Mock Drafts

Thor's Mock Draft: Day 2

by Thor Nystrom
Updated On: February 14, 2020, 11:49 am ET

On Monday, I put out a mock draft covering Day 1. If you're looking for that, you can check it out here. Today we'll be rolling through Round 2 and Round 3. Look for my complete team-by-team breakdown on Thursday. Buckle up and away we go!

Round 2

33. Bengals – Wisconsin EDGE Zack Baun

Signed by the Badgers as a three-star dual-threat quarterback, Baun missed the entire 2017 season with a foot injury before contributing regularly on defense for the first time in 2018. Last fall, he went ballistic, posting 12.5 sacks and 19.5 TFL. He added 12 hits, 28 hurries, and posted an elite 91.0 PFF pass-rushing grade. In addition, he showed out well against both the run and in coverage in college. A superb but slight athlete off the edge at 6’3/236, Baun wins with speed and athleticism. The biggest question is whether he can stay on the EDGE at this size. More realistically, his NFL team, if it’s smart, will likely move him around a bit.


34. Colts - LSU WR Justin Jefferson

The NFL and some of my friends in the media might think this slot is a little light for Jefferson. I actually think it’s a bit rich. Consider this me splitting the middle early in the process. Jefferson is coming off an incredible 2019 (111-1,540-18). What concerns me is that he never stood out as an outside receiver, but blew up last fall when Joe Brady rode into town and converted Jefferson into a big slot (6’2/192). Of Jefferson’s 949 snaps last year, 870 came in the slot. He’s not going to be able to bully NFL slot corners in the same way he did SEC slots, and Jefferson had a harder time separating on the outside.


35. Lions – Mississippi State CB Cam Dantzler

A long, explosive, suffocating corner from the SEC who figures to rise during the process. Dantzler (6’2/185) is skinny, but he’s an aggressive, fight-you-for-it type made for press coverage. He’d be a target of mine if I needed a corner early in Round 2. I wouldn’t wait much longer. Dantzler has enough high-level tape against top-notch competition that he shouldn’t drop outside the top-40, lack of hype right now notwithstanding.

36. Giants – Alabama EDGE Terrell Lewis

Having addressed its offensive line with Tristan Wirfs on Day 1, the Giants will be on the hunt for an edge rusher early in Round 2. Lewis, at this point in his development, is a one-trick pony -- an athletic, 6’5/252 edge rusher with an eagle’s wingspan who gets after the quarterback off the edge. Lewis has a medical rap sheet behind him -- the two years prior to last were wiped out with an arm and ACL injuries, respectively -- and he’s a work-in-progress in other phases of the game, but this kid piled up 35 hurries in 259 pass-rushing attempts last fall in his return to action. 


37. Chargers – Michigan iOL Cesar Ruiz

I showed a draft of this mock to one of my buddies in the draft media over the weekend and he implored me to find a spot in Round 1 for Ruiz, telling me that, of the scouts he spoke to, there was almost a “universal consensus” of love for Ruiz’s game. Noted. Ruiz wins with athleticism, leverage and attitude. Last year, he didn’t allow a sack, and he gave up only two hits. He won’t be a fit for every team because of a lack of power; the blight on his game is average run blocking.


38. Panthers – Georgia QB Jake Fromm

This assumes, of course, that Carolina trades Cam Newton. If they do, I think OC Joe Brady would prefer Fromm to Jacob Eason (the Panthers likely won’t be in a position to take Joe Burrow, Tua or Justin Herbert at 1.7, and Jordan Love probably isn’t dropping to 2.38). Brady’s offense doesn’t require that its quarterback have all-world tools -- only that he make the intelligent decision on every single play. Brady’s play-calling will facilitate the rest. That’s the one thing I’m confident Fromm can do. He doesn’t have a big arm, he isn’t fleet of foot -- but he’s a full field-reader who’ll hang in there surveying his options, even under heavy duress. Fromm is decisive and he gets the ball out quick. I’m not saying he could be Brady’s Burrow in Carolina. But at 2.38, he fits the profile better than anybody else available… by far.


39. Dolphins - Georgia RB D’Andre Swift

If no running backs get taken in Round 1, I think the reason will be in part because the class is stacked. Each team that passes will think to itself, “Why would we take Swift or Jonathan Taylor Tailback or JK Simmons Dobbins here when we could just wait until Day 2 and get a stud?”

The Dolphins, if they’re smart, are going to realize this when they make their third first-round pick. Because they might be able to wait on D’Andre Swift and pop him at 2.39. In the first round of my mock, Miami came away with Tua and Austin Jackson. Now they add the class’ best runner. Talk about rejiggering your offense on the fly!


40. Cardinals – TCU OT Lucas Niang

The Cardinals, which went defense in Round 1, must now address their offensive line. Niang is very long at 6’7/328, very seasoned (nearly 2,000 snaps in the Big 12), and very, very good in pass protection despite playing with signal-callers who didn’t have much of an idea of what they were doing. As an added bonus, he rarely gets called for penalties.


41. Browns – iDL Justin Madubuike

A pet-favorite of mine, Madubuike is an undersized, twitched-up three-tech with boxer’s hands and a ransack mindset. He was more dominant against the run in college than he had any business being at his size (6’3/300), and he figures to continue improving as a pass-rusher in the pros when he’s installed full-time at his god-given position of three-tech. Underrated.


42. Jaguars – LSU LB Patrick Queen

Queen’s one of those guys with a wide band of draft outcomes. He’s small (6’1/227), inexperienced (only 255 snaps prior to last season), and he’s mediocre against the run and as a pass rusher. So you’re probably wondering… “Then why the heck have I seen him mocked in Round 1?” Because he’s crazy athletic and he’s really, really good in coverage (82.0 PFF grade; 186 receiving yards on 34 targets for 5.4 YPT). Queen’s one trick is very valuable, and he has the athleticism to figure everything else out. But the risk profile is high due to inexperience, the incomplete game, and the light frame.


43. Bears - Washington QB Jacob Eason

It feels like the Bears have to do something at quarterback -- for contingency purposes, if nothing else. Bringing in a guy like Eason, a boom-or-bust prospect, feels like the perfect sort of compromise. Eason isn’t ready to play early in 2020, so Mitch Trubisky gets his final make-good campaign. If Trubisky turns things around, great. Then if you found something in Eason, you’ve got a big-time trade chip. If Trubisky doesn’t, you bench him in late October and get Eason in there. And heck, if Trubisky is the bust we think he is, and if Eason is the second-coming of Christian Hackenberg (I’m not high on him), we’ve always got a shot at Trevor Lawrence next April if the wheels truly fall off.


44. Colts - Penn State EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos

An ascending talent who posted 17.5 sacks and 35 TFL over the past two years, Gross-Matos’ game has room to grow even more as he adds additional pass-rushing moves. His college game was built on power and length. YGM took a big leap as a rusher last fall, going from a 67.7 PFF pass-rushing grade to 81.8. It’s a given that he’ll provide his team above-average run defense off the edge.


45. Buccaneers - Clemson CB A.J. Terrell

Terrell got lit up in the national title game. Let’s move past that, because the rest of his career was pretty dang impressive. A long press-man corner with good straight-line athleticism, Terrell disrupts the catch point and takes you down if he loses. Clemson DC Brent Venables also had great fun sending Terrell from the boundary on the blitz. Terrell’s upside is capped by stiffness that may prevent him from becoming a true CB1 lockdown-type.


46. Broncos – Auburn CB Noah Igbinoghene

A boom-or-bust prospect, Igbinoghene is a converted receiver with a thicc build (5’11/200) who is stupidly athletic -- his mother won a Bronze medal for the 4x100 Nigeria relay team in the 1992 Olympics and his father was a dominant track athlete at Mississippi State. On the plus side, Igbinoghene is a longtime special teams standout, lowering the risk profile. On the other end of it, he just started playing corner in 2018, and he allowed 12.3 YPR and 51.5-percent completions on 68 targets last fall with a middling 70.2 PFF coverage grade. He should have returned to school to keep working. But the talent level is such, and the draft slot was likely to be high enough, that it was hard to blame him for jumping.


47. Falcons – Notre Dame TE Cole Kmet

Kmet is among a small group who have a shot to emerge as TE1 in a poor tight end class. He’s a long inline prospect who’s willing to throw his weight around as a blocker, but run blocking lags well behind receiving in his game at this juncture. Kmet is a natural receiver who can create space on his own and gets extra from his maker every play with those long arms and legs. Once he plucks the ball, he’s very difficult to wrestle down. Kmet could be a Combine standout -- he reportedly once recorded a 38-inch vertical.


48. Jets – Utah EDGE Bradlee Anae

A decorated collegiate edge rusher, Anae could have jumped to the pros last year but stuck around for his senior year. The son of a former BYU star and USFL player, Bradlee is a bit boxy (6’3/265) and stiff, but he consistently won in the Pac-12 with a combination of strength, violence, temperament and hand usage. If he’s a pitcher, he makes heavy use of the bull rush and the changeup, his bull counter. He also has inside spin counter that’s pretty devastating when Pac-12 tackles started setting their anchors early, sitting dead-red for Anae’s heat.


49. Steelers – Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor

If it’s possible for a running back who averaged over 2,000 rushing yards per season in college to be under-appreciated, Taylor is. He was not only ludicrously productive from the moment he stepped off the plane after signing out of high school from New Jersey, but Taylor is also an incredible athlete. This isn’t talked about enough. He was Bruce Feldman’s No. 5 freak last year. Taylor has been clocked in the 4.3s with a 605-pound squat and 305-pound power clean. Taylor gets knocked for three things that exist in reality: Fumbles, passing-game contributions and usage. He coughed the ball up 16 times over the past three years. On the receiving side, he caught 26 balls last year (5 TD) after recording only 16 receptions total over his first two years. It’s fair to note that Wisconsin fed him the ball like crazy on first and second down and then basically rested him on third down early in his career. I wouldn’t totally throw the book in on him as a receiver yet. Taylor had 986 touches from scrimmage over his three years, heavy usage for sure. I’d just note here that I draft running backs for their first contract and never consider their hypothetical second, because I categorically wouldn’t give out expensive second RB contracts -- not part of my thinking when evaluating. I like Taylor more than some others do.


50. Bears – Dayton TE Adam Trautman

Trautman made money at the Senior Bowl. His hands are extremely reliable. He showed in Alabama that he can create space against NFL-caliber athletes; that’s exactly what evaluators needed to see. He’s now firmly in the hunt for TE1. Even if he doesn’t win that competition, Trautman has locked himself into Day 2 assuming he doesn’t fall on his face in the athletic testing portion of our show. The 6-foot-5, 253-pound former basketball player is going to be a dangerous jump-ball target in the red zone.


51. Cowboys – Auburn iDL Marlon Davidson

Davidson might be a better player in the NFL than he was at Auburn. The Tigers, because they had ludicrous defensive line talent, and boasted a stud I like to call Derrick Brown, played Davidson mostly on the EDGE. But the 6’3/297 Davidson projects best to three-tech, where his quickness and moves should reliably lead to interior penetration.


52. Rams – Wisconsin iOL Tyler Biadasz

Biadasz curiously had something of a down year in 2019, with his overall PFF grade regressing from 86.7 to 82.9 and his pass-blocking grade troublingly dropping from 78.2 to 70.5. It’s possible that offseason hip surgery was still hindering him into the campaign. Either way, Biadasz has been one of the nation’s best interior linemen for the last three years, his dominance coinciding exactly with teammate RB Jonathan Taylor’s. Biadasz was a Freshman All-American in 2017, First-Team All-Big 10 in 2018, and a First-Team All-American in 2019 (a belated honor he deserved in 2018). A safe pick with limited upside.


53. Eagles – Arizona State WR Brandon Aiyuk

N’Keal Harry left Arizona State, and they shockingly didn’t have much of a drop-off at WR1. Aiyuk, a former JUCO All-American who was previously ASU’s punt returner, blew up in 2019 with a 65-1192-8 line. He’s a fascinating prospect who requires some projection, as he’s early on the developmental curve. Here’s the toolbox: Aiyuk is short but well-built (a hair under 6’0 and around 200 lbs), but he has an NBA-like 81-inch wingspan to give him a deceiving catch radius bigger than taller receivers. Aiyuk is also extremely athletic. Per PFF, he led this WR class in yards after the catch between 2017-2019 with 9.9 (minimum 500 snaps). The next closest was Henry Ruggs with 9.0.


54. Bills – Ohio State CB Damon Arnette

Arnette’s evaluation will heavily be tied to testing. The NFL likes him -- he’s a smart and decorated corner who’s played in some big spots for a marquee program over the past four years. He has solid size (6’0/195) and has shown he can play inside and outside. If he tests well, he’ll shoot up boards, and probably go higher than I have him slotted here. If he doesn’t, he’s going to drop lower. I’m splitting the middle a little with my projection.


55. Falcons – Ohio State RB J.K. Dobbins

Devonta Freeman is signed through 2023, but he looked shot last season. With a bloated contract, and with the Falcons holding three Day 2 picks in a draft loaded with RBs, opportunity may come calling in Round 2. If Dobbins or Taylor fall to 2.55, pick up the phone. Dobbins is seen by some as RB1. I have more concerns with his game. He’s a skilled player who should have utterly dominated with the surrounding talent he played with at Ohio State. He ran lazy in 2018. Last year was a big improvement, a step in the right direction. But he didn’t show me more in college than Swift and Taylor did. And it’s fair to say that Dobbins was playing in the most ideal situation of the three last year, playing next to Justin Fields in a spread, up-tempo system.


56. Dolphins – Virginia CB Bryce Hall

I think I’m higher on Bryce Hall than the NFL will end up being. And to be fair, a part of that may be Hall’s fault. He probably should have declared for the draft last year. Hall was an absolute eraser in 2018, leading the country with 23 incompletions forced, per PFF. Hall would have been in contention to be one of the first corners off the board in last April’s draft, but he elected to return. His season ended after six games with ankle surgery. A 6’1/200 corner with smarts and ball skills, Hall’s best fit would be as a pick-pocket in a zone scheme. 


57. Texans – LSU RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire

One of the most dynamic multi-faceted offensive weapons in the nation last year, Edwards-Helaire was a chupacabra presence for linebackers and safeties in Joe Brady’s RPO-heavy system. Whether as a decoy, whether motioning out wide, whether taking a swing pass out of the backfield, whether lining up in the slot for a peekaboo red zone TD when the defense lost track of him, Edwards-Helaire was the guy who had opponents ripping their hair out when they had the temerity to focus too much attention on the Joe Burrow-Ja’Marr Chase-Justin Jefferson-Terrace Marshall-Thaddeus Moss foursome. Edwards-Helaire averaged 6.6 YPC on his 1,414 rushing yards, but it’s his 55-453-1 receiving line that should really have NFL fans perking up (and the fact that most of it was piled up late, when LSU’s offense really blew up).


58. Vikings – Oklahoma iDL Neville Gallimore

A Bruce Feldman top-5 Freak Lister, Gallimore can bench 500 pounds, squat 800 pounds and run in the mid-4.7s. In the Big 12, athleticism and effort were enough for Gallimore to be a big difference maker (82.2 PFF grade in 2018, 87.8 in 2019). In the NFL, he’s going to need to work on his approach to become a Pro Bowler three-tech DT -- he pops up at the snap and tries to win with his legs, forgetting his hands, too often. There’s a lot to work with here, but the risk profile needs to be acknowledged. 


59. Seahawks – Penn State WR KJ Hamler

Hamler (5’9/176) is an undersized slot WR/punt returner whose game remains raw. But you can’t fake athletic explosion, and he has it in spades. My biggest concern is that Hamler dropped 12 balls on 92 targets last year; his 60.9-percent reception percentage was quite poor. Three targets that went his way were intercepted. Hamler also had four drops in 2018. Those were his only two collegiate seasons; he redshirted in 2017. Hamler is a body-catcher. I feel like we’re going to have some Andy Isabella-esque arguments about him this spring, with the athletic testing truthers swapped out for the analytics guys. Either way, Hamler’s athletic testing basically guarantees he won’t fall out of Day 2. God only gives so many human beings that gift. And KJ got it. Gosh dang can he move. 


60. Ravens – Ohio State LB Malik Harrison

Harrison’s game took a leap last fall, putting him in range to potentially get popped as early as Round 2. A former elite athlete recruit, Harrison originally intended to play receiver in Columbus. His build (6’3/246) had other ideas. Harrison graded out as one of the nation’s best linebackers in run defense last year (87.1), and he took a big step forward in PFF’s coverage grades (68.1 to 77.1), really good to see, as that’s one of the biggest problematic areas of his eval. He’s going to add value on special teams.


61. Titans –  Notre Dame EDGE Julian Okwara

The brother of Giants DE Romeo Okwara, Julian gets overlooked a bit because of his thin build and because he broke his left leg against Duke at the end of the season. But boy is he an athlete, top-10 on Bruce Feldman’s last Freak’s list, with 21 mph tracked speed. Okwara is a flash player: He had 24 career TFL at Notre Dame, and 47 career solo tackles. Between his slight build (6’5/241), current medical situation and top-heavy statistical profile, he could drop a little. But I think Okwara has more sleeper appeal than he’s being given credit for.


62. Packers – USC WR Michael Pittman Jr.

The good news: Pittman (6’4/220) is one of the class’ top possession receivers, and he comes from NFL bloodlines. The bad: His evaluation leads with ball skills/catch radius, with separation being the biggest question in translation. Receiver prospects like this, in the modern NFL, have a much higher burden of proof than they used to. 


63. Chiefs – FSU RB Cam Akers 

Akers broke Dalvin Cook's program freshman rushing record with 1,015 yards in 2017. Heading into 2018, he was the belle of the ball of evaluators everywhere. Willie Taggart and his exotic blocking schemes were headed to Tallahassee. Akers was about to go ballistic for two more seasons, and then head to the NFL, perhaps as a first-round pick. But the bottom fell out for FSU football under Taggart. The offensive line, in particular, was an abomination. I want you to remember that when you read Akers’ scouting reports this spring. Yes -- he turned into way too much of an indecisive dancer the past two years. But he was running behind a high school offensive line. Can he kick the bad habits in the pros? If he can, his NFL franchise is going to find a potential steal. Because Akers can catch, he’s a really good pass blocker, and he’s a natural runner with God-given talent, a former five-star recruit with quick feet, good vision, plus athleticism and finishing power.


64. Seahawks – Kentucky EDGE Logan Stenberg

Of the interior offensive line class, Stenberg is going to draw a wide range of opinions. I’m a fan. He’s a big kid (6’6/322) who played early (four-year starter) and showed steady improvement throughout his time on campus. Particularly in pass-pro. Stenberg is a heavy-handed grinder who stays on assignment and endears himself to teammates. The area of concern is that he was called for 14 penalties last fall. But keep in mind: Kentucky completely rejiggered its offense in a way that was basically unheard of in modern big-boy ball midyear, installing slot WR Lynn Bowden at quarterback and playing sandlot ball. Some -- not all -- of Stenberg’s foibles were contextual, with Bowden scrambling around like you do when you play Madden. That’s not going to happen in future games Stenberg plays in.

Thor Nystrom

Thor Nystrom is NBC Sports Edge’s lead CFB writer. The 2018 FSWA College Sports Writer of the Year, Nystrom’s writing has also been honored by Rolling Stone magazine and The Best American Essays series. Say hi to him on Twitter @thorku!