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2020 NFL Mock Draft: Free agency shakes up 1st round


With the first wave of free agency complete and the 2020 NFL Draft less than a month away, theScore's Dane Belbeck, Daniel Wilkins, and Mike Alessandrini project the first round of selections.

1. Cincinnati Bengals - Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted sports on a number of levels, but it won't change Cincinnati's first selection. Burrow has the skill set to lead the Bengals out of the NFL basement, and he's the most logical pick atop the draft. We don't anticipate Cincinnati agreeing to trade down, either. - Alessandrini

2. Washington Redskins - Chase Young, Edge, Ohio State

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Washington will put the quarterback rumors to bed by snagging Young, whose incredible tape speaks for itself. The addition of Young - one of the most dominant collegiate players in the last decade - will give the Redskins an impressive defensive line that should be a problem in the NFC East. - Belbeck

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

Detroit signed Desmond Trufant to address its cornerback spot before trading away Darius Slay, but that shouldn't prevent the organization from using a premium pick on the position. The consensus top defensive back available is Okudah, who could become a true lockdown corner and single-handedly change the shape of an NFL defense. - Wilkins

4. New York Giants - Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa

Dave Gettleman has signed a number of defensive upgrades in free agency, so it appears he'll target a premier offensive tackle at No. 4. New York can't go wrong with any of the top blockers, but Wirfs' athletic profile and outstanding tape give him the highest ceiling. With Nate Solder still under contract, the Iowa product can slot in at right tackle and give sophomore QB Daniel Jones a significant boost. - Alessandrini

5. Miami Dolphins - Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

A year after the phrase "Tank for Tua" became popular, Miami won't need the No. 1 pick to land its franchise quarterback. Tagovailoa's injury concerns have lessened following optimistic medical reports, and a season to get healthy while learning the pro game behind Ryan Fitzpatrick seems just about perfect. - Belbeck

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

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The Chargers are a candidate to trade up for the quarterback of their choice, but this scenario still sees them land one of the top three signal-callers. Herbert's combination of arm talent and athleticism make him a strong fit for the offense that Anthony Lynn is building in the post-Philip Rivers era. - Wilkins

7. Carolina Panthers - Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson

New head coach Matt Rhule appears to be building the Panthers from the ground up, so adding a defensive difference-maker like Simmons would be a no-brainer. The versatile prospect can play as an off-ball linebacker, a slot cornerback, a deep safety, or an off-ball chess piece in dime packages. Oh, and he can thrive in every one of those roles. With a variety of needs across the roster, bank on Carolina nabbing the best player available. - Alessandrini

8. Arizona Cardinals - Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville

Most analysts believed Arizona would target a receiver here, but the addition of DeAndre Hopkins has freed the team up to address its offensive line. The 6-foot-7, 365-pound Becton showed off incredible athleticism at the combine, surely catching the Cardinals' eye. An offseason haul of Hopkins and Becton would be a dream scenario for emerging star quarterback Kyler Murray. - Belbeck

9. Jacksonville Jaguars - Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn

It'd be easy to roll your eyes at the Jaguars being linked to yet another first-round lineman, but this pick makes plenty of sense after the mass exodus of talent from the formerly star-studded defense. Brown would join 2019 first-rounder Josh Allen as the Jaguars look to establish a new foundation up front . - Wilkins

10. Cleveland Browns - Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama

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The Browns dipped into the free-agency pool to fill a few key holes, but the team must still add a left tackle to protect franchise quarterback Baker Mayfield. Wills played on the right side at Alabama but possesses the skill set to dominate on Mayfield's blind side for years to come. With Wills and newly signed Jack Conklin blocking the edges, Cleveland's offense would be on track for a major rebound. - Alessandrini

11. New York Jets - CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

This pick is almost too perfect, as Lamb would immediately fill the Jets' desperate need for a No. 1 receiver. The Oklahoma star's catch radius is among the best in this draft, while he excels at making contested receptions and turning small plays into big gains. This selection would also go a long way toward helping quarterback Sam Darnold's development. - Belbeck

12. Las Vegas Raiders - Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

After spending so much money on the defensive side of the ball in free agency, the Raiders can use one of their two first-round picks to fill a glaring hole a receiver. Jeudy's ability to separate at all levels of the field would complement the talents of Tyrell Williams on the opposite side and Hunter Renfroew in the slot, suddenly giving Las Vegas an interesting group of wideouts. - Wilkins

13. San Francisco 49ers (from IND) - Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina

Talk about executing a long-term plan. Niners general manager John Lynch traded defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts for the 13th overall pick and is set to draft his replacement here. Kinlaw's not as polished as Buckner at the moment, but he's a high-upside interior rusher who comes at a cheaper price and would allow Lynch to improve other areas of his roster. Hats off to him. - Alessandrini ​​​​​​

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia

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A strong offensive line is important for any team, but when your quarterback is on the wrong side of 40, the protection unit is even more significant. The Bucs took a major step toward respectability by signing Tom Brady, and adding Thomas would go a long way toward making the legendary QB more comfortable in Tampa. - Belbeck

15. Denver Broncos - Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

Denver should be prioritizing the addition of another top target to play opposite breakout star Courtland Sutton, and after spending elsewhere in free agency, an early-round pick to address the position seems all the more likely. Ruggs' game-breaking speed would round out a stellar group of pass-catchers who can grow alongside second-year quarterback Drew Lock. - Wilkins

16. Atlanta Falcons - CJ Henderson, CB, Florida

This is a dream scenario for Atlanta. Henderson could easily be selected inside the top 15, but he's sitting here for a Falcons squad in desperate need of an upgrade in the secondary. The former Florida star profiles as an excellent fit in Dan Quinn and Raheem Morris' defense, and he's arguably the top prospect available here. Plus, Atlanta will be looking for a cornerback following the release of Trufant. - Alessandrini ​​​​​​

17. Dallas Cowboys - K'Lavon Chaisson, Edge, LSU

With length, speed, and strength in spades, Chiasson possesses all the qualities a team (and Jerry Jones) could want in an edge rusher. With Robert Quinn now in Chicago, the LSU standout can slide right in and make an impact in Dallas. - Belbeck

18. Miami Dolphins (from PIT) - Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor

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After demonstrating a truly elite athletic profile at the combine, Mims will be one of the biggest pre-draft risers among receivers - so much so that the Dolphins shouldn't think twice about making him the fourth wideout off the board. The next step after landing Tua is surrounding him with talented playmakers, and this pick would do just that. - Wilkins

19. Las Vegas Raiders (from CHI) - Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama

The Raiders targeted a premier receiver prospect with their first pick and can upgrade the secondary with another Alabama player here. McKinney profiles as an excellent fit on Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden's roster, and he can immediately slot in next to 2019 first-rounder Johnathan Abram. Vegas is building an exciting, young roster as it moves into a new home. - Alessandrini ​​​​​​

20. Jacksonville Jaguars (from LAR) - Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU

This impressive corner from LSU might be a slight reach at No. 20, but the Jaguars desperately need help in their secondary. Fulton's tracking ability on the ball is among the best in this draft, and he can be a starter on Day 1 for the revamped Jacksonville defense - Belbeck

21. Philadelphia Eagles - Patrick Queen, LB, LSU

The Eagles didn't get involved in the expensive linebacker market during free agency, leaving the position as one of the team's few pressing needs. Queen is an athletic three-down contributor who could lead an NFL defense for many years. - Wilkins

22. Minnesota Vikings (from BUF) - Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU

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Similar to San Francisco's strategy at No. 13, the Vikings can replace a departed player with a rookie by using the draft slot they acquired in the original deal. Jefferson is coming off an incredible season at LSU, and his skill set should mesh well with that of Kirk Cousins. He's exactly what the Vikings need after trading star receiver Stefon Diggs to Buffalo. - Alessandrini ​​​​​​

23. New England Patriots - Jordan Love, QB, Utah State

The Patriots might not wait long to grab Tom Brady's potential successor, as Bill Belichick could opt to grab the upside associated with Love. The quarterback showed flashes of talent throughout his collegiate career but his final season was disappointing overall. That means he could drop to No. 23 and join New England's quarterback room. - Belbeck

24. New Orleans Saints - Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU

Set on making much-needed upgrades at cornerback, the Saints were reportedly in the mix for Chris Harris before he landed a deal with the Chargers. Gladney would be another attractive option who could make an immediate impact, and he'd join free-agent addition Malcolm Jenkins in helping the Saints' secondary go from a weakness to a strength. - Wilkins

25. Minnesota Vikings - Yetur Gross-Matos, Edge, Penn State

Minnesota's secondary could stand to improve, but Gross-Matos presents more value than any cornerback prospect does at this draft slot. The Vikings won't be retaining pass-rusher Everson Griffen, so adding a high-quality piece opposite Danielle Hunter will also be a top priority for head coach Mike Zimmer. Gross-Matos is dripping with upside and is simply too talented to pass up this late in Round 1. - Alessandrini ​​​​​​

26. Miami Dolphins (from HOU) - Austin Jackson, OT, USC

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After grabbing a quarterback and a receiver, the Dolphins can add another vital piece to their offense in Jackson. He's a bit of a project, but he's also a gifted athlete, making his ceiling as a tackle extremely high. - Belbeck

27. Seattle Seahawks - Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama

A trade to acquire Quinton Dunbar from the Redskins shouldn't stop the Seahawks from doubling down and bolstering their cornerback spot, which was an issue for the team last year. Adding Diggs to play alongside Dunbar, Shaquill Griffin, Tre Flowers, and Quandre Diggs would give the Seahawks their most talented secondary since the Legion of Boom. - Wilkins

28. Baltimore Ravens - Zack Baun, Edge, Wisconsin

Baltimore recently placed the franchise tag on Matthew Judon, but the move likely won't stop the franchise from adding a versatile player opposite him. Baun can do it all - he sets the edge versus the run, covers in space, and provides a major boost as a pass-rusher. If Judon is traded in 2020, this pick would look even better for the cap-strapped Ravens. - Alessandrini ​​​​​​

29. Tennessee Titans - Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah

With Logan Ryan likely out the door, the Titans can add some cornerback depth with the versatile Johnson. The former Ute was as good at locking down receivers as any defensive back in the Pac-12 last season, and he'd bring some physicality to the Titans' secondary. - Belbeck

30. Green Bay Packers - Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma

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Christian Kirksey may prove to be a major part of the solution for the Packers' issues at inside linebacker, but they shouldn't stop there. Murray's ability as a three-down linebacker, as well as his leadership, would solidify the middle of Green Bay's defense for the foreseeable future. - Wilkins

31. San Francisco 49ers - Cesar Ruiz, OL, Michigan

Not only would Ruiz fill a need along the Niners' offensive line, but his advanced instincts and plus athleticism make him a perfect fit for Kyle Shanahan's scheme. Ruiz is also the top prospect at a valuable position, so a first-round selection is likely in his future. - Alessandrini ​​​​​​

32. Kansas City Chiefs - Grant Delpit, S, LSU

The Chiefs aren't in dire need of a safety, but they'll opt for the best player available by taking the former LSU star here. Delpit was a massive part of the Tigers' national championship-winning outfit, and he was projected to be a top-20 pick for most of the season. He'll end up in a great landing spot here, where he can learn from another former LSU star in Tyrann Mathieu. - Belbeck

2020 NFL Mock Draft: Free agency shakes up 1st round
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