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.

***

College Football: Week 13 Penn State at Ohio State

#9 Penn State Nittany Lions (9-1) vs #2 Ohio State Buckeyes (10-0)

***

Can Penn State steal a win and the Big Ten East division title?

***

PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS | BIG TEN CONFERENCE

Coach: James Franklin

Penn State Players to watch

*Junior DE Yetur Gross-Matos (6-5/265)

On Wednesday, Minnesota offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca discussed a bit of the game plan along the offensive line. He mentioned how the Gophers rotate bodies to stay fresh and maximize matchups, and he particularly took time to highlight Penn State’s Yetur Gross-Matos.

“99 (Yetur Gross-Matos) is going to be, well, I don’t know if he’s going to be a first-rounder, but I’d pick him in the first round,” praised Ciarrocca. “He’s going to be a high pick in the draft. So just trying to get maybe a little bit more mass on him. I didn’t think it was going to confuse them, but I knew it was something they weren’t working on.”

In his career, Gross-Matos has 31 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks. He is definitely among the top edge players in the country and is a likely candidate to forego his senior season for the 2020 NFL Draft.

**Sophomore WLB Micah Parsons (6-3/241)

A 2018 Freshman All-American and 2019 semifinalist for the Butkus Award — presented annually to college football’s best linebacker, Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons did not start at Minnesota last Saturday, and head coach James Franklin won’t say why beyond describing it as ‘behavior modification.’

Approximately two years removed from making Parsons his program’s highest-rated recruit signee since 2005, Franklin was quick to follow by issuing an overall endorsement of the rising star.

“I also want you guys to understand, Micah really has been good,” he said. “He’s doing really well in school. This is all new to him. It’s a big change; the amount of structure, the expectations, the standards are different. And 99.9-percent of the time, he’s been good.”

**Sophomore QB Sean Clifford (6-2/218)

On Nov. 9, Penn State became a one-loss team going down 31-26 to #17 Minnesota. The upset loss was the first for Clifford as a college starter. Before that, he hadn’t lost as a starting QB since Oct. 14, 2016 — his senior year of high school — in a 19-18 defeat to Warren Central.

Last week, with nine minutes left in the game, Clifford led a methodical, clock-eating 18-play drive that would finish with a Clifford touchdown to put the game on ice. “We believe in Clifford,” tight end Nick Bowers said. “He’s been a tremendous leader.”

Heading into the Ohio State game, Clifford told the media, “I can promise that this will be the best week of preparation that we will have. We will not be denied that. We’ll be extremely, extremely prepared next week.”

*Junior CB Tariq Castro-Fields (6-0/185)

After allowing Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan to throw for 339 yards and three touchdowns a week ago, there was a hope that the secondary would make some adjustments and show improvement for this week.  Instead, Indiana finished the game with 371 total passing yards, a new career-high for QB Patrick Ramsey. 

After the game, Penn State cornerback Tariq Castro-Fields credited miscommunication on defense as the reason for allowing the big plays. “I think we are one of the best defenses in the nation when we communicate, when everybody’s on the same page, but those plays were just miscommunication.”

The Nittany Lions better get things figured out in the secondary quickly before heading to Columbus for the next game to take on the dangerous Buckeyes.  Castro-Fields currently has two interceptions and eight passes defended this year.

***

OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY | BIG TEN CONFERENCE

Coach: Ryan Day

Ohio State Players to watch:

*Junior DE Chase Young (6-5/265)

Ohio State star defensive lineman Chase Young will return to action against Penn State. Young has been suspended for an NCAA rules violation. He admitted that he accepted a loan last year from someone he described as a “family friend” but repaid it in full.

Young has 13.5 sacks this season — just one-half sack shy of Ohio State’s single-season record. He had four sacks, five tackles for loss and two forced fumbles against the Badgers (his last game prior to the suspension), a performance that put him in the Heisman Trophy conversation.

Possibly the number one overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, it’s questionable if any player has been more dominant than Chase Young. Ohio State is the nation’s only team allowing fewer than 10 (9.8) points per game.

Senior FS Jordan Fuller (6-2/207)

Ohio State football’s Jordan Fuller has been named as one of the 12 finalists for the William V. Campbell Trophy – also known as the Academic Heisman. The two-time captain has been selected as an Academic All-American and All-Big Ten the past two seasons as well as the Big Ten Conference Distinguished Scholar in 2018.

Fuller could have left for the NFL after his junior season in 2018, but decided to stay and just like Damon Arnette that has proven to be a great decision. Fuller’s play has not only helped make Ohio State the best defense in the country it has also helped improve his draft stock going into this next NFL draft. Showing his ability to play single-high safety this year while proving in the past that he can come down in the box gives him versatility that every team wants in today’s game.

But what truly separates Fuller is something you can’t always measure on the field, and that is the leadership he provides for this team. Fuller is only the 14th two-time captain in school history and has set a fantastic standard on and off the field. For example, just this week, he was announced as a semifinalist for the Jason Witten Man of the Year award. This award is given to the player who has demonstrated a record of leadership by exhibiting exceptional courage, integrity, and sportsmanship both on and off the field.

*Junior CB Jeffery Okudah (6-1/199)

Looking like a top 15 lock at the very least, depending on how the board falls, is star cornerback Jeffrey Okudah. Listed as the top cornerback in this 2020 NFL Draft class, Okudah has elite footwork off the line of scrimmage, combine with great hand usage that make him a dominant press coverage cornerback.

Standing at 6-1 and 200 pounds, Okudah is bigger and stronger than he appears on film, and it is evident by his ability to bully receivers at the line of scrimmage and track with them stride for stride down the field. Okudah also has elite ball tracking ability, evidenced on film and also by his box score numbers of three picks and four passes defended at this point in his 2019 campaign.

Last year, Okudah tied for the team lead with eight pass break-ups.

**Sophomore OG Wyatt Davis (6-4/315)

One of the most pleasant surprises on the Ohio State football team has been the performance of the offensive line. Davis, a third-year sophomore, is confident about the Buckeyes’ offensive line as a whole and says the group prides itself on being extra physical. The Buckeyes have bludgeoned their schedule this season, winning by an average of 41.7 points, the nation’s highest margin of victory. Ohio State is the nation’s only team scoring more than 50 points (51.5).

“Yeah, that’s kind of been the emphasis since fall camp,” Davis said. “We wanted to change the culture and what people were already making assumptions about us before the season had even started. You know, as far as we’re a young team and we lost a lot of guys.”

“So, that’s really been the emphasis as far as getting up on teams early and trying to assert your dominance as early as you can in the game. And so far up to this point, I feel like we’ve done a pretty good job of doing it. Obviously, we’re still working on ways to get better as the weeks go on, but we’ve definitely been trying to just play physical and play hard. So, I think we’ve been doing a fair job of that.”

Justin Fields and J.K. Dobbins have missed out on a ton of stat-padding opportunities by rarely playing much in the second half of games — even though both the quarterback and tailback still have pretty impressive numbers as it is.

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Ohio Stadium FieldTurf
Nov. 23 | Columbus, Ohio

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*Note: Rankings are based on the CFP (College Football Playoff Rankings).