The 2019 season officially over and the 2020 NFL Draft is now fast approaching. With the NFL Combine, pro days and free agency still to come, lots can change in terms of draft needs and evaluations on players. As of now, here is how the first round of the draft should shake out. Note: These picks are what I would do, not what I think will happen.
Joe Burrow, QB, LSU: No-brainer pick. Joe Burrow just had one of the best seasons in college football history, if not the best. The Bengals need to enter a new era with Joe Burrow leading the way.
Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State: Chase Young is a Jadaveon Clowney/Myles Garrett level prospect who could turn the Washington defense into something truly scary.
Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State: The Lions need to add speed to their defense and Okudah is one of the best cornerbacks to come out of college in a few years. He would instantly upgrade their secondary.
Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia: The Giants should continue to build around Daniel Jones and put a stud tackle on their line to protect them. They will be spoiled for options in a rich draft class, but Thomas is a slam dunk pick.
Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama: With optimism about Tua Tagovailoa’s health, the Dolphins should absolutely take a chance on the Crimson Tide signal caller. Tagovailoa’s combination of poise and accuracy all over the field make him a great chance for Miami to find their next franchise guy.
Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon: With speculation about Philip Rivers’ future in LA, the Chargers could take a chance on a potential quarterback of the future in Justin Herbert. The Oregon senior has all the tools and with Tyrod Taylor in the fold, they wouldn’t need to rush him into starting.
Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson: With Luke Keuchly’s retirement, the Panthers have a Hall of Famer-sized hole on their defense. Simmons looks like generational, do-it-all linebacker who could be a serious playmaker on the Panther’s new look defense. 8
Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama: The Cardinals have their quarterback in Offensive Rookie of the Year Kyler Murray. Now they need to get him a true number one playmaker. Jerry Jeudy is a freakish receiver who can line up anywhere and make plays for the Cardinals up and coming offense.
Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn: While the Jaguars have quite a few talented players on their defensive line, no team can ever have enough. The Jaguars get a blue chip talent in in Brown who would pair with Josh Allen to give the Jaguars some serious juice up front.
10) Cleveland Browns
Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama: The Browns get one of the fastest risers in the last few weeks. Jedrick Wills could immediately step in and give the Browns a much needed bookend to their offensive line.
11) New York Jets
Tristian Wirfs, OT, Iowa: The Jets need to commit to protecting Sam Darnold. Wirfs is one of the highest upside players in the draft this year and could be a franchise tackle for New York.
12) Las Vegas Raiders
CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma: The Raiders need playmakers in their passing game and CeeDee Lamb is a great answer to that problem. Lamb can score from anywhere on the field and would be a huge boost to the Las Vegas passing game.
AJ Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa: While rumors swirl about the Colts targeting a quarterback, they instead add a high profile defensive prospect. The Colts defense has quite a few solid players but Epenesa could supercharge their pass rush.
Josh Jones, OT, Houston: The Bucs have questions at the quarterback position but with chances high that Jameis Winston returns, they instead continue to upgrade the offense around him. Josh Jones is an excellent offensive tackle who would keep whoever is quarterback for Tampa nice and clean.
15) Denver Broncos
Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU: The Broncos want to build a strong defense and with Chris Harris Jr. likely to leave in free agency, they will need a new top cornerback. Kristian Fulton was integral to LSU’s title run and Vic Fangio will happily add him to the secondary.
16) Atlanta Falcons
Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina: The Falcons defense has taken massive steps back since their Super Bowl run and they need to refurbish the whole unit. Kinlaw would be an extremely disruptive pairing with Grady Jarrett and hopefully bring the defense back to Dan Quinn’s liking.
17) Dallas Cowboys
Grant Delpit, S, LSU: The Cowboys have been upgrading their defense the last few years and they will want to continue adding young playmakers to the team. Grant Delpit is an extremely versatile defender who can cover deep, in the slot, and even play at linebacker. (I would hate if this happened.)
18) Miami Dolphins (From Pittsburgh Steelers)
Mekhi Becton, OL, Louisville: The Dolphins continue to rebuild their offense. Becton is a huge offensive lineman who could play guard or tackle for the Dolphins and help build a stable run and passing game.
19) Las Vegas Raiders (From Chicago Bears)
Jordan Love, QB, Utah State: Jon Gruden and the Raiders might be looking to groom a high upside quarterback for the future. Jordan Love has sky-high potential with a rocket arm, great build and good athleticism.
20) Jacksonville Jaguars (From Los Angeles Rams)
CJ Henderson, CB, Florida: The Jaguars need their Jalen Ramsey replacement and while Henderson is not on the same level as Ramsey coming out of FSU, he is an athletic cover cornerback who could immediately help Jacksonville out.
Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama: Okay, so obviously this is the dream scenario. Henry Ruggs is a stupid fast wide receiver who can turn any catch into a score. The Eagles desperately need explosiveness on their offense and Ruggs’ sub 4.3 speed could make Carson Wentz a very happy man.
22) Buffalo Bills
Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson: The Bills need a big “my ball” receiver to pair with John Brown and Cole Beasley. Higgins’ 6’4” frame will be a welcome addition to a young offense.
Jacob Eason, QB, Washington: There is little doubt that Tom Brady is entering the twilight of his career. Whether or not he is back in New England next year is up in the air, but it is certain that the team needs a young passer they can possibly develop into Brady’s heir.
Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama: The Saints could stand to add more youth to their secondary. Ironically drafting Stefon Diggs’ brother, the Saints could add an incredibly talented defender to their cornerback group.
Yegur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State: The Vikings get a great value pick with one of the best pass rushers in the draft.
26) Miami Dolphins (From Houston Texans)
Tyler Biadasz, C, Wisconsin: The Dolphins continue to upgrade their offense with a blue chip center prospect.
27) Seattle Seahawks
K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU: The Seahawks love taking chances on athletic defenders and Chaisson is a high reward player who would help out their pass rush.
28) Baltimore Ravens
Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado: The Ravens enter into next season with a chip on their shoulder after an early playoff exit despite an MVP season from Lamar Jackson. Arming the third year signal caller with another dangerous wide receiver will make Ravens offense even more difficult to defend.
29) Tennessee Titans
Julian Okwara, EDGE, Notre Dame: It will be interesting to see how the Titans build on their Cinderella Story 2019 season. Adding another athletic pass rusher to Mike Vrabel’s defense certainly won’t hurt.
Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU: The Packers need more weapons for Aaron Rodgers outside of Davante Adams and Aaron Jones. Jalen Reagor would add another dynamic option to the Green Bay offense.
Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU: The 49ers had an outstanding run game that catapulted them to a Super Bowl Berth. It’s scary to think they could make their passing game even deadlier. Justin Jefferson is a YAC threat who can dominate the intermediate parts of the field with George Kittle and make the Niners even harder to defend.
Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma: The Chiefs defense was an underrated unit in 2019 and was crucial in the playoffs. However adding a middle linebacker like Kenneth Murray would turn the unit from a solid group to a potentially dominant defense.