We are less than two weeks away from the NFL combine, but before we kickoff the “Underwear Olympics” in Indianapolis, here’s a reminder from your friendly neighborhood draft analyst: former Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young is the best prospect in this draft.
A quarterback will almost certainly be selected with the top overall pick. That quarterback will most likely be named Joe Burrow. In fact, quarterbacks will likely steal the headlines (as per usual) with the potential of five being selected in primetime opening night.
Regardless, Young remains the best prospect and wide receiver is the deepest position (I have five currently being selected in the first round). Still, quarterbacks will get the attention despite there not being five of them I’d consider worthy of a first-round selection.
Such is life in the NFL.
The NFL draft has become a nice appetizer before our main course in September. A mock version of said draft is meant to educate, and even entertain. At very least, it helps you pass the time.
The closer we get to draft day, the more I attempt to match what teams will actually do with their draft picks as opposed to what I believe they should do.
Last season, I was the fifth most accurate (out of 101) — most accurate in print — NFL draft prognosticator according to The Huddle Report. I’m 18th over the past five years.
Follow me on Twitter @UTEddieBrown so we can continue the conversation.
Here’s an updated version of my 2020 NFL mock draft, now through three rounds:
1. Cincinnati (2-14) — Joe Burrow, QB, LSU, Sr.
It’s probably best not to overthink this. Burrow just finished a silly statistical season, was an almost unanimous Heisman Trophy winner and led the Tigers to a national title. He’s very talented, but I don’t consider him on par with Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning or John Elway. He could miss if the Bengals don’t borrow liberally from LSU’s former passing game coordinator Joe Brady’s scheme. Top needs: QB, OL, LB
2. Washington (3-13) — Chase Young, Edge, Ohio St., Jr.
New head coach Ron Rivera and his defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio would be giddy to land the best player/pass rusher in this draft class (Young had 16.5 sacks this season and 30.5 sacks in three years at Columbus). The Redskins will add him to a young, talented defensive line unless a team pays a king’s ransom for the Buckeye or a quarterback. Top needs: OL, CB, LB
3. Detroit (3-12-1) — Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn, Sr.
It’s conceivable the Dolphins, Chargers, Panthers, Raiders or Colts could all target this selection in order to land a quarterback, assuming the Redskins don’t get cute and pass on Young. The SEC Defensive Player of the Year (and consensus All-American) is the most talented interior defensive lineman in this draft class and the most disruptive player the Lions have had an opportunity to draft since Ndamukong Suh. Top needs: DL, DB, WR
4. N.Y. Giants (4-12) — Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia, Jr.
Thomas is an investment in the futures of both Daniel Jones and Saquan Barkley. He’s a big, powerful, athletic lineman with springy footwork and quick hands who’s a dynamic closer in both the run and pass game. Top needs: OT, S, DL
5. Miami (5-11) — Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama, Jr.
Back-to-back seasons with an ankle injury and a dislocated hip will give us something to talk about until April (and the Bengals an excuse for passing on him). A healthy Tagovailoa compares favorably to Russell Wilson, but taller. He plans on participating in medical check-ups and interviews at the Combine in Indy. His three-month CT scan “was as positive possible.” Tagovailoa’s hip has healed, and his range of motion is good, according to the NFL Network. Top needs: QB, OL, Edge
6. L.A. Chargers (5-11) — Jordan Love, QB, Utah St., Jr.
Demand ALWAYS overrules supply when it comes to quarterbacks in the draft. It’ll be hard to pass on a signal-caller here with Philip Rivers finally in the rearview, unless they replace the potential Hall of Famer through free agency. Or will they Tank-for-Trevor by starting Tyrod Taylor next season? Regardless, Love’s arm talent and mobility is exactly what head coach Anthony Lynn wants in a quarterback. Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons or a top offensive tackle are in play here as well. Top needs: OL, QB, RB
7. Carolina (5-11) — Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio St., Jr.
Luke Kuechly’s retirement makes Simmons a target for the Panthers, but it’s hard to pass on Okudah here before we see how free agency plays out. Cornerbacks James Bradberry, Ross Cockrell and Javien Elliott are all free agents. The consensus All-American is an elite athlete who has proven proficient in man coverage and is only scratching the surface of his potential. Top needs: OL, DB, DL
8. Arizona (5-10-1) — Jedrick Wills, OL, Alabama, Jr.
Offensive tackles D.J. Humphries and Justin Murray are both free agents. Wills is a powerful upgrade who is versatile enough to play guard and has shown some serious growth this season. He only allowed one quarterback pressure in his last five games, according to Pro Football Focus. Top needs: OL, DL, DB
9. Jacksonville (6-10) — Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson, Jr.
The Jaguars will look to restock their once very talented defense this offseason. The only defensive position Simmon’s ill-equipped to play is nose tackle. He’s an athletic unicorn who can rush the passer, patrol sideline-to-sideline and make an impact in coverage. Top needs: DT, WR, LB
10. Cleveland (6-10) — Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa, Jr.
The Browns must upgrade their offensive line if Baker Mayfield has any hope in improving on a porous sophomore campaign in the pros. Wirfs is the best pass protector in this class, and talented enough to play multiple positions on the line. Top needs: OT, S, LB
11. N.Y. Jets (7-9) — Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama, Jr.
Elite prospects seem to fall in the Jets’ lap (See: Leonard Williams and Jamal Adams). Wide receiver Robby Anderson is facing free agency. Jeudy is an upgrade and the crown jewel of what is shaping up to be a special 2020 class of receivers. He’s the best prospect at the position in almost a decade. Top needs: OL, WR, Edge
12. Las Vegas (7-9) — Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon, Sr.
It’s been clear for a while head coach Jon Gruden and quarterback Derek Carr are not entirely on the same page. Herbert has all the physical attributes (prototypical size and elite arm talent) Gruden requires, but consistency has been his bane. Still, his performance during Senior Bowl week could catapult him into the top 10. Top needs: WR, LB, CB
13. Indianapolis (7-9) — Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina, Sr.
This interior wrecking-ball would take an up-and-coming defense to another level. Kinlaw has the potential to be a force against the pass and run at the next level. His draft stock will continue to rise after we see him perform at the combine. Top needs: DT, WR, Edge
14. Tampa Bay (7-9) — Mekhi Beckton, OT, Louisville, Jr.
The offensive line needs upgraded regardless if the Buccaneers retain Jameis Winston or pursue Philip Rivers in free agency. You can’t teach Beckton’s size (6-7, 369) and he’s surprisingly nimble, especially as a run blocker. Top needs: QB, OL, DL
15. Denver (7-9) — Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama, Jr.
Ruggs would be a perfect compliment to Courtland Sutton. He is pure electricity with the football in his hands. The speedster scored 25 total touchdowns on 100 touches in his Crimson Tide career. Top needs: OL, DB, DL
16. Atlanta (7-9) — Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU, Sr.
Starting cornerback Desmond Trufant missed seven games this season and GM Thomas Dimitroff has already discussed his affinity for the talented defensive backs in this draft class. Fulton is an elite athlete who was the top cornerback prospect coming out of high school in 2016. Top needs: Edge, OG, LB
17. Dallas (8-8) — Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama, Jr.
It’s well documented how the Cowboys have attempted to upgrade the safety position over the past couple of seasons, plus All-Pro cornerback Byron Jones will be one of the most sought after free agents in March. McKinney is an elite athlete with prototypical size (6-1, 200) who can play every position in the defensive backfield. Top needs: S, DL, TE
18. Miami from Pittsburgh (8-8) — A.J. Epenesa, Edge, Iowa, Jr.
The Dolphins were last in generating sacks last season with only 23. The AP All-American racked up 11.5 sacks and forced four fumbles despite facing persistent double-teams all season. Top needs: QB, OL, Edge
19. Las Vegas from Chicago (8-8) — Patrick Queen, LB, LSU, Jr.
The Raiders find a quarterback for their defense too. Queen is a three down, sideline-to-sideline terror with an elite football mind. Top needs: WR, LB, CB
20. Jacksonville from L.A. Rams (9-7) — Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama, Sr.
The Jaguars will seek a replacement for All-Pro Jalen Ramsey (Tre Herndon certainly isn’t). Diggs (Stefon’s little brother) is still raw, but he features prototypical size (6-foot-2, 205 pounds) and a physicality that burdens receivers. Top needs: DT, WR, LB
21. Philadelphia (9-7) — CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma, Jr.
The Eagles wide receiver corps is in shambles. The inconsistent Nelson Agholor faces free agency while DeSean Jackson isn’t getting any younger (or healthier). Lamb has elite hands and ball skills (he’s special with the ball in the air). He can also contribute as a blocker. Top needs: WR, DB, LB
22. Buffalo (10-6) — Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado, Jr.
An offense featuring Josh Allen, Devin Singletary and Shenault could get really creative. His size (6-foot-2, 225 pounds), speed (he could run a sub-4.4 40 at the combine) and nose for the end zone (he has 10 receiving and seven rushing touchdowns the past two seasons) could catapult him into the top-15 discussion. Top needs: WR, OG, LB
23. New England (12-4) — K’Lavon Chaisson, Edge, LSU, Soph.
Few teams replenish the talent in their front-seven like the Patriots. Chaisson features one of the highest upsides at any position in this draft class. He’s a natural speed rusher who is capable of dropping into coverage and can be an asset in defending the run. The one knock is his durability. Top needs: TE, OG, LB
24. New Orleans (13-3) — Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson, Jr.
Michael Thomas is in desperate need of a sidekick. Higgins is a big-play machine with elite size (6-foot-4, 200 pounds) and speed. He has an “above the rim” mentality as a former basketball player and would be a steal this low in the first round. Top needs: WR, LB, OG
25. Minnesota (10-6) — C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida, Jr.
Trae Waynes is an unrestricted free agent and something is clearly wrong with Xavier Rhodes. It’s nitpicking to say Henderson is a shy tackler in the run game. Shutdown corners aren’t charged with shutting down running backs. They’re supposed to shutdown wide receivers and Henderson has no problem doing that. Top needs: CB, OG, WR
26. Miami from Houston (10-6) — D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia, Jr.
The Dolphins backfield has been a mess all year. A quarterback (Ryan Fitzpatrick) led them in rushing yards (243) and rushing touchdowns (four) while a wide receiver (Albert Wilson) had their longest rush from scrimmage (28 yards). Swift is a shifty back able to bounce it outside or handle the rigors of running between the tackles. He’s also a weapon out of the backfield (he has 56 receptions and four touchdowns the last two seasons). Top needs: QB, OL, Edge
27. Seattle (11-5) — Yetur Gross-Matos, Edge, Penn St., Jr.
The Seahawks need an edge rusher who can take advantage of Jadeveon Clowney’s presence, assuming he returns. Gross-Matos needs to add some strength to his frame, but he’s a gifted pass rusher with elite athleticism and a nose for the ball. Top needs: Edge, OL, TE
28. Baltimore (14-2) — Terrell Lewis, Edge, Alabama, Jr.
One of the Ravens key priorities is boosting their pass rush (their 37 sacks ranked 21st in the NFL). Lewis showcased an impressive power/speed combo in Mobile during Senior Bowl week. Top needs: Edge, LB, WR
29. Tennessee (9-7) — Jonathan Taylor, RB Wisconsin, Jr.
All-Pro running back Derrick Henry could command $14-$16 million per season as a free agent. There have been very few collegiate tailbacks as productive as Taylor (6,174 rushing yards and 50 rushing touchdowns in three seasons in Madison). Top needs: Edge, OT, RB
30. Green Bay (13-3) — Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma, Jr.
It’s clear the Packers need a run stopper after getting bulldozed in the NFC Championship game. Murray is an explosive athlete who has developed elite instincts during his three seasons in Norman. His draft stock should benefit from Alabama’s Dylan Moses returning to school. Top needs: WR, LB, OT
31. San Francisco (13-3) — Tyler Biadasz, C, Ohio St., Jr.
The 49ers will likely trade this pick to the highest bidder, considering they won’t be on the clock again until the fifth round. If they stand pat, the Rimington Award winner (nation’s top center) is an upgrade for an interior line who overachieved this past season. Top needs: OL, DB, WR
32. Kansas City (12-4) — Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah, Jr.
Kendall Fuller is an unrestricted free agent after this season. Johnson’s ball skills and physicality help him standout. Top needs: CB, RB, OG
33. Cincinnati — Neville Gallimore, DL, Oklahoma, Sr.
34. Indianapolis from Washington — Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU, Jr.
35. Detroit — Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia, Sr.
36. N.Y. Giants — Grant Delpit, S, LSU, Jr.
37. L.A. Chargers — Josh Jones, OT, Houston, Sr.
Russell Okung can’t play forever and it’s clear the Chargers need an upgrade over Sam Tevi. A very good week at the Senior Bowl in Mobile finally garnered the talented lineman some attention. The former team captain features elite athleticism. Top needs: OL, QB, RB
38. Carolina — Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia, So.
39. Miami — Austin Jackson, OT, USC, Jr.
40. Arizona — Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU, Jr.
41. Cleveland — Ashtyn Davis, S, California, Sr.
42. Jacksonville — Lloyd Cushenberry, OL, LSU, Jr.
43. Chicago from Las Vegas — Brycen Hopkins, TE, Purdue, Sr.
Neither Trey Burton or Adam Shaheen have proven durable and the tight end is a focal point of this offense. Hopkins is a supersized wide receiver who can line up anywhere and is dangerous after the catch. Top needs: OG, TE, Edge
44. Indianapolis — Curtis Weaver, Edge, Boise State, Jr.
45. Tampa Bay — Jacob Eason, QB, Washington, Jr.
46. Denver — A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson, Jr.
47. Atlanta — Cesar Ruiz, OL, Michigan, Jr.
48. N.Y. Jets — Prince Tega Wanogho, OT, Auburn, Sr.
49. Pittsburgh — Julian Okwara, Edge, Notre Dame, Sr.
Sack artist Bud Dupree is an unrestricted free agent. A broken left fibula suffered in November will likely keep the very talented pass rusher out of the first round. He’s a potential steal here. Top needs: OL, Edge, TE
50. Chicago — Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia, Sr.
51. Dallas — Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame, Jr.
52. L.A. Rams — Trey Adams, OL, Washington, Sr.
The Rams offensive line needs an overhaul if the offense hopes to return to its lofty stature of 2018. There are durability concerns, but Adams features the size (6-8, 314), power and athleticism the NFL requires in a starting left tackle. Top needs: OL, DL, LB
53. Philadelphia — Antoine Winfield Jr., S, Minnesota, So.
54. Buffalo — Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU, Sr.
55. Atlanta from New England — Zach Baun, LB, Wisconsin, Sr.
56. Miami from New Orleans — Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona St., Sr.
57. Houston — J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio St., Jr.
Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson were serviceable, but Dobbins is an upgrade in every way. He’s a three down threat with natural hands and a nose for the end zone. He’s a steal here. Top needs: DT, OT, RB
58. Minnesota — Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU, Jr.
59. Seattle — Lucas Niang, OT, TCU, Sr.
60. Baltimore — K.J. Hamler, WR, Penn St., So.
61. Tennessee — Josh Uche, Edge, Michigan, Sr.
62. Green Bay — Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor, Sr.
63. Kansas City from San Francisco — Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU, Jr.
64. Seattle from Kansas City — Cameron Dantzler, CB, Mississippi St., Jr.
65. Cincinnati — Akeem Davis-Gaither, LB, Appalachian State, Sr.
66. Washington — Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State, Sr.
67. Detroit — Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR, Michigan, Jr.
68. N.Y. Jets from N.Y. Giants — Marlon Davidson, DL, Auburn, Sr.
69. Carolina — Troy Dye, LB, Oregon Sr.
70. Miami — Jordan Elliott, DL, Missouri, Jr.
71. L.A. Chargers — Thaddeus Moss, TE, LSU, So.
Hunter Henry could command between $8-$10 million as a free agent. The son of NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss clearly has the pass-catching pedigree if you watched the National Title game against Clemson. The bonus is he’s a committed run blocker. Top needs: OL, QB, RB
72. Arizona — Kyle Dugger, S, Lenoir-Rhyne, Sr.
73. Jacksonville — Raekwon Davis, DL, Alabama, Sr.
74. Cleveland — Malik Harrison, LB, Ohio State, Sr.
75. Indianapolis — Terrell Burgess, S, Utah, Sr.
76. Tampa Bay — Justin Madubuike, DL, Texas A&M, Jr.
77. Denver — Nick Harris, OL, Washington, Sr.
78. Atlanta — Hunter Bryant, TE, Washington, Jr.
79. N.Y. Jets — Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn, Jr.
80. Las Vegas — Michael Pittman Jr., WR, USC, Sr.
81. Las Vegas from Chicago — Lamar Jackson, CB, Nebraska, Sr.
82. Dallas — Bradlee Anae, Edge, Utah, Sr.
83. Denver from Pittsburgh — Solomon Kindley, OL, Georgia, Jr.
84. L.A. Rams — Darrell Taylor, Edge, Tennessee, Sr.
Dante Fowler Jr. is a free agent. Taylor features prototypical size (6-4, 255) for an edge rusher and showcased a power/speed combo that had scouts talking during Senior Bowl week. Top needs: OL, DL, LB
85. Philadelphia — Netane Muti, OL, Fresno State, Jr.
86. Buffalo — Logan Stenberg, OG, Kentucky, Sr.
87. New England — Adam Trautman, TE, Dayton, Sr.
88. New Orleans — Ben Bredeson, OL, Michigan, Sr.
89. Minnesota — Leki Fotu, DL, Utah, Sr.
90. Cleveland from Houston — Tyler Johnson, WR, Minnesota, Sr.
91. Las Vegas from Seattle — Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame, Sr.
92. Baltimore — Zack Moss, RB, Utah, Sr.
93. Tennessee — Robert Hunt, OL, Louisiana, Sr.
94. Green Bay — Jack Driscoll, OL, Auburn, Sr.
95. Denver from San Francisco — Jonathan Greenard, Edge, Florida, Sr.
96. Kansas City — Davon Hamilton, DL, Ohio State, Sr.