Doing a mock draft before free agency is borderline pointless, but I wanted to share some quick thoughts on Day 1 prospects and things I picked up on from being at the NFL Combine. Plus, mock drafts are fun and I like to hear you guys complain, so let me have it on Twitter @HaydenWinks.
1. Bengals - Joe Burrow, QB
Burrow to Cincy seems inevitable after he cleared things up at the Combine. This offense could be watchable if they manage to keep A.J. Green around and get 2019 first-rounder Jonah Williams healthy. You can read my early scouting report and statistical eval on Burrow here.
2. Redskins - Chase Young, EDGE
Combine rumors leave the door open for a quarterback or trade down, but I think Washington will be too scared to pass up on Young, who is the consensus best non-QB prospect in the class.
3. Chargers (moved up to DET) - Tua Tagovailoa, QB
The Bolts may be competing with Miami for this trade up spot, but Los Angeles is more desperate for the quarterback given their new stadium and “win-now” roster. Tyrod, who coach Anthony Lynn is comfortable with, can keep the team afloat for as long as Tua needs to get healthy. You can read my early scouting report and statistical eval on Tagovailoa here.
4. Giants - Mekhi Becton, OT
GM Dave Gettleman never trades down, and there are numerous physical specimens to choose from at this spot (Simmons, Wirfs, Okudah, Wills, etc.). Ultimately, his priority should be to protect last year’s first round pick, and Becton has the size and athleticism Gettleman usually covets. In fact, Becton is an 100th percentile Adjusted SPARQ athlete.
5. Dolphins - Justin Herbert, QB
Trading up is definitely on the table given their draft capital, but they don’t seem that desperate for a quarterback at this stage of their rebuild to trade up. Instead, they let one fall to them and keep the rest of the picks to build around him. You can read my early scouting report and statistical eval on Herbert here.
6. Lions (moved down to LAC) - Jeffrey Okudah, CB
The Lions should feel very comfortable trading down with the Dolphins (No. 5) or Chargers (No. 6) as they’d be left with Okudah or Simmons in most scenarios. Okudah’s college tape and athleticism (99th percentile in Adjusted SPARQ) are both really strong. He has immediate shutdown corner upside.
7. Panthers - Isaiah Simmons, LB
The tank is in full force, but I’m not mocking a quarterback to Carolina until Cam Newton is off the roster. Instead, I’ll send them one of the best players on the board and their Luke Kuechley replacement. Simmons checked in as a 99th percentile Adjusted SPARQ athlete and profiles as a versatile matchup eraser.
8. Cardinals - Jedrick Wills, OT
Arizona can go in one of two directions -- OT or WR. Picking the tackle now and the receiver on Day 2 makes sense given the respected depths of each position in this class. Wills’ tape was great, and he has 74th percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism. He should help Kyler Murray’s longevity.
9. Jaguars - C.J. Henderson, CB
Jacksonville has traded away two corners in the last calendar year and thus needs to rebuild that secondary. Henderson is the clear-cut No. 2 corner behind Okudah, has 92nd percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism, and is a Florida kid.
10. Browns - Tristan Wirfs, OT
At the Combine, I stood next to GM Andrew Berry during HC Kevin Stefanski’s interview. When Stefanski preached athleticism on the line, Berry nodded his head in agreement. Wirfs, a 97th percentile Adjusted SPARQ athlete, certainly matches up with their analytical vision.
11. Buccaneers (moved up to NYJ) - Jordan Love, QB
Tampa Bay isn’t sold on Jameis Winston as the franchise quarterback and may not even be able to stomach him for one more season, so drafting a rookie seems squarely in the mix. If that’s the case, getting in front of the Raiders and Colts would be helpful. Ironically, Love has the same turnover issues Winston has, but you can read my early scouting report and statistical eval on Love here.
12. Raiders - Jerry Jeudy, WR
I’m projecting Jon Gruden to stick with a veteran quarterback (Derek Carr or Tom Brady) rather than try to mold Jordan Love, so I’ll mock them their potential go-to receiver of the future instead. Jeudy’s profile matches up well with the Raiders’ vision, especially since this puts Tyrell Williams back into his No. 2 receiver role. You can read my early scouting report and statistical eval on Jeudy here.
13. Colts - Derrick Brown, DT
Brown was considered a potential top-five selection before the Combine, but he showed 45th percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism in Indy. A “slide” seems more likely now, especially with the offensive tackles, receivers, and quarterbacks performing well.
14. Jets (moved down to TB) - CeeDee Lamb, WR
I’m projecting Robby Anderson to cash out in free agency, leaving a glaring hole at outside receiver. Getting Sam Darnold help, whether that’s at receiver or on the line, has to be priority No. 1 for the organization. Luckily, there should be a couple of good options on the board at both positions in the middle of Round 1, making a trade down from 11th overall a nice move. You can read my early scouting report and statistical eval on Lamb here.
15. Broncos - Henry Ruggs, WR
Broncos’ analysts believe Ruggs is the top receiver on their board, which is kinda bold but does make some sense as a compliment to Courtland Sutton. Having a capable running game, Sutton, Fant, and Ruggs (or another early-round WR) will make evaluating potential franchise quarterback Drew Lock a lot easier. You can read my early scouting report and statistical eval on Ruggs here.
16. Falcons - K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE
Atlanta needs to replace Vic Beasley, and Chaisson gives them the athleticism this defense desires as a stand-up edge rusher.
17. Cowboys - Javon Kinlaw, DT
I’m finding it hard to mock Kinlaw where he’s consistently ranked on big boards (in the early teens), but he has the burst the Jones family can’t resist. Of course, if Amari Cooper bolts in free agency, then this pick will likely be a receiver.
18. Dolphins - Andrew Thomas, OT
In terms of draft capital, this would be close to Thomas’ floor. An SEC brawler with 71st percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism, Thomas would be a lights out pick after just trading away their franchise offensive tackle before last season.
19. Raiders - Kenneth Murray, LB
Based on last year’s draft, it appears that the Raiders value alpha dog prospects from winning programs. Murray checks those boxes in addition to being an 88th percentile Adjusted SPARQ athlete. Las Vegas desperately needs upgrades on defense, and they already took care of their receiver need with their 12th overall pick.
20. Jaguars - Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE
With Yannick Ngakoue likely on the way out, Jacksonville needs to find a new pass rusher, and Gross-Matos offers some upside as an interesting defensive end with length and college production. There’s a chance Gross-Matos ends up as my EDGE2.
21. Eagles - Justin Jefferson, WR
Philly’s two glaring holes are at corner and receiver, but I think Jefferson is too good to pass up with the top two CBs (Okudah, Henderson) long gone. Jefferson had awesome college production, showed 68th percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism, and was one of the better interviewers at the Combine. You can read my early scouting report and statistical eval on Jefferson here.
22. Bills - Tee Higgins, WR
The Clemson receiver’s size gives the offense a red zone weapon and will help mask Josh Allen’s accuracy issues, making him a better fit for Buffalo than the smaller outside receivers (Aiyuk, Mims, Reagor, etc.) on the table. You can read my early scouting report and statistical eval on Higgins here.
23. Patriots - A.J. Epenesa, EDGE
The Iowa edge rusher has power and technique but has 17th percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism, which should prevent him from being a top-15 overall selection. If there’s a coach with experience utilizing these unique defensive ends, it’s Belichick. Epenesa’s ceiling is ex-Patriot Trey Flowers.
24. Saints - Xavier McKinney, S
We’ll see how free agency shakes out, but safety could be an underrated need and McKinney’s mental makeup has made him the near-consensus top safety of the class. His 8th percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism is a red flag, however.
25. Vikings - A.J. Terrell, CB
Minnesota kept getting burned at corner last season, making it the biggest need on the roster. Terrell helped himself at the Combine by showcasing 67th percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism.
26. Dolphins - Patrick Queen, LB
In this mock draft, Miami has added a quarterback and offensive tackle, so it’s time to address defense. Queen has spent the last four months elevating his stock with great tape in the College Football Playoff and by checking in as an 81st percentile Adjusted SPARQ athlete at the Combine despite injuring his hamstring.
27. Seahawks - Austin Jackson, OT
Did Jackson have first round tape last season? No. Was he completely healthy after donating bone marrow to his sister before the season? Also, no. He needs development, but he will still be a 20-year-old on draft night and has 89th percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism to work with. The reward begins to outweigh the risk around the Day 1/2 borderline.
28. Ravens - Denzel Mims, WR
The Baylor receiver carried his positive buzz from the Senior Bowl into Indy, and now finds himself in the top-40 conversation. Baltimore has their deep threat in Marquise Brown but needs at least one more pass catcher. Mims was one of the most accomplished contested catch receivers in all of college football last season. You can see my early statistical eval on Mims here, but just know his projection has since been bumped up.
29. Titans - Joshua Jones, OT
If Tennessee loses Jack Conklin this offseason, they’ll be hoping one of these Tier 2 offensive tackle prospects falls. In this case, one does in Jones, who showed 60th percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism at the Combine.
30. Packers - Brandon Aiyuk, WR
We riot if Green Bay doesn’t add one or two pass-catchers this offseason. Davante Adams and a bunch of replaceable guys aren't cutting it, but Aiyuk does. He offers YAC ability with 76th percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism and would compliment Adams as the potential No. 2 target as a rookie. You can read my early scouting report and statistical eval on Aiyuk here.
31. Dolphins (moved up to SF) - Trevon Diggs, CB
The 49ers’ next pick after this 31st overall selection doesn’t come until we’re all dead from the coronavirus, so it’s likely that San Francisco moves down. A team with a bunch of Day 2 capital? The Dolphins, who address another defensive need here with an athletic but risky cornerback prospect.
32. Chiefs - Kristian Fulton, CB
Kansas City rightfully doesn’t take a running back here, as they don’t matter, and instead grabs a corner that will help make a comeback against this offense even less likely. Fulton needs to clean up his game but has 70th percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism and upside.
Count by Position
9. Early 2020 Mock Draft
10. Analytics Top 250
12. Winks Top 250
13. Final 2020 Mock Draft
14. Analytics-Based Draft Grades