With the midseason update to PFF's 2020 NFL Draft Guide available now, it’s time to dive into the crystal ball to predict what will happen next April. This is what I believe will happen and not what we at PFF would do. Fit should be obvious in most cases and will be discussed if not.
1. Cincinnati Bengals: QB Joe Burrow, LSU
Burrow has sustained elite play every game for half a season. He’s torched one of the best secondaries in college football. He’s got a stronger arm and quicker release that Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa. We’ve never seen a quarterback with a higher passing grade through the first seven weeks of the season. He may not be at the top of boards right now, but he’s shooting his way up there.
2. Miami Dolphins: Edge Chase Young, Ohio State
I firmly believe the Dolphins didn’t gut their roster completely to get a consolation prize at QB. If they don’t have their guy at number one overall, they’ll go best player available. With the highest pass-rushing grade we’ve ever seen from a defensive lineman, Young certainly qualifies as that.
3. Washington Redskins: CB Jeffrey Okudah, Ohio State
Back-to-back Buckeyes, as Young and Okudah are the two highest defensive players on our board. Okudah has only given up a passer rating of 58.4 in his coverage for his career. He has all the length and athleticism to be a shut-down man corner in the NFL.
4. Atlanta Falcons: Edge AJ Epenesa, Iowa
Epenesa’s 2019 hasn’t been the dominance that we’ve seen from Chase Young, but the tools didn’t all of a sudden go away. His 26 pressures are only the 18th-most among edge defenders in the country this season.
5. New York Jets: OL Andrew Thomas, Georgia
Thomas has taken his game to another level in 2019. Whether it was pitching a shutout in pass protection against a talented Notre Dame edge group or his 91.2 run-blocking grade that’s the third-highest in the country, the junior looks like a special prospect.
6. Jacksonville Jaguars: WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama
The Jags would have to be running to the podium if Jeudy is still on the board at this point. He’s as special a WR prospect as we’ve seen since we started grading in 2014. Jeudy has broken 27 tackles on 110 catches over the past year and a half.
7. Cleveland Browns: OL Alex Leatherwood, Alabama
Leatherwood gets the nod over Wirfs for the Browns because of his length and proven ability on the left side. He’s been dominating in his own right after switching from right guard. The Alabama left tackle has only allowed three pressures so far this season after yielding 21 a year ago.
8. Miami Dolphins (via Steelers): OL Tristan Wirfs, Iowa
Wirfs is a building block for the Dolphins OL with emphasis on the block. Wirfs has seen both his pass- and run-blocking grades improve every season of his career so far and is probably the strongest player in the country as only a true junior.
9. New York Giants: DI Derrick Brown, Auburn
Even with some talent already on the Giants interior, I can’t feasibly foresee Dave Gettleman passing on a player with Brown’s profile. The Auburn defensive tackle runs 6-foot-5, 318 pounds and is arguably the most powerful run defender to come out in recent memory. He’s taken his game to another level as a pass-rusher this season as well with an elite 90.0 pass-rush grade.
10. Los Angeles Chargers: QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
There’s a good chance the NFL won’t be as high on Tua as the general media. He also really hasn’t had to do much this season. Tagovailoa has only seven big-time throws on the year, which ranks 48th in the country. With the wheels falling off in LA, a top-10 pick might be time to look at Rivers replacement.
11. Tennessee Titans: S Grant Delpit, LSU
Delpit is built to play safety in the NFL today. Of his 356 snaps this season, 128 have come deep, 139 over the slot and 71 in the box. Him seamlessly filling all those roles and only allowing five catches so far this year is a fit for every defense in the league.
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: CB Kristian Fulton, LSU
Fulton has already given up more yards this season than he did in all of 2018, but over half of those came in the Texas game where he rolled his ankle in the first quarter. In all other games, he’s allowed 11-of-21 targets for only 110 yards and broken up three passes. He’s still one of the most complete corners in the draft, and the Bucs still need as much help as they can get at the position.
13. Denver Broncos: QB Justin Herbert, Oregon
You can’t tell me that John Elway would pass on Herbert if the Oregon quarterback fell in his lap. His arm talent is off the charts, but he’s come up noticeably small in a number of big games throughout his career. He’s earned only a 79.5 passing grade against Power 5 competition over the past two seasons.
14. Arizona Cardinals: WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma
They loaded up at the position in last year’s draft, but now the Cardinals need game-changers. With how deep the WR class is, talent should get pushed down boards much like last year. Arizona would be the beneficiary, as Lamb is a top-five player on our board. Body control, route running, ball skills, you name it, Lamb has it. His 4.39 yards per route ranks third in the country this year.
15. Dallas Cowboys: WR Laviska Shenault Jr., Colorado
Shenault is still more of an offensive weapon than pure wide receiver, but the Cowboys could use the former, as well. His 34 broken tackles after the catch since the start of last year are six more than any other Power 5 receiver in the draft class.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Rams): LB Isaiah Simmons, Clemson
With their newly minted first-round pick, the Jags get the defensive Megatron. Similar to Myles Jack coming out, Simmons toes the line between safety and linebacker. Also similar to Jack, Simmons is damn good. If Telvin Smith were to return, Simmons could even switch to safety full-time, as he’s taken 82 snaps as a deep safety already this year.
17. Detroit Lions: Edge Julian Okwara, Notre Dame
Okwara is the perfect blend of pocket-collapsing ability and coverage prowess for the Lions' defense. He’s one of the best bull-rushers in the country despite being only 240 pounds and has earned a 91.0 pass-rushing grade on the season so far.
18. Indianapolis Colts: DI Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina
The Colts love their length, and Kinlaw’s 6-foot-6 frame has plenty of that. He had the highest pass-rushing grade of any returning interior defensive lineman in 2018 and now has a 90.3 pass-rushing grade in 2019. Length plus production is a good thing.
19. Oakland Raiders (via Bears): WR Henry Ruggs, Alabama
The value of speed is at an all-time high in the NFL, and Ruggs has more of it than any other receiver in the class. He also has the ball skills and production. He’s dropped only four of 80 catchable passes in his career and hauled in 22 touchdowns so far.
20. Carolina Panthers: S Ashtyn Davis, California
With Tre Boston a one-year stopgap at the position, Davis would address safety more permanently. We’ve seen him make a ton of plays as a deep safety over the course of his career, and he picked off Justin Herbert in his last game while playing over the slot. He’s a former track star with absurd range on the back end.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: CB CJ Henderson, Florida
His junior season hasn’t quite gone as planned with some poor outings and an injury, but all the tools are still there. Henderson will blow up the combine by all indications and while he’s had bad reps, it’s not like he’s getting torched. He’s still only allowed nine catches in four games this year.
22. Oakland Raiders: DI Marvin Wilson, Florida State
Wilson doesn’t quite look the part the way Derrick Brown or Javon Kinlaw, but he’s outproduced both – and every other defensive tackle in the country – so far this season. After earning a 90.0 overall grade last season as a true sophomore, Wilson has been nearly unblockable this year with the highest pass-rushing grade of any interior defensive lineman in the country.
23. Baltimore Ravens: Edge Curtis Weaver, Boise State
Weaver is a very Ravens-y edge rusher with exceptional power in his hands and the versatility to kick inside. He’s earning another elite pass-rushing grade this season while playing even more snaps. Weaver’s 36 pressures so far are the second-most in the country.
24. Minnesota Vikings: QB Jake Fromm, Georgia
Kirk Cousins is the ultimate mercenary and will be heading into the last year of his deal in 2020. There’s no telling whether the Vikings will want him back or he’ll even want to come back to Minnesota. With how few picks in the 20s make a sizable impact to a roster, it would be prudent for Minnesota to address the position sooner than later. Fromm’s work from the pocket has been masterful for most of the season, and he’s seen his grade go from 60.6 on 3rd downs in 2018 to 87.4 this year.
25. Miami Dolphins (via Texans): Edge Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State
The Dolphins revamp their pass-rush with two freaky edge-rushers. Gross-Matos doesn’t have the refinement or raw power of Young, but he’s got length plus burst and now (finally) some production. He’s had at least three pressures in every single game this season after accomplishing that in only four games last year.
26. Buffalo Bills: RB D’Andre Swift, Georgia
Someone will, unfortunately, pull the trigger on a running back in all likelihood and with the Bills commitment to getting Josh Allen some receiving help, they are the lucky ones. Swift is comfortably the best receiver of the top group of running backs. He’s racked up 61 catches for his career (only three drops) with 18 broken tackles after the catch.
27. New Orleans Saints: WR Jalen Reagor, TCU
Ted Ginn Jr. will be 35 next season, and Reagor offers a rebooted version of Brees’ favorite deep threat. He’s had a down year but still separates downfield as well as anyone in the country. Reagor did unspeakable things to former Texas corner Kris Boyd in their matchup last season. With a better QB situation, Reagor’s name would be far more popular.
28. Seattle Seahawks: OL Jedrick Wills Jr., Alabama
Wills is one of the most explosive run blockers in the country, and I’m sure that will get Brian Schottenheimer excited. They didn’t even pick up Germain Ifedi’s fifth-year option and the former first-rounder has been making Seattle look smart for doing so this year. Wills’ six big-time blocks so far this season are the most of any tackle in the draft class.
29. Kansas City Chiefs: CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama
Diggs is a massive corner at 6-foot-2, 207 pounds who is tailor-made for press-man in the NFL. He still gets stacked more than we’d like vertically, but his ability to take receivers out of the progression at the line of scrimmage is impressive. Diggs has allowed a passer rating of 24.0 so far this season.
30. Green Bay Packers: WR Tee Higgins, Clemson
Anyone that watched Monday night’s game knows how badly the Packers need anyone that can get open outside of Davante Adams. Higgins' body control and ball skills are off the charts. He’s dropped only two of 85 catchable passes over the last year and a half. The Clemson receiver has made a living off back-shoulder throws from Trevor Lawrence and would almost certainly do the same with Aaron Rodgers.
31. San Francisco 49ers: OL Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin
The 49ers rely on an athletic offensive line to execute the offense Kyle Shanahan wants to run, and Biadasz might be the quickest center off the ball in the country. He’s got the size to kick to guard for San Francisco where his services would be needed. Biadasz has slipped a tad this year but was a top-five center in terms of PFF grade each of the past two seasons.
32. New England Patriots: DI Raekwon Davis, Alabama
This one goes against PFF’s board, but the Patriots board has never quite meshed with anybody else. Davis fits the profile New England likes of long run defenders. At 6-foot-6 with run-defense grades over 90.0 each of the last three seasons, Davis looks like a sure thing in that regard.