Due to the coronavirus pandemic — a sentence every article has started with since March — the 2020 college football season may be canceled entirely. The Pac-12 and Big Ten have already postponed their seasons, while the SEC, ACC and Big 12 (and maybe Nebraska?) will try to play. It doesn’t look good.
At best, the season will be played out in the Spring semester. However, assuming the NFL season plays on schedule, the NFL Draft will still happen in May, meaning the best draft prospects may drop out of the season to prepare for the draft. Numerous players have already opted out, including elite prospects Caleb Farley, Micah Parsons and Gregory Rousseau.
This NFL Mock Draft means nothing, not only because anything can realistically happen, but because I know very little about any of these players. I just enjoy making mock drafts and slipping in the occasional joke.
1. Carolina Panthers — Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
This is something of a hot take, but the Panthers could be the worst team in the NFL this season. Cam Newton is gone, Teddy Bridgewater is just fine, and the entire team revolved around the health of Christian McCaffrey. If the Stanford legend misses any time at all, this team is truly dead in the water. Even if the offense performs well under Matt Rhule and Joe Brady, that defense will hemorrhage points in the high-scoring NFC South.
2. New York Jets — Trey Lance Jr., QB, North Dakota State
I was going to have the Jets pick first — mostly because I wanna make fun of Sam Darnold not being good in the NFL, although I think it’s the Jets’ fault and that he’s going to realize his potential on another team — but I don’t want to see them waste Trevor Lawrence. Instead, they pick Trey Lance, the sophomore QB at NDSU, who is apparently very good but needs some time to develop. Surely the Jets won’t ruin him.
3. Cincinnati Bengals — Penei Sewell, LT, Oregon
The Bengals did draft Jonah Williams with the 10th pick in 2019, but they should move him to right tackle and make way for a franchise left tackle. Penei Sewell is such a dominant player that you can’t take your eyes off of him. Sewell and Joe Burrow would be more than worth building the team around.
4. Washington Football Team — Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
I don’t think Dwayne Haskins is very good, but he’s too young for them to move on, even if he disappoints in 2020. I don’t know which needs they would address instead, but Caleb Farley looks like a superstar at cornerback. He’s long, fast as hell, and should be a problem from day one.
5. Las Vegas Raiders — Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
Another team that could probably draft a quarterback, the Raiders instead opt for the freak athlete Micah Parsons, who was posed to have an Isaiah Simmons-type breakout in 2020 (if you believe that hype).
6. Jacksonville Jaguars — Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
The Jags will spend the year wondering if Gardner Minshew is their QB of the future. The former 6th round pick dazzled as a rookie — earning cult hero status — but there’s pressure on him to build on that performance. If he struggles, expect the Jags to target a passer like Justin Fields, who it’s a damn shame will only play one season of CFB.
7. Miami Dolphins — Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami
The Dolphins invested a ton in their defense this offseason, but still don’t have a pure pass rusher on the edge. Rousseau posted 15.5 sacks as a redshirt freshman and that wasn’t even close to his ceiling. It’s not often you find an edge rusher who’s 6’7, 270-lbs. with his closing speed and agility.
8. New York Giants — Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
Already Alabama’s best defensive back as a sophomore, Patrick Surtain is a first round lock with or without the season. The Giants could use his talents, because as much as they spent on their defensive line, their cornerback play is suspect at best.
9. Dolphins (via Houston) — Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
The Dolphins would be a threat to trade up for a quarterback, but if they hang tight with potentially two top-10 picks (thanks to Houston trading for Laremy Tunsil), they can get elite talent at multiple positions of need. Miami does have solid receivers in DeVante Parker and Preston Williams, but the former struggles with injuries and the latter has yet to prove himself consistent.
10. Atlanta Falcons — Marvin Wilson, DT, Florida State
The Falcons need help at every position except receiver, more or less. What’s most important is to find an edge rusher, but after Rousseau, this draft class lacks another surefire first round pick. Why not Marvin Wilson, then, the disruptive defensive tackle who makes his teammates better by collapsing the pocket.
11. Detroit Lions — Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama
Not that I follow the development of young Detroit Lions, but apparently Jarrad Davis isn’t very good. The former first round pick hasn’t panned out at inside linebacker and it’s really impacting that defense. They need someone like Moses who can stabilize the middle of the field.
12. Jaguars (from Rams) — Wyatt Davis, G, Ohio State
The Jags tried to bring back smash-mouth football, but Leonard Fournette wasn’t exactly an all-star (sorry). It turns out that calling HB dive on every 1st & 10 isn’t very efficient. It also didn’t help that their interior line play was never as good as they hoped. Drafting a guard this high doesn’t mean they’re going back to that neolithic offense, but it does solify a position of need for the next 5 years.
13. New England Patriots — Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
The Patriots would surely trade down from here, but if they kept it, I have absolutely no idea where they look. Someone like Barmore would make sense, as he’s a disruptive force who was poised for a breakout season.
14. Chicago Bears — Jamie Newman, QB, Wake Forest
The Bears really did draft Mitch Trubisky over Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson, and they really did trade up to get him.
15. Denver Broncos — Samuel Cosmi, LT, Texas
The future of the Broncos depends on the Drew Lock question, but he can’t reach his potential if they can’t protect him. Denver never should have drafted Garett Bolles — he was a raw prospect at 25 years old! — and they really need to find a better option there. The 2021 draft class won’t have nearly the depth at tackle as the 2020 class, but Cosmi should be solid.
16. Arizona Cardinals — Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
Arizona is probably set on offense, what with Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins and their million more receiving options. Their defensive line, however, is a bit thin and reliant upon future Hall of Famer Chandler Jones. Jordan Davis would be a major help if he converts his ridiculous potential into gameday impact.
17. Minnesota Vikings — Jay Tufele, DT, USC
This is admittedly a reach, and the Vikings should probably trade down, but defensive line remains their biggest need after Linval Joseph departed this offseason. This draft doesn’t have too many proven interior stoppers, but Tufele has been excellent over his USC career.
18. Philadelphia Eagles — Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri
Apologies to Davion Taylor, but the Eagles didn’t exactly fix their linebacker issues this offseason. Bolton is a versatile playmaker who excels at reading the game. He should be good wherever he ends up, even if he doesn’t have the physical traits to be a star.
19. Tennessee Titans — Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
The Titans will have a decision to make on Corey Davis, the former 5th overall draft pick who will be a free agent in 2021. If the Titans move on from Davis, they should look for a receiver who can best compliment breakout star A.J. Brown, someone like the speedy Jaylen Waddle.
20. Los Angeles Chargers — Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are an excellent receiving duo, but it would be so much fun to add someone like Rashod Bateman to that mix. (Justin Herbert isn’t very good, so he needs all the weapons he can get.) Bateman isn’t an exceptional athlete, but he knows how to get open and use his frame to make contested catches. He could be a legitimate No. 1 receiver.
21. Cleveland Browns — Trey Smith, G, Tennessee
The Browns traded away Joel Bitonio and immediately felt his absence. For all Baker Mayfield was criticized last year, his offensive line was a disaster from start to finish. Cleveland needs a physical interior presence like Trey Smith.
22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State
The Bucs’ top three cornerbacks are Carlton Davis, Sean Murphy-Bunting and Mazzi Wilkins, They could probably use another cornerback.
23. Jets (from Seahawks) — Justyn Ross, WR, Clemson
I originally had the Jets picking Lawrence first overall, hence why they would choose his Clemson teammate at receiver. I changed up that first bit, but Ross could still be good for New York, as they are lacking talent at the position.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers — Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State
The Steelers still need to find Ben Roethlisberger’s replacement, but if they look for another offensive weapon, Pat Freiermuth is a freak athlete tight end who could grow into a well-rounded player.
25. Indianapolis Colts — Jevon Holland, S, Oregon
For as good as Indianpolis has been on defense, it has been with first round pick Malik Hooker underperforming. If he continues to struggle, a savvy playmaker like Jevon Holland would be a good get.
26. Buffalo Bills — Elijah Molden, CB, Washington
If the Bills are happy with Josh Allen, and their offense performs better with Stefon Diggs there, they could go for a luxury pick and choose Molden. They already have an All-Pro-level cornerback in Tre’Davious White, so this could shut down team’s entire passing attacks.
27. Green Bay Packers — Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
The Packers don’t have any pressing needs on defense, so they could opt for a luxury pick and choose Owusu-Koramoah, an athletic linebacker best suited for a rover role in a 3-4 defense. He could be a playmaker to make their defense a bit more unpredictable.
28. San Francisco 49ers — Hamsah Nasirildeen, S, Florida State
Like so many teams in this part of the draft, the 49ers don’t need much on the roster. Hamsah Nasirildeen is an upside pick. At 6’4, 220-lbs. with great length, Nasirildeen is a hybrid safety-linebacker who can be used all over the field to neutralize mismatches.
29. Dallas Cowboys — Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Assuming they re-sign Dak Prescott, the Cowboys could really use a solid tight end. They were so thin at the position that they had Jason Witten come out of retirement. While Pitts needs improvement in blocking, he would give Dallas yet another receiving option.
30. Kansas City Chiefs — Creed Humphrey, C, Oklahoma
The Chiefs have just one offensive weakness, and that’s on the interior offensive line. It doesn’t matter most of the time because Mahomes is so good, but they really need more depth up front. Creed Humphrey could be an immediate starter at center after his outstanding Oklahoma career.
31. New Orleans Saints — DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
The Saints will always need a secondary receiver to take the top off the defense, and while they just signed Emmanuel Sanders, he’s more of a temporary fix than a long-term solution. DeVonta Smith lacks track speed, but his quick first step and ball tracking should make him a solid deep threat.
32. Baltimore Ravens — Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
The Ravens don’t need much, but it’s always worth investing in the trenches. Slater can play either tackle position or move to guard, where he’s a developing talent who should thrive in a run-first offense.