2020 NFL Draft: Luke Inman's Mock 2.0

Photo Credit: John David Mercer (USA Today Sports)

It’s never too early for draft speculation. Check out Zone Coverage draft expert Luke Inman’s 2020 mock draft series.

VERSION 1.0

1) Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

One of the best, 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 boatload 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) Cincinnati Bengals: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

Although he’s not “bad,” I think it’s safe to say Andy Dalton has peaked and 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 this high up. 

3) New York Jets: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia

The Jets got the hard part over in selecting the right future signal caller in Sam Darnold, taking the keys to the franchise. Now, surrounding him with the help and support every young quarterback needs to develop will be critical to just how good he can be. Thomas is the best pure tackle in the draft class and is as clean of an offensive line prospect you can ask for. Even Adam Gase can’t screw this up. 

4) Washington Redskins: Chase Young, DE, Ohio State 

If we’re going off overall grades, Young is the top player in the class. Finding guys that can get after the passer in a pass-happy league are invaluable and Young has the tool box to come in and make an immediate impact, adding more star power next to Montez Sweat for years to come. Getting a player on the level of Myles Garrett and the Bosa brothers can alter your franchise for the better.

5) Miami Dolphins (Via Pittsburgh Steelers): Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

As rare as it is, if you were ever to draft a quarterback-receiver duo, this is the one you dream of. After drafting a signal caller with the first pick, the front office quickly reunites the best wideout I’ve scouted since Amari Cooper to instantly shift the Dolphins passing game into a new paradigm for the next decade. So. Much. Chemistry. 

6) Denver Broncos: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State 

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. This may be a pinch high but I want to make it known just how well Okudah is playing and in turn how rapid his draft stock is soaring. Quick twitch athlete with both speed and physicality to his game, Okudah is going to make a serious play as the number one cornerback off the board in what’s shaping up to be a deep class. Apologies to LSU, but with Marshon Lattimore and Denzel Ward on their resume, Ohio State is quickly shaping up to be the new “DBU.” This defense continues to stay stout and give its team a fighting chance every Sunday as Drew Lock continues to quietly develop in the shadows.

7) Atlanta Falcons: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa 

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 already injured the protection up front has been exposed once again. If Andrew Thomas is the number one tackle, trust me when I say Wirfs isn’t far behind. A classic Big Ten mauler, Wirfs is the next Hawkeye lineman in line to be thrust into the NFL with future Pro Bowl potential. Now, 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 protections in football. 

8) Arizona Cardinals: Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama 

You want to run an Air-Raid offense? Adding the most explosive wide receiver prospect you’ll find into Kliff Kingbury’s arsenal is an extraordinary start to the building process. Cardinals can’t go wrong with any one of these top wideouts or offensive linemen. As long as they are protecting their investment in Kyler Murray and his development there is no wrong choice. Just picturing Ruggs’ upside and work ethic, while being groomed by future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald if he returns, is giving me goosebumps. 

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, coaches just can’t contain themselves. 

9) Cleveland Browns: Isaiah Simmons, LB/S, Clemson

I love this kid. Simmons is a joker that roams the field and flies to the ball to constantly disrupt and make plays. Flip on a Clemson Tigers game and it’s easy to see why Simmons is inching himself forward as a legitimate top 10 pick. In a league where drawing up mismatches is the name of the game, Simmon’s gives coaches the rare ability to be equally imposing at the second and third level of the defense. With a nose for the ball and a big play mentality Simmons will slide behind Myles Garrett, forming one of the younger and more talented front-sevens in the NFL. Simply put, Simmons’ upside is just too good to pass up. 

10) Jacksonville Jaguars: Ceedee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma 

I don’t know who’s playing quarterback for this team, and I don’t really care. Whether it’s Nick Foles or Gardner Minshew there’s an obvious underlying problem and that’s a lack of legitimate weapons for them to work with. Enter Lamb who is one of the most explosive players of the 2019 season, giving us a handful of highlight reel plays every Saturday, forcing defenses to fear his home-run ability every play. 

11) New York Giants: A.J. Espensa, DL, Iowa 

Dave Gettleman has his entire Giants career rolling on the arm of Daniel Jones, which win or lose will buy him some time. Bolstering his trenches with more Pro Bowl talent should buy him even more time. That’s the Gettleman way. 

You want to restock your talent you start with this guy. An absolute mauler with heavy hands and a motor that doesn’t quit. The Giants’ game plan should be adding the best football players no matter the position. Espensa is a guy that checks all the boxes of a can’t miss top-5 defensive player of the class, that any organization should be sprinting to the podium to add to their team. 

12) 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 the days of John Lynch. The Bucs all of a sudden have a dynamic duo to build around with back-to-back top-five selections on that side of the ball (Devin White, LB). Bottom line, if they play DB at LSU, don’t bet against them, history says they could be special. 

13) Tennessee Titans: Derrick Brown, DE, Auburn 

Put me in the minority but I’m a fan of what Mike Vrable has done to the culture of this team. Turning around the defensive identity while patiently waiting for the development of Marcus Mariota to peak. Brown is the leader of a stacked Tigers front-seven and will form a highly dangerous duo next to last year’s first rounder Jeffery Simmons, who hasn’t even sniffed the field yet. Sprinkle in Rashaan Evans, Harold Landry and Cameron Wake and Vrable has all the toys he needs to unleash his aggressive style of defense to the top of the division. 

14) L.A. Chargers: Walker Little, OT, Stanford 

I say it loud and proud every year.  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. Despite investing countless top-100 picks into the position this team has gotten the injury bug worse than any other franchise you’ll find. 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 wouldn’t lose a game. 

15) Oakland Raiders: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

No better time to get Jon Gruden and Derek Carr a new toy to implement into their offense. In a jam packed class of high-end wide outs Higgins is my favorite “go up and get it” jump ball receiver with his 6’4” frame and aggressive mindset that helps him dominate the jump balls if you leave him in one-on-one coverage. A great complement to Josh Jacobs and the new revitalized Raiders running game, Higgins finally gives Raiders opponents something they have to game plan against through the air. 

16) Oakland Raiders (via Chicago Bears): 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 superstar is to still find himself in the top-20 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.

Still in “rebuild mode,” the Raiders are the ideal team to take a flier on Moses given the luxury of Jon Gruden and his 10-year contract. Moses won’t need to be rushed onto the field prematurely. 

17) Buffalo Bills: Tyler Biadasz, IOL, Wisconsin 

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. With star power on defense like Ed Oliver and Tremaine Edmunds it’s time to go all in on Josh Allen while providing him with the assets to maximize his potential. 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 Dion Dawkins and Cody Ford as he learns the nuances of the NFL.

Now, if they can just figure out a way to stop playing Tom Brady twice a year. 

18) Indianapolis Colts: Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado

After an old school knockout win in Arrowhead, it’s clear to me Jacoby Brisett has shown enough to earn himself a long term contract. Adding game changers around him will be the next step, and he 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 wideout. 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. 

19) Detroit Lions: Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State

Gross-Matos and his ridiculous 20 tackles for loss give this defense another high-upside weapon next to Tre Flowers, and another layer of raw talent to match the other two levels of the defense. Arguably the surprise team of the NFC, the Lions and Matt Patricia are giving every opponent a serious run for their money. Adding an edge rusher like this will help them close out games late so Matthew Stafford won’t have to.

20) Miami Dolphins (Via Houston Texans): Creed Humphrey, IOL, Oklahoma

Best QB in the class? Check. Best wideout in the class? Check. Best pure offensive guard in the class? Check. The Dolphins go all-in on their offensive rebuild and come away with a hat-trick of bonafide studs. 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. Dolphins get a head start on developing the essential pieces on offense and can now start focusing on the defensive rebuild, giving it their sole attention moving forward. 

21) Carolina Panthers: Lucas Niang, OT, TCU

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 his career could start declining. Enter Niang, who has freaky fluid movement skills and the frame to fill out into a massive pass protector on either side of the line. Pumping more top-end talent into the trenches is what Ron Rivera lives for, and will fit nicely next to Taylor Moton and Greg Little protecting whichever quarterback is calling the shots. With just one addition the Panthers could turn an arguable weakness into an actual strength. 

22) Minnesota Vikings: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State

Here’s the deal. As long as Mike Zimmer is around the Vikings will own one of the best defenses in the league. Period. Despite proving his ability to develop and convert late round fliers into legitimate starters and contributors, the front office has still invested the majority of its early picks and money into that side of the ball — the 2019 draft being an exception. 

With Kirk Cousins locked in through 2020 this front office won’t find a more natural time to try and hit on a big-name signal caller in the first round with very little pressing needs up and down the team. With a Super Bowl caliber roster of talent already in place, having a high-floor quarterback like Cousins run the show for another year is important while letting a guy like Love, who has game-changing tools, sit and learn the nuances of the NFL. 

It’s the classic draft-and-stash scenario that could pay off in a big way for the organization.

23) New Orleans Saints: Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia 

The Cavaliers have quietly pumped some serious secondary talent into the NFL as of late with players like Anthony Harris and Juan Thornhill. On paper and in the film room, Hall is going to be the best of the bunch with a strong, imposing stature and aggressive physicality that you crave to see at the position. With Marshon Lattimore already established as one of the best young players at the position, Hall faces a smooth transition to the pros as the team’s number two cornerback. 

24) Seattle Seahawks: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina 

I had a tough time with this pick as Pete Carroll is a huge wild card on draft weekend. An offensive lineman with huge upside like Auburn’s Prince Tega Wanogho makes a ton of sense given the Seahawks’ commitment to running the ball. However, Kinlaw flashes some of the best inside moves you will see throughout the entire country. A perfect fit in between Poona Ford and Jadeveon Clowney, Kinlaw adds more young talent and depth inside the Seahawks’ trenches. 

25) San Francisco 49ers: Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama

The hottest young team in the league right now, John Lynch’s bold moves are making himself and Kyle Shanahan look like a couple of geniuses through the first half of the year. Shanahan’s innovative offense is one of the best in the business and adding another key piece to their offensive line puzzle will only help it become more consistent and output even more explosive results. Leatherwood is playing lights out in 2019 for one of the most talented teams in the country. 

26) Dallas Cowboys: XaVIer Mckinney, S, Alabama

The Cowboys could go a variety of directions here from wideout to cornerback. However, with the ability to resign Byron Jones next offseason, Jerry Jones should be looking to continue to bolster the back end to help close out those shootout style of games they’ve become accustomed to playing. 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 one. 

27) Philadelphia Eagles: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU  

The Eagles continue to pump draft picks into the cornerback position with little results. Whether it’s unlucky injuries or just bad development the Eagles will be forced to continue to try their luck at the position. Lucky for them this class is loaded, meaning if they stay patient and true to the board, a big name like Fulton should fall into their lap. You’ll see Fulton projected all over the first 15 picks with his tools and LSU pedigree backing him up. 

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 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, Coe is a guy you should feel comfortable in any position at any scheme (4-3 DT or 3-4 DE). Playing next to Aaron Donald, I can’t imagine a bigger nightmare for interior linemen. 

29) Baltimore Ravens: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama

Diggs might be my favorite “athlete” to watch play and develop in the country. Younger brother to Stefon, Diggs has some serious moves he put on display as a true freshman wideout that made veteran defenders of the Crimson Tide look silly. Since his move to cornerback all he’s done is flourish with natural eyes for the ball and short-area quickness. Despite having such little cornerback experience on his resume it’s clear the way Diggs at times runs his opponents routes for him that he’s a natural football player no matter where you line him up. 

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 have to have at the position. No offense puts up more points than the Chiefs, so adding players that can help close out games late in the fourth quarter is vital. 

31) 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 down field 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. 

32) New England Patriots: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

Like it or not, Tom Brady ain’t going to be around forever, making the addition of a future signal caller invaluable. Burrow’s stock has sky-rocketed through the first half of the season with his ability to stand firm in the pocket, scan the entire field and pull the trigger. While Jacob Fromm and Jalen Hurts should be in the discussion, Burrow possesses the highest upside while fitting the mold of what Bill Belichick will want in Brady’s successor. 

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