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Free Agency Frenzy 3-Round Mock Draft
Published at 3/22/2020 7:39:39 PM
We hit the ground running in a wild and crazy free agency that saw an end to an era for one team, an extremely bizarre trade and other notable signings. I'm going to try and do my best with a three-round mock knowing it could be quite awful, so don't be too hard on me if it's not too good. Especially the third round! With the compensatory picks, I added those after the 96th pick. They could have been traded any time until when the 96th pick was being made. After pick 96 was made, the teams with those picks were stuck with them so things wouldn't get to screwy writing in the last box.
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Barring an unexpected announcement of Joe Burrow saying he'd refuse to play for the Bengals, this is one pick that will very likely stay the same throughout any mock draft I post. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner had perhaps the best season ever for a college QB, leading LSU to the national championship. Burrow has great leadership traits, poise, accuracy, solid mobility and enough arm strength to make all the necessary NFL throws. Finally, there's some hope in Cincinnati. It's as much hope as they've had since the early Carson Palmer days.
Options are plentiful for the Redskins with the second pick. They could surprise and take Tua Tagovailoa, trade down with a team that wants Tua or Chase Young or do what everybody expects and select Young. In this mock, they go for the third door. Young is the best pass rusher in this class by a mile. The Bosa brothers both had double digit sack totals as rookies. That's the kind of impact Young could also have in his first NFL season.
Dolphins get: Pick 3
Lions get: Picks 5 and 39 (2nd round)
Could Miami just stay at 5 and hope Tua falls to them or be happy with Oregon's Justin Herbert if he doesn't? Both are possible, but I still think the Phins want Tua and will ensure they get their man with a trade up. Tagovailoa's rehab has gone extremely well up to this point. Miami wanted to meet with Tua face-to-face before the coronavirus cancelled all traveling to meet with prospects, so that should tell you their interest in him is still at a very high level. If the Alabama product can hold up, he's an accurate QB with solid arm strength and great mobility. Miami has been looking for their next franchise QB since the retirement of Dan Marino and may finally have it here.
Chargers get: Picks 4 and 150 (5th round)
Giants get: Picks 6 and 71 (3rd round)
Life post-Philip Rivers will be interesting for the Chargers. He's been their QB since 2004, so it'll be very strange seeing him not under center for them. Tyrod Taylor could serve as a fine bridge option, but he's probably not the long-term answer. Justin Herbert has the potential to be that guy. He's got all the talent in the world, but was not always consistently great for Oregon. It could be a good thing to let him sit behind Taylor for a year before taking over the starting job in 2021.
Out is Darius Slay, in is Desmond Trufant. That essentially leaves them in the same position they were in before, still needing more help at cornerback. Ohio State has become DB U lately putting out the likes of Marshon Lattimore, Malik Hooker, Denzel Ward and many others. Jeff Okudah is next in line, and he's got the chance to be the best of the bunch.
2020 is the year to have a high draft pick and be in need of an offensive tackle. The only real question is which one do you choose? Prior to the combine, a lot of teams may have been looking at Tristan Wirfs as more of a guard. While he could do that for a team, he also showed he should be able to stay outside at tackle and excel there as he impressed in just about every way imaginable at the combine. Saquon Barkley should love having Wirfs opening up running lanes for him while Daniel Jones will appreciate the much improved protection in front of him.
Versatile hybrid players have become such a plus for NFL teams to have on their roster. No player exemplifies that better in this draft than Clemson's Isaiah Simmons, who would represent both a best player available selection and a new face of the franchise selection as well. A reporter asked Simmons what position he should play in the NFL, and he just said he plays defense. That makes sense since a common comparison for him has been a bigger version of Chargers safety Derwin James. Following the retirement of Luke Kuechly, new coach Matt Rhule will build his defense around Isaiah Simmons, who will quickly become the leader and heartbeat of the defense.
L1C4 stands for 'Louisville #1, Cardinals Forever.' Cardinals Forever can continue to remain a part of life for Mekhi Becton in this mock draft, as he travels from Louisville's Cards to the ones in Glendale, Arizona to protect new franchise QB Kyler Murray. He would be the other bookend tackle in Arizona, joining the recently re-signed D.J. Humphries. Becton could be eased in at right tackle, but the 360 pound offensive tackle moves extremely well for such a large man. He could eventually become that left tackle of the future. Arizona could also go for Kyler Murray's old college teammate, wide receiver CeeDee Lamb if they want to keep adding to their now dramatically improved receiving core after stunning the world with that DeAndre Hopkins trade.
Buccaneers get: Picks 9 and 207 (6th round via Seahawks/Jaguars)
Jaguars get: Picks 14, 76 (3rd round), 139 (4th round) and 195 (6th round)
'All in' is where the Buccaneers have gone after they shocked the NFL world in their own way by convincing Tom Brady to come on board. They were desperate to land Brady and got their guy. Tampa could choose to pursue a veteran option at right tackle, but if they are unable to get one, Jedrick Wills would be an excellent option in the draft. It may seem nuts to trade up for a right tackle, but Wills has the pedigree and experience at the spot being Tua Tagovailoa's blindside protector the last two years (remember, Tua is a lefty). As great as Brady is, one thing he doesn't have is a lot of mobility. Especially not entering his age 43 season. He's always thrived with having an outstanding offensive line in front of him, so the Bucs will need to make sure to have the strongest O-Line possible headed into the season even if it comes at a steep trade up price like this.
Nobody in the Cleveland Browns organization was expecting such a massively disappointing 2019 season, but one bright side to that is they are in a position to land the last of the four elite offensive tackles in this draft class. Andrew Thomas is the last man standing of the bunch, and similar to Jedrick Wills having the pedigree and experience of a right tackle, Thomas has exactly that as a left tackle. Baker Mayfield will love having him and newly signed Jack Conklin as his offensive tackles in 2020.
Apparently George Fant is going to be the new left tackle for the Jets, so maybe it's a good thing all the elite prospects went off the board in front of them? Or at least a consolation, anyway. Instead of going for a right tackle, the Jets can get Sam Darnold a new #1 receiver to throw to. It's pretty close as to who the top receiver prospect in this class is, but you can't really go too far wrong with either Jerry Jeudy or CeeDee Lamb. Where Lamb comes out ahead of Jeudy is when it comes to securing the catch and adjusting to the ball in the air. He put that on full display at the combine in Indianapolis.
Mike Mayock is not in his first draft as Raiders GM, but he is in his first draft as a GM of a Las Vegas based team. Also in need of a true #1 receiver, the Jets may have made his choice easy. Where Jerry Jeudy shines is with his route running. He's the best pure route runner in the class and showed that while he doesn't have the blazing speed former college teammate Henry Ruggs possesses, he's plenty fast enough for the NFL game. He just needs to eliminate some dropped passes in his game.
Shipping off DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts put a huge hole in the 49ers defense, but did land them this selection that they could use to draft his replacement. Javon Kinlaw scores a minor upset here, going off the board before Derrick Brown. The former South Carolina Gamecock has excellent size, quickness, strength and athletic ability. He could be a monster in the NFL and showed off flashes of that at South Carolina and then at the Senior Bowl where he dominated in practice. There are a few minor character concerns with Kinlaw, but it's not thought to be anything that will hurt his draft stock.
Slide ends for Derrick Brown here at 14 as the Jacksonville Jaguars write his name on their card for this mock draft. There is talk the former Auburn Tiger could go as high as the top 5, so this is tremendous value for the Jags. They would have potentially taken him with the 9th pick, so they have to be very pleased to be able to move back, score two extra draft picks and still be able to snag him five picks later.
2018 saw the addition of new #1 receiver Courtland Sutton while 2019 saw tight end Noah Fant as well as potential QB of the future in Drew Lock enter the fold for the Denver Broncos. Choosing to add another weapon to Drew Lock's arsenal, Denver goes for the fastest man in the draft in Henry Ruggs. The 4.27 speed will certainly play, and will serve as an excellent compliment to the tall, sure-handed Sutton.
Grabbing Dante Fowler in free agency was a strong move for the Falcons, and gives them more options with this selection. They did lose Desmond Trufant, though, and that's not a good thing in the NFC South with Drew Brees and the Saints offense as well as Tom Brady and the Buccaneers offense. That's why I have Atlanta going for Florida corner C.J. Henderson, who seems to have solidified his status as the second best corner in the draft class. Going against Michael Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin is tough work. Henderson can't do it all, but he can certainly be a big help.