This article is part of our NFL Draft series.
Here's my latest guess at the first two rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft. There are two trades projected – Miami moving from 18 to 10 (Cleveland), and Indianapolis moving from 34 to 31 (San Francisco).
1. Cincinnati – Joe Burrow, QB, LSU (6-3, 221)
Some media reported that Miami wants to trade up for Burrow, and they conceivably have the ammo to pull it off. With three first-round picks and two second-round picks, the Dolphins could give Cincinnati a compelling reason to violate the conventional rule of taking the consensus QB1 in this situation. For now, though, it appears that remains unlikely.
2. Washington – Chase Young, DE, Ohio State (6-5, 264)
Young might be better than the Bosas, and playing in a loaded Washington front seven would put him in position to produce immediately.
3. Detroit – Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State (6-1, 205)
It'd be a little weird to trade Darius Slay and then take anyone other than Okudah with this pick.
4. Giants – Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa (6-5, 320)
An absurdly athletic person for such a dense build, Wirfs' 4.85-second 40, 36.5-inch vertical, and 121-inch broad jump are basically unprecedented at his weight. This is one of the most athletic players of distant history, so the upside is compelling.
5. Miami – Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon (6-6, 236)
Miami isn't in position to convincingly fix its offensive line anytime soon, so it's not impertinent to note Herbert's superior size, athleticism (4.68-second 40), and durability relative to Tua Tagovailoa. It's also fair to posit that Herbert would have looked a lot better at Oregon if he had wideouts like Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs, DeVonta Smith, and Jaylen Waddle.
6. Chargers – Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama (6-0, 217)
If the Dolphins prefer Tua over Herbert then I think you can project the leftover to this pick.
7. Carolina – Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson (6-4, 238)
Carolina's defense would still be among the league's worst after selecting Simmons, so even though he's a great prospect he should fit with whatever Tank4Trevor plans the Panthers might have in mind.
8. Arizona – Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia (6-5, 315)
If not for Wirfs, Thomas would get more attention for what a standout athlete he is. All of Wirfs, Thomas, and Jedrick Wills are probably in the Tyron Smith-Trent Williams sort of tier as offensive tackle prospects.
9. Jacksonville – Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama (6-4, 312)
Wills isn't the prototypical build at tackle and would ideally fit into a scheme with a zone-blocking emphasis, but regardless of scheme he would provide a likely upgrade over Cam Robinson. If Jacksonville means to capitalize on Gardner Minshew's sixth-round rookie contract, then fortifying the offensive line should be an immediate goal and Wills is the kind of prospect you can't often acquire.
10. Miami (from CLE) – Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama (5-11, 188)
Cleveland still has a big need at tackle, but they could justify a trade back if all of Wirfs/Thomas/Wills are gone. Mekhi Becton is next in line, but might project better at right tackle or even guard in the NFL, given the general history of oversized maulers in the NFL. As promising as DeVante Parker and Preston Williams (ACL) might be, the Dolphins offense is perilously slow in its current construction. Ruggs' speed might also give defenses reason to be less aggressive generally, hopefully concealing some of Miami's offensive line limitations. For the trade down to the 18th spot, let's say Cleveland receives Miami's No. 70 selection while the teams swap 152 (Miami) and 187 (Cleveland).
11. Jets – Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama (6-1, 193)
I think CeeDee Lamb would be the more useful player for the Jets since they already have Jamison Crowder as a dart-quick target underneath, but Jeudy can convincingly threaten all levels of the field and his route-running aesthetics might appeal to a trips enthusiast like Adam Gase.
12. Las Vegas - CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma (6-2, 198)
You can only do so much to make a quarterback like Derek Carr look better than he actually is, but adding a receiver like Lamb is one of the few means of doing so.
13. San Francisco (from IND) – CJ Henderson, CB, Florida (6-1, 204)
The 49ers can get away with a moneyball approach at corner if their pass rush remains smothering, but they're looking at the non-zero possibility of needing to replace all of Richard Sherman (age), Emmanuel Moseley (2021 free agent), and Ahkello Witherspoon (bust, probably) in the next year. They should also presume regression in their pass rush with DeForest Buckner gone.
14. Tampa Bay – Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville (6-7, 364)
As much as Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are big wideout upgrades for Tom Brady, people perhaps haven't grappled enough with the offensive line downgrade he'll endure in the switch from New England to Tampa Bay. Becton should offer an immediate upgrade at right tackle while maybe helping pummel some more openings in the ground game.
15. Denver – Kenneth Murray, ILB, Oklahoma (6-2, 241)
Murray is super athletic and posted big tackle numbers at Oklahoma, and Denver could use some help alongside Todd Davis.
16. Atlanta – Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU (6-0, 197)
17. Dallas – Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn (6-5, 326)
Malik Collins was more of a pass rusher for Dallas and Brown is more of a run stopper, but Dallas has relatively few needs and can justify the BPA approach here if they choose.
18. Cleveland (from PIT via MIA) – Austin Jackson, OT, USC (6-5, 322)
Some might consider this a reach but Cleveland needs to attack the tackle position and Jackson (5.07-second 40, 115-inch broad jump) has the athleticism to suit Kevin Stefanski's zone-blocking tendencies.
19. Las Vegas (from CHI) – Jordan Love, QB, Utah State (6-4, 224)
Love's numbers give me the creeps but he is a standout athlete and did, to be fair, have to deal with a dreadful supporting cast last year.
20. Jacksonville (from LAR) – A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson (6-1, 195)
Maybe the Jaguars don't need a corner here – they might see long-term starting upside with Tre Herndon – but Terrell's traits should otherwise fit the Todd Wash scheme.
21. Philadelphia – Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor (6-3, 207)
Justin Jefferson is more commonly projected at this pick, and he could very well be the guy. I'm choosing to project Mims instead given his superior athleticism on a bigger frame, which theoretically should pose a more convincing downfield threat than Jefferson. Pushing the safeties back has to be a priority if the Eagles want their two-TE offense to stay on rhythm.
22. Minnesota (from BUF) - Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State (6-5, 266)
He's not a Danielle Hunter-level prospect, but Gross-Matos has unique pass-rushing upside in this thin edge defender class.
23. New England – K'Lavon Chaisson, LB, LSU (6-3, 254)
Chaisson's poor production at LSU could be explained by his 2018 ACL tear, and he could go higher than this if he convinces NFL teams of his athleticism. He skipped combine workouts, though, and I don't like Chaisson's tape enough to take the leap of faith some others have. Either way, he'd profile well for the tasks previously handled by Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins.
24. New Orleans – Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU (5-10, 191)
25. Minnesota - Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn (5-10, 198)
As much as it takes a lot of projection to imagine Igbinoghene as a standout NFL starter, (A) he has the physical tools to make such a projection reasonable and (B) the Vikings don't have a hell of a lot of choices otherwise with all of Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes, and Mackensie Alexander no longer on the roster.
26. Miami (from HOU) – Lucas Niang, OT, TCU (6-6, 310)
This might be too early for Niang, but if Miami doesn't get a tackle earlier than this then they might be compelled to reach a bit at some point. They need more offensive line talent, now.
27. Seattle – Zack Baun, LB, Wisconsin (6-2, 238)
The Quinton Dunbar trade takes care of any outside corner concerns for Seattle, allowing them to focus on the first two levels of the defense. Baun can contribute in all of coverage, run defense, and pass rush, so he'd be a nice long-term replacement for K.J. Wright, who turns 31 in July.
28. Baltimore – Cesar Ruiz, OG, Michigan (6-3, 307)
Perhaps the Ravens have another plan to replace Marshal Yanda, but the bar is high and it will take a considerable talent to get anywhere near what Yanda provided. Ruiz is quite athletic for a guard and it's easy to imagine him making blocks downfield to spring big plays in the running game.
29. Tennessee – Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina (6-5, 324)
Giving away Jurell Casey just to draft Kinlaw would be a lateral move at best and likely a downgrade, but sometimes NFL teams like doing that sort of thing.
30. Green Bay – Patrick Queen, LB, LSU (6-0, 229)
Queen is often projected earlier than this, so perhaps it's not the most realistic option for the Packers. He's awfully light though and might slide a bit for the fact.
31. Indianapolis (from SF) – Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma (6-1, 222)
I once concluded that Hurts would be too inaccurate to start in the NFL, but with prospects like Josh Allen and Daniel Jones going high I no longer can write him off on those grounds. Maybe he's a bad fit for the Frank Reich offense, I don't know. But unlike some other teams, the Colts are not realistic candidates to Tank4Trevor. Since they're only moving up three spots, let's say the 49ers handed over this pick in exchange for picks 34 and 122.
32. Kansas City – Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin (5-10, 226)
This would be a volatile landing spot for Taylor since Damien Williams is such a great fit for the offense, but Williams has always had durability troubles and the Chiefs have few enough needs that they could rationalize an indulgence pick like this. Some people still don't get it so I'll say it again: Jonathan Taylor is the best pure runner since Adrian Peterson.
33. Cincinnati – Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia (6-6, 350)
34. San Francisco (from WAS via IND) – Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado (6-1, 227)
Deebo Samuel worked well last year, so why not draft the ostensibly same player?
35. Detroit – Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU (6-1, 202)
Jefferson reminds me a bit of Marvin Jones, who's in the last year of his contract with Detroit.
36. Giants - Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame (6-4, 238)
37. Chargers – Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama (6-1, 205)
38. Carolina – Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama (6-0, 201)
I dunno, just one of those BPA type picks I guess.
39. Miami – Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU (5-7, 207)
If Miami is looking for contrast to Jordan Howard then Edwards-Helaire would fit the bill.
40. Houston (from ARI) - Neville Gallimore, DT, Oklahoma (6-2, 304)
Although he's no D.J. Reader as far as occupying gaps goes, Gallimore could still provide Houston with some sorely needed DL reps from a few different alignments.
41. Cleveland - Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU (5-11, 206)
I would of course take Reagor higher than this, but I don't see as much enthusiasm from most mainstream football media. Jarvis Landry is on the shelf until August with his hip surgery and I think he's a dark horse candidate to get traded or cut before the season, especially since Landry and Austin Hooper would largely fight over the same part of the field for targets.
42. Jacksonville – Julian Okwara, DE, Notre Dame (6-4, 252)
Maybe I'm being too reductive with my reasoning here, replacing Yannick Ngakoue with an ostensibly similar player, but the Jaguars have a type.
43. Chicago (from LV) - Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise State (6-6, 311)
Perhaps he'll need to move to guard due to short arms (33 and 3/8 inches), but Cleveland is a plus athlete (4.93-second 40, 11.72 agility score) who's not terribly dissimilar to Kyle Long as a prospect.
44. Indianapolis - Albert Okwuegbunam, TE, Missouri (6-5, 258)
The Colts definitely don't need a tight end – Jack Doyle is a good starter and they like Mo Alie-Cox too – but Okwuegbunam has a convincing red-zone skill set and offers compelling size-adjusted speed (4.49-second 40) with a big catch radius (34 and 1/8-inch arms).
45. Tampa Bay – D'Andre Swift, RB, Georgia (5-8, 212)
Even as someone lower on Swift than most, I don't doubt for a second that he'd immediately render Ronald Jones obsolete.
46. Denver – Devin Duvernay, WR, Texas (5-10, 200)
Perhaps I'm projecting Duvernay too high, but if so then I'll loudly insist it's everyone else who's wrong for doubting him. Duvernay slaughtered in the slot last year and his track speed would fit well in a Denver offense whose fastest starter at the moment might be Noah Fant. DaeSean Hamilton was a disaster in the slot for Denver last year.
47. Atlanta – J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio State (5-9, 209)
The Todd Gurley contract is only for one year.
48. Jets - Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah (6-0, 193)
Although Johnson's combine testing was underwhelming, he was regarded as the best defensive back in a Utah secondary that smothered opponents the last three years.
49. Pittsburgh – Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame (6-6, 262)
Eric Ebron is not a solution beyond the question of stopgap utility.
50. Chicago – Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia (6-1, 202)
51. Dallas – Lloyd Cushenberry, C, LSU (6-3, 312)
I'll be referring to him as Lord Cushenberry from now on.
52. Rams - Malik Harrison, LB, Ohio State (6-3, 247)
Perhaps I should have projected Harrison higher than this, because he's super athletic and Ohio State's defenses have smothered for years. And yet, I can't remember the last time one of their linebackers was any good in the NFL. Oh well, the Rams aren't in a position to pass him up given the loss of Cory Littleton in free agency.
53. Philadelphia – Grant Delpit, S, LSU (6-2, 213)
A lot of mocks put Delpit in or near the first round, so perhaps I'm screwing up by projecting him this low.
54. Buffalo – Terrell Lewis, DE/OLB, Alabama (6-5, 262)
Be it in a Lorenzo Alexander role or purely as an edge rusher, Lewis offers convincing athletic tools for some enterprising defensive coordinator or another. Lewis posted a 37-inch vertical and 124-inch broad jump at the combine.
55. Baltimore (from NE via ATL) – Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson (6-4, 216)
Although I can't tell what to make of the wide range of reported 40 times from Higgins' pro day – as low as 4.43 seconds and as high as 4.59 – this definitely isn't the kind of wideout class where you want to put forth mediocre athletic testing. Still, I have trouble imagining Higgins falling much further than this.
56. Miami (from NO) - Joshua Jones, OT/G, Houston (6-5, 319)
Jones could conceivably turn into a starting OT if Niang doesn't, and if Niang does then Jones should be able to offer starter reps at guard.
57. Houston - A.J. Epenesa, (3-4) DE, Iowa (6-5, 275)
Perhaps this is overkill in light of the Gallimore pick from earlier, but I have trouble identifying other obvious openings in the Houston depth chart. It's mediocre talent in some (many?) cases, but the Texans generally appear set at wide receiver, tight end, offensive line, and cornerback.
58. Minnesota – Michael Pittman Jr., WR, USC (6-4, 223)
Witnessing Kenny Golladay twice a year can lead one to see the virtues of a wideout like Pittman.
59. Seattle - Matt Hennessy, C, Temple (6-4, 307)
As much as the Seahawks generally like to marginalize their offensive line, Hennessy might be the compelling sort of athlete for them to make an exception (5.18-second 40, 30-inch vertical, 110-inch broad jump, 12.05 agility score).
60. Baltimore – Josh Uche, LB, Michigan (6-1, 245)
Although short for a conventional edge rusher, Uche might make it work in the NFL anyway. If not, he might offer a fit at inside linebacker.
61. Tennessee – Troy Pride, CB, Notre Dame (5-11, 193)
With short arms and an uneven athletic testing profile, Pride might slide a bit despite generating highly positive headlines at the Senior Bowl. His long speed (4.40-second 40) is not at all a concern, at least.
62. Green Bay – Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State (6-0, 205)
I can't really figure out Aiyuk and wouldn't especially love his fit with the Packers, but it seems unlikely that he falls much further than this, if this far at all.
63. Kansas City (from SF) - Curtis Weaver, DE, Boise State (6-2, 265)
The edge-rushing options are thin in this draft, so Kansas City probably can't complain if they get Weaver here. Weaver dominated in each of his three years at Boise, totaling 34 sacks in 41 career games.
64. Seattle (from KC) – Jonathan Greenard, DE, Florida (6-3, 263)
Greenard isn't overly athletic (4.87-second 40) but has great reach (34 and 7/8-inch arms) and he should offer standout pursuit ability in the trenches thanks to that reach and the range afforded by his quickness (11.47 agility score). The Seahawks need to add some front seven talent if they want to get anywhere near the level of their past defenses.