Draft day is finally here, and this is my best attempt to predict the first round (with multiple trades) for what seems to be—more than ever—an unpredictable draft.
1. CIN: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
The Dolphins have reportedly made calls about moving up to No. 1 in recent weeks, but Cincinnati seems to be a lock to draft the hometown Burrow as their franchise quarterback.
2. WAS: Chase Young, DE, Ohio State
Young to the Redskins also seems like a lock, as he will join an emerging defensive line that already includes former first-rounders Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, and Montez Sweat in the NFC East.
3. MIA (mock trade w/ DET): Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
I have believed Tagovailoa was Miami’s target—assuming they wouldn’t be able to get Burrow—throughout the pre-draft process, and all the talk otherwise seems to have been an elaborate smokescreen to give up as little compensation as possible to Detroit. We’ll see if that’s correct tonight, but perhaps a mystery team can swoop in with a Godfather offer instead.
4. NYG: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
The Giants seem locked into an offensive tackle to protect their previous two first-round investments, but which one? I think Dave Gettleman may have a preference for Thomas—a guy that could follow his career arc at Georgia (starting at right tackle in Year 1 before taking over on the blindside) for New York.
5. DET (mock trade w/ MIA): Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
As I said in last month’s mock, Detroit already has three capable cornerbacks on the roster (Desmond Trufant, Amani Oruwariye, and Justin Coleman) with a chance to add another in a deep class. To me, Brown is a one-of-a-kind defensive player up front.
6. LAC: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
The Chargers are a difficult team to get a read on, but they are built to win now with multiple impact players hitting free agency in 2021, and the hole at left tackle is glaring. They could also take Justin Herbert and look to secure the blindside with someone like Prince Tega Wanogho at the top of the second round.
7. CAR: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
I’d say the options for Carolina will come down to Simmons, Jeffrey Okudah, or a trade down for Kenneth Murray—but it will be difficult for them to pass up to the local Clemson superstar as their Luke Kuechly replacement.
8. ATL (mock trade w/ ARI): Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
Atlanta would be a team that could give a Godfather offer to the Lions to move all the way up to No. 3 overall, but the way this mock plays out, they don’t need to make such a drastic move to get their guy. Okudah is a great fit in Dan Quinn’s defense.
9. TB (mock trade w/ JAX): Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
Wills’ has tremendous upside as a pass protector, and his big-game experience is another selling point for a Tampa Bay squad with obvious Super Bowl aspirations. Personally, I’d love to see the Bucs stay put and take Jonathan Taylor to create an absolute powerhouse on offense.
10. DEN (mock trade w/ CLE): Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
Maybe we won’t have this many trades because of how COVID-19 has impacted things, but Cleveland’s new regime wants to acquire more picks, and Denver has the ammo to move ahead of the rival Raiders. Although he’s seemingly lost steam recently, Ruggs III is an excellent complement to Courtland Sutton.
11. NYJ: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
Jets general manager Joe Douglas has protecting Sam Darnold as his top priority, and Becton is a human wall similar to Trent Brown in Las Vegas. If the failed drug test is enough to take Becton off the board, New York could be players for C.J. Henderson or a wideout.
12. LV: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
Someone get “I love this CeeDee Lamb, man” with Gruden’s face on a t-shirt.
13. SF (via IND): Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
Philadelphia and Minnesota are both trade-up options, but I don’t see the Niners helping out their NFC competitors with Jeudy still on the board for them to scoop up. Instead, Kyle Shanahan gets the Alabama product for himself.
14. JAX (mock trade w/ TB): C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
The Jalen Ramsey experience wasn’t all bad for Jacksonville considering they were knocking at the door of a Super Bowl appearance and were able to get a couple of first-round picks for him when things fell apart, but the franchise would probably be relieved to have their new No. 1 corner be the soft-spoken Henderson.
15. CLE (mock trade w/ DEN): Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise State
Cleveland to Cleveland has been rumored, and the scheme fit makes the smoke seem like it could turn into fire. Another trade down also seems like a realistic possibility, but the Vikings could also be lurking for the Boise State standout.
16. ARI (mock trade w/ ATL): K’Lavon Chaisson, OLB, LSU
Chaisson has all the tools to become a top-tier pass rusher at the next level, and learning some tricks of the trade from Chandler Jones would be a significant boost to his outlook. The Cardinals could be a dangerous team with multiple defensive “finishers” supporting an offense that will score points.
17. BAL (mock trade w/ DAL): Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
Maybe it will happen, but I’m shocked at how many people have Murray ranked and/or drafted as a late first-round pick. If the Ravens get within striking distance, they could hop Las Vegas and Philadelphia to get an A+ defensive leader.
18. MIA (via PIT): Austin Jackson, OT, USC
Reports have suggested Jackson will get drafted higher than expected, and this feels like a spot where he can gain experience for a year before Miami hopes to go from “good” to “great” in 2021.
19. LV (via CHI): A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson
I think this pick will come down to Terrell or Trevon Diggs, but Mike Mayock may want to stick with the Clemson pipeline. They could also trade down to bridge the gap between here and the three third-round selections (No. 80, No. 81, and No. 91).
20. JAX (via LAR): Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
The Jaguars seem to be in the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes, but can the current regime survive a season that would need to end with them having the worst record in the league? Even if they’re sold on Gardner Minshew, Herbert is too good of a value to pass up here.
21. PHI: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Philadelphia needs to get younger, so I think it would be wise for them to stay put and keep all eight of their draft picks rather than moving up for a wideout in a deep class. Jefferson has long been thought of as the Eagles’ target (he’s a significant betting favorite at +160).
22. MIN (via BUF): Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
Kinlaw could be a name that falls due to injury concerns, but the Vikings need to retool the defense, and he would be a dream replacement for Linval Joseph at defensive tackle.
23. GB (mock trade w/ NE): Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
The Packers have traded up in the first round in both years since Brian Gutekunst took over as general manager, and I think they may do it again to assure themselves of Reagor. In terms of play style, Tyreek Hill isn’t a crazy comparison.
24. NO: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
I’ve seen people suggest Queen and Demario Davis would be overkill as two elite cover linebackers for New Orleans, but have they considered all the weapons now residing in the NFC South? It’s like the final battle in Anchorman 2.
25. MIN: Josh Jones, OT, Houston
Defensive tackle was already addressed with Kinlaw, but Minnesota could go in a variety of directions with both their picks, including wide receiver, offensive tackle, defensive end, and cornerback. Because of the clear scheme fit, the edge goes to Jones.
26. MIA (via HOU): D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
While Detroit fans might be up in arms about not having this pick after trading down, getting No. 39, a pick swap (No. 67 to No. 56) and potentially a 2021 selection isn’t bad compensation for losing nothing by going from No. 3 to No. 5. For the Dolphins, Swift could be the modern C.J. Spiller in Chan Gailey’s offense.
27. LAC (mock trade w/ SEA): Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
I think there is a real chance Love falls all the way out of the first round, but we know Seattle wants to trade down, and the Chargers seem sincerely interested in starting Tyrod Taylor—which would give the rookie at least a year to develop on the bench.
28. DAL (mock trade w/ BAL): Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
Trading down and getting Diggs would be a home-run move for Dallas, and I think there are a handful of centers for them to possibly move up for on Friday night to replace Travis Frederick. Diggs is a ready-made replacement for Byron Jones on the outside.
29. TEN: Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia
Wilson, Denzel Mims, or a cornerback all seem to be possibilities for the Titans, but the big man out of Georgia is a heavy favorite to go in the first round (-400 odds via FOX Bet), and his physicality would fit well with what Tennessee wants to be up front.
30. NE (mock trade w/ GB): Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame
I went back and forth on Kmet or Jake Fromm for New England, but Bill Belichick might hope to trade back up for a quarterback (Fromm or Jalen Hurts) in the second round. Kmet has been extremely overlooked by most in the media during the pre-draft process.
31. IND (mock trade w/ SF): Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia
If the Pats don’t pull the trigger on Fromm tonight, the Colts could be laying in the weeds hoping to make another trade with the 49ers. The three-time SEC East champion signal-caller seems like a great fit for not only Frank Reich, but also Philip Rivers, and Indy would arguably become the most fun quarterback room in the league.
32. KC: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
The Chiefs could just set the world on fire by drafting Jonathan Taylor or another receiving weapon for Patrick Mahomes, but they may feel this pick would be better spent on defense. Fulton is similar to Kendall Fuller, who left the Super Bowl LIV champions this offseason to sign with Washington.