With the 2020 NFL Draft on the horizon, many are speculating which prospects are on the rise. In this version, four members of The Athletes Hub have collaborated to come up with the most accurate list possible. Earlier versions can be found here:
1. Cincinnati Bengals – QB Joe Burrow (LSU)
It’s almost a clear-cut choice at this point. Joe Burrow is projected to go with the top selection in nearly every mock draft. The Bengals have hosted conversations with the LSU quarterback on a weekly basis, only further justifying the narrative.
2. Washington Redskins – DE Chase Young (OSU)
The need for a passer-rusher isn’t immediate for the Redskins, but Young is a generational talent. With his potential for years to come, this selection becomes a no-brainer.
3. Detroit Lions – CB Jeff Okaduh (OSU)
The Lions are likely to be offered a fair deal with their current pick, but it won’t be enough for them to drop down in an unpredictable draft setting. Detroit will take the top cornerback in the draft; someone they have been linked with throughout the process.
4. New York Giants – OT Tristan Wirfs (Iowa)
Throughout mock drafts, Wirfs has been regarded as the top offensive lineman available. The Giants haven’t seen consistent play from their tackles in Nate Solder and Mike Remmers, as their combined 97 pressures allowed last season were the most among a duo in the NFL.
5. Miami Dolphins – QB Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama)
Miami is taking a risk here, with Tagovailoa somewhat unproven. However, the Dolphins are in desperate need for a dynamic player who can change the atmosphere. Tagovailoa has only lost two starts in college, while the Dolphins haven’t won a playoff game since the 2000 season.
6. Los Angeles Chargers – QB Justin Herbert (Oregon)
With Rivers moving on to Indianapolis, the Chargers now have a glaring hole at the quarterback position. Herbert drastically helped his draft stock this offseason after showing out at the Combine and winning MVP honors at the Senior Bowl.
7. Carolina Panthers – LB Isaiah Simmons (Clemson)
The news of Luke Keuchly’s retirement came to the surprise of many. He was the anchor and leader of the Panthers defense. With the departure, Carolina has the opportunity to fill their need at linebacker with one of the most athletic players in Isaiah Simmons.
8. Arizona Cardinals – OT Jerdrick Wills (Alabama)
While Kyler Murray has proven to be an efficient option outside of the pocket, the Cardinals need to protect him at all costs. According to PFF, Arizona’s run-blocking grade ranked as the fourth-worst in the NFL last season.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars – DT Derrick Brown (Auburn)
Jacksonville needs to bolster their defensive line after losing Calais Campbell. Entering the draft, Derrick Brown is the top interior defensive lineman available. There will be potential trade offers for the Jaguars, but with a prospect like Brown on the board, they would be unlikely to move down.
10. Cleveland Browns – OT Mekhi Becton (Louisville)
The Browns offensive line never recovered after Joe Thomas’ retirement in 2018, and that only got worse after Kevin Zeitler was traded to the New York Giants this past season. Becton is a strong, yet agile left tackle who can protect Baker Mayfield’s blindside for the foreseeable future.
11. New York Jets – OT Andrew Thomas (Georgia)
With Andrew Thomas somehow on the board, it becomes a bargain selection for the Jets. Sam Darnold needs protection up front, despite the temptation to take a receiver. Thomas is quick with his hands, fast off the mark, and results in an easy pick for New York.
12. Las Vegas Raiders – WR CeeDee Lamb (Oklahoma)
Despite Tyrell Williams being listed as the top receiver for the Raiders, he has never played a full 16 games since his 2015 entrance into the NFL. The addition of CeeDee Lamb allows for Derek Carr to be set up for success.
13. San Francisco 49ers – WR Jerry Jeudy (Alabama)
Considering Lamb is off the board, the 49ers could still focus on their need for a wide receiver. With Emmanuel Sanders in New Orleans, the 49ers still have a vacant 500+ receiving yards and 5+ touchdowns up for grabs in 2020.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – QB Jordan Love (Utah State)
Tampa Bay needs to start grooming someone to take over Tom Brady sooner than later. While Jordan Love isn’t comparable to Burrow or Tagovailoa, he could be the most successful quarterback in this draft class based on the team and mentors he is surrounded by.
15. Denver Broncos – WR Henry Ruggs III (Alabama)
Denver will try to move forward with Drew Lock as their quarterback in this scenario. They will want to add a weapon to their offense, and the addition of Ruggs plays to the narrative. He ran an impressive 4.27 40-yard dash at the Combine, and his efforts will pay off at the Draft.
16. Atlanta Falcons – CB C.J. Henderson (Florida)
The secondary of the Atlanta Falcons could use some assistance. They will look to grab the second-best corner in this draft in C.J. Henderson. At 6’1″ and 202 pounds, Henderson offers favorable size for a defensive back. His ability to cover and his IQ for the game make him an instant starter in the NFL.
17. Dallas Cowboys – S Xavier McKinney (Alabama)
The team brought in Ha Ha Clinton-Dix this spring after losing Jeff Heath to free agency, but Xavier Woods is also going into the season on a contract year. The cornerback position is another team need after losing Byron Jones in free agency. With Okudah and Henderson off the board, the selection of McKinney still is a bargain selection for Dallas.
18. Miami Dolphins – DT Javon Kinlaw (South Carolina)
After already risking their future in the hands of Tagovailoa, the Dolphins will play it safer with this selection. Kinlaw had a great senior season, with 35 tackles and six sacks en route to creating nightmares for opposing quarterbacks.
19. Las Vegas Raiders – LB Patrick Queen (LSU)
Over the last several weeks, the draft stock of Queen has been steadily on the rise. Most have him ranked as a late first round selection, but the Raiders have been difficult to read on Draft Day. Las Vegas could use a linebacker to take control on defense.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars – CB Kristian Fulton (LSU)
After trading away their star cornerback in Jalen Ramsey and losing out on A.J. Bouye in free agency, the Jaguars will look to bolster their perimeter defenders. Having played an SEC schedule, Fulton will be prepared for the top competition the NFL can provide.
21. Philadelphia Eagles – WR Justin Jefferson (LSU)
The Philadelphia Eagles are in need of a weapon on the outside. Jefferson is one of the bigger receivers in this draft and ends up being the best available. His route-running abilities are something the Eagles have been missing. With Ertz and Jefferson on the field, Wentz will be primed for a strong season.
22. Minnesota Vikings – DE K’Lavon Chaisson (LSU)
Chaisson is a skilled edge defender whose collegiate career mirrors fellow LSU alum Danielle Hunter. With Everson Griffin now gone, he is the perfect replacement to fill his shoes.
23. New England Patriots – DE A.J. Epenesa (Iowa)
The Patriots, despite losing Tom Brady, seem to be in a favorable position. Owner Robert Kraft and company will explore investing in a quarterback at some point, but need one more piece on defense.
24. New Orleans Saints – LB Kenneth Murray (Oklahoma)
With the return of Drew Brees for another season, the quarterback position is set in New Orleans. There are rumors of them drafting a quarterback in the first round, but they will be looking for the best possible roster for a Super Bowl run and Kenneth Murray offers that. Their linebacker corp could use another man in rotation and Murray has strong upside potential.
25. Minnesota Vikings – CB Jeff Gladney (TCU)
The Vikings are going into the Draft with a skeleton crew at cornerback after releasing Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes, and then letting Mackenzie Alexander walk. Gladney will quickly catch up to speed in the NFL and has the physical attributes necessary to become a starter.
26. Miami Dolphins – RB Jonathon Taylor (Wisconsin)
The biggest risk of the draft is taken here, with Miami taking a gamble on arguably the best running back in college during the 2019 season. By taking Tagovailoa and Taylor in the first round, it gives the option for both players to grow around each other.
27. Seattle Seahawks – DE Zack Baun (Wisconsin)
As of this time, Seattle has yet to re-sign Jadeveon Clowney. If that stands, they will need to replace his presence. Baun will be one the best available prospects at this position. Out of Wisconsin with 12.5 sacks in his final year, he will be able to add to an already-young defensive unit in Seattle.
28. Baltimore Ravens – WR Tee Higgins (Clemson)
The Ravens have been mentioned as a suitor for the former Tigers receiver, with Higgins being an immediate deep ball threat for Lamar Jackson. Higgins can find the endzone very easily, with his height helping him become a red-zone threat. It may not be an immediate full-field impact, but he will take to the offense quickly
29. Tennessee Titans – DE Yetur Gross-Matos (Penn State)
Listed as one of the more underrated prospects, the Titans could easily grab Gross-Matos at bargain value. Against the pass, Tennessee ranked 24th against opponents. Adding a pass-rusher of Gross-Matos’ value is too good to pass up.
30. Green Bay Packers – WR Laviska Shenault Jr. (Colorado)
As Aaron Rodgers enters the final stages of his NFL career, the Packers would be wise to give him a much-needed offensive weapon. Many don’t place Shenault Jr. among the elite receiver prospects this year, but he fits Green Bay’s current system.
31. San Francisco 49ers – CB A.J. Terrell (Clemson)
To the surprise of most, the top four cornerbacks in San Francisco are projected to hit free agency after the upcoming season. The addition of Terrell provides promise at a position that is expected to bring up questions next offseason.
32. Kansas City Chiefs – RB D’Andre Swift (Georgia)
It’s very possible that Kansas City goes with a cornerback or interior offensive lineman here, but I can’t see Andy Reid passing up the option to add the #1 projected running back to the already-explosive Chiefs offense. Swift is a quick and shifty back who has great vision and patience and is an asset in the passing game. By adding Swift, Kansas City can rekindle what they lost in Kareem Hunt.
Featured Image: Raiders.com