Mocking the 2020 NFL Draft

Does everyone have that first round memorized in preparation for the draft?  

Ready for more? No?  

Tough luck.  Here we go around the league once more.  

2020 NFL Draft – Second Round 

33 Cincinnati Bengals 

Cesar Ruiz, G, Michigan 

They got Burrow. Now they need to protect their investment. I can see the Bengals going linebacker here, but Ruiz has the size and power (6’3”, 307 lbs.) that makes him an ideal blocker.  Some NFL-level coaching and technique will make him into a versatile guard/center prospect with a long career.  

34 Indianapolis Colts (WAS)

Jordan Love, QB, Utah State

Yes, the Colts just brought in Philip Rivers, but that’s only a one, or two-year stopgap measure to deal with the sudden departure of Andrew Luck.  Love gives the Colts a big-bodied, big-armed signal caller to learn under Rivers until he’s ready.  It’s a near perfect fit for a team that isn’t QB-needy for week one.  

35 Detroit Lions

Zach Baun, OLB, Wisconsin

Baun shows a tantalizing blend of technique, athleticism and football I.Q.  It’s a mix that will appeal to Matt Patricia as he looks to rebuild Detroit’s defense.  Baun can be trusted to make plays in the open field and get pressure from the edges, he’s a potential first-rounder, so if still available, the Lions can’t pass him up.  

36 New York Giants

Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State

He’s big enough to play outside, but was primarily a slot receiver in college, and a good one at that.  He’s elusive after the catch and has game breaking speed.  He’ll pose problems for both undersized slot corners and linebackers in coverage.  In the Giants system, with Saquon Barkley as the focus, Aiyuk can excel.  

37 Los Angeles Chargers 

Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise State

They took Tua in round one.  Now it’s time to protect him.  Cleveland is big (6’6”, 311 lbs.) but that’s not what makes him interesting.  It’s his mix of quickness and fluid agility that have scouts seeing his potential.  His skill set will allow him to play almost anywhere on the line, and once his technique becomes more refined, he’ll be a monster in run and pass blocking situations.  

38 Carolina Panthers

Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU

The Panthers draft needs are pretty well-defined, and the majority are on the defensive side of the ball.  Having taken a powerful DT in round one, it’s time for Carolina to address the secondary.  I like Gladney here because he’s a potential first round CB talent in a crowded draft.  His versatility will come in handy as he can be rotated into the slot, or even deployed as a safety in some packages.  

39 Miami Dolphins

Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor 

We told you that this draft was loaded with WRs.  We weren’t joking.  In any other draft, Mims’ combination of size and hands would have him among the top 3-5 receivers taken.  He’s a red zone and sideline monster who will make any rookie quarterback feel safer in high leverage situations.  I have Miami getting him here with their fourth pick of the draft, the ninth receiver off the board.  

40 Houston Texans (ARI)

Terrell Lewis, EDGE, Alabama

This will be Houston’s first pick of the draft as Miami got their first rounder in the Laremy Tunsil trade.  Offensive line is still an issue, but the Texans posted the sixth-fewest sacks in the league last season.  Yes, J.J. Watt’s injury had something to do with that, but he needs help.  Lewis will provide some explosive energy at the edge that will need to be accounted for on every passing down.  He’ll help make Watt more effective, too.  

41 Cleveland Browns

Malik Harrison, LB, Ohio State

Harrison stays in state, again.  The Ohio native chose OSU, and now he falls to the Browns as the best linebacker left on the board.  Despite being a pure downhill linebacker, Harrison led the Buckeyes in tackles in his junior and senior seasons.  He’s already a master a blowing up running plays in the backfield, if he can be coached to become a more versatile coverage LB as well, the Browns will have found a second-round steal.  

42 Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah

The Jags need more help in the secondary, and Johnson is a physical, athletic corner with the potential to become a full-on lockdown type of talent.  I like the idea of an edge rusher here, too, but my gut says that Jacksonville wants to prevent big plays before worrying about sack totals.  

43 Chicago Bears (LVR)

K.J. Hamler, WR, Penn State

This will be Chicago’s first pick of the draft, but before that happens, I think that the Bears have some serious decisions to make… starting with: who is the starting QB?  Nick Foles is new in town, but is he the guy on day one?  Either way, they need more talent at the skill positions and Hamler is a prototypical slot guy.  At 5’9” tall and well under 200 lbs., he won’t be winning jump balls, but he can move the chains with his exceptional route running and sure hands.  He’s tough as well, so he can handle the punishment in the middle of the field.  

44 Indianapolis Colts 

Marlon Davidson, DT, Auburn

The Colts need to get more pressure on opposing QBs, and Davidson will allow them to do just that from a variety of alignments.  The versatile DT can come off the edge or straight ahead up the gaps, because of his exceptional quickness and power at 303lbs.  

45 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin

With Tom Brady in town, the Buccs will want to add a feature that TB12 loves to exploit, a pass catching running back.  Taylor sees the field well and was sure handed as a runner and receiver for the Badgers.  He averaged over 2,000 yards from scrimmage and almost 20 TDs per season in his three years at Wisconsin.  His burst is way better than average and he can turn short passes into big gains.  He’ll remind Brady of Dion Lewis or James White.  

46 Denver Broncos

Michael Pittman Jr., WR, USC

It’s not every day you can find a receiver with this combination of size and technique.  Pittman has the size of a smaller tight end (6’4”, 223 lbs.) but is a clean and focused route runner with good hands.  He’ll be a matchup nightmare for even longer, stronger cornerbacks.  He’s not a speedster, but his ability to box out defenders and claim balls in space could change Denver’s fortunes in the red zone and along the sidelines.  It’s extremely possible that another team will value him much more highly, and he’ll be long gone by this point in the draft.   

47 Atlanta Falcons

J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio State

I know, I know, the Falcons added Todd Gurley to the mix in free agency.  But if you had to gamble on Gurley staying healthy all season long, would you?  I wouldn’t.  And neither will the Falcons.  Enter the explosive pass catching back from OSU.  Dobbins won’t be much help slowing down pass rushers, but neither will Gurley.  Having a similarly skilled back on the roster will allow the Falcons to use Gurley less to keep him healthy, and they’ve got a built-in backup that won’t require changing the offensive scheme or play calling in case of a lingering injury or a production slowdown.  

48 New York Jets

Austin Jackson, OT, USC

Sam Darnold needs protection, and Le’Veon Bell needs bigger holes to run through.  Jackson can help provide both.  He’s got above average athleticism for his size (6’5”, 322 lbs.) and will develop into a very sure pass blocker with time.  I’d like to see him deployed on the right side to move people out of Bell’s way.  If Bell grows to trust him, it could be a game changer for the Jets.  

49 Pittsburgh Steelers

Raekwon Davis, DT, Alabama

The Steelers have only this pick in the first three rounds, so it can’t be a whiff.  I say grab a big run stopping tackler from Alabama who fits perfectly in you base 3-4 defensive scheme.  Davis is a massive 6’6” and 311 lbs.  He will clog up the middle or move to the edge to keep containment.  I don’t see much risk here.  

50 Chicago Bears

Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame

The Bears got almost zero production out of the tight end position in 2019.  It’s an area of massive need.  The tight end group is nowhere near as strong as the receiver group in this draft, but there are a few guys worth looking at, and the Notre Dame product is chief among them.  He’s almost a carbon copy of Gronk size-wise (6’6”, 262 lbs.) and he’s fast enough to create the same mismatch nightmares in coverage.  He’s nowhere near as complete a player, as his blocking needs work, but even if he’s more of a hybrid pass catcher a lá Jimmy Graham, Chicago will probably be happy with the selection here.  

51 Dallas Cowboys

Curtis Weaver, EDGE, Boise State

The Cowboys need a spark.  They can find one in the quarterback chasing monster from Boise State.  He had just under a sack per game in his last year in college (13.5 sacks in 14 games), and he’s just getting started.  His technique is as-yet unrefined, but his motor runs on overdrive and his athleticism does the rest. If he develops the right way, he’ll form a nightmarish duo with another Boise State alum picked in the second round, Demarcus Lawrence.  

52 Los Angeles Rams   

Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU

Todd Gurley is in Atlanta, and so is the threat and bite of Sean McVay’s play-action based offense.  Without a back that can break away, the Rams are toasted.  They’ll address that here with a back from the national champion LSU Tigers.  Edwards-Helaire is a hybrid back, capable of lining up in different formations for screen and slant passes, as well as breaking through gaps.  He’s a bit of a bowling ball at 5’7”, 207 lbs., so good luck tackling that.  

53 Philadelphia Eagles 

Antoine Winfield, Jr., S, Minnesota

Name sound familiar? It should.  His pops was a Pro Bowl cornerback for the Vikings back in the day. Junior has more versatility than his dad and the football I.Q. of a kid who was brought up around the highest level of the game.  He’s a whiz at seeing where plays are headed and cheating closer to create pass breakups and stuffing runs before they break containment.  He’s not a huge hitter, but he’s a steady tackler in the open field.  It’s a good addition to an Eagles secondary that is looking mighty thin…

54 Buffalo Bills

Cam Akers, RB, Florida State

The Bills don’t have a pick in the first round, but that’s just fine, because they now have Stefon Diggs, and if he can’t make Josh Allen’s cannon/arm look good, no one can.  What they need now is a guy to run the rock and keep defenses honest and add some bite to the play action.  Akers can do exactly that.  He’s a bit of a Le’Veon Bell model, patiently waiting for blocks to develop and blasting through holes when they appear.  He’s got good burst and isn’t afraid of contact.  He also shows some potential as a receiver, which is a nice wrinkle for a power back.  

55 Baltimore Ravens (ATL)

Jordan Elliot, DT, Missouri

Baltimore has two picks in this round, so it makes sense to add some depth to their strength, the D-Line.  Elliot is a brawny interior defensive lineman who excels against the run but can also generate some QB pressures up the middle.  At 6’4”, 302 lbs., he’ll be able to move pass protectors to their heels and force quarterbacks to roll out towards the edges.  It might be strength on top of strength, but it’s essentially a bonus pick from Atlanta in the Hayden Hurst trade, since they still have Pro-Bowler Mark Andrews at tight end.   

56 Miami Dolphins (NO)

Grant Delpit, S, LSU

It’s a good thing that the Dolphins needed a lot of stuff, because this is their fifth pick of the draft.  Here, the Miami brass will sort out a hole that was created when they sent Minkah Fitzpatrick to the Steelers.  Granted, Fitzpatrick was badly deployed before the trade, and he got a lot better with Pittsburgh, but still, the need remains.  Delpit is a versatile tackling machine that hits anything that moves in his general direction.  That’s not a bad thing.  He could serve double duty as a linebacker in certain hybrid schemes, and Brian Flores will know how to get the most out of him.  

57 Los Angeles Rams (HOU)

Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame

Sean McVay’s offense is dependent on misdirection and confusion.  To do that, he needs to create urgency in the defensive secondary.  Claypool’s physical traits (6’4”, 238 lbs.) will demand double coverage like a powerful tight end, and he can still win the ball in those scenarios.  He’s not a polished route runner yet, but he’ll improve, and his plus blocking ability will more than make up for that learning curve.  

58 Minnesota Vikings 

Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia

After losing three key contributors in the secondary, Minnesota simply needs more bodies in coverage.  They can snag a difference maker here, but it comes with some risk.  Hall lost the end of his final year to ankle surgery, but all indications are that he’s back to 100%.  If that’s the case, Minnesota is getting a value this late in round two.  

59 Seattle Seahawks

Zack Moss, RB, Utah

Both Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny caught the injury bug last year, so running back is a position that Seattle will definitely want to draft.  Moss ticks all the boxes as a power back, coming in at 5’9”, 223 lbs., but he’s got better burst than you think if he hits a gap, and can catch the ball on screen pass plays as well.  He’ll provide much needed depth for a team that needs stability in the run game to maximize their offense.   

60 Baltimore Ravens

Alton Robinson, EDGE, Syracuse

Baltimore wants more heat off the edge, and they’ll get it with the smooth, natural edge rusher from Syracuse.  He’s a bit of a raw talent, but the athleticism and instincts are more than enough to bring him in and let him develop on the NFL level.  I don’t see him as a full-time starter in year one, but once coached up, he can be a difference maker in passing situations from the jump.   

61 Tennessee Titans

Jacob Eason, QB, Washington

Tennessee is staying the course with Ryan Tannehill, and while he got them deep into the playoffs last year, expecting consistency and long-term fit is probably too much to ask.  They need a backup and understudy that can play well in their run-first offense.  Eason has a cannon arm and excels at throwing the deep ball.  In a play action scheme with the league’s best running back, he can thrive.  I don’t think the Titans will turn this into a QB competition off the bat, but if Tannehill regresses to his former (interception chucking) version, don’t be surprised to see Vrabel make a move.   

62 Green Bay Packers 

Neville Gallimore, DT, Oklahoma

Let’s be honest.  Green Bay was putrid against the run in the NFC Championship game.  They need strong armed tacklers at the line of scrimmage who can stuff rushers before they see daylight.  Gallimore brings intensity and a compact, powerful frame (6’2”, 302 lbs.) that will light a fire.  He demonstrated power and focus collapsing the pocket and making tackles in the backfield.  He’s exactly the kind of athlete that can create disruption from the interior.  

63 Kansas City Chiefs (SF)

Hunter Bryant, TE, Washington

The champs need a backup for Travis Kelce, or the option to run a two-TE set if desired.  Bryant will provide some stability and depth.  He’s a tough possession receiver in the passing game that has deceptive speed.  He’s not huge at 6’2”, 248 lbs., but he’ll be a mismatch against slower linebackers.  His blocking needs refinement, but there’s no reason he can’t become productive in the run game as well.  

64 Seattle Seahawks (KC)

Bradlee Anae, EDGE, Utah

Seattle needs to improve their pass rush, and I’m predicting they’ll go inside first, so there’s wisdom in looking at the edge with the final pick in round two.  Anae has a motor that won’t quit, and he’s a powerful bull rusher that relies on power more than technique to get to the quarterback.  He can develop technique-wise, but there’s nothing wrong with just knocking dudes on their butts on the way to the quarterback.   

For more thoughts and opinions from Tom, check out his author page.

Image Source: CBS Sports

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