22 Sep 2020

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John Vogel’s NFL Mock Draft 4.0 – Seven Rounds of Mayhem

Seven rounds is such a daunting task, I had to run several mock drafts to prepare for this one. I’m not your typical NFL Draft analyst when it comes to mock drafts. I want mayhem, I want things to feel as realistic as possible. As a result, I have to run several simulations to get a feel for when teams will be looking to trade up or down, what prospects should go sooner than I anticipate them going, and overall it’s just a huge project that I undertake.

Seven rounds has been draining. It’s a ton of thought, scanning reports, looking at who visited who, pairing ideas, and thinking. Mock Drafts are hard.

First Round

Nevertheless, I am pleased to announce that my final attempt is complete. This is my final mock draft for consumers to take in and enjoy. It’s been very difficult. But, here we are. Enjoy it. You won’t see another one from me until January, 2021.

1. Cincinnati Bengals – QB Joe Burrow, LSU

Why are people still playing around with this? For clicks? The Bengals are going to draft him, and Joe Burrow wants to play in the NFL. Burrow is one of the best natural throwers of the football that I have seen. His ability to anticipate windows and throw people open is extraordinary. While his arm talent is lacking, it’s not enough to be a limit to what he can really do with his game.

Cincinnati is pretty close to home, too. Burrow is from Ohio so the pick makes a lot of sense.

2. Washington Redskins – EDGE Chase Young, Ohio State

I’ve flipped my tune on this one compared to what I normally do and/or say. There are a couple of reasons why.

If you look at what Ron Rivera-led teams have historically done in the early part of the draft, they’ve targetted defensive linemen quite often, even when they weren’t huge needs. In 2019, it was Brian Burns. 2016, it was Vernon Butler. 2013, it was Star Lotulelei.

They’ve never taken an offensive tackle or a cornerback early. Ever.

Chase Young isn’t necessarily a need for the Redskins, but he is such a valuable piece for them to consider. He’s a very good pass rusher, head-and-shoulders ahead of anyone currently in this class. Even with trade offers hitting them, Tony Pauline from the Pro Football Network indicated that there isn’t really a desire for the Redskins to move down and that Dan Snyder and Rivera had already agreed on who they would pick.

Sounds an awful lot like that pick will be Chase Young. Imagine how stacked that makes the Redskins defense from a pass-rushing standpoint… Da’Ron Payne, Ryan Kerrigan, Jonathan Allen…

3. Miami Dolphins (From Detriot Lions) – QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama

Trade Alert: The Miami Dolphins send the 5th overall pick and the 26th overall pick to the Detroit Lions for the 3rd overall pick.

The Miami Dolphins have been rumored to have “loved” Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, and apparently “hate” Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert. It makes sense for the Dolphins to move up two spots and take the guy that they value more in the class and want to build their organization around.

The Lions understood what they could get out of the Dolphins. Last minute, it wasn’t much and they know that an extra first round pick helps them with glaring roster holes. Plus, two spots down doesn’t hurt very much. It makes sense for the Lions to take what appears to be a minimalistic deal.

Tagovailoa, beyond his well-documented injury history, is a special type of a player. With incredible arm talent and natural playmaking ability, he’s primed to be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL very quickly. The Dolphins offense would do well by him.

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4. New York Giants – LB/S Isaiah Simmons, Clemson

This pick makes a lot of sense for the New York Giants. They need serious help at both of the safety and linebacker positions, so why not get a guy who can do both? With enough draft capital in the class to get other guys, they can mix and match what they would like and put Isaiah Simmons in the best spot to succeed.

The Giants have had issues for a while now. While their defense was immensely torched throughout last season, Simmons is a jack-of-all-trades. If teams get caught up in where he is on the field, it makes him the spotlight and relieves pressure off of the rest of the defense. This is a very good pick and I think that the Giants understand that.

5. Detroit Lions (From Dolphins) – CB Jeffrey Okudah, Ohio State

With the Lions moving on from cornerback Darius Slay, sending him to the Philadelphia Eagles via trade, the Lions take their new shutdown boundary cornerback in Jeffrey Okudah, and might actually have upgraded their secondary.

Okudah is a sticky cornerback capable of playing just about any coverage you ask him to play. He’s a very solid prospect and I would imagine that his value on the Lions board is tremendous.

6. Los Angeles Chargers – OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia

The Chargers are looking into building an offensive line to protect their future quarterback. This year, that’s probably Tyrod Taylor. Next year, who knows? Andrew Thomas is a very solid and NFL ready left tackle. Even though his upside isn’t as high as some of the tackles in this class, Thomas is ready to play day one and at a high level too. He handled himself very well in the gauntlet of the SEC.

7. Carolina Panthers – WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama

Rumor has it that the Panthers are looking to move Curtis Samuel. If that’s the case, it makes sense to add Jerry Jeudy. I know that DJ Moore has seen a lot of success outside, but hear me out and let me propose this idea to you:

What if the Panthers moved Moore into the slot, and played Robby Anderson and Jeudy outside? With Christian McCaffrey out of the backfield and the improvisational skills of Teddy Bridgewater and the coaching brawn of Joe Brady and Matt Rhule, this offense could be lethal in the NFL. Who cares how many points the defense allows when you can outscore everyone?

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8. Arizona Cardinals – OT Tristan Wirfs, Iowa

The future of the Arizona Cardinals is quarterback Kyler Murray. He’s a small guy, and although he was very explosive his rookie season, Murray needs to be protected and avoid taking contact.

Tristan Wirfs is potentially the best offensive tackle in this class. Not immediately, as he does have a bunch of technique pointers to get figured out, but the upside is there. Wirfs is extremely athletic and strong, and is a good cornerstone to put down on your offensive line.

9. Jacksonville Jaguars – IDL Derrick Brown, Auburn

The Jaguars tried to trade up to get to the third overall pick but ultimately couldn’t offer the Lions a package of picks that were appealing enough, so they are forced to regroup and go a different direction. Lucky for them, Derrick Brown slid through the cracks and fell down to their original spot.

Is this particularly a need? Not really. However, Brown is a good bit of an upgrade from Abry Jones and with the talent around him on the line, Brown can potentially dominate in Sacksonville. This is one of the best places that Brown could have hoped to end up landing in.

10. Cleveland Browns – OT Mekhi Becton, Louisville

The Browns have been rumored to be targetting Boise State tackle Ezra Cleveland, but I think it’s very difficult for the Browns to turn down the sheer size and skill of Louisville tackle Mekhi Becton. This is a guy who threw a lot of people around like rag dolls with his massive 6’7″ and 365-pound frame.

Becton is a left tackle, exactly what the Browns need. Jack Conklin was added via free agency from the Tennessee Titans this offseason and he’s among the best right tackles in the league. Now, with Becton, the biggest weakness on this team from last season is well addressed.

11. Denver Broncos (From Jets) – WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma

Trade Alert: The Denver Broncos send the 15th overall pick and the 46th overall pick to the New York Jets for the 11th overall pick and the 120th overall pick.

Denver sees the need to move up four spots to secure their guy that will give young quarterback Drew Lock the weapons that he needs to succeed. CeeDee Lamb is an intriguing option for the Broncos, who already have Courtland Sutton on one side.

12. Las Vegas Raiders – WR Henry Ruggs III, Alabama

The Raiders understand that their offense last season was very limited by their lack of weapons. They got the tight ends into the game, and running back Josh Jacobs, but overall, the Raiders didn’t have receivers that could truly stretch the field.

Henry Ruggs changes all of that the moment he steps on the field. He’s an absolute burner and can score a touchdown anytime he touches the ball. Gruden would have liked to have seen CeeDee Lamb, but Ruggs is a welcome addition to the team.

13. Atlanta Falcons (From Colts through 49ers) – DT Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina

Trade Alert: The Atlanta Falcons send the 16th overall pick and the 78th overall pick to the San Francisco 49ers for the 13th overall pick.

Rumors have been swirling around the Falcons trading up to take Javon Kinlaw, a defensive prospect that they value above anyone else. Kinlaw is a ferocious monster capable of taking over games, although we didn’t see the consistency from him that we would have liked to have seen. Regardless, this is a good pickup for the Falcons defense who was one of the worst units in the NFL last season.

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – OT Jed Wills Jr, Alabama

Protect the quarterback is the mantra of the NFL. That being said, The Buccaneers need an upgrade at right tackle. With Tom Brady under center for the next couple of years, the thought process has to be keeping his body clean of a lot of the hits that Jameis Winston took last season (47 sacks, to be exact). Jed Wills Jr is an excellent pass protector on the right side, having been Tua Tagovailoa’s blindside protector at Alabama. Wills is also a good run blocker and fits exactly what Bruce Arians wants to do on that side of the football.

15. New York Jets (From Broncos) – EDGE K’Lavon Chaisson, LSU

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The Jets took the trade down to get the draft capital, as well as add the threat of an outside linebacker who can both rush the passer and drop into coverage. K’Lavon Chaisson could end up becoming one of the best players to come out of this draft if he is utilized properly. He’s such a fluid athlete, he can become an x-factor for any defense on a week-to-week basis.

16. San Francisco 49ers (From Falcons) – OT Josh Jones, Houston

The 49ers know that Joe Staley won’t be around for much longer. Now entering 14th season in the league, he’s been a solid left tackle over the last decade for the franchise.

In the meantime, this run on offensive linemen didn’t help San Francisco very much, so they have to pull the trigger a little early on Staley’s replacement, Josh Jones. I think Jones is a good tackle, very athletic and would fit well into the 49ers offense. That being said, Jones is not ready to start for at least a year. A perfect scenario for the 49ers.

17. Dallas Cowboys – CB CJ Henderson, Florida

The Cowboys understand the need to beef up the secondary. With Byron Jones off to Miami via free agency, it’s a good idea to get his replacement with their first pick. CJ Henderson is regarded by many across the league as an elite level coverage cornerback, some people valuing him over Jeff Okudah. I think he lacks a lot of physicalities, but if he can cover just about anyone then why not take him here?

18. Miami Dolphins (From Steelers) – OT Ezra Cleveland, Boise State

The Dolphins need to upgrade their offensive line drastically. This is a big deal for the future health of the franchise. Five tackles are already off of the board, so this forces the Dolphins to pull the trigger on their man at eighteen, and they take Ezra Cleveland out of Boise State.

Cleveland is certainly an intriguing guy. I’ve heard from multiple players in the Mountain West conference over the last couple of years that he’s the best player in the conference. Still raw, I think Cleveland can develop nicely into a very good player, and Miami doesn’t need him immediately.

19. Las Vegas Raiders (From Bears) – QB Justin Herbert, Oregon

Jon Gruden loves his quarterbacks, man. It’s really hard for him to pass on someone when they slide this far, and you know that he likes Justin Herbert.

Let’s face facts. Derek Carr isn’t going to be in Oakland much longer. In all truth and honesty, Marcus Mariota won’t be regarded as the savior of the franchise. It just makes sense for the Raiders to nab a guy that doesn’t have to play right away, Gruden can develop, and let him ease into the role as the quarterback of the future.

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20. Jacksonville Jaguars (From Rams) – WR Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State

The Jaguars really need to bolster their receiving corps and give whoever plays as their quarterback receiving help. With DJ Chark on one side, imagine Brandon Aiyuk being able to stretch the field against defenses? With his wingspan and lightning speed, Aiyuk could be a difference-maker in Jacksonville.

21. Philadelphia Eagles – WR Denzel Mims, Baylor

Rumors have had Brandon Aiyuk pegged to the Eagles for a couple of weeks now, but the Jaguars just nabbed him one pick before the Eagles could get him! The priority with this team is getting quarterback Carson Wentz weapons right now, and they have to go with Denzel Mims, the savvy receiver from Baylor.

Mims is probably a year away from really becoming an impact player, but it’s a good pick and it makes sense for the Eagles. The upside with Mims is definitely there, and the future looks bright.

22. Baltimore Ravens (From Bills through Vikings) – LB Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma

Trade Alert: The Baltimore Ravens send the 28th and 60th overall picks to the Minnesota Vikings for the 22nd overall pick.

Oklahoma’s Kenneth Murray (9) celebrate during the Big 12 Championship Game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the Baylor University Bears at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019. Oklahoma won 30-23. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]

The Ravens are sitting on a gold mine in terms of draft capital and the way that they have built their roster this year. On paper, in my opinion, the Ravens are the most dangerous team in the NFL this year. With immense draft capital, the best thing to do with it is to use it and select the guys that you desire more than anyone in the class.

Kenneth Murray makes a lot of sense here. The trade up to secure him and get a guy who they feel can impact the team as early as this year. He’s excellent at coming downhill and as a run defender, and that’s exactly what the Ravens could use inside.

23. New England Patriots – QB Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma

Whoa, shocker. The Patriots nabbing Jalen Hurts at 23?

Yes, this is going to come as a surprise to some people. A lot of football scholars have convinced themselves that Bill Belichick is tanking for Trevor Lawrence next season. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Hurts is more technically refined than most people want to give him credit for, and Bill sees that. There’s work left for him to do, yes, but there is no harder worker in this class than Jalen Hurts. A new era in New England? A large possibility.

24. New Orleans Saints – CB Jeff Gladney, TCU

The Saints have a need to get another very good corner opposite of Marshawn Lattimore. How about a long ballhawk who is physical and possesses a hit stick? Let’s go with Jeff Gladney, the athletic freak out of TCU.

I really like Gladney and I think he’s a stud. That being said, the Saints are looking to make their defense more athletic. They’ve gotten burned the last couple of times they’ve gone to the playoffs. Gladney fits that mold and it makes a lot of sense.

25. Minnesota Vikings – CB Kristian Fulton, LSU

Kristian Fulton is a hell of a cornerback, and this is a great pickup for the Vikings. Xavier Rhodes was about done in Minnesota, falling out of contention as a capable cover corner. The response? Let’s get another guy who can play that same role that Rhodes used to.

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26. Detroit Lions (From Texans through Dolphins) – RB JK Dobbins, Ohio State

This is a real shocker, but let’s be honest: This is Matt Patricia trying to make an offensive selection here. The running back room in Detriot has been underwhelming for sure, and JK Dobbins does seem like the fit that they would prefer to have in Detroit. He’s an excellent character, and he can be a running back in the league for a long time. It should be a pick that should pan out.

27. Los Angeles Chargers (From Seahawks) – QB Jordan Love, Utah State

Trade Alert: The Los Angeles Chargers send the 37th and 71st overall picks and a 2021 2nd (LAC) to the Seattle Seahawks for the 27th overall pick.

I told you that this mock was mayhem.

The Chargers are selecting their quarterback of the future by trading back into the first round to ensure that they select their man and that they get the fifth-year option that comes with him. Jordan Love isn’t ready to play now, and the Chargers are aware of that. They have Tyrod Taylor in place to bridge that transition.

Taylor and Love in the same quarterback room makes a lot of sense. They have a lot of similarities, but Love has the bigger arm and the more natural passing ability. Taylor can mentor Love when the day comes to switch, and it would be a good fit.

28. Minnesota Vikings (From Ravens) – WR Tee Higgins, Clemson

The Minnesota Vikings need a wide receiver to somewhat replace what Stefan Diggs was to the team. Adam Theilen is a number two receiver at best, and they really need someone to step in and be a big target.

Tee Higgins is not anywhere near close to what Diggs was. Diggs is a technician and a savvy route runner. Higgins is a big target with a lot of athleticism. That’s okay, the Vikings offense probably wants to go a different route anyway. Higgins has a lot of potentials but I don’t see him really starting to impact until year two.

29. Tennessee Titans – OT Austin Jackson, USC

Jack Conklin was simply a cap hit this year, and the Titans were forced to let him go in order to retain Ryan Tannehill at quarterback and Derrick Henry at running back. Ladies and gentlemen, please introduce yourselves to Austin Jackson. There have been rumors of Jackson going first round, and Jackson played left tackle at USC, the Titans aren’t going to look to start him right away (Dennis Kelly) and he can transition where they need him to be.

30. Green Bay Packers – WR Justin Jefferson, LSU

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The Packers are in desperate need of receiver weapons to fill into the offense alongside Davante Adams, who is alone the main source of offense for the team. Add Justin Jefferson, who can become a very good #2 receiver in the league, and they look better already. Jefferson played out of the slot at LSU, but he’s big, and he has great hands that should make him a formidable receiver.

31. San Francisco 49ers – CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama

The 49ers now address their secondary, the part of the team that you can blame for the downfall of the 20-10 lead in the Super Bowl. Emmanuel Mosley would be so much better in the slot, so the 49ers nab Trevon Diggs, a good zone coverage corner, who can be physical and mirror Richard Sherman.

32. Kansas City Chiefs – RB D’Andre Swift, Georgia

The only couple of real needs that you can point to on the Chiefs roster is running back and cornerback. Considering that a bunch of cornerbacks came off of the board, why wouldn’t the Chiefs like to add someone like D’Andre Swift to the squad? It makes all of the sense in the world. Swift does everything that the Chiefs like in a running back. This is too easy.

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