NFL Mock Draft: Patriots Land Linebacker; Raiders Nab Jordan Love

Welcome to NESN.com’s 2020 NFL Mock Draft, Version 1.0. While the draft order undoubtedly will change as teams wheel and deal, we kept this particular mock trade-free.   

1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
Don’t overthink it, Bengals.

2. Washington Redskins: Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
The Skins will hear offers for this pick, but Young is a transcendent talent who should make Washington’s defensive front (which already features Ryan Kerrigan, Montez Sweat, Matt Ioannidis, Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne) one of the best in football.

3. Detroit Lions: Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
The Lions are a strong trade-down candidate, but in this scenario, they stay put and grab Okudah, who replaces departed star Darius Slay.

4. New York Giants: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
Isaiah Simmons was a strong consideration here, but we’ll go with arguably the best tackle prospect in this year’s class. It would be fitting for Joe Judge, a Nick Saban disciple, to kick off his head-coaching career with an Alabama pick.

5. Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama 
Tagovailoa might be the most talented signal-caller in this class, and he seems to be on track for a full recovery from his season-ending hip injury. The Dolphins, who can roll with Ryan Fitzpatrick while Tua heals and develops, could look to trade up to No. 3 if they’re worried about another QB-needy team leap-frogging them.

6. Los Angeles Chargers: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
Speaking of QB-needy teams, the Tyrod Taylor-led Chargers look poised to draft one here. And while some experts are predicting a Daniel Jones-esque rise for Utah State’s Jordan Love, we prefer Herbert, who could push Taylor for the starting job as a rookie.

7. Carolina Panthers: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
Don’t be surprised if Simmons, a ridiculously versatile, insanely athletic, do-everything playmaker, comes off the board before No. 7. If he doesn’t, he’d be a perfect addition to a Carolina linebacking corps that lost its leader, Luke Kuechly, to retirement.

8. Arizona Cardinals: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
Kyler Murray has weapons — especially with DeAndre Hopkins now aboard — but he needs protection after being sacked 50 times last season.

9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
The vaunted defense that carried the Jaguars to the 2017 AFC title game is all but dead. Adding Brown (or South Carolina’s Javon Kinlaw) to anchor their depleted D-line and team up with 2019 first-round edge rusher Josh Allen would be a step in the right direction.

10. Cleveland Browns: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
The Browns’ tackle situation was a mess last season. Becton is enormous (6-foot-7, 364 pounds) and ran a stunning 5.1-second 40 at the combine.

11. New York Jets: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
Breshad Perriman, considered a draft bust until about six months ago, currently sits atop the Jets’ depth chart at receiver. Given their obvious need at the position, the big question here is which of the top-tier wideouts they prefer. We went with Jeudy, but Alabama teammate Henry Ruggs III or Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb would work, too.

12. Las Vegas Raiders: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
Rookie slot receiver Hunter Renfrow was the Raiders’ most productive wideout last season. That’s not a great sign. Lamb, who averaged 19.0 yards per catch over his career at Oklahoma, would be an upgrade over underwhelming No. 1 Tyrell Williams.

13. San Francisco 49ers (from Indianapolis): Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
A nice replacement for DeForest Buckner, whom the Niners traded to acquire this pick.

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
The case could be made for Wills, Wirfs, Becton or Thomas as the top tackle in this class. In this mock, the final member of that group falls to the Bucs, who scoop him up to protect that new quarterback they just signed. Tom something?

15. Denver Broncos: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
Ruggs and Courtland Sutton? That’s a dangerous combo.

16. Atlanta Falcons: K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
The Falcons have holes all over on defense, so linebacker or cornerback could be in play here. But we went with Chaisson, one of this year’s most promising pass rushers.

More Patriots: Seven-Round New England Mock Draft

17. Dallas Cowboys: C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
Dallas replaces Byron Jones with the second-best corner available behind Okudah.

18. Miami Dolphins (from Pittsburgh): Josh Jones, OT, Houston
The Dolphins added starting-caliber interior linemen Ereck Flowers and Ted Karras in free agency, but they’re still weak at tackle. Enter Jones, a four-year collegiate starter who excelled in pass protection.

19. Las Vegas Raiders (from Chicago): Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
There’s a reason everyone expected the Raiders to make a play for Tom Brady this offseason. It’s clear Jon Gruden isn’t sold on Derek Carr as his long-term answer at QB. Love, who has a high ceiling but a low floor, can either develop behind or compete with Carr and newcomer Marcus Mariota this season.

20. Jacksonville Jaguars (from Rams): Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
Stefon’s little brother would fill another need for a Jags defense that no longer features Jalen Ramsey or A.J. Bouye.

21. Philadelphia Eagles: Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
Few prospects have seen a sharper rise in draft stock over these last few weeks than Mims. Here, the Eagles choose him over the likes of LSU’s Justin Jefferson and Clemson’s Tee Higgins.

22. Minnesota Vikings (from Buffalo): Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
The Vikings, who recently traded wideout Stefon Diggs to Buffalo, gladly grab Jefferson.

23. New England Patriots: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
There were many ways the Patriots could have gone with this pick. Wisconsin’s Zack Baun could be their Kyle Van Noy replacement on the edge. A.J. Epenesa is an intriguing D-end who played under Bill Belichick buddy Kirk Ferentz at Iowa. The top two safeties in this class, Alabama’s Xavier McKinney and Grant Delpit, both were still on the board, as offensive tackles Austin Jackson and Ezra Cleveland, defensive tackle Ross Blacklock, edge rusher Yetur Gross-Matos and a bunch of quality wideouts. But we opted for Murray, an athletic, playmaking linebacker who would fill an immediate need and could eventually succeed Dont’a Hightower.

24. New Orleans Saints: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
Back-to-back ‘backers, as New Orleans nabs the smaller (229 pounds to Murray’s 241) Queen.

25. Minnesota Vikings: A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson
With Mackensie Alexander (free agency), Trae Waynes (free agency) and Xavier Rhodes (cut) all leaving Minnesota this offseason, the Vikings are running low on cornerbacks. LSU’s Kristan Fulton is another option here.

26. Miami Dolphins (from Houston): Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
McKinney would be a great fit in Brian Flores’ defense, which currently is light at the safety position.

27. Seattle Seahawks: Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State
Seattle needs pass-rushing help, especially if Jadeveon Clowney doesn’t re-sign. Gross-Matos still is developing, but he has the talent to contribute right away.

28. Baltimore Ravens: Zack Baun, LB/EDGE, Wisconsin
With Murray and Queen off the board, the linebacker-needy Ravens snag Baun, who primarily played on the edge in college but can play off the ball, as well.

29. Tennessee Titans: Austin Jackson, OT, USC
The Titans have a question mark at right tackle following Jack Conklin’s departure, so Jackson and Cleveland both would be candidates here. We went with the former.

30. Green Bay Packers: Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado
Green Bay’s receiving corps lacks depth behind star Davante Adams. Shenault is a versatile player who also saw snaps as a direct-snap running back in college.

31. San Francisco 49ers: Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
With Emmanuel Sanders now in New Orleans, the Niners nab another young wideout to pair with 2019 second-rounder Deebo Samuel.

32. Kansas City Chiefs: Kristan Fulton, CB, LSU
From national champ to the Super Bowl champs. Fulton fills an obvious need for KC.

More Patriots: Ranking Bill Belichick’s Best (And Worst) New England Drafts

Thumbnail photo via Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports Images

Picked For You