Alex Simpson’s 2020 Post-Free Agency NFL Mock Draft
Free agency for the NFL is nearing an end and the mock draft season is in full swing. Many teams look different now than they did a week ago. Some teams made massive leaps and others leave us scratching our heads. Team needs have changed. For better or worse, we now have a better idea of what each team will be looking for in April’s draft. Disclaimer: This what I think will happen, NOT what I would do if I were an NFL general manager. Here is my 2020 Post-Free Agency NFL Mock Draft.
2020 Post-Free Agency NFL Mock Draft
1. CIN: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
There are rumors that the Dolphins may try and trade up for this pick. If it happens, it may be one of the biggest trades in recent memory. For the time being, Joe Burrow to the Bengals is still the pick here.
2. WAS: Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
Best player in the draft. Any other choice will be frowned upon.
3. DET: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State
After the Darius Slay trade to Philadelphia, Detroit officially needs a new cornerback. Hopefully this one gets along better with Matt Patricia.
4. NYG: Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama
The Giants need an offensive lineman. Dave Gettleman loves to build through the trenches. This a top-tier talent here to protect Daniel Jones and pave the way for Saquon Barkley.
5. MIA: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
This is the biggest wild card of the draft. The Dolphins likely won’t own this pick when it’s all said and done. Until this pick gets traded, I refuse to speculate. “Tank for Tua” becomes a reality.
6. LAC: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
The Chargers did not sign a quarterback in free agency. For now, Tyrod Taylor is the starting quarterback for the Chargers. The only question is for how long.
7. CAR: Isaiah Simmons, LB/S, Clemson
This team looked to be in a complete rebuild until they landed Teddy Bridgewater in free agency. Simmons has a chance at stepping in as the most game-changing player in this draft class. This is a home-run pick for first-year head coach Matt Rhule.
8. ARI: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
This is going to be an exciting offense in 2020. After the highway robbery of DeAndre Hopkins, the Cardinals are poised to make a lot of noise on offense. Bring in the athletic freak, Tristan Wirfs, to protect Kyler Murray and give him time in the pocket to find his plethora of weapons.
9. JAX: Derrick Brown, IDL, Auburn
The entire unit, formerly known as “Sacksonville”, is gone. Yannick Ngakoue is all that’s left, at least for now. Derrick Brown is one of the best players in this draft class and may be the first defensive piece in a rebuild for the Jaguars.
10. CLE: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
The Browns went out and signed Jack Conklin in free agency. Drafting Mekhi Becton solidifies the left tackle spot and gives Baker Mayfield some much-needed time to throw. Becton is still raw but he’s only scratching the surface. The potential here is through the roof.
11. NYJ: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
The Jets signed quite a few offensive lineman in the last week. However, they failed to dramatically upgrade their line. In doing so, they completely neglected the wide receiver position. CeeDee Lamb is still on the board here. Sam Darnold may not have all day to throw but at least he will have an exceptional option to target.
12. LV: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
The best route-runner in college football finds a home in Las Vegas. The front office brought in Marcus Mariota to compete with Derek Carr for the starting job. Whoever is the quarterback will now have a true number-one receiver.
13. SF (via IND): Javon Kinlaw, IDL, South Carolina
The 49ers just traded All-Pro defensive lineman, DeForest Buckner, to the Colts in exchange for this pick. As a result, they find his replacement and at a much cheaper cost. This is a salary cap move that may pay big dividends.
14. TB: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
Who would have thought that Tom Brady would be playing in Tampa Bay in 2020? Not me. Brady will get what he needs in order to win. Therefore, he gets an immediate starter at left tackle who will protect his blindside. In conclusion, the Buccaneers are an immediate contender for the Super Bowl.
15. DEN: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
Drew Lock looked promising during his five starts last season. John Elway has found his guy so now you give him weapons. Courtland Sutton, Henry Ruggs, Noah Fant, and newly-signed Melvin Gordon are a great supporting cast for the young quarterback.
16. ATL: C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
With Desmond Trufant leaving town, the Falcons are in need of secondary help. C.J. Henderson is the second-best cornerback in this draft class. In this division, they’re going to need him.
17. DAL: K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
With the departure of Robert Quinn, this pick makes a lot of sense. It may not be the biggest need but it gives you the best available player at an important position that they need to fill. The speed and bend that you look for in a pass-rusher are prevalent in Chaisson.
18. MIA (via PIT): Josh Jones, OT, Houston
The Dolphins spent a lot of money in free agency upgrading their defense. They will now address the offense in the draft. Josh Jones was a four-year starter at Houston. Despite the experience, he’s still not quite where you would like him to be at this point in his development. With that being said, he has all the traits you look for. He’s fast, explosive, physical, and has the potential to develop into a long-term starter at the left tackle spot.
19. LV (via CHI): Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
Jon Gruden’s defense is starting to come together. He loves guys that come from the major programs and there may not be a bigger program right now than LSU. Fulton became one of the premier corners in college football’s most-talented conference.
20. JAX (via LAR): Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
Another important piece to building this defense back up is finding Jalen Ramsey’s replacement. This process won’t be easy. With Brown and Gladney, the Jaguars will be two players closer to what they are striving to be.
21. PHI: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Carson Wentz’ number-one receiver at the end of 2019 was a former college quarterback. Not to take anything away from Greg Ward, but this organization has to give their franchise’s leader more to work with. Jefferson exploded onto the scene in 2019. This offense upgrades dramatically here with the former LSU star.
22. MIN (via BUF): Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
The Vikings traded away Stefon Diggs for a plethora of picks. This is the first pick they acquired from Buffalo in the trade. They use it to find Kirk Cousins a new receiver to pair with Adam Thielen. Higgins will be a big-bodied man on the perimeter who should be a big downfield threat in this offense.
23. NE: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
The Patriots have not yet found a replacement for Tom Brady. They signed veteran journeyman Brian Hoyer. I assume that move is to help groom and mold the quarterback of the future. Jordan Love falls here and Bill Belichick doesn’t hesitate to pull the trigger.
24. NO: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
New Orleans needed a receiver to pair with Michael Thomas. They were able to sign Emmanuel Sanders in free agency. The next upgrade here comes at linebacker with Patrick Queen. Queen is a good linebacker that is more than capable in coverage. Louisiana residents who are fans of their in-state teams are already familiar with the talent here.
25. MIN: A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson
The Vikings cut Xavier Rhodes and saw Mackenzie Alexander and Trae Waynes sign with the Bengals. This team needs a corner bad. A.J. Terrell had a solid career at Clemson. He didn’t have the greatest performance in the national championship but few were successful when facing Ja’Marr Chase.
26. MIA (via HOU): Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
Best value pick of this first round. Miami traded Laremy Tunsil to Houston for this pick (and more) and traded Minkah Fitzpatrick to Pittsburgh. With each pick, they find the replacements, just in a different order.
27. SEA: Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State
Jadeveon Clowney still hasn’t signed with anyone. Assuming he doesn’t come back to Seattle, Pete Carroll and John Schneider bring in a cheaper option.
28. BAL: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
If the Xavier McKinney pick isn’t the best value in the first round, this one could be. Murray flew all over the field at Oklahoma. He’s an ultra-athletic linebacker who has a nose for the football. Baltimore missed C.J. Mosley last season and this selection puts them in prime position for another Super Bowl run.
29. TEN: A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa
The Titans were able to retain both Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry. Jack Conklin is gone and the ideal pick here might be finding his replacement. However, this team is built to win right now and can benefit more from taking the best player on the board. Epenesa played as an edge-defender in college but may be suited better to play along the interior. This pick has Mike Vrabel written all over it.
30. GB: Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
Few players, if any, have had a more significant rise since the end of the college football season than Denzel Mims. The Baylor blew talent evaluators away at the NFL Combine and Senior Bowl. In this scenario, he finds himself as Aaron Rodgers’ number-two receiver opposite Davante Adams.
31. SF: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
Richard Sherman is getting older and the other cornerbacks on the roster haven’t established themselves as legitimate starters. Trevon Diggs is a former receiver who transitioned to corner during his time at Alabama. He has the size and ball skills to excel in Robert Saleh’s defense.
32. KC: D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
This is a match made in heaven. This has been the pick for a while and it continues to be the perfect fit. When you have the best quarterback in football, you surround him with the best weapons you can. Swift is a three-down back who will thrive in this offense.
33. CIN: Zack Baun, EDGE/LB, Wisconsin
34. IND (via WAS): Jacob Eason, QB, Washington
35. DET: Terrell Lewis, EDGE, Alabama
36. NYG: Grant Delpit, S, LSU
37. LAC: Austin Jackson, OT, USC
38. CAR: Neville Gallimore, IDL, Oklahoma
39. MIA: Cesar Ruiz, IOL, Michigan
40. HOU (via ARI): Ross Blacklock, IDL, TCU
41. CLE: Antoine Winfield Jr., S, Minnesota
42. JAX: Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado
43. CHI (via LV): Lloyd Cushenberry III, IOL, LSU
44. IND: Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
45. TB: Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
46. DEN: Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise State
47. ATL: Justin Madubuike, IDL, Texas A&M
48. NYJ: Lucas Niang, OT, TCU
49. PIT: Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma
50. CHI: Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn
51. DAL: Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah
52. LAR: J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio State
53. PHI: Kyle Dugger, S/LB, Lenior-Rhyne
54. BUF: Josh Uche, EDGE, Michigan
55. BAL: (via ATL): Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU
56. MIA (via NO): Cam Akers, RB, Florida State
57. HOU: Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
58. MIN: Marlon Davidson, DL, Auburn
59. SEA: Prince Tega Wanogho, OT, Auburn
60. BAL: Julian Okwara, EDGE, Notre Dame
61. TEN: Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State
62. GB: Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame
63. KC (via SF): Tyler Biadasz, IOL, Wisconsin
64. SEA (via KC): Matt Hennessy, IOL, Temple
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