Sam’s 2020 NFL mock draft 4.0 – Herbert falls as Love rises

Who goes first, Love or Herbert?
Nov 23, 2019; Logan, UT, USA; Utah State Aggies quarterback Jordan Love (10) throws pass against the Utah State Aggies during the first half at Merlin Olsen Field at Maverik Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

As I began putting together this mock draft, I realized a lot of my picks were repeating from earlier versions. So, I decided to scrutinize my decisions and make several substantial changes. While I don’t feel entirely confident in most of the changes, at the very least, they offer an entertaining alternative path for the 2020 NFL Draft.

1. Cincinnati Bengals- Joe Burrow, QB LSU

Previous Pick in 3.0: Joe Burrow QB

Previous Pick in 2.0: Joe Burrow QB

Previous Pick in 1.0: Joe Burrow QB

The first pick is the only selection that has not changed throughout all four mock drafts.

2. Washington Redskins- Chase Young, EDGE Ohio St.

Previous Pick in 3.0: Chase Young EDGE

Previous Pick in 2.0: Tua Tagovailoa QB

Previous Pick in 1.0: Chase Young EDGE

When the Redskins added Kyle Allen, it signaled they weren’t interested in drafting a quarterback with the No. 2 spot. Young is the best prospect in the draft, and Washington would be foolish to let him go. 

3. Detroit Lions- Jeffrey Okudah, CB Ohio St.

Previous Pick in 3.0: Jeffrey Okudah CB

Previous Pick in 2.0: Chase Young EDGE

Previous Pick in 1.0: Jeffrey Okudah CB

After trading Darius Slay to the Philadelphia Eagles, the Lions need cornerback help. Detroit could also make a play for Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons at this spot.

4. New York Giants- Jedrick Wills Jr., OT Alabama

Previous Pick in 3.0: Tristan Wirfs OL

Previous Pick in 2.0: Jedrick Wills Jr. OT

Previous Pick in 1.0: CeeDee Lamb WR

The No. 4 pick comes down to either Wills or Simmons. However, the Giants need someone to start over Cameron Fleming at right tackle, and the team added Blake Martinez in free agency. While Simmons is the better prospect, New York needs a solidified offensive line to protect Daniel Jones.

5. Miami Dolphins- Tua Tagovailoa, QB Alabama

Previous Pick in 3.0: Tua Tagovailoa QB

Previous Pick in 2.0: Justin Herbert QB

Previous Pick in 1.0: Tua Tagovailoa QB

If not for his string of injuries, teams would be clamoring to trade up for Tagovailoa at either pick two or three. However, questions about Tagovailoa’s durability should drop him to the fifth spot. If healthy, the Alabama product would already be one of the top twenty quarterbacks in the NFL today.

6. Los Angeles Chargers- Mekhi Becton, OT Louisville

Previous Pick in 3.0: Justin Herbert QB

Previous Pick in 2.0: Jeffrey Okudah CB

Previous Pick in 1.0: Justin Herbert QB

The Chargers decide to make things interesting by reaching on a raw left tackle prospect instead of drafting a quarterback. Becton could start at left tackle and allow Bryan Bulaga to slide to his usual position at right tackle. Becton going at No. 6 is a significant reach, but the Chargers still need one more piece along the offensive line.

7. Carolina Panthers- Derrick Brown, DT Auburn

Previous Pick in 3.0: Isaiah Simmons LB

Previous Pick in 2.0: Isaiah Simmons LB

Previous Pick in 1.0: Derrick Brown DT

After losing Gerald McCoy in free agency, Luke Kuechly to retirement, and facing Kawann Short’s regression, the Panthers need a stabilizing force in the middle of their defensive front. Brown is arguably the highest-rated defensive tackle prospect since Ndamukong Suh.

8. Arizona Cardinals- Tristan Wirfs, OL Iowa

Previous Pick in 3.0: Jedrick Wills Jr. OT

Previous Pick in 2.0: Tristan Wirfs OL

Previous Pick in 1.0: Jedrick Wills Jr. OT

After drafting Kyler Murray last year, the Cardinals must protect their young quarterback. Wirfs can play multiple positions along the offensive line. He primarily started at right tackle in college, but he also saw snaps at left tackle. Some scouts believe he could kick inside and play guard as well. Arizona needs that kind of versatility. 

9. Jacksonville Jaguars- Isaiah Simmons, LB Clemson

Previous Pick in 3.0: CeeDee Lamb WR

Previous Pick in 2.0: Derrick Brown DT

Previous Pick in 1.0: Jerry Jeudy WR

Clemson’s defensive stud fell unusually far in this mock because several teams prioritized their top needs over taking the most talented player. Simmons could go as high as No. 3 to the Lions, but the versatile linebacker could also fall as teams address crucial needs along their offensive and defensive lines.

10. Cleveland Browns- Andrew Thomas, OT Georgia

Previous Pick in 3.0: Mekhi Becton OT

Previous Pick in 2.0: Mekhi Becton OT

Previous Pick in 1.0: Mekhi Becton OT

With the top three tackles already gone, the Browns take Thomas. The left tackle would slide in front of Chris Hubbard on the depth chart and assume the starting role immediately.

11. New York Jets- CeeDee Lamb, WR Oklahoma

Previous Pick in 3.0: Andrew Thomas OT

Previous Pick in 2.0: Jerry Jeudy WR

Previous Pick in 1.0: Andrew Thomas OT

The Jets either want an offensive lineman or wide receiver with the eleventh overall pick. Since all of the top tackles went in the top ten picks, New York takes the draft’s top receiver.

12. Las Vegas Raiders- Jerry Jeudy, WR Alabama

Previous Pick in 3.0: Jerry Jeudy WR

Previous Pick in 2.0: CeeDee Lamb WR

Previous Pick in 1.0: Henry Ruggs III WR

Not wanting to miss out on the chance to draft a future star receiver of their own, the Raiders quickly select Jeudy.

13. San Francisco 49ers (Via Colts)- Henry Ruggs III, WR Alabama

Previous Pick in 3.0: Derrick Brown DT

Previous Pick (Colts) in 2.0: Javon Kinlaw DT

Previous Pick (Colts) in 1.0: Javon Kinlaw DT

Realizing that it’s now or never, the 49ers replace Emmanuel Sanders with Ruggs. All three of the top receivers went in a row, which seems highly unlikely. However, the Jets could start a panic if they take Lamb and No. 11 and force San Francisco’s hand at No. 13.

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Jordan Love, QB Utah State

Previous Pick in 3.0: Javon Kinlaw DT

Previous Pick in 2.0: Andrew Thomas OT

Previous Pick in 1.0: Tristan Wirfs OL

Even though Justin Herbert is the third-best quarterback in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Buccaneers decide to adopt a project in Love. Bruce Arians believes Love’s potential surpasses Herbert’s, and the head coach thinks he’s found Tom Brady’s eventual successor. 

15. Denver Broncos- Kenneth Murray, LB Oklahoma

Previous Pick in 3.0: Henry Ruggs III WR

Previous Pick in 2.0: Henry Ruggs III WR

Previous Pick in 1.0: Isaiah Simmons LB

Denver hoped one of the top three wide receivers would fall to No. 15, but they’re all gone. So, the Broncos take the draft’s top inside/middle linebacker and slide him in front of Alexander Johnson on the depth chart. 

16. Atlanta Falcons- Javon Kinlaw, DT South Carolina

Previous Pick in 3.0: K’Lavon Chaisson EDGE

Previous Pick in 2.0: A.J. Epenesa EDGE

Previous Pick in 1.0: K’Lavon Chaisson EDGE

After signing Dante Fowler Jr. in free agency, the Falcons forgo drafting an edge rusher in favor of pairing Kinlaw with Grady Jarrett. The South Carolina product is one of the thirteen best players in the draft.

17. Dallas Cowboys- C.J. Henderson, CB Florida

Previous Pick in 3.0: C.J. Henderson CB

Previous Pick in 2.0: Xavier McKinney S

Previous Pick in 1.0: Xavier McKinney S

The Cowboys stabilized their safety position in free agency, but losing Byron Jones will impact their defensive play this coming season. While Henderson cannot replace Jones’ production immediately, he addresses the team’s biggest need.

18. Miami Dolphins (Via Steelers)- Xavier McKinney, S Alabama

Previous Pick in 3.0: A.J. Epenesa EDGE

Previous Pick in 2.0: K’Lavon Chaisson EDGE

Previous Pick in 1.0: D’Andre Swift RB

Miami traded Minkah Fitzpatrick last season and recently cut ties with Reshad Jones. Unless the team plans on starting Adrian Colbert and Eric Rowe at safety this coming season, they need a safety. Grant Delpit might possess a higher ceiling than McKinney, but the Alabama product brings less risk to the table.

19. Las Vegas Raiders (Via Bears)- Kristian Fulton, CB LSU

Previous Pick in 3.0: Kristian Fulton CB

Previous Pick in 2.0: Kenneth Murray LB

Previous Pick in 1.0: Patrick Queen LB

After back to back defensive backs come off of the board, Las Vegas moves to pair Fulton with Trayvon Mullen. Last year, the Raiders used a first round pick on Alabama safety Jonathan Abram and a second rounder on Mullen (from Clemson). Now, the team possesses three high-round defensive backs from prestigious football schools. 

20. Jacksonville Jaguars (Via Rams)- Justin Herbert, QB Oregon

Previous Pick in 3.0: Kenneth Murray LB

Previous Pick in 2.0: C.J. Henderson CB

Previous Pick in 1.0: C.J. Henderson CB

Jacksonville is one of the few teams in the NFL where the quarterback situation could alter at the drop of a dime. Gardner Minshew played well at times last year, but Jacksonville might not want to commit to the former sixth round pick in the long run. At the very least, Herbert gives Doug Marrone and his declining team a brief glimmer of hope.   

21. Philadelphia Eagles- Justin Jefferson, WR LSU

Previous Pick in 3.0: Justin Jefferson WR

Previous Pick in 2.0: Kristian Fulton CB

Previous Pick in 1.0: Grant Delpit S

The Eagles took care of cornerback and safety needs in free agency. Wide receiver is the team’s glaring need, especially after injuries decimated the unit in 2019. Jefferson is a steal at No. 21. At this point, he is by far the best receiver remaining in the draft.

22. Minnesota Vikings (Via Bills)- A.J. Epenesa, EDGE Iowa

Previous Pick in 3.0: Trevon Diggs CB

Previous Pick (Bills) in 2.0: Laviska Shenault Jr. WR

Previous Pick (Bills) in 1.0: Justin Jefferson WR

With Everson Griffen walking away from Minnesota this offseason, the Vikings suddenly need a replacement for the four-time Pro Bowler. While Epenesa possesses a lower ceiling than someone like LSU’s K’Lavon Chaisson, the Iowa product is also more reliable and less likely to become a bust. 

23. New England Patriots- K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE LSU

Previous Pick in 3.0: Zack Baun EDGE

Previous Pick in 2.0: Jordan Love QB

Previous Pick in 1.0: Cole Kmet TE

The Patriots need a little bit of everything in the draft. So far, it seems like Bill Belichick is willing to roll with Jarrett Stidham next season, meaning New England will take the best player available with this pick instead of searching for a quarterback. While Chaisson still requires a lot of development, his ceiling is the second-highest among edge rushers in this draft class.

24. New Orleans Saints- Patrick Queen, LB LSU

Previous Pick in 3.0: Tee Higgins WR

Previous Pick in 2.0: Grant Delpit S

Previous Pick in 1.0: Brandon Aiyuk WR

After adding Janoris Jenkins at cornerback, Malcolm Jenkins at safety, and Emmanuel Sanders at wide receiver, New Orleans can select the best player remaining at No. 24. Some analysts believe Queen could even hear his name called before Murray.

25. Minnesota Vikings- Trevon Diggs, CB Alabama

Previous Pick in 3.0: Neville Gallimore DT

Previous Pick in 2.0: Trevon Diggs CB

Previous Pick in 1.0: Jaylon Johnson CB

After addressing their need at defensive end, the Vikings can try to salvage their cornerback depth. The team drafted cornerback Mike Hughes in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft, but he’s not even a regular starter. Diggs will become Minnesota’s top corner the moment he steps in the door.

26. Miami Dolphins (Via Texans)- Austin Jackson, OT USC

Previous Pick in 3.0: Austin Jackson OT

Previous Pick in 2.0: D’Andre Swift RB

Previous Pick in 1.0: Kristian Fulton CB

The Dolphins did a tremendous job fortifying their team in free agency and building for the future with their first two selections. While Jackson is more of a Day 2 prospect, his athleticism and raw potential will elevate him to the first round. Besides, the Dolphins don’t want to start Julie’n Davenport at left tackle anyway. 

27. Seattle Seahawks- Zack Baun, EDGE Wisconsin

Previous Pick in 3.0: Yetur Gross-Matos EDGE

Previous Pick in 2.0: Yetur Gross-Matos EDGE

Previous Pick in 1.0: Ross Blacklock DT

Seattle used a first round pick on TCU’s L.J. Collier last year. Let’s just say they’re still waiting on some return from their investment. With Collier potentially never panning out and Jadeveon Clowney still floating around in free agency, Seattle doubles down at defensive end with Baun.   

28. Baltimore Ravens- Tee Higgins, WR Clemson

Previous Pick in 3.0: Patrick Queen LB

Previous Pick in 2.0: Patrick Queen LB

Previous Pick in 1.0: Kenneth Murray LB

The Ravens desperately wanted a middle linebacker, but they’re all gone by No. 28. Instead, Baltimore decides to pair Higgins’ size with Marquise Brown’s speed. Taking wide receivers in back-to-back first rounds seems unlikely, but Baltimore doesn’t want to reach for players who can fill its biggest needs. 

29. Tennessee Titans- Josh Jones, OT Houston

Previous Pick in 3.0: Josh Jones OT

Previous Pick in 2.0: Justin Jefferson WR

Previous Pick in 1.0: A.J. Epenesa EDGE

Tennessee is another team that doesn’t need a lot and could go in several directions. Even though Jones played left tackle at Houston, Tennessee takes him at No. 29, hoping Jones can swing to right tackle and help fix the hole left by Jack Conklin. However, the Titans might forgo adding Jones and look for the best player available instead.

30. Green Bay Packers- Laviska Shenault Jr., WR Colorado

Previous Pick in 3.0: Laviska Shenault Jr. WR

Previous Pick in 2.0: Tee Higgins WR

Previous Pick in 1.0: Tee Higgins WR

After Davante Adams missed several games last season, Aaron Rodgers will push Green Bay to draft a wide receiver. The Packers ended up in a similar situation to the Eagles last year when it came to their receiving depth. While Shenault’s injury history might scare some teams off, he’s one of the best athletes in the 2020 NFL Draft. 

31. San Francisco 49ers- A.J. Terrell, CB Clemson

Previous Pick in 3.0: Xavier McKinney S

Previous Pick in 2.0: Zack Baun EDGE

Previous Pick in 1.0: A.J. Terrell CB

San Francisco realizes they need more help at cornerback outside of Richard Sherman. Terrell contributed to two National Championship appearances while at Clemson and could become San Francisco’s second option at cornerback from Day 1.

32. Kansas City Chiefs- Jeff Gladney, CB TCU

Previous Pick in 3.0: A.J. Terrell CB

Previous Pick in 2.0: J.K. Dobbins RB

Previous Pick in 1.0: J.K. Dobbins RB

Gladney makes an appearance for the first time in any of my mock drafts. Some analysts believe the TCU product is a top-five corner in the 2020 NFL Draft. If they’re right, then he’s the perfect player for Kansas City to begin rebuilding their decimated cornerback corps around. 

Best remaining

Ross Blacklock, DT TCU

Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE Penn St.

Grant Delpit, S LSU

J.K. Dobbins, RB Ohio St.

D’Andre Swift, RB Georgia

Jonathan Taylor, RB Wisconsin

Hunter Bryant, TE Washington

Cole Kmet, TE Notre Dame

Brandon Aiyuk, WR Arizona St.

Denzel Mims, WR Baylor

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