The NFL Combine, for as much hate as it gets, has value. Getting historical athletic profiles is a valuable exercise that can help identify outliers and risky prospects. No one is doomed to being a bust just because he ran a slower 40 than expected, but the draft is an exercise in risk assessment. Minimizing that risk should be paramount.
With that being said, here’s how I see things shaking out after all the performances in Indy.
[Editor's Note: This 2020 NFL Mock Draft is a prediction mock draft. This is NOT a mock draft that represents what PFF would do if we were GMs of all 32 NFL teams. This is what we think will happen, not what we would do.]
1. Cincinnati Bengals – QB Joe Burrow, LSU
Burrow put the speculation to rest. He wants to go No. 1 overall. The only question that remains is how they’re going to keep Burrow upright behind that line? We’ll answer that one in our three-round mock.
2. Washington Redskins – QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
Besides the obvious health asterisk here, let me explain:
• Dwayne Haskins was not Ron Rivera’s guy, and the former personnel executive who drafted Haskins — Bruce Allen — is now gone.
• Haskins earned a 66.6 passing grade as a rookie and 84.9 his lone year as the starter at Ohio State. The grades aren’t the end all be all, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a stat or favorable evaluation of Haskins’ rookie season.
3. Detroit Lions – Edge Chase Young, Ohio State
If the Lions are going to come away from the first round with only one pick, this is the absolute dream scenario. Last year’s starter, Romeo Okwara, had fewer pressures his final two seasons at Notre Dame combined (40) than Young had in each of the past two seasons (75 and 56). That sounds like quite the upgrade.
4. New York Giants – OT Mekhi Becton, Louisville
The Giants are committed to building through the trenches, and there’s no larger building block in the draft class… literally. The 6-foot-7, 364-pound Becton scooted his way to a 5.1 second 40-yard dash over the weekend. While he hasn’t been tested a ton in pass protection (73 true pass sets all year) and is raw as a prospect, Becton has rare physical tools to work with.
5. Miami Dolphins – QB Justin Herbert, Oregon
Miami doesn’t have to go QB if Tua is off the board at No. 2. That being said, Herbert has unsurprisingly aced the pre-draft process and admittedly offers a ton of clay to mold at the next level. An underrated aspect of his game is that he can legitimately add to any run game in the NFL — similar to what Josh Allen has done in Buffalo. Herbert ran a 4.68 40 in Indy and had excellent jumps (35.5-inch vertical and 10-foot-3 broad jump).
6. Los Angeles Chargers – LB Isaiah Simmons, Clemson
Yes, it’s a selfish pick on my end, but who doesn’t want to see Derwin James paired up with bigger Derwin James? Instead of modern offenses giving defensive coordinators nightmares, it’s about time someone flipped the script. Adding another movable chess piece that runs a sub-4.4 40 would do just that.
7. Carolina Panthers – CB Jeffrey Okudah, Ohio State
Okudah might not have blazed the fastest 40 (4.48), but he proved how freakish he is by leading all corners in vertical (41-inch) and broad jump (11-foot-3). He ticked all the boxes in Indy, and falling all the way to seven would make him one of the steals of the draft.
8. Arizona Cardinals – OT Tristan Wirfs, Iowa
The Cardinals can’t really go wrong here. All the top tackles proved to be excellent athletes — a must in Kliff Kingsbury’s scheme. Wirfs was on another level, though, as he posted the best vertical (36.5) and broad jump (10-foot-1) of any offensive lineman since 2003.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars – DT Derrick Brown, Auburn
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe Brown is as poor an athlete as he tested out at the Combine, where he put up the worst three-cone (8.22) of any defensive lineman in attendance. But there were concerns before Indy about whether he had enough juice to consistently affect the passing game, and those went unanswered with his testing. All that says is he may not be the can’t miss, top-five prospect some considered him to be before the draft.
10. Cleveland Browns – OT Jedrick Wills, Alabama
The Browns are another team in a position where it’s going to be difficult to screw this up. While drafting solely for need is a fool’s errand, need and value are going to align perfectly for a number of teams because of how top-heavy this tackle class is. Wills didn’t put up quite the freakish combine that Tristan Wirfs did, but a 5.05 40 and 34.5-inch vertical at 312 pounds is pretty darn impressive.
11. New York Jets – OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia
While offensive line and wide receiver are both massive needs, the concept of positional scarcity weighs heavy for the Jets here. The tackle who they could feasibly draft at 48 overall won’t be close to as talented as Thomas, while the receiver they can likely get there could do a serviceable impersonation of Jerry Jeudy/Ceedee Lamb. Thomas’ 4.66 short shuttle and 7.58 three-cone were excellent times for a man his size, while his 36 ⅛-inch arms don’t hurt, either.
12. Las Vegas Raiders – WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama
After an expected run on the top four offensive tackles in the draft, the Raiders are in an excellent spot to have one of the top two receivers in the draft slip to them. Jeudy’s times in Indy didn’t blow anybody away, but a 4.45 40 is plenty fast to be a consistent deep threat in the NFL.
13. Indianapolis Colts – WR Ceedee Lamb, Oklahoma
The Colts got to see firsthand what Ceedee would look like in Lucas Oil over the weekend, and the Oklahoma wideout didn’t disappoint. After some questioned how he’d test athletically, Lamb put up a 4.5 40 and was more than solid across the board. Lamb’s ability to win at the intermediate range would be massive if the rumors of Philip Rivers to Indy come true.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – DT Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina
Kinlaw didn’t test at the Combine, but he did check in at a massive 6-foot-5, 324 pounds with 34 ⅞-inch arms and 10 ½-inch hands. Those are big boy numbers for PFF’s second-ranked defensive tackle. Pairing Kinlaw with Vita Vea would give the Bucs easily the most physically imposing defensive interior in the NFL.
15. Denver Broncos – WR Henry Ruggs, Alabama
Speed is rumored to be the top priority for the Broncos in the draft, and nobody has more of it than Ruggs. It’s not just speed, though — Ruggs has explosion as well with a 42-inch vertical and 10-foot-11 broad jump. That’s the ideal complement to Courtland Sutton.
16. Atlanta Falcons – Edge K’Lavon Chaisson, LSU
We didn’t get to see K’Lavon Chaisson test at the Combine, but it’s not as if we needed it to know how athletic he is. The Falcons love athletes on defense, and while Vic Beasley may have burned them in that regard, they’ve had numerous other hits. It's difficult to see this Zebra changing its stripes.
17. Dallas Cowboys – CB Kristian Fulton, LSU
With a 4.46 40-yard dash and a sub-7 three-cone, Fulton put any concerns about his athleticism to rest at the Combine. While safety has been the popular fit for Dallas here, corner may offer more value with the impending departure of Byron Jones.
18. Miami Dolphins (via Steelers) – CB C.J. Henderson, Florida
Henderson has all the traits of a high-level man corner at 6-foot-1, 204 pounds with 31 ⅝-inch arms along with a 4.39 40. He goes to the third man-heaviest team in the NFL from a season ago. Henderson can be a building-block type alongside Xavien Howard at a valuable position.
19. Las Vegas Raiders (via Bears) – LB Patrick Queen, LSU
The Raiders can’t throw out Tahir Whitehead and Nicholas Morrow again at linebacker and expect to see a big turnaround defensively in 2020. With a 4.5 40, 35-inch vertical and 10-foot-5 broad jump, Queen proved to be one of the most explosive linebackers in the class.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Rams) – S Xavier McKinney, Alabama
McKinney’s greatness was never going to be captured in athletic testing. His 36-inch vertical and 10-foot-2 broad jump were solid if unspectacular figures for the position. On the field, though, McKinney is the do-it-all kind of safety the Jaguars have been missing.
21. Philadelphia Eagles – WR Jalen Reagor, TCU
Reagor’s 4.47 40 may have been a bit slower than expected, but his 42-inch vertical and 11-foot-6 broad jump show you just how much gas he has in the tank. I don’t need to tell you how badly the Eagles receiving corps needs someone to take the top off the defense.
22. Buffalo Bills – WR Justin Jefferson, LSU
Jefferson ticked every box in Indy with a 4.43 40, 37.5-inch vertical and 10-foot-6 broad jump. That’s a plus athlete for the position. Jefferson’s absurd 12-of-13 contested-catch conversions last season will pair nicely with Josh Allen.
23. New England Patriots – OT Josh Jones, Houston
With the Patriots set to lose Joe Thuney and possibly make Marcus Cannon a cap casualty, don’t be surprised to see them eschew the obvious receiver need to once again build up the offensive line. Jones is NFL-ready from a pass protection standpoint and proved so at the Senior Bowl when he won more than half his one-on-one reps.
24. New Orleans Saints – WR Laviska Shenault Jr., Colorado
Shenault’s 4.58 40 can go in the trash, as he pulled up lame during the run with a groin injury. His upcoming surgery along with his now-lengthy injury history will undoubtedly drop his stock come draft day. The Saints could be the beneficiaries, though, as Shenault has top-10 talent with the ball in his hands.
25. Minnesota Vikings – DT Marlon Davidson, Auburn
Davidson continues to bulk up into a three-tech this offseason. After being listed at 280 for Auburn last year, he came to the Senior Bowl at 297 and then checked in at 303 this past week at the Combine. The fact that he still ran a 5.04 40 at that weight should be considered a win. He should be a massive upgrade over Shamar Stephen, who collected only six pressures on 350 pass-rushes last season.
26. Miami Dolphins (via Texans) – Edge A.J. Epenesa, Iowa
Epenesa’s 5.04 40-yard dash is obviously ugly on its face, but he’s closer to a DeForest Buckner-type defensive end (5.05) in the way he wins than he is a Myles Garrett (4.64). Epenesa’s excellent hand usage and versatility make him a perfect fit for Brian Flores’ scheme.
27. Seattle Seahawks – CB A.J. Terrell, Clemson
Terrell has the length (31 ¼-inch arms) and speed (4.42 40) to excel at corner in the NFL but also possesses far smoother hips than most tall corners. After the way Tre Flowers was torched in the playoffs, Seattle can’t afford to pass on a deep corner class.
28. Baltimore Ravens – S Kyle Dugger, Lenoir-Rhyne
Dugger fits into the Ravens' positionless defense with his freakish athletic ability. His 4.49 40, 42-inch vertical and 11-foot-2 broad jump at 217 pounds are silly numbers. Not only is he explosive, but he plays with a recklessness you can’t teach. He’ll be a deadly weapon for the Ravens as a blitzer.
29. Tennessee Titans – OT Ezra Cleveland, Boise State
Athletes like Cleveland simply don’t last long in the draft. He’s not perfect in pass pro by any means, but he's had grades over 80.0 each of the past three seasons. With the best three-cone (7.26) and shuttle (4.46) of all the offensive linemen at the combine, Cleveland has elite movement skills to protect QBs in the NFL.
30. Green Bay Packers – WR Denzel Mims, Baylor
It’s difficult to see Mims escaping the first round after putting up the most complete Combine of any receiver in attendance. His 4.38 40, 38.5-inch vertical, 10-foot-11 broad and, especially, 6.66 three-cone were all scintillating numbers for a 6-foot-3, 207-pound wideout. That explosion and catch radius is something the Packers are sorely lacking.
31. San Francisco 49ers – S Grant Delpit, LSU
Delpit didn’t work out in Indy last week, and his biggest concern — tackling — isn’t something he can put to rest before the draft. The 49ers may lose Jimmie Ward this offseason and have loaded up on rangy coverage defenders over the middle of the field in recent years.
32. Kansas City Chiefs – LB Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma
The hamstring injury Murray suffered during his second 40 isn’t expected to be serious, which makes him pretty much a lock at this point to go Round 1. Linebackers at 241 pounds running 4.52 40s with 38-inch verticals and 10-foot-9 broad jumps don’t last long in the draft. He will be a sight for sore eyes for Chiefs fans who have seen Reggie Ragland (4.72 40, 31.5-inch vertical, 9-foot-8 broad) in the open field.