News & Analysis

PFF 2020 NFL Mock Draft: Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa go Nos. 1 and 2

With every team having at least eight games in the books, it’s mock draft time again. This is a PFF GM Mock. This isn’t necessarily what we think will happen, but rather if we were given the keys to every franchise in the NFL, how we would draft. That means you’ll see a lot of value position (QB, OT, Edge, CB) and not a lot of RBs.

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1. Cincinnati Bengals – QB Joe Burrow, LSU

His rise to the top of the PFF draft board has been meteoric, but it didn’t necessarily come out of nowhere. The fact that Burrow had four games graded at 89.0 or higher last season means we saw flashes of this guy before becoming the highest graded draft-eligible quarterback this season.

2. Washington Redskins – QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama

With Dwayne Haskins getting an extended look now, it’s very possible the Redskins choose to go the same route as the Cardinals and re-up at quarterback if they feel a better prospect is available. Tagovailoa has been largely status quo this season, as he’s only needed to make seven big-time throws to put up a gaudy 144.1 passer rating.

3. New York Jets – Edge Chase Young, Ohio State

He will be the first non-quarterback selected in next April’s draft barring injury. Young is on pace to shatter PFF’s pass-rush grading record, as his 97.1 mark is currently well beyond Josh Allen’s 94.4 last year.

4. Miami Dolphins – WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama

Just because it’s a loaded draft class at receiver doesn’t mean you should pass on Jeudy at the top of the draft to pick one up later. The Alabama wideout is a special prospect in pretty much every aspect of the position and already has 12 broken tackles on 52 catches this year.

5. Atlanta Falcons – CB Jeffrey Okudah, Ohio State

Throwing at Okudah throughout his career has not been beneficial for opposing quarterbacks. On 688 career coverage snaps, he’s allowed a completion percentage of 44.1 and a passer rating of 56.1.

6. New York Giants – WR Ceedee Lamb, Oklahoma

Lamb has proven this season that he can still produce even with opposing defenses keying on him every snap. He’s averaging a ridiculous 22.7 yards per catch this season and already has 14 broken tackles on 36 receptions.

7. Cleveland Browns – LT Andrew Thomas, Georgia

What Thomas is doing as a true junior is special. He’s fresh off shutting down one of the best edge tandems in the country in Florida's Jonathan Greenard and Jabari Zuniga. His 92.6 overall grade is the highest of any draft-eligible Power-5 tackle.

8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – CB Kristian Fulton, LSU

Fulton was hampered by an ankle injury early in the season, but he’s been impenetrable lately. Over his last six games, Fulton has broken up six passes, picked off another and allowed only 15-of-32 targets for 167 yards.

9. Denver Broncos – LB Isaiah Simmons, Clemson

Is he a safety? Is he a linebacker? If there’s anyone that will deploy him correctly, it’s Broncos head coach Vic Fangio. Simmons' diverse skillset has seen him line up everywhere on defense except maybe nose tackle and outside cornerback and will translate in the modern NFL.

10. Oakland Raiders (via Chicago Bears) – Edge A.J. Epenesa, Iowa

Epenesa has underwhelmed in a full-time role, but at 6-foot-5, 277 pounds with freakish power, we’ll bank on the high-end we’ve seen already. His 90.4 pass-rushing grade in 2018 is one of the highest we’ve ever seen from a true sophomore.

11. Arizona Cardinals – LT Alex Leatherwood, Alabama

One of the biggest movers on the PFF board this year, Leatherwood is smooth as can be at left tackle. He’s allowed only five pressures on 268 pass-blocking snaps after he surrendered 21 last year at right guard.

12. Detroit Lions – S Grant Delpit, LSU

With each passing missed tackle, we start to worry about Delpit a little more. He now has 13 misses this season on 54 attempts. That’s bad. On the other hand, he’s only allowed 5-of-9 targets for 68 yards all year. That’s good. The latter carries more weight, but the former is a massive concern.

13. Jacksonville Jaguars – CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama

You want a press corner to replace Jalen Ramsey, this is your guy. Diggs looks like he should be on a basketball court — not a football field — with how ridiculously long and athletic he is. That length has led to three picks and five pass breakups this season.

14. Los Angeles Chargers – OT Tristan Wirfs, Iowa

Wirfs anchor is absurd for a true junior. He’s been nearly impervious to the bull-rush all season. He’s only allowed six pressures on 304 pass-blocking snaps this season and has gotten markedly better from a grading perspective every year of his career.

15. Tennessee Titans – Edge Curtis Weaver, Boise State

Weaver has been near-unblockable for Boise State this season. Every single Mountain West opponent game plans for him, and he still has the second-highest pass-rushing grade in the country (93.1).

16. Oakland Raiders – WR Laviska Shenault, Colorado

The Raiders still need weapons — and that’s Shenault. He’s broken 40 tackles on 124 catches the past year and a half. He’s a better deep threat than the numbers show as well, but the Colorado offense simply hasn’t used him in that role.

17. Miami Dolphins (via Pittsburgh Steelers) – QB Justin Herbert, Oregon

Herbert has quietly come on strong over his last four outings. He has the highest grade of any Power-5 quarterback in the country over that span, with 10 big-time throws and one turnover-worthy play.

18. Philadelphia Eagles – CB C.J. Henderson, Florida

Henderson has gotten burned a few times down the field this year, but some of it can be chalked up to bad luck. He completely ran the wrong coverage against Auburn, got picked on a wheel route against LSU, and lost at the catch point on a deep ball against South Carolina. That’s 141 of his 258 yards allowed right there. Henderson is still allowing under 50% of his targets to be completed and is a fantastic athlete.

19. Carolina Panthers – DT Derrick Brown, Auburn

Maybe it’s low, but Brown simply hasn’t affected the passing game enough over his career to warrant high selection. He’s had only one game with a pass-rushing grade over 80.0 this season (Florida).

20. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Los Angeles Rams) – WR Jalen Reagor, TCU

Reagor has once again had about as many yards left on the field by his quarterbacks as any wideout in the country. He’s come on strong after a slow start, though, with 348 yards and hauling in 7-of-9 contested catches in his last four games.

21. Dallas Cowboys – S Ashtyn Davis, California

The rangy free safety would be a sight for sore eyes in Dallas. He’s picked off five passes and broken up seven others over the last year and a half.

22. Indianapolis Colts – WR Tee Higgins, Clemson

Higgins’ 32 catches for 662 yards may not look all that impressive, but they’ve come on only 173 pass routes. That means his 3.83 yards per route is actually the second-best figure in the nation. He’s also gone 6-of-9 on contested catches this season and had 25 of his 32 catches result in first downs.

23. Minnesota Vikings – DT Marvin Wilson, FSU

Wilson started off the season like a house on fire, but has quieted down as of late. Over his last five games, Wilson has managed only six pressures. He’s still only a junior in a defensive tackle class that is loaded with seniors at the top and has a 91.0 pass-rushing grade for the season.

24. Kansas City Chiefs – CB Bryce Hall, Virginia

After 18 pass breakups in 2018, Hall returned for his senior year and managed all of one pass breakup in six games before an ankle injury ended his season. Still, he was giving up yards at a far lower rate this season, with only 119 allowed on the year.

25. Miami Dolphins (via Houston Texans) – LT Josh Jones, Houston

One of the biggest risers with his play this season. Jones is currently the highest graded draft-eligible offensive lineman. He’s been a four-year starter for Houston and earned pass-blocking grades over 80.0 for three straight seasons.

26. Buffalo Bills – WR Henry Ruggs, Alabama

Targeting Ruggs this season has been like gangbusters for Alabama quarterbacks. They’ve gone 26-of-32 for 513 yards, six touchdowns, zero interceptions and a perfect 158.3 passer rating when throwing Ruggs’ way. Of course, Ruggs has done his part, averaging a ridiculous 12.0 yards after the catch.

27. Green Bay Packers – WR Tyler Johnson, Minnesota

Johnson hasn’t quite been able to replicate his monster junior campaign, as sophomore Rashod Bateman has eaten into his targets, but he’s still extremely effective. On a per-target basis, he’s been even better than 2018. Targeting him has netted a passer rating of 145.5 this season, even though his drops have still reared their head (5 on 49 catchable).

28. Seattle Seahawks – RT Jedrick Wills, Alabama

Wills has taken one of the biggest grading leaps we’ve ever seen at the tackle position in our six years of grading college players. He went from 68.7 overall in 2018 to 90.3 so far this year. He’s arguably the top run-blocker in the entire class.

29. Baltimore Ravens – Edge Julian Okwara, Notre Dame

Okwara’s game-to-game consistency has been a tad disappointing this season, with four games of two or fewer pressures. Some of that stems from Notre Dame not having big leads as often as Okwara excels when he can pin his ears back.

30. New Orleans Saints – CB Cameron Dantzler, Mississippi State

Dantzler is playing his way up draft boards by showing a more diverse skillset this year. On 88 targets in his career, Dantzler has allowed only 35 catches (39.8 completion percentage) for 477 yards (5.4 yards per target) with one touchdown and five interceptions. That’s good enough for a passer rating of 37.9.

31. New England Patriots – DT Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina

Length, versatility, and run-stopping ability — all musts for the Patriots scheme and all possessed by Kinlaw. Oh, and he can also rush the passer, as evidenced by his 29 pressures and 90.4 pass-rushing grade this season.

32. San Francisco 49ers – LT Samuel Cosmi, Texas

This might be the last hurray for 35-year-old Joe Staley. While Justin Skule has filled in admirably for Staley, he’s still only earned a 52.1 pass-blocking grade on the season. Cosmi is more than athletic enough for the 49ers' run scheme and has earned pass-blocking grades over 80.0 in both of his seasons as a starter.

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