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2020 NFL Mock Draft: Melo’s Combine edition

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Tennessee v Alabama Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

It felt like a good time to release another one of these. With the NFL Scouting Combine on the horizon, my next mock draft could look significantly different. Nothing can help or hurt your draft stock more than a good or bad combine performance.

Without further ado, here we go:

1. Cincinnati Bengals | Joe Burrow | QB | LSU

Unless something drastic happens, it’s unlikely that I mock anyone other than Burrow to the Bengals here. They have a clear need at the quarterback position and Burrow is coming off a historically excellent season that he capped off by winning the Heisman and a National Championship. Burrow is coming home, Ohio.

2. Washington Redskins | Chase Young | EDGE | Ohio State

If the Redskins stay put here, Young is the guy. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of action they get on this pick. Young has all the tools to become one of the elite pass rushers in the NFL.

3. Detroit Lions | Jeffrey Okudah | CB | Ohio State

Detroit is another team that may get some action on this pick. Unless they receive an offer that blows them away, they’re prime to land a special defensive play-maker here. Okudah is an elite cornerback prospect, the best I’ve scouted in years. Okudah has every tool to be elite in press coverage at the next level.

4. New York Giants | Jedrick Wills Jr. | OT | Alabama

Daniel Jones had a stellar rookie season. The Giants need to continue to invest in the protection in front of him. Wills has been a bit of a riser throughout this process. He’s a tremendously powerful blocker that generates a ton of movement in the run game.

5. Miami Dolphins | Tua Tagovailoa | QB | Alabama

If Tagovailoa’s medicals check out, the Dolphins may have to move up if they want to ensure that they land his services. I’m personally still incredibly high on Tua despite his disappointing campaign that unfortunately ended in injury. As long as he’s healthy, he has all the tools to become a franchise quarterback.

6. Los Angeles Chargers | Justin Herbert | QB | Oregon

The Chargers recently confirmed that they’ll be moving on from Phillip Rivers. That makes them one of many teams that will be looking for a new signal caller heading into the 2020 season. Herbert helped himself with an excellent performance at the Senior Bowl. In fact, they may have to move up from here if they truly love him. He’s a dynamic athlete with the ability to create something out of nothing.

7. Carolina Panthers | Andrew Thomas | OT | Georgia

The Panthers are entering a new era with head coach Matt Rhule and offensive coordinator Joe Brady. It’ll be interesting to see what they do with Cam Newton this off-season. Until we have a clearer picture of their quarterback plans, they should continue to invest in their offensive line. Thomas has the frame and athletic ability to be an elite pass protector at the next level.

8. Arizona Cardinals | Tristan Wirfs | OT | Iowa

Cardinals fans have plenty to be excited about heading into the 2020 season. Pairing Kliff Kingsbury with Kyler Murray in 2019 was a risky move, but it’s one that appears set to pay off down the road. Murray was exceptional as a rookie, but the Cardinals need to do a better job protecting him going forward. Wirfs is a balanced offensive tackle prospect that’s just as effective in pass protection as he is in the run game. He would be an excellent fit in Arizona.

9. Jacksonville Jaguars | Derrick Brown | DT | Auburn

The Jaguars defense will go through a bit of a makeover this off-season. Yannick Ngakoue may not be back, and Marcell Dareus likely won’t be around either. Brown is an immensely talented prospect who would immediately plug the hole that Dareus would leave behind.

10. Cleveland Browns | Mekhi Becton | OT | Louisville

The Browns have a glaring need at offensive tackle and I expect Becton to be a huge riser throughout this process. This is a pick that I decided to keep the same from my last mock draft. Offensive tackles simply aren’t supposed to move as well at Becton does for his size.

11. New York Jets | Josh Jones | OT | Houston

The Jets desperately need to do a better job of protecting Sam Darnold going forward if he’s going to have any chance of turning into the franchise quarterback they hope he is. Jones is a bit raw at this point in time, but he has the makings of a franchise tackle.

12. Oakland Raiders | Jerry Jeudy | WR | Alabama

The Raiders are in desperate need of a No. 1 wide receiver. It’s safe to say that the Antonio Brown trade did not work out well for them. Jeudy is an exciting play-maker that can bring some game-breaking ability to Las Vegas.

13. Indianapolis Colts | Henry Ruggs III | WR | Alabama

I fully expect the Colts to chase one of the many veteran quarterbacks that are set to be available in free agency because Jacoby Brissett is not the answer. Melvin Gordon recently shared his thoughts on why Phillip Rivers would be a good fit. If that’s the direction the Colts go in, they’ll need to improve their weapons in the vertical passing game. They don’t have a receiver that instills fear in the heart of the defense besides T.Y. Hilton. The addition of Ruggs’ game-breaking speed would change that.

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers | Isaiah Simmons | LB | Clemson

While this may not be their biggest need, Simmons would certainly be the best player available here. I expect Jameis Winston to be back in Tampa Bay, and I think they’d like to improve the protection up front. With that said, we already have five offensive tackles off the board here. Simmons is a unicorn that can legitimately play all over the field. Find me a team that can’t use a guy like that on their defense. I dare you.

15. Denver Broncos | Javon Kinlaw | DT | South Carolina

The Broncos may need to look a defensive linemen here with both Derek Wolfe and Shelby Harris currently set to hit free agency. Kinlaw is incredibly quick and has the ability to reset the line of scrimmage. He has all of the tools to become a lethal pass rusher at the next level.

16. Atlanta Falcons | A.J. Epenesa | EDGE | Iowa

I’m keeping this pick the same from my last mock draft. It just makes too much sense to me. Vic Beasley won’t be back in Atlanta next season. The Falcons had the fourth fewest sacks in 2019. That’s simply unacceptable. Enter Epenesa, an overwhelmingly powerful edge prospect with the length and technical hands to become a big-time player at the next level.

17. Dallas Cowboys | Grant Delpit | SAF | LSU

Dallas’ defense was pretty underwhelming in 2019. Both the interior of their defensive line and the secondary needs some work. Delpit is a swiss-army knife that can play both in the box and in a variety of coverage schemes.

18. Miami Dolphins | Josh Uche | EDGE | Michigan

With the quarterback position already addressed with the first of their three first round picks, it’s time for the Dolphins to turn their attention to the defense. Uche is a bendy pass rusher with the speed to threaten the corner on a snap-by-snap basis. He’s going to be fascinating to watch at the combine.

19. Oakland Raiders | Kenneth Murray | LB | Oklahoma

Having addressed the wide receiver position earlier with the selection of Jeudy, we turn our attention to the other side of the ball. The Raiders have to get better and faster up the middle of their defense if they hope to contend in the AFC West. Murray has the skill-set that the Raiders so desperately need.

20. Jacksonville Jaguars | Kristian Fulton | CB | LSU

I mocked Fulton to Jacksonville in my last mock draft and I still like it. Losing Jalen Ramsey was devastating and replacing him has to be a priority for them this off-season. Fulton is a sticky corner with the length and ball-skills to excel at the next level.

21. Philadelphia Eagles | CeeDee Lamb | WR | Oklahoma

Boy, the Eagles really need a wide receiver. Scratch that, wide receivers. Lamb is an exciting play-maker that’s a threat to score every time he touches the ball. He could drastically improve the Eagles passing attack in 2020.

22. Buffalo Bills | K’Lavon Chaisson | EDGE | LSU

The Bills could look to a wide receiver like Laviska Shenault Jr. or Brandon Aiyuk here, but they also need to add an edge rusher to the fold and Chaisson certainly fits the bill. Chaisson played the 2019 season after coming off a torn ACL in 2018. He’s still getting his explosiveness back, but he’s a lengthy pass rusher with a dangerous first step in his arsenal.

23. New England Patriots | Cesar Ruiz | C | Michigan

The interior of the Patriots offensive line may go through a bit of a makeover this off-season. Joe Thuney and Ted Karras are likely to depart via free agency and David Andrews’ status remains uncertain. Ruiz is a versatile player who’s seen time at both center and guard.

24. New Orleans Saints | Xavier McKinney | SAF | Alabama

The Saints would love to add a wide receiver here, but with Jeudy, Ruggs and Lamb already off the board, they could look elsewhere. Vonn Bell and P.J. Williams are both set to hit free agency as of now. Chauncey Gardner-Johnson is also in the fold here, but the Saints may need to address the position via the draft. McKinney has a versatile skill-set that can be used all over the defensive back-field.

25. Minnesota Vikings | C.J. Henderson | CB | Florida

We’re keeping things the same here. As long as Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander are set to hit free agency, I will likely be mocking a corner to the Vikings. Henderson is a lengthy corner with the ability to disrupt the catch point. He’s an exceptional athlete that would would be a nice fit in Mike Zimmer’s aggressive defense.

26. Miami Dolphins | D’Andre Swift | RB | Georgia

The running game in Miami is a mess. They traded (gave up on) Kenyan Drake to the Cardinals in the middle of the season. To add insult to injury, Drake looked great down the stretch in Arizona. Kalen Ballage has failed to assert himself a quality NFL player and Mark Walton was released after another run-in with the law. Enter Swift, a human highlight reel. Watching him and Tua together in Miami would be fun, and give the Dolphins a baseline for a potentially exciting offense going forward.

27. Seattle Seahawks | Yetur Gross-Matos | EDGE | Penn State

Defense ends Ziggy Ansah, Jadeveon Clowney and Quinton Jefferson are set to free agency as of now. Clowney will obviously have a ton of suitors if he hits the open market, and the Seahawks may have to look towards the draft for a long-term replacement. Gross-Matos is a long-armed, powerful technician that understands how to win in a variety of ways.

28. Baltimore Ravens | Zack Baun | LB | Wisconsin

The Ravens may need to re-load a little on defense this summer. Matthew Judon is their best edge defender and he’s set to hit the open market. Baun is more of an off-ball LB than he is EDGE rusher, but he’s a smart, quick player that’s been a steady riser throughout this process.

29. Tennessee Titans | Terrell Lewis | EDGE | Alabama

The Titans are an interesting position. They have four huge decisions to make on the future of Jack Conklin, Logan Ryan, Derrick Henry and of course, Ryan Tannehill. Depending on what happens with those four, they could go in a number of directions with this pick — QB, RB, OL, EDGE or CB.

They could also look to make a splash at the EDGE position via free agency. If some of the premium EDGE rushers available are too expensive for them, they could use this pick to pair Harold Landry with another young and exciting rusher. Lewis looks the part. He’s a smart, aggressive rusher that does his best work when rushing as an OLB in a 3-4 alignment.

30. Green Bay Packers | Patrick Queen | LB | LSU

The Packers desperately need to add some speed to the middle of their defense. That lack of explosiveness was especially exposed against the 49ers in the playoffs. Queen is a super intriguing prospect that has the sideline-to-sideline speed the Packers so desperately need.

31. San Francisco 49ers | Damon Arnette | CB | Ohio State

The 49ers represent hope for the rest of the NFL. From the No. 2 overall pick to the 31st overall pick in just a year is living proof of how quickly you can turn things around if you get it right. With that said, Richard Sherman isn’t getting younger and Ahkello Witherspoon hasn’t developed how they hoped he would. Arnette is an incredibly smart cover corner that does his best work in press coverage.

32. Kansas City Chiefs | Jeff Gladney | CB | TCU

The Chiefs defense played much better down the stretch, but they’re still a little thin on the outside and you can never have too many cornerbacks. Gladney’s ball production screams first round talent.