It’s never too early for draft speculation. Zone Coverage draft expert Luke Inman puts together his first 2020 mock draft below.
1) Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
One of the best and cleanest quarterback prospects to come out over the past few drafts, and that includes some monster names like Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray. With a boat-load of ammo, the Dolphins are ready to prove a quick turnaround is possible in today’s NFL starting at the most important position in all of sports.
2) Arizona Cardinals: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
You want to run an Air-Raid offense? Adding the best wide receiver prospect I’ve studied since Amari Cooper into Kliff Kingbury arsenal is an extraordinary start to the building process. Cardinals can’t go wrong with Jeudy or offensive tackle Andrew Thomas. As long as they are protecting their investment in Kyler Murray and his development there is no wrong choice. Just picturing Jeudy’s upside and work ethic being groomed by future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald (if he keeps playing) is giving me goosebumps.
3) Cincinnati Bengals: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
Although he’s not “bad,” I think it’s safe to say Andy Dalton has plateaued in his development. With a new head coach from the Sean McVay tree, the Bengals would be wise to use this pick on a prototypical strong-armed signal caller like Herbert while they have the rare opportunity of picking in the top three.
4) New York Jets: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
The Jets have the hard part over in selecting the right future signal caller in Sam Darnold for the franchise’s future. Now, surrounding him with the help and support every young quarterback needs to develop will be critical to just how good he could be. Thomas is the best pure tackle in the draft class and as clean of an offensive line prospect you can ask for. Even Adam Gase can’t screw this up.
5) New York Giants: Chase Young, DE, Ohio State
Dave Gettleman has his entire Giants career rolling on the arm of Daniel Jones, which, win or lose, will buy him some time. Stealing the best defensive player of the class should buy him even more time, and helps add Pro Bowl talent into the trenches. That’s the Gettleman way.
6) Jacksonville Jaguars: Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama
I’m telling you right now, if the rumors are true of Ruggs running in the 4.2s (if not faster) during the combine then he’ll cement himself in the top 10 picks in a league that craves home-run speed. The Jaguars still have one of the better defenses in the league and with the right firepower on offense could be making another deep postseason run.
7) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Grant Delpit, S, LSU
No matter where you want to line Delpit up he will find a way to the ball while making game-changing plays — something this defense has desperately tried to find in the back end since John Lynch retired. The Bucs all of a sudden have a dynamic duo to build around with back-to-back top-5 selections on that side of the ball (Devin White, LB). Bottom line, if they play DB at LSU, don’t bet against them.
8) Oakland Raiders: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
In a loaded class of wideouts you’ll see Lamb floating near the top in nearly every ranking. No better time to get Jon Gruden and Derek Carr a new toy to implement into their offense. Lamb’s great hands and ability to make plays when the ball’s in the air finally gives the Raiders opponents something they have to game plan against.
9) Denver Broncos: Bryce Hall, CB, Virgina
Can John Elway possibly control himself for a second draft in a row without selecting a first round signal caller? If he can, he’ll be rewarded again, as Hall is a complete cover cornerback with the size, physicality and confidence to blossom into a true number one cornerback in the NFL. This defense continues to stay stout and give their team a fighting chance every Sunday as Drew Lock continues to quietly develop in the shadows.
10) Miami Dolphins (via Pittsburgh Steelers): A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa
You want to restock your talent you start with this guy. An absolute mauler with heavy hands and a motor that don’t quit. Dolphins’ game plan should be adding the best football players no matter the position. Epenesa is a guy that checks all the boxes of a can’t miss top-10 pick, that this organization should be sprinting to the podium to add to their team.
11) Detroit Lions: Derrick Brown, DE, Auburn
Stuck at the bottom of a talented division the Lions need to make an aggressive push before the Matt Stafford timetable runs out. Brown is the leader of a stacked Tigers front-seven and will form a dangerous duo pairing with Tre Flowers, making life tough on opposing quarterbacks with defensive-minded Matt Patricia.
12) Indianapolis Colts: Jacob Fromm, QB, Georgia
After back-to-back good drafts this franchise was head hunting to the top of the AFC. However, they were clipped with a right hook to the jaw that could keep them wobbling in flux for multiple seasons after the sudden retirement of Andrew Luck. With a playoff ready roster, this franchise needs to stay aggressive for their next future signal caller. Clearly the best left in the barrel, what Fromm lacks in arm strength he makes up for with a deep resume of elevating his play in high pressure situations and playoff games.
13) Buffalo Bills: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
What are the Bills doing?! For the first time in a long time this team is playing like an actual professional football team and it’s scaring the hell out of a lot of people. Adding more star power like Fulton to the mix of Ed Oliver and Tremaine Edmunds creates high-caliber potential at every level of the defense. Now, if they can just figure out a way to stop playing Tom Brady twice a year.
14) Carolina Panthers: Tyler Biadasz, IOL, Wisconsin
One way or another these mobile quarterbacks eventually always turn to dust. Cam Newton is just three years removed from an MVP season, however, without the proper protection around him he might not survive the year. Biadasz is a stud in the middle of a program that consistently pumps top end talent into the pros and will fit nicely next to Taylor Moton and Greg Little as he learns the nuances of the NFL from Matt Paradis, one of the best in the league. With just one addition the Panthers turn an arguable weakness into a bonafide strength.
15) Washington Redskins: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
The Redskins have found their franchise quarterback in Dwayne Haskins and have a rare opportunity to bolster his protection. Wirfs could be long gone by now so plucking him here offers great value while assisting the development of their new young signal caller. Trent Williams seems all but gone while Pro Bowler Brandon Scherff is soon to hit the free agent market.
16) Chicago Bears: Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State
When you look at the roster there aren’t too many glaring needs (depending how you feel about Mitch Trubisky, of course). Gross-Matos and his ridiculous 20 tackles for loss give this defense another high-upside weapon to match the other two levels of the defense. If trends always come back than it won’t be long before we’re talking about the second coming of the Monsters of the Midway.
17) Atlanta Falcons: Lucas Niang, OT, TCU
You would think their offensive line would be good to go after using not one, but two first-round selections last year. However, with both Chris Lindstrom and Kaleb McGary injured already the protection up front has been exposed once again. Niang has freaky fluid movement skills and the frame to fill out into a massive pass protector on either side of the line. If they can all find a way to stay healthy at the same time, Matt Ryan might be working with one of the best pass protection units in football.
18) Tennessee Titans: Isaiah Simmons, S/LB, Clemson
I love this kid. Simmons is a joker that roams the field and flies to the ball to constantly disrupt and make plays. Mike Vrabel could use a new fun toy to move around as a joker chess piece from both linebacker and safety, depending how he sees fit.
19) San Francisco 49ers: C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
He’s big, strong, physical and is going to run in the 4.4s. Florida’s Henderson is the next Gator cornerback in line to enter the NFL with high hopes and high praise given his tool box and production. A key piece in shutting down the Michigan Wolverines’ passing game in the Peach Bowl, Henderson’s two interceptions, five tackles for loss and three sacks prove to people just how influential near the line of scrimmage he can be.
20) Miami Dolphins (Via Houston Texans): Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado
You got your quarterback, now get him some weapons. The Dolphins couldn’t ask for a better gift as Shenault’s game changing speed and explosiveness with the ball in his hands equates to a legitimate number one receiver down the road. I see a lot of Sammy Watkins in his game with even more play strength, and that sure as hell ain’t a bad thing.
21) Cleveland Browns: Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama
The fact Moses’ knee exploded just last month and will take a full year recovery should tell you just how talented this college super-star is to still find himself in the top 21 picks. After seeing the long term health and success of similar players with injury situations like Myles Jack and Jaylon Smith heading into the draft process, most teams should be willing to take a home-run swing on Moses that could end up in the upper deck. Moses playing behind Myles Garrett. Um, waiter, check please.
22) Minnesota Vikings: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
Look at it like this. If Mike Zimmer wants to retain both Anthony Harris and Jayron Kearse the Vikings will have to let Trae Waynes hit free agency and likely Mackensie Alexander as well. This team is already facing the ill effects of not having cornerback depth, and it’s only Week 3. Diggs showed up to Alabama as a wide receiver and made seniors on the team look silly before switching to the other side. Give a defensive back guru like Zimmer a special talent with rare tools like Diggs and it won’t be long until he rises to stardom. Did I mention Stefon Diggs is his brother? That makes the daily, normally mundane practices a show that people would line up for.
23) New Orleans Saints: Raekwon Davis, DT, Alabama
Are you counting how many Crimson Tide players have gone off the board yet? Add another one to this list as Davis has tremendous upside and gives the Saints more beef and power up front next to Cameron Jordan to help close out those high scoring games.
24) L.A. Chargers: Walker Little, OT, Stanford
If you’re trying to squeeze every last drop out of Philip Rivers you better give the pure pocket passer that extra second of time to stay upright and healthy. Little gets pushed down in a good class of tackles, however, any other draft class you would likely hear his name in the top half of the draft. If everyone stayed healthy on the Chargers roster for just one year they might make a push at 19-0.
25) Seattle Seahawks: Creed Humphrey, IOL, Oklahoma
It’s insane the amount of NFL offensive line talent the Sooners have pumped into the league in just two draft classes. Add Humphrey to the group of Dru Samia, Ben Powers and of course top-tier prospect Cody Ford. Seahawks make their strength even stronger as they continue to grind teams down with a physical and relentless running attack.
26) Dallas Cowboys: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
In all honesty, no chance Higgins slips this far in my opinion. But, here we are early in the process and the Cowboys should be ecstatic. In a jam packed class of high-end wide outs Higgins may be my favorite “go up and get it” jump ball receiver with his 6-foot-4 frame and aggressive mindset. Another weapon in an already stacked offense, this Cowboys’ arsenal is starting to resemble a Madden video game. Dak, Zeke, Cooper and Higgins? Pick your poison because you can’t double cover them all.
27) Green Bay Packers: Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
The Packers have started the season hot despite a lack of legitimate threats for Aaron Rodgers to work with. Reagor has speed for days and is equally effective in both the short area and downfield targets. With a highly improved defense, adding another weapon in the passing game opposite of Davante Adams has to be priority number one this offseason.
28) L.A. Rams: Nick Coe, DT, Auburn
Do yourself a favor this football season and sit down to watch an Auburn Tigers football game. The defense possesses a 1-2 punch on the defensive line with Derrick Brown (see above) and Coe, who you’ll undoubtedly see playing on Sundays. At 6-5, nearly 300 pounds, Coe moves well and is light on his feet for such a big dude. With seven sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss last year, Coe is a guy with whom you should feel comfortable in any position at any scheme (4-3 DT or 3-4 DE). Playing next to Aaron Donald, I cant imagine a bigger nightmare for opposing interior lineman.
29) Baltimore Ravens: A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson
If you watched until the clock hit zeros during the national title game, then you probably remember Terrell landing the game sealing interception. At 6-2 he’s got those long lanky arms you love to see and can add more youth and flexibility next to budding star Marlon Humphrey in John Harbaugh’s secondary. If Lamar Jackson is going to keep lighting up the scoreboard, you better stock up on back end players who can help you wrap up games.
30) Kansas City Chiefs: Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford
After the departure of Marcus Peters, the Chiefs, while possessing solid depth at the position, lack that one high-end player they feel confident can lock down opposing teams’ number one weapon. At 6-2, Edebo is an ultra physical player that will get in your face and oozes confidence you love to see at the position.
31) Philadelphia Eagles: Xaiver Mckinney, S, Alabama
The Eagles have three safeties set to hit the block next offseason in Andrew Sendejo, Johnathan Cyprien and Rodney Mcleod. While McKinney can be too aggressive and take himself out of a few plays, his upside as a versatile piece that can be maximized at and near the LOS makes him not only a solid addition, but a great value at the end of Round 1.
32) New England Patriots: K’Lavon Chaisson, DE, LSU
His position says defensive end but don’t be fooled, I think he can do a little bit of everything from dropping back in coverage to moving up and down the defensive line. One of the better bursts off the snap in college right now, Chaisson just needs to be molded and developed. What better coach to maximize his skills than, you guessed it, Bill Belichick. This is one guy I’m calling right now. With a good combine he could soar up the draft boards come April.