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We’re more than a week into the NFL free-agency period, and teams have started to better shape their rosters for the 2020 season.
For some, that meant making a big splash. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts signed new veteran quarterbacks, adding Tom Brady and Philip Rivers, respectively. Others made smaller, lower-risk moves to help fill some holes on their roster, while some have taken a flier on less-proven players.
Now that free agents are starting to come off the board, it’s a bit easier to project the opening round of the 2020 NFL draft. It’s clear what many teams’ biggest needs still are and what positions should be targeted from the pool of incoming college players.
Here’s an updated look at how the first round of this year’s NFL draft should unfold.
2020 NFL Mock Draft, 1st Round
1. Cincinnati: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
2. Washington: Chase Young, DE, Ohio State
3. Detroit: Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
4. N.Y. Giants: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
5. Miami: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
6. L.A. Chargers: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
7. Carolina: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
8. Arizona: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
9. Jacksonville: CJ Henderson, CB, Florida
10. Cleveland: Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama
11. N.Y. Jets: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
12. Las Vegas: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
13. San Francisco (via Indianapolis): CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
14. Tampa Bay: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
15. Denver: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
16. Atlanta: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
17. Dallas: K’Lavon Chaisson, OLB, LSU
18. Miami (via Pittsburgh): Josh Jones, OT, Houston
19. Las Vegas (via Chicago): Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
20. Jacksonville (via L.A. Rams): Antoine Winfield Jr., S/CB, Minnesota
21. Philadelphia: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
22. Minnesota (via Buffalo): Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
23. New England: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
24. New Orleans: A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa
25. Minnesota: Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State
26. Miami (via Houston): D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
27. Seattle: Curtis Weaver, DE, Boise State
28. Baltimore: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
29. Tennessee: Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise State
30. Green Bay: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
31. San Francisco: Raekwon Davis, DT, Alabama
32. Kansas City: Cesar Ruiz, C/G, Michigan
49ers Reap Benefits from Trade
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It’s never easy to part with an All-Pro player, especially one the caliber of defensive tackle DeForest Buckner. But that’s what the 49ers did in mid-March when they traded him to the Colts in exchange for the No. 13 overall pick.
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That gives San Francisco a pair of first-round selections, which should allow it to fill the hole left by Buckner’s absence while also bolstering its offense by giving quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo another weapon to utilize.
At No. 13, the 49ers should do the latter, as they can select Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, who should join Deebo Samuel to create an explosive receiving tandem. Last season, San Francisco was a run-first offense, but the addition of Lamb could help it become more balanced.
Then, the 49ers should select Alabama defensive tackle Raekwon Davis with the No. 31 pick. At 6’7″ and 312 pounds, Davis will be an imposing force in the middle of San Francisco’s defensive line.
Dolphins Overhaul Offense with Trio of Picks
Miami is the only team that owns three first-round selections in this year’s draft. And with those picks, it has the opportunity to overhaul an offense that could greatly use it.
First, the Dolphins should draft their quarterback of the future in Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa. It’s likely that he’ll be available at their first selection at No. 5, but if they’re worried about the Redskins possibly snagging him, then they could trade up to No. 2. Either way, Tagovailoa should be heading to Miami.
At No. 19, the Dolphins can bolster their offensive line with the selection of Houston offensive tackle Josh Jones. They’ll need better protection up front for Tagovailoa, and Jones is a reliable option after he had 45 starts at left tackle for the Cougars.
Miami will then become the first team to select a running back in this year’s draft, as it should add Georgia’s D’Andre Swift at No. 26. Last year, veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was the Dolphins’ leading rusher, so they could greatly use a boost to their running game heading into 2020.
Patriots Add QB as Potential Brady Replacement
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Although the Patriots drafted Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham in the fourth round of last year’s draft, it’s not a sure thing that he’ll be their QB of the future. Brian Hoyer and Cody Kessler certainly won’t be, and they’re the only other quarterbacks on New England’s roster after Tom Brady signed with Tampa Bay.
That’s why the Pats should select Utah State quarterback Jordan Love with the No. 23 pick to potentially lead their offense into the post-Brady era.
Love had a great career for the Aggies, passing for at least 3,402 yards and 20 touchdowns each of the last two seasons. He’s deserving of being the fourth and final quarterback selected in the opening round of this year’s draft, and he has the potential to keep getting better in the NFL.
Plus, with both Love and Stidham on their roster, the Patriots will have a backup option in case the quarterback they start doesn’t work out. So it’s a move New England should make to ensure that it fields the best possible offense moving into the future.
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