NFL Draft: Mocking the Top 10 Picks

Well, ladies and gentlemen, the 2019 NFL regular season has officially come to a close. The Cincinnati Bengals are on the clock for the first overall pick, and picks 1-20 have been officially decided. The 2020 NFL Draft Class is absolutely loaded with talent on both sides of the ball, so the top 10 teams are sure to come out of the first round with a gamechanging player. So without further adieu, here are the top 10 selections in this year’s upcoming draft rounds.

No. 1: Cincinnati Bengals (2-14) — Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

Joe Burrow was an absolute stud this year. After transferring from Ohio State, he finished the year with 5,208 yards and 55 TDs, and won the Heisman Trophy by a landslide. The Bengals have been stuck with Andy Dalton for nine years now, and with him never winning a playoff game, a sense of mediocrity has overshadowed a once-elite label for the 3-time Pro Bowler. Burrow can be a franchise quarterback for a club that has been deprived of winning, and he brings an x-factor with his incredible arm and decision making.

No. 2: Washington (3-13) — Chase Young, EDGE, The Ohio State University

The best player in this year’s draft will fall No. 2 to the worst-run franchise in sports. The Washington Football franchise has a glaring need for an elite pass rusher, and the best one to come out of the draft since Von Miller will fall into their laps at No. 2, barring an absolute stunner if Cincy decides to take Young. After 16.5 sacks and six forced fumbles (FF) in his junior year at Ohio State, Washington will get a pass rusher who will terrorize the NFC East’s subpar offensive lines for years to come. 

No. 3: Detroit Lions (3-12-1) — Jeff Okudah, CB, The Ohio State University

Jeff Okudah is the best cornerback prospect to come out of college in a long, long time. The Lions have a lot of holes on both sides of the ball, but a potential duo between two perennial Pro Bowlers, Okudah and Darius Slay, is too sweet to pass up in this scenario. With 29 solo tackles (SOLO), two FF, three INT, and nine pass deflections (PD), Okudah has the stats to back up this potential pick. With a defensive-minded Matt Patricia still at the helm, he is sure to use Okudah in some very interesting schemes to maximize the productivity of their first rounder.

No. 4: New York Giants (4-12) — Isaiah Simmons, LB/S, Clemson

Isaiah Simmons is an absolute monster. Standing at 6’4” and weighing in at 230 lbs. while having 61 SOLO, six sacks, one FF, and three INT, he is going to fill a glaring need the Giants have at middle linebacker and/or safety. He ran a 4.37 40-yard dash in high school and lit up the unstoppable Ohio State defense in the College Football Playoff. He is going to make waves in the NFL and become a standout player in a blossoming Giants defense. Should the Giants pass up the Junior, they would probably go with a pass rusher to mirror Leonard Williams or an offensive lineman to help protect Danny Dimes. 

No. 5: Miami Dolphins (5-11) — Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

The first flier of the draft, I’ve got Brian Flores taking his new franchise QB at No. 5. He passes up an injured Tua Tagovailoa, who isn’t planning on throwing at the combine, for a raw but talented signal-caller. Herbert showed his athleticism in the Ducks’ Rose Bowl win versus No. 8 Wisconsin, rushing for three TDs in what was a run-heavy game. Flores was incredible in his first year as a head coach, taking a team slated to go 0-16 to a 5-11 record — including a major upset win over the defending Super Bowl champ, the New England Patriots. With two other first rounders, and a stockpile of day two and three selections for the next two years, the Dolphins have their rebuild cut out for them. The only question that remains is what talent can they acquire with their newfound wealth.

No. 6: Los Angeles Chargers (5-11) — Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

The Philip Rivers era seems to be over for the Chargers, and a new dawn seems to be on the horizon. The Chargers must come out of free agency or the draft with at least a manageable QB to lead their offense. Rivers seems destined to leave in free agency or retire, and that makes the Chargers No. 1 need at signal-caller. Tua has been incredible in his year-and-a-half at the helm of Nick Saban’s offense in Tuscaloosa, but two things might turn the Bolts away from the southpaw from Hawaii. First, his eligibility. At the moment, Tua has a decision coming up regarding if he forgoes his final year of college eligibility to go to the NFL, or if he stays for a senior season at ‘Bama. With absolutely no clear verdict out yet, we’ll have to wait and see. And second, his health. Tua had his season cut short with a hip injury], and as it seems he doesn’t plan to throw at the NFL combine (barring a sudden change or him returning to school), the Chargers might be turned away if they feel they haven’t seen enough from him.

No. 7: Carolina Panthers (5-11) — Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia

The Panthers need to protect whoever their quarterback is going to be next year. With Taylor Moton locking down one side of their offensive line, they need to patch it up with the best tackle in this year’s extremely deep class. Andrew Thomas has the potential to be a perennial Pro Bowler and can be a lead blocker as an agile lineman for Cam Newton should the 2015 MVP stay in Carolina. He has been lights-out against the difficult pass rush in the SEC during his career at Georgia and has the tools to continue that production in the blitz-heavy NFC South. 

No. 8: Arizona Cardinals (5-10-1) — Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

The Cardinals need playmakers for Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury to work with. Their young, offensive-minded head coach and franchise quarterback are slated to lose their No. 1 target and one of the greatest receivers of all in Larry Fitzgerald to retirement this offseason. So why not get a new receiver in the mold of AJ Green or Julio Jones? Jeudy is the best pass-catcher in this year’s draft and was a standout in one of the best-receiving corps in college football history at Alabama this past season. He can become an elite receiver on the biggest stage with help from Kingsbury and can be the preferred target of Kyler Murray for years to come. 

No. 9: Jacksonville Jaguars (6-10) — Ceedee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

Arguably the best overall receiver in this class, Lamb has been incredible for Oklahoma the past few years. He was the preferred target of Cardinals’ QB, Kyler Murray, at OU, and if the Cardinals take Lamb instead of Jeudy, then the Jags should take the ‘Bama man. That being said, Lamb has been an absolute beast in Norman. Standing 6’2” and coming in at just under 190 pounds, he is a pass-catcher that teams will be drooling over. With 33 touchdowns of 173 catches in three years in college, he is a deep threat with serious redzone-target potential. 

No. 10: Cleveland Browns (6-10) — Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama

The man who has been tasked to block for Tua Tagovailoa for the past three years has officially announced he is foregoing his eligibility and entering the 2020 NFL Draft. Jedrick Wills has been absolutely lights-out as the starting right tackle for Nick Saban’s offense the past few years, and at pick 10, the Browns fill a massive hole on their roster and get the best tackle left on the board here. 

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