Sam Farmer’s first 2020 NFL mock draft: Going first ...
Two words sum up The Los Angeles Times’ first mock draft of the 2020 NFL season:
This scenario features six Alabama players — two on defense and four on offense, including the receiving tandem of Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III — in the first 23 selections.
Coach Nick Saban has more first-round picks (26) than career losses (23) at the school.
Six University of Miami players were selected in the opening round of 2004, setting the record for the most first-rounders by a school in a draft.
Alabama, which has had at least three first-round picks in each of the past three drafts, figures to threaten that record this year.
1. CINCINNATI: QB Joe Burrow, Louisiana State — The Bengals are moving on from Andy Dalton, and the Heisman-winning Burrow is coming off a 5,671-yard, 60-touchdown season.
2. WASHINGTON: Edge rusher Chase Young, Ohio State — The bookends of Young and Montez Sweat could conjure those old Washington days of Dexter Manley and Charles Mann.
3. DETROIT: CB Jeff Okudah, Ohio State — Some see Okudah as a generational talent. Lions could have a smothering tandem if he were paired with Darius Slay.
4. N.Y. GIANTS: DT Derrick Brown, Auburn — Giants have taken an interior defensive lineman among top three rounds of three straight drafts, but Brown is too tempting.
5. MIAMI: QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama — There’s a chance the jockeying for Tagovailoa has him going in the No. 2 slot. Dolphins have the ammunition to trade up if required.
6. CHARGERS: QB Jordan Love, Utah State — If Chargers don’t address QB in free agency, they need to take advantage of this high pick. Love might be best fit for Anthony Lynn’s scheme.
7. CAROLINA: OT Mekhi Becton, Louisville — Panthers need help all along the offensive line, but this is too early for a guard. The 6-foot-7, 370-pound Becton is a good start.
8. ARIZONA: WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma — The sun is setting on Larry Fitzgerald’s career, and Kyler Murray already has started to lobby for his old college teammate, Lamb.
9. JACKSONVILLE: LB Isaiah Simmons, Clemson — Simmons ran a scorching 4.39-second 40, so he might not last this long. But Jaguars would love to have him as a defensive cornerstone.
10. CLEVELAND: OT Tristin Wirfs, Iowa — Even if the Browns were to trade for Trent Williams, they would still be short on solid tackles. The explosive Wirfs was Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year.
11. N.Y. JETS: OT Jedrick Wills, Alabama — In the past, when there are a few elite offensive tackles, they have gone off the board in quick succession. Jets need one badly.
12. LAS VEGAS: WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama — The Raiders need a No. 1 receiver for Jon Gruden’s offense, and they would be delighted to get the playmaking Jeudy at this spot.
13. INDIANAPOLIS: DT Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina — The Colts are hungry for a 3-technique defensive tackle to wreak havoc up the middle. Kinlaw is an ideal candidate to do that.
14. TAMPA BAY: QB Justin Herbert, Oregon — The Buccaneers are ready to move on from Jameis Winston. Herbert could go to the Chargers, but Love might be more of a fit.
15. DENVER: CB C.J. Henderson, Florida — Chris Harris was Denver’s only bright spot among last year’s corners, and he’s about to become a free agent. Even if the Broncos sign Byron Jones, Henderson would be a big help.
16. ATLANTA: RB D’Andre Swift, Georgia — Swift averaged 6.2 yards per carry last season and would plug right in to Atlanta’s offense with Devonta Freeman probably heading elsewhere.
17. DALLAS: CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama — The Cowboys want help at safety too, but their corner need is big if Byron Jones leaves. Diggs’ older brother, Stefon, is a Minnesota Vikings star.
18. MIAMI: WR Henry Ruggs III, Alabama — Receiver isn’t Miami’s top need, but Ruggs would be great value here, and this team is severely lacking offensive playmakers.
19. LAS VEGAS: LB Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma — The Raiders need an enforcer in the middle of their defense and in this scenario opt for Murray over Louisiana State’s Patrick Queen.
20. JACKSONVILLE: LB Patrick Queen, Louisiana State — Quincy Williams struggled last season in moving to middle linebacker, and it was a bumpy year for Myles Jack too. Enter Queen (or Murray).
21. PHILADELPHIA: WR Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State — This draft is rich with receivers, so the Eagles might wait. But they need a burner like Aiyuk who can stretch a defense.
22. BUFFALO: Edge rusher A.J. Epenesa, Iowa — With Shaq Lawson headed for free agency, the Bills need someone who can come off the edge and get to the quarterback. Not a loaded draft in that regard.
23. NEW ENGLAND: S Xavier McKinney, Alabama — Even if the Patriots re-sign Devin McCourty, and it appears they will, they need to start thinking about the player who will replace him.
24. NEW ORLEANS: WR Justin Jefferson, Louisiana State — Jefferson excelled in former coordinator Joe Brady’s offense, and Brady ran the system he learned with the Saints. Drew Brees needs more receiving targets.
25. MINNESOTA: S Grant Delpit, Louisiana State — With Anthony Harris on his way to becoming a free agent, the Vikings could use last season’s Thorpe Award winner to shore up the back end of their defense.
26. MIAMI: OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia — This might be too late for Thomas, who some see as a premier tackle, so the Dolphins would be thrilled to get him at this point in the first.
27. SEATTLE: Edge rusher Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State — With Jadeveon Clowney heading toward free agency, and Ziggy Ansah a disappointment, Gross-Matos could fill a Seahawks need.
Breaking down the strengths and weaknesses of quarterbacks Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert and Jordan Love ahead of the NFL draft.
28. BALTIMORE: LB Curtis Weaver, Boise State — Queen or Murray would fit here too, but the Ravens are looking to generate pressure off the edge. Weaver had 13½ sacks in 2019.
29. TENNESSEE: CB A.J. Terrell, Clemson — The Titans need to fortify their pass defense. They have Adoree Jackson and Logan Ryan at the corners, but need more than that.
30. GREEN BAY: WR Tee Higgins, Clemson — The acrobatic, playmaking Higgins would be a solid complement to Davante Adams, and just what Aaron Rodgers needs.
31. SAN FRANCISCO: WR Laviska Shenault, Colorado — A string of injuries have suppressed Shenault’s draft stock, yet this Deebo Samuel type could thrive in the 49ers’ system.
32. KANSAS CITY: RB Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin — Somehow, the Chiefs reached the mountaintop by cobbling together scraps for a running game. Taylor would be a welcome workhorse.
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