2020 NFL Mock Draft: B/R Staff Round 1 Picks
The big day is almost here.
On Thursday, the 85th NFL draft will get underway. In some respects, it will be unlike any draft that came before it—rather than being held in Las Vegas as originally planned, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the league to conduct the draft virtually, with Commissioner Roger Goodell announcing the picks from (and I kid you not) his basement.
However, in many ways this draft will follow the same script as last year and the year before that. There will be picks that are readily predictable, such as the Cincinnati Bengals taking LSU quarterback Joe Burrow first overall. There will be other selections that catch observers by surprise. And there will be plenty of wheeling and dealing between teams—half a dozen first-round picks have already changed hands, and the draft isn’t even here yet.
Another annual occurrence surrounding the NFL draft is mock drafts, where pundits offer up their takes on how the first round will play out. That’s just what we’ve done here, gathering Bleacher Report NFL analysts Gary Davenport, Brad Gagnon and Brent Sobleski to predict how the first day of the 2020 draft will look.
Tune in to our 2020 NFL Draft Show for live, in-depth analysis on what each pick means for your team, with hosts Adam Lefkoe, Matt Miller and Connor Rogers. No fluff, no B.S. Download the B/R app and watch starting Thursday, April 23, at 8 p.m. ET.
1. Cincinnati Bengals
The Picker: Brent Sobleski
The Pick: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
This is as simple as it gets. The Cincinnati Bengals are in position to jump-start their organization and enter a new era with a legitimate franchise quarterback leading the way.
Another organization couldn’t offer enough for Cincinnati to move off the pick because LSU’s Joe Burrow is that good.
Burrow is a no-brainer in an event that simply doesn’t have sure things. He shattered the FBS record last season with 60 passing touchdowns and a 202 passer rating. More importantly, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner displayed translatable traits with unparalleled pocket presence, anticipation and ball placement.
Andy Dalton helped elevate the Bengals from a doormat to a consistently competitive squad. Burrow has the potential to make the team into so much more.
2. Washington Redskins
The Picker: Gary Davenport
The Pick: Chase Young, Edge, Ohio State
This is the most obvious second overall pick in a long time. Sure, it’s possible that a team will call Washington looking to move up for a quarterback (that might be foreshadowing), but it would take a massive haul for it to make sense for the Redskins to move off this pick.
Chase Young is just that good a prospect.
I have watched every collegiate snap of both Bosa brothers and Young. Joey was a master technician, even in college. Nick has the same pedigree but even more athleticism. But Young’s speed and bend off the edge can’t be taught. Either you can do it or you can’t, and very few edge-rushers can.
That Cincinnati needs a quarterback is a gift for Washington. The best football player in the draft is just plopping into its lap.
Add Young to a front seven that already includes Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne and Ryan Kerrigan, and Ron Rivera’s Redskins will have one of the best defensive fronts in the game.
3. Miami Dolphins (from Detroit Lions)
The Picker: Davenport
The Pick: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
The third overall pick is where the 2020 NFL draft really starts—or at least where the uncertainty does.
There’s a chance that the Miami Dolphins don’t have to do anything to get their pick of this year’s signal-callers not named Joe Burrow. But there’s also a non-zero chance that another team desperate for a franchise quarterback (looking at you, Chargers) will make a play to leapfrog the Dolphins.
However, the Dolphins also happen to have three first-round picks—more than enough ammo to move up and ensure that Miami gets the guy under center it wants.
In a vacuum, Justin Herbert wouldn’t be considered (much less picked) ahead of Tua Tagovailoa. He has prototypical size and a capable arm, but Herbert doesn’t have Tagovailoa’s accuracy or instincts for playing the position.
But this isn’t a vacuum. Tagovailoa’s injury history would have been a concern before he dislocated his hip. His higher ceiling comes with a much lower floor. And after trading up here, Chris Grier can’t afford the risk.