Obligatory End of Regular Season, Stupid Early, Mock NFL Draft

I didn’t want to do this. I told myself I wouldn’t do this. But here we are – doing a ridiculously too early mock NFL Draft.

As a Dolphins fan, the regular season went much faster than I imagined it would, but all that did was make me want the offseason to be here already so that we can dive into free agency and NFL Draft prospects.

Please remember this is stupid early. Trades are going to happen, free agency will help teams fill holes, player’s stock will rise/fall with NFL Combine and Pro Day drills/results, and myself and everyone else that loves mock draft season will change our minds a million times. But let’s do it anyways, because like you, I need to scratch this itch…

**Picks 21-32 are not necessarily in correct order. Like I said, it’s too damn early for this**

1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

At this point in December, it’s the most obvious pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Andy Dalton’s time has expired in Cincinnati. Welcome to the Jungle, Joe Burrow

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

Young would likely be the top overall selection in any draft that doesn’t feature a clear-cut franchise quarterback. The Redskins waste no time making Young the No. 2 overall pick

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

The Lions allowed a league-high 284 passing yards per game in 2019. The team obviously has a lot of needs, but Okudah can step in from day one and significantly help this pass defense

4. New York Giants: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

You’ve got high picks invested in Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley, now it’s time to round out the trio. One of my favorite players in this draft, Jeudy is another dynamic Alabama wide receiver who’s one of the best after-the-catch WR’s I’ve ever seen

5. Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

At the end of the day, I think Miami will need to package picks and move up for Tagovailoa – if they’re committed to landing him in this draft. There are too many QB-needy teams in this draft and I think a team like Washington or Detroit could leverage some of Miami’s draft picks in a deal. But in this mock where trades aren’t a thing, Tua is the Dolphins next attempt at a franchise quarterback

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

All signs are pointing towards Philip Rivers’ time as the Chargers’ starting quarterback being over. Even if he were to return, the team still needs to address the QB position sooner rather than later

7. Carolina Panthers: Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn

The Panthers finished 29th in rushing yards allowed per game in 2019. Not only does Brown fall to them at No. 7 in this mock, but he instantly helps improve this shady run defense

8. Arizona Cardinals: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

Reuniting Kyler Murray and Lamb feels like the easy/trendy thing to do here, but Lamb’s WR1 potential is undeniable for a team looking to add youth to the position alongside Christian Kirk

9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama

The Jaguars’ defense was one of most disappointing units in the league this year, in my opinion. Trading Jalen Ramsey created a need at cornerback, and the Jags waste no time adding top-end talent in Bama’s Trevon Diggs

10. Cleveland Browns: Andrew Thomas, OL, Georgia

I feel pretty safe in saying that a big reason an offense that featured Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb, Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry drastically underperformed this season was due to the performance of the offensive line. We typically see top-tier offensive lineman go higher than this, so the Browns make Thomas the steal of the draft so far

11. New York Jets: Austin Jackson, OL, USC

The Jets could go several directions with this pick, especially if Robby Anderson leaves in free agency, but I like the idea of solidifying the offensive line and providing Sam Darnold some protection for the foreseeable future (which Adam Gase will undoubtably ruin)

12. Las Vegas Raiders: Isaiah Simmons, LB/S, Clemson

Simmons feels like a Jon Gruden player to me. He’s the new-age hybrid defender that can be used multiple ways, and you know Gruden would love to get his hands on another versatile defender

13. Indianapolis Colts: Grant Delpit, S, LSU

I’ll admit that the Colts are currently a team that I don’t have a great feel for. They could look to find their next franchise quarterback, they could add another dynamic wide receiver, or they could go best player available. I have them going Delpit here to pair with Malik Hooker, forming a nice pair of safeties to build around

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mekhi Becton, OL, Louisville

The Bucs need help on the defensive side of the ball, but offensive lineman are often given priority when it comes to early pick in the NFL Draft. Whether it’s Jameis Winston or someone else taking the snaps in 2020, Becton offers a lot in regards to protection of the team’s most important player

15. Denver Broncos: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma

I’m fairly certain I’ll have the Broncos taking an offensive lineman at some point throughout the mock draft process this offseason, but for the time being, I have them adding to the defense with Oklahoma’s Kenneth Murray. You can never have too many playmakers on the defensive side of the ball, and sharing a division with the Kansas City Chiefs means you’re going to need to have a stout defense for the next decade if you plan on competing

16. Atlanta Falcons: Tristan Wirfs, OL, Iowa

Atlanta used two first-round picks on offensive lineman last year, and while it seems unlikely that the Falcons address the position early again in 2020, they may find it wise to protect Matt Ryan while he’s still surrounded by playmakers and has something left in the tank

17. Dallas Cowboys: A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa

Much like offensive lineman, pass rushers are at a premium when it comes to the first round of most NFL drafts. If Epenesa falls to No. 17, the Cowboys may decide to go best player available rather than addressing other potential needs

18. Miami Dolphins (via Pittsburgh): Trey Adams, OL, Washington

The Dolphins’ 2019 offensive line isn’t going to work. They struggled with pass blocking, they were historically bad at run blocking (I mean, Ryan Fitzpatrick led the team in rushing yards), and if they take their franchise QB at No. 5, they’ve gotta do everything possible to protect him

19. Las Vegas Raiders (via Chicago): Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford

The Raiders finished 25th in passing yards allowed last season. They got help with Simmons earlier in the first round, and now they add direct assistance at the cornerback position in Adebo at No. 19

20. Jacksonville Jaguars (via LA Rams): Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

The Nick Foles experiment looks to be a failure, but Jacksonville may be interested in giving Gardner Minshew a second season after flashing multiple times in 2019. In order to help Minshew grow he’ll need some help at wide receiver. Higgins is the next Clemson wide receiver set to make a big impact in the NFL

21. Tennessee Titans: Jedrick Wills, OL, Alabama

We’re going to need to see how free agency plays out to truly determine if the Titans need to make addressing the offensive line a priority. Jack Conklin’s contract is set to expire, and if he moves on from Tennessee, Wills provides the skill set to be a nice young replacement for this up-and-coming offense

22. Philadelphia Eagles: Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama

The Eagles could have used Ruggs already this year. The speedy WR from Alabama provides Carson Wentz a reliable target that can take it to the house on any play. Nelson Agholor is set to be a free agent and Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson aren’t getting any younger

23. Buffalo Bills: Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado

John Brown and Cole Beasley put together nice seasons for Josh Allen and the Bills, but Shenault Jr. provides a bit more size while still possessing big-play ability. Buffalo is pretty solid defensively, so the next step to help the Bills get to the next level is to continue surrounding Allen with playmakers like Shenault Jr.

24. Minnesota Vikings: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU

What the hell happened to Xavier Rhodes? His performance recently makes cornerback a position of need in Minnesota, despite the fact that it seems like the Vikings are constantly using high-round draft picks on defensive backs. Add Fulton to the list that includes Rhodes, Trae Waynes, Mike Hughes and Mackensie Alexander

25. Miami Dolphins (via Houston): Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn St.

Despite never having a great team, Dolphins fans have been spoiled by the team having very good pass rushers for quite a while now – until this last year. The Dolphins were led in sacks by Taco Charlton, who finished with just five, but even his future is uncertain after being inactive for the majority of the team’s final games. Addressing the position of edge rusher needs to be a priority for Miami this offseason, whether in free agency, the draft, or both

26. Seattle Seahawks: Alex Leatherwood, OL, Alabama

Russell Wilson has nearly perfected the art of scrambling around and making a play downfield, but imagine his potential if he actually got some protection. Leatherwood fits in perfectly in Seattle and provides that needed protection to let Wilson maximize his playmakers in Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf

27. New England Patriots: Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina

We may be in store for a very interesting offseason in New England. Tom Brady’s decision regarding his future will likely steer the team’s priorities when it comes to free agency and the draft, so for the time being, I’m giving Belichick and the Patriots the best player available in Javon Kinlaw

28. New Orleans Saints: Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU

The Saints could use another playmaker to compliment Michael Thomas, so in the event Antonio Brown or any of the other free-agent wide receivers they tried out last week don’t pan out, taking the next best WR available in the draft makes perfect sense for this offense

29. San Francisco 49ers: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama

With Jimmie Ward set for free agency, the 49ers may luck out here and land a very solid replacement in McKinney. He hasn’t been given the pre-draft media attention that former Bama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick received, but he’s a consistent player that has a nose for making the big play

30. Kansas City Chiefs: K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU

Frank Clark and Emmanuel Ogbah combined for 13.5 sacks in 2019, but the Chiefs would benefit by adding another pass rusher to help their improving defense. The offense is already littered with playmakers, so expect the Chiefs to address the defensive side of the ball while becoming one of the most complete teams in the league

31. Green Bay Packers: Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama

Going into this mock I expected to have the Packers taking a wide receiver. However, with how things played out at the position, I currently have them going a different direction and adding Alabama’s Dylan Moses to help solidify a drastically improved defense. Despite a vastly improved pass rush, and adding Jaire Alexander and Darnell Savage to the secondary in recent NFL Drafts, the Packers would benefit greatly by adding to their linebacker core

32. Baltimore Ravens: Terrell Lewis, EDGE, Alabama

The Ravens’ offense looks legit, despite not having much at the wide receiver position outside of Hollywood Brown, so I expect the Ravens to continue beefing up their defense this offseason. They did also draft Miles Boykin last year, so I wouldn’t expect them to make drafting a high-round WR a priority. We know this team loves Alabama defenders – Lewis just may be the next one

Ben Morgan is a co-host and blogger for the Loaded Box Podcast. Check out his article archive and find more from the Loaded Box on Twitter & Facebook

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