Tuesday, April 23, 2019

2020 NFL Mock Draft: Dolphins Tank for Tua

Yes, I know I have a problem. As we look forward to this week's 2019 NFL Draft, I'm posting an update to my 2020 NFL Mock Draft now.

Given that the draft is so far out, there are obviously many unknowns. For now, the draft order used in our 2020 NFL mock draft is the inverse of next year's Super Bowl odds.

More than anything, the goal of this mock is to highlight players that could hear their names called on Day 1 of the 2020 draft.

It should go without saying, but I'll say it anyways -- this mock will look a lot different in April 2020 than it looks now.

For now, here's how the first round of the 2020 NFL draft could play out:

1. Miami Dolphins (Draft History): Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama Crimson Tide

Expressing interest in Teddy Bridgewater and Tyrod Taylor, both of whom signed to be backup quarterbacks elsewhere, the Dolphins landed on Ryan Fitzpatrick to replace Ryan Tannehill as their current starter. Perhaps the Dolphins will target a quarterback in the 2019 NFL Draft, but reports suggest that they are looking ahead to 2020 and Miami is the early favorite for the first pick in next year's draft. In his first full season as a starter, Tagovailoa threw for 3,966 yards, 43 touchdowns and only six interceptions in a Heisman-runner up campaign.

2. Washington Redskins (Draft History): Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon Ducks

Washington traded for Case Keenum, but he's not the long-term answer and what, if anything, will the team get from Alex Smith after last year's gruesome leg injury? Many view Washington as the favorites for Josh Rosen, but they could find themselves in the quarterback market in 2020 if they fail to do so. Herbert has all of the physical tools -- prototypical size (6-6, 233), outstanding arm strength and plus mobility -- and intangibles to develop into a franchise quarterback.

3. Cincinnati Bengals (Draft History): Chase Young, DE, Ohio State Buckeyes

The Bengals ranked near the bottom of the league in sacks (34, 28th) in 2018. Not only did Young finish his sophomore season with 9.5 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss, but five of his sacks came in the final four games of the season. If the former five-star recruit out of DeMatha continues to build upon his current trajectory, he could be a top-five pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

4. New York Giants (Draft History): A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa Hawkeyes

With two first-round picks in 2019, it's possible that the Giants leave Thursday night with an edge rusher and Eli Manning's heir apparent (similar to how I've projected in my latest 2019 NFL Mock Draft). Assuming the Giants don't do what most expect the Cardinals to do, it's unlikely that the Giants will draft first-round quarterbacks in back-to-back years. That said, it wouldn't be out of the question to do with pass-rushers as no team can have too many of them. Epenesa had 10.5 sacks as a sophomore for the Hawkeyes last year.

5. Arizona Cardinals (Draft History): Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia Bulldogs

Perhaps everyone is wrong, but the consensus (2019 NFL Mock Draft Database) is that the Cardinals will take Kyler Murray with the first overall pick. One of the reasons that Josh Rosen struggled in his rookie season, however, were issues with the offensive line. Starting left tackle D.J. Humphries will be an unrestricted free agent after the 2019 season and Thomas can protect Murray's blind side for the next decade.

6. Buffalo Bills (Draft History): Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama Crimson Tide

Last year's winner of the Biletnikoff Award, Jeudy hauled in 68 catches for 1,315 yards and 14 touchdowns. The Bills began the (2019) free-agency period intent on putting pieces around their young quarterback, but Jeudy would immediately become the team's best pass-catcher (compared the pieces currently in place).

7. Detroit Lions (Draft History): C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida Gators

Starting corners Darius Slay and Jalen Tabor will enter the final years of their current contracts in 2020. With six interceptions over his first two seasons in college football, Henderson has the length and athleticism to turn into a shutdown corner for the Lions.

8. Oakland Raiders (Draft History): Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia Bulldogs

Oakland has five first-round picks -- three in 2019 and two in 2020 -- to address many of their team needs. One of those picks could be used for a long-term replacement for Derek Carr. Fromm will start for his third consecutive season for Georgia while former five-star recruits -- Jacob Eason and Justin Fields -- have transferred out. Through two seasons, the true junior has completed roughly 65 percent of his pass attempts at 9.0 yards per attempt and thrown 54 touchdowns to only 13 interceptions.

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Draft History): Grant Delpit, S, LSU Tigers

Delpit becomes the latest LSU defensive back (DBU) to hear his name called on Day 1 of the NFL Draft. A First Team AP All-American in 2018, Delpit is a ball-hawking safety that led the SEC with five interceptions to go along with five sacks, a forced fumble and fumble recovery.

10. Tennessee Titans (Draft History): Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn Tigers

Had Brown declared for the 2019 draft, he could have been a top-10 selection even in a draft with so many talented defensive linemen. It wouldn't be a surprise if he hears his name called within the top 10 picks of the 2020 draft.

11. New York Jets (Draft History): Walker Little, OT, Stanford Cardinal

No offensive lineman would be worth a top-three selection in the 2019 draft and the Jets will likely go defense if they don't trade back in this year's draft. Looking ahead to 2020, however, it would make a ton of sense to draft a franchise left tackle to protect their young franchise quarterback.

12. Denver Broncos (Draft History): Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado Buffaloes

Last year, the Broncos had success with a UDFA from Colorado (Phillip Lindsay). Perhaps next year, they stay local but with their first-rounder (Shenault).

The Broncos drafted Courtland Sutton in the second round of last year's draft, but Emmanuel Sanders is returning from a torn Achilles and will be a free agent after the 2019 season and Shenault has the ability to be a potential top-12 pick in 2020. The 6-foot-2 sophomore had 86 catches for 1,011 yards and six touchdowns in 2018.

13. Carolina Panthers (Draft History): Nick Coe, DE, Auburn Tigers

Julius Peppers retired this offseason and Mario Addison (turns 32 in September) will be an unrestricted free agent next offseason. No other Panther had more than 3.5 sacks last season. As a sophomore, Coe had seven sacks in nine games and could help fill a major need for the Panthers.

14. Jacksonville Jaguars (Draft History): Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin Badgers

The 2018 Doak Walker Award winner, Taylor rushed for 2,194 yards (7.1 YPC) and 16 touchdowns last season. Through two seasons, Taylor has a massive 606 carries and 4,171 rushing yards and 29 touchdowns. Taylor was credited with more than 1,300 yards after contact in both seasons (1,354 in 2017 and 1,307 in 2018).

Leonard Fournette has struggled with durability (11 missed games over two seasons) and has averaged a disappointing 3.7 yards per carry. Perhaps the franchise will look elsewhere for their workhorse back if it's more of the same in 2019.

15. Baltimore Ravens (Draft History): Najee Harris, RB, Alabama Crimson Tide

With Josh Jacobs and Damien Harris headed to the NFL, it's now time for Najee Harris to take over as Alabama's lead back. The Ravens cut Alex Collins this offseason and signed veteran running back Mark Ingram to a three-year deal, but Ingram turns 30 at the end of the year.

16. Seattle Seahawks (Draft History): Raekwon Davis, DL, Alabama Crimson Tide

Defensive tackle Jarran Reed is entering the final year of his contract and the Seahawks could draft another Alabama defensive lineman to either take his place or to add reinforcements along the defensive line. Deciding to return to school after a disappointing season compared to his All-SEC 2017 campaign, Davis should hear his name called on Day 1 with a bounce-back season this year.

> Continue to 2020 NFL Mock Draft: Picks 17-32

> Check out our 2019 NFL Mock Draft

> For more NFL mocks, check out our NFL Mock Draft Database

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