Sports across the world have all but stopped amid this pandemic, but the NFL doesn’t hear or see nothing. It’s trying to pretend everything is normal, and honestly, good for them. Free agency has been a great distraction from all the noise — Tom Brady leaving for Tampa, Bill O’Brien being the worst general manager in memory, the Broncos being smart, etc.
We here at Ralphie Report love a good distraction, so we’re foraying into the great unknown that is the NFL Mock Draft. It’s a genre that suffers so badly from group think that each “unique” mock draft is merely an adaptation with wrinkles; the only ones who know anything are talking to the real teams, but there’s so much misinformation and scheming going around that nothing can be trusted. At least I tried to do three rounds.
What I’m saying is that I made a meaningless mock draft with zero insight, limited knowledge of the players being drafted, and an assumption that one free agency solved that specific team need. I’m bored, is all, and I figure you wouldn’t mind a distraction either.
1. Cincinnati Bengals — Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
This choice is all but guaranteed. Joe Burrow had arguably the best passing season in NFL history as he displayed remarkable accuracy, vision and pocket poise. There are questions as to why he wasn’t productive before last season, but LSU had a playbook from the plodding 1980s.
2. Washington — Chase Young, Edge, Ohio State
Another pick that feel set in stone, Washington chooses the monster edge rusher from the Ohio State University. Chase Young was uber-productive in college, racking up 16.5 sacks in just 12 games in 2019. He was so dominant that opposing teams had to shift their entire gameplan to make sure he wasn’t causing havoc. There are some questions with Young, mostly because he’s been so athletically superior that he doesn’t have that many pass rush moves. That said, just imagine how good he’ll be when he learns those moves.
3. Detroit Lions — Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
The Lions had a lockdown cornerback in Darius Slay, but they just traded him to the Philadelphia Eagle for two mid-round picks. Detroit is re-building their defense with expensive pieces, so having Okudah’s production on a rookie deal would be a boon.
4. New York Giants — Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
The Giants will surely pick an offensive tackle to protect Daniel Jones. It’s tough choosing between Tristan Wirfs and Jedrick Wills — both right tackles in college who could later replace Nate Solder on the blind side — but I’m going with the freaky athleticism of Wirfs. It’s going to be fun seeing him (and the underrated Will Hernandez) pave roadways from Saquon Barkley.
5. Miami Dolphins — Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
There was a lot of uncertainty about whether or not his potentially career-threatening hip injury would heal correctly, but thankfully Tua Tagovailoa will be alright. He’s one of the most quarterbacks I’ve ever seen, a natural playmaker who has a flair for the impossible. His mechanics can be inconsistent, as I’ve read, but you can’t teach his timing or touch. Miami could have a star quarterback on a rookie deal, so that’s why they have been aggressive with free agency.
6. Los Angeles Chargers — Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
Tom Fornelli called Justin Herbert a Rorschach test, in that you see in him whatever you want to see. Is he an upcoming quarterback whose skill is catching up with his physical gifts, or is he a prototypical quarterback who lacks the processing to realize his potential? The Chargers need a quarterback now that Philip Rivers has departed, but Herbert is more likely to spend a year or two developing on the bench.
7. Carolina Panthers — Isaiah Simmons, LB/S, Clemson
Because the Chargers are so desperate for a QB, the most freakish player in the draft falls into Carolina’s lap. That would be Isaiah Simmons, who may be the closest thing to a young Brian Urlacher as we have ever seen. He would replace the now retired Luke Kuechly; he may not have the mental processing Kuechly possessed (no one does), but he can replicate his versatility.
8. Arizona Cardinals — Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
Now that the Cardinals have traded for DeAndre Hopkins, all they really need on offense is an improved offensive line. I don’t know which offensive tackle they prefer, but Jedrick Wills would be the best fit in their spread offense. He’s quick, uses his hands well and he should grow alongside Kyler Murray.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars — Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
The Jaguars just traded Calais Campbell to the Baltimore Ravens for a fifth round pick. They’re also trying to trade star edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue, so yeah, the Jags are Jagsing again. As far as everything goes, they’re in need of powerful defensive lineman, who better to choose than the freaky strong Derrick Brown?
10. Cleveland Browns — Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
Often compared to a dancing bear, Mekhi Becton is a massive man whose light feets and long arms make him a standout left tackle prospect. The chief reason the Browns failed to live up to expectations was because their line play was so awful. There’s a bit of boom-or-bust to his profile, but Becton would be a good fit at left tackle opposite new signee Jack Conklin.
11. New York Jets — CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
The Jets have plenty of needs, none more than a No. 1 option at receiver. Sam Darnold’s best receivers to date have been Quincy Enunwa and Robby Anderson, who are fine I guess, but far better in supporting roles. CeeDee Lamb is a complete receiver whose strong hands and ability after the catch make him an instant scoring threat.
12. Las Vega Raiders — Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
Skeptics have criticized Jerry Jeudy for not repeating his Biletnikoff-winning sophomore season, but goodness, did you see that Bama receiving corps? Opposing defenses chose to clamp down on Jeudy because they would rather one of Henry Ruggs, Devonta Smith or Jaylen Waddle beat them. He’s an excellent route runner, a fast and fluid runner, has an innate feel for creating big plays, and as far as I can tell, he has no major weaknesses.
13. San Francisco 49ers — Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina
The 49ers acquired this pick in exchange for star defensive lineman DeForest Buckner. It would make sense, then, that they choose a similarly freakish lineman to replace him. Javon Kinlaw struggles with consistency and lapses in technique, but this is an ideal landing place for a lineman in need of fine tuning.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
The Buccaneers have landed Tom Brady, so it would make sense to surround him with instant-impact rookies to maximize his limited time. At the same time, however, Brady is 43 and could be the perfect bridge for Jordan Love. The Utah State quarterback is talented but raw, so it would make a good deal of sense for him to learn for a couple years before replacing the GOAT.
15. Denver Broncos — Andrew Thomas, LT, Georgia
Andrew Thomas doesn’t quite have the physical upside as the other tackles in this draft, but he’s consistent, he’s competitive and he finishes plays. The Broncos would be smart to rid themselves of Garett Bolles and opt for someone who can develop alongside franchise QB Drew Lock. (The Broncos would probably draft Henry Ruggs here, but you can find speedsters like Denzel Mims or K.J. Hamler in the second and third rounds.)
16. Atlanta Falcons — C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
Apologies to Isaiah Oliver, but the Falcons are in desperate need of a solid cornerback, especially after cutting Desmond Trufant. In drafting C.J. Henderson, they would have a quick-twitch athlete who’s sticky in man coverage.
17. Dallas Cowboys — K’Lavon Chaisson, Edge, LSU
The Cowboys are also in need of another cornerback after Byron Jones left, but edge rusher is a more pressing need after Robert Quinn departed. K’Lavon Chaisson is an explosive athlete with the kind of flexibility you want on the edge. He didn’t really start producing until the middle of the 2019 season, but goodness was he was a monster down the stretch. He has upside to burn.
18. Miami Dolphins — Josh Jones, OT, Houston
In a tackle-heavy draft class, Miami would be the third team to pair their young QB with a franchise left tackle. Having drafted Tua Tagovailoa with their first pick, they choose the best available offensive tackle, which in this case would be Josh Jones. He is more unrefined than the other tackles, but he’s improved drastically since this time last year.
19. Las Vegas Raiders — Terrell Lewis, Edge, Alabama
The Raides have a bevy of draft picks after trading Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper. They have a number of holes in their defense but have invested in recent draft picks and free agents. It’s hard to project what exactly they need because we don’t know their internal views on their young players. Another edge rusher would make sense, so I’m just going to give them Terrell Lewis of Alabama.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars — Yetur Gross-Matos, Edge, Penn State
The Jaguars drafted their replacement for Calais Campbell, so now they draft a replacement for Yannick Ngakoue. Yetur Gross-Matos is still learning the position, so once his skills match his physical profile, watch out for a rising star. Josh Allen, Derrick Brown and Gross-Matos could be the most fearsome frontline in the league three years from now, just in time for the Jaguars to trade them for picks.
21. Philadelphia Eagles — Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
By the end of 2019, the Eagles had a laughably thin receiving corps that leaned heavily on former Houston Cougars QB Greg Ward. The Eagles could use someone like Justin Jefferson, a well-rounded receiver whose best skill is his ability to secure catches. He may be best suited as a high-level #2 receiver, but he would immediately fill a need in Philly.
22. Minnesota Vikings — Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah
The Vikings once had the best defense in the NFL, but they have slipped the past couple years. Former standout corner Xavier Rhodes was recently released and now Trae Waynes and Mackenzie Alexander have both left for the Bengals. They very clearly need a cornerback and they need one now. Jaylon Johnson is an instant starter even if he lacks the upside as other corners in this draft.
23. New England Patriots — Zach Baun, Edge, Wisconsin
Zach Baun is as Patriots as prospects come. He can play the edge just as well as he can drop back in coverage, which is exactly why his main player comparisons are Kyle Van Noy and Rob Ninkovich. This might be a reach, but it’s a perfect fit.
24. New Orleans Saints — Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama
The Saints badly need another receiver to take attention away from Michael Thomas. They have tried using Ted Ginn, but he’s not quite the player he used to be. Ruggs would be a great fit as a star role player, someone capable of taking the top off the defense, bending safeties away from Thomas, and creating chunk plays on underneath routes. Ruggs shouldn’t be a No. 1 option, he should be an elite complimentary receiver.
25. Minnesota Vikings — Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
Likewise, Tee Higgins’ biggest knock is that he’s better suited to be a top No. 2 than he is to be the lead receiver. That would be just fine in Minnesota, where he can play a complimentary role opposite Adam Thielen. Higgins is a huge receiver who excels at making plays on jump balls; he doesn’t need many targets to make an impact on the game.
26. Miami Dolphins — Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado
Tua Tagovailoa is going to need someone to throw slants to, so who better than the best YAC receiver in the draft? Laviska Shenault has the size of a linebacker, runs like a running back, and is still developing as a receiver. There are questions about his durability — rightfully so — but we don’t know how good he can be in a functional offense with consistent quarterback play. This would also be a dream come true for Viska, who grew up watching Dolphins games with his late father.
27. Seattle Seahawks — Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
Apologies to Tedric Thompson, but the Seahawks could really use a playmaking safety who is just as good against the run as he is at breaking up passes. Xavier McKinney is a versatile prospect who can play single high safety, in the box as a run defender, and even in the slot.
28. Baltimore Ravens — Patrick Queen, ILB, LSU
The Ravens are set at every essential position, so they can make a splash with a luxury selection. Such would be Patrick Queen, the promising sideline-to-sideline playmaker who came into his own during LSU’s championship season. The Ravens have a solid defense loaded on the defensive line and secondary, yet they’re still missing C.J. Mosley’s presence at linebacker. Queen could be a future star in that defense.
29. Tennessee Titans — A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa
The Titans could shore up their offensive line, but A.J. Epenesa falling this fall could be just what they need after shipping out Jurell Casey. Epenesa doesn’t have the explosiveness to be a star pass-rusher, but he’s a heavy-handed run defender who would nicely compliment rising star Jeffery Simmons.
30. Green Bay Packers — Lucas Niang, OT, TCU
After losing Bryan Bulaga to the Chargers, the Packers are in need of a right tackle. Lucas Niang may be a bit of reach in the first round, but he’s a great run blocker who would fill an immediate need and grow into that role.
31. San Francisco 49ers — Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
Apologies to Ahkello Witherspoon, but the 49ers need a quality cornerback opposite Richard Sherman. Like a young Sherman, Trevon Diggs is a former receiver who has terrific length and ball skills. He’s still adapting to the position, so who better to learn from than the Hall of Famer.
32. Kansas City Chiefs — Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
A late riser, Jeff Gladney is sticky in man coverage and has all the confidence in the world. Those traits cannot be overvalued in an outside cornerback. The Chiefs only needs are at cornerback and interior offensive line, so this could be an upside pick that fills a hole.
33. Bengals — Austin Jackson, OT, USC
Jackson is a bit raw, but he the raw tools to become a future left tackle.
34. Colts — Grant Delpit, S, LSU
Delpit is a ball hawk who should thrive in the right defensive role. He’s fallen some, due to talking concerns, but Indy would be a solid place for him land.
35. Lions — Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
An athletic sideline-to-sideline, Murray is still learning the position. A rebuilding team like Detroit could give him the early snaps to realize his potential.
36. Giants — Antoine Winfield, S, Minnesota
The Giants badly need help in the secondary. There are solid cornerbacks to choose from, but Antoine Winfield would be a nice addition as a turnover-inducing ball hawk.
37. Chargers — Matt Peart, OT, Connecticut
Rising fast due to his long arms and quick feet, Matt Peart looks like a future starting tackle if he finds the right home. The Chargers very much need better line play.
38. Panthers — Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn
The Panthers just lost James Bradberry in free agency so they may as well draft a quick-twitch cornerback from the SEC.
39. Dolphins — Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
The Dolphins should look to fill other holes before drafting a running back, particularly on the offensive line, but Jonathan Taylor is sitting right there for the taking. This draft would give the Dolphins a QB in Tagovailoa, a running back in Taylor, a receiver in Shenault and an offensive tackle in Josh Jones. Not bad 39 picks into the draft.
40. Texans — Cesar Ruiz, C, Michigan
The Texans, my goodness, are the worst run team in football right now. They just traded DeAndre Hopkins for this pick, so please, do something smart and get a lineman to protect Deshaun Watson.
41. Browns — Solomon Kindley, G, Georgia
The Browns already have a lineman in Mekhi Becton, but more help is needed.
42. Jaguars — Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
After drafting two defensive linemen in the first round, the Jags need to address a suddenly depleted secondary.
43. Bears — Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise State
I wanted to put him on the Browns for obvious reasons, but Cleveland needed an interior lineman more than a tackle. The Bears do need him.
44. Colts — Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
The Colts are fairly deep beyond their mediocre QB play, so it would make sense to give Philip Rivers some additional help. Jalen Reagor is fast as hell and excels on jump balls. He would compliment T.Y. Hilton nicely.
45. Buccaneers — D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
After drafting Jordan Love in the first round, the Bucs need someone who can contribute immediately. D’Andre Swift would be a massive upgrade over Ronald Jones, especially with how valuable in the passing game.
46. Broncos — Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
I had Denver pass on a receiver earlier because the speedsters would be around later. Denzel Mims isn’t quite as fast as Henry Ruggs (no one is) but he can threaten the defense vertically.
47. Ravens — J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio State
The Ravens don’t necessarily need a running back with Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards in the fold, but J.K. Dobbins is too perfect a fit in their downhill running attack.
48. Jets — Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State
Like so many other mediocre teams, the Jets lack in quality cornerback play. Damon Arnette is a reach here, but he’s a decent bet to be productive.
49. Steelers — Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia
With their first pick in the draft, the Steelers address their aging offensive line with an up-and-coming redshirt sophomore.
50. Bears — Julian Okwara, Edge, Notre Dame
Julian Okwara might just be a worse version of Leonard Floyd — whom Chicago just cut because he was a liability against the run — but there’s untapped potential in the still-growing Notre Dame product.
51. Cowboys — Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
Brandon Aiyuk may be a top-40 prospect, but he’s fallen in this receiver-deep draft class. The Cowboys have more pressing needs what with their cap issues, but Aiyuk might be too much fun next to Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup.
52. Rams — Jack Driscoll, OT, Auburn
Andrew Whitworth might play until he’s 45, but at some point the Rams need to develop his replacement.
53. Eagles — Akeem Davis-Gaither, LB, Appalachian State
The Eagles filled their biggest need by trading for Darius Slay. If they trade for Yannick Ngakoue as well — as is rumored — they could choose a tough playmaker like Akeem Davis-Gaither.
54. Bills — Lloyd Cushenberry, C, LSU
The Bills weren’t able to effectively replace Eric Wood after he surprisingly retired last offseason. Lloyd Cushenberry is clearly a winning player who should be a long-time starter.
55. Falcons — Cam Akers, RB, Florida State
The Falcons just cut Devonta Freeman, so they may be in the market for a one-cut running back like Cam Akers.
56. Dolphins — Justin Madubuike, DT, Texas A&M
I have a weakness for undersized defensive tackles who win with leverage and quickness. Justin Madubuike may have a lower floor because of that, but he’d be a fun addition to a Dolphins defense that needs talent.
57. Texans — Neville Gallimore, DT, Oklahoma
Based on his physical tools alone, Neville Gallimore should be a first round pick. He struggles with inconsistency and sloppy technique, so he’s very much a work in progress.
58. Vikings — Marlon Davidson, Edge, Auburn
Marlon Davidson is best suited as a strong side defensive end in a 4-3 defense. Minnesota is one of the few teams that needs someone like him, as he’s a good fit with Danielle Hunter rushing the passer and Michael Pierce taking on blockers.
59. Seahawks — Jonah Jackson, G, Ohio State
The Seahawks have a solid offensive line, but they need depth and insurance. Maybe they would rather invest later in the draft, but a college star like Jonah Jackson would immediately compete for playing time.
60. Ravens — Damien Lewis, G, LSU
Now that future Hall of Famer Marshal Yanda has retired, the Ravens are in need of a mauler. Damien Lewis is road clearer best suited for a run-heavy, downhill attack.
61. Titans — Kyle Dugger, S, Lenoir-Rhyne
The Titans could use an edge rusher, but it could be fun to give them a physical safety like Kyle Dugger to play to Kevin Byard. The Division-II safety has elite size, speed and production, all to go with utmost confidence.
62. Packers — Ross Blalock, DT, TCU
Ross Blalock is something of a project, as he’s newish to football and is still working on having an NFL body. The upside is there as a pass rusher, although he’s a liability against the rush until he learns those nuances.
63. Chiefs — Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU
The Chiefs could have drafted someone like D’Andre Swift in the first round, but they opt to wait for Clyde Edwards-Helaire. The Tigers running back is something of an offensive talisman, an intelligent runner who hides behind linemen, makes defenders miss in open space, and is a weapon in the passing game.
64. Seahawks — Cameron Dantzler, CB, Mississippi State
Cameron Dantzler may lack top-end speed, but he makes up for it with length and toughness. He’s best suited in a press-heavy scheme, such as Seattle’s.
Caveat: I realize most of these players are from major conference teams, something that likely won’t hold true. I’m also not going to write about any of these picks, because 4,000 words is enough.
65. Bengals — Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame
66. Washington — Prince Tega Wanogho, OT, Auburn
67. Lions — Netane Muti, G, Fresno State
68. Jets — Jordan Elliott, DT, Missouri
69. Panthers — Davon Hamilton, DT, Ohio State
70. Dolphins — Ashtyn Davis, S, California
71. Chargers — Zack Moss, RB, Utah
72. Cardinals — Jordan Lynch, DE, Baylor
73. Jaguars — A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson
74. Browns — Malik Harrison, OLB, Ohio State
75. Colts — Jacob Eason, QB, Washington
76. Buccaneers — Josh Uche, Edge, Michigan
77. Broncos — Michael Pittman, WR, USC
78. Falcons — K.J. Hamler, WR, Penn State
79. Jets — Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame
80. Raiders — Davion Taylor, OLB, Colorado
81. Raiders — Robert Hunt, OT, Louisiana
82. Cowboys — Darnay Holmes, CB, UCLA
83. Broncos — Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia
84. Rams — Darrell Taylor, Edge, Tennessee
85. Lions — Geno Stone, S, Iowa
86. Bills — Jordyn Brooks, LB, Texas Tech
87. Patriots — Hunter Bryant, TE, Washington
88. Saints — Logan Stenberg, G, Kentucky
89. Vikings — Khalid Kareem, Edge, Notre Dame
90. Texans — Tyler Biadasz, C, Wisconsin
91. Raiders — Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia
92. Ravens — Curtis Weaver, Edge, Boise State
93. Titans — Jauan Jennings, WR, Tennessee
94. Packers — Kenny Willekes, Edge, Michigan State
95. Broncos — Jordan Brooks, G, Lenior-Rhyne
96. Chiefs — Shane Lemieux, G, Oregon
97. Browns — Willie Gay, LB, Mississippi State
98. Patriots — Tyler Johnson, WR, Minnesota
99. Giants — K.J. Hill, WR, Ohio State
100. Patriots — Bradlee Anae, Edge, Utah
101. Seahawks — Devin Duvernay, WR, Texas
102. Steelers — Tyre Phillips, OT, Mississippi State
103. Rams — Nick Harris, C, Washington
104. Vikings — Calvin Throckmorton, OT, Oregon
105. Ravens — Lynn Bowden, WR, Kentucky