2020 Niners Nation Mock Rationales
- Bengals (Chris4949): Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
So a new era of QB play is going to happen for Bengals fans! Burrow has prototypical size, with enough athleticism to scramble. He brings a good skill set to Taylor’s West Coast offense. He sees the field well and can progress through his reads. He doesn’t have a great arm, but it’s good enough to make a lot of the throws he is asked to. He anticipates openings in defenses and can make throws to where receivers are going to be. As the GM of the Bengals, this is not what I wanted to do. I wanted Chase Young; he’s a blue-chip player, and one of the building blocks of a team. I don’t believe that Burrow is the better player and shouldn’t be the #1 pick, but QBs get pushed up boards. But again, Burrow does fit the mold of a West Coast QB.
2. Redskins (Riqv): Chase Young, Edge, Ohio State
This pick is a no-brainer. Washington gets the consensus number one player in the draft at one of the most important positions on the field. Chase Young was an absolute stud at OSU, displaying his elite athletic skill traits. He still has room to improve his technique and pass rush moves at the next level, pair that with his size, strength, and quickness, and he is going to be an immediate contributor and absolute threat. After seeing what Nick Bosa did for the 49ers defense last season, all Washington fans should be clamoring for this pick.
3. Lions (Surfer2099): Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State
The lions seem to have begun a rebuild on defense. After losing both Quandre Diggs and Darius Slay in their secondary, they’ve attempted to mitigate those losses through free agency. The lions are sitting in the right spot to pick Jeff Okudah to help fill some of that hole left behind by the absence of some quality talent. Both Draftnetwork and PFF have compared him to Jalen Ramsey. Marino had this to say about Okudah, “Jeffrey Okudah is an early first-round talent with the upside to become one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. He features an elite man coverage skill set both in terms of physical gifts and how he applies them to mirror routes.”
4. Giants (budabear78): Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
The Giants probably have a stronger “need” at Tackle, but Simmons is too good to pass up here, and Gettleman likes the “best athlete on the board” approach. Saquan Barkley and Daniel Jones form the offensive identity for this team, but the legacy of the New York Football Giants is LT, Carl Banks, Justin Tuck, Michael Strahan, defensive stalwarts, and the Giants need a new defensive star and identity. It starts here with Isaiah Simmons, the modern-day NFL perfect hybrid linebacker who can stuff the run, play coverage on backs and tight ends, blitz up the middle, or rush off the edge. He’s a no-brainer as an ultimate chess piece for new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham, a valuable player who plays every snap and never comes off the field. This defense was bad, and it starts getting better now with a new leader and a new face. Giants expect to address offensive line in Day 2.
5. Dolphins (GreatOden’sRaven): Tua Tagovailoa, QB Alabama
I understand that Bama QBs have struggled, but Tua looks like he could be the one that breaks the mold. Because the Fins have Fitzmagic, they can rest Tua for an entire year, and his rookie year can be 2021. It’s a great fit for them because he can escape pressure, and their OL currently looks like it would struggle in the XFL. Tua can throw a great deep ball but, more importantly, leads his receivers on slants and intermediate throws. The Dolphins have a stable of B receivers that he can throw to, and that makes them dangerous. A lot of needs left to address, and certainly, I struggled with taking an OT here (can’t keep a QB upright), but seeing as I’m marking Tua down as a redshirt, I have two drafts to stock the line before he sees the field. Note I was possibly interested in taking all OL and then tanking for Trevor, as I think he’s a far better prospect than either Tua or Burrow. Luck level for me.
6. Chargers (Stevesrus): Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
Chargers with a good offensive line? This could be a reality if the Chargers take Wirfs here. With the new additions of Brian Bulaga and Trai Turner, if they add another offensive tackle to shore up the left tackle spot, they could have an offensive line that can protect a potential new quarterback and open up lanes in the running game. Wirfs has great lateral quickness for run blocking as well as smooth steps to get outside for pass blocking. He does have a tell for pass sets; if he can fix that, then this will be a great pick and help out the offense in multiple ways.
7. Panthers (RocklinRoll): Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn
First, I’d like to reassure all of the faithful members of Panther Nation out there that we are absolutely, positively, without question, not tanking. We as an organization plan to compete at the highest possible level in spite of the numerous, and some have said questionable, changes to the roster this offseason.
We currently have multiple opportunities in all of our position groups for young players to contribute immediately and have selected Derrick Brown, a defensive lineman from Auburn. Brown is a dominant force who should step in and from day one immediately upgrade a run defense that many have (not so) generously described as porous at best, and wreak havoc on offensive linemen throughout the league.
We look forward to a season of roster construction and “culture building,” but absolutely no tanking.
8. Cardinals (AZSharksFan): Jedrick Wills, OT,
What a great year to have a high pick and need a tackle. I think Willis will end up the best pro tackle; however, there are 4 top tier guys that you could make a strong case for being your pick here. At this point, Willis seems the most technically sound and arguably most athletic of the class, although also one of the smallest. His footwork and quickness really stand out in-game film. Jedrick Wills would plug immediately in as the starting RT opposite the recently extended DJ Humphries with the potential to play either left or right in the future. I considered taking someone splashy like Jeudy or Lamb, but in terms of the team, the need couldn’t justify it.
9. Jaguars (Rowingdave): Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
While the Jaguars have attempted to invest in their OL over the last few years, they haven’t been able to reap positive returns. With three picks in the top 42 in this year’s draft, the Jaguars have the opportunity to get three very good players, but they won’t be able to snag a premium player at OL later on. Andrew Thomas is a plug and play starter at OT from day one, and possibly the best OT in the draft. Jawaan Taylor continues to develop, and Cam Robinson will kick inside to guard. If the Jags are all in on Minshew, they need to go all-in on their offensive line.
10. Cleveland Browns (Andrew9er): Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
The Browns have signed Jack Conklin, and Austin Hooper has created an offense full of impact players. Despite the signing of Conklin, the lone remaining weakness is the offensive line. The addition of Becton gives them a mountain of a man who will remind some Browns fans of Orlando Brown. The OL could still use some interior help, and perhaps that will be solved with later picks. These additions should provide the ability to determine exactly what they have in Baker Mayfield moving forward. Here we go, Brownies!
11. New York Jets (Lancashire 49er) CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
Joe Douglas has been doing a nice job in the offseason of building depth with dependable (no more than that) offensive line depth following a string of penalties and bad play that limited their prized asset, Sam Darnold.
My first job as interim GM was to get rid of Gase!
Second was to build on the approach by Douglas, but with all 4 top tier tackles off the board and not being sold on the next CB at pick 11, we went with the (one of) best WR prospects in the draft and in recent times. Robby Anderson is still unsigned, and Enunwa is coming off a bad neck injury. The option to take a receiver with undoubted talent and potential pro bowl play was too good to turn down and to give Darnold a threat at all levels. I went with Lamb over Jeudy as I felt Lamb offered more of a safety blanket for the short passing game, less time for Oline blocking, rather than the play of Jeudy (who I prefer) and his route running savvy.
12. Raiders (JJCool00) Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
The best WR in the draft falls to number 12, and that’s a no brainer. Projected to be a top 10 pick, the Raiders cash in grabbing him here at 12. The Raiders lost Cooper and haven’t had a real number one WR since. A lot of the blame gets shifted to the QB position, but with a true #1 receiver again, some of the pressure will be off the QB position. Jeudy’s elite route running will open lanes for the other receivers and have an even bigger impact on Jacobs. Jeudy’s one of the few players in the draft expected to make an immediate impact.
13. 49ers (Duv49ers) Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
With the 49ers getting the 13th pick trading DeFo to Colts, with Emmanuel Sanders signing with the Saints for the 2020 season and since this is a deep class of wide receivers, the 49ers should come out of the first round with their guy. Jefferson, who caught 111 passes
from Joe Burrow last season, is a great fit along with sensational rookie Deebo Samuel. He will bring a certain type of confidence, swagger, and upside as a potential playmaker in Shanahan’s offense.
14. Buccaneers (Shanafandom) Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
Yes, this might be a bit early for McKinney compared to most big boards or mocks. But this board didn’t fall the Buccaneers’ way with four tackles being taken, plus I don’t think Josh Jones or any other tackle was worth picking this early. And there is no trading this mock, so I’m stuck here and am choosing McKinney. Safety was a weak spot in 2019, despite improvement later in the season (aka when Carlton Davis began starting at CB). McKinney gives much-needed versatility, coverage, tackling, you name it. Great fit for a Bowles defense that relies heavily on DBs. And he brings much-needed competition for Mike Edwards and Andrew Adams.
15. Broncos (52therim): Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
The Broncos’ #1 priority is helping their young QB Drew Lock. With that in mind, there is a top tier of 4 OTs and 3 WRs that the Broncos want to tap into. We’d have been busy working the phone lines to move up, possibly with the Niners (SF 1.13 and 5.176 for DEN 1.15 and 3.95), but with no trades allowed, we stayed put and let our target fall to us. Ruggs is so much more than a speedster, but let’s start there. Why was he upset that he only ran a 4.27 40 at the combine? Well, he’s not used to being 2nd best. He set the 100 yard Alabama HS record and would have broken an NFL record last season on a TD run where he was timed reaching 24.3 MPH. The fastest time in the NFL since 2016 is 23.5. With 90th percentile hand size, he is bigger, heavier, and plays stronger than Tyreek Hill. He didn’t have the production of Jerry Jeudy, but his depth of target, YAC, and TD% (1 per every 4.1 receptions for his career) were all better than Jeudy. He had only one drop on 139 targets. He had two rushing attempts last year for 75 yards and a TD. He’s never been a #1 WR, but that’s OK. The Broncos have Courtland Sutton for that.
16. Falcons (the_bones): K’Lavon Chaisson, Edge, LSU
Chaisson falls into the mold of athletic high ceiling edge rushers Atlanta has taken in the past; Beasley and McKinnley. While Beasley is out, and Tak hasn’t resembled too much of a first-round pick, Chaisson has the chance to step in opposite Fowler and be a presence. While his speed is the first thing you’ll notice, don’t sleep on his other aspects. He is sneaky strong and explosive and can turn his speed into power at the drop of a hat. His stats are not overly impressive for an edge rusher, but when you turn on the tape, you’ll notice him making plays—QB hits and hurries, setting the edge against backs. The dude can even cover if he’s asked to. If McKinnley doesn’t get rolling early in the season, expect him to be on the bench quite often while Fowler and Chaisson get after the QBs.
17. Cowboys (Riqonator): C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
With the loss of Byron Jones over the offseason, I felt that the Cowboys needed a young corner, and needed one badly, especially compared to other needs. Henderson fits the bill as an ultra-twitchy man cover corner who can be a lockdown corner. Henderson is well sized at 6 foot 1 inches, and he can flat outrun. His ball skills were impressive, albeit he tends to get grabby sometimes, but nothing too bad. Henderson’s ceiling is a top of the shelf corner, but he is more likely to be a very good to elite #2 corner. Either way, a good fit for the Cowboys, both scheme, need, and in terms of best players available.
18. Dolphins (GreatOden’sRaven): Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
Well, this was unexpected. The Dolphins need help all over the place, and while they have added some excellent cornerbacks and rushers, they have no one in the middle to crash the pocket. I thought Kinlaw was gone in top 10-13 (Niners could have taken him), so I didn’t even have him as a possibility. But I am ecstatic to get him this late. This should help the team immensely and allow them to get off the field once in a while. Top 10 talent at 18! The combo of Shaq Lawson, Christian Wilkins, Javon Kinlaw, and Emmanual Ogbah isn’t too bad for a team that has been abysmal for ages.
19. Raiders (JJcool00): Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
It’s been no secret that Gruden isn’t the biggest fan of Carr, as further indicated by his signing of Mariota this off-season. Even with Mariota and Carr likely on the roster, the Raiders will take this opportunity to draft the best pro-ready QB in the draft with Herbert. While Herbert has been criticized for his decision making, he has the best arm and football IQ in the class. Most likely, he will redshirt his rookie season with Carr/Mariota starting but will be ready to start in 2021.
20. Jaguars (Rowingdave): Zack Baun, Edge/OLB, Wisconsin
The Jaguars need help everywhere, and Baun fills a need as a hybrid Edge rusher/coverage linebacker. He’s a guy who brings scheme diversity and plays to the whistle as a three-down guy who can set the edge but play off-ball linebacker in other sets. It’s rare to be able to draft an edge player who grades out equally as well in coverage as he does as a rusher and does them both at an elite level, but that’s Baun. He’s also a very capable run defender, which allows him to stay on the field, unlike an exclusive pass rush specialist like Dee Ford.
21. Eagles (Rhardin49): Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
He fills a critically important need for the team. The LB corps is depleted and lacking in depth. He began in college slotted as an outside linebacker but moved inside to the middle with outstanding work in his sophomore year. Murray can play any type of up-front linebacker role whether it’s as a pass-rusher, blitzing down the middle or staying back as a spy, Murray has the speed and techniques that NFL teams are looking for. His tackling skills are also excellent, as it is hard for running backs and receivers to shake his nearly 33-inch arms once he has latched on. Murray also has the strength to drag most offensive players to the ground, as can be seen on plays where he gets his arms wrapped around a player’s chest or shoulders. He does tend to try and arm tackle opposing players, a habit that will be far less effective against NFL offensive players.
On the off the field side, Murray is an extraordinary leader and role model. He saved the life of a young woman putting himself at risk to save her with CPR. The Eagles are getting an outstanding player that fits a big need and a terrific leader/person for the locker room.
22. Vikings (Blackpool Niner): Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
The Vikings have so far had…an offseason. They’ve extended their QB for two more years in a win-now type move before completely butchering large parts of their roster.
Their CB room, in particular, has been decimated with Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander leaving in free agency, and Xavier Rhodes cut. Fulton is simply BPA with Pro Bowl potential at a position of dire need. There aren’t many players left at #22 that I think can become quality starters this year, but Fulton is one, having held his own against top college receivers.
23. Patriots (JUICEcyk): Jonathon Taylor, Running Back, Wisconsin
So obviously, The Pats need a QB as TB12 is gone. But I’m banking on tanking and grabbing Trevor Lawrence next season. Jacob Eason was an option, but I think going running back and pairing Sony Mitchell with a tremendous back can mold this new look patriot into another dynasty (dear God). I chose Taylor over Swift and Dobbins purely based on the fact that Jonathon Taylor was on my Instagram feed more often. I don’t think you can go wrong with either of these backs as they will all be studs, I just think Taylor will be the best one.
24. Saints (DeltaLima): Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
The Saints desperately need to upgrade their boundary CB opposite Marshon Lattimore, a position filled last year by Eli Apple. With no one filling that spot right now, it is already upgraded. I was tempted to take one of three CBs on the Board here, all of whom I like, but not “1st round” like. Once Fulton was taken, I knew that if I could have traded back, I would have. So instead, I’m opting to address the biggest Free Agent departure. Patrick Queen will fill in for AJ Klein, while the Saints’ frequent use of 3 safeties will limit his snaps in his first year until the game slows down for him. With Demario Davis and Alex Anzalone to hit free agency in 2021, LB could have been a major concern next year too, but with one of Brees or Hill coming off the books next year, they will have the cash to retain one of that duo to pair with Queen. The Saints will look hard at CBs in the third round, where they should still hopefully get someone who’s an upgrade over Apple.
25. Vikings (Blackpool Niner): Josh Jones, OT, Houston
The Vikings’ O-line has not been good for some time, and I strongly considered Cesar Ruiz here. We do have a left tackle in Riley Reiff, who has been…serviceable? I see a chance to upgrade an important position long-term with enough draft picks to fix arguably more pressing needs later.
Jones isn’t the finished article, but I love his athleticism for our outside-zone scheme. He gives us options. If he impresses in camp, he can start, and we can cut the expensive Reiff or kick him inside to guard (though I’m not personally a big proponent of the bad tackle = guard theory). Alternatively, we can roll with Reiff at LT, let Jones develop, and pull a LG from somewhere. I’ll see what I can do...
26. Dolphins (GreatOden’sRaven): Austin Jackson, OT, USC
Looking back on the draft, I probably should have taken an OT at slot 5, but it is what it is. Jackson has loads of potential and has enough talent to be a day one starter at Right Tackle. This is going to be huge next year because Tua is a lefty. While I wanted Jones, he went a pick before, and I was forced to adapt. I DO think Jackson is worthy of a 1st round pick because he has the talent and tools to be a long term star in the league, he’s just more raw than the big 3 (plus Becton). USC has generally turned out quality if not stud OL. I see him starting day one at RT.
27. Seahawks (Riqonator): Grant Delpit, FS, LSU
I ran to the virtual podium as soon as I saw Delpit was still available. He is not Earl Thomas by any measure, but he is a ballhawk safety who has a knack for having big plays at the right time. He is exactly the type of player and leader that the Seahawks have lacked since the LOB collapsed, and gives the Seahawks another defensive playmaker. He sees plays happening before the ball is even snapped. While watching him, Devin McCourty came up as a very good comparison. Delpit has some tackling issues that need to be ironed out, but in the end, is a great fit for the Seattle single high scheme, especially as Tedric Thompson, last year’s starter, has requested a trade.
28. Ravens (Rowingdave): Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
Jalen Reagor is somehow falling down pundits’ draft boards because he ran a 4.47 forty at the Combine...and it’s absolutely insane. They must have missed the 42 inch vertical and his 11’6” broad jump. Reagor is an athletic freak who also squats 600+ pounds...but he’s much more than a freak. He’s a thickly built, dynamic receiver whose explosiveness and speed are clearly manifested on tape. He’s struggled with some concentration drops, but he is clearly a hands catcher that high points balls and isn’t afraid to get hit. He’s a polished player that will be a better pro than he was in a moribund TCU offense. A guy that accelerates out of his breaks quickly makes contested catches and has the ability to line up at X or in the slot? No reason he should be available here. He will be a YAC god in the NFL and is capable of running sets out of the backfield a la Deebo Samuel. Except he’s faster and more explosive, making this Raven’s offense borderline unstoppable.
29. Titans (Sacto Solon): Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise State
The Titans, with a view to symmetry, move to replace erstwhile bookend RT Jack Conklin, who went to Cleveland via free agency, with...Cleveland, Ezra Cleveland. The former Boise State standout, the seventh 1st-round OT taken in our mock, vaulted into the top-50 discussion with an impressive combine performance, including a sub-5.00 40 (4.93), a 30-inch vertical, 111-inch broad jump, and 7.23 3-cone shuttle time. The key to Cleveland’s development will be to add functional strength without losing any of his obvious athleticism, which is why veteran Dennis Kelly will probably man the position for at least half of the 2020 season. After Josh Jones and Austin Jackson went at #25 and #26, respectively, the Titans may have reached for Cleveland at #29, but we could not find a more intriguing athletic OT prospect at this position of need who was better than Ezra.
30. Packers (SplasGodwithaBang): Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
The Packers need a WR2 next to Davante Adams. It has been a significant need the whole year as Allen Lazard, the current WR2, has shown out here and there, but he is not consistent enough to be a second-best receiver on a good team. That’s why I believed it was best to add Tee Higgins. He can dominate across the field in any receiver position and is an excellent downfield passing threat for Aaron Rodgers. Higgins has the ability to make tough, contested catches over corners as well. He is the best available receiver and an excellent fit for the Packers.
31. 49ers (duv49ers): Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
Since the 49ers drafted a wide receiver with their first pick, they could turn to the defense with this pick. With DeForest Buckner gone, I thought about defensive tackle, but they still have some talent there with former top-five pick Solomon Thomas moving inside permanently. Justin Madubuike could be an option, but corner is a more pressing need, and you only have to watch Super Bowl LIV to see that. Richard Sherman, who turns 32 later this month, is only signed through 2020, and the Niners don’t have a set No. 2 corner. In order to create competition at both No. 2 and 3 CB spots, Diggs will be a tremendous addition to a 49ers defense that already has plenty of talent.
32. Chiefs (Ninrfevr18160): AJ Terrell, CB, Clemson
After letting Kendell Fuller walk in free agency, the Chiefs needed to bolster their starting CBs as early as they could in the draft. While they would’ve preferred Okudah, Fulton, or Diggs, they were excited to see Terrell still on the board at #32. Many scouts throughout the league believe Terrell can be an immediate starter on just about any team and will definitely be an upgrade over Bashaud Breeland. Terrell is a very flexible player that exceeds in both man and zone coverage. His only negative is that he is not a wrap-up tackler and can be thrown off by stronger receivers.