DRAFT SEASON

Lance Zierlein NFL mock draft 1.0

Photo by Getty Images

This article originally appeared on NFL.com

Here's a look at my first mock of the 2020 NFL Draft, which will take place April 23-25 in Las Vegas. Remember, this mock is a projection of where I believe players will go -- not necessarily a reflection of my opinion as to where the players should go.

NOTE: The final draft order may change depending on the outcome of Super Bowl LIV.

PICK

1. Bengals

Joe Burrow - QB

School: LSU | Year: Senior (RS)

Burrow will need the scheme fit to be right, but his pinpoint accuracy and elite intangibles are hard to resist.

PICK

2. Redskins

Chase Young - Edge

School: Ohio State | Year: Junior

It's just a no-brainer here. Based upon pure talent and upside, Young is the clear front-runner in my book.

PICK

3. Lions

Jeff Okudah - CB

School: Ohio State | Year: Junior

Easy slot to fill with the Lions needing help opposite Darius Slay and Okudah possessing all the traits Matt Patricia could want.

PICK

4. Giants

Isaiah Simmons - LB

School: Clemson | Year: Junior (RS)

Rare height, weight, speed and versatility to be deployed in a variety of positions. He's only scratching the surface of his upside.

PICK

5. Dolphins

Tua Tagovailoa - QB

School: Alabama | Year: Junior

Obviously the medicals need to check out, but if they do -- race the card up to the podium.

PICK

6. Chargers

Justin Herbert - QB

School: Oregon | Year: Senior

Herbert certainly helped himself during Senior Bowl week, and the Chargers are in desperate need of finding their next QB1.

PICK

7. Panthers

Derrick Brown - DT

School: Auburn | Year: Senior

Brown is one of the draft's most talented players and is a need fit as well in Matt Rhule's first season as head coach.

PICK

8. Cardinals

Jedrick Wills - OT

School: Alabama | Year: Junior

Tackle depth in this draft allows the Cardinals an opportunity to let their free agents at the position walk and feel safe about landing a quality OT here.

PICK

9. Jaguars

Javon Kinlaw - DT

School: South Carolina | Year: Senior

Defense must be addressed. While CB and LB make sense, Kinlaw's freakish size, strength and Chris Jones-like upside is appealing.

PICK

10. Browns

Tristan Wirfs - OT

School: Iowa | Year: Junior

It might be tempting to take a receiver here and prepare to move on from Odell Beckham Jr., but receivers can be found outside the top 10 and Wirfs helps protect Baker Mayfield.

PICK

11. Jets

Mekhi Becton - OT

School: Louisville | Year: Junior

Built like a barn and possessing jarring power, Becton needs to keep his weight in check but has the feet to stay at left tackle.

PICK

12. Raiders

Jerry Jeudy - WR

School: Alabama | Year: Junior

The Raiders have a couple of selections in the first round and one of them has to be spent on a receiver. Why not take your pick of WR1s in this spot?

PICK

13. Colts

K'Lavon Chaisson - Edge

School: LSU | Year: Sophomore (RS)

If Indy loves Jordan Love, he could be the guy here, but Chaisson fits the rush profile the Colts covet. The redshirt sophomore has exciting potential.

PICK

14. Buccaneers

Jacob Eason - QB

School: Washington | Year: Junior (RS)

Tampa might trade back, but Eason could still be the target. While I expect him to be taken later than this pick, his stature and arm strength will give Bruce Arians some Carson Palmer vibes.

PICK

15. Broncos

Andrew Thomas - OT

School: Georgia | Year: Junior

Thomas doesn't always look pretty doing it, but guys get blocked. He's an instant upgrade over Garett Bolles and is a tough competitor.

PICK

16. Falcons

Zack Baun - Edge

School: Wisconsin | Year: Senior (RS)

Baun has rare athletic skills to play 4-3 outside linebacker on early downs and rush from the edge on passing downs.

PICK

17. Cowboys

Xavier McKinney - S

School: Alabama | Year: Junior

Assuming Dallas locks up pending free agent Byron Jones, McKinney would give the 'Boys a versatile, interchangeable safety who can also line up over the slot.

PICK

18. Dolphins

D'Andre Swift - RB

School: Georgia | Year: Junior

Tagovailoa might need a redshirt in Year 1, but Swift could give the Dolphins' offense an instant boost similar to what we saw with Josh Jacobs and the Raiders.

PICK

19. Raiders

Patrick Queen - LB

School: LSU | Year: Junior

The latest in a recent string of speedy linebackers from LSU, Queen helps fill a gaping hole in the Raiders' defense.

PICK

20. Jaguars

C.J. Henderson - CB

School: Florida | Year: Junior

Smooth cover corner with good size and speed to help fortify a secondary in need of another CB after Jalen Ramsey's departure.

PICK

21. Eagles

CeeDee Lamb - WR

School: Oklahoma | Year: Junior

Lamb has the ability to play inside or outside and is an instant playmaking option who should help alleviate pressure on Carson Wentz.

PICK

22. Bills

Tee Higgins - WR

School: Clemson | Year: Junior

What do you give a big-armed quarterback with spotty accuracy? I suggest a big, downfield wideout with good ball skills and an incredible catch radius.

PICK

23. Patriots

Cesar Ruiz - C

School: Michigan | Year: Junior

Intelligent and athletic with center/guard flexibility, Ruiz could take over pending free agent Joe Thuney's guard spot right away and stabilize New England's interior pass protection.

PICK

24. Saints

Henry Ruggs III - WR

School: Alabama | Year: Junior

Ruggs will come into the NFL as one of the fastest players in the game. He can take the top off defenses or hurt them on catch-and-runs.

PICK

25. Vikings

Jaylon Johnson- CB

School: Utah | Year: Junior

Johnson is a long, man-cover cornerback who could make both Xavier Rhodes (due to count $12.9 million against the cap in 2020) and Trae Waynes (pending free agent) expendable.

PICK

26. Dolphins

Josh Jones - OT

School: Houston | Year: Senior (RS)

How's this for a twist? The Dolphins draft a tackle from the University of Houston using the first-round pick they received from the Houston Texans for Laremy Tunsil.

PICK

27. Seahawks

A.J. Epenesa - Edge

School: Iowa | Year: Junior

The Seahawks must decide whether they want to be in the Jadeveon Clowney business. If not, Epenesa is way less explosive, but more skilled as a big rush end.

PICK

28. Ravens

Kenneth Murray - LB

School: Oklahoma | Year: Junior

Speedy linebacker with sideline-to-sideline range and third-down coverage ability who could challenge for a starter's role immediately.

PICK

29. Titans

Cam Dantzler - CB

School: Mississippi State | Year: Junior (RS)

Tall, thin cornerback who plays with an abundance of toughness and confidence. He allowed three catches for 21 yards vs. LSU and Alabama combined.

PICK

30. Packers

Justin Jefferson - WR

School: LSU | Year: Junior

The Packers' Aaron Rodgers window won't be open forever, so adding a talented inside/outside target with excellent ball skills makes sense.

PICK

31. Chiefs

Jonathan Taylor - RB

School: Wisconsin | Year: Junior

It almost doesn't seem fair to give the Chiefs another talented player at a skill position, but that's the way it goes in this mock.

PICK

32. 49ers

Trevon Diggs - CB

School: Alabama | Year: Senior

Diggs is a big, physical corner with outstanding ball skills who might be able to slide to free safety. Checks needed boxes for the 49ers.

Follow Lance Zierlein on Twitter @LanceZierlein.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

ESPN Houston 97.5 FM
The Houston Astros are on a roll. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images.

There are certain events in one's life in which you'll remember where you were and what you were doing when they happened. Whether good or bad, those memories are etched in your brain. Finding out you're going to be a parent for the first time, your first kiss, getting that new car, and when the Astros won the 2017 World Series. That euphoric feeling of watching the team you've rooted for finally win the ultimate prize was everything, especially coming off years of losing 90-100 games or so every year. It was really late and the whole house was sleep. I had to contain my excitement and celebrate as quietly as possible.

Fast-forward five years, and we could experience that euphoria all over again. As of this writing, they are 13.5 games up in the AL West and only 4.5 games behind their sons (aka the Yankees) for best record in the AL and MLB overall. They own the third best run differential in MLB, have an AL MVP candidate in Yordan Alvarez, an AL Cy Young candidate in Justin Verlander, and they may sure up some deficiencies by the trade deadline. Even if they don't make another move, this team can compete with anyone.

Go back a few months and see how many people truly thought this was possible. I myself thought they'd compete, make the playoffs, but sputter out. I wasn't confident in the pitching staff being what it is and wasn't sure the lineup would round into shape. Add that with the fact that they lost one of the guys who was a leader in the clubhouse (and one of their best players in Carlos Correa) and replaced him with a rookie, you wouldn't have been wrong to think they may even miss the playoffs or barely make the wildcard game.

Good thing is this team is resilient. Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel were struggling to start this season and are rounding into shape. Jeremy Peña, Correa's replacement, has been a revelation. There isn't much difference in their offensive numbers. In fact, there are several categories Peña is actually better at than Correa. His defense isn't that far off from Correa's either. People can say what they want about Machete, but that's OUR catcher and I love him! He can hit below the Mendoza Line all he wants when he plays that kind of defense and handles the staff the way he does. Centerfield is another area some think needs improvement. I think they're fine. Could the CF's hit and field better? Yes, but that could go for a number of guys. It isn't as weak of a spot as we think.

This team continues to show why they're a modern-day dynasty. Five straight ALCS appearances, three World Series appearances, and one title over the last five years is pretty damn good. Factor in all the free agent losses, sign stealing scandal, Covid, and everything else they've dealt with and overcome, I'll die on that hill of calling them a modern-day dynasty. A World Series win with this group would solidify that claim, as well as prove the haters wrong. Poetic justice in my eyes looks like this: beating the Yankees in the ALCS, then beating the Dodgers in the World Series just like they did in 2017. Then we can hit them with this gem.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome