2020 NFL mock draft (Version 5.0): Here’s what each team should do during the first two rounds

The NFL scouting combine begins this weekend in Indianapolis, kicking off draft season in earnest.

Prospects will have one last chance to make an impression on team evaluators through on-field drills and interviews, which will shape how draft boards come together in April.


There will be plenty of time between now and the first round on April 23 in Las Vegas to figure out which prospects are rising and falling, and who’s the best fit for each team. In the meantime, let’s put our general manager caps on and decide for ourselves.

Here’s what each team should do with each pick in the first two rounds in the 2020 NFL draft:


1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

The Bengals are reportedly working with Andy Dalton to trade the veteran quarterback to one of his preferred destinations. Burrow won’t make Cincinnati an instant contender in the AFC North — and still has to prove his record-setting breakout season wasn’t a fluke — but he’s a solid foundation for a rebuilding organization.

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

Washington needs upgrades all over its roster, but it won’t even consider trading down this year. Young is simply too good to pass up, with the potential to become one of the most dominant edge rushers in the league from Day One.

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

First, the Lions should consider trading down, perhaps with a quarterback-needy team like the Dolphins, Chargers or Colts. If they can’t find the right deal, Okudah is a fine consolation prize. He can be a shutdown corner in the Lions’ man-heavy scheme.

4. New York Giants: Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama

The Giants should also look to trade down here, especially if Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert are still on the board. They’re more than one piece away from getting back into playoff contention, but if they do stand pat, Wills is the best of a very strong class of offensive linemen.


5. Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

Chances are the draft won’t break this way, but if it does, the Dolphins can nab their franchise quarterback without giving up any of their 11 picks in this draft, including five in the first 56 selections. With plenty of holes to fill, Miami should be careful about mortgaging its future for one player, even if it is a star quarterback. There’s always 2021.

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

The Philip Rivers era is officially over in San Diego/Los Angeles. Tyrod Taylor could very well win the starting job, but he’s not a long-term option. Herbert is far from a finished product, but has the athleticism and arm strength to be an above-average starter.

7. Carolina Panthers: Isaiah Simmons, LB/S, Clemson

After Luke Keuchly’s abrupt retirement, the Panthers suddenly have a big hole in the middle of their defense. But Simmons is so much more than a sideline-to-sideline linebacker, capable of covering receivers in the slot, rushing the passer and patrolling the middle of the field as a safety. There just aren’t many players like him.


8. Arizona Cardinals: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

The Cardinals defense was abysmal in 2019, outside of edge rusher Chandler Jones and safety Budda Baker. But can they really pass up reuniting quarterback Kyler Murray with his old Sooners teammate? Let’s see what coach Kliff Kingsbury can do with this kind of playmaker at his disposal.

9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn

The Jaguars getting the top interior defensive lineman in this class just feels right. Offensive coordinators will have to prepare for Brown, All-Pro defensive lineman Calais Campbell and stud edge rusher Josh Allen. Good luck with that.

10. Cleveland Browns: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia

It might be a boring pick, but it’s the smart one. If quarterback Baker Mayfield is going to thrive, he needs to be protected. Thomas has started since he was a freshman in college and can step in at either right or left tackle.


11. New York Jets: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

One could easily argue an offensive lineman is a more responsible pick, considering the line’s poor play in 2019 and how many of those pieces are hitting free agency. But Jeudy has a chance to be special, giving quarterback Sam Darnold a go-to target to round out a solid receiving corps.

12. Las Vegas Raiders: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

Ruggs is a big play waiting to happen, averaging one touchdown every 4.1 catches with the Crimson Tide. The Raiders defense, which ranked 31st in Football Outsiders’ DVOA, is in bigger need of an upgrade, but Ruggs’ rare speed is too valuable to pass up.

13. Indianapolis Colts: Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina

A quarterback and a reliable receiver are the Colts’ biggest needs, and Utah State’s Jordan Love has been a popular pick in this spot. But chances are there will be a quality quarterback and receiver still available early in the second round. Kinlaw can be a quality starter in his first season and grow into a game-wrecking force on the defensive line.


14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU

With Shaquil Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul, Ndamukong Suh and Carl Nassib all hitting free agency, the Bucs need to address their defensive line. Chaisson has top-end athleticism and flexibility for an edge rusher, and he took his game to another level down the stretch in 2019.

15. Denver Broncos: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville

The Broncos need to give Drew Lock another pass-catching weapon to fully evaluate their second-year quarterback, but it’s even harder to determine if he’s the future of the franchise if he’s on his backside most of the time. Becton, who has rare athleticism for a player his size (6 feet 7, 369 pounds) can take over on the right side for the struggling Ja’Wuan James.

16. Atlanta Falcons: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama

The Falcons had the league’s 25th ranked pass defense in DVOA in 2019, and safeties Ricardo Allen and Damontae Kazee contributed to the problem. McKinney is a versatile weapon who can blitz, tackle in space, cover the middle of the field and match up with any type of receiver.


17. Dallas Cowboys: Grant Delpit, S, LSU

Like any team, how the Cowboys fare in free agency in March will determine what they decide to do in April’s draft. But with Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, Byron Jones and Robert Quinn hitting the open market, Dallas could have several big holes to fill. Assuming Prescott and Cooper return, the defense will need the most help.

18. Miami Dolphins (via Steelers): Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa

With their franchise quarterback secured, the next item on the Dolphins’ long shopping list is help on the offensive line. Wirfs became one of the nation’s most dominant tackles, allowing just one pressure over his past seven games, per scouting website Pro Football Focus.

19. Las Vegas Raiders (via Bears): Patrick Queen, LB, LSU

The Raiders could use help in their secondary, as no team in the NFL allowed more expected points per pass play in 2019, per PFF. Queen might just be a linebacker, but he’s athletic enough to cover running backs and tight ends, can hunt down ball carriers and make his presence felt in the middle of the field.


20. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Rams): Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado

D.J. Chark Jr., Dede Westbrook, Chris Conley and a returning Marqise Lee are fine receiving options, but the Jaguars need to give quarterback Gardner Minshew another playmaker on the outside. Shenault’s injury history causes some concern and he’s not polished as a route runner, but he’s the type of big-bodied, elusive receiver that can thrive in the modern game.

21. Philadelphia Eagles: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

Yes, DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffrey will be back, but Philadelphia can’t allow another few wide receiver injuries to derail its season. Higgins’ ball skills are off the charts, with the ability to high-point the ball over defenders and haul in anything near his frame with strong hands.

22. Buffalo Bills: A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa

As much as the Bills need a wide receiver, they should be happy if one of the draft’s top edge rushers falls into their laps. Epenesa has one of the highest pass-rushing grades in this class, with a career 91.5 mark, per PFF.


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

Tom Brady might threaten to retire if the Patriots don’t draft a wide receiver with this pick, and rightfully so. But New England could lose linebackers Jamie Collins Sr. and Kyle Van Noy this offseason, as well as safety Devin McCourty. Baun is the type of versatile athlete who would thrive with the Patriots, and there could be some good receivers still available when they pick again at No. 87.

24. New Orleans Saints: Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State

Michael Thomas might be a top-five passing offense onto himself, and that’s great. But whether it’s Drew Brees, Teddy Bridgewater or someone else throwing passes for the Saints in 2020, they need another receiver who can get separation and make plays. Aiyuk is an explosive play waiting to happen.

25. Minnesota Vikings: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama

Diggs playing on the same team with his brother, former Maryland star Stefon, is just too much fun. They’d even get to go up against each other in practice. The Vikings’ social media team can have a field day with this one, and Minnesota would be a getting a pretty good player, too, as Diggs earned a 90.1 coverage grade in 2019, per PFF.


26. Miami Dolphins (via Texans): Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State

Assuming the Dolphins keep this pick and don’t use it as ammunition to trade up for a quarterback, Gross-Matos is the perfect type of player to take a chance on at the end of the first round. He’s your typical boom-or-bust prospect, and could become a game-wrecker if he adds strength to his athleticism.

27. Seattle Seahawks: Josh Jones, OT, Houston

This is probably a boring pick for most Seahawks fans, but the offensive line must be addressed. Seattle allowed pressure in 2.5 seconds or less on 26.7% of Russell Wilson’s dropbacks in 2019, per PFF. Even a perennial MVP candidate can only do so much with poor protection.

28. Baltimore Ravens: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma

Oklahoma players have been a good investment lately for the Ravens, with tight end Mark Andrews and right tackle Orlando Brown Jr. blossoming into Pro Bowl selections and wide receiver Marquise Brown putting together a solid rookie season. Murray plays like a safety, with a game built on speed and agility. He’s just what the Ravens need in the middle of their defense.


29. Tennessee Titans: Terrell Lewis, EDGE, Alabama

The belief here is that Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry re-sign after that magical run to the AFC title game. With acquiring defensive talent the priority, the Titans draft an edge rusher who can help them finally generate some pressure. Lewis has the traits to develop into a force.

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

The Packers got above-average play from just about everyone on their offense in 2019. The position that was lacking the most was slot receiver, where Geronimo Allison earned a pedestrian 51.9 receiving grade from PFF. Jefferson feasted in the slot for the national champs and is the kind of instinctive player that would thrive with Aaron Rodgers.

31. San Francisco 49ers: Ashtyn Davis, S, California

There aren’t many positions that the 49ers need to upgrade. That’s why they’re the defending NFC champs. But if Jimmie Ward isn’t re-signed, that leaves a gaping hole in the secondary. In steps Davis, an athletic marvel who’s still learning the finer points of playing safety but can develop into a ballhawk.


32. Kansas City Chiefs: C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida

Some evaluators believe Henderson is the best corner in this class, with a smooth, athletic and explosive game. Not a bad prize for a team that just won the Super Bowl, and especially one that could lose a couple starting corners to free agency.

Round 2

33. Cincinnati Bengals: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU

34. Indianapolis Colts (via Redskins): Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia

35. Detroit Lions: Julian Okwara, EDGE, Notre Dame

36. New York Giants: Josh Uche, EDGE, Michigan


37. Los Angeles Chargers: Austin Jackson, OT, USC

38. Carolina Panthers: Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah

39. Miami Dolphins: Cameron Dantzler, CB, Mississippi State

40. Arizona Cardinals: D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia

41. Cleveland Browns: Kyle Dugger, S, Lenoir-Rhyne

42. Jacksonville Jaguars: Malik Harrison, LB, Ohio State


43. Chicago Bears (via Raiders): Jordan Love, QB, Utah State

44. Indianapolis Colts: Michael Pittman Jr., WR, USC

45. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tyre Phillips, OT, Mississippi State

46. Denver Broncos: Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU

47. Atlanta Falcons: Marlon Davidson, DL, Auburn

48. New York Jets: Prince Tega Wanogho, OT, Auburn


49. Pittsburgh Steelers: Lloyd Cushenberry III, C, LSU

50. Chicago Bears: Cesar Ruiz, C, Michigan

51. Dallas Cowboys: Harrison Bryant, TE, Florida Atlantic

52. Los Angeles Rams: Robert Hunt, G, Louisiana-Lafayette

53. Philadelphia Eagles: Antoine Winfield Jr., S, Minnesota

54. Buffalo Bills: Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame


55. Atlanta Falcons (via Patriots): Anfernee Jennings, EDGE, Alabama

56. Miami Dolphins (via Saints): John Simpson, G, Clemson

57. Houston Texans: Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU

58. Minnesota Vikings: Jordan Elliott, DL, Missouri

59. Seattle Seahawks: Raekwon Davis, DL, Alabama

60. Baltimore Ravens: Damien Lewis, G, LSU


61. Tennessee Titans: Lucas Niang, OT, TCU

62. Green Bay Packers: Jordan Brooks, LB, Texas Tech

63. Kansas City Chiefs (via 49ers): Ross Blacklock, DL, TCU

64. Seattle Seahawks (via Chiefs): A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson