By: Nick Lamattina | @lamattina_nick
Well, we are finally here. With the conclusion of Week 17, the NFL regular season has come to a close and what a season it has been with so many different storylines that developed on and off the field. More importantly, though, the finale of the regular season means that we now have a set draft order for the non-playoff teams. Because of the expanded number of playoff teams, the top 18 is set in stone (except for possible trades). All in all, the offseason is almost here!
This upcoming mock draft will be a mix of my personal opinions on players along with what teams could realistically do this coming April. The draft is a great source of acquiring talent from the college level and instilling hope into every team’s fanbase. So, I hope that everyone reading this will be intrigued by the selection(s) their team makes. Let’s do this!
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
With Clemson’s loss to Ohio State in the College Football Playoffs semifinal, we have officially seen Trevor Lawrence in the Clemson orange for the last time. Lawrence is up there for one of the best quarterback prospects to come out in the past decade. No matter who the Jaguars bring in to replace Doug Marrone as head coach, this pick should be a no-brainer.
2. New York Jets: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Although there have been talks of the Jets potentially trading out of this pick and sticking with Darnold, I think that would be a big mistake. After one full offseason in charge, GM Joe Douglas should be drooling at the thought of bringing in his franchise quarterback and pairing him with a new head coach. To me, Justin Fields has shown the physical tools and ability to be the second quarterback off the board in this class so he is headed to the Big Apple!
3. Miami Dolphins (via HOU): Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
Dolphins fans around the globe should be calling Bill O’Brien to thank him for his service to their franchise. Miami acquired this pick, among others, in the deal that sent Laremy Tunsil to Houston. And with it, they get the best offensive line prospect since Quenton Nelson in Penei Sewell. Miami’s young offensive line exceeded expectations and plugging Sewell in at tackle will provide an immediate boost to make it one of the best up and coming units in the league.
4. Atlanta Falcons: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
It is time for the Falcons to blow it up. With an aging roster on the decline and the franchise heading in the wrong direction, the Falcons should look to getting their quarterback for the future after Matt Ryan’s time is up. Zach Wilson is arguably the most improved player in college football and should be the pick here for Atlanta.
5. Cincinnati Bengals: Patrick Surtain Jr., CB, Alabama
The Bengals will be distraught that they missed out on Penei Sewell, so they will have to look in a different direction. With no other offensive tackle prospects that I am comfortable in taking this high, Cincinnati opts for Alabama’s stud lockdown corner Patrick Surtain Jr. He is a fantastic all-around corner that can do just about everything asked of a corner. He would greatly benefit the secondary room to give them something to build around long-term.
6. Philadelphia Eagles: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
Last year in the draft, the Eagles invested in a lot of speed at the receiver position throughout the entire seven rounds. Chase gives them something a little different in that receiver room. After his prolific 2019 season at LSU, he opted out of the 2020 season but he had already proved to everyone in the nation what he could do. He is an excellent separator who can line up anywhere for an offense and would be an incredible piece for Jalen Hurts to work with.
7. Detroit Lions: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Another receiver comes off the board. With Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola all expected to hit free agency, that leaves next to nothing for the Lions to work with long-term. The question has been brought up as to whether it is time to move on from Matthew Stafford but I do not think we have reached that point yet. Give him the most dynamic player in the country to work with wide receiver DeVonta Smith.
8. Carolina Panthers: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
The last of the consensus top four quarterbacks come off the board here in Trey Lance. Because he only had one game sample size this season, Lance has been somewhat forgotten in the talk of quarterbacks in this draft class. He is an extremely talented player who brings just about everything to the table that a team would want in today’s NFL, which is athleticism and arm talent. He may need time to sit and learn, which will be the perfect job for Teddy Bridgewater and P.J. Walker to take on in 2020.
9. Denver Broncos: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
The Denver Broncos were plagued with injuries all over their defense this season. Something that they should look to add is more dynamic play and athleticism at the second level from their linebackers. Micah Parsons will add that with his game-breaking speed and ability to affect every play. Rush the passer, stop the run, or drop in coverage, he can do it all.
10. Dallas Cowboys: Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
The Cowboys need some help on defense and specifically at pass rusher. Demarcus Lawrence has been the only mainstay for Dallas the past few years and is now reaching his 30’s. They need to inject some youth into that edge group. Kwity Paye is a very technically refined player and definitely in the conversation for the best pass rusher in this class. He would fit in perfectly in Dallas to solidify that spot opposite of Lawrence for years to come.
11. New York Giants: Jeremiah Owusu-Koromoah, LB, Notre Dame
In a similar position as the Broncos two-sport previous, the Giants need to add more to the second level of their defense whether that be at inside linebacker or edge rusher. I opted for the 2020 Butkus Award winner in Owusu-Koromoah, who has been on a constant rise since the beginning of the season. He is an uber-athletic linebacker who offers everything to a defense. And for a linebacking core headlined by Blake Martinez, this is absolutely a necessary selection for the Giants and Joe Judge.
12. San Francisco 49ers: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
With zero, yes ZERO, cornerbacks under contract next season, the 49ers need to invest in the position. Jaycee Horn seems like a dream fit to me in my opinion. He is exactly what the Niners typically look for in a corner for their zone-heavy defense. Horn is physical, long and athletic that should excel in the Bay Area.
13. Los Angeles Chargers: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
The Chargers seem to have hit the jackpot on the quarterback position with the selection of Justin Herbert in the 2020 NFL Draft. The issue worth sorting out now is the abysmal offensive line. The likes of Sam Tevi and Trey Pipkins should not be relied upon to protect Herbert’s blindside. Darrisaw is an incredible athlete that should fit in well immediately at left tackle to do his part on the line. This should elevate the rest of the Chargers’ offense as well to propel them into a playoff contender once they figure out the head coach position.
14. Minnesota Vikings: Rashawn Slater, OL, Northwestern
The Vikings may be in rebuild mode. Although they have some pieces on the offense and defense, their team as a whole is fairly young, so only time will tell to see who sticks on the roster. Rashawn Slater is a very good option to bring in as an offensive lineman and because of his size, he could be deployed at tackle or guard depending on the team’s preference. He has been garnering a lot of attention as a top tackle in this class because of his performance against Chase Young in 2019.
15. New England Patriots: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Kyle Pitts showed this season for Florida what he can do as a playmaker. Although he is classified as a tight end, he is best defined as an offensive weapon. He can do anything either in-line with his hand in the dirt or as a split-wide receiver. He will force mismatches all over the field and the Patriots need a go-to player on offense. Pitts can be that for Bill Belichick and whoever may be at quarterback in 2020.
16. Arizona Cardinals: Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
Arizona, as a team, took a big leap forward this season. Their offense seems to be prolific with a healthy Kyler Murray at the helm with DeAndre Hopkins. I think their defense was a lot better than many were expecting. A big part of that was the emergence of Haason Reddick as a pass rusher. Reddick racked up 12.5 sacks and six forced fumbles. Reddick is an upcoming free agent though and the Cardinals may not be able to bring him back. I think Azeez Ojulari has shown more than enough to put himself this high in the draft. With his speed and clean hands as an edge rusher, Ojulari will be a perfect partner in crime to Chandler Jones.
17. Las Vegas Raiders: Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami
Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock have been trying to perfect the defensive end rotation since they took over the franchise. Selecting Clelin Ferrell and Maxx Crosby in 2019 along with bringing in Takk McKinley during the season, they clearly value the position. So the thought of bringing in talent like Gregory Rousseau would have to strike their interest. Rousseau is a true boom or bust prospect in my opinion but if he hits, he could truly transform the Raiders’ pass rush over the coming years.
18. Miami Dolphins: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
Penei Sewell AND Jaylen Waddle… what more could you want Dolphins fans! This would be an absolute pipe dream of a draft haul for Miami. Giving Tua Tagovailoa more weapons and specifically, one he is familiar with in Waddle should be an exciting thought for everyone involved. Tagovailoa operates best with speedy receivers who can separate down the field, which the Dolphins’ roster currently lacks. The Dolphins need to prioritize building around their franchise quarterback and adding Waddle most definitely does that.
19. Washington Football Team: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
As much of an inspiration Alex Smith is, he should not be looked at as the future of Washington’s franchise. After missing on their first-round pick Dwayne Haskins, another chomp at the bit is necessary for them to take to catapult the team in the right direction. Mac Jones is an incredible deep ball thrower and an underrated athlete who has the tools to be able to succeed in the NFL. I’d expect him and Terry McLaurin to develop a good connection fairly quickly.
20. Chicago Bears: Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
Mitchell Trubisky has been somewhat of a revelation for Matt Nagy and the Bears this season. I believe he has done enough for them to consider bringing him back for another year to see if he is the real deal. But they do need to begin to mend together the offensive line and Cosmi is a very athletic tackle prospect who can develop into one of the cornerstone tackles for the Bears.
21. Jacksonville Jaguars (via LAR): Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State
After selecting Trevor Lawrence with the first overall pick, surrounding him with a good offensive line and weapons immediately becomes the priority. Cam Robinson has been a disappointment at guard and may be best suited at guard. With that move, left tackle becomes a glaring need and Dillon Radunz slots in wonderfully. He is an excellent run blocker who can set the tone at the point of attack while still developing as a pass protector.
22. Indianapolis Colts: Jaelen Phillips, EDGE, Miami
As a former number one overall recruit, Jaelen Phillips has an immense amount of talent. It looked like injuries were going to derail his career but the transfer to Miami turned it around. He has looked incredible as a pass rusher to thrust himself into the conversation as one of the best in the class. The Colts need help at defensive end to add more blue-chip talent to the room.
23. Cleveland Browns: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
Man, how did Caleb Farley fall this far? Although corner isn’t a huge need for Cleveland, there’s no way they could pass up the opportunity of selecting him. He displayed so much potential in 2019, flashing ability as a lockdown man-cover corner who is very fluid in coverage to shadow his assignment. Pairing Farley with Denzel Ward would be a fantastic duo for the next decade.
24. Tennessee Titans: Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State
Although they clinched the AFC South title, the Titans heavily relied on their high-caliber offense to carry them there. The defense has a long way to go from the defensive line back to the secondary. At defensive end, they have Harold Landry but nobody to pair with him. Jadeveon Clowney had high expectations after they acquired him in free agency but that didn’t work out as well as Vic Beasley, who was released during the season. Jayson Oweh has the athletic profile to develop into a supreme edge rusher and should help out the pass rush as a whole for the Titans.
25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan
Go all-in on Tom Brady. TB12 doesn’t have a lot of time in Tampa so they need to spend it giving him the best opportunity to win each week. He has the weapons at receiver and with the breakout year for Ronald Jones II, Brady has the weapons so the next step is fine-tuning the offensive line. Left tackle is the only spot in desperate need of an upgrade for the short-term and long-term future of the Bucs. Mayfield is an athletic tackle who is still somewhat growing into his body, so his ceiling is very high although he could be seen as a risky pick by some.
26. Baltimore Ravens: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
The Ravens’ inconsistencies in the receiving room have held back their offense this season. With former MVP Lamar Jackson and a solid running back room starring rookie J.K. Dobbins, their run game is nothing to worry about. Rashod Bateman should help the offense open up a bit more because of his ability on a vertical route tree that can stretch the field and let Lamar air it out.
27. New York Jets (via SEA): Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas
After selecting the quarterback of the future with the second overall pick in Justin Fields, the next step for Joe Douglas and company is to help the defense out anywhere possible. Joseph Ossai is somewhat flying under the radar heading into this new year as many other prospects at his position are seeing their draft stock soar. Ossai would be perfectly suited to the defense that the Jets have run and assuming they don’t switch schemes heading into next season (which is a possibility), he would be a great pick here at 27.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame
The Steelers’ run game has been essentially nonexistent to the closing weeks of this season. Although the running backs deserve some of the blame, I think the blame should be more focused on the offensive line. The line needs a lot of help so why not get them one of the most improved in the country, Liam Eichenberg. He is an excellent run blocker and continuing to get better as a pass blocker. This feels like a very on-brand pick for Pittsburgh.
29. New Orleans Saints: Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia
With the Saints in cap trouble for this coming offseason, a lot of concessions will have to be made. Besides Marshon Lattimore, they may not have much else for that position heading into the 2020 season, so pairing Lattimore with Eric Stokes would be a great decision for the Saints to help the present and future of the defense. Stokes is a very athletic corner with blazing speed that teams should fall in love with, provided he runs at the combine.
30. Buffalo Bills: Wyatt Davis, OG, Ohio State
With Ike Boettger, Jon Felciano and Daryl Williams all projected to hit free agency and limited cap to spend, the Bills should continue to invest in the offensive line in whatever way they can. Cody Ford is still a question mark at guard and without knowing which guys will re-sign, Wyatt Davis is a nice plug-and-play guy at one of the guard spots. Davis is a very powerful guy up front who will be able to step in and contribute right away in all facets of the game.
31. Green Bay Packers: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
Although it may be unlikely that the Packers spend their first-round pick on a linebacker, it is something that I would hope could happen. The Packers have struggled to find guys to stick on the roster at linebacker and Collins is the type of athletic linebacker that could be utilized perfectly in Green Bay. His performances this season have been nothing short of stellar and he could add another dimension to the defense.
32. Kansas City Chiefs: Creed Humphrey, C, Oklahoma
With many of the interior offensive linemen in Kansas City set to hit the open market this free agency, finding a staple in the heart of the line is necessary. Creed Humphrey is the perfect fit for a team like the Chiefs, who want to air it out all game long, an offense he’s been playing for his entire college career. Get Patrick Mahomes the future center that he can be comfortable with and not have to worry about rotating in and out.