21 Sep 2020

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John Vogel’s NFL Mock Draft 1.0

A new website calls for a fresh start and a clean slate. Yes folks, this will be my first mock draft of the season, looking into my crystal ball to project the prospects to different teams, and give you, the reader, an idea of where we stand right now.

We have some major storylines right now. It doesn’t appear that the Miami Dolphins will own the first overall pick as many had expected. It’s actually looking more and more like they will pick fourth overall. Miami continues to play well late in the season stretch, and continues to inflate their draft pick.

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa took a routine tackle and came up with a gut-wrenching injury to his hip, but after a successful surgery, Tua is expected to make a complete recovery and should be throwing by the Spring.

It’s a little too early in the season to project trades, because after all I want to hit on trades too. There’s no way of telling any of that. So without further ado, let’s get into this mock draft and see how it plays out.

1. Cincinnati Bengals – QB Joe Burrow, LSU

Joe Burrow is arguably the biggest NFL Draft riser in history. No one had Burrow on their radar before the season as more than a day three NFL Draft pick. However, the entire LSU offense was changed under the direction of former New Orleans Saints passing coordinator Joe Brady, and now the LSU Tigers have been the most dominant offense in football.

The Cincinnati Bengals look to move on from Andy Dalton in the pro ranks, and let’s be real: Ryan Finley isn’t the answer either. The Bengals need a star, and there is no bigger star in college football right now than Burrow.

Burrow brings an incredibly gifted skill set to Cincinnati, mobility to move in the pocket and scramble when needed, field vision to see the play develop and make the right decision, and accuracy that we don’t normally see in a prospect coming out of college. Burrow is on another world and we can’t be more excited to see him play in the NFL ranks.

2. Washington Redskins – EDGE Chase Young, Ohio State

This is one of those picks that the Redskins will trade down a few spots to someone who wants to pay to acquire Chase Young, the most talented prospect in college football. But, because I don’t project trades this early, let’s humor ourselves and imagine Chase Young to the Redskins.

Do the Washington Redskins need an EDGE? No. Most definitely not. They are set on EDGE rushers currently, and taking Young would limit his usage and in a way waste his talent. However, it is a Redskin-esque pick. They can’t ever seem to get it right. Perfectly talented players go to Washington and do nothing because of the lack of cohesion within the organization.

Chase Young might be the most gifted pass rusher that we have ever seen come from Ohio State. He’s special and on another world. Really, he should be the first overall selection, but there is no way that it happens with the value and need in this quarterback class.

3. New York Giants – LB Isaiah Simmons, Clemson


Isaiah Simmons is one of the most unique players that we have ever seen in college football. Simmons played wide receiver and safety in high school, and came to Clemson as a 3 star prospect. People liked his athleticism, but didn’t know how he would translate to the college level. Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney played him as a slot cornerback at first, and then realized he could move Simmons to the linebacker position, and it was the best possible move for the Clemson defense.

Simmons brings incredible athleticism to the linebacker spot, an understanding of offensive concepts and receiver techniques, and the size and skill set to cover the modern NFL tight end. This is something that NFL defenses crave.

The New York Giants happen to be in a position of need and absolute luck at three. It makes sense to pull the trigger on a hybrid player that is so versatile he can be used all over the field, as needed. How much more lucky can they get?

4. Miami Dolphins – QB Justin Herbert, Oregon

The need and necessity for a quarterback drives the Miami Dolphins crazy. With the injury to Tua Tagovailoa, it’s hard to say that he will ever be the player he was before. Tua played with such a fearless, aggressive attitude, that it’s hard to imagine he will come back with all of that. Miami takes the safe route, and selects Justin Herbert, the strong armed 6’6″ kid from Oregon.

Herbert has a big arm. He flashes the ability through the Oregon’s limited offense at times, and shows incredible accuracy, touch, and just plain crazy arm talent while whipping the ball downfield. Herbert is smart, and won’t make a lot of mistakes. Miami feels as though tanking requires that you play it safe, after all there’s too much at stake.

5. New York Jets – WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma

The New York Jets are probably about to lose their speedster on the outside, Robby Anderson, this offseason to free agency. It would make sense to replace him with an upgraded version, right?

CeeDee Lamb is basically everything that New York hoped that they would get with Anderson. He’s got great speed, incredible hands, and is mesmerizing after the catch. He’s going to rack up yards after contact, and he’s a tough nut to bring down in the open field. Exactly what the Jets need for Sam Darnold.

6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – CB Jeffrey Okudah, Ohio State

The Buccaneers are in desperate need of a cornerback. Vernon Hargreaves III didn’t work out, and was waived by the team last week. Cornerback is a serious spot for them. So why not get a great coverage guy who has shown good ball skills?

Okudah is rising in NFL Draft rankings whole having a fantastic season. People could argue that the Ohio State defense is so loaded with talent, that everyone is overrated. I tend to disagree. Okudah has shown shutdown tendencies while in school, has great athleticism, and has answered a lot of concerns about his ball skills.

7. Denver Broncos – DT Derrick Brown, Auburn

While defensive tackle isn’t a huge need for the Denver Broncos, why would you pass on Derrick Brown when he has fallen to seven? Brown is arguably the most dominant interior lineman in college football for the last couple of years. He weighs in at 320 pounds, but moves like he weighs closer to 280. He is a stud athletically and shows incredible ability to penetrate, plug and destroy the offensive line.

Denver’s defense is already pretty good. It really makes you wonder what kind of a level that defense can get on with Derrick Brown in the lineup. Yes, the Broncos really have bigger positions of need, but man this is such a good move, you can live with the other problems.

8. Atlanta Falcons – OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia

It’s hard to pass on the best offensive lineman in this class, especially when you saw your veteran quarterback get banged up and miss time for the first time in a decade. Atlanta drafted a couple of guys early last season to address that, but neither one of them have really seen the field this season due to injury.

Take the Georgia anchor Andrew Thomas, who can become one of the best left tackles in all of football. He has excellent quickness and athleticism for a man his size, and has the power to be an effective run blocker. It’s a good selection for a team trying to make a splash next season.

9. Arizona Cardinals – EDGE AJ Epenesa, Iowa

The Arizona Cardinals have benefited from having Chandler Jones for a few years now, leading the team in every pass rushing statistical category. He has a couple years left on his deal in Arizona, and the Cardinals have to contend with teams like San Francisco and Seattle. Why not add another very talented EDGE that will give that defense a serious boost?


AJ Epenesa is a powerful human being. He’s not just a power rusher, but he has a good blend of speed and agility that allows him to make plays in the backfield that are simply special. He got people’s attention last season when he played in rotation, didn’t start a game and still showed up with 10.5 sacks. Epenesa is a special prospect and could really complete the defensive line in Arizona.

10. Detroit Lions – LB Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma

Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia loves old-fashioned hard-nosed linebackers. He’s actually in dire need of a linebacker to lead his defense. Interesting that Kenneth Murray is coming out of college right now.

Murray is your old-school, downhill linebacker who hits with a passion. He’s not the most athletic guy on the field, but he’s smart and he diagnoses the offense quickly to position himself appropriately. The perfect fit for Patricia.

11. Los Angeles Chargers – CB Bryce Hall, Virginia

This is a little bit of a different pick. The Chargers need a cornerback desperately, as their secondary can’t seem to stay healthy. Normally, the Chargers have taken the fastest guy they can get. It really hasn’t panned out for them.

They want to try a different route. Try taking a tackling, aggressive ball of energy and passion. Bryce Hall is that package. He’s a shutdown corner who helps in run support. Imagine that! He’s an outstanding defender and really gives the Chargers a boost to their defense that is desperately needed.

12. Jacksonville Jaguars – CB Kristian Fulton, LSU

The Jacksonville Jaguars moved on from Jalen Ramsey, their stud cornerback from Florida State. He was unhappy with the direction of the franchise, his usage in the scheme, and overall Jacksonville in general. A trade sent him to Los Angeles, and now the Jaguars are replacing him with a pretty good corner himself.

Kristian Fulton had some maturity concerns that he hashed out over an offseason where he was deemed ineligible to play in 2018. Since then, he’s flashed shutdown ability, proved his incredible athleticism, and now with good testing at the combine should solidify his first round status.

13. Cleveland Browns – OT Tristan Wirfs, Iowa

The Cleveland Browns need offensive tackle help terribly. While the interior offensive line has played pretty well, the tackles look like soft jelly out there, struggling with concentration and effort. It’s been horrendous, and it’s limited the Browns offense as their young quarterback, Baker Mayfield, has regressed as a result of it.

The Browns start working on patching the offensive line by adding the Iowa tackle Tristan Wirfs. He’s really more of a run blocker, and would project better at right tackle, but the Browns (hopefully) acquire someone to anchor the left side and can keep Wirfs on the right.

14. Las Vegas Raiders (From Chicago) – WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama

The Las Vegas Raiders have built themselves into a formidable opponent, and people who doubted head coach Jon Gruden (myself included) look pretty silly right now. Imagine how much more Gruden could humiliate us by getting his hands on Jerry Jeudy and fixing the biggest problem in his offense to start the franchise in Las Vegas.

Derek Carr has performed well this season, he really has. He finally has run support with stud rookie Josh Jacobs from Alabama. Now, adding Jeudy brings the offense what they had hoped to acquire when they traded for Antonio Brown: speed on the outside and the deep threat ability. Jeudy has all of that, including the route running, and puts Las Vegas’ offense into a very good situation.

15. Philadelphia Eagles – WR Henry Ruggs III, Alabama

I really, really like this pick. The Philadelphia Eagles have had a huge weakness this season: The wide receiver corps. Both Alshon Jeffrey and DeSean Jackson have missed the majority of the season due to injuries sustained, and the rest of the group hasn’t been able to step up because of the lack of deep threat ability.


Enter the sub 4.3 forty yard dash stud, Henry Ruggs III. He’s an incredible talent, shows excellent hands, great speed, and might just be a clone of DeSean Jackson. Best part: He’s finishing his junior year in Alabama. He would be a welcome addition to the Eagles offense who so desperately need help on the outside it’s not even funny.

16. Miami Dolphins (From Pittsburgh) – LB Dylan Moses, Alabama

Another Alabama guy? Yeah, and arguably the best linebacker in this class! Dylan Moses was a physical freak before his ACL injury that has prevented him from playing all season. He’s the perfect linebacker prospect, and a player that Miami could definitely build around.

Pass coverage? Moses might be the best linebacker in the class at it. Tackler? Moses is top three. Speed/Athleticism? Moses is top three. Go through the categories and find his weaknesses. I promise you: They aren’t there.

17. Tennessee Titans – QB Jacob Eason, Washington

The Tennessee Titans are moving on from Marcus Mariota. It’s pretty clear in all of the frame work. Now, they turn to the west coast again to select their quarterback, and take the guy with the most arm in the class: Jacob Eason.

Eason started his collegiate career in Georgia, and was compared to Matthew Stafford. Fate would have it, in the first game of his sophomore season, he injured his ankle and lost the starting job to true freshman quarterback Jake Fromm. Now, the Titans have a chance to bring in the guy who captivated the West Coast with his strong arm and use him (hopefully successfully) in Tennessee.

18. Carolina Panthers – QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama

Wait, What?

Tua’s injury is serious, and I think some NFL clubs aren’t going to want to risk the chance in taking him with the fear of him not being the same player that he was. The situation with Cam Newton is also serious, not so much because of the injury but because he wants out of Carolina and a fresh start somewhere else.

The Panthers are clearly not rushing their star quarterback onto the field, which leads me to believe they wouldn’t with Tua either, which would make sense why they would pull the trigger on him. A patient organization that wants to protect its players? What a place for Tua to go!

19. Oakland Raiders – DT Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina


It’s been clear that Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock value seniors in the NFL Draft. They took an awful lot of them over the past few years and it seems to be paying dividends right now. So, imagine the excitement that these two men have for South Carolina DT Javon Kinlaw?

Kinlaw is a tough dude. He slimmed a bit this season to be more athletic, and it’s shown on the field. He’s violent, he’s a beast and a monster. He’ll take your soul straight from you if you aren’t careful. Well, maybe not exactly, but… Either way, adding Kinlaw to the interior of his defense would solidify his front four and really pressure opposing quarterbacks with intense, pocket collapsing penetration that would just destroy people.

20. Jacksonville Jaguars (From LA Rams) – WR DeVonta Smith, Alabama

The Jaguars hit on DJ Chark, it just took a couple of years to get him going. However, Dede Westbrook hasn’t been what they hoped, and Chris Conley can only bring so much to the table. The Jaguars need another receiver, and it’s great for them that this class is so deep this year.

DeVonta Smith has excellent speed and might run just under a 4.4 forty at the combine. He has great hands and is excellent after the catch, the perfect complimentary skill set to pair with Chark. Smith is ready to be a great wide receiver two now.

21. Dallas Cowboys – EDGE Curtis Weaver, Boise State

The Dallas Cowboys could really use an EDGE rusher to get into the backfield and disrupt the opposing quarterback. Why not get Curtis Weaver? Weaver is the Boise State career leader in sacks, and should test very well at the combine. He’s a combination of speed, power and finesse, and it’s deadly to opposing offenses.


22. Indianapolis Colts – OT Alex Leatherwood, Alabama

Indianapolis has a bit of a quarterback dilemma on their hands. However, they want the right guy. Jacoby Brissett his doing a good job holding down the fort for now, and they have a capable backup behind him. So the Colts want to build the offensive line and have it stronger so when they do pull the trigger on a quarterback, they already have a good situation.

Alex Leatherwood is a solid pass protector, a smart and athletic tackle that could be an anchor in the NFL for the next decade.

23. Miami Dolphins (From Houston) – RB Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin

The Dolphins need a good running back badly. Why not Jonathan Taylor? Arguably the best running back to ever come from Wisconsin, and there have been a lot, Taylor is the complete package. He can play all three downs, be a pass blocker, a pass receiver, a power back, speed back, you name it. Taylor can do it. He’s an excellent piece and would be a perfect addition to the Miami offense that needs that stable running game.

24. Minnesota Vikings – S Grant Delpit, LSU

How did Grant Delpit fall this far in the NFL Draft? The Vikings don’t know. While safety isn’t their biggest need, it’s a steal to get Delpit at 24. He’s a ball hawking safety, who has struggled a little bit with tackling, but by putting him in the back end, he can solidify the Vikings cover two scheme. Imagine Harrison Smith and Grant Delpit ruining people in Minnesota? Yeah, sounds amazing.

25. Kansas City Chiefs – CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama

Trevon Diggs is the brother of Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon, and he’s just as athletic. Trevon Diggs is one of the drafts more underrated cornerbacks and might be the best one in the class. The Chiefs need a cornerback, as their secondary has been an issue all season long. Diggs can help them solidify that, by shutting down one side of the field.

26. Buffalo Bills – EDGE Julian Okwara, Notre Dame


The Buffalo Bills have a ferocious defense, but they could still use a little extra help. Julian Okwara is a favorite of some NFL draft experts, but he has shown some inconsistency throughout his entire career as a pass rusher. Maybe a change of scenery would help him? Buffalo might.

27. Green Bay Packers – WR Tyler Johnson, Minnesota

The Green Bay Packers need a wide receiver badly. It’s not been good when DeVonte Adams has been out, as Aaron Rodgers struggles to throw the ball downfield and lacks confidence in the guys he has. That means it’s time to add some new, blooming talent. Tyler Johnson is one of the best overall receivers in this class. He has great hands, runs good routes and shows good athleticism. He’s a welcome addition to the Packers offense and immediately becomes WR2.

28. Seattle Seahawks – TE Brycen Hopkins, Purdue

The Seattle Seahawks seem to make whoever they have at tight end work, but that won’t stop them from adding a budding star at the position. Seattle has a desire to keep supplying Russell Wilson with weapons, and Brycen Hopkins would be a very good one to add. A weapon as both a receiver and a blocker, Hopkins might be the best overall tight end in the class.

29. Baltimore Ravens – LB Paddy Fisher, Northwestern


The Baltimore Ravens only weak spot on their defense is their linebackers, and so they move to try and address that by getting Paddy Fisher, a stud three year starter from Northwestern. Want to talk about a tackling machine? That’s Fisher for you. He’s smart, heady and has good form and can really be an impact for a team.

30. New Orleans Saints – WR Laviska Shenault, Colorado

Shenault is a hell of a prospect. He is extremely raw, has a lot to refine once he goes pro, like his footwork, route running consistency, and such, but he is a fine utility weapon that can make plays in the open field. Imagine the things that Sean Payton could do with a guy like Laviska. It’s a great pick for the Saints and fixes their WR2 issues.

31. New England Patriots – IOL Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma

This is what the New England Patriots do. They collect the leftover prospects, whoever is at the top of their board, and take him before anyone else has the chance. This year, it’s Creed Humphrey, the best interior offensive lineman in the draft. He’s a solid pass blocker and has the ability to be a mauler in run blocks. While he played center at Oklahoma, I think he projects better as a left guard. He’s a good addition to New England regardless.

32. San Francisco 49ers – RB Chuba Hubbard, Oklahoma State

He’s a redshirt-sophomore, and may not come out, but if he does, he is everything and more that San Francisco wanted Jerick McKinnon to be. Hubbard has lightning speed, incredible field vision and has shown great contact balance. He’s the nations leading rusher by a longshot and it isn’t even close. Hubbards dominance is so impressive, and his traits make his tape enjoyable to watch. He will be a stud in the NFL.

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