a history of successfully utilizing versatile linebackers in their scheme. Baun fits that mold. He can rush the passer as easily as he can smother a tight end in coverage. He looks like a potential good fit here.

24. New Orleans Saints: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

I originally had New Orleans taking a quarterback with their first round pick: Drew Brees can’t play forever. After re-assessing their roster though I realized they don’t have an legitimate deep threat receiver on the roster, so they could so with Mims or Hamler. Higgins though would be too good to pass up here.

25. Minnesota Vikings: Antoine Winfield, S, Minnesota

Could Winfield be drafted before LSU’s Grant Delpit? It only takes one team to fall in love with a player. The Golden Gopher has a knack for always being around the ball. He understands his position and is a solid wrap up tackler. Winfield’s father, Antoine Sr., played nine seasons for the Vikings.

26. Miami Dolphins (from Hou): D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia

If the Dolphins are able to get LB Isaiah Simmons; QB Tua Tagovailoa; and RB D’Andre Swift out of this draft, they would really improve their team. Even if Tua sits on the bench for a year while he learns the in’s and out’s of being an NFL quarterback, it’d still be a good haul.

I like Swift here over Taylor or Edwards-Helaire, I think he fits better with Miami’s conservative philosophy than the other two.

27. Seattle Seahawks: Austin Jackson, OT, USC

I heard Peter King say the other day that Seattle has traded their first pick eight years in a row. Sounds like there’s a trend. However, I’m not doing trades, so…

Seattle needs line help on both sides of the ball. Jackson has quick feet, good balance, and has excellent upside.

28. Baltimore Ravens: Kenneth Murray, ILB, Oklahoma

A quick, slippery, linebacker that plays fast and plays downfield. Gets good drop in coverage, closes quickly on the ball.

29. Tennessee Titans: A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa

Epenesa’s game is predicated on size and power. His stock dropped a little after a lack-luster Combine. Epenesa isn’t the flashiest, but he’s a dependable lunch bucket kind of player who is capable of putting up 10-12 sacks a year.

30. Green Bay Packers: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU

The Packers took Rashan Gary and Darnell Savage in the first round in an attempt to shore up their defense. They could use someone to challenge for the corner spot opposite Jaire Alexander. In his three years on the field Fulton has shown he has enough talent to start at the next level.

31. San Francisco 49ers: Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn

After getting beat by Kansas City’s speed, John Lynch adds an ultra-fast speedster to his defense. Igbinoghene is the son of two Olympic athletes and possesses his own sprinter’s speed.

With a lack of picks, San Francisco is expected to trade out of this spot.

32. Kansas City Chiefs: Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor

The rich get richer. Kansas City could go defense with this pick. But when you have a 4.38 speedster sitting there, why not give Mahomes just one more target?

***

Round 1 | Round 2 | Round 3

The 85th NFL Draft will take place from April 23-25, 2020, in Las Vegas on the iconic Las Vegas Strip.

***

Nat L. Faybian’s 2020 NFL Mock Draft Version 2.0, Round 1

Round 1

1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

Photo: Bill Feig|Associated Press 

Burrow has opted out of the Senior Bowl; he opted out of the Combine, and he still looks like a lock for the No. 1 overall pick.

2. Washington Redskins: Chase Young, DE, Ohio State

Young also skipped the Combine, but continues to hold the second spot in the draft.

With new head coach Ron Rivera being a defensive-minded guy, it seems reasonable Washington could build around a player of Young’s caliber.

3. Detroit Lions: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

Quarterback Matthew Stafford was placed on I.R. with bone fractures in his back in December. The Lions went 0-8 without him in the starting lineup. Time to draft the quarterback of the future? Tua said numerous times he’d rather watch and learn for a year opposed to being a day one starter. This looks like it could be a good fit.

At the Combine, Tua said he felt good; that his medical checked out well; and that he would start throwing in the spring.

***

QB | RB | WR | TE | OT | OG | OC

Nat L. Faybian’s NFL Draft Players Position Rankings

DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S | ST

***

4. New York Giants: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa

Giants GM Dave Gettleman took Duke QB Daniel Jones with the sixth overall pick. Wirfs showed enough athletic ability at the Combine for the Giants to feel comfortable moving him to the left side. Another option, they could gamble here and go with Becton instead.

5. Miami Dolphins: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia

With five picks in the first two rounds, Miami can load up in this draft. They have several options with this pick, including a quarterback, but they will most likely upgrade their offensive and defensive fronts as the rebuild continues.

Miami plays it safe, grabbing the top proven left tackle in the class.

6. Los Angeles Chargers: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

Photo: University of Oregon Athletics

Herbert had a very good Senior Bowl, followed by an excellent Combine. He’s got plenty of teams interested and could end up going higher.

7. Carolina Panthers: Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State

Carolina’s new head coach, Matt Rhule takes the shut down corner from Ohio State.

8. Arizona Cardinals: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama

Arizona has needs on both lines. Protecting last year’s number one overall pick, QB Kyler Murray, would seem to be a priority in this offseason.

9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn

The Jags finished 28th in the league versus the run. Brown is the most athletic interior lineman in the draft. The Jags are hoping that Brown, the winner of the 2019 Lott IMPACT Trophy, can make an immediate impact in Jacksonville.

10. Cleveland Browns: Mikhi Becton, OT, Louisville

Baker Mayfield, much like Kyler Murray, has found out he’s not in Oklahoma anymore. These guys are running for their lives play-after-play. Since Cleveland needs help all across the line, they’ll certainly find the best spot to plug the raw Becton into.

11. New York Jets: C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida

The Jets finished 26th in the league in sacks per attempt, Epenesa would be a great addition. One way to improve that number is to improve coverage down the field. Henderson had an excellent Combine and keeps moving up the boards.

12. Las Vegas Raiders: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson

The versatile Simmons can do it all. He can rush the passer; he can play linebacker; and he can drop back and play some safety.

13. Indianapolis Colts: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

QB Jacoby Brissett is one of the top deep ball passers in the league. By giving him a guy with 4.27 speed, Indianapolis could become a quick strike team.

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: K’lavon Chaisson, OLB, LSU

Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles has his defense going in the right direction and expects a leap from year one to year two. Chaisson has a lot of upside, especially in the pass rush.

15. Denver Broncos: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

Denver could use an offensive tackle, a wide receiver, and a cornerback. With the top four tackles off the board, and the top two corners off the board, Denver has it’s pick of the top two WR’s in this class: Jeudy and Lamb.

16. Atlanta Falcons: Javon Kinlaw, DT, So. Carolina

The Falcons are getting some pressure upfront with Jarrett, McKinley, and Beasley, but not enough. They finished 28th in the league in sacks. Getting some help along the defensive line should be a priority.

17. Dallas Cowboys: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

Dallas grabs a dynamic playmaker in Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb.

18. Miami Dolphins (from Pitt): Jordan Love, Utah State

Without having to trade up. The Dolphins find Love falling in their lap at pick 18. Love has the most raw talent and biggest upside of tall the QBs in this year’s draft.

19. Las Vegas Raiders (from Chi): Josh Jones, OT, Houston

The Raiders need help on the defensive side of the board, but with all the top tackles gone, now is not the time to wait if you want a good one. Jones has risen up the draft boards with impressive outings at the Senior Bowl and the Combine.

20. Jacksonville Jaguars (from LAR): Patrick Queen, LB, LSU

Jacksonville took some defensive line help with pick No. 9. They continue to improve their defensive by taking the speedy linebacker from LSU.

21. Philadelphia Eagles: Kenneth Murray, ILB, Oklahoma

The Eagles will look to bolster their defense during the offseason. Murray is capable of directing the Philadelphia defense.

22. Buffalo Bills: Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State

Buffalo looks to bolster their defense by getting Penn State’s Yetur Gross-Matos. Gross-Matos showed enough athleticism to get himself into the bottom of the first round.

23. New England Patriots: Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin

Preparing for life without Brady, the Patriots will need to lean on the running game more-so-than-ever. Taylor had an impressive week at the Combine.

24. New Orleans Saints: Jacob Eason, QB, Washington

Eason has all the tangibles. It will be Sean Payton’s job to grow him into the quarterback of the future.

25. Minnesota Vikings: Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah

The Vikings are in need of a cornerback, Johnson is one of the best.

26. Miami Dolphins (from Hou): Justin Madubuike, DT, Tech A&M

Madubuike continues to impress. His Combine efforts could push him into the first round. The Dolphins are ranked 30th, defensively, in yards per game. There is no question they’ll have to address their lack of talent and depth an cornerback. Diggs looks like a top 25 pick at this point.

27. Seattle Seahawks: Carlos Ruiz, OC, Michigan

Seattle needs to improve the core of its offensive line. Ruiz is the top center in this year’s class.

28. Baltimore Ravens: Zack Baun, LB, Wisconsin

Baun’s Combine, paired with his game film, is enough to entice a team to take him late in the first round. Baltimore could also defensive line here.

29. Tennessee Titans: Kyle Dugger, S, Lenior-Rhyne

Titans shore up the middle of the field. They surprise everybody by staying pat and taking the athletic safety from Lenior-Rhyne, Kyle Dugger.

30. Green Bay Packers: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU

The Packers go out and get high caliber wide receiver for their offense.

31. San Francisco 49ers: De’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia

Swift is considered the best running back in the class. For the 49ers to find him still on the board at 31 is a steal.

32. Kansas City Chiefs: Albert Okwuegbunam, TE, Missouri

Kansas City’s game is based on speed. Albert O. ran a 4.49 forty, enough to sneak into the first round … we’ll see …

***

The 85th NFL Draft will take place from April 23-25, 2020, in Las Vegas on the iconic Las Vegas Strip.

***

Nat L. Faybian’s 2020 NFL Mock Draft Version 1.0, Round 1

Round 1

1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

Photo: Bill Feig|Associated Press 

Burrow has opted out of the Senior Bowl, but even if he opted out of the Combine, he’d still look like a lock for the No. 1 overall pick.

2. Washington Redskins: Chase Young, DE, Ohio State

With new head coach Ron Rivera being a defensive-minded guy, it seems reasonable Washington could build around a player of Young’s caliber.

3. Detroit Lions: Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State

Lions should jump at the chance to take a lockdown cover corner.

4. New York Giants: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa

A surprise to everyone, Giants GM Dave Gettleman took Duke QB Daniel Jones with the sixth overall pick. This year, Gettleman can get him a blindside protector.

5. Miami Dolphins: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia

With five picks in the first two rounds, Miami can load up in this draft. They have several options with this pick, including a quarterback, but they will most likely upgrade their offensive and defensive fronts as the rebuild continues.

6. Los Angeles Chargers: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

Photo: University of Oregon Athletics

Strangely enough, most analysts seems to forget that Herbert was in the conversation of being a top three pick last year. In 2019, his stats improved all across the board, and he led his team to a top five finish. Chargers take Herbert to replace Phillip Rivers.

7. Carolina Panthers: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

Baylor’s Matt Rhule is the new head coach in Carolina: that means a dedication to the spread offense. That means an offense that scores a lot of points. Rhule will need smart, athletic, quarterback with a strong arm.

8. Arizona Cardinals: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

Arizona has needs on both lines. I think Kingsbury addresses those needs in FA and later in the draft and uses the No. 8 overall pick on a playmaker for his offense.

9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn

The Jags finished 28th in the league versus the run. Brown is the most athletic interior lineman in the draft. The Jags are hoping that Brown, the winner of the 2019 Lott IMPACT Trophy, can make an immediate impact in Jacksonville.

10. Cleveland Browns: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama

Baker Mayfield, much like Kyler Murray, has found out he’s not in Oklahoma anymore. These guys are running for their lives play-after-play. So, like Arizona, Cleveland will look for some OL help early in the draft.

11. New York Jets: A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa

Photo: Hawkeye Sports

When it’s all said and done, Epenesa could be the best unheralded prospect in this class. He doesn’t necessarily have star-power, but he does everything right. The Jets finished 26th in the league in sacks per attempt, Epenesa would be a great addition.

12. Las Vegas Raiders: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

The Raiders have two first round picks. They need a wide out and a cover corner. Jeudy is a top ten talent, Raiders gladly grab him at twelve.

13. Indianapolis Colts: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

QB Jacoby Brissett is one of the top deep ball passers in the league. By giving him a guy with 4.25 speed, Indianapolis could become a quick strike team.

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson

Photo: WLTX.com

Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles has his defense going in the right direction and expects a leap from year one to year two. Simmons’ versatility, coverge skills, and sideline-to-sideline athleticism would make him an excellent fit. They could also go with Javon Kinlaw here.

15. Denver Broncos: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU

Denver could use an offensive tackle, a wide receiver, and a cornerback. With five picks in the middle rounds, they could easily trade up for a receiver in round two while grabbing the second best corner in the draft.

16. Atlanta Falcons: Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State

The Falcons are getting some pressure upfront with Jarrett, McKinley, and Beasley, but not enough. They finished 28th in the league in sacks. Getting some help along the defensive line should be a priority.

17. Dallas Cowboys: Javon Kinlaw, DT, So. Carolina

Dallas ranked just outside the top ten in run defense, still Jerry Jones knows how important it is to stop the opponent’s running game. Kinlaw would be a great pick for the Cowboys at this pick.

18. Miami Dolphins (from Pitt): Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama

Photo: Twitter|TrevonDiggs

Dolphins are ranked 30th, defensively, in yards per game. There is no question they’ll have to address their lack of talent and depth an cornerback. Diggs looks like a top 25 pick at this point.

19. Las Vegas Raiders (from Chi): Grant Delpit, S, LSU

Delpit looked like a top ten pick heading into the season. Injuries slowed him down a bit in 2019, but his football instincts and athleticism make him seems like a steal here.

20. Jacksonville Jaguars (from LAR): K’lavon Chaisson, OLB, LSU

Jacksonville took some defensive line help with pick No. 9. Here, look for them to address the offensive line. However, if they can add to the pass rush with redshirt sophomore K’lavon Chaisson from LSU, it’s a possibility.

21. Philadelphia Eagles: Kenneth Murray, ILB, Oklahoma

The Eagles will look to bolster their defense during the offseason. Murray is capable of directing the Philadelphia defense.

22. Buffalo Bills: Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado

Shenault will give the Bills the opportunity to stretch the field.

23. New England Patriots: Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame

For the Patriots offense to truly be effective, they need a solid all-around tight end. Kmet gives them a guy who can block and find the seams.

***

QB | RB | WR | TE | OT | OG | OC

Nat L. Faybian’s NFL Draft Players Position Rankings

DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S | ST

***

24. New Orleans Saints: Jacob Eason, QB, Washington

Eason has all the tangibles. It will be Sean Payton’s job to grow him into the quarterback of the future.

25. Minnesota Vikings: Austin Jackson, OT, USC

The Vikings continue to improve their offensive line by picking up USC tackle Austin Jackson.

26. Miami Dolphins (from Hou): Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia

The Dolphins pick their quarterback of the future in 5-star recruit Jake Fromm. Fromm’s football IQ would be valued by a defensive-minded head coach who like mistake free football. By picking up a quarterback in the first round, Miami can sign him to a five-year contract instead of four.

27. Seattle Seahawks: D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia

Seattle surprised everyone when they selected San Diego State’s Rashaad Penny in the first round in 2018. Penny and starting running back Chris Carson are both recovering from injuries. Perhaps its time Pete Carroll invest in a blue-chip running back?

28. Baltimore Ravens: Patrick McQueen, LB, LSU

Seattle could go wide receiver if they had their eye on a particular guy. They are also in need of a starting linebacker. McQueen proved in his junior year to be a nice combination of size and speed.

29. Tennessee Titans: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama

Titans shore up the middle with a guy that’s known as a box safety. Although, that’s not entirely true, as McKinney spent nearly equal time covering the back end or walking out as a slot defender.

30. Green Bay Packers: Tyler Biadasz, OC, Wisconsin

Technically sound and assignment savvy, Biadasz is the country’s top center. He fires off the ball, plays with a bit of a nasty streak and is still learning the position.

31. San Francisco 49ers: Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia

Hall could have been a first round pick last year had he decided to come out. He returned to Virginia, but injured his leg returning a punt against Miami. His health evaluation will determine his final draft grade.

32. Kansas City Chiefs: Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin

The Doak Walker Award winner racked up over 6,000 yards in three seasons in Madison. His ability to find the crease and explode through the hole is second to none.

***

The 85th NFL Draft will take place from April 23-25, 2020, in Las Vegas on the iconic Las Vegas Strip.

***

Quarterbacks/2020

Updated April 19, 2020. Pre-Draft.

Nothing much has changed. Tua dropped a spot and Nate Stanley jumped over Jalen Hurts. Everyone else is status quo heading into the draft.

2020 NFL Draft:  Top Rated QBs

1. Joe Burrow, LSU, 6-2/221

Photo: David J. Phillip|AP

If there was any doubt about Burrow being the favorite to go No. 1 overall in the draft, those doubts were dispelled in the National Championship game as Burrow methodically picked apart Clemson’s secondary.

Borrow’s magical season came to a perfect end by winning a National Championship, a dream Burrow said he’s had since he was 5-years old.

During LSU’s drubbing of Clemson, the defending National Champions, Burrow continued to rewrite history. By tossing five touchdown passes in the game, the Heisman Trophy winner up his season total to 60, breaking the previous record of 58 held by Colt McCoy. He also took possession of the top spot in passing yards (5,671) this season.

Burrow did not work out at the Combine.

2. Justin Herbert, Oregon, 6-6/236

Had Herbert decided to turn pro last year, he quite possibly could have been the number one overall pick. He said one of the reasons he returned for his senior season was to help the Ducks win a Conference Championship. He did just that on Dec. 6, leading Oregon to a 37-15 win over a stingy Utah defense to win the Pac-12 Championship. The Ducks are now ranked No. 6 in the nation and will take on the eighth ranked Wisconsin Badgers in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day.

On Dec. 10, Herbert was named the winner of the Campbell Trophy, commonly known as the “academic Heisman.” Herbert beat out 11 other finalists for the award, which is presented annually to the top scholar-athlete in college football, during the 62nd National Football Foundation annual awards dinner in New York.

Herbert’s 4.01 GPA is highest among the 12 finalists, who included Eastern Washington’s Spencer Blackburn, Georgia’s Rodrigo Blankenship, Ohio State’s Jordan Fuller, Minnesota State’s Alex Goettl, Kansas State’s Adam Holtorf, Carnegie Mellon’s Michael Lohmeier, Virginia’s Jordan Mack, Montana’s Dante Olson, Cornell’s Jelani Taylor, Stanford’s Casey Toohill and Western Michigan’s Jon Wassink.

The Ducks senior is 272 of 408 for 3,333 yards with 32 touchdowns and five interceptions this season. Herbert had thrown an touchdown in 34 consecutive games, a streak that was broken Oct. 26 vs Washington State. He’s thrown for over 10,000 yards in his career, with an 95-22 Td/Int ratio. He’s possesses an incredibly strong arm, and his passes look effortless – he throws the football as if it were a baseball. He has deceptive speed, when he chooses to use it. For the most part, he’s been primarily a pocket passes the last two seasons. There’s no reason Herbert’s stock won’t stay at the top of scouts draft boards.

Senior Bowl: Herbert had a great week at the Senior Bowl. He was named the game’s MVP and only solidified himself as a top 10 pick.

Herbert was the top performing QB at the combine.

3. Tua Tagovailoa*, Alabama, 6-0/217

I think the lock down has hurt several players, especially players expected to go very high in the draft. Tua would be one of those players. Without team physicians getting to look him over, teams will be less certain on what they are getting for their investment. I think because of that Tua drops the middle of round one. The reports of a 13 score on the Wonderlic also won’t help him get into the top ten.

On Nov. 16, Tua dislocated his hip as he was tackled by two Mississippi players. On Nov. 18, Tua underwent surgery on his hip, and his doctor said everything went well. Prognosis was excellent for a return to the field. He is expected to be throwing the ball by spring. He’s already up and walking about with minimal assistance.

Just based on past performance, Tua is clearly a top-tier quarterback. His ball placement is excellent; decision-making outstanding. Is he perfect? No. Tua has room to grow – which is encouraging. How much better can he be with professional coaching and more game experience? The ceiling is high. At this point, it looks like where he goes in the draft will be determined by his medical reports.

Tua went through the medical evaluation process at the Combine, reporting that he would pass the physical and be throwing this spring.

4. Jordan Love*, Utah State, 6-3/224

Love played his final game in an Aggies uniform on Dec. 20 in the Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl against Kent State. Ten days earlier, the junior from Bakersfield, Calif., decided to forego his final year of eligibility and declare for the 2020 NFL Draft.

In his final collegiate game, Love threw for 308 yards with three touchdowns and an interception for Utah State, becoming the Aggies’ school-record holder with 9,003 yards of total offense. He finishes his career with 689 completions, also a record, for 8,591 yards and 60 touchdowns.

Love flashes NFL talent. He can extend plays, showing shiftiness in the pocket; he has plenty of arm strength to make even the most difficult of throws to the sidelines; and has shown on film, over and over again, that he is a superb athlete. Scouts love his potential but worry about his accuracy, poise and decision-making. “When you look at Jordan Love,” said Daniel Jeremiah, an NFL Network analyst, “you’re intrigued not by what he is right now, but by what he can become.”

Senior Bowl: Did do anything to help or hurt himself.

Love had a slow start, but eased into the drills as the day wore on. Much like the Senior Bowl, he neither helped himself nor hurt himself.

5. Jacob Eason*, Washington, 6-5/231

A five-star recruit from Lake Stevens, Washington, Eason originally signed at Georgia. In 2016, his freshman year, he played in 13 games for the Bulldogs, throwing for 2,430 yards, 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Georgia finished 8-5 that year, and many thought the team underperformed.

In 2017, Eason was beat out by another five-star recruit, freshman Jake Fromm. With Fromm at the helm, the team finished 13-2 and it looked like Eason would have a difficult time finding his way on the field, so he transferred to Washington.

Per NCAA tranfer rules, Eason sat out the 2018 season. In 2019, he started all 13 games, throwing for 3,132 yards, 23 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Washington finished with an 8-5 record, and many thought the team underperformed.

Eason makes scouts drool with his physical traits. He big, tall, has a rocket for an arm. However, he isn’t the most consistent. On one play he looks like an all-star; on the next play, one wonders, “What was he thinking?” Reminiscent of Jameis Winston in that way. Eason’s biggest question heading into the draft is will he be able to put it all together.

Eason continues to look the part. Combine helped him maintain is position.

6. Jake Fromm*, Georgia, 6-1/219

Fromm is the guy who beat out Jacob Eason at Georgia in 2017. The Bulldogs are 36-7 in Fromm’s three years under center. He has thrown for 8,236 yards with 78 touchdowns and 18 interceptions.

He’s shown himself to be a capable leader of the offense. He’s best when throwing underneath. He has a high football IQ and can handle all the pre-snap reads. He reads the field well and routinely goes through his progressions. He’s more of a west coast offense, dink-and-dunk quarterback. He’s not going to threaten opponents with deep shots down the field, and he won’t wow anyone with his athleticism. He hardly runs with the ball and doesn’t show the feet to slide in the pocket to avoid the rush they way elite quarterback do.

Fromm will need to show well in pre-draft workouts to prove to scouts he has what it takes to be successful at the next level.

Fromm’s small hands had some people talking, but otherwise, his Combine too was uneventful.

7. Nate Stanley, Iowa, 6-3/235

Stanley has good size and his Wonderlic score of 40 helps him move up one spot leap-frogging Jalen Hurts.

Stanley is an old-fashioned pocket passer. In his four years at Iowa City, he has rushed for exactly -95 yards. Although, it should be mentioned, he did run the Wing T in high school. He is the Hawkeyes first three-year starter at quarterback since Ricky Stanzi graduated in 2010. From his junior to senior season, Stanley has a four-year completion percentage of 58.1. He threw 26 touchdowns in ’17 and ’18, but has only connected for 14, so far, in ’19. He also lost two of his favorite targets, Noah Fant and Noah Hockenstein to the first round of the NFL Draft at the end of last season. Stanley currently happens to be fourth in the Big Ten in yards passing with 2,738. While his quarterback rating is down (slightly) from previous seasons, Stanley is also not getting the protection he had the two years prior, causing him to force throws or throw the ball away more often. Stanley possess ideal size and plenty of arm strength for the next level.

8. Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma, 6-1/222

This season, Hurts is completing 71% of his passes for 3,634 yards and 32 touchdowns to just 7 interceptions. Hurts is also producing on the ground, as one of the top dual-threat snap takers in America Hurts has rushed for 1,255 yards and 18 touchdowns, averaging 5.7 yards a carry.

“He’s an outstanding runner, first and foremost,” Baylor coach Matt Rhule said. “He can run, both in terms of keeping plays alive, first in the conference in passing, and they do a lot of play-action. He’s able to move around and keep plays extended. … So they present a lot of challenges and a lot of that is a credit to him. He’s a great runner, has great vision, he’s accurate — he can do it in a multitude of ways.”

Senior Bowl: During Senior Bowl week, reports were that he continued to have issues with consistency in hitting his targets. He had terrible protection in the game which didn’t help him at all.

Hurts helped himself by throwing well at the Combine.

9. James Morgan, FIU, 6-4/229

Perhaps no quarterback did more to help his stock during the all-star games than FIU’s James Morgan. Morgan played in the East-West Shine game and led all passers with 116 yards. He also won the the Pat Tillman Award to recognize the player who best exemplifies intelligence, sportsmanship and service. The award celebrates a student athlete’s achievements and conduct on and off the football field.

Morgan finished his senior season at FIU with 2,585 passing yards and 14 touchdowns. His 14 touchdowns added to his career FIU total of 40, which ranked as the second-most all-time in program history.

A little known fact, but Morgan won a state title in track and field as a senior in high school, running the first leg on the 4×400-meter relay team. “I was the slowest leg,” he told the Miami Herald, “but it felt good because the knock on me at the time was that I was a pocket passer and not as athletic. That gave me a lot of motivation.”

10. Nick Tiano, UT-Chattanooga, 6-5/240

Tiano earned MVP honors in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl after completing eight of ten passes for 135 yards and a touchdown.

Tiano outplayed Michigan State’s Brian Lewerke and Ohio’s Nathan Rourke. He looked better than Oregon State’s Jake Luton too. He put nice touch on his passes; he showed he has the arm strength needed for the next level. He’s more althletic and agile than Montez or Stanley.

Tiano was not invited to the Combine.

11. Jake Luton, Oregon State, 6-6/224

Luton was named one of three Mayo Clinic Comeback Players of the Year. Luton suffered season-ending injuries the past two seasons, but returned this year to pass for 28 touchdowns and three interceptions.

After putting on the best performance of his career in the Beavers’ 48-31 win over UCLA, Luton was named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week (week six), a day after he was selected as the national player of the week by the College Football Performance Awards. He was also selected as a Manning Award Star of the week and was placed on the Davey O’Brien Award’s Great 8 list. Both awards recognize the top quarterbacks every week.

Did not participate at the Combine.

12. Anthony Gordon, Wash. State, 6-2/205

Entering 2019, Gordon had thrown for all of 17 yards during three seasons at Washington State (one year was a redshirt). But Gordon has had plenty of experience throwing the ball up and down the field. As a junior at Terra Nova High School in Pacifica, Calif., he threw for 3,410 yards and 32 touchdowns. Then, as a senior, he set the Central Coast Central Section record with 4,899 passing yards and 49 touchdowns.

Gordon, who pitched and played in the infield for Terra Nova, was drafted in the 36th round by the New York Mets in 2015.  But he picked football over baseball and went to City College of San Francisco. There he threw for 3,864 yards and 37 touchdowns while leading his team to a 12-1 record and the state community college title.

Did not participate at the Combine.

So far, this year, Gordon has completed nearly 72 percent of his passes and is on track to throw for over 5,000 yards. He’s also thrown 45 touchdowns this season. Gordon has been called a “gunslinger” by teammates. He loves to take chances and throw the ball downfield, with an arm that running back Max Borghi describes as “a cannon.”

But he picked football over baseball and went to City College of San Francisco to play football. There he threw for 3,864 yards and 37 touchdowns while leading his team to a 12-1 record and the state community college title.

Senior Bowl: Played better in the game than in practice, showing he’s a gamer. A former shortstop, he can throw from all angles.

13. Brian Lewerke, Michigan State, 6-2/213

Lewerke has been a bit of a puzzle. His best season was his sophomore year in 2017. He threw of 2,793 yards with a Td/Int ratio of 20-7. He also led the team to a 10-3 record. Lewerke started ’18 by completing over 64% of his passes, but he hurt his shoulder vs Penn State. After the injury, he only completed 43% of his passes. He finished 2018, passing for only 2,040 yards and had a Td/Int ratio of 8-11.

Big expectations were in line for Michigan State this year, and they didn’t live up to them. Lewerke’s performance this year isn’t wowing scouts. He’s completed over 58% of his passes for 2,759 yards while throwing 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

When healthy, Lewerke looks like he’ll have no problems playing at the next level. He has a quick release, can make the touch pass, or throw a dart to the sidelines. He has enough wiggle to avoid the rush and just enough athleticism to scramble for a first down.

14. Steven Montez, Colorado, 6-4/231

Analysts have been talking about Montez’s arm-strength since he replaced the much lauded Sefo Liufau in 2017. Liufau led Colorado to a 10-4 season and had set school records for career touchdown passes and career passing yards.

Like Eason, scouts look at Montez’s physical traits and think what might be. Montez can really sling the ball in the short area, putting plenty of power behind his throws. He throws a nice tight spiral. He’s been fortunate to have several quality receivers – Laviska Shenault, Tony Brown, and K.D. Nixon – who get plenty of yac.

Athletic enough to scramble for a few yards, but not a threat. Throws are not consistent, and doesn’t do well when the pocket collapses around him. Has thrown 33 interceptions in his career. He has a lot of upside because of his physical traits.

Senior Bowl: Pretty much looked like he did during the regular season. Can make some really nice throws, but doesn’t see the field well. Not a threat to run. He’s a developmental prospect.

15. Shea Patterson, Michigan, 6-0/212

Patterson’s career at Michigan hasn’t gone the way most had figured. Prior to Nov. 12 vs Michigan State (week 12), Patterson hadn’t passed for 300 yards in a game since was the starter at Ole Miss in 2017. Up until the Michigan State game, his best statistical peformances were both for 276 yards (vs Rutger and Penn State). He’s had to overcome some fumbling problems, fumbling five times in the season’s first three games and losing four; and he threw for a career low 100 yards on 12 attempts earlier this year in on a rainy night (Oct 26) in Ann Arbor against No. 8 ranked Notre Dame. He did, however, manage to throw two touchdown passes and get the win.

Patterson led the Wolverines to a 10-3 finish last season, but then they were soundly beat down by Florida (41-15) in the Peach Bowl. A Big Ten East title was anticipated this year, if not a Big Ten Championship, but losses to No. 13 Wisconsin and No. 7 Penn State have already made this season a disappointment for the Maize and Blue faithful.

As a passer, Patterson can push the ball down the field. He is a good scrambler, and might make his best throws on broken plays. He flashes the ability to make some really fine touch passes downfield, and he can also throw the fastball down the middle. Patterson is a good athlete with excellent mobility to dodge sacks and extend plays with his feet. He is dangerous at picking up yards with his feet and improvising on plays to make something out of nothing thanks to his light feet and escapability.

Senior Bowl: Just like in the regular season, Patterson looks great on one play and then not-so-much on the next. He has the tools though, he’ll get drafted.

Patterson came in at a little over six foot during the Combine weigh-ins.

***

OTHER PLAYERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON:

  • Cole McDonald*, Hawaii, 6-/215
  • Kelly Bryant, Missouri, 6-3/229
  • Bryce Perkins, Virginia, 6-3/210
  • Tyler Huntley, Utah, 6-1/210
  • Tommy Stevens, Mississippi State, 6-5/232
  • Nathan Rourke, Ohio, 6-2/209
  • Carter Stanley, Kansas, 6-5/215
  • Ty Storey, Western Kentucky, 6-2/220
  • Mason Fine, North Texas, 5-11/180
  • Gage Gubrud, Washington State, 6-2/205
  • J’Mar Smith, Louisiana Tech, 6-1/226
  • Brandon Wimbush, UCF, 6-2/209
  • Jon Wassink, Western Michigan, 6-2/205
  • Justin McMillan, Tulane, 6-3/210
  • Khalil Tate, Arizona, 6-2/215

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SMALL SCHOOL PROSPECTS

  • Kevin Davidson, Princeton, 6-4/225
  • Reid Sinnett, San Diego, 6-4/225
  • Case Crookus, Northern Arizona, 6-4/200
  • Kurt Rawlings, Yale, 6-2/210
  • Jacob Knipp, No. Colorado, 6-4/215
  • Ryan Boyle, Indiana State, 6-2/215
  • Ronald Rivers, Slippery Rock, 6-3/230
  • Deondre Francois. Hampton, 6-1/215
  • Jake Maier, UC Davis, 6-0/200
  • Tom Flacco, Towson, 6-1/208
  • Jayru Campbell, Ferris State, 6-5/215
  • Jackson Erdmann, St. John’s (MN), 6-4/215
  • Broc Rutter, North Central (Il), 6-2/195

***

*Denotes underclassman.

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QB | RB | WR | TE | OT | OG | OC

Nat L. Faybian’s 2020 NFL Draft Players Position Rankings

DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S | ST